National Newswatch

Marc Emery was right; Julian Fantino was wrong

Dec 18 2017 — Stephen Maher — In September 2011, Conservative MP and former OPP commissioner Julian Fantino stood in the House of Commons to urge MPs to vote for the Conservatives’ Safe Streets and Communities Act, which, among other things, increased mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana offences, including six months for possessing six plants.

The ties that bind the Liberals and the Bronfmans

Dec 13 2017 — Stephen Maher — The opposition is questioning the Bronfman family’s connections to the Liberal Party. It’s been happening for 100 years. The last time the Bronfman name was uttered in Parliament was last week, when NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault stood in the House to ask whether Justin Trudeau had access to Revenue Canada files when he recently said […]

Jagmeet Singh’s rookie blunders

Dec 8 2017 — Stephen Maher — Welcome to the bigs, Mr. Singh. On Oct. 2, the day after Jagmeet Singh became leader of the NDP, he did an interview with Terry Milewski on CBC TV. At the end of the interview, Milewski asked him to denounce Talwinder Parmar, the terrorist behind the 1985 Air India bombing, which killed 329 people, mostly […]

Stephen Harper’s no-good advice on NAFTA

Oct 31 2017 — Stephen Maher — Stephen Harper should write a book and take a break from writing memos. The former prime minister, an astute political analyst who wrote one book in his spare time, could fill in some blank pages in our history books and settle scores with his many foes. And it would give him something useful to do […]

Bill Morneau, Canada’s very expensive finance minister

Oct 24 2017 — Stephen Maher — When Bill Morneau stands in the House of Commons on Tuesday to deliver the fall fiscal update, he will be hoping desperately that what he announces will be splendid enough that Canadians take note. For weeks, stories about Morneau and his bungled files have been preventing his boss, Justin Trudeau, from getting the feel-good coverage […]

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. […]