National Newswatch

Don’t sleep on the Churchill Falls talks

Mar 1 2023 — Tim Powers — While Ottawa is awash in a Liberal government uncertain of China’s influence in our democratic processes and a Conservative leader trying to escape a story about three of his MPs breaking bread with an extremist German parliamentarian, something fascinating is happening out East. On Feb. 24, Quebec Premier François Legault travelled to St. John’s to […]

Planning the post health-care summit to-do list

Feb 8 2023 — Tim Powers — By the time you read this, the much-ballyhooed meeting on health care between Canada’s first ministers will have happened. Multiple reports suggest that the federal government will have injected more money into the system and there will be some outcome requirements for the new investment. But before people start doing victory laps about new cash […]

Singh should stop raising spectre of health-care boogeyman

Feb 1 2023 — Tim Powers — So here we go again: as Canadians call out for major health-care reform, the NDP wants to have a faux fight about privatization in our national health-care system. As Parliament resumed on Jan. 30, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he wanted an emergency debate about private health care in the House of Commons. He also […]

Farewell to one of a kind

Jan 25 2023 — Tim Powers — A couple of weeks ago, Canadian politics—particularly those in the conservative fold—lost a one-of-a-kind character. Asad Wali died far too young at age 53 at his home in Toronto after a lengthy fight with multiple sclerosis. The broad Canadian public would not have known Wali, but if they did, they would have loved him as […]

Is a blue wave headed for the Rock?

Nov 2 2022 — Tim Powers — Over the last few weeks, I have been home in Newfoundland and Labrador more frequently. No, it is not because I am plotting some political run myself, but some illness and death in the family meant more time on the Rock. It being home, federal politics is both a fascination and a source of much […]

The convoy’s tire tracks are still all over the face of politics

Jul 6 2022 — Tim Powers — Another week and a couple more stories about high-profile Conservatives engaging with people connected to the Freedom Convoy. The day before Canada Day, it was Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre marching into Ottawa with veteran James Topp and others connected to the convoy. Then on July 4, CTV News broke a story revealing former Saskatchewan […]

Playing the numbers game

Jun 8 2022 — Tim Powers — What is in a number? For example, the number 600,000—the unconfirmed and yet-to-be-denied figure that could represent the people who have signed up to be members of the Conservative Party of Canada for the forthcoming leadership vote. Since hearing the 600,000 figure, I’ve thought often of Saddam Hussein’s legendary information minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, a.k.a. […]

Kenney caught in quagmire of his own making

May 25 2022 — Tim Powers — Prior to the pandemic, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was arguably the most powerful and influential conservative leader in Canada. Andrew Scheer, when he was federal opposition leader, had Kenney campaign for him in Ontario, while at the same time staying away from Ontario Premier Doug Ford. When Erin O’Toole was seeking to replace Scheer, he […]

Time for Tory leadership race to climb out of the sewer

May 11 2022 — Tim Powers — Apologies. Yet another commentator is going to wade into last week’s Conservative leadership debate hosted by the Canada Strong and Free Network, formerly the Manning Centre. While its dramatic appeal may have been its very raw nature—and some partisans love that—it came across as one of those old, then-named World Wrestling Federation mega events. You […]

Jason Kenney fights to keep dancing to the tune he composed

Mar 30 2022 — Tim Powers — Many, many years ago, when I was a young political staffer, I had to travel to Alberta to get then-Progressive Conservative premier Don Getty to sign an important document. Worn down from travel and not fully alert, I did not notice that I had uncapped the pen that would be used to sign the material […]

Dear Conservatives: smarten up

Feb 2 2022 — Tim Powers — An open letter to the Conservative caucus: The vast majority of you are well meaning, decent, and enthusiastic public servants. You always do the best you can for the people you represent. As the official opposition, you work hard to hold the government to account and offer different options to Canadians. So, it is with […]

You never know who’s listening when the old guard speaks

Nov 3 2021 — Tim Powers — It has been a busy two weeks on multiple political fronts. Over the past 14 days, we have seen two successful former prime ministers return to the national stage to, among other things, offer commentary and advice to those who now lead their party or version of their party. And when Jean Chrétien and Brian […]

Election returns a familiar Parliament, but it won’t be so friendly for some

Sep 22 2021 — Tim Powers — Quick. What does $600-million get you? A doppelganger Parliament. Some 36-plus days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an election, it has ended with an outcome almost identical to when the race began. Canada now has its second consecutive Liberal minority and fifth already of the 21st century. Major political leaders may like majorities, Canadians […]

Party leaders putting party staffers in dicey position by taking wrong-smelling wage subsidy

May 27 2020 — Tim Powers — On the surface, it is symbolically stupid for Canadian political parties—including the federal Liberals, Conservatives, and New Democrats—to be claiming the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). While they are eligible to receive this support because they are classified as not-for-profit organizations and therefore able to get assistance, it just smells wrong. Why? While this likely […]