All’s Wells that ends well: talkin’ politics
By Marshall Bellamy
GAZETTE IS DEFINITELY ON THE HOT LIST AT MACLEAN’S,
I KID YOU NOT. Paul Wells, back page editor at Maclean’s
magazine and former Gazetter, talks about Canadian politics
in the Social Science Centre yesterday.
Paul Wells, the back page editor for Maclean’s magazine
and a Gazette alumnus, visited Western yesterday to discuss
the upcoming federal election and other political issues of
The discussion was largely centred around the much-anticipated
federal election, which many expect to be called soon.
“It’s reasonable to bet that Martin is going to
win something close to a majority,” he said. “That’s
fine, unless you’re Paul Martin who wants to be the best
prime minister ever.
“I wouldn’t want to be read here as making any
firm predictions for the election,” he added.
“The opposition parties seem to be finding their footing,” Wells
noted, pointing out the example of the Conservative Party. “[But
Harper is] the inheritor of a party that people across the
country don’t really want to vote for.”
Wells also made light of some of the criticisms he has levelled
at Martin since he became prime minister. “Martin came
to office talking about ideas, and he became prime minister
realizing he doesn’t have any,” he said. Any firm
plans from Martin would have been developed between his leadership
victory and the federal election, something less likely now
that Martin is worrying about the aftermath of the sponsorship
scandal. “People are noticing they don’t have a
According to Wells, Martin has surrounded himself with advisors
with expertise in political campaigning, noting that since
becoming prime minister, Martin has not hired experts in governance
“It was easy to think you could do better than [former
prime minister] Jean Chrétien because he made a life’s
work of making the job look easy,” Wells said of Martin’s
perceptions of the job, noting that many Martin Liberals would
ask “what would Jean do?” and then do the opposite.
“Paul Martin’s Ottawa leaks like a sieve — it’s
a reporter’s joy,” he added. “It’s
starting to feel like the last years of Chrétien — you
begin to drift away until the activists of Chrétien
come in. The problem is you don’t have any activists
“I think he represents a strong voice in Canadian politics,” said
political science masters student Darryl Whitehead, citing
jokes he read on Wells’ website that he feels accurately
reflect the state of the Liberals.
“I think he epitomizes the tone of the press corps — which
is important to get because it is difficult to understand,” said
fourth-year political science student Tait Simpson, noting
that federal politics is usually complicated, and Wells made
it palatable for everyone else.