National Newswatch

Chrétien’s China and Trudeau’s

Jan 21 2020 — Paul Wells — It was helpful last week of Jean Chrétien’s former right hand Eddie Goldenberg to make, in detail, a case several of his contemporaries have been making piecemeal for more than a year: that taking Canada’s extradition treaty with the United States won’t get Canadian prisoners in Beijing released, so we should just do what Beijing […]

Stephen Harper resigns from the Conservative Fund board

Jan 15 2020 — Paul Wells — Former prime minister Stephen Harper has suddenly resigned from the board of the Conservative Party of Canada’s fundraising arm, as the party descends into organizational chaos and bitter recrimination in the first week of its leadership campaign. Harper had been urged by friends and party officials to resign from the Conservative Fund Canada board after […]

Karina Gould on Pierre Trudeau’s legacy

Jan 10 2020 — Paul Wells — Canada’s international development minister spoke about the prime minister’s father and why we should ‘enthusiastically’ embrace liberal internationalism. On Wednesday I noted that amid a general slow operating tempo for the re-elected Trudeau government in Ottawa, International Development Minister Karina Gould was preparing to speak to a conference at the University of Toronto on the […]

Canada would like a government now, please

Jan 8 2020 — Paul Wells — Events, dear boy, events. We are promised a news conference later today with the prime minister, and it’s a good thing too, because the questions are starting to pile up. Ottawa woke Wednesday to two shocks. At home, news of a shooting in the capital’s residential downtown core. A domestic dispute, it seems; more of […]

Who wants to be Conservative leader?

Jan 6 2020 — Paul Wells — Things will now start to happen quite quickly in the Conservative Party’s leadership campaign. Conservatives I talked to on Monday didn’t attach literal meaning to Lisa Raitt’s statement, on Friday, that potential candidates had only 10 days to make up their minds. (That figure would now be down to seven, if it were a real […]

Conservatives after Scheer: the revolution eats its own

Dec 12 2019 — Paul Wells — One of the details of our current malaise is that even as the memoir, confessional and tell-all become our dominant strains of popular non-fiction, we have leaders who seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time hoping nobody will find out about them. The social media explosion that began in perhaps 2005 has left politicians […]

The stubborn state of federalism in Canada

Dec 10 2019 — Paul Wells — For a glimpse into how regional conflict might dominate our politics in 2020, watch the body language—and the response from Justin Trudeau’s office—when a provincial premier comes to Ottawa these days. Three weeks after the October federal election, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was in Ottawa for his first face-to-face post-election meeting with Prime Minister Justin […]

The Throne Speech: More will be done

Dec 5 2019 — Paul Wells — Well, they’re back. It’s hard to fault a government for doing what it said it would. “Expect some 2,000 or so words, with deliberately vague language,” Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt wrote at the beginning of the week. So I did. And I was not disappointed.

Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives’ choices

Nov 28 2019 — Paul Wells — On Friday Andrew Scheer will address the United Conservative Party convention in Calgary, and the reception he gets should give us all a better sense of his chances of hanging on to the Conservative leadership. So far we’ve mostly heard from Toronto-area Conservatives who backed other candidates against Scheer for the leadership, and colleagues of […]

At the global security gathering in Halifax: Up the down escalator

Nov 25 2019 — Paul Wells — You get used to feeling existential dread at the Halifax International Security Forum, which after all exists to give an international who’s who of soldiers, defence and foreign ministers, academics and think tankers a spot to ponder the world’s gravest dangers. This year’s edition, the 11th since the annual meeting kicked off in 2009, heard […]

Trudeau 2.0: Je ne regrette rien

Nov 20 2019 — Paul Wells — Today we have naming of parts. If you have a minister of middle-class prosperity and a minister of economic development and an entirely separate minister of rural economic development and a minister of workforce development—remember when the workforce was part of the economy? Ok, boomer—and a minister of small business and a minister of finance […]

The battle against Quebec’s Bill 21

Nov 8 2019 — Paul Wells — Sure, the leaders of Canada’s federal political parties didn’t have much to say during the election campaign when reporters asked what they planned to do about Quebec’s Bill 21. The law, which prohibits public servants in the province from wearing religious headgear and other symbols, is so popular politicians are reluctant to challenge it directly.

Trudeau: Re-election means never having to say you’re sorry

Nov 5 2019 — Paul Wells — I’ve got a hunch that when the federal Liberal caucus meets Wednesday in Ottawa, observers will be surprised, even taken aback, by the jovial tone among Liberals. And an emerging theme of federal politics in months to come will be the scale of Justin Trudeau’s electoral triumph. Now there’s a word you don’t hear often. […]

The Green Party after Elizabeth May

Nov 4 2019 — Paul Wells — Under the right leadership, the party might have accomplished so much more in the last election. It has a chance to right itself, if it’s not already too late. I have spent nearly a decade calling, very occasionally, for Elizabeth May to stop leading the Green Party. She has never shown any sign of holding […]

Advice to Conservatives: Think twice

Oct 25 2019 — Paul Wells — What’s to be done about Andrew Scheer? He’s the most Western-entrenched Conservative leader since—well, since Rona Ambrose, Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, Preston Manning, Joe Clark and John Diefenbaker. He’s reduced the Conservatives to pariah status in the country’s big eastern cities, terrifying windswept concrete valleys of Laurentianism where gay people are prone to marry or […]