While the federal Liberals have kept political watchers busy with all-things WE, the Conservative leadership race has been quietly chugging along. The lack of fanfare may make the outcome all that more surprising in two weeks time, and in particular, how underdog Leslyn Lewis performs once votes have been tallied.
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Chief of Staff, Katie Telford, provided testimony to the House of Commons’ Finance Committee on all things related to the WE charity fiasco. While here was no smoking gun, the scandal is still smouldering, with a few new directions the saga may take as the government heads into the second month of scrutiny.
The possibility of a Fall election is back on the table, should Canada’s opposition parties be believed. The WE scandal is providing some legitimate grounds for election speculation, but the likelihood this will materialize into people at polls before the end of the year remains slim.
Last week was an opportunity for the Trudeau Liberals to turn the page on the WE scandal. The Prime Minister had apologized, and has agreed to appear before a House of Commons committee, ostensibly in an act of transparency to try and put any outlying questions to rest. Attention had started to turn away from the government, and more toward the shady dealings of WE as an organization.
Headlines have been peppered with new details nearly every day surrounding the Trudeau government’s sweetheart deal with the WE charity, in what was shaping up to be an otherwise sleepy summer. While the long-term ramifications of this scandal aren’t yet known, the short-term impacts are clear: WE is a problem.
While “The Great Depression” is most commonly known as a historic period, it could also characterize the mood of Canadians who tuned into last week’s Economic and Fiscal Snapshot. Though extraordinary times may have called for exceptional spending, the absence of a roadmap to recovery, let alone a balanced budget, has left many wondering just how high the limit on the country’s charge card is.
Warming weather in Ottawa has coincided with heated words from Prime Minister Trudeau on China’s illegal detainment of two Canadian citizens abroad. While Trudeau is right to take a stronger stance, the timing and intensity of these critiques may be too little, too late.
“Canada’s Back” … to the drawing board when it comes to international substance and swagger.
After a multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to secure a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council, Canada lost in a contest to Norway and Ireland on Wednesday. The loss under Prime Minister Trudeau follows a failed bid to obtain a seat under former Prime Minister Harper a decade prior.
Trying to generate attention or interest as an opposition party is a tall order at the best of times. Throw in a global pandemic, recession, international protests against racism and a Presidential election, and that becomes even more daunting.
Fresh funding for struggling provinces and municipalities was met with fresh criticism from some of Canada’s Premiers last week, laying the groundwork for the resumption of tensions between federal and provincial governments.
Horrific reports on the conditions of long term care (LTC) homes in Ontario and Quebec released last week have rightly called into question the quality of care for the greatest generation. The enormity of the challenges facing our seniors has the federal government being suddenly selective about what is their jurisdiction to fix, and avoiding action in exchange for ambiguous offers of support.
Next month, international leaders will elect two new countries to the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC). Canada’s campaign for one of those spots has occupied a considerable amount of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s time, and taxpayer money, at a moment when many would argue domestic issues should be the sole priority.
A global pandemic, record unemployment and ballooning debt are enough to make even the most tuned-in Tories forget about the big news happening within its own Party: the forthcoming Conservative leadership election. But even in the midst of a generational crisis, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the race would still be a snooze in the absence of these events.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is riding high in the polls, the Opposition is disorganized, and we’re in a minority Parliament, which means it is time to start Ottawa’s favourite parlour game: Election Speculation.
After weeks of federal politicians getting along for the greater good, the swift, sneaky introduction of changes to firearms ownership in Canada has proven that political collaboration has its limits.
If you’re a believer that everything is political (even a pandemic), it is hard to ignore the healthy polling bump the crisis has created for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. With support high for the Liberals, it seems increasingly likely that the government’s minority mandate will edge effectively into majority territory as Opposition parties are forced to think carefully about challenging a popular prime minister with an election.
With Ottawa indicating many weeks more of isolation are in store before reopening Canada’s economy, some of Canada’s provincial leaders are content to go it alone, threatening to reignite tensions between the Trudeau government and the provincial premiers.
Nimble isn’t a word many would use to describe Canada’s parliament. But a silver lining to the COVID-19 crisis may be a modernized federal government, which should persist post-pandemic.
Government institutions around the world including Canada are grappling with the logistical challenge of governing while also physical distancing. In a parliamentary democracy that depends on opposing sides fiercely debating ideas, this is easier said than done. And while the challenges posed by moving processes online isn’t new to the Government of Canada (Phoenix pay system, anyone?), COVID-19 has brought a new urgency to bringing Parliament up to speed.
The federal government has announced a flurry of government programs in the last two weeks, all designed to support Canadians and businesses during the COVID-19 storm. The intention to help is clear, but the hoops through which families, workers and business owners need to jump are anything but. The resulting confusion has seen businesses – from start-ups to restaurants – unable to get the financial assistance required to continue operating.