National Newswatch

What Biden’s climate leadership means for Canada

Feb 17 2021 — Rick Smith — With the election of Joe Biden, Canada suddenly finds its neighbour and biggest global ally has gone from zero to 60 on climate change action almost overnight. For a country like Canada that has mostly been playing at the pond hockey level of climate ambition, turning in one of the worst emission reduction performances among […]

The Conservative Party of Canada has a golden opportunity to meet – and even exceed – the climate-change moment

Nov 22 2020 — Rick Smith — It may seem counterintuitive, but of all the parties in Parliament, the federal Liberal government’s introduction of historic climate-change accountability legislation presents the greatest political opportunity for Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives. Since becoming leader four months ago, Mr. O’Toole and his team have made much of their desire to reposition the Conservative message in order to […]

Only outright bans will save us from plastic plague

Oct 13 2020 — Rick Smith — It was an undeniably big week in the ongoing fight to reduce plastic pollution in Canada. On Tuesday, the BC NDP — which has a substantial lead in the provincial election — announced its commitment to eliminate single-use plastics province-wide. On Wednesday, the federal government got more specific, vowing to phase out a half dozen […]

Some good news for a change: Real environmental progress in BC

Sep 16 2020 — Rick Smith — On many days during this strange pandemic time, good news seems hard to find. That’s why the headlines out of British Columbia have been such a tonic. The last few days have made it crystal clear: British Columbia is, hands down, the current environmental leader in Canada. This past Saturday, the Minister of Environment and […]

Recovering from COVID with a green transition

Aug 7 2020 — Rick Smith — Trying to find a silver lining in the current COVID crisis is not easy, but there is a growing realization around the world that the place to look is in the transition to a greener economy. The European Union is well out in front on this issue, recently unveiling a 1 trillion euro ($1.57 trillion […]

Freeing Canada from the Trump millstone

Jul 28 2020 — Rick Smith — The impact of Donald Trump on Canada has been, it’s fair to say, negative. Much of this has been overt: A few examples include a botched pandemic response that is lengthening an economically damaging border closure, never-ending trade retaliations against Canadian industry, and a dismantling of the United States’ refugee policy such that it now […]

The rise of America’s NDP

Jul 7 2020 — Rick Smith — In this Trump-saturated time, one of the most underreported U.S. stories is that of the growing influence of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, an accelerating trend that is fundamentally re-shaping politics south of the border. Though Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get a lot of attention, their relatively recent success is part of […]

COVID-19 results in historic rollbacks of Canadian environmental protections

Jun 17 2020 — Rick Smith — Though it’s difficult to measure these things, we may well be witnessing the most widespread rollbacks of environmental protections in Canadian history. If you don’t recall reading anything about this, that’s no accident. While provincial governments scrambled to respond to the COVID 19 crisis, many have also kept busy quietly stripping away vital environmental laws […]

The environmental lessons of COVID-19

Apr 8 2020 — Rick Smith — Given the bleakness of the news these days, it’s understandable that some people have been searching for a silver lining in the current COVID outbreak.  From clearer waters in Venetian canals and coyotes roaming empty city streets, to better air quality in Italy and China and record low global GHG emissions, there have been a […]

Reasons for hope in 2020

Jan 1 2020 — Rick Smith — From a progressive point of view, the last days of the year were…less than ideal.  Between Conservative re-election and Brexit in the UK, climate change-linked fires in Australia and a failure of global leadership at the Madrid climate change conference, Jason Kenney and his minions on a rampage and Trump and more Trump, I’m not […]

The solution to Conservative vandalism

Nov 6 2019 — Rick Smith — At a certain point, progressives really need to come to terms with the core truth of modern conservatism:  they just aren’t that conservative anymore. Far from being “cautious of change”, as my on-line dictionary defines them, today’s conservatives revel in their role as disruptors. Wherever you look around the world — from Brexit to border […]

Defending democracy: the new political battleground

Aug 30 2018 — Rick Smith — There was a time when all participants in the political process – whether from the left or right – disagreed about the best approach to issues, but did so with a respect for their opponents and our democratic process. This is not one of those times. While most Canadians were focused on their barbeques and […]

The aimlessness of federal environmental leadership

Jun 5 2018 — Rick Smith — Federal environmental policy under the Liberal Party often reminds me of Sunday drives with my grandparents as a child. The conversation is pleasant enough.  But it proceeds at a snail’s pace.  Never arrives at a particular destination.  And any criticism of the driver is met with a wounded expression. On World Environment Day, it’s appropriate […]