National Newswatch

Leaders rise during times of crisis

Mar 15 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Crises create and destroy leaders — and which leaders fall and those whose soar, can be surprising. Winston Churchill, until days before his installation as a war prime minister, might have been a historical footnote. A failure as a First World War minister, a disloyal partisan, and a semialcoholic struggling writer. Jimmy Carter, pre-hostage crisis, […]

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Mar 8 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Reflecting on crises past, former prime minister Jean Chretien said last week that blockades, “won’t break the nation … because Canada is stronger than that.” The 86-year-old statesman recalled the genuine challenge to state authority that was the FLQ, saying, “we always face the problem[s] and we solve them.” Of course, he is right. If […]

Americans are demonstrating how to buy an election

Feb 23 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Asked if she needed help getting to the polls, the angry woman voter said hotly, “Well we haven’t seen anyone yet have we? We’ll just wait till your man arrives with the necessary, won’t we?!,” hanging up with a bang. Baffled, I turned to my local campaign manager on byelection day in a riding in […]

Youth are most affected by policies, so let them vote

Feb 16 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Establishments are always terrified of the young. If you are in power in Hong Kong, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Chile or France today you might be tempted to exclaim, “With bloody good reason!” Armies of Molotov cocktail hurling adolescents on the streets understandably spook the powers that be. But denying the young any effective voice about […]

Democracy requires a paper trail

Feb 9 2020 — Robin V. Sears — As a very young scrutineer in local election campaigns, I would sit for long hours witnessing the fairness of the voting procedures in my poll. A short dinner break and then I would then sit with the two other party reps and several election officials, for many more hours that night, scrutinizing the count. It […]

Please unshackle our MPs

Feb 2 2020 — Robin V. Sears — In the last Parliament, Canada hit a record only perhaps exceeded by North Korea. Our MPs voted their party line 99.6 per cent of the time! This and many other headsnappers are contained in the latest work of the Samara Centre for Democracy, whose mission is ongoing scrutiny of our parliamentary democracy, its deficiencies and […]

Can we come together to fight climate change?

Jan 26 2020 — Robin V. Sears — Great social change rarely succeeds as a partisan project. Civil and gender rights and the “freedom to choose whom you love” were campaigns that moved from the fringes to success only when a fragile consensus was formed crossing regional, ethnic and, most importantly, partisan lines.

How Canada can raise its profile on the world stage

Jan 12 2020 — Robin V. Sears — No one can criticize the Trudeau government for its sharp focus in its first term — almost to the exclusion of the rest of the world — on Trump management. Times have changed. NAFTA2 is nearly done, retiring the existential threat to the Canadian economy that hovered over us for three years. Trump, whether he […]

How the U.K. can unite, but probably won’t

Dec 16 2019 — Robin V. Sears — It is hard to describe the depths of the poison that the tedious Brexit battle has injected into British life. It has deeply divided families, partners, towns, companies and regions of the country in a manner reminiscent of our own flirtation with national ruin. Fortunately, in our case there were several statesmen and women who […]

Faith itself is not Andrew Scheer’s problem

Dec 1 2019 — Robin V. Sears — Jagmeet Singh arguably had the best personal performance as a political leader in the federal election. Facing pundits who were betting that the party would lose its official status, a campaign war-chest half of what it had been a decade earlier and a very low recognition level among most Canadians, he campaigned boldly and with […]

An enlightening experience stumping for Labour during the U.K. election

Nov 24 2019 — Robin V. Sears — If you thought our recent election was insulting, that the parties’ behaviour was rude, have a look at the U.K. Dirty tricks, vulgar insults, and bizarre stunts abound. This week the Conservatives were threatened with being banned by Twitter for changing their party’s account name from “Conservative Party” to “FactCheck.org,” to blast out lies. FactCheck […]

The dual arts of political put-downs and political civility appears to be lost

Nov 3 2019 — Robin V. Sears — We have witnessed an astonishing decline in political wit in recent years. It has been replaced by elementary schoolyard insults delivered by the faux enraged. In recent American experience, it has become difficult to distinguish Donald Trump from his Alex Baldwin “Saturday Night Live” persona. “Human scum?” “Traitors and spies?” As descriptions of men and […]