Each week, the Maclean’s Ottawa bureau sits down with Cormac MacSweeney to discuss the headlines of the week. This week, we delve into the work of a parliamentary committee that proposed new rules on doctor-assisted death, and parse opposition reaction, dilemmas that doctors will face, and religious leaders’ objections. Liberal MP Rob Oliphant, one of the committee’s chairs, joins the podcast to hash out the controversial options on the table.
We’re also joined by the Angus Reid Institute’s Shachi Kurl, whose polling data gives a sense of how Canadians feel about large deficits proposed by the governing Liberals in advance of their first budget.
And the Maclean’s panel ponders the state of the Conservative Party as right-leaning politicos gather for the annual Manning Centre Conference in Ottawa. The panel also looks ahead to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s meeting next week with the premiers.
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The full episode
Part 1. Ottawa confronts doctor-assisted death.
The parliamentary committee tasked with making recommendations on a new law that governs doctor-assisted death has released its report. Cormac MacSweeney and Liberal MP Rob Oliphant, a committee co-chair, talked through the various proposals on the table—including rules for people with mental illness and mature minors.
Part 2. Politicians, doctors and religious leaders speak out on doctor-assisted death.
Doctor-assisted death offers tremendously complex challenges to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, whose job is to craft and pass a bill before a looming June deadline. John Geddes and Cormac MacSweeney consider the ethical, legal and political dilemmas given voice by opposition politicians, doctors and religious leaders. In this segment, you’ll hear from Conservative MP Michael Cooper, NDP MP Murray Rankin, Sen. Kelvin Ogilvie, and Dr. Jeff Blackmer, the Canadian Medical Association’s vice-president, medical professionalism.
Part 3. Do Canadians support big deficits?
Finance Minister Bill Morneau will table his first federal budget on March 22. He’s pitching deficits far larger than anything the Liberals campaigned on during the last federal election. And the party’s promise to balance the federal books by 2019 isn’t a foregone conclusion. The Angus Reid Institute’s Shachi Kurl spoke to bureau chief John Geddes about how the Canadian public feels about the government’s red ink. Want a primer on polling on this issue? Check out Angus Reid’s numbers.
Part 4. The Maclean’s panel: Conservatives do some soul-searching
Kevin O’Leary went to Ottawa, where his putative run for Conservative Party leader took another step forward at the annual Manning Centre Conference. Tory MP Michael Chong, sitting on a panel with O’Leary and also a possible leadership candidate, offered a very different pitch to the right-leaning audience. John Geddes and Paul Wells consider where Conservatives need to improve if they hope to win again—and the strengths and weaknesses of the party’s next wave of prospective leaders.
The panel also previews Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s next meetup with Canada’s premiers in Vancouver. They dissect the PM’s approach to climate-change negotiations—a pledge to talk it all out, and an aversion to arguments—and wonder how Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall will play with the rest of the group of provincial leaders.