National Newswatch

The Elizabeth May show and the first leaders debate

Sep 13 2019 — Stephen Maher — Elizabeth May went into last night’s debate looking like she was in trouble. May has been leader of the Green Party since 2006, but until this year she has always served as a lone voice for an environmental view of the world far from the mainstream of Canadian politics, more of an activist than a […]

The problem with Joe Oliver’s soothing words on climate change

Sep 3 2019 — Stephen Maher — Joe Oliver, who served as natural resources and finance minister in Stephen Harper’s government, appeared on Global TV’s West Block show on Sunday to tell viewers that they have the wrong idea about climate change. As Hurricane Dorian descended on the Bahamas, Oliver advised Canadians to focus on the good news about a changing climate: […]

Andrew Scheer walks the gauntlet

May 31 2019 — Stephen Maher — Andrew Scheer stands a pretty good chance of winning the election in October, but before anyone calls him prime minister he will have to pass through a gauntlet of critics who will try to convince voters that he is too extreme to be trusted. To ward off those attacks, Scheer will have to sound reasonable […]

Why Ottawa can’t have nice things

May 30 2019 — Stephen Maher — If you have never walked across the Alexandra Bridge to Ottawa from Gatineau on a sunny day, with the light sparkling on the Ottawa River below and the wooden boardwalk full of pedestrians and cyclists, you should try to do so. For one thing, if you pay taxes in this country, you have helped pay […]

Justin Trudeau has only one option now: fight

Apr 17 2019 — Stephen Maher — Jason Kenney is about to become premier of Alberta because he managed to make the election into a referendum on who had a better plan for his province: him or Justin Trudeau. Until October, Trudeau will have to return the favour, campaigning against Kenney in the rest of the country, using Kenney as a rhetorical […]

Why won’t Maxime Bernier denounce the terror attack in Christchurch?

Mar 16 2019 — Stephen Maher — Before an Australian terrorist killed 49 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Thursday, he tweeted photos of his rifles and cartridges, which were covered with the names of other white supremacist killers, hand-lettered in white paint. Among the names was Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six Muslims as they worshipped in a Quebec City mosque […]

Does Justin Trudeau know what he’s doing?

Mar 11 2019 — Stephen Maher — L’affaire SNC-Lavalin is a scandal with “no money, no sex and nothing illegal happened,” the Associated Press wrote on Sunday, accurately summing up the relatively mild wrongdoing at the heart of this controversy. There are no envelopes full of money for party organizers, no bribes from arms dealers, no electoral cheating. Viewed through a charitable […]

The hole that Gerry Butts leaves behind

Feb 18 2019 — Stephen Maher — The second act of l’affaire SNC-Lavalin could be devastating for Trudeau, and it’s not clear he’ll be better off without his trusted advisor. Last week, I wrote here that Justin Trudeau needed a fall guy to take the blame in l’affaire SNC-Lavalin. Today, we learned who that fall guy is: principal secretary Gerald Butts, a […]

The incredible miscalculation by Trudeau and co.

Feb 13 2019 — Stephen Maher — Former attorney general Peter MacKay told the Toronto Sun this week that the police should be called in to investigate the SNC-Lavalin affair, because someone may have obstructed justice. “When I was prosecuting cases, if a politician had ever called me up, I would have put down the phone and called the police,” said MacKay, […]

For access to the Ford government, two names matter most

Jan 30 2019 — Stephen Maher — During the frantic, successful campaign to make Doug Ford premier of Ontario last spring, the three men who were responsible for Ford’s messaging often told subordinates that they were like a “three-legged stool,” indivisible and in charge. Six months later, Dean French is chief of staff to Ford while Chris Froggatt and Kory Teneycke, the […]

The real bad news in Burnaby South might be for Andrew Scheer

Jan 17 2019 — Stephen Maher — Usually, nothing puts a spring in the step of the leader of the opposition like a scandal hitting the governing party. Voters tend to continue supporting whoever it is they voted for, at least until a government’s misdeeds accumulate, which means that is hard for an opposition leader to attract new supporters unless the government […]

Why Andrew Scheer is spouting nonsense about GM

Nov 30 2018 — Stephen Maher — You can make a reasonable-sounding political argument that Liberals in Ottawa and Toronto are to blame for General Motors’ announcement on Monday that it is closing its plant in Oshawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks about the middle class at every opportunity, but what did he do to save that plant? Nothing. He has ignored […]

Tony Clement and the breakdown in Ottawa

Nov 12 2018 — Stephen Maher — The MP was privy to Canada’s national security secrets, and his scandal has exposed a failure by all parties to take risks seriously. A couple of weeks ago, when I was out with friends at a Thai restaurant in Ottawa, two of the women at the table started sharing stories about Tony Clement’s very online […]

The real problem with David Frum debating Steve Bannon

Nov 2 2018 — Stephen Maher — The biggest problem with Friday’s Munk Debate isn’t Steve Bannon. It’s David Frum. If you accept, for the sake of argument, that it is wise to invite onto the beautiful stage at the Roy Thomson Hall a racist rabble rouser who can’t fill a conference room at the Topeka Holiday Inn Express, you ought to […]