12/18/2012 04:59 EST | Updated 02/17/2013 05:12 EST

Political Traction: Reflecting on an American tragedy

Jaime Watt joins CBC News Network's Power & Politics host Evan Solomon each week to look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians.

Monitoring the House of Commons question period, mainstream media and the conversation on social media, Watt and his team at Navigator Ltd. determine which issues gained the most attention in official Ottawa, and then measure how much traction those issues managed to find with Canadians outside the nation's capital.

This week, Ottawa was focused on the government's handling of the F-35 program, this time with a "reset" of the fighter jet procurement process announced by Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and the release of independent reports on the cost of the F-35 stealth fighter jet. Those reports looked at a much longer life cycle for the jets and, accordingly, arrived at a much higher price tag than previously announced by the government: $44.8 billion over 42 years.

Although Ottawa was far more engaged that the rest of Canada, the tone of the conversation was similar: a continuing feeling that the government is not getting it right, raising the question of what it will take for the government to change the channel on its handling of the most expensive military procurement program in Canadian history.

The other issue dominating the conversation last week was foreign investment and the goverment's decision to allow Chinese state oil company CNOOC's takeover of Calgary's Nexen to go ahead.

Although the Ottawa conversation acknowledged that a press conference by Stephen Harper was successful in explaining the government's decision, questions still remained in Canadians' conversation about the future of foreign investment and other issues, such as the link between that investment and the arrival of foreign workers in Canada.

But those issues were pushed to the side on Friday with the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn. While the Ottawa conversation focused on gun control and mental health issues, the Canadian conversation was about the devestating loss — and the inability to grasp an American culture that allows access to guns such as those used in the Sandy Hook shootings.

Here are the numbers for the week of Dec. 9: