National Newswatch

How the GOP Sold Out America

Oct 18 2020 — Don Newman — While it may be weeks after the polls close on November 3 before all the absentee and mail-in ballots have been counted, the court challenges exhausted and the winner of the US presidential election declared, one thing is already clear: We know who has lost. Whatever the final outcome of the vote, the Republican Party […]

Trump Has Made ‘The Question’ so Much Easier to Answer

Oct 14 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — It hasn’t come up yet in this presidential election cycle, possibly because the answer seems so overwhelmingly self-evident, but it’s status as a quadrennial ritual is so baked into US political culture that, in the West Wing episode in which it figures prominently, it enters the action as simply, “The Question”. The Question is, “Why […]

John Turner’s Bequest to the Nation

Oct 9 2020 — L. Ian MacDonald — Watching John Turner’s funeral service the other day, there was a striking Canadian quality to it. In a sense, it was his bequest to the nation. It was also impossible not to compare it, for dignity and decency, with the chaotic presidential campaign in the United States, where those qualities are conspicuously missing in action. […]

Donald Trump’s Dead Fish Debate

Sep 30 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — In classic narrative warfare fashion, Donald Trump treated Tuesday night’s presidential debate in Cleveland not as a debate, but as an odious psychological warfare assault on his own country. By refusing to engage in anything other than lies, insults and bullying, Trump was expressing his contempt for not only the forum in which he was […]

The PBO Economic and Fiscal Outlook and the Post-COVID Economy

Sep 29 2020 — Kevin Page — Ten years ago, a business book was published titled Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. It was a New York Times business best seller. One of the authors, Douglas Stone, said “difficult conversations are almost never about getting the facts right. They are about conflicting perceptions, interpretations, and values.” In reading the latest […]

A Throne Speech, and Furthermore

Sep 24 2020 — L. Ian MacDonald — A Speech from the Throne and a Prime Minister’s Address to the Nation are two completely different animals of the rhetorical species. An SFT sets a government’s political agenda for a coming session of Parliament. But it is not a partisan event, rather it is state occasion in the sense that all actors on the […]

The Throne Speech by the Numbers

Sep 24 2020 — Kevin Page — The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras said “Numbers rule the universe.” Typically, you do not see a lot of numbers in a Speech from the Throne (SFT). Who would want to listen to a Governor General talk numbers (besides me)? Still, it is possible to deconstruct what was in the speech — and not in the […]

A Fond Farewell: Brian Mulroney on John Turner

Sep 20 2020 — L. Ian MacDonald — As the country looks back on the career and legacy of John Napier Turner, who passed away Saturday at 91, it’s impossible not to consider the fact that the most important bilateral dynamic of his life that didn’t involve a family member may have been his political dance with Brian Mulroney. Over the years from […]

John Turner, Brian Mulroney and the Grace of Bygone Grudges

Sep 20 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — There are few testaments to the Shakespearean reversals of political life more eloquent than the fact that, if someone had told you in 1984 that by 2000, Brian Mulroney would be on good terms with his erstwhile political opponent John Turner and no longer speaking to his old friend Lucien Bouchard, you’d have said they […]

Magnitsky Counterpoint: The Case Against Individual Asset Claims

Sep 14 2020 — Lloyd Axworthy and Ratna Omidvar — In their thoughtful Policy Magazine essay titled The Case for a New and Improved MagnitskyLaw, Irwin Cotler and Brandon Silver suggest ways to strengthen the Justice for Corrupt Foreign Officials Act. Some of the steps that Cotler and Silver propose are welcome, including a Canada-led effort to achieve greater international coordination of Magnitsky sanctions. We […]

The Case for a New and Improved Magnitsky Law

Sep 12 2020 — Irwin Cotler and Brandon Silver — At a time when democratic norms are under attack elsewhere, Canada has a unique opportunity to set the global standard for human rights practice and policy by reforming and refining Canada’s human rights sanctions framework, which can serve as an example to the world. Amid a global resurgence of authoritarianism — underpinned by an assault […]

Coercive Diplomacy and the Smug Bugger Factor

Sep 8 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — We’ve all seen governance and human rights norms incrementally weakened or obliterated recently to meet totalitarian standards rationalized by China’s geopolitical ascendancy but benefiting quite a few other interests. The latest instrument of this trend is “coercive diplomacy”, the diplomatic version of “illiberal democracy” — also oxymoronic, contagious and euphemistically designed to cover a multitude […]