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Paul Wells (born 1966) is a Canadian journalist and pundit, currently working as a columnist for Maclean's. His column previously appeared in the back page slot famously occupied for many years by Allan Fotheringham, but is now kept at the front of the magazine with other columns.
Wells was born in Sarnia, Ontario, the son of Eleanor and Allen Rollins Wells. He attended Northern Collegiate Institute and Vocational School where he played trumpet in the school's jazz band and captained a winning Reach for the Top team. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1989 with a BA in political science. While at UWO, Wells spent a lot of his time working on The Gazette, the undergraduate student newspaper, where he was news editor. After graduation, he landed an internship at the Montreal Gazette. Midway through his tenure there, Wells took a year off and moved to France to study politics and improve his French, hoping that this would help him move to the political beat.
In 1994 the Gazette assigned Wells to Ottawa as a political columnist. His work for the Gazette and his occasional pieces in Saturday Night magazine during this period brought him to the attention of editors and political writers, and in 1998 Wells moved to the new National Post daily newspaper as a political columnist. Wells became frustrated at the Post after its sale to the Asper family and the severe downsizing that followed, and in 2003 he moved to Maclean's. Wells supplements his weekly column with his blog, Inkless Wells hosted on the Maclean's website.
Wells' first book, Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper's New Conservatism, debuted in October 2006 and quickly appeared on multiple Canadian best seller lists. In early 2012, he released his e-book The Harper Decade, following Stephen Harper's rise to power.
Wells is concerned with the state of higher education in Canada and has devoted several columns to this issue. He argues that Canada could gain from the current decline in international graduate student applications to the United States, but is not doing enough to encourage potential graduates to apply to Canadian universities. Wells' solution to improve Canadian education is to increase tuition fees. While Wells does state that there should be increased public funding of higher education, he has also consistently urged lower taxes, making it unclear where the extra public money would come from.
Wells promotes the politics of substance over personality. He was particularly critical of former Prime Minister Paul Martin, and regularly railed at unsubstantial announcements coming from the Prime Minister's Office. While most of his attention (and criticism and sarcasm) had been focused on the formerly governing Liberals, Wells also has criticized Stephen Harper's Conservative party, notably for their positions on same sex marriage.[clarification needed] Wells supports the Clarity Act and was an early proponent of the act's author, Stéphane Dion who went on to be elected Liberal Party leader.
Wells is a fan of jazz music, a topic he frequently writes about in his blog.
- Appeared on CBC News: The Hour, where he answered the host's "five election questions", 28 November 2005.