National Newswatch

Democracy’s ‘weak slats’ are in danger as political parties are hollowed out

Feb 21 2021 — Robin V. Sears — American media critic A.J. Leibling famously said, “Journalism is the weak slat under the bed of democracy.” Today he might have added political parties. Each are essential and each is an increasingly threatened weak slat. Look how close the American republic came to disaster because of their hollowed-out parties. No sustainable democracy is possible with […]

The power and grandeur of a successful impeachment

Feb 14 2021 — Robin V. Sears — There is a wide misunderstanding of the purpose and consequences of an American impeachment. Being “impeached” is already a very serious blow — you have been charged with a political felony — even if you are able to threaten your voters into setting you free. Impeachment was used regularly in the early days of the […]

Airlines are trashing their reputations

Feb 7 2021 — Robin V. Sears — Imagine you were a near-bankrupt bank at the depths of the Great Recession. To head off creditors, you freeze all your clients’ deposits without notice, blocking any withdrawals. Then you turn around to the Government of Canada and say, “If you give us enough cash, we will allow some of our clients to withdraw some […]

The high price of real quarantine

Jan 31 2021 — Robin V. Sears — “Think of it as the ultimate staycation with lots of time for meditation,” said a smart-alec friend, as we headed for Hong Kong and 21 days locked in a hotel room with an electronic tracker strapped to our wrists. Your movements are recorded and precise to the metre. We wrestled with the moral quandary of […]

This is a bad time for attack politics

Jan 17 2021 — Robin V. Sears — Sun., Jan. 17, 2021timer3 min. read Erin O’Toole is no fool — though you would be forgiven for wondering, given his performance in recent days. Having carefully plotted and executed a shift to the centre, and the beginnings of an appeal to working-class urban voters, he appears to be at risk of backsliding into the […]

What were Doug Ford and Jason Kenney thinking?

Jan 10 2021 — Robin V. Sears — When hundreds of Luftwaffe bombers cast a daily shadow over London during the Blitz, the Royal Family remained at Windsor Castle, just west of the epicentre, for the duration. Day after day members of the family would visit bomb sites and victims in hospitals. Princess Elizabeth joined the volunteer service that provided care for the […]

A year of unbearable pain — and also hope

Dec 20 2020 — Robin V. Sears — With unusual candour, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared his two worst nightmares as a leader at the beginning of a health crisis. He was deeply worried that when he told New Yorkers that they had to submit to a very tough lockdown, that they would refuse. “What was I going to do then, arrest […]

A plan to help resolve troubles in the charity world

Dec 13 2020 — Robin V. Sears — In this plague year Canadians gave less than half to charities than they did last year, and yet the most generous Canadians are among the poorest. The province with the lowest annual family incomes — Newfoundland and Labrador — give the most. The number of donors in Canada, especially among the young, is declining. The […]

Why not pay Canadians to take a vaccine?

Dec 6 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Finance ministry boffins around the world hate tied tax measures. They want the freedom to decide for themselves who gets tax credits and who must pay. They have a point. It’s true that “sin taxes” work — charge more for tobacco and liquor, and people consume less. But measures like Stephen Harper’s staggeringly cynical hockey […]

Rebuilding our trust in government in the midst of a pandemic

Nov 22 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Canada is a nation built on an improbable vision and unshakeable trust. Believing a thin strip of settlers flung thousands of kilometres across a continent would be able to survive an implacable environment and exceedingly harsh winters took conviction and faith. Most importantly, we learned to trust our neighbours, our community and the institutions of […]

History shows that Trumpism may not die

Nov 15 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Political movements and their parties rarely die; they merely go into hibernation for a while. In 1895, Keir Hardie of the U.K.’s Independent Labour Party was humiliated as he and every one of the 28 ILP candidates went down to crushing defeat. The consensus was that socialism was dead. A generation later, the reformed Labour […]

Biden Beats Trump. Now, the Challenges

Nov 7 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Few elections live up to their billing as “the most important of our lifetime.” This one did, erupting in several directions, in ways never before seen. More than one hundred million Americans voted before election day, by far the greatest number ever. The most expensive election by far. Some estimates putting the total at $14 […]

Gifts of the pandemic

Nov 1 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Despite the mounting horror of the pandemic’s second assault, there are also some powerful lessons that will hopefully lead to permanent change in how we manage future virus attacks, and how we will rebuild. The first lesson of this pandemic is that we must never be caught so flat-footed again. Canada will not soon let […]