National Newswatch

Democracy cannot survive an army of angry rural voters

May 9 2021 — Robin V. Sears — The pandemic has left many wounds, and some will fester for years. But it may have also delivered hope in addressing another slowly rising crisis: the mounting anger of rural voters. In the United States, some rural voters are more than fifty per cent more powerful than city dwellers in choosing presidents and senators. In […]

Joe Biden is no orator, but what a communicator

May 2 2021 — Robin V. Sears — President Joe Biden is no great orator. On some days he is a hesitant, painfully stumbling speaker. No Reaganesque soaring rhetoric, no thundering à la LBJ. But in the manner of Roosevelt, he is a convincing, authentic political communicator bar none. He reaches out, crediting Mitch McConnell for his help on a key bill. He […]

Joe Biden is on track for the most impressive first 100 days of a U.S. presidency. The contrast should make Liberals blush

Apr 18 2021 — Robin V. Sears — This will be the most impressive first 100 days of an American presidency since FDR invented the benchmark. Consider: $2 trillion pandemic package — done; Paris Accord reconnect and climate summit — done; first gun control package in three decades — done; fastest Cabinet approval in four presidencies — done. And on and on. Coming: […]

Conventions today trivialize their own parties

Apr 11 2021 — Robin V. Sears — We peered down from our broadcasting booth high above the convention floor at Maple Leaf Gardens. Beneath us were the floor management and candidate boxes of the leadership candidates. To our surprise, at a pivotal moment in the leadership balloting, we saw one of Ontario Liberals most esteemed grandees quietly emerge from the stands and […]

The rise of China is prompting an unusual alliance of tech giants

Apr 4 2021 — Robin V. Sears — Historic rivalries, antitrust laws and a culture of fierce competitiveness have made multilateral partnerships in technology very rare indeed. Now in response to China’s determination to reach global dominance in chips, AI and software platforms, the previously impossible may be about to happen. A second development has forced a rethink on deep multi-year international partnership […]

Should the Supreme Court of Canada make political decisions?

Mar 28 2021 — Robin V. Sears — Allan Blakeney is no doubt staring down dolefully from above this week. One of Canada’s greatest premiers, he feared exactly what happened on Thursday: that the Supreme Court of Canada would increasingly be pressured to make political choices. Blakeney is one of the premiers all partisans would agree belongs on a short list of other […]

Let’s face the sources, not the symptoms, of toxic culture

Mar 14 2021 — Robin V. Sears — As one jaded sexual assault investigator working in sports told me recently with dripping sarcasm, “Put one hard-driving, testosterone-loaded man alone, unsupervised, in a gym with a dozen scantily clad, young adolescents girls; or a coach who really likes boys in a locker room with a dozen nearly naked young hockey players. What could possibly […]

Keep foreign money from undermining Canada’s electoral democracy

Mar 7 2021 — Robin V. Sears — When Canada created election finance laws — among the world’s best — there were two principles: levelling the playing field and ensuring that every dollar given or spent was made public. Delivering on the first principle meant putting a hard cap on what candidates could spend. Somewhat naively, caps on donations were thought to be […]

The arrogance of the tech titans led to their defeats in Australia and Europe

Feb 28 2021 — Robin V. Sears — When a powerful client demands their advisers launch a campaign publicly threatening a government, a wise counsellor always demurs. Their caution is always the same: “Governments always have the biggest guns, unlimited ammunition … and very long memories.” Some tech titans should find better counsellors. Their determination to best governments around the world is doomed […]

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 […]