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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:30 pm    Post subject: reporter Michael Den Tandt joins PMO office Reply with quote

( some weird news out of Ottawa today , former high profile National post reporter Michael Den Tandt has joined the PMO as an advisor for us / Canada relations , one of a long list of reporters to be hired by the PMO )

Trudeau team hires ex-National Post columnist Michael Den Tandt

Former journalist’s move to federal government prompts scepticism on Twitter

Beatrice Britneff

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Former National Post columnist Michael Den Tandt has joined the senior ranks of the Liberal government as a communications advisor for Canada-U.S. relations — just a week a half after he announced his resignation from the Toronto-based Postmedia newspaper.

Kate Purchase, director of communications in the Prime Minister’s Office, announced the ex-journalist’s new posting on Twitter this morning....

Very pleased to announce @mdentandt has joined our team as a comms advisor on Can-US relations. Welcome to the team!

— Kate Purchase (@katepurchase) Log in to read on.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( one of his last columns with the national post was a bizarre rant against the ndp for whatever reason )

Michael Den Tandt: The NDP’s headlong rush to irrelevance

Michael Den Tandt | February 9, 2017 4:55 PM ET
More from Michael Den Tandt | @mdentandt
The NDP is to choose Thomas Mulcair’s successor in October. There are, as yet, no registered candidates.

Not so long ago, Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrats campaigned on a broadly centrist platform, buttressed by a common-sense pledge: A federal NDP government would provide responsible, competent public administration.

It was hardly a call to arms by Che Guevara, or Ed Broadbent for that matter. But it was a handy tagline for a party wishing to trade protest for power. Reassurance, solidity and dependability were the watchwords as Mulcair, cast by his team as a battle-tested Obi-Wan in contrast to the inexperienced Justin Trudeau and the dour Stephen Harper, set his sights on the big job.

Heading into the 78-day campaign, still aglow from Rachel Notley’s victory for the NDP in Alberta a few months prior, Mulcair held the lead, narrowly. Anything was possible.

How things have changed. Just 15.7 per cent of eligible voters would choose the NDP today, compared with 32.4 per cent for the Tories and 40.9 per cent for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, according to poll aggregator ThreeHundredEight.com.

What’s more, the data is the least of it. As policy goes, this is a party in retreat from the mainstream.

For instance: The hyperventilation in the House of Commons over the Liberals’ climb-down on electoral reform has been a marvel. B.C. MP Nathan Cullen has led the field, passionately excoriating Trudeau for abandoning his oft-repeated promise to scrap Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system. The fun continued Thursday in the Commons, in opposition-day debate. The Liberals, the New Democrats aver, must apologize. Apologize!

This is not the language of desired policy outcomes, but of embarrassment. The goal is to raise a hue and cry, stir public opprobrium. Presumably this means New Democrats think Canadians are open to being outraged, in great numbers, by the fact we’re not about to spend the next two years in a lather over the distinctions between proportional, mixed-member proportional and ranked ballot. Really?

The government will take a hit for this, certainly. But only someone sealed in a hyperbaric chamber, or the Parliamentary precinct, would argue this is fuel for discontent among the millions of Canadians who did not attend any of the 39 public meetings held last year by the House Electoral Reform Committee.

There were 571 written briefs and 731 witnesses in that exercise, all certainly worthy of note. The committee ultimately judged proportional representation would be a better system for Canada than the status quo. It may well have been correct in this. But the committee is not the country.

From the start, there was only going to be one lever to push through such wholesale reform, over the objections of those who favour the status quo. That is a referendum, in which a clear majority of respondents – say 60 per cent – opted for a specific, new system. Achieving a consensus would require a full-on push, tantamount to an election campaign, by someone — not the Liberals, possibly, because a big push for their preferred option, the ranked ballot, would have appeared cravenly opportunistic.

Now, let’s shift our gaze. Europe is in turmoil; Russia is on the march in Ukraine; China is restless in the South China Sea. And the North American trilateral partnership is at risk. The federal cabinet is all hands on deck, its attention fixed laser-like on Washington D.C.

But by all means, let’s pick now to have a fractious debate over the electoral system that, in the unlikely event it achieves the desired outcome, will set the stage for profound change here, too. Hmm.

Elsewhere on the NDP policy map, it’s a similar story; reflexive hurtling away from the concerns of Main Street, towards the ideological.

File: Montreal Gazette/Marcos Townsend

File: Montreal Gazette/Marcos Townsend Thomas Mulcair and Jack Layton celebrate after Mulcair won a seat in Parliament in a by-election in Montreal's Outremont riding in 2007..

In Rachel Notley, the NDP have a nationally popular provincial leader, trying hard to push a new oil pipeline to tidewater within the rubric of environmental sustainability; in other words to deliver something like what Mulcair once offered via his early support for the Energy East pipeline plan. That’s forgotten now, lost in the wash of monochromatic, anti-pipeline cant. Oil is Canada’s largest export.

Which brings us to trade. Canadians are fixated on U.S. President Donald Trump. For most working people, certainly anyone in an export-driven industry, that resolves to worries about the Canada-U.S. border, and whether it can remain open to the safe, easy passage of goods and people, despite surging protectionism.

In this environment, greater diversity in trade is in Canada’s interest. Free trade overtures to Japan and India, for example, should be top of mind.

Where does the NDP stand? Pre-2015 Mulcair was moderately pro-trade. But following his loss in 2015, and now events down south, the current mood in the party is a reversion to old form — walls and barriers.

It’s difficult to spot, in any of this, the party that toiled so hard to come in from the cold, under a pragmatic populist named Jack Layton. The NDP is to choose Mulcair’s successor in October. There are, as yet, no registered candidates.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( it was published online on Feb 15 that he had left the post but it has not revealed what his new job was till today )

Included in the latest Media News Digest, blogged by Steve Faguy:

•Postmedia columnist Michael Den Tandt has left the company “for another opportunity” that hasn’t been disclosed yet. The departure was immediate upon being announced.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( another of his final columns for the post was full of questions about trump but had praise for the current liberal government if you read the final paragraph )

Michael Den Tandt: Undramatic it may be, but calm response to Trump is right for Canada

Michael Den Tandt | February 7, 2017 4:10 PM ET
More from Michael Den Tandt | @mdentandt

The Trump administration has been likened to a “team of rivals,” borrowing from the Pulitzer-winning book about Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. But in practice this White House is beginning to look more like a team and a rival — the latter being the president himself.

In important areas, Trump’s expressed views starkly diverge from those of key members of his nascent cabinet. The most recent example is Defense Secretary James Mattis, whose assertive reiteration of America’s traditional security pacts with Japan and South Korea this week could hardly be more at odds with remarks his new boss made during last year’s primaries and presidential campaign.

In the spring of 2016, candidate Trump was telling the Japanese and South Koreans to pay up for the privilege of U.S. naval protection, or do that work themselves. Somewhere along the way, lost in the storm of presidential tweets, the new White House has taken an enormous step back towards a conventional Republican stance of enforcing the 70-year-old Pax Americana.

This has implications for Canada, and Ottawa’s response to Trump’s most controversial move so far — a 90-day ban on visits to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries, together with a 120-day freeze on refugee admissions and an indefinite halt to refugee admissions from Syria. This executive order is now on hold, by court order, for an undetermined period.

In the spring of 2016, during work visits to Japan and Taiwan, I encountered a wave of official and popular unease not unlike the sentiment in Canada today.

What will Trump do, if given power? How can the actions of such an erratic personality be anticipated? Would he pull the U.S. Navy out of the Western Pacific? Would longstanding global security relationships dissolve overnight, leading to chaos, or war? Then, as now, it was all Trump — all the time.

And yet, a year on, as I scan reports from Japan and Taiwan, the prevailing mood is one of dawning relief. Mattis’s statements leave no room for interpretation. He has re-asserted that the Senkaku Islands, subject of a dispute between Beijing and Tokyo that began years before Trump came on the political scene, are under U.S. protection, inasmuch as they are administered by allied Japan. Though the Obama administration also hewed to this view, it was far more circumspect about stating it.

This means de facto that China, which currently owns just one aircraft carrier, would face war with the U.S. if it sought to seize territory in Japan’s Ryukyu Archipelago, or made any aggressive military move on Taiwan. Though nothing is certain, the clarity of Mattis’s position restores some modicum of stability.

Trump is, of course, unlike any other American president. But in one respect he has something in common with President Ronald Reagan: He’s a delegator, who apparently doesn’t fear putting strong personalities in key roles, even if they at times disagree with him. And he occasionally does what they want him to do.

The Canadian perspective is simply this: Though the president himself is a loose cannon, his defence and foreign policy team, led by Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is not — and their views appear to hold some sway.

It seems reasonable to surmise that, as they hold to more conventional Republican positions about Asia-Pacific security, Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Mattis and Tillerson will do likewise closer to home. That may have a bearing on the trilateral relationship between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

According to media reports quoting anonymous insiders, Trump and his advisers are in a wounds-licking phase, reviewing the chaotic rollout of executive orders in their first two weeks.

It seems likely that very soon, if it hasn’t happened already, figures such as Mattis, Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will inform the president he can’t keep America safe by infuriating all its friends. At that point, the individuals who make up the body of the U.S. government will be searching for pragmatic partners among traditional allies — Canada first among them.

The temptation for Canadian MPs (with the New Democratic Party ranging well ahead of the pack) to lash out at Trump and his immigration policies is understandable. The net effect of such venting would be to undercut the more traditionalist voices around the president who are most likely to be Canada’s allies, in the event of a major disruptive event such as the collapse of the North American Free Trade Agreement. And, as we saw this week in Japan, the Trump administration can still surprise to the upside.

The Liberal government has so far struck a disciplined tone, asserting Canadian values while protecting Canadian interests. It’s the right tone, unsatisfying though it may be to anyone seeking more dash and drama in Ottawa.

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reporter Michael Den Tandt joins PMO office

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