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David McLaughlin

Policy Commentator

David McLaughlin has over 25 years of political and public policy experience at both the federal and provincial levels. He has served as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Premier Bernard Lord, and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. A deputy minister of policy and planning and intergovernmental affairs in New Brunswick, David was the last President and CEO of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

Jim Prentice's Second Chance to Make A First Impression

The past few years show clearly that there is no more 'business as usual' when it comes to oil sands and climate change. They are linked, like it or not. An early and decisive move by new Premier Jim Prentice would fundamentally alter the Canada-US climate policy dynamic plaguing oil sands development and pipelines construction. It could recharge moribund national climate efforts also.
05/21/2014 11:46 EDT
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Why a Non-Voter Is Likely To Become a Habitual Non-Voter

A citizen-based view of elections takes the view that voter participation independent of party is an important democratic goal in itself. That our democracy is healthier and stronger if more citizens exercised their right to vote habitually. Only one player in the electoral process has this interest at its core, and that is the independent, non-partisan Chief Electoral Officer.
04/01/2014 05:32 EDT

The Environment's Worst Enemy? Energy Companies AND Environmentalists

In my first week in 2007 as the newly-minted President and CEO of the former National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, I sat for breakfast in Toronto with a leading environmental advocate. I asked why he and his ilk were so stridently opposed to the then-new Conservative government's environmental policies. He allowed that despite good work being done on chemicals and toxics and waste issues, the government was simply not doing enough about climate change. Action here was required to get credit there. This was my first introduction to the powerful political elixir of social licence.
11/24/2013 11:29 EST

Mr. Trudeau's Summer Coup

The outlines of the Justin Trudeau Liberal election strategy are now appearing. Purposeful or not (and I think it is), he is getting Canadians to first look, then think, and finally accept him and, by extension, his party as the natural voting alternative to Mr. Harper. Voters do not all wait till election day to make up their minds.
09/10/2013 12:23 EDT

The Real Senate Reform That Will Never Be

Canadians caught a glimpse of what "could be" in the 1992 Charlottetown Accord; the closest we have come to real Senate reform since Confederation.The prime minister who wrought this was Brian Mulroney. But even he was surprised. I know, because I was the one who informed him an elected Senate might just happen.
05/31/2013 05:25 EDT

B.C. Election Means More Environmental Strife

British Columbia had all the makings of Canada's "environmental election." Pipelines and tankers, forests and coastlines, oil and gas, dominated much of the political debate and news coverage. But in the end, pro-development Christy Clark won. So, should pro-growth advocates be celebrating the end of the road for environmentalism as a political force? Not so fast.
05/24/2013 05:30 EDT
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Why Austerity Matters to Canada

Prime Minister Harper is proving a political populist by practice and fiscal hawk by necessity; his finance minister, Jim Flaherty, is actually more the reverse. That tandem is holding, for now. A new Bank of Canada governor means renewed focus on the country's economic direction.
05/07/2013 12:22 EDT
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Canadians Have Never Been Margaret Thatcher Conservatives

Canadian conservatives today cast admiring looks back at the career and accomplishments of Margaret Thatcher. But to her, Canadian conservatives were mostly all wet. Britain was not Canada, then or now. While the mother country's ties still bind, Canadian conservatism is uniquely our own.
04/16/2013 12:13 EDT