National Newswatch

Trudeau and Big Pharma: Not a love story

Feb 22 2021 — Paul Wells — On the bright side, when it comes to vaccines, so far Canada is actually doing better than Australia. That country bet big on a thriving domestic bio-sciences sector. It was making good progress on a made-in-Australia vaccine until December, when it had to scrap its vaccine program because while the candidate vaccine did well against […]

‘Avoid creating new permanent spending’

Feb 16 2021 — Paul Wells — So here’s something. On Jan. 15, five months after she became finance minister, Chrystia Freeland received a mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It told her to “use whatever fiscal firepower is needed in the short term to support people and businesses during the pandemic.” But there was an important, and seemingly categorical, limit […]

Trudeau and Biden: Getting to know all about you

Feb 12 2021 — Paul Wells — Justin Trudeau’s Jan. 26 phone conversation with John Kerry, the Biden administration’s new Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, was overshadowed by calls the prime minister made earlier (to Joe Biden, two days after the inauguration) and later (to Vice-President Kamala Harris, on Feb. 1.) But if you want insight into how the Canadian government plans […]

The problem with modernizing (and the Governor General)

Jan 22 2021 — Paul Wells — I did a TV panel on Thursday night and of course we mulled the fallout from Julie Payette’s resignation. I can usually be counted on to relish a good Trudeau scandal, but this one doesn’t produce the usual thrill. The mistake was made in 2017, it was obvious pretty fast, and ignoring the problem—which is […]

Why Justin Trudeau is No. 1 on the 2021 Maclean’s Power List

Jan 18 2021 — Paul Wells — Dismiss the Prime Minister if you like, but the fact is that in the past year he had (and used) power on a scale nobody in the country could match. Who had more power in Canada in 2020, and was less inhibited about wielding it, than Justin Trudeau? Nobody. Nobody else comes close. Dismiss the […]

Another tiny perfect cabinet shuffle

Jan 12 2021 — Paul Wells — “For once,” a Liberal I trust told me, “it really is about family.” Apparently Navdeep Bains makes time for a family call every night when he’s on the road—well, he used to, I mean who’s on the road any more? Over the holidays, his oldest daughter told him that if he runs again, she’ll be […]

So when do we start promoting democracy?

Jan 6 2021 — Paul Wells — If the sacking of a capital by forces loyal to a failed autocrat was happening in any other country it’s hard to imagine Canadian officials would stay this quiet. As a mob of idiots descended on the capitol building of the country that sometimes likes to market itself as the world’s leading democracy, to sack […]

On climate, at last, Justin Trudeau is all in

Dec 11 2020 — Paul Wells — Will wonders never cease. We have here a specific, detailed plan to achieve significant progress in reducing carbon emissions in Canada. The reaction from people who live their lives in the trenches, like this guy from Greenpeace and this excellent journalist and one-time Green Party candidate encourages me in my own: a kind of startled […]

Michael Sabia’s sure going to do something

Dec 8 2020 — Paul Wells — The new DM of Finance intends to do great things. The Prime Minister intends for him to do great things. Now, will they actually happen? The reviews of Michael Sabia’s appointment as deputy minister of finance are as positive as they are comically vague. “I think he’s going to shake up the department,” Scott Clark, […]

Michael Sabia, a busy mandarin, heads to the top post at Finance

Dec 6 2020 — Paul Wells — Ottawa is set to appoint Micheal Sabia as the new deputy minister of finance. Days after the top civil servant in the federal department of Finance announced his unexpected departure, the Trudeau government is reaching outside the department to appoint a surprising and influential replacement: Michael Sabia, the former chair of Quebec’s Caisse de dépôt […]

The fall economic update: Freeland’s trust exercise

Nov 30 2020 — Paul Wells — How much is this crisis going to cost, anyway—in dollars, if not in human suffering, which will always be harder to tally? What does “building back better” entail? How will the Trudeau government redress the disproportionate burden of the 2020 economic crisis on women? Which criteria will guide its spending decisions after the crisis ends, […]

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 […]