National Newswatch

Inside Ottawa’s ‘light-speed’ epidemic-driven overhaul

Mar 23 2020 — Paul Wells — Canada’s federal government is considering further restrictions on cross-border traffic to ensure a runaway coronavirus pandemic in the United States doesn’t wreck Canadian efforts to contain the outbreak, a senior cabinet minister says. And Jean-Yves Duclos says major new components of the federal government’s response to the deadly virus will come soon. Those measures, he […]

Here’s that rainy day. Remember this feeling.

Mar 21 2020 — Paul Wells — This coronavirus crisis is teaching us about shocks to the spirit. But it should also be a lesson in what we are well rid of. How’s the digital economy working for you so far? We’ve been hearing forever that instant communication would render everything else obsolete. Here’s futurist Don Tapscott quoting management guru Peter Drucker […]

The easiest event to cancel: Trudeau and the premiers

Mar 12 2020 — Paul Wells — In a week like this one, here’s something Ottawa can live without—a pointless gathering with an impossible agenda This week’s question is: How do governments govern in a world where the monkeys are rioting in Thailand and the Iranian burial pits are visible from space? To some extent you don’t. I’m writing this on Thursday, […]

Four days worth of Justin Trudeau’s patience

Feb 21 2020 — Paul Wells — Exactly what happened between Tuesday’s call for calm and Friday’s ‘the barricades must come down’? I hate to be that guy, but what the heck. “Patience may be in short supply,” Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, 100 hours before his astonishing Friday news conference. “And that makes it more valuable than ever.” How short? How […]

Justin Trudeau ejects a protester

Feb 18 2020 — Paul Wells — In an extraordinary day on Parliament Hill, Andrew Scheer got shut out of protest talks and the PM put a big bet on patience. A bearded man rose, speaking in riddles. “People are troubled by what they have been witnessing this past week,” Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons. “Young, old, Indigenous and newcomers […]

Why shouldn’t Marilyn Gladu be a contender?

Feb 7 2020 — Paul Wells — By the end of January, the 2020 Conservative leadership selection process was two weeks old and the field was settling into three strata: the front-runners, the nobodies and the ones who got away. Almost all the big names were in the third group. The 2019 election had cost Justin Trudeau’s governing Liberals 20 seats, their […]

Chrétien’s China and Trudeau’s

Jan 21 2020 — Paul Wells — It was helpful last week of Jean Chrétien’s former right hand Eddie Goldenberg to make, in detail, a case several of his contemporaries have been making piecemeal for more than a year: that taking Canada’s extradition treaty with the United States won’t get Canadian prisoners in Beijing released, so we should just do what Beijing […]

Stephen Harper resigns from the Conservative Fund board

Jan 15 2020 — Paul Wells — Former prime minister Stephen Harper has suddenly resigned from the board of the Conservative Party of Canada’s fundraising arm, as the party descends into organizational chaos and bitter recrimination in the first week of its leadership campaign. Harper had been urged by friends and party officials to resign from the Conservative Fund Canada board after […]

Karina Gould on Pierre Trudeau’s legacy

Jan 10 2020 — Paul Wells — Canada’s international development minister spoke about the prime minister’s father and why we should ‘enthusiastically’ embrace liberal internationalism. On Wednesday I noted that amid a general slow operating tempo for the re-elected Trudeau government in Ottawa, International Development Minister Karina Gould was preparing to speak to a conference at the University of Toronto on the […]

Canada would like a government now, please

Jan 8 2020 — Paul Wells — Events, dear boy, events. We are promised a news conference later today with the prime minister, and it’s a good thing too, because the questions are starting to pile up. Ottawa woke Wednesday to two shocks. At home, news of a shooting in the capital’s residential downtown core. A domestic dispute, it seems; more of […]

Who wants to be Conservative leader?

Jan 6 2020 — Paul Wells — Things will now start to happen quite quickly in the Conservative Party’s leadership campaign. Conservatives I talked to on Monday didn’t attach literal meaning to Lisa Raitt’s statement, on Friday, that potential candidates had only 10 days to make up their minds. (That figure would now be down to seven, if it were a real […]

Conservatives after Scheer: the revolution eats its own

Dec 12 2019 — Paul Wells — One of the details of our current malaise is that even as the memoir, confessional and tell-all become our dominant strains of popular non-fiction, we have leaders who seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time hoping nobody will find out about them. The social media explosion that began in perhaps 2005 has left politicians […]

The stubborn state of federalism in Canada

Dec 10 2019 — Paul Wells — For a glimpse into how regional conflict might dominate our politics in 2020, watch the body language—and the response from Justin Trudeau’s office—when a provincial premier comes to Ottawa these days. Three weeks after the October federal election, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was in Ottawa for his first face-to-face post-election meeting with Prime Minister Justin […]

The Throne Speech: More will be done

Dec 5 2019 — Paul Wells — Well, they’re back. It’s hard to fault a government for doing what it said it would. “Expect some 2,000 or so words, with deliberately vague language,” Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt wrote at the beginning of the week. So I did. And I was not disappointed.

Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives’ choices

Nov 28 2019 — Paul Wells — On Friday Andrew Scheer will address the United Conservative Party convention in Calgary, and the reception he gets should give us all a better sense of his chances of hanging on to the Conservative leadership. So far we’ve mostly heard from Toronto-area Conservatives who backed other candidates against Scheer for the leadership, and colleagues of […]