National Newswatch

Red team the red team

Jun 27 2022 — Paul Wells — How would you act if you wanted this government to thrive? And why can’t this government act like that? In July 2012, the prime minister of Canada was a year past the last election and three years from the next, making small adjustments while Canadians’ frustration with his government grew large. Stephen Harper was his […]

My interview with Jean Charest

Jun 24 2022 — Paul Wells — In which I didn’t ask him about That Guy or That Other Guy. I had 15 minutes on Zoom with the former premier of Quebec and current candidate for the leadership of the federal Conservatives. This is generous for TV, stingy for print, but I decided not to quibble. My list of preferred interview subjects […]

The Liberals will be fine

Jun 21 2022 — Paul Wells — Unless they aren’t. In the meantime, enjoy the feeding frenzy! Vacation was great, thanks. I return to find I’m late catching up to a Trudeau doom feeding frenzy. Don Martin: “The fall of Justin Trudeau has begun.” Hill Times: rumours of a “massive” caucus revolt. Top strategists: Liberals “risk losing next election.” Aaron Wherry: “Warning […]

Highway to the Tidy, Winnable Danger Zone

Jun 14 2022 — Paul Wells — All movies are fantasies. Once the house lights go down, justice triumphs, problems have solutions, lessons are compact enough to be learned and applied before the last reel. Even art-house cinema tidies life up in beguiling ways. The central character always has a smart comeback ready, the nerd finds nerdy redemption. At the other end […]

Le débat des conservateurs en français, ou presque

May 26 2022 — Paul Wells — It’s not great when the two high points of a debate are the moments when the video signal from Laval cuts out. Looks like the Conservative Party of Canada hasn’t mastered the internet, any more than three of its leadership candidates have mastered French. Three or four: Patrick Brown was sometimes surprisingly effective, sometimes incomprehensible. […]

My interview with(out) Pierre Poilievre

May 23 2022 — Paul Wells — “Will get back to you soon,” Pierre Poilievre’s press secretary wrote to me on May 12 when I asked for an interview with the Conservative leadership candidate. He hasn’t. That’s perfectly fair. Whether to grant an interview is always a tactical decision. Candidates are busy people. Nobody’s at any reporter’s beck and call. But neither […]

Rachel Notley, still standing

May 20 2022 — Paul Wells — Alberta’s first NDP premier surveys the Kenney-less landscape. On the day after Alberta premier Jason Kenney got such a low vote of confidence in the United Conservative Party leadership review he announced his resignation from politics, Rachel Notley was taking calls. I had taken care to talk my way into the queue. “How much time […]

The Conservatives’ Edmonton debate: Yikes

May 12 2022 — Paul Wells — Well, that was a national disgrace. What is it about the last two years that made the Conservative Party of Canada’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee decide Canadians are yearning for shorter conversations about sillier questions? Who came out of last week’s thoughtful debate at the Canada Strong and Free conference — at least, the questions […]

And now, the Ontario Rider Benefit

May 5 2022 — Paul Wells — People of Ontario! If you make Steven Del Duca your premier, he’ll cut your transit fares to $1. All of them. For a while. The Ontario Liberal leader’s first campaign announcement came, for reporters, with a backgrounder pointing out that a ride from Kitchener to Toronto on the commuter Go Train now costs $19.40, but […]

We need to talk about Davos

May 4 2022 — Paul Wells — I’ve been reading Peter S. Goodman’s Davos Man, a tough, angry — not entirely persuasive — critique of the sort of people who get top-level access to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Because Goodman’s vantage point is left-by-centre-left, his book provides fascinating counterpoint to a polemic about the WEF that is, in Canada, […]

Pierre Poilievre, moderate

Apr 29 2022 — Paul Wells — Audit the Bank of Canada? Uh… sure? Was that it? The news release drew raised eyebrows among Ottawa reporters: “Pierre Poilievre, candidate for Prime Minister, will make an announcement and hold a press conference on policies relating to the Bank of Canada.” The venue for this: Poilievre would be standing in front of the Bank’s […]

Please state the nature of the emergency

Apr 28 2022 — Paul Wells — In any self-respecting three-ring circus, the action is always at different stages in each ring. Equipment is being rolled into one ring and carried out of another, while the elephant dances a tarantella in a third. The Trudeau government’s February invocation of the Emergencies Act — the first use of the Act since it became […]

The man who counted

Apr 21 2022 — Paul Wells — On Good Friday I drove from Ottawa to Montreal, almost, stopping to park beside an unlovely office building across from a car dealership in the West Island suburb of Dollard des Ormeaux. Carlos J. Leitao, the Liberal member of Quebec’s National Assembly for the riding of Robert-Baldwin, was working alone in his office and, as […]

A new newsletter! And a $15 billion mystery

Apr 19 2022 — Paul Wells — After all the dust settled from Chrystia Freeland’s latest federal budget, I still had questions about the Canada Growth Fund. Described (on Page 60 of the budget document) as a means “to attract substantial private sector investment” to “help meet important national economic policy goals,” the Canada Growth Fund was announced as something that would […]