Archive for May, 2019

Ignoring Bernier is bad advice.

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

It amuses me that people are telling Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer that former conservative MP Maxime Bernier is not a problem. That is bad advice. First of all, you have to ignore the pollsters who are having trouble measuring Bernier’s support. And then you have to understand the people who would support Bernier. Finally, you also need to understand that the People’s party does not have to elect a single MP to cause problems for Scheer’s conservatives.

Before getting into the whys though we should explain that Maxime Bernier came second to Andrew Scheer in the conservative sweepstakes a couple years ago because of the very stupid process they used to choose a leader. The conservatives used a preferential ballot to choose between 13 (final) candidates. People were actually asked to number their preference from one to thirteen. Then the computers just kept counting the ballots (dropping the candidate with the least votes) until somebody had a majority. It took every possible ballot to finally come up with Scheer, at a fraction over 50 per cent. The winner was Scheer because he was the least disliked candidate. Being the second least disliked hardly made Maxime Bernier a powerhouse in the conservative party.

Bernier is more of a libertarian than a conservative. Libertarians are extremists to the political right of Canadian conservatism. They are a strong segment of the party but would likely constitute less than 15 per cent of the general party membership. The former provincial wild rose party in Alberta was dominated by libertarian influence.

But where Maxime Bernier is a powerhouse is in The Beauce and the Quebec City region. Depending on how many people’s party candidates he can get in previously conservative ridings, he could cause the defeat of five or six conservatives in Quebec. There are not many opportunities for that in other parts of the country but in Alberta and B.C. where liberal votes will be hard to find, there will be throw away votes from both the right and the left and strange things can happen.

If the Trudeau liberals smarten up and start wooing voters instead of pissing them off, this election would not be such a string of question marks. As it is today, it would be very difficult to rationalize any form of majority government after Oct 21. The NDP are toast and the greens cannot believe their good luck. What will happen is anyone’s guess.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Fighting the facts of the future.

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

In a discussion of what is currently happening in politics, the realization emerged that provincial politicians such as Alberta’s Kenney, Saskatchewan’s Moe and Ontario’s Ford are denying our progeny a future.  It was not a question of a planned or malevolent denial of a future but simple ignorance. These men are choosing the direction that conservatism dictates, as they as they slash and cut at anything that they do not understand.

At the four-day Collision Conference, with attendees from around the world, in Toronto last week, premier Doug Ford was booed when he came to promote Ontario as the place to do business. It was the same time as his government announced that it was cutting funds to assist in the development of artificial intelligence. The $24 million might not have produced any breakthroughs in AI but was critical to positioning Ontario as a place to create the future. That one foolish error probably cost Ontario billions in investment down the road.

And look at Alberta. Jason Kenney has already announced that he will end all of Alberta’s green energy programs—as well as ending the carbon tax. He might be too late to stop the opening of Alberta’s pioneering geothermal electricity generation plant. This is something the Italians have had for the past 100 years but the Alberta facility that takes the steam to power it from below the earth’s surface will be a first in Canada.

Why conservatives do not like anything they cannot touch, taste or smell is beyond this writer’s understanding. Does the world have to end with a bang one night to convince them that global warming is a threat to human life? The world is already into the throws of turmoil as the ice caps melt and the oceans rise. Drier weather in our west is feeding wild fires while the heavier snows of winter in the east are flooding the water systems in spring. The world is responding to the carelessness of mankind.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Scheer would do better if he shut up.

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Sure, it is almost five months until the federal election but everyone is out stumping anyway. You would swear that the election was in June and everyone is getting desperate.

But there is no excuse possible for the blather we are getting from the conservatives. Who told conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer that he had to have an economic plan? He is a conservative. What else do you need to know?

The good news for Chuckles is that A) Not too many Canadians know anything about him and B), he is not prime minister Justin Trudeau. Add those two facts together and that, according to the public opinion pollsters, spells “winner.”

But every word Chuckles utters about the economy seems to be reflected back by premier Ford in Ontario. Ford never had an economic plan for his province. Why should Chuckles have one for the country?

The current problem is that premier Ford has fallen from grace. It seems that some of the cuts he has been making in everything for which the province has responsibility, are causing some second thoughts. It means that quite a few Ontario voters might look elsewhere rather than trust another conservative in Ottawa.

This situation might also be exacerbated by that new premier in Alberta. Here again we have a conservative who forgot to tell people that besides being a known misogynist, is also strongly opposed to abortion. His conservative caucus is probably dominated by social conservatives who are likely to try to end abortions in Alberta.

That is unlikely to become a problem in the other provinces except for the fact that Chuckles is also anti abortion and electing him might just get the arguments going again in this country in concert with those anti-abortion Neanderthals south of the border.

Bear in mind that there are certainly more conservative provincial governments now than there were in the last federal election. Chuckles will expect to have cooperation and endorsements from most of them. He also knows that their support of him comes at a cost.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Choosing Chuckles for Canadians?

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Of all the ridiculous strategies for the coming federal election! Why should the liberals attack the conservatives when their real opposition in the October election is themselves? To waste time attacking conservative leader and Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer is assuming that he concerns Canadians. He never has been the problem.

The liberal problem is that they have not kept their promises very well. They have made some boo-boos. They were heavy-handed with a couple of their women cabinet ministers. Yet they can hardly resort to the 1935 campaign when the liberals posed the slogan “King or Chaos.”

You can well imagine that last year in Ontario, if the slogan had been “Wynne or Chaos.” Even more voters would have voted for the Doug Ford brand of chaos. And they are getting that chaos—in spades!

It seems to this political apparatchik that there might be two types of liberal parties. There is the liberal party that owns up to its mistakes and tells the voters how it is going to do better. And then there is the party that says, “So what, we are still better than those other guys.”

I hardly think the voters give a damn for that second approach. It just makes them angrier.

And even if Chuckles and his party remain climate change deniers, how are the liberals better if they go about doubling the Trans Mountain pipeline? The Trans Mountain pipeline equipped to ship tar sands bitumen to the ocean port in the Burrard Inlet would be a disaster. It would make Justin Trudeau Canada’s number one climate-warming hypocrite.

There is no economic, environmental or political rationale for the liberals twinning that pipeline. And they would lose more votes than they could win for the effort. The world environment does not need the added carbon pollution. The old pipeline can recoup some of the taxpayers’ money as it is used to send the west coast refined gasolines and other products. It will be needed long enough to support the changeover to less-polluting forms of energy. And then it can be dismantled.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Poison Ivy is also Green.

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

It has been very difficult to decipher exactly what Green party leader Elizabeth May has in mind. Our Ottawa parliamentarians were in an emergency debate on the climate emergency our scientists had reported. Being head of the Green party, Ms. May came out with a program to save the world—or, at least Vancouver Island.

Ms. May wants to abandon political divisions in the House of Commons and in cabinet. She wants a war cabinet with participants from all parties to face the climate change catastrophe in Canada.

But I am not sure I can do this program justice in explaining it. Please, do not get me wrong. I have always been impressed with Ms. May. She has been doing an impossible job, by herself in recent years. She is an excellent MP. Her real problem is her party. There are some very sincere tree-huggers, a bunch of knowledgeable environmentalists, and more than enough dingbats in that party. For Ms. May to get that party in shape for the coming election, she needs to be expert at herding cats.

She needs to get all 337 of her fellow Green candidates singing from the same songbook. They will all make promises but once they start winging it out in their electoral districts, you have no idea what they are promising.

And the chances of them explaining what Ms. May proposed in parliament the other day are tenuous, at best. In fact, I would wonder if even 25 per cent of the Green candidates could entertain any serious questions about the idea.

She is suggesting that everybody pitch in. We would all work on retrofitting Canadians’ homes. It sounds more like the cultural revolution in China during 1966 and 1967 under the Red Guards of Mao Zedong.

I agree with Ms. May that we all need to do more to cope with climate change. I just hope she has a Plan B that looks after the serious business of being a country while we are saving the world.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

War Rooms from the political past.

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

It started back in the late 1970s and 80s when Senator Keith Davey, some of us liberal apparatchiks and the marketing communications experts, who volunteered their time, started to look on other parties as enemy combatants. I was even quoting Carl von Clausewitz’ On War when talking about campaigning to groups of party faithful. It was a stretch, but also fun, talking about beating your opponents with a war-like strategy.

The idea became somewhat passé later in the 80s when we were contending with the Mulroney government in Ottawa. It was also when a couple of New York advertising guys, Al Ries and Jack Trout, came out with a book on Marketing Warfare. It was practically Campaigning 101. We had to concede that the opposition could also read.

But the best war rooms in politics or in war are the ones nobody knows about. You can brag afterwards if you really want but in any election campaign I ever ran, the only person allowed in the committee rooms with an ego was the candidate.

This concept of a war room has become so common that PostMedia in Toronto wants to buy in on the action of Alberta premier Jason Kenney’s Energy War Room he is setting up to fight what he considers to be disinformation and lies by special interest groups in the coming election. Just why a newspaper would want to so blatantly support a province and a party in interfering with the federal election, leaves me cold. Mind you, PostMedia gave up all pretentions of neutrality in elections a long time ago.

The only problem is that Jason Kenney is not the type of person with whom you want to share any kind of room, let alone be on the same side in an election. Kenney is misogynistic, a mean-spirited schemer and a generally nasty politician.

He explains his rationale for an Energy War Room is to police the eastern media. He wants to make sure that they never use the word ‘bitumen’ when talking about what Albertans call the highly polluting, high-carbon, ‘heavy oil’ from the tar sands.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Donald loves Conrad.

Monday, May 20th, 2019

This is priceless. After serving just three and a half years of his sentence in the United States for fraud and obstruction of justice, Lord Black of Cross-the Pond (or whatever) has been fulsomely pardoned by the U.S. president. There you have it. All is forgiven. Conrad Black is no longer an ex-con!

Do you think he will now come out of his modest semi-retirement in Toronto’s palatial Post Road area? Will he be lionized once again on the Toronto cocktail circuit? Will his darling wife be once again displaying her magnificent figure in her haute couture gowns for the ogling lenses of Canadian paparazzi?

Or do you think Lord Conrad will hie himself to the Brit consulate in Toronto and get himself a renewed passport to his native England. We Canadians should not forget our intense relief when he gave us all the figurative finger, told us to stuff our Canadian identity and got himself declared a Brit and appointed a British Lord.

You would even hope that the Canadian Border Services people would do their job and make sure he has not overstayed his visitor status. If he was not reputed to have a couple hundred million squirreled away somewhere, premier Doug Ford would probably demand he be sent packing before applying for welfare.

Mind you, Conrad’s pretentions, remind me of a wonderful 1949 British movie from the Ealing studios called Kind Hearts and Coronets. It was a fine example of British black comedy starring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness. Maybe Conrad did not need to use his political pull to become a lord. He could have checked those ancestor sites on the Internet to find if he was just six or seven deaths from a title and fortune.

Mind you, according to the States Attorney in U.S. District Court in Chicago in 2007, Conrad Black got his money the old-fashioned way. He defrauded his companies. The court found him guilty and the judge fined him and sent him to jail. His buddy U.S. president Donald Trump (the real estate developer) found him innocent. Who do you believe?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Danger signs of elitism in the Senate.

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Prime minister Justin Trudeau is facing enough problems without his elitism coming back to bite his ass. We saw in the Senate last week where one of his elite appointees forgot who appointed her to the sinecure of the Senate. Supposedly independent senator Paula Simons from Alberta torpedoed the liberal ban on oil tankers off north-west B.C. on the senate transport committee.

This might be a bit of a sou’easter that will soon blow over but Trudeau’s environmentalism is already skating on thin ice, as it is. He hardly needs to be stabbed in the back by his own elitist choice for the senate. He would much prefer to be showing us sceptics that his elitism is paying off for Canadians as well as these people who act like the senate is their personal playpen and piggy bank.

We used to have some very conscientious senators who liked being part of the liberal caucus and did a good job of reviewing and making recommendations on new legislation.

But school teacher Trudeau did not agree. He thought we should not have liberals in the senate. He wanted them all to be elite. These elites would be chosen by an elite committee to enable the prime minister to select the best elites for service in the senate. They answer to nobody. They are beholden to nobody. They do what they want with legislation sent to them from the commons.

And this is hardly the first time the prime minister got a wake-up call from the senate that some key piece of legislation the liberals wanted was being screwed around by his elite senators. You would hope that the liberals would want to rethink this dumb elitism.

He would certainly get some support if he wanted to make the senate a form of a house of the provinces. This would be something like the American system but with more power ultimately in the hands of the house of commons.

Alternatively, we could just abolish the senate. There might be more of an argument about that but giving Canadians the right to vote on the proposition is the ultimate threat.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Fake news on the opioid front?

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

We were reading a poster telling us about a community meeting to discuss a proposed safe injection site in the neighbourhood. It invited anyone who wanted more information or had concerns to come to the meeting. We had barely finished reading when a voice behind us said, “It’s all a lie you know.”

It is very strange to hear that. Sure, we have had people tell us that Donald Trump was really a very fine gentleman, just misunderstood. We have even taken time to hear out climate change deniers to try to understand their reasoning better. This was a new one.

But why would anybody want to suggest that the politicians are lying about the deaths of opioid users? This has been in the news for many months. They are panicking about it on the West Coast. The Medical Office of Health in Toronto is deeply concerned. Our emergency measures people in cities such as Barrie, are frustrated and alarmed. And those fools running the Ontario government are cutting back the funding for safe injection sites needed to help stem the tide.

Do those idiots think they are saving money by letting people die?

I was amazed earlier this year when our local conservative MP wrote an item for the local grocery flier wrap about this. He actually questioned the idea of providing clean needles and a place for addicts to take drugs. I figured it was just his way of demonstrating his general incompetence.

Someone whom he respected must have gotten to him and convinced him that he should support safe injection sites. The really good news came later when he announced he would not run again for MP.

I have always been horrified over the years when seeing people heading down the slippery slide into the world of illicit drugs. It is a terrible waste of human life. I see the safe injection sites as an opportunity for knowledgeable workers to connect and maybe save the lives of some of these people. It is certainly worth the small cost.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Scratch the Mark Norman affair.

Friday, May 17th, 2019

If you are looking for something with which to attack the Trudeau government, do not bother with the Mark Norman affair. Norman was the vice-admiral of the Canadian Navy who almost went to trial over something to do with supply ship procurement. If Chuckles Scheer and his federal conservatives think they can make a case of this, they are likely whistling past the graveyard.

Wise politicos do not play in the military’s playgrounds. People in uniform are nothing but an opportunity for publicity pictures, at best.

And before you think that Admiral Norman is going to say anything political, you can forget it. Norman’s lawyer might come across as something such as the wicked witch of the north but he is a loyal Canadian through and through. And besides, those nice liberals are going to pay all his legal fees. They have already voted in the commons to apologize to the admiral.

It is also important to remember that there is another shoe to drop. There is a civil servant also charged with what might be a related offence. That is before the courts and the wise citizen restrains those thoughts of discussing the case.

This writer was a very young air craftsman (AC2) when first venturing away from home but it gave me a very rich appreciation for my country. I must have had that experience in mind later in life when I was on the Ottawa cocktail circuit with the deputy minister of defence and the defence staff. I was reminded one time while chatting with a gentleman who had been casually introduced as a lieutenant-general. He might have been in mufti but when I realized he was an air vice marshal and head of Canada’s air force, I found myself unconsciously stiffening to attention.

Those worlds are far apart and before you think the ranks have any concern for the general staff, think again. They do not even vote in the same ballot boxes.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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