National Column: Funds key to clinching Tory leadership

It is a political rule of thumb that defeated incumbents tend to drown their sorrows in money and it turns out the federal Conservatives are no exception.

At $5 million, the spending limit imposed on each of the candidates who will vie to replace Stephen Harper between now and next spring is more than five times higher than the maximum allowed for the leadership contest that resulted in Justin Trudeau’s election. […]


National Column: Tories switching their tune on carbon pricing

Over the time that Stephen Harper was prime minister, Canada’s conservative movement used the notion of carbon pricing as a partisan weapon rather than as a policy tool to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. That may be about to change. […]


National Column: East and West on same side of pipeline debate

When all is said and done, there is no rational reason for this week’s climate-change gathering of first ministers in Vancouver to feature an East-West brawl over pipelines.

Unless the premiers of the energy-producing provinces are irresistibly inclined to lead a charge on windmills, they have no reason to get on their high horses in order to cast themselves as champions of their resources industry. […]


National Column: Conservative race could be crowded

Depending on the day of the week there are no less than eight and as many as a dozen Conservatives testing the federal leadership waters.

Should they all enter the race to succeed Stephen Harper, this could make next year’s Conservative leadership vote the most unpredictable federal contest in a decade. […]


National Column: End-of-life law should have free vote

When the House of Commons votes on medically assisted suicide later this year, it will be making history in two controversial ways.

So far, only a handful of countries have included the option of assisted suicide in their end-of-life medical protocol. The upcoming legislation will be taking Canada in relatively uncharted social policy waters. […]


National Column: Conservative backroom suffered from myopia

On a week that marks the passing of Justin Trudeau’s 100th day in power, key Conservative and NDP insiders have been delivering some preliminary conclusions as to the causes of their October defeats.

Their findings are strikingly interchangeable – with the popular momentum for change somewhat conveniently fingered as a root cause of electoral failure. […]


National Column: Mayoral support crucial for pipelines

Kudos to Justin Trudeau and Alberta’s Rachel Notley for taking the time to talk face to face about the province’s economic challenges on Wednesday. The Liberal prime minister has a compelling interest in keeping the channels open with the NDP premier. […]


National Column: Refugee resettlement pays big political dividends

Canada’s Syrian refugee resettlement operation is more than a laudable contribution to a global humanitarian crisis. It is also a well-executed political play.

Because it was one of the Liberals’ most time-sensitive undertakings, the campaign commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees before the end of the year was always a strong candidate for early failure. […]


National Column: Tory movement lost as defeats pile up

The Conservatives’ defeat on Oct. 19 will not go down in history as the worst electoral beating the party has ever endured, but it has driven Canada’s conservative movement further into the political wilderness than at any other time in its recent history.


National Column: Liberal to-do list is time sensitive

The cabinet Justin Trudeau unveils on Nov. 4 will have to hit the ground running.

From recasting Canada in the anti-Islamic State international coalition, to deciding the fate of the just-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership, beating a ticking Supreme Court clock on medically assisted suicide, rewriting the Conservative anti-terrorism legislation and setting up an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, many of the items on the incoming government’s to-do list are time sensitive. […]


National Column: Grits positioned to craft stable minority

With the wind at his back in the last week of the campaign, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is asking voters to give his party a majority on Monday. To measure what a feat that would be, consider that to reach the magic majority number of 170, the Liberals – with 36 MPs at dissolution – would have to more than quadruple their seats next week. […]


National Column: Rejected pension ideas new again for scrambling Tories

In the dying days of a third mandate, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver is about to spend the last summer before the October election consulting the provinces on a public pension reform that all governments, including his own, dismissed as unworkable five years ago. […]