“I double dare you.”

October 21st, 2020 by Peter Lowry

The kids are bruising for a fight but unsure of the outcome. The Ottawa liberals are tantalizing the conservatives with the prospect of an election. The only problem is that it could all be for nothing. If nobody can win, what is the point?

And that is the real problem. No matter how you read the polls, there is no other likely outcome to an election than what already exists today. The only logical outcome is a few seats this way or a few seats that way. If you cannot win, why do it?

And that is the question. The conservatives are trying to corner the liberals with corruption charges which have little real support from the voters. It is an attempt to oversize the We scandal.

What the conservatives do not realize is that the We charity is a dead issue. The voters have much more serious questions to think about. The covid-19 figures keep growing and all the voters want is a vaccine. They want a Halloween to enjoy for their kids. They want us all to have a Merry Christmas. They want life in Canada to get back to normal. Then they will have time to listen to politicians who might or might not know what they are doing.

But, at this time, the conservatives only have their new leader in the crosshairs. Erin O’Toole can ill-afford an election. His problems are the attack dogs such as conservative Pierre Poilievre from Ottawa. They are undermining O’Toole’s ideas for a kinder, gentler conservative party and dragging him into a fight that he does not need.

But never fear folks, Jagmeet Singh and his sorry new democrats will come to the rescue. They can hardly afford an election either.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The unindicted Bill Blair.

October 20th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

It took them a long time to start to redress the wrong and they still have not got it right. Here it is ten years down the road and the only people we are confident are being compensated to date are the lawyers. The G20 summit in Toronto in 2010 has often been described as “the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.”

And the man in charge at the time is now Canada’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness. It is a travesty that the person in charge can pass the responsibility to underlings and escape blame for his failure to properly direct his police.

With the already largest municipal police force in Canada, Blair’s police were augmented by federal, provincial and municipal forces from across Canada. It was this massive force that stood off and allowed rampant destruction in downtown Toronto. Fools and anarchists ran amok smashing store windows and burning police cars. In the end, it was mainly innocent bystanders and gawkers who paid the price of illegal detainment, search and incarceration.

The illegal kettling of innocent bystanders the next day was in retribution for what the police had allowed downtown the day before.

And where the hell was Toronto police chief Bill Blair? While he later acknowledged to the citizens of Toronto that the actions of his officers were his responsibility, Blair has never apologized for his failure to act for Torontonians on their behalf.

The G20 that summer weekend will go down in Canadian history in unison with the Winnipeg General Strike as an egregious breach of the rights of Canadians.

Many Canadians would like to know why Justin Trudeau has chosen Blair for election as a liberal MP and for positions at the cabinet table?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Justin Trudeau did it wrong.

October 19th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

Thinking back to that lame throne speech that took so long and said so little, it is now clear that prime minister Justin Trudeau was wrong. He promised us a look toward the future and all he really gave us was more Covid-19. Instead of a positive look towards tomorrow, he dwelt on the ugliness of the pandemic.

Oh sure, he included the child care for the new democrats to support. We were all aware that nobody really wanted an awkward election so soon. They all talked the talk of political combat but meant so much less.

And we heard some answers for the chilling problems of long-term nursing homes and the financial concerns of a decimated print media.

But it was all wrapped in the context of the pandemic with wage subsidies and another version of employment insurance. It all came with soaring debt and no answers.

It was a sad story without the lift Canadian spirits needed. Our government promised us a rebound after the pandemic but there was nothing there but the rebuilding, the paying down of a large debt.

We were a country in need of jobs, challenges, new horizons and a healthy future and our government let us down. We needed to see our future and the government failed us. We needed confidence that the pandemic had an end. We needed to rebuild our health care. We needed to be part of restoring the primary engines of our economy. We needed to see Canada’s role in a better, healthier, progressive world.

Canadians thrive on challenge. They need a positive future. They can handle the hardships, if they can see ahead into a better tomorrow.

Justin Trudeau presented the challenges. He forgot the rewards. He concentrated on healing and left out the future. He still does not know how to lead.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

You don’t get much for US$650,000.

October 18th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

When they hustled president Donald Trump off to Walter Reed medical center a couple weeks ago, there were questions about whether he had covid-19 or not. Many wondered why vice-president Pence was not on standby to take over for an ‘incapacitated’ president? All we know is that a cantankerous Trump was returned to the White House at an estimated cost of about $650,000, including helicopter transport.

And the amazing part is that the expensive treatment at Walter Reed has all been debunked as useless in large studies. All we know is that for the next week, Mr. Trump sounded like he was getting over a bout of laryngitis. He was as nasty as ever.

The key to his survival, according to the doctors at Walter Reed, was the wonder drug Remdisivir. This wonder drug has been debunked by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO study involved some 11,000 patients and was found to have no effect on covid-19 patients.

This was similar to the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that the president had been telling people he was taking. This drug also failed to have any benefits in larger studies.

But we have the irrepressible Mr. Trump, unmasked and preaching to the unmasked across America that the pandemic is no big deal. After all, he tells them, he expects a miracle vaccine before election day and America will be great again.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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It would never win a ‘QCJO.’

October 17th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

Let’s face facts, you rush things and you screw up. Mind you, I also found it funny. It makes you wonder just how many Alberta voters made the same mistake. Did you think it was Alberta’s Jason Kenny(stet) who had become a husband and father? It is unlikely that we would ever be awarded the designation of a “qualified Canadian journalism organization” (QCJO) for that boo-boo.

It all started yesterday when I had absolutely no idea what to write about. For ten years, I have been (in one form or another) writing a   daily posting for BabelontheBay.com. We never pretended to be anything other than a commentator on things political. We acquired a sizeable number of readers over the years (more around election times).

But we are fallible. And you would not believe how nasty some NDPers get about some of my comments about their party. I have been known to make the occasional error. And I know better. I am the first one to tell Google noviciates that you triple check anything in Google. It is full of silly errors.

And I did not check. My only excuse was that the apartment above me was undergoing renovations (for the past month) and the guy who was fixing my bathroom showed up to do that job. The noise was, to say the least, distracting. I must admit, I was not checking my sources. I finally found out this morning how I had screwed up. I am totally embarrassed. I forthwith apologize to Alberta premier Jason Kenney. I was wrong to say he had married and reproduced. Far be it from me to question a gentleman’s preferences in lifestyle. I blew it.

But I started out today to write about the liberal government’s intend to give piles of money to qualified Canadian journalism organizations. It has been in the offing for a couple years now. And maybe it is not going to happen at all. My only concern is that if they give money to the liberals who just bought the Toronto Star, will they also have to give money to the Americans who own PostMedia?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The Temptation to be Tory.

October 16th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

It appears that the leopard is still unable to change his spots. At least conservatives such as Ontario’s Doug Ford and Alberta’s Jason Kenney fail to stray long from their expected courses. Mean buggers, both of them. They are conservative to the core.

Take Jason Kenney. Since college in San Francisco, Jason Kenney has been a misogynist and an in-it-for-himself politician. This is the Kenney who has devoted his life to manipulative politics. This is a petty politician who blames the federal government for all the ills of the Alberta economy. This is a politician who blames the federal government for the problems of the Alberta health care system. And yet he fights with the doctors over billings and fires hundreds of nurses and healthcare technicians. It appears that he thinks the covid-19 epidemic is just a federal problem.

This is a petty politician who puts Alberta taxpayers’ money into failing pipelines and pipe-dreams about Alaska railroads. Kenney seems to have no understanding of how a better economic future of Alberta needs to be built.

At least Kenney can cater to the greed of some Alberta voters for a resource economy while Doug Ford, in Ontario has the problem of keeping and building on a once robust industrial-financial-resource based economy. Ford sees his role as putting up a fight against those promoting a carbon-free environment and better land-use planning. It is hard for him to say ‘no’ to developers who want to build on the Oak Ridges Moraine. In the meantime, he is squeezing teachers and healthcare staff who take up so much of the attention of the Ontario government.

There is no question but that Ford and Kenney have very different objectives than the federal government. They are conservatives.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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They’re giving away seats in parliament?

October 14th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

Conservative Hugh Segal should know better. Liberal Greg Sorbara likely never knew better. And I have no idea who the NDP’s Zanana Akande might be. It was just that the three of them want to give away seats in Canada’s parliament. They have some silly idea written up in the Toronto Star that the new Green Party leader should just be given a free seat in parliament. I am the old-fashioned type. I have always felt that you should win your seat in parliament through hard work.

Of course, in the case of the seat being contested in Toronto Centre, CTV’s Marci Ien has already been appointed as the liberal candidate by Justin Trudeau. Few people would question her likelihood of winning. That area of Toronto has been mainly liberal since 1968. It was when I helped my late friend Robert Kaplan first win the adjacent Don Valley riding against conservative Dalton Camp. I always kidded Bob about his father-in-law Joe Tannenbaum bragging to his friends at the Primrose Club that it only cost $75,000 to win a seat in parliament.

The three writers tell us that the precedent for this seat give-away is that in the 2019 Burnaby, B.C. bye-election, the Greens did not run a candidate against Jagmeet Singh of the New Democrats. Do they dare tell us how well that has worked for the NDP? Since then, the NDP have been on a downhill route.

And we have absolutely no idea how the new Green party leader will preform once she (if ever) gets to parliament. All we know is that the former Green leader, Elizabeth May, was not handed a seat. She worked darn hard at winning a seat and did a good job once she got there.

Our tradition in Canada is for party leaders to work for their seat in parliament. It is a system that works well for us.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Democracy Defied.

October 13th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

Canadians kid themselves about our democracy. It is not by any stretch a true democracy. According to official records, it is a constitutional monarchy, where the governor general represents the monarch. In our faux House of Lords, we have the party in power appointing the senators. It is certainly not a system suitable for a true democracy.

Democracy is based on the ancient Greek concept of ‘’demos” which is rule by the citizen body. This democracy is based on the freedom of the individual to hold meetings, speak freely to right wrongs, to be secure against arbitrary arrest, and to live where regular and free elections are held whereby all citizens get to choose their representatives and governments can be changed by the wishes of the electorate.

Canadians have never had a say in their system of government. The decisions for confederation in 1867 were made in London, England. And good luck in finding any Canadian politicians willing to try to change anything today. The only changes we have made in confederation have been to make it more difficult to make changes.

Canada’s constitution is tied in knots between the provinces and the federal government. We can laugh at those separatists in Quebec who think they would be better off without the rest of Canada. They have a far better deal within Canada than they would ever get anywhere else.

While Canadians have many organizations seeking to influence, change and sometimes, even protect, the degree of democracy that we do enjoy, there are very few who really understand that the people the least supportive of our democracy are politicians. They rarely volunteer to be voted from office. Those running political parties would much prefer to run them as oligarchies. Party leaders such as conservative Stephen Harper and liberal Justin Trudeau have concentrated far more political power in their offices than our constitution ever considered. Our only safeguard so far in this is that the political parties have a measure of control but it is less and less as time goes on.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The insecure Donald Trump.

October 12th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

Look at that son-of-a-bitch standing up there on the Truman balcony of the White House. Thinking about it, you wonder why this boor would insult every previous president of the United States of America by using the White House so irrespectively. And then you smile. You know why. He is afraid of losing.

This guy is in fear of losing. He would do anything. He would try anything. He desperately wants that second term. And the guy’s not stupid. He is a lot of things. Stupid is not included.

What confuses people is that he lies so much. He appears to live in a fantasy world that would believe him. It used to be one of the things that confused me about his followers. They know he lies. They seem to be alternately acknowledging the lies and being amused by them.

Talking to an American university professor the other day who voted for Trump four years ago, he admitted that he was not going to vote for him this time. He has had enough of Trump.

But then he told me, he was not going to vote for the other bastards either. This shows the real problem. American politics has grown so corrupt over the years that people are now believing everything they are told about how corrupt it has become. Both sides are to blame. And until, people start to get serious about cleaning up the mess, nothing is going to change.

A friend on Canada’s wet coast told me the other day that democracy is nothing other than the governance with the consent of the governed. I am still thinking about that and other delusions about democracy.

What really scares me about Trump is that he does not even believe in democracy. He envies his friend Vladimir Putin in Russia. Trump wants a fascist regime. Give him four more years and he has got it.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The only fair vote is a run-off vote.

October 11th, 2020 by Peter Lowry

Nobody claims first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting is perfect. What it gives us is a means to get things done. It is fast, efficient and trusted. It is the solution to the tendency in many forms of voting of not being able to form a cohesive government.

As a long-time proponent of FPTP voting, it sometimes surprises people when I point out that, it is not the best system. It works just fine for a two-party system when your choice is between party A or party B. It creates complications and frustrations for situations when there are three or more parties in contention.

Simply put, in the FPTP system, you tend to have fewer political parties. This is because the parties will have made many of their compromises on policies before the election. You get what are called ‘big tent’ parties whose policies can span a broad segment of the political spectrum. These parties sometimes spend an inordinate amount of their time arguing about their public pronouncements.

In systems with a large number of parties, you find that the tendency is for the parties to be more tightly knit—devoted to a major cause or singular objective.

A good example of this is the situation with Canada’s Green Party. While nobody misses the ecological objective of the party, it can leave voters in the dark about its objectives in other areas such as foreign policy.

Having managed major campaigns, and played many different roles in Canadian elections, my only compromise on solving the problems of FPTP is to suggest that if you want a 50 per cent choice (or more) for your politicians, you have run-off elections. This enables the electorate to decide if they want a majority or minority government. It enables the politicians to clarify the issues they consider important. It makes for better decision making.

This is not preferential voting. Where people vote on choice one, two, three etc.—what some people call an instant run-off—is a cop-out. When dealing with a large number of candidates, preferential voting tends to come down to the least contentious candidate—not the most preferred.

In the age of the computer, Internet voting is becoming practical, safe and increasingly inexpensive. That will allow us to have fast, effective run-off voting.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me