National Newswatch

Justin Trudeau in the real world

Feb 22 2018 — Paul Wells — When travelling abroad, it is handy to bear in mind that the people you will meet are real people with real lives. Justin Trudeau likes to preface his answer to any question about any secession movement anywhere with, “Well, as a Quebecer…” He needs to stop saying that. When he says that, he seems to […]

The doggedness of Patrick Brown

Feb 20 2018 — Paul Wells — The thing about Patrick Brown—OK, the other thing about Patrick Brown—is that he’s dogged. A serious runner, the disgraced former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives has the obsessiveness on task that ensures success in that lonely, repetitive pursuit. In 2006, as a federal MP, Brown was given responsibilities for outreach to Indo-Canadians. Since then […]

What Patrick Brown reveals about Canada’s broken leadership systems

Feb 19 2018 — Dale Smith — The saga of former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown’s selection, resignation, and last-minute second attempt at the party’s leadership is nothing short of an omnishambles. He’s been ejected from caucus, but with—as Brown says—the support of Ontarians he’s heard from, despite the sexual misconduct allegations that lost him the confidence of his party, he […]

Scrapping carbon taxes leaves a gaping hole in the Ontario PC platform

Feb 14 2018 — Mike Moffatt — In the leadership race triggered by the resignation of Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, all three candidates have pledged to scrap the carbon tax that was the centrepiece of the Tory platform. Can the platform be salvaged after removing one of the key planks? And if so, how? Fortunately for policy wonks the platform, […]

Meet the woman who crafts Justin Trudeau’s image

Feb 12 2018 — Meagan Campbell — As communications director in Justin Trudeau’s PMO, Kate Purchase’s job is to make the boss look good. It’s getting tougher. At the presidential palace in Mexico City on Oct. 12, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had just delivered a speech, and Kate Purchase, his communications director, for a moment, was dancing. She bopped her fists […]

Trudeau and resource projects: the urge to get it done

Feb 9 2018 — Paul Wells — There was Catherine McKenna, the environment minister, in a roomful of Ottawa reporters on Thursday as she unveiled and defended the Trudeau government’s new assessment rules for major projects. These are the rules by which oil pipeline projects can be assessed for their environmental impact, so of course the stakes were sky-high.

Inside the explosive Conservative Party fight over Rick Dykstra

Feb 2 2018 — Stephen Maher — During the 2015 election campaign, Stephen Harper’s top aides exchanged tense emails about sexual assault allegations against MP Rick Dykstra, documents obtained by Maclean’s reveal. Dykstra was allowed to remain as a candidate over the objections of campaign manager Jenni Byrne, who angrily referred in an email to the sexual assault allegation against him. Dykstra, […]

On NAFTA, Ottawa struggles to keep its fragile peace

Feb 2 2018 — Nick Taylor-Vaisey — When Donald Trump’s administration was still only threatening to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement in the spring of 2017, a bunch of Canadian parliamentarians on the House foreign affairs committee did the logical thing: they launched a study on Canada-U.S. relations that ended up taking a long look at NAFTA, including trips to […]

How the Trudeau Liberals stumbled into a fight with religious groups

Feb 2 2018 — John Geddes — This can’t be the fight the Liberal government thought it was picking. Late last year, Employment and Social Development Canada posted an updated application form for the annual Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program on its website. It contained a new wrinkle: groups applying for funding would have to “attest” that their “core mandate” respects certain […]

Justin Trudeau on electoral reform: Maybe consistency isn’t the word

Feb 1 2018 — Paul Wells — “My responsibility as a prime minister,” Justin Trudeau said to the CBC’s Chris Hall, “is to do things that are good for the country. I came to very clearly believe that a form of proportional representation would be harmful to Canada.” Great. When was that? After his benighted former democratic-reform minister, Maryam Monsef, held consultations […]

The Ontario PC Party needs a woman to take charge

Jan 29 2018 — Jen Gerson — It could once be fairly said that the sign of a struggling political party was a woman at the helm. From former prime minister Kim Campbell, to Christy Clark, Alison Redford and Kathleen Wynne, most of this generation of female leaders can tell a similar tale of gamely stepping up to lead stale, scandal-ridden or […]

If Trump kills NAFTA, it could hit America’s Rust Belt hard

Jan 29 2018 — Nick Taylor-Vaisey — Whatever Donald Trump decides to do about NAFTA, his instinct to trash the trade deal may end up hurting his own country’s businesses more than he realizes. The president has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA too many times to count, but also more recently struck a slightly more conciliatory tone on the future of the […]