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From the archives

Our Violent National Game

The great hockey debate continues

Pax Atlantica

NATO’s long-lasting relevance

Jeff Costen

Jeff Costen worked for three cabinet ministers in Ontario’s most recent Liberal government. He is now a principal at Navigator Limited.

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Jeff Costen

Campaign Confidential

On the run with Terry Fox March 2024
Terry Fox requires no introduction. His story inspired the world’s largest annual one day cancer fundraiser — bringing in more than $850 million since 1980 — and he is regularly cited as one of the most admired Canadians. At least ten books have been published and two motion pictures produced about him, and over 9,000 runs are hosted in his name every…

The Senator

When Jack Austin went to Ottawa September 2023
Political memoirs often fall into one of two categories. Ascendant politicians write to showcase their potential, as with Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope or Justin Trudeau’s Common Ground. More experienced or retired politicians try to cement their legacy or contextualize a controversial decision, as with Dalton McGuinty’s self-serving Making a Difference

Puppeteering and Electioneering

A look back on the 2021 campaign December 2022
Conventional wisdom says that Canadian electoral politics is increasingly centralized. Trends in marketing, technology, and fundraising all favour consolidation, leading parties to adopt a franchise model where candidates serve as ambassadors of a national brand rather than as independent actors. The media and voters overwhelmingly look through a national lens, with the reputation or perceived quality of local candidates being the main driver of votes for only as little as 4 percent of the…

The Lessons of  ’21

Before we make election October 2021
Most election commentary focuses on the personalities involved in the horse race. Some contests, however, say much more about what the country thinks of itself — and where its citizens want to go. In a pivotal time for Canada, still seized with the trauma of an all-consuming crisis, faced with historic deficits, and dealing with a divided electorate and whispers of…

The Envoy

Mark Carney has a plan July | August 2021
In January 2012, the world’s leading economists, executives, academics, and politicians gathered in snowy Davos to discuss the future of global commerce. With most countries still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis and with populist, anti-capitalist movements like Occupy Wall Street gaining traction, that year’s meeting of the best and brightest was different. “Capitalism, in its current…

Operative Words

Behind the campaign curtain November 2020
Roger Stone has a Netflix documentary about him. David Axelrod’s memoir is a New York Times bestseller. While American political operatives have long been the subject of media interest and lore, their Canadian counterparts tend to work in the shadows and live in relative anonymity. Condensed election cycles, more stringent spending limits, and third parties have created…

The Long Change

Hockey’s unassuming hero May 2020
Before the pandemic, before isolation, and before the suspension of all major sporting events, coaches were going through a reckoning. The increased empowerment of player associations, the use of social media as an accountability mechanism, and the changing expectations of what constitutes safe, fair treatment of athletes have all illuminated systemic problems in sport. Many widely accepted standards and expectations of yesterday just no longer…

Referendum Trudeau

He campaigned in poetry but governed in prose October 2019
As the leaves fall and the election nears, the Canadian media has framed October 21 as a referendum on Justin Trudeau. The progressive poster boy and beacon of promise will have to answer for his track record, the narrative goes. Has he lived up to his own self-­generated expectations? It’s a question that John Ivison and Aaron…