National Newswatch

A Green Balance of Power in BC

May 14 2017 — Elizabeth May — At a moment in politics when it seems positive firsts are few and far between, the news that the BC Green Party — the BC cousin of the federal Greens — will be forming its first-ever caucus in North America and in my home province was a rare blast of blessed good news. The results […]

Donald Trump, disruptive surrealist

Jan 29 2017 — Lisa Van Dusen — Ten days into the previously unthinkable Trump administration, the outlines of a conceptual framework through which to view the new American president’s political philosophy are beginning to emerge amid the fog of confusion and perpetual avalanche of tweets. We can safely conclude that Donald Trump is not a realist, after a week that began with […]

NAFTA, Keystone and the new American president

Jan 24 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — It was not a speech urbi et orbi — to the city and the world. Donald Trump’s inaugural address was a campaign speech, reiterating the isolationist, protectionist and nativist themes of the unlikely election result that made him the 45th president of the United States. I meant what I said then, he said now. Power […]

Spooky Action at a Distance and the Redefinition of Power

Jan 9 2017 — Lisa Van Dusen — The Le Carré-ish tale of Russia’s narrative manipulation of America’s presidential election is more than a geopolitical inflection point, it’s an object lesson in the redefinition of power. In the two decades since the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution brought on by the internet, power has shifted from the post-Cold War status quo of […]

The Political Hornet’s Nest of #ERRE

Dec 4 2016 — L. Ian MacDonald — It’s not every day you see a party with a majority of seats in Parliament submit a minority report on an issue they themselves put on the political agenda. But it’s not every day a majority government relinquishes its majority on a parliamentary committee, as the Liberals did last June in allowing the opposition parties […]

The Awkward Adios

Nov 27 2016 — L. Ian MacDonald — Maybe it was the jet lag. Justin Trudeau woke up Saturday morning in Madagascar, eight time zones ahead of Ottawa, and was informed that Fidel Castro had died Friday night in Cuba. At noon local time, four o’clock in the morning back home, Trudeau’s office issued a statement that read as though the prime minister […]

For Canada, Trade Trumps All

Nov 20 2016 — L. Ian MacDonald — On January 20, Donald Trump will stand on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol and be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. In delivering his inaugural address, he will be looking out directly to the Canadian Embassy, just a couple of blocks away on Pennsylvania Avenue. Canadians gathered at the […]

The Perfect Post-truth President

Nov 18 2016 — Lisa Van Dusen — Among the many unsettling developments of the incipient Trump era, Oxford Dictionaries this week declared “post-truth” its international word of the year. The term is defined by the dictionary as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” […]

That time ‘the devil you know’ became a net negative

Nov 13 2016 — L. Ian MacDonald — In campaign narratives, the only theme more powerful than “time for a change” is “throw the bums out”. In the U.S. election, Donald Trump played both themes quite effectively, while Hillary Clinton was the candidate not so much of continuity as of the same establishment Barack Obama ran against when he beat her in 2008. […]

President Trump? Everybody take a Valium

Nov 12 2016 — Lisa Van Dusen — The propulsion of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States has unleashed a sort of cognitive digestion process comparable to the five stages of grief that might be called the five stages of belief: astonishment, disorientation, stabilization, verification and panic. “Mixed feelings” doesn’t really begin to describe the cocktail of emotions that Mr. […]

America’s long national nightmare may not be over Tuesday

Nov 6 2016 — L. Ian MacDonald — Just because this US presidential campaign has been a relentless parade of worst-case scenarios and, if the narrative trajectory holds things will get worse before they get better, here’s a look at what would happen if there’s no outright winner Tuesday in the previously unthinkable race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. In […]

Canada: The New Rogue State in a Crazy World

Oct 31 2016 — Lisa Van Dusen — In the single 24-hour a day multinational feed that is now the global policy universe, Canada has posted something distinctive in the content stream with the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). In a world where division, intractability, rejection, belligerence, xenophobia and protectionism have become the norm, Canada is the new rogue […]

Jim Prentice’s Great Rodeo

Oct 30 2016 — L. Ian MacDonald — Sitting in the memorial service for former premier Jim Prentice in Calgary Friday, it was hard not to think about the fact that, had he remained at CIBC two years ago, he might have been on a different plane than the last one he fatefully boarded in Kelowna on Oct. 13. He might have been […]

Clinton and Trump Through the 2008 Looking Glass

Oct 25 2016 — Lisa Van Dusen — In the same way that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president of the United States can’t be judged without comparing her to the alternative, it’s impossible to watch this campaign without comparing it to another one that happened eight years, volumes of belligerent tweets and so many baskets of deplorables ago. In an era when change […]

Trump Makes Clinton Look Presidential

Oct 23 2016 — L. Ian MacDonald — One of the deeply un-presidential things about Donald Trump is that he has no sense of occasion. This was apparent again Thursday at the Al Smith Dinner, an annual event hosted by the cardinal-archbishop of New York which raises millions every year for Catholic charities in the city. It’s a glittering white-tie dinner held in […]