National Newswatch

Dean Del Mastro fought the law and the law won

Sep 13 2017 — Stephen Maher — Dean Del Mastro, the former Conservative MP for Peterborough, former ethics spokesman for Stephen Harper, lost his second appeal at the Ontario Court of Appeal on Wednesday, which means he can no longer avoid his 30-day sentence for election crimes. Del Mastro is now waiting in the chow line with other inmates, likely at the […]

Like it or not, Payette’s past is news

Jul 20 2017 — Stephen Maher — In 2008, when Stephen Harper faced defeat in the House at the hands of a coalition of Liberals, New Democrats and Bloquistes, he went to then-Governor General Michaëlle Jean to seek a prorogation, to spare his government having to hand power to Stéphane Dion. Jean granted his request, Harper came back with a budget, proved […]

Liberals shockingly timid on access-to-information reform

Jun 26 2017 — Stephen Maher — In November, after the prime minister issued a statement noting his “deep sorrow” on the passing of “legendary revolutionary” Fidel Castro, opening himself to worldwide mockery, iPolitics sent some access to information requests to Global Affairs and the Privy Council Office, trying to learn who wrote and approved the statement.

Why are the Liberals dragging their heels on a news media bailout?

Jun 19 2017 — Stephen Maher — On Monday, the National Post announced that it will drop its Monday paper and henceforth print only five days a week, which may be part of a plan to eventually move to a digital-only operation. Also on Monday, Vice announced that it had received a $450-million investment from a private equity firm, valuing the company […]

Canadian Labour Congress linked to failed attempt to oust Mulcair

Jun 16 2017 — Stephen Maher — The political action director for the Canadian Labour Congress worked the phones in an unsuccessful attempt to remove NDP Leader Tom Mulcair from the interim leadership of his party in September, according to multiple sources in the party. Mulcair got wind of the attempted coup and headed it off by confronting the plotters at a […]

Conservative voters not crossed off electronic list

Jun 6 2017 — Stephen Maher — Thousands of Conservative party members who voted at 13 remote voting stations in the recent leadership contest did not have their names checked against the electronic voters list to make sure they had not also voted by mail, the chairman of the organizing committee said Monday. “The remote locations were doing that by hand, so […]

There were better options than Meilleur

Jun 2 2017 — Stephen Maher — Back in 2011, when the Conservatives appointed Michael Ferguson, a unilingual New Brunswicker, as auditor general, Graham Fraser, then Canada’s commissioner of official languages, spoke out about the need for senior federal officials to be bilingual. “I think it’s a pretty critical leadership competency for senior jobs in government agencies and in government departments,” Fraser […]

CPC’s explanation for vote total discrepancy ‘does not add up’, says pollster

Jun 2 2017 — Stephen Maher — The Conservative Party’s explanation for the discrepancy between vote lists in its recent leadership contest doesn’t make sense, says pollster Quito Maggi, who has been comparing the party’s membership lists with the strikeout lists it provided to campaigns. “It does not add up,” he said Thursday. Earlier Thursday, the party’s director of communications said an […]

Conservatives play it safe with Scheer

May 27 2017 — Stephen Maher — On Monday morning, when Andrew Scheer addresses the 98 other Conservative MPs on Parliament Hill, he will be looking at a lot of relieved Tories. Scheer, the boyish former speaker, is a lot more to their liking than the radical libertarian Maxime Bernier would have been, which means that the caucus will unify behind him […]

The ethics commissioner brings the Duffy saga to a sad, shabby end

May 26 2017 — Stephen Maher — In 2005, the neighbours of then-senator Raymond Lavigne heard a chainsaw buzzing on his property in Wakefield, Quebec, a scenic community on banks of the beautiful Gatineau River, not far from Ottawa. The neighbour went to investigate and found someone — a Senate staffer, as it turned out — cutting down trees on his property. […]

‘Cultural appropriation’ and the healing power of an online backlash

May 16 2017 — Stephen Maher — After Jonathan Kay announced Sunday that he had resigned as editor of the Walrus magazine in the midst of a debate over cultural appropriation, several journalists complained about the hostility they face online. The indigenous activists who criticize Kay and other journalists should take this as cause for celebration and carry on challenging those of […]

Martin calls for Toews to be removed from bench

Apr 21 2017 — Stephen Maher — Former NDP MP Pat Martin says that Justice Vic Toews should recuse himself from acting as a judge until the Canadian Judicial Council can determine if he is fit to continue in the role. Toews, the former minister of Justice under Stephen Harper, was found Friday to have twice violated the federal Conflict of Interest […]

Happy 4/20, pundits. Try to relax.

Apr 20 2017 — Stephen Maher — The Canadian commentariat — worn down, no doubt, by decades of opining about disappointing and tedious Canadian political doings — have found little to celebrate in the legislation the Liberals tabled last week to legalize marijuana. Our wisest scribes were surprisingly glum about the whole thing. Chantal Hebert, noting the grim way the Liberals rolled […]

A budget built for the 2019 election

Mar 22 2017 — Stephen Maher — There are a lot of words — but not a lot of numbers — in the 2017 budget. In the lockup in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, where hundreds of reporters, experts, spinners and hangers-on hunched over their budget books and laptops, everyone shrugged. “Not much in it,” they said. After years of Stephen Harper budgets […]

Conservatives may pay a price for M-103 hysteria

Feb 17 2017 — Stephen Maher — On Wednesday night, hundreds of people gathered at the Canada Christian College in Toronto for a rally against M-103, a motion to deplore “Islamophobia,” the irrational fear or hatred of Muslims. Liberal MP Iqra Khalid tabled the motion after the murder of six men at prayer in Quebec City, which has badly rattled Canadian Muslims. […]