National Newswatch

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 […]

A Fall Budget 2020 Strategy: Drive Toward the Future

Sep 5 2020 — Kevin Page — It is a safe assumption that government of Canada cabinet ministers and Finance Department officials have spent much of their summer thinking about an economic recovery plan for Canada and a fall budget. The political and economic stakes are high. With the prorogation of Parliament, triggered in part by the resignation of a finance minister, […]

The Politics of Prorogation

Sep 4 2020 — Lori Turnbull — During the COVID-19 lockdown, the political landscape was far less adversarial than usual. Governments announced financial aid packages and emergency measures, usually with the support of opposition parties, and political conflicts were generally put on hold as the country was focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19. The WE controversy brought a somewhat abrupt end […]

A Year of Unity Milestones Remembered

Sep 1 2020 — Graham Fraser — This is a year for national unity anniversaries: 25 years since the 1995 Quebec referendum, 40 years since the 1980 referendum, and 50 since the October Crisis. Each milestone marked the country’s historical consciousness; each one occurred in a context that now seems as distant as the Second World War. The October Crisis, provoked by […]