Archive for February, 2018

First: Forget the pollsters.

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

If there was one piece of information that helps us handle the current political situation in Ontario, it is the knowledge that the pollsters cannot cope with turmoil. Even if some of your best friends forever are pollsters, there are times when their forecasts must be ignored. It is in this period before an election that they become skittish and excited and their figures become wildly erratic.

Add to that the ongoing self-immolation of the pollsters’ preference-for-change party and they are beside themselves on their therapist’s couch.

And, admittedly, the Ontario conservatives have created a conundrum. Nobody expected the potential ruling party to self-destruct five months before the provincial election. Their attempt at changing leaders has been sloppy.

The Romans at least killed Julius Caesar. They did not leave him writhing and twisting in the winds of winter for all to see and mock.

And conservative guru Jaime Watt admits that the Albany Club decision to let Patrick Brown run to succeed himself was the only right decision. And yet, he then criticizes Brown for doing it!

We can all understand that Brown willfully destroyed himself in the attempt to fight off the challengers. Watt even gave credence to the piling on of specious charges seeking to further defame the fallen conservative leader.

But then Watt supplied his own scenario to further the possible redemption of Brown. He told us that Brown is ‘well liked’ in Barrie. As someone who lives in the middle of what was to be Brown’s new electoral district, I can factually advise you that there are also many people who despise Mr. Brown who will be sure to vote here.

To tell us that Brown’s support by conservative Paul Godfrey’s National Post and social media channels were helpful, you can only consider the suggestion as a weak attempt at political humour.

We realize that Brown did nothing wrong (according to CTV News) other than demonstrate his terrible lack of common sense, his inability to lead, his unattractiveness for women, his emotional state and his inability to control himself. Regret cannot cure those problems. He should have been out of politics many years ago. Let us hope we will not have Patrick Brown to kick around any more.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Conservative Cauldron Continues.

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

‘Tis the time of the witches. Their cauldron continues to boil and bubble. They use paddles to stir their daily trouble. Their spirit has again cursed Barrie’s Patrick Brown. Brown is down, Down for the count? We frown.

Did somebody do the mathematics? Did the ethics commissioner ask the wrong question? Are the ‘enquiring minds’ of the Ontario provincial police making enquiries? Did the loose cannon, Randy Hillier MPP accidently hit a target? Among the tears of Barrie voters, there is many a smile this morning.

But all bets are off. Recomputing the Tory race on a daily basis is an impossible task. A morning line is simply that. It hardly predicts the future. I remember one time doping out the Breeders Stakes and finding the perfect horse. That horse was going to make me rich. It went eagerly into the gate and took off in the pack. It showed great form for about 20 metres and then dropped dead. My fortune was hauled off the track in a truck.

We knew that Brown was a loser. We knew that he could beat Tanya Granic Allen. That was to be his contribution. There was a coin toss over Brown and Ford. We figured that more Tories were mad at the elites than gave a damn about Brown and gave the edge to Ford.

But you can never trust a preferential ballot. How do you think the federal Conservatives ended up with ‘Chuckles’ Scheer? And what helped make it happen was a preferential ballot. I have always maintained that the preferential ballot is a way for losers to be the choosers. And they keep on showing that I am right.

Mind you, giving every electoral district the same weight in the voting is also lunacy. Electoral districts are not created equal. The original concept of a riding was the distance a man on horse could travel in one day. It had little to do with the number of voters.

It is like the foolishly corrupted system of the electoral college in the United States. There were three million more Americans who wanted Clinton as president but the electoral college Trumped them.

The only good news for the Ontario Tories is that Patrick Brown will not be there to kick around. This is a race for the distaff.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

They are killing their children in America.

Monday, February 26th, 2018

It seems that Bashar al-Assad needs the Russians to help him kill children in Syria. Many world organizations have already charged al-Assad with crimes against humanity.

But what about Donald Trump’s crimes against humanity? Is he not culpable when he caters to his friends in the National Rifle Association (NRA)? Does he really think the NRA can teach teachers to shoot back? There will be no more basketball hoops on school property. They will need the space for the teachers’ shooting range.

But what good would gun-toting teachers be? There was an armed and trained guard outside that Florida school recently and we hear he was afraid to go where he could hear someone was shooting. I gather he was fired before President Trump could pin a medal on him.

I do not want to be critical of our American friends and neighbours but as long as you allow guns to be distributed as generously as Cracker Jack prizes, children will continue to die.

You can hardly put a bounty on NRA members. There are many Americans already working hard to solve this problem peacefully. It needs lots of reason, encouragement and a big stick. There are obviously some Americans in need of re-education. You can start with the members of Congress.

You can tell them that carrying a gun does not make anybody safe. There is always somebody with a bigger gun with a longer range.

And people really have to get over the idea that automatic weapons replace the need for accuracy.

In any country, there are people who are mentally and emotionally unsuited to be walking around with guns. When you insist on everybody having a right to their weapon of choice, you know that you are going to have some mistakes made. It is inevitable. People will die. And regrettably young people will also be in the line of fire. If you think your Second Amendment rights are more important than the lives of children, you have a serious problem.

And thinking of that problem—and if you are angry about it—you should put some purpose to your anger. Target the elections this November. Plan ahead, work ahead and organize ahead. You want to support candidates for congress who will support firm gun control. Not this namby-pamby stuff they spout—real gun control.

All you might save is the life of another child—carelessly cut down by people who should not have guns.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

In search of a Red Tory in Ontario.

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

There are two former Conservative Members of Parliament whom I could vouch for as Red Tories. They are both very fine and principled gentlemen. They are Patrick Boyer and David Crombie. If you told me that you believed Patrick Brown MPP was a Red Tory, I might wet my pants laughing.

Patrick Brown is whatever you want him to be to get your vote for the conservative leadership.

There might be about ten per cent of conservative party members in Ontario who could be what are considered social conservatives. These people are not likely to cast a vote for Patrick, as they consider him to be a back-slider. He was raised Catholic and anti-abortion and is only allowed to fool them once. They are voting for that lovely Ms. Granic Allen. Brown is a pariah to them even as second choice.

There is another sizeable group of conservatives, you can think of as “Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” They are not all that sure of what they are as mad as hell about but Doug Ford will tell them when he gets around to it. And their anger will be muted as they tend to be concentrated in about 20 per cent of Ontario’s provincial constituencies. They also share those electoral districts with less vociferous conservatives.

One of the demographic characteristics of conservatives in Ontario is that they tend to be older than the average of other parties. They would include many who remember the halcyon days of Bill Davis’ Ontario. These people, with their faulty memories tend to be the ones who might vote for an older, more soft-spoken candidate such as Christine Elliott. And I will bet you a penny or two that if ballot figures are released, Christine will have the highest number of votes on the first ballot count.

But Christine’s luck might not hold. The voting system works against her. It depends on Brian Mulroney’s kid. Brian might have been hated by many Canadians at the end of his reign in Ottawa but the ones who still loved him were Conservative Party members. These people tend to see Caroline Mulroney as heir apparent to a saviour. They see her as successful, solidly conservative and the successor to the Tory tradition in Ontario.

If Caroline would only stop dissing Patrick Brown, she would be the natural second choice for all those people picking losers on the first ballot. She also needs those second-choice votes from people foolishly voting for Patrick.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Elitism bites Trudeau’s ass.

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

It is hard to say what embarrasses Canadians more. Seeing pictures of Trudeau and his family dressing up Bollywood-style to the amusement of the Indian Sub-continent is bad enough.

As often as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been warned though about his elitist approach, those chickens have come home to roost. It looks like the most serious problem he has created for himself is the Senate of Canada. By installing an elite committee to independently recommend elite appointments, he now has a senate that is setting its own timetables and holding up legislation.

It seems to be justice though that the current major piece of legislation being delayed by the independent senate is Trudeau’s signature legalization of marijuana. The prime minister promised that Canadians could all be toking up on Canada Day this year. That is turning out to be as good a promise as his saying that the 2015 election was the last time we would use first-past-the-post voting.

It is Justin Trudeau’s own fault that so many tons of cannabis will be stale by the time Canadians get to buy some legally. He gave the file to an ex-cop to manage. Bill Blair must have stopped at Timmies often for donuts.

It took Blair a long time to get his mind around the bureaucracy needed to manage the pot industry. He must have been surprised by the higher profit margins when the industry only had to pay taxes instead of bribes.

The delay will make the provinces happy. No doubt Ontario will be able to have two stores ready to open when cannabis is finally declared legal in the Canada Gazette.

I have not checked with Quebec lately but that province should have made a deal with the Mafia. Nothing need change. The Mafia could do the growing, distribution and accounting and they could have the bikers to do their home delivery. Customers would pay promptly, or else.

But what really worries me about this fiasco with the senate is that some legislation that the elite senators really dislike—such as taxing the one per cent fairly—is going to be held up by Trudeau’s elite senate. This is going to start anti-senate riots on Wellington Street in Ottawa.

And what is Trudeau going to do when these elite senators find out they can also originate some legislation. Can you just imagine the type of legislation they will start to develop? They are likely to move the senate to Florida for the winter each year. They will at least get it away from that awful weather in Ottawa.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t count the Liberals out in Ontario.

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

It has been a bit disquieting lately to see the progressive bloggers’ web site infiltrated by conservatives. In checking to see what people are saying these days, I came across a conservative who was telling readers why he was voting for Patrick Brown in the Ontario PC leadership fiasco. Rather than just write him off as an idiot, I actually read all of his 2500 ill-chosen words.

First of all, this guy seems to have bought into the assumption that the Ontario Liberals are going to lose the June election. If I knew him, I would offer to make a substantial bet on those Liberals.

The polls favouring the Tories should have crested last month but the Brown fiasco sucked all the media oxygen out of the air. It was a good time for the Liberals to go low key, do town halls and mend constituency fences.

Think back over the past four weeks and ask yourself what did you learn that was positive about the Ontario PCs? Is Tanya Granic Allen with her anti-abortion bigots a good choice for a leader? How about Doug Ford as a pale imitation of Donald Trump? There is former MPP Christine Elliott who took off rather than stay at Queen’s Park with Patrick Brown as PC leader. Lucky us, we are being honoured by the candidacy of Brian Mulroney’s little girl—she has never held public office but obviously learned a lot from “Lyin Brian.” And then, there is Patrick Brown.

Patrick Brown proved his mettle on January 24. The putz refused to listen to his staff. He went into a news conference—that he called—with all the emotion showing and made an ass of himself. And then he did a perp walk down the stairs and out to his car. There certainly are not too many people in Ontario who would consider that scene as appropriate for someone who thinks they should be premier.

When the people who really run the PC party in Ontario said—by a 3 to 2 vote—that Patrick could run for leader, they did it with the knowledge that he could not win. They had no legal ground by which to refuse him as a candidate anyway. So, they are letting him make a fool of himself and letting him make a bigger fool of anyone who wastes a vote on him.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Terminating the Tory Turmoil.

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Has peace been restored? Has the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario come back to its senses?

There was a wonderful shot on Global Television last night of a lone television reporter standing vigil on King Street in front of the Albany Club in Toronto. The sheen of that heavy wooden door has guarded the club and conservative secrets for some 125 years. It is from this club that all decisions of the Ontario Conservatives are believed to be made.

And it was from the Albany Club that we found out that Patrick Brown could run to replace himself as conservative leader. Mind you, why not? It is obvious to any savvy politico that Patrick Brown cannot win.

The situation was out of control. Temporary caucus leader Vic Fedeli had willfully ejected Patrick Brown from the conservative caucus at Queen’s Park on the flimsiest of grounds. He did not want Brown to run in Barrie–Springwater—Oro-Medonte. He said he had not been vetted!

The gal who might be the wicked witch of the north who is running for leader on behalf of the religious conservatives: nobody bothered to vet her!

And did anyone think to vet Doug Ford? That guy never read the rules for candidates for the leadership and says he is running against those Albany Club elites.

But the Tory caucus’ loose cannon, Randy Hillier, has jumped into the various arguments with his irrational charges. Many thought Randy was going to run for the Ontario Landowners’ new political party.

And who is surprised that Patrick Brown has bought himself a little get-away place in Shanty Bay (where Barrie’s rich live) for just $2.3 million? (It might cost $8 million in Toronto.)

Brown can come up with a $600,000 down payment on that shanty but it takes him four weeks to find a woman who will tell the media she is his girl friend and that he is a swell guy. Those of us in Barrie who know Brown by sight have never seen him with the same woman for more than ten minutes. They leave.

You do have to wonder at the reputed price offered for Brown’s share of Hooligans bar. That $375,000 offer seems a little excessive but then I have no idea what 200,000 Aeroplan miles are worth. All I know is that after close to a decade going back and forth to Ottawa and all those trips the taxpayers paid to India, he probably has lots of Aeroplan miles to redeem.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Did the Lion roar or snore?

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Since the name ‘Singh’ for Sikhs means ‘lion,’ it makes you wonder about New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh. Is he just a cowardly lion, looking for a political Wizard of Oz to give him the courage to address the real needs of his party? He certainly failed to deal with any of the real issues this past weekend.

And you can hardly replace action and direction with humour. Even with better than 90 per cent approval for his leadership, Singh let the party down. All the 90 per cent vote meant was that the party had nobody in mind to replace Singh at this time.

Singh addressed a party in turmoil and told them jokes.

The party is facing a general election across Canada in less than two years and has no clear direction. The party lacks purpose, policies and potential. It has no future and so Singh is obviously the best person to lead them into it.

The leap of the LEAP Manifesto turned into a hop. Singh’s attitude was that if you forget about it, it just might go away.

Is there anywhere for the party to go in today’s Quebec?

Was Andrea Horwath of the large Ontario delegation really there or was that just another NDP apparition heading to sure oblivion in just a few months?

And if there were any delegates there from B.C. or Alberta, why were there no good fist fights?

When you think of the number of Sikhs who bought memberships in the party to elect Singh, you would at least expect Singh to thank them.

It was nice that Singh brought his fiancé along to introduce her. Maybe that was why he did not have his mind on party problems.

But as for the rest of the weekend, it was a typical NDP convention. There were lots of airy-fairy resolutions that will go nowhere. This is now a party where you take the high road and stay out of the mud of battle.

The old joke about Canada’s political parties continues to hold true: Conservatives come to a convention to drink; Liberals come to a convention to get laid; and NDPers come to a convention to get pamphlets.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario PCs: The Morning Line.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

It’s a muddy, cold day at the track but thankfully this race is not too long. The candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party will be At Post before you know it.

Tanya Granic Allen: 20 to 1 Why anyone would want to put up a $125,000 entry fee to include this person in the race is hard to believe. Maybe the point is that social conservatives really are a force in the party and they want to be heard. They should have picked someone who is less shrill and more credible. She does not seem to understand that with a preferential ballot, you really need to make friends of the other candidates. She needs to tone it down, deal rationally with the non-social conservative issues and act less aggressively. Until then she is wasting the party’s time and Tory voters can ignore her.

Patrick Brown: 10 to 1  A late entry, Patrick is well known to Conservative voters. His problem in this vote is that people either love him or hate him. He earns few second-choice votes. There is little sympathy for him. The larger problem is trying to figure out where his second-choice votes go?

Christine Elliott: 4 to 1  This is the former Oshawa-Whitby MPP’s third try at the leadership. In a one person-one vote election she could win, but in the conservative’s equal weighting of electoral districts, she loses much of her advantage in the GTA ridings. Maybe Premier Wynne will give her back that patronage job she dumped to run this time.

Doug Ford: 8 to 1 If you saw him struggle with the moderator’s questions at the TVO debate, you would know how ill-equipped Doug Ford is to vie for the leader’s job. He will get a reasonably good showing in the GTA but has little chance in the rest of the province. He might as well head back to the stables.

Caroline Mulroney: 3 to 1  Brian Mulroney’s kid is about as slippery as he was as prime minister. She lacks experience but shows the instincts of both a piranha and a politician. Her trainers need to teach her to hang on to that rail position by moving out from the rest of the pack. As long as she shows that originality of thought, she is the forerunner. She has to continue to build her brand.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Food for ‘enquiring minds.’

Monday, February 19th, 2018

If this writer told you that Ontario Progressive Conservatives might not all be on the up and up, you would likely brush it off as fake news from a raving liberal. Okay, I will give you that. Brush me off as you wish. (Which is why I rarely bother to try to tell you what crooks and thieves they are.)

But what if the reporter saying it is Bob Hepburn of the Toronto Star? Does the Toronto Star often feed you fake news?

After all, you believed CTV news when they told you the nasty news about Patrick Brown. This was hearsay at best and slander at the worst, yet many of you wanted to believe it. It cost the poor putz his job as leader. There was no judge, no jury and no due process. It was a summary trial and death by news media. (The fact that I stood cheering on the sidelines was irrelevant.)

But when it comes to unveiling the inveterate corruption of the Conservatives, the Toronto Star editors afford themselves some protection. They move the story to the op-ed page and label it as opinion. I often agree with Bob Hepburn’s opinions. I also often agree with Chantal Hébert, Martin Regg Cohn and Linda McQuaig but this takes someone of Hepburn’s gravitas to carry it off.

He was hardly the first to note the consistent lying of the Conservatives at all levels about membership numbers. It is part of being a conservative. The only nomination fights more venial than Conservative ones are some Liberal and NDP fights. Heh, nobody is perfect!

It has always amazed me that we can elect people we did not know where under indictment for fraud to senior party office and then let them vet our candidates. The vetting of candidates by parties today is more corrupt than the time when we were practically inviting organized crime to run for office.

Telling Toronto police, with a straight face, that the wholesale destruction of lawn signs is just high school hijinks is just minor criminality. What did the Conservative hierarchy do when Patrick Brown’s team paid the memberships for almost 40,000 immigrants from the Indian Sub-continent? Everybody in the Queen’s Park caucus knew that Brown had broken the rules to become their leader. It was to Christine Elliott’s credit that she would not serve as a Conservative MPP with him as leader.

Getting rid of Brown, party president Rick Dykstra and a few of the riding nomination problems is a long way short of cleaning up the mess of the Ontario Tories. And if you think that it is the Tories’ turn to take over at Queen’s Park, first ask if the Ontario taxpayers can afford it.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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