Archive for September, 2019

All Americans need decide Trump’s fate.

Monday, September 30th, 2019

It seems undemocratic for Congress to decide the fate of the American president. As self-serving and as obnoxious as president Trump might be, he was the choice of American voters. They should decide his fate.

As a relatively impartial Canadian, I make this suggestion as I am as concerned for democracy in my own country as I am for democracy in America. History shows us how easy it has been for democracy to be set a side. Democracy is never guaranteed. It needs watchful citizens and politicians. It needs the support of the courts.

The first sign of trouble in a democracy is a falling off of participation at the polls. If people are prevented or discouraged from voting by others, it is an abuse of process. If people lose interest in voting, it is a sign of not caring or believing that their participation is a waste of time. This worries me in the United States as it does in Canada. Both countries are trending down in voter turnout.

What has always surprised me is the propaganda spread around the world by America as being the ‘Land of the Free’ and the assumption that it is the world’s most successful democracy. I think I will wait until national elections in the U.S.A. are under the control of a truly neutral body, instead of state officials, before applauding. In many states in the U.S., political gerrymandering has become something of a fine art and an embarrassment to the country.  And Americans will only get a gold star for common sense when supreme court judges are chosen for their lack of bias instead of their political leanings.

But the point of all this discussion is the concern for impeaching Donald Trump. I have absolutely no use for the man but I feel that the people need to make the decision. By doing so, they will recognize the power of voting. Congress can make a mess of the decision. If they succeed, they will save a few months of Trump but you cannot tell me that Mike Pence in the White House would be any better. For that man to be in office for even those few months, until the January, 2021, inauguration of a new president, could be painful.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Over-Analyzed Election.

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

It’s a circus on the hustings. It is like somebody tossed a cherry bomb into the outhouse. Everybody has an opinion to lay on you as to what is happening but not what will happen. There is more coverage every day from radio, television and daily newspapers. They tell you what is going on and yet cannot tell you what it all means. And besides you can read magazines, follow blogs and subscribe to newsletters. The Internet, with its Twits and Facebooks and fake news is ramping up. Everywhere you go, people want to talk about what will happen, but nobody knows what to say.

In a lifetime of knocking on doors for politicians, I have never been more reluctant to be telling people how to vote. The pollsters have never been more wary of their own forecasts. The talking heads of television are hedging. The columnists of our newspapers are telling us of everything except what might happen on election day. All they know is that they do not know.

We have reached the point where there is too damn much reporting and of where we are at. We read gleeful reports, ad nauseum, of the missteps of the politicians, their culpability and the nuances. They are all prone to error.

The greenies cannot add two plus two. It is increasingly embarrassing for them to keep making promises everybody knows they cannot keep.

The NDP are promising you the moon as it is more and more obvious that the party is really fighting for its very existence. Jagmeet Singh is working on a shorter and shorter lease.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer must have a death wish as he makes himself ever more at odds over the environment. He is making himself a laughing stock as a denier of global warming. Greta Thunberg warned the deniers she was coming!

And then there is Justin Trudeau. He might be the best we have but he still needs to grow into the job. And the job of prime minister is not just another opportunity for a selfie!

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

In the Sorry State of Sorry.

Saturday, September 28th, 2019

You never think of Sorry as a place but the current election in Canada seems to be parked in a Sorry State. And why do I get the sad feeling that we are all going to be sorry when it is over? It is like many of our American friends south of the border. Do you not think they are sorry for the sorry state of their politics? Add the poor Brits to that. The threats of their out-of-control politicians in that royal realm grow worse every day.

‘So, why should Canada be free of the pain?’ you ask. Is it some mythical God’s wrath for what we have done to His beautiful planet? According to the Christian bible, He was supposed to have created this firmament exclusively for us. The scientists tell us that there might not be a second earth with exactly the same set of circumstances to allow us to live, love, lust and litter with the same abandon.

But getting back to the stupidest election in Canadian history, I do not think I could feel any sorrier for Canadians, at this time. Who told these so-called politicians that they could spend outrageously to traipse around this country making outrageous promises that they will probably never have to deliver?

And it has been my experience through many Canadian elections that the carrying out of promises is rarely Job One for many politicians. We have also had the experience of Canadian politicians doing the exact opposite of what they promised during the election.

The first rule of all these promises are that you have to keep them vague. Make them sound good but keep details to the minimum. And, for goodness sake do not, in any way, suggest that taxes will be raised to pay for the idea.

But you have to feel sorry for the politician who has to promise the old chestnut of finding savings in better government efficiencies to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in promises. The line has been used so often by alternating governments that it has lost all validity. You would swear though that our politicians think all that money they are spending comes from orchards.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Wilson-Raybould: A woman of a certain age.

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Maybe after the election. Jody Wilson-Raybould can take her own one-person show on the road. At the present, she is attempting the more difficult task of getting elected as an independent candidate in a critical election. If the prime minister’s mother can pull off a one-woman show, why not Wilson-Raybould?

Anyone who can get a four-minute commercial for herself on national television (Global 6:30 Eastern News, September 23) should be able to do it. As a lawyer, she might also figure out what that the book is worth as a campaign donation. And where her book fits in as campaign literature, I am not sure either.

I might get a chance to glance at her book after the election, but right now, I am too busy.

All I can comment on is the title. I do not like the title. It is called From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada. Is this some mythical land where the waters are always clean and the hunting good? And what if there are no indigenous nations in North America to rebuild?

I will admit that I am not as familiar with the west coast tribes as I am with the prairie and eastern aboriginal peoples. Nor would I claim any expertise as to their origins. I believe what the scientists tell us that these peoples migrated to North America from Asia. My ancestors came to this land more recently than those of the aboriginals but I believe we can all be proud to be Canadians. I cannot find the source of the decision someone made to claim Canadian aboriginals come from this land. They do not. Our ancestors were all immigrants at one time or another.

I have too often been appalled at the neglectful way our politicians and government employees deal with the aboriginal communities. We certainly should do better. After the election, I will check and see if Wilson-Raybould’s book has any suggestions.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“How dare you?” Greta Thunberg.

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Somebody must have explained to the 16-year old from Sweden that you have to be brash to get noticed in North America. She would be quite unlikely to say ‘How dare you?’ to her elders back home in Sweden. Yet it worked at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Tuesday.

But the point is that it took that small-sized girl to tell hundreds of climate representatives from around the world that their climate change plans are inadequate to save the planet.

She is coming to Montreal to take part in a climate awareness march on Friday. Many schools are shutting down for the day to encourage their students to take part. And if our politicians also pay attention, it will be worthwhile.

But it is tough in a country that has climate change deniers ruling key provinces and contending in the current election. We have the premier of Alberta fighting to get the Trans Mountain pipeline twinned so that more polluting bitumen from the tar sands can be shipped to other countries to pollute some more. And he is supported by the premier of Ontario, our largest province, the other Prairie premiers and the leader of the national conservatives, Andrew Scheer.

“How dare you,” Mr. Scheer? And, “how dare you,” Mr. Trudeau?

Yes, Canadians also want to know what prime minister Trudeau intends to do with that pipeline.

Canada cannot even meet its reduced carbon emissions by 2030, let alone the proposed new targets for 2050. Maybe our politicians are hoping they will not have to take responsibility for their failures in another 30 years. Will the politicians of 2050 just move the targets to 2100? What will be the point if nothing is left? Do we want a planet, no longer worth saving? Is greed to decide our world’s future? Are we sewing the whirlwind that will destroy our world?

“How dare we?”

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

They’re not your father’s conservatives.

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

What happened to the red Tories? Is the decency of Ontario’s once premier Bill Davis a memory of the past? Whatever happened to the conservatives with whom I could share a joke? I used to like many of these people. They worked hard for charities. They were good neighbours. They would listen to your liberal proposals. They were honourable and respected people.

At all levels of government today, the conservatives are disappointing us. The saddest are on municipal councils, awaiting their opportunity to move up the ladder. In my Ontario riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, we have another empty suit from city council wanting to move up and also do nothing in Ottawa but vote the party line.

I was laughing the other day at his lame offer to voters to restore the Lake Simcoe environmental clean-up program. It seems that he blames the liberals for ending the program. Actually, the program ended when the conservatives said that it would end. The job was as complete as it would get. The only serious phosphate pollution left that is destroying Lake Simcoe is either airborne or washed in from farmers’ fields. I would love to see the first conservative politician in Ontario who tries to do something about that.

Maybe, he should talk to his friend premier Doug Ford about that problem.

But what really gets me about the promises, that Andrew Scheer is running around the country making, are the boutique style cuts that are really only for his rich friends. These are promises such as money for start-up businesses, or if you spend money for your kids’ sports, fitness programs or registered education savings, or travel to work by public transit or commuter trains or want your parental benefits tax free. These are ideas launched by the Harper conservatives that almost require you to have very thorough tax accountants doing your taxes. If these programs ever come into existence again, they will make a lie of the ability of the average Joe and Josephine being able to do their own taxes.

Many people have a hard time separating the Ontario conservatives at Queen’s Park from the Stephen Harper style conservatives in Ottawa. The lack of decency, the mean-spirited approach does not suggest the type of people we want running this country.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Who builds our nation?

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

This is an important ask. We have already had enough of this traditional election. We have been listening to the platforms. We already know the ideologies of the various parties. We have listened to the environmentalists, jeered the libertarians, shivered at the contempt of the conservatives, scoffed at the socialists, and puzzled over the left/right liberals. And all we really want to ask is who is going to take this nation to the world leadership it can so easily earn?

And size is not a measure of leadership. Nor is gross domestic product a measure of anything other than creating financial value. Leadership is ideas. Leadership is shared conviction.

Here are two examples of leadership: First was John A. Macdonald who pulled this nation together by building a railroad. It was no easy task, he coloured outside the lines occasionally to get the job done—but it did get done. He banded his dream of a nation with rails of steel.

The second example of leadership was the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Again, it was no easy task. It was Pierre Trudeau who made it happen. It was an idea that helped develop our nation. It was an idea that freed the individual in a nation that cares about all. And, it still has its detractors.

But Canada has to stop taking baby steps into the future. It has to keep building on the vision the world has of this country. We already have the reputation of being welcoming and decent. We are not part of any other nation’s army. We seek to help keep the peace. We welcome the dispossessed. We want to be a country of opportunity. We want to do our part in humanitarian service for the rest of the world.

Amazingly, all it takes is leadership. It takes a single idea. It takes one person to take the first steps. It needs a leader who can say ‘Yes, we can.’ And then does it.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump tramples on our territory.

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

The other day something caught my eye on the opening page of Microsoft’s browser. The company was doing a survey to find out why people dislike their MSN News. I did the survey, but I was reaching for different ways to spell ‘crap.’ This is news lifted from news-gathering people. Microsoft takes no responsibility for the authenticity.

The other day, they even had some Canadian news among the Hollywood trash. It was an item about president Donald Trump commenting on the current Canadian election. It was a lift from U.S.A. Today and, in it, Trump says he has always had good relations with Trudeau. And if you believed that, you could be sitting on the moon eating all the green cheese you want.

You always know when Trump is lying. He is moving his jaw bone.

The truth is that Trump has always been jealous of Trudeau. He hates him for his good looks and youth. He resents his ease in speaking French and he was obviously annoyed that at the recent G7 conference, French president Macron and Trudeau could chat in that language and leave Trump out in the cold.

And Trump also knows that the Canadians bested him by simply holding their positions in the recent free trade negotiations. Trump had obviously been advised by his negotiators that what they got was all they were going to get and there was no reason to prolong the negotiations. Trump does not like losing. He does not like Trudeau.

Donald Trump’s kindred spirits in Canada are people like Doug Ford, premier of Ontario, Jason Kenney, premier in Alberta, and Andrew Scheer, whom Trump wants to see win the current Canada-wide election. These are much friendlier people who would support him next year in what is shaping up as very iffy election for Trump.

Mind you, I expect that Trump’s chances next year are about as good as the chances of Microsoft becoming a respected news source.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The timeless media tempest.

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

It seems as though this election is taking place just for the benefit of the news media. I am not sure of the right word for it but it is the most over-reported and over-analyzed campaign I have ever seen and it is only week two. I can only hope that the media are not still ramping up to full coverage!

Maybe it was the long run-up to the fixed date with which we seem stuck. The political mills have been grinding away for about nine months and yet all hell broke lose when the election was called. I am getting so many campaign advisories, newsletters and news releases each day that I could spend every waking hour reading them. I learned speed reading many years ago but that does not seem to help with material on a computer screen.

I think it is best not to get bogged down in the morass of social media stuff on the Internet. There are a few insights in blogs that I check occasionally but there is a lot of bad information out there among the personal information that you did not need to read.

But it is the traditional media that are having a last hurrah. Geriatric pontificators are enjoying themselves commenting on the foolishness. Reporters work in wonder of finding out what is going on.

I think the distaff of the commentators are finally getting their innings. I love the breezy style of the CBC’s Vassy Kapelos and the more desperate style of Mercedes Stephenson on Global. And who is this Kady O’Malley of Torstar’s The Lead?

Before this campaign is over, I hope someone can find out if Andrew Scheer ever had a sense of humour to lose. Maybe we are all hoping that the campaign might bring some aging and political smarts for Justin Trudeau. The upshot of this campaign should see the honourable retirement for Elizabeth May, for doing the tough job, and the departure of Jagmeet Singh to attend to his law practice.

If the vote was tomorrow, I would still vote for the liberal candidate in my riding. I am a liberal and I am absolutely appalled at the ignorance of the conservatives about global warming—and I have always resented their mean-spirited “I’m alright, Jack” attitude.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Oh, the drama of it all.

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

It is too bad the media cannot find more important news. The best answer to the current media tempest came to us the other day from New Brunswick. This reader said, “You do know that Justin Trudeau also taught drama, don’t you?

“And did anyone who saw his costume and make-up at that time think to tell him his make-up was inappropriate? Probably, not.

“And have we heard any of his political opponents say, ‘He’s apologized, let’s move on.’”

I was born in an era when black and non-black radio listeners alike in North America were listening to two white men playing the parts of blacks in a very popular radio show called ‘Amos and Andy.’ We also listened to Eddie Anderson playing the character, Rochester, to radio’s Jack Benny, as well as Hattie McDaniel playing the black maid, Buelah, who solved all the problems for a white family.

It was also the era when major league baseball executive, Branch Rickey, sent a young black baseball player, named Jackie Robinson, to Montreal to play for the Montreal Royals and to see how he would handle himself.

But we can hardly crow about Canada’s supposed open arms to all. We still have some white supremists around to embarrass us. We also have sob-sisters in the media that tell us all white men are rotten and we owe apologies to women, aboriginals and people of color for past insults and abuse.

I hardly think any person owes any apologies for things that happened before they were born.

I look at this current kafuffle with Justin Trudeau as a question of intent. At the times when Justin Trudeau appeared in black face or any other color, was he deliberately insulting an entire race? The answer is ‘No.’ Was he deliberately hiding the fact that he did wear the make-up? The answer is ‘No.’

Does anyone care? The answer is probably ‘Not much.’

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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