Federal Politics

Why no one is paying attention to the Conservative leadership campaign

The party that Stephen Harper built will choose a new leader in just 12 days’ time, and it has a big problem.

Normally, leadership campaigns serve to do two things – to excite the party faithful and to attract at least the interest of the electorate at large. There is no sign, however, that this Conservative campaign has done either.

Deciphering scandals: which ones are real and which are faux?

There are at least three varieties of political scandals – real scandals, maybe (or maybe not) scandals and faux scandals.

In the category of real scandals, I would put the Sponsorship scandal in which an estimated $100 million in taxpayer money disappeared to into the bank accounts of friends and supporters of Jean Chrétien’s Liberals. Another real scandal was the Airbus affair in which former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney secretly accepted $300,000 in cash from Karlheinz Schreiber, the Airbus lobbyist.

What will the Conservatives do without their “Mr. Wonderful?”

When “Mr. Wonderful” left the stage so abruptly last week, he sucked all the air out of the Conservative leadership drama.

Kevin O’Leary’s candidacy had thrilled and distressed Conservatives in roughly equal proportions. Every conversation about the party leadership turned inevitably to the star of Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank.

Not quite the dawning of the Age of Aquarius

In times past when the government had a really big deal to announce, or an item of long-anticipated legislation, it would pull out all the stops. Parliament would be primed. The prime minister would beam proudly while the sponsoring minister(s) explained in lavish terms how the new measure would dramatically improve the lives of ordinary Canadians, enhance democracy and make the nation stronger, safer and more prosperous. Then cabinet members would fan out across the land to deliver the glad tidings.

Hype like that.

Why Justin Trudeau is a cheap date

The opposition parties worked themselves into a fair lather last week when Parliament was informed that it had cost taxpayers $127,000 for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family to vacation in the Bahamas at Christmas.

“Completely outrageous,” snapped NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

“When did the prime minister forget that it's his job to serve Canadians and not the other way around?” demanded Blaine Calkins, a Conservative from Alberta.