National Newswatch

The Butts testimony: Have I mentioned the 9,000 jobs?

Mar 6 2019 — Paul Wells — I see no reason to disbelieve any part of Gerald Butts’s testimony at the justice committee this morning. And it’s worth noting that he was at pains not to cast aspersions on Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott or any other character in this drama. The Prime Minister’s former principal secretary offered real insight into the workings […]

The Philpott earthquake

Mar 4 2019 — Paul Wells — With Jane Philpott’s resignation from the cabinet, Justin Trudeau’s government is now in a crisis that ranks with the coalition challenge to Stephen Harper in 2008 and Jean Chrétien’s dismissal of Paul Martin in 2002. That probably understates matters, actually: Those two previous shocks were about ambition; they engaged matters of principle almost by accident. […]

Justin Trudeau, imposter

Mar 4 2019 — Paul Wells — The story a few Liberals were telling privately, in the early hours after Jody Wilson-Raybould delivered her extraordinary testimony to the Commons justice committee about the endless procession of men who tried to make her cancel a criminal trial for SNC-Lavalin, was that she just didn’t get it. The former attorney general is a nice […]

The moral catastrophe of Justin Trudeau

Feb 27 2019 — Paul Wells — What Jody Wilson-Raybould described today is a sickeningly smug protection racket and it should make us all question what we’re willing to tolerate. The dangerous files are never the obscure ones. Scandals don’t happen in the weird little corners of government, in amateur sport or in crop science. They happen on the issues a prime […]

Gerald Butts: If thy right hand offend thee, pluck it out

Feb 18 2019 — Paul Wells — At any other time it’d be interesting to entertain a few notions of comparative PMO staffing. Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper shook up their senior staff regularly: Mulroney’s principal secretaries included Peter White, Tom Trbovich, Michel Roy and Hugh Segal; Harper made more frequent changes to his chiefs of staff but when Ray Novak moved […]

Justin Trudeau’s credibility gap on SNC-Lavalin

Feb 15 2019 — Paul Wells — A new poll shows that among Canadians who are following the controversy, nearly three quarters think Wilson-Raybould has the most credibility. A large majority of people following the controversy over Justin Trudeau, Jody Wilson-Raybould and SNC-Lavalin say the former justice minister has the most credibility, a new online poll says.

Canada, the show

Feb 12 2019 — Paul Wells — You thought this government was about family benefits and boil-water advisories? The Lavalin affair offers a glimpse of the real scene—maybe the real Canada. It all seemed so unpromising as a narrative when the Globe and Mail broke the story five days ago. Attorney general resists pressure (“from whom?” an editor’s red grease pencil should […]

Farewell to John McCallum, 2017’s man in Beijing

Jan 26 2019 — Paul Wells — So, funny thing. On Jan. 9 I spotted John McCallum’s distinctive mug in a photo posted on an Ottawa-based social media account. There being a lot happening on the China front, I sent him an email: “You in town? Wanna have coffee?” He replied the next morning. “You’re right. I’m in town for a bit […]

In the Trudeau government, what’s a cabinet shuffle for?

Jan 14 2019 — Paul Wells — Like the shuffle before it, today’s won’t change anything about a government that’s chronically stage-managed by a tiny cadre of staffers. The main thing to remember about today’s cabinet shuffle is that, outside of the extraordinary tales it tells us about the career paths of its protagonists, as a matter of governance it could well […]

In Trudeauland, who makes all the decisions?

Dec 13 2018 — Paul Wells — I mean, after all, why wouldn’t Justin Trudeau’s Liberals win the 2019 election? Only twice since Confederation have governments that came to power with a majority in the House of Commons been defeated outright at the next election: Alexander Mackenzie’s in 1878 and R.B. Bennett’s in 1935. Every other first-time majority PM has been permitted […]

Rachel Notley on an economy that’s ‘being held hostage’, dealing with Trudeau and the next election

Nov 29 2018 — Paul Wells — Rachel Notley doesn’t much like to go around the country complaining that Alberta’s neighbours are treating it unfairly, but she says it helps move public opinion. Alberta’s premier visited Ottawa and Toronto this week to talk about the crisis in her province’s energy industry, with prices collapsing and pipeline projects blocked or abandoned. She said […]

A carbon tax? Just try them.

Nov 7 2018 — Paul Wells — Scott Moe had been the premier of Saskatchewan for all of a week when he ran into Jason Kenney at the Manning Networking Conference in February of this year, at a downtown Ottawa convention centre. The Manning conferences have lost some of their cachet as annual gatherings of the Canadian conservative clan. Turns out it […]

Justin Trudeau vs. the anti-carbon tax Avengers

Oct 6 2018 — Paul Wells — I’m as surprised as you are that Brian Pallister just became the most interesting man in Canadian federalism. The Progressive Conservative premier of Manitoba, impossibly tall and lanky, likes to talk like a straight shooter. But his politics are mostly cautious and moderate. In a national political landscape increasingly populated by firebrands—Doug Ford, Maxime Bernier, […]