National Newswatch

The noise and the stakes

Oct 15 2019 — Paul Wells — Much of what’s happened in this miserable campaign has been healthy. If the seat projections from our friend Philippe J. Fournier are accurate, the two largest parties have both lost support since the campaign began. And the worst part of the campaign was the nine days that began with the TVA French debate on Oct. […]

Le French debate: saving the best for last

Oct 11 2019 — Paul Wells — Forgive me for talking shop at first. Thursday’s commission-certified French-language debate was the best-run of the four-ish debates this campaign has seen, and I suspect you’ll read the same conclusion from just about everyone who writes about it. There are reasons for this. Everyone is praising Patrice Roy, a Radio-Canada anchor and veteran broadcast professional […]

Well, that was helpful

Oct 8 2019 — Paul Wells — “We’re definitely going to have a lively debate tonight,” CTV National News chief anchor Lisa LaFlamme said a few minutes into Monday’s properly certified commission-designed English-language national leaders’ debate. Several minutes later, Toronto Star Ottawa bureau chief Susan Delacourt promised lots of further debate on the issue at hand, which was the economy. Or Indigenous […]

The missing ingredient in this federal election

Oct 2 2019 — Paul Wells — Surely they’re having us on. At some point, don’t the leaders of the major federal parties have to show up together in one place, announce they’ve been playing an elaborate practical joke on us and cancel the election? “We’ll have the real election after New Year’s,” Justin Trudeau will tell the Canadian people. “We sure […]

Justin Trudeau’s face

Sep 19 2019 — Paul Wells — You’ll be relieved to know Justin Trudeau will be talking to his children about all this. The Prime Minister will, he told reporters at the back of the Liberal tour plane in Halifax, be telling his children that when you make a mistake you need to own up to it. I don’t know whether he’ll […]

Election 2019: What’s the big idea?

Sep 11 2019 — Paul Wells — This election demands a candidate who can rise up to these challenging times of trade wars, global instability and public-health crisis. The odds aren’t looking good. Comes the hour, comes the man, says an old saying in need of a gender rebalance. At great moments in a nation’s life, a great leader rises. Or at […]

The McLellan report would have ended the SNC affair before it began

Aug 19 2019 — Paul Wells — Under the proposed ‘McLellan protocol’ the incessant piling-on the attorney general by staffers would not have been possible. I want to talk more about Anne McLellan’s report, which the Prime Minister’s Office released last week on the same day Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion released his own report into the SNC-Lavalin affair. Of course Dion’s report […]

Such stark statements: the ethics commissioner faults the PM

Aug 14 2019 — Paul Wells — When he was the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, before his current job as Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion came in for sharp criticism for “procedural delays” in his office. Dion was contrite, saying at the time, “I want to assure federal public servants that we are doing our utmost to make sure this does not happen […]

Canada’s Brexit talks with the U.K.: There are none

Aug 7 2019 — Paul Wells — Britain’s foreign secretary spewed encouraging words about Canada-U.K. relations after Brexit. Freeland didn’t need to say a thing. Sometimes it’s harder to spot what doesn’t happen than what does. It was a few hours after Chrystia Freeland’s news conference with Dominic Raab before I realized what she hadn’t said. Freeland is Canada’s minister of global […]

What Elizabeth May wants to do with Canadian oil

Jul 17 2019 — Paul Wells — The Green Party leader talks to Paul Wells about oil dependency, her deep disappointment with successive governments on climate change—and how Canada can move to a zero-carbon economy This fall, Elizabeth May will lead the Green Party into her fifth election as leader. Her involvement in environmental issues on a national level began 30 years […]

The Scheer climate plan: whatever

Jun 20 2019 — Paul Wells — Eventually everything in Canadian politics swallows itself whole. When he ran for the Liberal leadership in 2006, Stéphane Dion didn’t like carbon taxes. This was because (a) he had a cap-and-trade plan that would achieve similar results but would be harder to understand, and Dion is a born complicator; (b) his opponent Michael Ignatieff wanted […]

Trudeau’s unrequited love for China

Jun 6 2019 — Paul Wells — Writing stuff down is almost always a bad idea. Justin Trudeau had been a candidate for the federal Liberal leadership for six weeks when he published a column in the Financial Post, in November of 2012, decrying Stephen Harper’s clumsiness on China. “The Conservatives kicked off their stewardship of the relationship with unhelpful sabre-rattling, followed […]

Philpott and JWR: How the mighty have not yet fallen

May 27 2019 — Paul Wells — Jane Philpott stood in white at a food store in her riding of Markham-Stouffville and proclaimed the revolution. “I didn’t lose my voice,” the former minister of health, and then of Indigenous Services, and then President of the Treasury Board, and then of nothing but her will, told a crowd of supporters and journalists. “I […]