Archive for August, 2019

Jason Kenney: Alpha Male?

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

When Gillian Steward from Calgary wrote in the Toronto Star recently about Alberta’s Jason Kenney being the federal conservative alpha male, it had to be another example of her wonderful sense of humour. Quite frankly, by no definition, that I can think of, can you consider Kenney an alpha male.

An alpha male is a leader of the pack. He is macho, he is desirable to the females of the pack for procreation purposes. For God’s sake lady, Kenney does not appear to even like women. He is a misogynist. Have you not heard the complaints fellow conservative women have made about him?

I have never suggested that Jason Kenney was anything other than a person with a low libido. Though, there was always the tendency to pair him with John Baird, the other fat-and-forty bachelor in the Harper cabinet. I referred to them, at the time, as the Bobbsey Twins.

But there is nothing in the Bobbsey Twins books of many years ago to compare to the mean machinations of the Kenney twin. He has little consideration for others or for fairness in politics. For him to promote the idea of Alberta separating from the rest of Canada so that he can propose the solution as getting rid of Trudeau is two-faced. Not only does the idea of a separatist Alberta become sillier over the years but Kenney looks even sillier proposing it.

We have already seen samples of Jason Kenney’s stupid war room in action. The concept of him running a propaganda machine to help Chuckles Scheer by attacking Justin Trudeau goes against the grain of most Canadians.

It would be foolish to suggest that Trudeau did everything right in his first four years as prime minister but he did more to help Alberta than he should have. Kenney needs to understand that effective propaganda needs to have some sliver of truth to it to be accepted as credible.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Big Brother baffles business.

Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Ontario premier Doug Ford claims he is really just a businessman. Prior to becoming premier, his only claim to fame was his second banana role for his late brother when Rob Ford was mayor of Toronto. Before that Doug was just a salesman for his father’s label printing company. Where did you think he got the idea for stickers on gas pumps? It originated with the oil companies when they were tired of being blamed for the high taxes on gas by both feds and province.

But why are the oil companies acting so gutless when asked to put only part truths on their pumps? No court would order them to comply. And what if the federal government gave them a bigger sticker to put on their gas pumps? Would they say enough is enough then?

And what would Ford do if the oil companies told him to stick his stickers where the sun does not shine. The idea of the federal carbon tax is that the costs at the pumps will be rebated to consumers. The rebate goes up along with the tax. And while Dougie thinks he is shafting the feds, he is making money for the sticker business and making himself look childish.

The only thing that is concerning is whether Justin Trudeau will know when to stop attacking Ford. The Ontario premier might not have the political common sense but the federal prime minister has advisors who can tell when Dougie has been belittled enough. It would hardly pay to have voters feeling sorry for the sorry Ford.

It would be best to leave the outcome of this sticker foolishness to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. That worthy organization has already made it clear that the Ford stickers are a direct denial of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Waiting for Doug Ford.

Friday, August 16th, 2019

C’mon Dougie, Let’s see some action here in Ontario. You talked the talk. You walked the walk. Now, when do we see some action? A populist makes promises and people expect things to happen. We were promised beer in the corner convenience stores. Make it so!

You might not have been the first politician to make that promise but you are the first to be expected to deliver on it. Other politicians gave the corner stores lotteries to help them survive. They have had cigarette sales to help their income. (It is a dying market—in more ways than one.) It will be six packs of beer that will bring these family-run stores the traffic they need. Think of how healthy it will be to walk to the corner store for a six pack and a bag of pretzels, or a bottle of plonk for dinner.

Only a man of the people would think of it. Hell, that woman you replaced as premier only wanted the six packs in the grocery stores. She let the bureaucrats make sure that the grocery stores made next to nothing for their effort. Is that the way to do things? You give Costco and Walmart the two-fours, the grocery stores the dozens and the convenience stores the six packs. And if you let them set their own selling price all will be right with the world. Let the market decide.

And heads should be rolling about the fiasco with the liquor control board’s ordering system. I never know what the hell I will be bringing home in the way of vin ordinaire these days. And even in ordering from the back of an envelope, those idiots should remember to always have lots of the good stuff from the Beaune region of France. Their penalty for screwing up should be no six packs from the big three brewers until they get things right.

And in the couple years you have left in the premier’s chair Dougie, you might just consider this: If you need another ten billion or so to cover some of your missteps you have made in the premier’s office, you can always sell the LCBO. And do not sell it as a package. Keep the ordering system (when fixed) because the volumes are important. Sell the stores one at a time and make a potful of money. Sell boutique wine licences for more. And remember to take taxes coming and going. The government needs the money.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Diogenes, Leadership and SNC-Lavalin.

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

There is no time left for what might have been. Canadians are going into an election when what we so desperately want to say is ‘None of the above.’ Are we condemned to face a future of failure? Are we helpless? Have we found there is no honest man?

Justin Trudeau embarrasses us. Jagmeet Singh insults us. Andrew Scheer frightens us and there is no other workable solution.

Justin Trudeau has been weighed in the scales and found wanting. He should have resigned six months ago and given the liberal party a chance to regroup. His chief of staff knew to resign. The clerk of the privy council chose to resign. Justin Trudeau believed that he was untouchable. He was aiding his enemies. He was creating a conundrum for Canadian voters.

In a world facing disastrous climate change, we are seeing the frustration of electorates and civilizations around the world. Populists of the right and left are our false prophets. We turn to a Trump or Brexit and wonder at the failures.

In Canada, that so welcomes those seeking freedom from oppression, a single ethnic group swamps the membership of a political party. Singh embarrasses the NDP. This is no solution.

And it has been an extended silly season for the conservatives in the past few years. They had a federal leadership that chose the least of potential leaders in a federal lottery that proved that leadership does not matter. And then they chose right-wing demigods in Alberta and Ontario to claim the conservative brand.

With two months to go before the election, there is much to resolve. Canadians are resourceful. Let us find that solution together.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

When the real campaign begins.

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

They remind me of a bunch of outlaw bikers, warming up their hogs for a race. They have all taken off their mufflers for that extra bit of speed. The full-throated roar of those bikes makes the ground seem to tremble. And the clouds of exhaust fumes obscure the start.

When you think about it, you realize that it was the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh who took the early start. He needed it. When you have to hitch-hike across the country, you need a good head start. (Have you checked the price of air fare or rail tickets across the country lately?) Fund-raising for the NDP has not been what it used to be.

And then the guy who really needs the exposure has been shy about it. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer does not do himself any good exposing himself to the voters. While the conservatives have no problem reaching into the pockets of their rich friends, Scheer is not the best campaigner. He was practicing on Cape Breton last week and there was concern expressed that he was doing serious damage to the local conservative candidates.

What puzzles the voters meeting Chuckles in the campaign will be questions such as: “Why does this guy not believe in climate change?” “Why does this guy want to keep Doug Ford away from his campaign?” and “What qualifies this guy to be prime minister?”

What is even more concerning about Chuckles is that he does not believe in campaigning by any form of Marquess of Queensberry rules. He is claimed to have used the classic ‘roorback’ political tactic against the NDP’s Lorne Nystrom in the 2004 federal election. He claimed (when it was too late for a response) that Nystrom was soft on child pornography to defeat the longest serving NDP MP by close to a thousand votes.

But in what should be a cakewalk of a campaign for Justin Trudeau, the prime minister has created obstacles such as the albatross of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the travesty of the SNC-Lavalin debacle and he will always have the pictures of the family visit to India. All is not that rosy for the liberals either.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Who is this guy Scheer?

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

The conservative party has been working hard over the summer at getting ‘Chuckles’ Scheer better known. It reminds me of that old Rodgers and Hammerstein song, Getting to Know You, that Julie Andrews made famous in The King and I. What should be remembered about the song is the point that the more the teacher learns about her students, the more they learn about her.

But when it comes to party leaders and voters, that is often not the ideal. Maybe the party needs to sugar coat that party leader to make him more palatable to voters. You can bring in all the performance experts you want but Scheer will always look like a clown ready for his make-up. And you need to be very afraid of this clown.

Scheer is much like Stephen Harper without the personality. He is a hard-line social conservative. Much of the bad parliamentary behaviour in the last four years of Harper’s government could be placed in the lap of Chuckles in the speaker’s chair. Chuckles was too partisan for the job. When he ran for the leadership of the party, his slogan of “Real Conservative, Real Leader” you knew the first half was easily accepted.

When he won the conservative leadership by a convoluted voting process, he won on the 13th ballot by less than one per cent of the vote. The best way to describe the voting was that it drilled down to the least formidable of the 13 final contestants and chose Chuckles. It was anticipated that he would hold the position through this year’s election and then be replaced by someone more dynamic.

As voters see him in the spotlight over the summer, they are less than impressed. Even with a prepared text, he lacks the energy and drive that could make him credible. His policy positions are weak and his delivery of them is insipid. It is like none of his staff care to help him. Even though the conservatives and liberals were seen as equally good for the Canadian economy at the beginning of the summer, it is the conservatives that have been losing ground. They are on the ebb tide.

Once the real dialogue of the election gets under way, Chuckles will be the also-ran that was expected of him.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

 

 

Singh sings a survival song.

Monday, August 12th, 2019

You have to admit, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the new democrats, is a hard worker. His main objective in the run-up to the October 21 election is to try to ensure that the new democratic party elects the 12 members of parliament needed to be recognized as a party in the house of commons. He has to convince Canadians that there still is a need for his third party.

Singh’s dilemma is that nobody is listening and the NDP do not have the money for a campaign that would get your attention. With most polls now agreeing that the liberals are trending back to better numbers, October will likely be just a two-party race. And there is still a great deal to be decided in the race in the days remaining.

But it his own party that is doing Singh in. With a quarter of his caucus bowing out of the election, you wonder what Singh said to offend them. Maybe it was Singh signing up of enough Sikhs in British Columbia and Ontario to swamp the NDP membership and win the leadership of the party that annoyed them. It was a foolish move that is causing problems for the party.

Singh is trading off the 15 remaining NDP seats in Quebec that were held over from the Orange Wave of Jack Layton and kept alive by Thomas Mulcair. It is questionable if any of those seats are safe. And with the current political tensions in B.C., it is doubtful that all the current 13 NDP seats there are very safe.

To refer to the NDP brain trust might seem like an oxymoron but they really do have some people who know how campaigns should be run. Whether any of this expertise can help Singh is the question.

It reminds us of the old proverb: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost, etc. In this case, the nail is the money the party needs to mount an effective campaign.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

From small creeks do mighty rivers flow.

Sunday, August 11th, 2019

From the Manchester Guardian to the Toronto Globe and Mail, there have been reports of our federal government scientists testing spills of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands. As one source pointed out to me, this was the government laboratory that former prime minister Stephen Harper forgot to shut down. They are still doing their job today.  They just do not realize how much has been done for them.

The researchers are at the Experimental Lake Region near Kenora, Ontario. They are pouring measured amounts of diluted bitumen into a fresh water lake to determine its impact. Everything is measured and contained to enable the researchers to forecast the impact of larger amounts of spilled bitumen.

The most important discovery to-date has been that diluted bitumen floats—for a while. The earlier assumption was that diluted bitumen had a lower density than water and could be easily be scooped from the surface of any water. This was a seriously incorrect assumption.

On the word of Americans in the area of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and Canadians in the area of the North Saskatchewan River in Canada, diluted bitumen floats—for a while—and then sinks to the bottom of the water. In the earlier example in Michigan, the Enbridge people stopped counting the costs of clean-up at a billion U.S. dollars.

The smaller spill in Saskatchewan River was cheaper for the Husky company that owned that pipeline. The problem here was that less news got out about the spill because of the bias of the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments. They prefer to keep quiet about diluted bitumen spills.

But science is relentless and the federal government scientists will eventually get to experiment with water currents and tides and be able to tell us that diluted bitumen is a serious hazard in spills because it will drift or move with the currents until it can no longer float.

It is to be regretted that so much false information is still out there about using pipelines for diluted bitumen. It is not heavy oil.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Never trust a guy with a pipeline.

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

The prime minister can joke about it if he wishes but there are lots of people who will not vote for a guy with a pipeline. If it was just the old Kinder Morgan line that spanned the Rockies, we would not be as worried. It is all that pipe and equipment poised to twin the line and add heaters and higher pressure that are of serious concern.

The current plan for the Trans Mountain pipeline is to twin it, add those heaters to the line and increase the pressure in it. It only adds up to Burrard Inlet being crowded with ocean-going tankers taking on diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. It is a plan based entirely on greed, stupidity and climate change denial. The question is not just when will a couple of those ocean-going tankers play at being bumper cars but how many ways can we help destroy the habitats of the Orcas?

And the question of increasing the pressure in a pipeline commissioned in 1951 to enable it to push through diluted bitumen begs the question: ‘For how long?’

This is not a question that the prime minister would ever be expected to answer. Nor could he. And that is why there seems to be some delays in the decision-making process in Ottawa.

My guess, for what that is worth, is that the liberals will sell the Kinder Morgan property to the aboriginal tribes who have shown an interest. Since no Canadian banker, in his or her right mind, would put up the billions needed to complete the twinning of the line, that might just be the end of that foolishness.

While the people who care about the future of our earth will be working at reducing our requirements for carbon-based products, we know that for the next few decades we will still need some refined oil products. These can easily be shipped into B.C. and the Pacific coast states of the U.S. by pipeline. This will give the aboriginals a return on their investment. It will allow Justin Trudeau to be a bit more credible in promising to save the world.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Slicing and dicing Justin Trudeau.

Friday, August 9th, 2019

You should always remember the plaint of the writer that what you write in haste, you might regret for the rest of your life. It might not be fair to say that John Ivison of Postmedia erred in all of what he wrote about the prime minister in his new book. He just might not have had the time to consider it.

If anyone could understand the dilemma facing Ivison, you would expect it to be fellow author/columnist Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star. She writes in the Star as though she more than skimmed the book. She seems to accept most of what Ivison says but you do not feel that she is standing shoulder to shoulder with him.

The book, entitled Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister was supposed to be in book stores on Tuesday. I would normally wait until the book was remaindered to buy a copy but, in this case, might not bother. I hardly agree that Trudeau is at his best when he goes off script. I only wish he could stick to a script.

Bear in mind that what I am saying about Justin Trudeau comes from a liberal who cares. I doubt that Ivison has any understanding of Justin’s childhood and his relationships with his father. And whatever suggested to him that Trudeau’s script to become prime minister was a blueprint drawn up by the “anointed” is only in Ivison’s dreams. It was definitely an ‘Improv’ event.

I was in touch with the Ottawa scene at the time and well aware of who from the old guard were rooting for him. I think we were all desperate to get rid of Stephen Harper and we did our bit.

My worst discovery with Justin was his ‘on/off’ switch. And he takes some hard-nosed positions that are not liberal in their origin. When he and the family did their dress-up schtick in India, it showed the world how politically naïve he could be.

I would be more interested in Ivison’s book if he just told us what lessons Justin had actually learned in the last four years.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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