National Newswatch

The perpetual perils of pipeline politics in Canada

Feb 18 2018 — Robin V. Sears — It is amusing to hear warriors in the endless battles over pipeline approval jump up and down and shout about “the law,” “the environment,” “regulatory approval” or even “the Constitution.” Even veterans, who know better on both sides, often refuse to publicly concede the reality of how a project moves from pipe dream to production.

Political vetting: How well do we really know this guy?

Feb 11 2018 — Robin V. Sears — Political candidate vetting was never a very rigorous process in days gone by. If you had a union leader, heart surgeon or hockey star as a good prospect, you really did not want to know that he had a fraud conviction, or an “incident” with an employee years ago. Typed paper records, mouldering in dusty […]

How Singh can teach a lesson on tolerance

Jan 28 2018 — Robin V. Sears — Next year, Canada may face a test of our national foundations, that is our commitment to social inclusion and tolerance. Will this fragile consensus survive the bloodletting of a national election when one of the leadership choices is an ambitious Sikh man, in a time when some partisans would stir the embers of racism?

A possible new conservatism

Jan 21 2018 — Robin V. Sears — More than two Canadians out of three consistently identify themselves with progressive policy views: increasingly socially, culturally, and racially tolerant; supportive of higher public spending on health, education and housing; more recently, concerned about widening inequality and a worsening environment.

Trump and a new twist on history

Jan 7 2018 — Robin V. Sears — Reading Cicero’s rhetoric, eviscerating opponents in the Roman Senate, makes in contemporary politics exclaim every few paragraphs: “That’s Churchill’s ‘Some chicken speech!’ two millennia before it happened!” Or “That’s Obama at the Denver Convention!?!”

Canada is playing the long game with China

Dec 10 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Journalism like politics depends on short memories. But many journos appear to be counting on their readers’ suffering instant memory erasure in their critique of the Trudeau China strategy. Last month they were flailing him for preparing to “sell out Canada to the Red Chinese.” This month they are attacking Trudeau for failing to make […]

Saudis break 70 years of solidarity

Dec 3 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Stabbing a map spread on a coffee table before him, our host said ominously, “You want to know where Palestine will be? That’s where!” We were in Ariel Sharon’s desert home. His finger rested on Jordan. The visiting western political leaders quietly groaned. Sharon, a giant in Israeli military and political life, was at the […]

How to win an election: organize, organize, organize

Nov 19 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Saul Alinsky is unknown to probably 99 Americans out of 100. But he remains a revered guru to thousands of progressive activists around the world today, despite his passing more than 45 years ago. Alinsky, a white middle class guy from Chicago, saw the raging discrimination and searing poverty in the city’s Black ghetto and […]

Jason Kenney an improbable choice

Nov 4 2017 — Robin V. Sears — First, let us acknowledge what a considerable achievement Jason Kenney has just pulled off. He returned from more than a decade outside Alberta provincial politics just two years ago. Within a few months he managed to nudge one political party to suicide, aggressively drive the merger of its remains with a sworn enemy, and then […]

Race whisperers play a dangerous game

Oct 29 2017 — Robin V. Sears — One eternal verity when democratic politicians play dangerous games with race, ethnicity, language or culture, is that they always lie about it. That Ronald Reagan opened his bid for the GOP nomination challenge in Mississippi, only a few miles from where three white civil rights workers had been murdered a decade earlier by local racists, […]

Airline industry a permanent hostage to national interests

Oct 22 2017 — Robin V. Sears — As a green young Tokyo trade diplomat, I was peripherally involved in the efforts by Bombardier to sell its executive jets to the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The Canadian bid won on performance, specs, price and operational testing. Greenies like me were ready to celebrate. More seasoned veterans of this murky world said, “Not so fast […]

Tax reform: Keep it simple

Oct 15 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Wouldn’t it have been grand to have been a fly on the wall of the cabinet room in Wellington, N.Z., in early August 1984. The new government of Prime Minister David Lange had just been sworn in, and the senior civil servant was there to brief his new bosses about the state of the nation. […]