National Newswatch

Coronavirus: The major breakdown at Canadian airports

Mar 16 2020 — Stephen Maher — The chief public health officer of Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam, wants me to tell you that if you have recently returned to Canada you should self isolate for 14 days to help prevent the spread of CORVID-19. Tam said at a news conference in Ottawa on Sunday that journalists should help get that message out. […]

A race suddenly breaks out for the Conservative leadership

Mar 6 2020 — Stephen Maher — On the way to Peter MacKay’s coronation, a race broke out. Jason Kenney’s endorsement of Erin O’Toole on Thursday is significant, because it should pierce the sense that the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada is sure to fall into the MacKay’s lap when Tories gather in Toronto in June. MacKay still looks like […]

What wouldn’t Erin O’Toole do to win?

Feb 14 2020 — Stephen Maher — Erin O’Toole is a well-respected, serious and thoughtful politician. But that’s not what will win over the Conservative base. Erin O’Toole put out a Facebook meme this week with a picture of himself gazing firmly into the distance, with this text superimposed: “I’m not the media’s candidate. I’m not going to go Liberal-light to earn […]

Peter MacKay’s powerful ally—a lobbyist with SNC-Lavalin ties

Feb 10 2020 — Stephen Maher — The strategist who has been working for decades to make Peter MacKay the prime minister is one of the high-powered lobbyists who tried to convince the Trudeau government to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal trial for bribing corrupt officials in Libya. William Pristanski, a well-connected former senior aide to Brian Mulroney, is raising money and […]

Why can’t Peter MacKay speak French?

Jan 27 2020 — Stephen Maher — MacKay had lots of time to learn passable French. That he didn’t do the work should raise some questions about his candidacy. Peter MacKay made the front page of both Le Journal de Montreal and Le Journal de Quebec on Sunday morning. GOOD LUCK MISTER was the enormous headline, below a full-page photo of MacKay […]

How did VW avoid criminal charges in Canada over its emissions cheating?

Jan 21 2020 — Stephen Maher — When Volkswagen Canada pleads guilty on Wednesday to illegally importing cars that were rigged to beat emissions tests, investigators and prosecutors may be tempted to celebrate. This is expected to be the biggest environmental fine in Canadian history. Volkswagen is facing 60 charges and each charge carries a maximum penalty of $6 million, so the […]

Who will be the next Tory leader? Ask Rona Ambrose.

Jan 17 2020 — Stephen Maher — If Western Canadian Conservatives don’t want Peter MacKay to lead the party that Stephen Harper built, they had better get a firmer grip on Rona Ambrose’s elbow, because otherwise MacKay is likely going to take over the party when Tories meet in Toronto in June. In-house polling from several other camps shows MacKay with a […]

Andrew Scheer steps down amidst questions about his use of party funds

Dec 12 2019 — Stephen Maher — The leader’s resignation was spurred by reports of party money used to pay for his children’s education. ‘I’m beyond furious,’ said one official. Andrew Scheer says he is stepping down as Conservative Party leader as soon as a successor can be chosen. Scheer addressed the House of Commons today, saying leading his party had been […]

The plan to rescue Doug Ford’s unpopular premiership

Dec 6 2019 — Stephen Maher — Toronto’s happiest day in many years was not a good day for Doug Ford. On June 17, when two million basketball fans came out for the Raptors’ victory parade, the throngs of ecstatic people in Nathan Phillips Square cheered for Mayor John Tory and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau but heartily booed the premier when he […]

In defence of equalization

Nov 22 2019 — Stephen Maher — It is a dangerous mistake to view Canada as a piggybank into which some provinces make payments and others withdrawals. Hugh and Sybil Forbes were living in a trailer park on the outskirts of Fort McMurray when I met them. I was in Alberta looking for Nova Scotians who had gone down the road to […]

Andrew Scheer’s divided party

Nov 11 2019 — Stephen Maher — Andrew Scheer, who last week looked like a dead leader walking, has made it through a gruelling caucus meeting and looks ready to fight all the way to the party’s convention in April, where he will likely lose a leadership review vote. While Scheer can breathe a sigh of relief, Conservatives interested in winning the […]

Andrew Scheer’s moment of truth

Nov 5 2019 — Stephen Maher — When Conservative MPs gather in Ottawa on Wednesday for the first meeting since the election that dashed their hopes, they are expecting a report from Andrew Scheer and campaign manager Hamish Marshall on what went wrong. If Scheer and Marshall are honest and forthcoming in that report, it will be difficult for them to convince […]

Western separatism is not a serious option

Oct 25 2019 — Stephen Maher — There is no national unity crisis in Canada and a lot of the people who are yelling and waving their arms and saying that we have one should take a timeout and reflect on how lucky we all are to live where we do. Alberta and Saskatchewan are not going to separate. Quebec isn’t going […]

What does the new Bloc wave really represent?

Oct 22 2019 — Stephen Maher — Serge Savard, who played for the Montreal Canadiens for 17 seasons, winning eight Stanley Cups as a player and two more as a general manager, had a friendly chat with Quebec Premier Francois Legault this month, in which both of them agreed that there should be more francophones on the Canadiens bench. Savard joked at […]