Saturday January 27, 2018

The Insiders: Sexual misconduct and Canadian politics

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during the closing news conference at the World Economic Forum Thursday, January 25, 2018 in Davos, Switzerland.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during the closing news conference at the World Economic Forum Thursday, January 25, 2018 in Davos, Switzerland. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Listen 11:06

At the end of an unprecedented in Canadian politics, we asked Insiders Jaime Watt, Kathleen Monk and David Herle to join us.

On what's next for the Ontario PC party:

Jaime Watt: "Someone called it a speed bump, I don't think it's a speed bump, I think it's much more serious than that when all the plans that you've got go out the window, and you've got to start over again... You've got to figure out who your leader is going to be and how you're actually going to run that campaign. But on the other hand, there is a campaign plan in place, money's been raised, candidates recruited, so leading that campaign might be attractive to somebody. Instead of spending years in the wilderness, someone could come in, take over, and have a campaign that's a bit like chicken noodle soup - just add hot water and stir, and off they go."

David Herle: "It creates a lot of uncertainty for the other parties. We don't know who the leader of the Progressive Conservatives is going to be in the election. We don't 100 per cent know if their going to stick with their platform... There were a number of items in there that were quite controversial inside the party that were Mr. Brown's personal stamp on the platform, so there's a lot of uncertainty. On the other side is frankly Brown was a weak leader, and a weak candidate, and I was looking forward to running a campaign against him, and the odds are quite high that they'll choose someone who's more effective."

Kathleen Monk: "We know that the Conservative party will be in chaos, likely for the next several weeks, if not months, and more than that the party might have been complicit in knowing about allegations of sexual harassment against their leader and not addressing them. And so, for the New Democrats, what do they have to do? They have to be the vehicle for change."

On the return of Parliament next week:

DH: "I think this spring is likely to be an awful lot about the economy, especially in the context of an attempt to abrogate NAFTA from the Trump administration. You know, from the Liberal perspective, they have worked awfully hard on building networks in the United States and managing this as well as it could be managed, but when you get into an actual intent to abrogate, you're into potential economic-crisis territory, and so, I think for the government the major challenge is going to be to be seen on top of, and managing, what could be a crisis economic situation at any point."

KM: "Jagmeet Singh really needs to get known to Canadians and out there on big issues that are important to everyday Canadians. That's what was heard coming out of his caucus, and he's going to tackle income inequality - things like wireless and cellular rates, housing affordability, and of course childcare. These are issues that matter to Canadians, but right now the NDP isn't as visible as it needs to be, and it's leader certainly isn't."

JW: "In many ways Andrew Scheer has the same challenge that Jagmeet has, that he better come up with some policy that differentiates himself and his party that appeals to his core constituency and his base, whether it's something on tax, or some other issue that he can really own as his own. At the moment just running around in a checked shirt I don't really think is going to take him from he is to where he needs to go."