National Newswatch

The Trudeau WE testimony: What, you wanted a micromanager?

Jul 31 2020 — Paul Wells — Nobody appreciates the subtlety of a light touch. We are pleased to take the Prime Minister at his word, as captured in Thursday’s virtual meeting of the Commons Finance Committee, and to report the sum of Justin Trudeau’s involvement in the development of the Canada Student Service Grant. (a) Amid a global public-health crisis there […]

The Nova Scotia inquiry: Maybe next time, listen first

Jul 28 2020 — Paul Wells — There’s something satisfying in watching a house of cards collapse. It’s reassuring to be reminded that there is, in fact, a level of absurdity that is unsustainable from people who depend on votes for their positions. And so, with due respect to the Kielburger brothers and their marathon testimony to the Commons Finance Committee on […]

The Nova Scotia shooting ‘review’ and the deafness of government

Jul 23 2020 — Paul Wells — We might as well give it a name, this odd feeling of having been heard, understood—and ignored—by government. It’s a familiar enough sensation, after all. It’s not that the lines of communication have broken down. It’s not that the message isn’t getting through. It’s not even that governments are inert or inactive. On the contrary, […]

The Nova Scotia shooting inquiry: Three months later, there isn’t one

Jul 16 2020 — Paul Wells — Remember that public inquiry into the worst mass murder in Canadian history? The inquiry that’s been “imminent”—that’s the word Nova Scotia justice minister Mark Furey chose—for six weeks? The one Justin Trudeau said three weeks ago he wanted to announce “in the coming days”? It’s still not happening, and as far as I can tell […]

Who makes the decisions in Justin Trudeau’s Ottawa?

Jul 13 2020 — Paul Wells — Unless we understand how the government decided to team up with WE, we can’t be sure such things won’t happen again. Well, that’s nice. The Prime Minister has thought about his choices. He feels bad about them. “I made the mistake of not recusing myself from the discussion, right from the beginning,” Justin Trudeau told […]

The Nova Scotia murders: End the farce. Call the inquiry.

Jul 9 2020 — Paul Wells — Look, I know it’s hard to concentrate on government business with all the Trudeau family conflict-of-interest self-immolation going on, but let’s give it a try. “There is obviously an ongoing RCMP investigation into what actually happened in terms of the shooting,” Justin Trudeau said on June 25, the last time someone—Maclean’s reporter Nick Taylor-Vaisey—asked him […]

Justin Trudeau vs. the old boys

Jul 2 2020 — Paul Wells — There is a notion, apparently widespread, in the political alumni club that on some key issues we don’t actually have a prime minister. Here’s an odd thing about this interview Brian Mulroney gave the Globe the other day about Canada and China. As interventions from foreign-policy heavyweights of a certain age go, this one was […]

The UN Security Council rout: Canada’s (at the) back!

Jun 17 2020 — Paul Wells — It’s important to resist the urge to overdramatize. Most of my pundit colleagues have spent years insisting there is no value in a United Nations Security Council seat. Fair enough: then hardly anything is lost if Canada doesn’t get one, right? And, as former Trudeau government staffer Jocelyn Coulon pointed out in his odd but […]

How prepared was Canada?

May 11 2020 — Paul Wells — It’s a peculiarity of this crazy time that, during a contagious disease outbreak that has become the sole focus of nearly every Canadian journalist, the federal government’s chief public health officer could publish an article about handling contagious disease outbreaks and nobody would notice. Theresa Tam is the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and […]

If Harrington Lake is everyone’s house then I’ll see you all there

May 8 2020 — Paul Wells — Paul Wells: Trudeau’s behaviour around the ‘Farmhouse’ renovation fits a pattern: believing that you deserve only the information he deigns to give. A few items from the news. Canada’s information commissioner said the country’s rickety and overloaded federal access-to-information system has ground to a halt as public servants work largely from home. In a moment […]

Let’s reopen Ontario and Quebec. You go first.

Apr 27 2020 — Paul Wells — At last the day came when the politely populist premiers of Ontario and Quebec—the provinces where four-fifths of Canada’s COVID-19 patients reside—announced their plans to roll away their stone and step into the post-pandemic light. The plans were nearly empty and the premiers looked terrified. The Ontario document, A Framework for Reopening Our Province, has […]

The doomed 30-year battle to stop a pandemic

Apr 21 2020 — Paul Wells — With hindsight, it’s hard to rewatch video and read the transcripts of Trudeau cabinet ministers, speaking to reporters on their way into and out of Question Period on March 10, without a feeling of dread and frustration. One reporter buttonholed the Prime Minister as he headed into the makeshift Commons chamber in Parliament’s West Block. […]

Can the forces of globalization ever hope to outlast the coronavirus?

Apr 7 2020 — Paul Wells — Suddenly, amid a global crisis, everyone’s getting back to the soil. The other day in Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou, a village in western France, Emmanuel Macron visited the medical supply company Kolmi-Hopen to thank them for accelerating production of medical-quality face masks. The French president said he was happy to see companies working hard to import more masks. […]

In Doug Ford’s Ontario, knowledge is sorrow

Apr 3 2020 — Paul Wells — “Sorrow is knowledge,” Lord Byron told us long ago. “They who know the most/ Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth/ The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.” Doug Ford, no classicist, had a similar message for Ontarians on Friday as he finally broke a short-lived taboo whose justification none of us […]

Coronavirus: The early show

Mar 25 2020 — Paul Wells — Allow me to quote from my trusty and freshly towelette-sanitized Big Book of Columnists’ Clichés. “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise,” Winston Churchill said in 1947. “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government—except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” […]