Federal Politics

Rona Ambrose is the best thing to happen to the Conservatives

If the federal Conservatives had their wits about them they would do what the Royal Navy did back in the age of sail when it sent forth “press gangs” to forcibly conscript – or “impress” – seafaring men to crew its warships.

They would send a press gang off to Stornoway to confront their interim leader Rona Ambrose and to beg, cajole and implore (though perhaps not physically force) her to stand as a candidate next May when the party replaces the departed Stephen Harper. The press gang should not be allowed to take No for an answer.

Trudeau’s week of highs and lows

Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s “Iron Chancellor” in the 19th century knew whereof he was speaking when he observed, “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.”

It’s a sentiment Justin Trudeau would agree with. Or would he, as he emerges from the most ragged week of his young prime ministry?

How very different elections turned on the same factor

On the face of it, the election of Donald Trump in the United States this month and last year’s election of Justin Trudeau in Canada had precious little in common.

The American election was a vile affair, filled with misrepresentation, outright lying, racism, hate and character assassination. The Canadian election was a relatively clean, though hard-fought, campaign that for the most part stayed within the bounds of acceptable political discourse and conduct.

Should Trudeau “wiggle out” of his electoral reform promise?

Every successful political leader, when elected, comes to regret some of the promises he or she made while campaigning. Changes that seemed so compelling, so popular – and maybe so easy – while campaigning take on a different complexion once the election is over. Promised changes suddenly seem less compelling, not quite so popular – and even downright difficult to achieve.

Justin moves to restore his father’s muscular federalism

The Trudeau Liberals are moving into the second phase of their mandate, investing some of the political capital they collected in the first phase (the honeymoon or “sunny ways” period) to assert the primacy of the federal government in three areas of national concern.

These are climate change, pipelines and the preservation of medicare. Taken together, the Liberals’ approaches in these areas signal a desire to reestablish a muscular federalism reminiscent of the Pierre Trudeau era.