Archive for July, 2019

‘Yesteryear Politicos’ and ‘Tired Advice.’

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Most people are probably unaware that they can get a good laugh from the Hill Times almost every day, for free. The Ottawa-based political newsletter will send you their headlines everyday in hopes of selling you a subscription. The problem they have with me is all I want from them is their headlines. I can do my own research, thank you.

Back when you could get complete samples of the newsletter, I determined that the average ages of their opinion writers are about those of my grandsons. While I am very proud of them (my grandsons), they do not have the experience needed to contribute much in the way of opinions on Canadian politics. Nor do I find the opinions I have read from Hill Times show much experience.

Since the Hill Times is owned by the Toronto Star, you would think that Susan Delacourt or some of the Star’s old timers would pitch in occasionally to give the kids a hand.

What prompted this comment was the hilarious plaint from Hill Times writers yesterday that the green party had reached into the past. They were engaging “in politics of (a) bygone era” and had hired “a politico from yesteryear” to be in their “war room.”

I can remember about 20 years ago when liberals asked me who was this upstart Kinsella running some ‘war room’ for Jean Chrétien? It makes sense to me that green leader Elizabeth May needs even more help to keep her green troops in line.

Before I knew that the Toronto Star had bought the Hill Times, I had even offered the Hill Times some of my expertise. They did not seem interested and that is their loss.

The better story than the green party’s desperation is the war room being created out in Calgary. This is Alberta premier Jason Kenney’s answer to people who do not agree with him. That should be a very busy war room.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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A house divided or a leaderless nation?

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

There was an excellent discussion in Progressive Bloggers the other day by the gentleman who writes under the nom de plume of The Mound of Sound. A very small quibble you might have with the article was there were a couple times that you might be confused as to whether he was writing about the United States or Canada? I would argue with The Mound that the current tensions in Canada might be more serious than America being a world-wide laughingstock.

To put it to rest, I think the Americans have been living with their corrupt political system for too long not to see their road to redemption.  We can have high hopes for people such as those four young House of Representatives members that Trump brought to prominence in his usual boorish way. Those, and others who share their drive and ambition, are the ones who can help lead the fight to unseat emperor Trump next year. Without them, there would be no hope for America.

I feel much more concern for the imbroglio Canadians are heading towards in just three months. This election is becoming unwinnable for any party. It is based on regional greed, regional barriers, angry aboriginals, mistreated veterans, open bribery, serious environmental concerns and a lot of lies and a large helping of stupidity (and don’t ask me which party has the largest share of that).

It is very hard to believe that I live in a riding open to a win by the liberals and the incompetents running the liberal party have no candidate here, with an election in less than 100 days. I have no idea why these people cannot learn anything. These idiots have known about this coming election for four years yet they have allowed the riding to lose more than two-thirds of the party membership it had four years ago. Explain the genius behind that and you get a gold star.

That hardly could explain why conservative leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer needs to find a way to silence Jason Kenney in Alberta and send him and Doug Ford to Antarctica to check out global warming for the next three months.  Justin Trudeau is going to walk up one side of Chuckles and down the other in this election and it will hardly make any difference in the final result.

All I know is that, whatever happens, Justin will not like it.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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When voters can care less.

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

When we talk about the Ontario voters who now regret their urge to vote for the Ford conservatives last year, we are hardly talking about all. Many of these same people are proud to tell you that they will vote for Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer’s conservatives this fall. The entire conservative election strategy can be summed up as: identify the knuckle-draggers; make sure they vote.

And you know you cannot win any argument over it. They know that Chuckles is a wus. He is their wus. They hate Justin Trudeau. They see him as the arch enemy. They refer to him with homophobic slurs. They never see him as doing anybody any good. They blame him for all of our national debt. They have very convenient memories of Stephen Harper’s reign.

It makes me want to take back every nasty word I have ever said about Justin. He might not be much of an environmentalist but he might be the best we will get for a while. If he had asked me about voting reform, he could have saved a mess of embarrassment promising that it was the last time we would use first-past-the-post. Mind you, the fact we still have first-past-the-post could save his job for him in October.

And how can a guy who needs to be able to count on women to tip the scales for him in October, make such an ass of himself with Jody Wilson-Raybould? Here he is mistreating women when he has no idea of how to handle that idiot Trump in the White House. Was he too busy getting selfies with all those world leaders he met, not to bother making nice with the president of China?

No, our prime minister is not perfect. He should get the praise he deserves and the smack downs for when he screws up.

But the very thought of Chuckles in the prime minister’s office is enough to make me upchuck. The conservatives picked him out of a field of 13 candidates to sit in opposition until they could choose a more popular and dynamic leader sometime in 2021. They never thought Chuckles would even be a contender this year.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Trudeau should listen to McCallum.

Monday, July 15th, 2019

John McCallum was building a very solid career as a professor and as an economist when he took a misstep into politics in 2000. While it took him a while to learn the ropes, his greatest political success was in Justin Trudeau’s government as immigration, refugees and citizenship minister. He brought in large numbers of Syrian refugees with help from Canadians from coast to coast. He made his mark.

But what amount of ego encouraged him to take the post of ambassador to China, we might never understand? He could hardly be so foolish as to think his ethnic Chinese wife gave him a leg up. This man, who throughout his career had been paid for his opinions, was now supposed to be a noviciate to Chrystia Freeland in Canada’s foreign affairs. That was a bad position for a free thinker.

John McCallum would have been introduced in Beijing as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary (meaning he had the right to speak for the Queen in the right of Canada). He barely opened his mouth for the next two years but that was learning the job time. When he did speak his mind, he was fired.

And that firing did no good for John McCallum and it did no good for Justin Trudeau. What John said was his opinion that Canada would be better off to release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhuo. Donald Trump had indicated that the request for extradition was political. Canada has an obligation to comply with legal requests for extradition to the U.S. for legal reasons but not for political.

The prime minister ignored the door that the American president had opened. What it said to the Chinese was that Trudeau was so firm in his desire to support the Trump position that he would fire a man who told the truth.

To make matters worse, John McCallum was fired at the end of January and no replacement has been announced six months later. That is an insult to the Chinese. They have recalled the Chinese ambassador in retaliation.

And just to rub salt, the conservatives are now complaining about some recent McCallum remarks. He told the Chinese that further retaliation would just help the conservatives in the coming election in Canada. The conservatives told the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about it. What exactly CSIS can do about a private citizen expressing an opinion, we are not sure.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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When Premiers come out to play.

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

It was an interesting pack of premiers around the conference table at this year’s Canadian premiers’ meeting. They hardly had Justin Trudeau under their thumb. And they hardly bothered to try.

This was a meeting to plan for October’s federal election. The odd men out were the bookends—John Horgan of British Columbia, NDP, and Dwight Ball of Newfoundland and Labrador, liberal. It was hardly a surprise for the premiers to recognize François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) as an honorary conservative regime.

The conservative cohort were all invited to a preplanning meeting and a flapjack flipping event at the Calgary Stampede the week before. At that meeting, the real chair of the premiers, Jason Kenney held sway. The only notable aspect of that event was when they found out that Doug Ford could not flip a flapjack without burning it.

But then Ford was out of his element at both meetings. The other premiers found him boring, competitive, wrong and rude. He made the opening gaff of the conference in Saskatoon by not attending the opening meeting with some of Canada’s aboriginal leaders on a reserve just outside of town. (God forbid that he ever learn anything or to even respect others.)

What was different at the actual conference was the unanimity of the premiers demanding that more be done to combat Buy America policies in the U.S. that run counter to the new North American trade agreement, that might or might not be approved by Congress in the next year.

There were also the usual promises to do something about trade barriers between provinces that business people have been struggling with for many years. It was just another chance for Ford to do some sloganeering about Ontario being open for business. They knew that.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Be kind to your local NDP.

Saturday, July 13th, 2019

No doubt we all know a few new democratic party stalwarts. They are neither as numerous nor as annoying as they once were but they all need a hug these days. They are angry, bewildered, concerned, depressed, you name it. They are not their formerly misguided but cheerful selves. They have fallen on hard times.

One of my frequent flyers (readers), an Ontario NDP, through and through, recently sent me a rather pointed comment on one of my postings. He headlined his e-mail: “You Fucking Idiot.”

He obviously felt strongly on the subject.

What the Dipper was complaining about was my calling the agreement between unpaid consultant Ed Clark and Brewers’ Warehousing a specious matter. “Specious” in this instance was used to indicate the document was plausible but would be a useless piece of paper if signed just by Mr. Clark. It is like a ‘ghost’ document. “Ghost” in this context being something people talk about but nobody has ever seen.

The problem I have with this supposed agreement is that it also committed Brewers’ Warehousing to a budget of $100 million per year to expand, improve and maintain their sales premises. Looking at the Beer Store’s latest audited statement (2014), you are a bit confused about their saying they kept their end of the deal.

The first problem is that in an industry that grosses about $4 billion per year in Ontario, the Beer Store only shows us cost recovery. With 450 stores in Ontario, you would expect the beer retailer to be adding new stores and shipping locations and maintaining the older locations. It is hard to believe that the Beer Store could do that for less than $100 million per year.

Our friendly NDPer is giving us the union B.S. that by weakening the Beer Stores’ monopoly further, we would be jeopardizing 7000 well paying jobs. It would make sense to pull all the part-time jobs from that figure before saying they are well paid.

But if the Beer Store does the distribution to the convenience stores, they could create even more jobs. Who is lying to whom here?


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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‘Chuckles’ challenges secret(?) tax.

Friday, July 12th, 2019

Conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer sent another letter to prime minister Justin Trudeau. He wants Justin to come clean on his secret tax. You know the one. It was the secret tax the prime minister updated the news media about on June 28. It was the one first mentioned two years ago when the government announced it would work with the industry to set new standards for cleaner fuel for cars and for home heating oils.

Some people think it makes good sense for the government and the industry to work together to set these new standards. There is no point in government setting standards that the industry cannot achieve. And nobody is saying that the industry cannot improve the cleanliness of its products. The only problem is that it takes time to work it through. There are a lot of people needing to discuss this.

And that is why it could be some time in 2020 that some standards can be set. It took the Harper government over ten years of supposed discussions until 2015 and Canadians never did hear of any results.

But Chuckles is not happy with the delays when the shoe is on the other foot. He says that if he is elected in 2019, he will scrap any standards for cleaner fuels. He will also scrap the liberal government carbon tax that the government takes from the fuel producers and rebates to the public.

In his letter Chuckles demands that the government tell him how much the new standards will cost—even though they have not been set yet. It is assumed he wants to know in case he has a chance to also cancel that charge. He is already upset with the four-cent carbon tax on a litre of gasoline that consumers pay and get back in an annual rebate. He is sure that the new standards, when set, will add another four cents per litre to the cost of gasoline. He might just be guessing.

It is not that Chuckles does not have a plan to help save our world. It just seems to be secret.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Singh scans the Six.

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Canada’s new democratic party leader has been seen in Ontario. Party leader Jagmeet Singh is engaged in a desperate rear-guard action this summer for some Toronto area ridings. Faced with the possible loss of their party standing in the house of commons, the NDP have realized that the Toronto area is where they will take their last stand.

The only problem Jagmeet faces is that most of those ridings that traditionally vote NDP deserted and went to the liberals in 2015. There is little chance of getting any of them back this time. With very few exceptions, the distaste for the Ford conservative government at Queen’s Park is driving many previously conservative votes to the liberal party. Jagmeet can’t catch a break.

It is similar confusion across Canada. While the opinion polls are coming into line with forecasting a minority government situation in Ottawa, it is different parties benefitting in different provinces.

While Jagmeet has hopes for holding his own Vancouver area riding, Elizabeth May’s Green Party looks like it will have its breakthrough in that province. Nobody is assuming anything but the ‘same-old/same-old’ across the prairies. All we know about Quebec is that that the NDP Orange Wave created by the late Jack Layton in 2011 is dead, the Bloc is moribund and Maxime Bernier is going to knock the conservatives out of the Quebec City area (and probably leave those ridings to the liberals). And that leaves the Atlantic playing some musical chairs but not causing much change. It all comes back to Ontario.

My best guess is that if Justin Trudeau spends all of September and October, up until the 21st, in central Ontario, he has a chance. There is a band of red-necked farmers stretching across the province, from Ottawa to Windsor, who think God is a conservative.

But I am sure, those farmers would all like a selfie with Justin. That is his only chance.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Do-Gooders be Damned.

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Why do these do-gooders settle for half measures? If the medical officer of health for Toronto has decided that booze is bad for you, why is she allowing any sales to the unsuspecting public? If booze is bad for us, why doesn’t she have it banned?

It just seems silly that, if we are pickling our livers with demon rum, her job is to save us from ourselves. ‘Ban the booze’ should be her answer. They made the point with cigarettes. It is only a small percentage of the population that are still bent on killing themselves with smoking. We all seem to know that smokers are a dying breed.

Are we citizens who like a cold, frosty beer on a hot summer day next? Or are we to be done in by stealth by an excellent cabernet sauvignon? Or is that after-dinner brandy, to be our nemesis?

It seems unfair that the delightful margherita is no more than an adult slushie in disguise. In my misspent youth in Alberta, I took my beer with tomato juice and I credited it for my excellent health. I guess I was deluding myself.

But this discussion started when Toronto’s medical officer of health objected to the sale of beer and wine at convenience stores. God forbid that we should make the purchase of a six-pack more difficult than a healthy walk to the corner store. What the hell is her problem? Does she think it is alright to send your chauffeur to one of those smelly recycling places to get you a two-four?

Let’s face facts. In Ontario, it is tough enough to find anything that the Ford government does, to be responsible, or smart, or responsive. If just occasionally, they do something that should have been done many years ago, such as putting beer in convenience stores, give the idiots a break. Pat your conservative MPP on the head and tell him or her that they done good. It happens rarely, they will appreciate the gesture.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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The Dutch have no lock on sex.

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Contrary to the opinions of tourists by the canals of Amsterdam, the Dutch did not invent sex. It is more likely that they are just more open about it. As I recall last time I was in Amsterdam, they had still not taught their residents about the value of scooping the pooping of their over-sized dogs. I might have looked at some of those ladies in windows, if only I had not had to watch where I stepped.

But that is no excuse for the blue-stocking Toronto Star using staff writer Heather Mallick to write an opinion piece about shutting down Amsterdam’s red-light sex windows.

And where she got her ‘informational’ revelations on the ‘gangster-run, money-laundering and exploitive’ business of sex work in beautiful Amsterdam is beyond me. She certainly did not seem to have much information on the very thorough and quite competent police in the Netherlands.

But Mallick is pandering to the typical attitude of feminists that it is all the fault of men. Women have been trading on the sexual interest they can draw since long before King David got the hots for Bathsheba.

And if you have been puzzled by the misogynistic Incel movement that led a young man to go on a rampage with a truck down Yonge Street in Toronto in April, 2018, you need come to an understanding. A very big part of it is the same reason that North American tourists gawk at the women in the windows of Amsterdam. The repression of sexuality in North America denies our natural instincts. This leads to mental health issues on this side of the Atlantic.

The sooner we accept prostitution for what it is—a safety valve and natural, the better. In the same way, we need to accept the human body with all its faults for what it is. We need to have a better understanding of our needs, urges, and desires while being more accepting of failures to meet some impossible standards of beauty and/or handsomeness. By accepting ourselves first, it makes us better prepared to accept others.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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