National Newswatch

Trudeau has laid a trap. Here’s how Erin O’Toole can avoid it

Sep 23 2020 — Sean Speer — Notwithstanding speculation that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases may dampen its ambition, the Trudeau government’s speech from the throne outlined a dizzying number of major policy commitments underwritten by ongoing deficits and debt. There were new and rehashed commitments on pharmacare, childcare, health care, long-term care, climate change, infrastructure, skills training, Employment Insurance, and […]

Overcoming the politics of outrage — on the left and the right

Sep 4 2020 — Sean Speer — The recent controversy over the defacement of Sir John A. Macdonald’s statute in Montreal reflects key differences in the liberal and conservative mindsets. Conservatives start with low expectations of people and society and so they’re grateful when institutions, ideas and norms actually work and in turn they aim to conserve their cultural and political inheritances. […]

Trudeau is planning a bold agenda. Tories must do the same

Aug 21 2020 — Sean Speer — The Conservative party must aim to match the Trudeau government’s plans to ‘go big’ over the coming months. The stakes are high and the incoming leader must be ready Parliament was just prorogued this week and there are already leaks about the sweeping policy changes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government intend to […]

Andrew Scheer deserves more credit than he gets

Aug 14 2020 — Sean Speer — This week marked the last time that Andrew Scheer will serve as Conservative party leader in Parliament. He’ll be replaced later this month at a virtual convention and join the ranks of other Conservative leaders — such as Robert Manion, George Drew and Robert Stanfield — who also failed to become prime minister. Scheer’s tenure […]

The last CPC leadership race was better, hands down

Jun 19 2020 — Sean Speer — This week’s federal Conservative party leadership debates were an exercise in contrasts. The candidates — Leslyn Lewis, Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan — sought to draw contrasts with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as amongst each other as they advanced their respective cases to be chosen as the party’s next leader in […]

Look to the provinces, frustrated conservatives

May 22 2020 — Sean Speer, — The prevailing view that Andrew Scheer and the Conservative party have performed poorly in the COVID-19 crisis is mostly unjustified but the problem with conventional wisdom is that it ultimately becomes convention. Recent polls show that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has completely rebounded from his “blackface” scandal and would now win a major election victory […]

Never forget the dignity and courage of our essential workers

May 16 2020 — Sean Speer — One of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we’ve come to think critically about “essential” and “non-essential” work. This distinction has mattered a great deal, of course, as governments have imposed economic lockdowns over the past several weeks. Essential workers have gone to work and the rest of us have stayed home. […]

Dumping social conservatives would be a mistake for Tories

Jan 17 2020 — Sean Speer — As the Conservative party’s leadership race gets started in earnest, there’s already plenty of commentary about how the party needs to eschew pesky social conservatives and their backwards-looking traditionalism if it wishes to win elections in modern Canada. It’s not just unsolicited advice from the CBC or the Toronto Star either. Various conservatives are making […]

Premiers should rally behind struggling rural Canada

Nov 18 2019 — Sean Speer — The Council of the Federation meeting on December 2 will be an opportunity for provincial and territorial premiers to set aside their differences and coalesce around a set of shared priorities to advocate to the federal government. One key issue of common interest is Canada’s growing regional economic disparity in general and the urban-rural divide […]

We need to restore our diminished politics

Sep 18 2019 — Sean Speer — As we make our way through the 2019 election, there’s widespread anticipation that the campaign will be marked by a combination of personality, negativity and identity politics. Policy differences will be minimized and faux disagreements will be accentuated. Voters will be asked to choose based mostly on caricatures of the various political parties and their […]

Mr. Morneau’s “gap filling” approach on pharmacare is the right course

Oct 2 2018 — Sean Speer — There’s tremendous interest in how Ottawa’s budget commitment to “move forward” on national pharmacare will take shape, especially since Ottawa’s positioning has been difficult to read. Government members on the Health Committee have enthusiastically endorsed a single-payer public prescription drug plan. Yet Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said that we need a plan “that deals […]

What’s the best model for fiscal reform?

Mar 23 2018 — Sean Speer — Deficit reduction and fiscal reform seem to be recovering as political issues in recent weeks. New polling shows that Canadians aren’t as permissive of rising spending and ongoing deficits as some might think. This is a positive development for those of us in favour of fiscal probity.

What’s the source of the federal deficit?

Mar 6 2018 — Sean Speer — Last week’s federal budget projects annual deficits for the foreseeable future. The deficit for the current year is even set to grow relative to last year. Red ink is the distinguishing mark of the Trudeau government’s fiscal policy. A post-budget debate has ensued about the source of Ottawa’s deficits. The government and some of its […]