National Newswatch

The day the Queen’s Park press corps fought back

Aug 3 2018 — Steve Paikin — Normally, I like to write about what goes on in front of the cameras — the cabinet ministers who make the announcements, the policy changes that get introduced, or the historic moments that make covering politics so interesting. This piece is going to be different. I’m going to shine a light on something you may […]

Where has the centre gone in Ontario politics?

May 7 2018 — Steve Paikin — I’ve written in this space before that the 2018 Ontario election campaign presents voters with one of the starkest choices they’ve ever had to make. It’s hard to remember a provincial campaign that’s featured two leaders so diametrically opposed to each other — in policy and in personality — as Kathleen Wynne and Doug Ford. […]

How Patrick Brown’s exit jeopardizes national consensus on climate change

Apr 4 2018 — Steve Paikin — Thirty-five years ago, the Liberal prime minister’s last name was Trudeau, same as today. But the premier of Ontario was a Progressive Conservative named Davis. You couldn’t find two more different first ministers than Pierre and Bill. One was a dashing, dynamic, fluently bilingual intellectual from Québec, who thumbed his nose at western farmers and […]

Which Doug Ford is running to be Progressive Conservative leader?

Mar 8 2018 — Steve Paikin — Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, both running for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party, have been family friends for a long time. Ford’s late father, also named Doug, and Elliott’s late husband, former finance minister Jim Flaherty, were both members of Mike Harris’s PC caucus in the mid-1990s. And those who saw Flaherty […]

Ontario Liberals fuming over sudden departure of Eric Hoskins

Mar 1 2018 — Steve Paikin — ​Let’s acknowledge off the top that people enter and exit politics all the time. Sometimes the voters want you to stay. Other times, politicians say they’re leaving for health reasons. “Yeah, the voters got sick of me,” goes the joke. Let’s also acknowledge that if you’re a senior cabinet minister for a party that’s been […]

The most astonishing night in Ontario political history

Jan 25 2018 — Steve Paikin — In 35 years of covering Queen’s Park, I have never seen a night like last night. Frankly, I’m not sure there’s ever been a night like last night in 150 years of Ontario political history. Pick your metaphor: A tsunami? An earthquake? A hurricane? All of the above? I have seen scandals that rocked governments […]

Where are the truly bilingual federal Conservative leadership candidates?

Jan 25 2017 — Steve Paikin — One of the most exciting leadership conventions I ever covered took place more than 30 years ago, in Ottawa. The Progressive Conservative chief, Joe Clark, had put his leadership on the line, having failed to secure what he considered a satisfactory level of support from party delegates at the preceding leadership review. So there we […]

Can civility return to politics?

Nov 5 2016 — Steve Paikin — Michael Ignatieff once told me a story that, sadly, was a sign of the times in Ottawa, during his tenure as the federal Liberal Party leader. It was very early in the morning and Ignatieff found himself checking in at the ticket counter at Ottawa’s international airport. He saw a Conservative backbench MP at the […]

Is this the beginning of the end for the federal NDP?

Oct 17 2016 — Steve Paikin — On the face of it, the federal New Democratic Party is in rather familiar territory: a solid third place standing in the House of Commons, with an experienced politician leading the charge. But, this time, it really does feel different, and the NDP may be at an existential moment in its history. It wasn’t that […]

Everyone wants to run for Patrick Brown’s PCs, but not everyone should

Oct 4 2016 — Steve Paikin — Ontario’s opposition leader finds himself, in some ways, in an enviable situation these days. Despite the fact Ontarians barely know him, he’s got a huge lead over the governing Liberals in the most recent public opinion polls. And despite fumbling the sex education issue badly, his Progressive Conservatives won a recent byelection in Scarborough-Rouge River […]

You don’t have to wait till 2018 to see provincial election campaigns

Sep 20 2016 — Steve Paikin — Media are often accused of filtering every announcement by the Ontario Liberals through the prism of: how does this help them win the next election? Liberals are constantly telling us in the media that the next election is still a year and a half away, and can’t you people just consider how our policies will […]

Should Patrick Brown be forgiven for his sex-ed snafu?

Aug 31 2016 — Steve Paikin — Let’s get this clear right off the top: no Canadian kid grows up dreaming of being Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. You grow up dreaming of being prime minister or premier. But the fact is, as often as not, the road to the top job often goes through the worst job in politics. Look […]

What I wish I could have asked Stephen Harper

Aug 30 2016 — Steve Paikin — In January, 2013, I found myself at an event at which then-prime minister Stephen Harper was the guest speaker. At one moment in the evening, he was holding court with a small number of people I knew. So I sashayed over and joined the crowd. I began by asking the PM when he was going […]