Neil Macdonald

Opinion Columnist

Neil Macdonald is an opinion columnist for CBC News, based in Ottawa. Prior to that he was the CBC's Washington correspondent for 12 years, and before that he spent five years reporting from the Middle East. He also had a previous career in newspapers, and speaks English and French fluently, and some Arabic.

Latest from Neil Macdonald


The campaign is a hologram — make-believe tensions over minuscule differences: Neil Macdonald

But political parties must claim to be radically different from one another, and political journalism must play along, or else why exist? So the Liberals and Tories concentrate on what does distinguish them: their leaders.
Point of View

Owning a dog means playing God. It's a role no human wants to play: Neil Macdonald

I swear Lola gazes at us with utter trust. She has no idea what's coming. For now, I take her to the beach every day, and she takes long swims in the warm September river water and glories in fighting Charley for sticks, but she yips in pain sometimes.

This election should be about more than which leader sucks. Alas, it won't be: Neil Macdonald

What are the Liberals' election talking points, in this age of environmental insecurity and economic anxiety? That Andrew Scheer is scary. And the thrust of the Conservatives' campaign? It's obvious: Trudeau Sucks.

Trump's disloyalty slur is about shoring up support from evangelicals, not American Jews: Neil Macdonald

Clearly, Trump is betting that base hatreds and tribalism will send him to the White House for a second term. Given modern America, that's probably a smart bet.  

Winter is coming, and so is an uncharted economic abyss: Neil Macdonald

Governments have printed unimaginable amounts of money, inflating the money supply, since 2008. A bank in Denmark just offered the first negative-yield mortgage. Another recession is inevitable. What will we do this time?

Canada glories in summer, while Trump feeds and waters his racist mooncalves: Neil Macdonald

It's not that Canada doesn't have racists and criminals with guns. We just don't elect racists to lead the country, or enshrine a legal right to buy unlimited combat guns that can kill 20 or 30 people in 60 seconds.

If the Democrats have any spine, they'll nominate Elizabeth Warren to take on Trump: Neil Macdonald

Warren offers the lovely prospect of intelligence, unbending principle and policy — versus vulgar boorishness.

Talking honestly about the carbon tax requires serious political courage: Neil Macdonald

Catherine McKenna just confirmed that the carbon tax will stop once it reaches a piffling $50 a tonne, three years from now. Why? Because Justin Trudeau wants to be re-elected.

Canada's health care system is hopelessly sclerotic. We need to wake up: Neil Macdonald

Either we fund it all properly, which means more taxes, or we allow people to spend their money on their own care, which is un-Canadian, but is what the rest of the world does. Even in Scandinavia.

Our casual racism causes Indigenous suffering: Neil Macdonald

Quibbling over the definition of genocide does nothing but help obscure the long history of vicious racism and undeniable suffering of Indigenous people in this country. It's bad enough whatever you want to call it.

The U.S. in 2019 is more King's Landing than Winthrop's shining city on a hill: Neil Macdonald

As Canada heads into an election, we should gaze south unblinkingly and be thankful that our issues are so wonky and bland by comparison.

Paying some piddling carbon tax will do nothing to defend us from what lies ahead: Neil Macdonald

The tax provides an excellent diversion to keep the public's attention away from something our politicians are not saying a word about: the monumental cost of preventing, or paying for, the damage climate change will deliver from now on.

Updated flood plain maps will send the housing market underwater: Neil Macdonald

Next year, the federal government will begin uploading nearly 2,000 user-friendly flood plain maps, updating them with the most recent geospatial data. The impact will be devastating.

If newspaper health is a measure of democracy, our democracy is in decline: Neil Macdonald

I walked through the doors of the Citizen in 1976 as a student, and strutted out half an hour later as a newspaperman.

Probing for facts in a fog of online marketing: Neil Macdonald

A Google search for almost any consumer item will turn up a raft of review sites, most of which are clearly for-profit operations offering to rank companies’ products in return for payment, or want to solicit customer complaints as a profitable means of developing leads for lawyers.