National Newswatch

The Great Reset is mostly just Liberals blowing off steam. Mostly.

Nov 23 2020 — Paul Wells — I see Pierre Poilievre has been busy again. This is often a mixed blessing. Over at the Conservative finance critic’s website there’s a petition you can sign if you want to help him STOP THE GREAT RESET. That’s because the Prime Minister said in September—here I’ll quote Justin Trudeau accurately, but using the punctuation Poilievre […]

President Biden and a world of trouble

Nov 7 2020 — Paul Wells — After all it would not have been fitting if the presidency had come too easily to Joe Biden, because so little ever has. He was born to a wealthy family fallen on hard times. For years his family lived with his mother’s parents. In school he stuttered so badly that once even a teacher mocked […]

Joe Biden and the lure of gridlock

Nov 4 2020 — Paul Wells — It’s not a lot safer to write a column today than it was on Tuesday night when I chickened out of filing, but the expectation is growing that Joe Biden will eventually manage a court-proof electoral-college victory over Donald Trump. They were popping virtual champagne bubbles on virtual Wall Street, for reasons that are worth […]

The numbers are in on solitary confinement. They’re not good.

Oct 27 2020 — Paul Wells — A preliminary report—which nearly didn’t happen due to government inaction—shows reform has been partial at best, with prisoners still being denied ‘meaningful human contact.’ Previously on What the Hell Is Going On In Canada’s Prisons?: In August I wrote here about a government-appointed experts’ panel that was tasked with monitoring important changes to the operation […]

I think this Parliament is broken

Oct 26 2020 — Paul Wells — A reporter was unfortunate enough to ask Anita Anand how MPs are supposed to know whether the government’s getting value for money on its COVID-19-related procurement. This was more than Anand, who is the minister of public services and procurement, could take. “I find the phrase ‘value for money’ really quite interesting,” she said. “What […]

Justin Trudeau, wondering what he has to lose

Oct 20 2020 — Paul Wells — Why is the PM staring down the opposition with an election threat? Maybe because as far as he’s concerned, Parliament sucks. In the House of Commons, a place he’s never liked or felt at ease, Justin Trudeau looked serene. Opposition MPs were lining up to accuse the Prime Minister of wanting an election. Trudeau and […]

Trump and the virus: duelling amoralities

Oct 2 2020 — Paul Wells — Thoughts and prayers. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the President and the First Lady as they deal with the coronavirus,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in a statement following the terrible news. “We wish them a speedy recovery and have the utmost confidence in the talented medical professionals caring for […]

Farewell, then, Canada Infrastructure Bank

Oct 1 2020 — Paul Wells — It’s funny the various ways expectations can shrink. Here were Justin Trudeau and Catherine McKenna announcing a new plan for the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which is a novel organization designed to turn $35 billion from the federal government into widespread confusion and apathy. “By attracting other people’s capital the Bank maximizes the value of every […]

Trump vs. Biden I: Come on, man

Sep 30 2020 — Paul Wells — Almost my only theory of political debates is that voters couldn’t care less who “wins” a debate. They’re looking for a leader. And they don’t much care about tone or stature or whatever because they’re hoping to hear some solutions. So my advice to any politician is always the same: Most of your business shouldn’t […]

Farewell to the Liberals’ easy green revolution

Sep 15 2020 — Paul Wells — I’m grateful to the excellent Toronto Star columnist Heather Scoffield for noticing some fascinating comments Gerald Butts made on Monday. Butts, of course, resigned in 2019 as Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary and has been working since then as a consultant, climate-policy opinion leader and Twitter scold. He was a member of the Task Force for […]

Bold solutions! Our big chance!

Sep 11 2020 — Paul Wells — The Prime Minister calls this a time of ‘unprecedented opportunity.’ Will Canadians agree? Welcome back to Parliament or, as we like to call it when no party controls a majority of seats in the House of Commons, Election Speculation Season. MPs will reconvene in Ottawa on Sept. 23 for another Speech from the Throne. After […]

Another farce on Bill Blair’s watch

Aug 29 2020 — Paul Wells — How badly do things have to go for a government-appointed panel to shut down because it got no usable data and no help from the minister? I’ve got my journalistic obsessions, Lord knows. But the notion that Bill Blair, the minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, is in way over his head was not […]

Erin O’Toole and the search for a new Canadian centre

Aug 24 2020 — Paul Wells — The Conservatives need to remake their movement for a new era. Is their new leader the person to do it? The 1996 Ontario Liberal leadership convention was an organizational fiasco. Sometime after 4 a.m. on the morning after voting began, Dalton McGuinty became the unknown new leader of a party that had lost the last […]

Bill Morneau, melting away

Aug 17 2020 — Paul Wells — The PM is permitting his finance minister—the supposed incarnation of his government’s fiscal credibility—to be set up. It does not bode well. The lesson from Bill Morneau for all remaining Trudeau cabinet ministers is this: you cannot make yourself small enough to be safe. No amount of self-effacement will ensure you stay on as a […]