Federal Politics

Conservatives’ “Odd Couple” hits the election road

They could be billed as the Odd Couple of Canadian politics: Andrew Scheer and Kevin O’Leary.

Yet there they were last week, the federal Conservative leader and the Canadian-born celebrity from U,S. television’s Shark Tank, on the hustings together as the Tories tested their training wheels for next October’s federal election.

So what does it take to make a prime minister?

 "To be Prime Minister of Canada, you need the hide of a rhinoceros, the morals of St. Francis, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the leadership of Napoleon, the magnetism of a Beatle and the subtlety of Machiavelli." – Prime Minister Lester Pearson to a Liberal rally, quoted in the Vancouver Sun, Jan. 27, 1965.

Yep, that’s about right.

To Pearson’s list, a contemporary prime minister might add a laundry list of more mundane essentials.

Carbon taxes are another historic political gamble

It is far too soon to know whether climate change and carbon pricing will be the defining issue in next October’s federal election.

With Donald Trump, the erratic child president calling the shots from Twitter Control in his bedroom, new issues are bound to be created and old ones re-invented. Any one – new trade demands, tariff barriers, border security, nuclear confrontation with North Korea, a Middle East crisis with Saudi Arabia, and so on – could take centre stage in the Canadian election, as could an unexpected purely domestic issue.

Stormy weather lies ahead in federal-provincial affairs

Doug Ford and Jason Kenney had a grand old time in Alberta the other night.

Appearing together before an overflow crowd of 1,500 true believers in Calgary, the two provincial leaders – one in power, the other in waiting -- pledged their mutual, undying opposition to carbon taxes, and they took turns swatting enthusiastically at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau’s Liberals are in for a grilling when Parliament resumes next week

Summer is usually the best of times for the party in power in Ottawa. With Parliament in recess, ministers have the stage largely to themselves, free to announce whatever they wish with as much spin – and as little explanation – as they choose.

The opposition parties are left to whine about high-handed government while they count the days until the House resumes, and they can get their teeth into ministers in question period.