National Newswatch

Internal documents reveal how much consultants shaped the National Gallery

Apr 9 2023 — Shannon Proudfoot — Consulting companies had profound influence on the National Gallery of Canada’s reimagining over the past few years, with senior management relying on hired guns to help craft the new identity of the country’s premier visual arts institution, documents released through access-to-information requests reveal. The documents paint a picture of the extent to which two consulting […]

No one is cool when the President of the United States comes to Ottawa

Mar 25 2023 — Shannon Proudfoot — The canned political communication that emerges from Canadian-American bilateral visits like the brief and much-anticipated sojourn U.S. President Joe Biden made to Ottawa this week tends to emphasize the historic and monumental. There’s the 8,891-kilometre (or, if you prefer, 5,525-mile) border that dissolves in the warm glow of family and friendship ties, trade, manufacturing and […]

What the convoys left behind

Jan 26 2023 — Shannon Proudfoot — In the winter of 2022, Ottawa’s downtown core was a noisy scene of angry protest. Now it is quiet – but the silence speaks volumes about the issues left unresolved. In Ottawa, Wellington Street has always been an odd duck. It’s the home address of Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court of […]

Inside the power struggles and staff turmoil at Canada’s National Gallery

Dec 9 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — A few days after the dismissal of four senior staff members at the National Gallery of Canada in mid-November, employees trudged into an all-hands virtual meeting. Angela Cassie, the gallery’s interim director and chief executive, spoke about a mandate for change, building collaboration and fostering a sense of belonging. She only glancingly acknowledged the terminations, […]

It’s Trudeau’s show and Friday he will have to answer for it

Nov 25 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — In true headliner fashion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is up last at the inquiry examining his government’s use of the Emergencies Act to quell the protests that roiled the country last winter. By this point, the weeks of testimony from cabinet ministers, police and government officials, bureaucrats, municipal leaders, furious citizens and aggrieved convoy leaders […]

Brenda Lucki is untroubled, even in hindsight

Nov 16 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — The Public Order Emergency Commission is unfolding in a room and building as aggressively bureaucratic as you can find in downtown Ottawa, where you have to grade on a curve for these things. But in spite of their bland setting and bloodless name, the hearings have been the site of intense moments of human emotion […]

What’s gone wrong with passports, airports and basic federal services? How a perfect storm swamped Canada’s bureaucracy

Nov 7 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — The only passport office in Ottawa lives in a dingy strip mall that seems ready to collapse from low self-esteem. A sign posted on the exterior doors commands, ominously, “FORM ONE LINE HERE. DOOR UNLOCKS AUTOMATICALLY AT 0700.” The mall now seems to exist only for the unfortunate souls who come to wait. There’s a […]

Tamara Lich vs. Pat King: A tale of two convoy protest leaders

Nov 4 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — If the convoy protesters built a medieval-style cathedral to their movement, Tamara Lich would surely get her own prominent stained-glass window, as their patron saint. It would depict a snow-swept downtown Ottawa street, with Ms. Lich, the self-described “mother hen,” surrounded by admirers offering tearful hugs and thanks for restoring their hope in a country […]

Two Chris Barbers came to the public emergency commission: a self-professed internet troll and a wide-eyed naif

Nov 2 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — Two very different Chris Barbers made appearances before the Public Order Emergency Commission on Tuesday, and the clanging contrast between them animated the first day of testimony from convoy leaders. One version of Mr. Barber was possessed of an almost childlike innocence. He knew virtually nothing about his fellow protesters or their darker dealings because […]

Veteran NDP MP Bill Blaikie was dean of the House during seismic times in Canadian politics

Sep 30 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — Nearly everyone who speaks about Bill Blaikie talks, somehow, about bigness. There was the towering intellectual and moral reputation he acquired over three decades representing Winnipeg for the NDP in the House of Commons, where even those who ferociously disagreed with him always listened when he spoke. He exerted a gravitational pull, so that people […]

How Anita Anand became the Trudeau government’s all-round fixer

Jun 7 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — Sexual misconduct in the military. A war in Ukraine. Canada’s global reputation at stake. It’s a good thing Anand knows how to solve problems. In press conferences, Anita Anand presents like the law professor she was for more than two decades: crisp, careful, occasionally prone to using obscure words that her staff are not above […]

Pierre Poilievre on his combative style of politics and his plans for Canada

Mar 16 2022 — Shannon Proudfoot — In a rare in-depth interview the Conservative leadership frontrunner talks to Shannon Proudfoot about his politics, parenting, and making Canada ‘the freest place in the world.’ In early February, Shannon Proudfoot interviewed Pierre Poilievre for our April cover story on the Conservative leadership candidate. It was a wide-ranging discussion with a politician who typically doesn’t […]

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