National Newswatch

Adventures in better government with Doug Ford

Sep 11 2018 — Paul Wells — I’m with Emmett Macfarlane, basically: Justice Edward Belobaba’s ruling invalidating Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s law to reduce the number of Toronto city councillors from 47 to 25 is based on shaky constitutional reasoning at best. But the Ontario Conservatives saying “So of course the notwithstanding clause is the logical recourse” are being reckless.

Quebec’s very, very quiet revolution

Sep 6 2018 — Paul Wells — Whoever does advance work for the Coalition Avenir Québec campaign should get a raise. On a recent Monday morning in the pretty ski town of Bromont, the party’s leader, François Legault, arrived for a news conference to describe some of his policies for helping Quebec’s families. Legault was flanked by two local female candidates. Behind […]

Maxime Bernier reaches his logical conclusion

Aug 23 2018 — Paul Wells — At least now we’re all reminded why he’s so fond of Twitter. “If we want conservative principles to win the bottle of ideas, we have to defend them openly,” Maxime Bernier told a room full of reporters, “with passion and conviction.” I checked his prepared text, which had been handed to us minutes earlier. “Battle […]

The 2019 election will be about who’s the right kind of Canadian

Aug 22 2018 — Paul Wells — It’s hard to shake the ominous feeling that Justin Trudeau’s shouted Sunday-night exchange with a woman at a corn roast in Sabrevois, Que., was the best foretaste we’ve had so far of the 2019 federal election. The exchange itself was impressively unedifying, and will be familiar to by now to anyone with a Twitter account. […]

If Justin Trudeau loses, it will be because of Andrew Scheer’s secret weapon

Aug 7 2018 — Paul Wells — “What’s Hamish Marshall’s title again?” I asked a Conservative MP over after-work beverages in Ottawa in late July. “National campaign manager.” “And when does he start campaigning?” “He’s campaigning now. A bunch of micro-campaigns—messages to target audiences on several issues to test phrasing and collect email signatures.” On the Conservative party’s website, there’s a link […]

Doug Ford and a truly weird, bitter, team-building Question Period

Jul 31 2018 — Paul Wells — I was just noticing all the civilized touches in the Ontario legislature when it stopped being civilized. There’s a countdown clock on each wall so members can see at a glance how much time remains in a given part of the day—in this instance, question period. Question period itself is the first item of business […]

Watching Doug Ford drive the bus

Jul 31 2018 — Paul Wells — I’ve lived in Ontario for 46 of my 52 years but every time I make a conscious decision to cover its provincial politics it seems as exotic as any assignment anywhere. The red sandstone legislature building at the top of Queen’s Park in Toronto is a repository of a people’s neuroses, a Fort Knox of […]

Bill Blair: Doug Ford’s enemy in the Trudeau cabinet

Jul 18 2018 — Paul Wells — In appointing Bill Blair, the MP for Scarborough Southwest, as minister of border security and organized crime reduction‬, Justin Trudeau has sent an experienced and controversial player into the political battles leading up to next October’s federal election. But what’s most striking about the new minister is the deep animosity between Blair and the new […]

Trudeau-Ford: The next chapter in Canada’s eternal campaign

Jul 6 2018 — Paul Wells — The Ontario Liberals (now in power in Ottawa) meet the Ontario Tories—it’s the latest chapter in a nasty fight that’s been going on for a decade. We now bring you exclusive footage of yesterday’s meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario not-quite-premier-yet Doug Ford:

Justin Trudeau, west of Toronto, bailing water

Jun 26 2018 — Paul Wells — With 16 months to go until the 2019 federal election, it’s on. A Liberal of my acquaintance phoned to make sure I hadn’t missed the notification for Navdeep Bains’s nomination meeting as the party’s Mississauga-Malton candidate in the 2019 election. Bains will be acclaimed, like most incumbent MPs. He’s been a force in political organizing […]

Happy Canada Day. Stay home.

Jun 25 2018 — Paul Wells — There’s a hidden assumption in news that Canada Day on Parliament Hill this year will be another day of lineups and security checks, and that this will probably never change. The assumption is that a centralized Canada Day celebration in a smallish park in the middle of Canada’s sixth-largest urban centre makes any sense. I […]

Jagmeet Singh has a lot of work to do

Jun 19 2018 — Paul Wells — We keep looking for a politician who’ll stand up and admit failure. Suddenly here was one. There’s a kind of nobility in taking your licking, I guess. “We’re disappointed” in Monday’s by-election results in the Quebec heartland riding of Chicoutimi-Le Fjord, Jagmeet Singh told a knot of reporters outside the House of Commons before Question […]

The Maclean’s-Pollara Ontario election poll shows Doug Ford and Andrea Horwath in photo finish

Jun 6 2018 — Paul Wells — They’re all tied up, 38-38-17. That’s how the major Ontario political parties stack up on the day before the final vote in a historic provincial election, according to the final instalment of a Pollara Strategic Insights tracking poll for Maclean’s. Using the last three days of responses from a rolling mixed-method (online and telephone) survey […]

The Maclean’s-Pollara Ontario election poll: Ford’s advance edge

Jun 5 2018 — Paul Wells — The Maclean’s-Pollara tracking poll is still way too close for any certainty about the outcome of Thursday’s election, but with only two days left to go, Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives seem to be consolidating their advantage. The PC lead among decided voters is still within the margin of error, at 39 per cent […]