Archive for the ‘Federal Politics’ Category

Foregone Conclusions.

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

A reader asked me recently why I was paying so little attention to the two by-elections in Toronto Centre and York Centre in Toronto. Knowing the two ridings like the back of your hand does not make them more interesting. It just makes the process more boring.

But if you want to read the entrails, those are, at least, more interesting. If you wanted further assurances of the death knell of the federal new democrats, this vote gave it to you. Without new leadership and stronger policy positions, the NDP are lost in the doldrums of politics.

Nobody should expect a by-election to provide as strong a liberal showing—by-elections rarely do. It was enough. Sure, the media push for the new leader of the green party was strong but she had also picked the wrong riding to contest.

The people who really understood the lesson of the two by-elections were the conservatives. The Tories had a small chance in York Centre but failed to pull it off. They are going to have to concentrate their efforts in the suburban ridings around Toronto in the next election if they are going to make more inroads in Ontario.

My guess is that there is going to be some serious study of where the votes came from for the new green leader in Toronto Centre. Without some expensive polling in the riding, my guess is that close to half of those votes came from disgruntled, younger liberals. The bulk were likely NDP votes searching for a new home.

My guess is that our two new MPs will be back on the hustings in less than a year. Incumbency will be their key to re-election.

What is more important is what has happened in the provincial elections in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. In the case of the conservatives in Saskatchewan who pose as the Saskatchewan Party and are supposed to combine conservatives and liberals are all conservatives. And those people who pose as provincial liberals in B.C. are all a bunch of conservatives also. The provincial new democrats won a majority in B.C. and that is the good news.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t blame Singh.

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

If there was ever a guy on the wrong side of the parliamentary ledger, it is Jagmeet Singh of the new democrats. While the rest of the opposition thought they were driving more nails into liberal coffins, this week, there was Jagmeet and the NDP caucus keeping their word and supporting the liberals.

Singh and his losers in the NDP knew what this support was costing them. They stopped an election that Canadians did not want at this time but there is no reward for their keeping their word or their honesty.

And when the election does take place, it will likely be Jagmeet’s last as leader of the new democrats. There will be no reward from the voters for keeping his word. Whether the next election is next week or next year, Jagmeet’s tenure in office is on a short string.

The only time that the NDP improved their position in trashing a minority government was under Jack Layton in 2006. They might have gained a few seats in parliament at the time because of the liberal sponsorship scandal. The new democrats’ lack of support, at that time, for the Paul Martin government, also helped open the door to Stephen Harper’s ten years as prime minister of Canada.

It might be a very different situation for Singh and the liberals if tomorrow or a few months from now he and his caucus support another motion of non-confidence. The reality is that the public does not see the WE scandal in the same way as the Quebec-based sponsorship scandal.

Also, a lot of Canadians admired Justin Trudeau for his cuckoo-like popping in and out of the Rideau Cottage throughout the pandemic ups and downs of 2020. They felt a kinship with him that could transcend the usual political relationships. He and his party could see an edge there that the opposition were not recognizing. The liberals were willing to bet on it.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Looking for the “kinder, gentler Tories”?

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

It seemed like such an interesting idea. Erin O’Toole, the new conservative leader, was going to impress the voters with his reason and patience in handling the liberal minority government. He was going to offer a new, more cooperative form of opposition in Ottawa. It looked like he was going to allow some of his pit bull nasties to attack occasionally but appear to be restraining them.

But it did not seem to work. When you start using words such as ‘corrupt’ about your political opponents, you are pushing the envelope. Next thing you know, we would be into an American style election.

Besides, Justin Trudeau and his boy scout and girl scout caucus are hardly in the ‘corrupt’ category. I have heard the Trudeau family called naïve, Pollyanna, and occasionally stupid, but it would be rude and quite unjustified to refer to them, collectively, as corrupt. I know the liberals quite well and my only complaint with them is their elitism.

And I can enthusiastically assure you that Trudeau and his clique of advisors in the PMO are not God’s gift to Canadian politics. I would question how they think they can walk around some ethical considerations in doing their jobs but I would tend to think of their errors as more careless than venal.

The more serious problem with the Trudeau Class of 2015 is finding out if they are liberals, neoliberals, Red Tories, pseudo environmentalists or helpless do-gooders who have absolutely no idea how to run a government. Thank goodness that they took the professionals’ advice on the pandemic. I used to respect Justin’s father because whether I agreed with him or not, he always enjoyed arguing his case. Justin just does not have the intellect.

But we have needed a more civilized form of politics in this country for quite a few years now. There are some serious differences between doing the political thing and doing the right thing. And knowing those differences counts for something with the voters.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

“I double dare you.”

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

The kids are bruising for a fight but unsure of the outcome. The Ottawa liberals are tantalizing the conservatives with the prospect of an election. The only problem is that it could all be for nothing. If nobody can win, what is the point?

And that is the real problem. No matter how you read the polls, there is no other likely outcome to an election than what already exists today. The only logical outcome is a few seats this way or a few seats that way. If you cannot win, why do it?

And that is the question. The conservatives are trying to corner the liberals with corruption charges which have little real support from the voters. It is an attempt to oversize the We scandal.

What the conservatives do not realize is that the We charity is a dead issue. The voters have much more serious questions to think about. The covid-19 figures keep growing and all the voters want is a vaccine. They want a Halloween to enjoy for their kids. They want us all to have a Merry Christmas. They want life in Canada to get back to normal. Then they will have time to listen to politicians who might or might not know what they are doing.

But, at this time, the conservatives only have their new leader in the crosshairs. Erin O’Toole can ill-afford an election. His problems are the attack dogs such as conservative Pierre Poilievre from Ottawa. They are undermining O’Toole’s ideas for a kinder, gentler conservative party and dragging him into a fight that he does not need.

But never fear folks, Jagmeet Singh and his sorry new democrats will come to the rescue. They can hardly afford an election either.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The unindicted Bill Blair.

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

It took them a long time to start to redress the wrong and they still have not got it right. Here it is ten years down the road and the only people we are confident are being compensated to date are the lawyers. The G20 summit in Toronto in 2010 has often been described as “the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.”

And the man in charge at the time is now Canada’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness. It is a travesty that the person in charge can pass the responsibility to underlings and escape blame for his failure to properly direct his police.

With the already largest municipal police force in Canada, Blair’s police were augmented by federal, provincial and municipal forces from across Canada. It was this massive force that stood off and allowed rampant destruction in downtown Toronto. Fools and anarchists ran amok smashing store windows and burning police cars. In the end, it was mainly innocent bystanders and gawkers who paid the price of illegal detainment, search and incarceration.

The illegal kettling of innocent bystanders the next day was in retribution for what the police had allowed downtown the day before.

And where the hell was Toronto police chief Bill Blair? While he later acknowledged to the citizens of Toronto that the actions of his officers were his responsibility, Blair has never apologized for his failure to act for Torontonians on their behalf.

The G20 that summer weekend will go down in Canadian history in unison with the Winnipeg General Strike as an egregious breach of the rights of Canadians.

Many Canadians would like to know why Justin Trudeau has chosen Blair for election as a liberal MP and for positions at the cabinet table?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Justin Trudeau did it wrong.

Monday, October 19th, 2020

Thinking back to that lame throne speech that took so long and said so little, it is now clear that prime minister Justin Trudeau was wrong. He promised us a look toward the future and all he really gave us was more Covid-19. Instead of a positive look towards tomorrow, he dwelt on the ugliness of the pandemic.

Oh sure, he included the child care for the new democrats to support. We were all aware that nobody really wanted an awkward election so soon. They all talked the talk of political combat but meant so much less.

And we heard some answers for the chilling problems of long-term nursing homes and the financial concerns of a decimated print media.

But it was all wrapped in the context of the pandemic with wage subsidies and another version of employment insurance. It all came with soaring debt and no answers.

It was a sad story without the lift Canadian spirits needed. Our government promised us a rebound after the pandemic but there was nothing there but the rebuilding, the paying down of a large debt.

We were a country in need of jobs, challenges, new horizons and a healthy future and our government let us down. We needed to see our future and the government failed us. We needed confidence that the pandemic had an end. We needed to rebuild our health care. We needed to be part of restoring the primary engines of our economy. We needed to see Canada’s role in a better, healthier, progressive world.

Canadians thrive on challenge. They need a positive future. They can handle the hardships, if they can see ahead into a better tomorrow.

Justin Trudeau presented the challenges. He forgot the rewards. He concentrated on healing and left out the future. He still does not know how to lead.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

It would never win a ‘QCJO.’

Saturday, October 17th, 2020

Let’s face facts, you rush things and you screw up. Mind you, I also found it funny. It makes you wonder just how many Alberta voters made the same mistake. Did you think it was Alberta’s Jason Kenny(stet) who had become a husband and father? It is unlikely that we would ever be awarded the designation of a “qualified Canadian journalism organization” (QCJO) for that boo-boo.

It all started yesterday when I had absolutely no idea what to write about. For ten years, I have been (in one form or another) writing a   daily posting for BabelontheBay.com. We never pretended to be anything other than a commentator on things political. We acquired a sizeable number of readers over the years (more around election times).

But we are fallible. And you would not believe how nasty some NDPers get about some of my comments about their party. I have been known to make the occasional error. And I know better. I am the first one to tell Google noviciates that you triple check anything in Google. It is full of silly errors.

And I did not check. My only excuse was that the apartment above me was undergoing renovations (for the past month) and the guy who was fixing my bathroom showed up to do that job. The noise was, to say the least, distracting. I must admit, I was not checking my sources. I finally found out this morning how I had screwed up. I am totally embarrassed. I forthwith apologize to Alberta premier Jason Kenney. I was wrong to say he had married and reproduced. Far be it from me to question a gentleman’s preferences in lifestyle. I blew it.

But I started out today to write about the liberal government’s intend to give piles of money to qualified Canadian journalism organizations. It has been in the offing for a couple years now. And maybe it is not going to happen at all. My only concern is that if they give money to the liberals who just bought the Toronto Star, will they also have to give money to the Americans who own PostMedia?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

They’re giving away seats in parliament?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Conservative Hugh Segal should know better. Liberal Greg Sorbara likely never knew better. And I have no idea who the NDP’s Zanana Akande might be. It was just that the three of them want to give away seats in Canada’s parliament. They have some silly idea written up in the Toronto Star that the new Green Party leader should just be given a free seat in parliament. I am the old-fashioned type. I have always felt that you should win your seat in parliament through hard work.

Of course, in the case of the seat being contested in Toronto Centre, CTV’s Marci Ien has already been appointed as the liberal candidate by Justin Trudeau. Few people would question her likelihood of winning. That area of Toronto has been mainly liberal since 1968. It was when I helped my late friend Robert Kaplan first win the adjacent Don Valley riding against conservative Dalton Camp. I always kidded Bob about his father-in-law Joe Tannenbaum bragging to his friends at the Primrose Club that it only cost $75,000 to win a seat in parliament.

The three writers tell us that the precedent for this seat give-away is that in the 2019 Burnaby, B.C. bye-election, the Greens did not run a candidate against Jagmeet Singh of the New Democrats. Do they dare tell us how well that has worked for the NDP? Since then, the NDP have been on a downhill route.

And we have absolutely no idea how the new Green party leader will preform once she (if ever) gets to parliament. All we know is that the former Green leader, Elizabeth May, was not handed a seat. She worked darn hard at winning a seat and did a good job once she got there.

Our tradition in Canada is for party leaders to work for their seat in parliament. It is a system that works well for us.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Democracy Defied.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

Canadians kid themselves about our democracy. It is not by any stretch a true democracy. According to official records, it is a constitutional monarchy, where the governor general represents the monarch. In our faux House of Lords, we have the party in power appointing the senators. It is certainly not a system suitable for a true democracy.

Democracy is based on the ancient Greek concept of ‘’demos” which is rule by the citizen body. This democracy is based on the freedom of the individual to hold meetings, speak freely to right wrongs, to be secure against arbitrary arrest, and to live where regular and free elections are held whereby all citizens get to choose their representatives and governments can be changed by the wishes of the electorate.

Canadians have never had a say in their system of government. The decisions for confederation in 1867 were made in London, England. And good luck in finding any Canadian politicians willing to try to change anything today. The only changes we have made in confederation have been to make it more difficult to make changes.

Canada’s constitution is tied in knots between the provinces and the federal government. We can laugh at those separatists in Quebec who think they would be better off without the rest of Canada. They have a far better deal within Canada than they would ever get anywhere else.

While Canadians have many organizations seeking to influence, change and sometimes, even protect, the degree of democracy that we do enjoy, there are very few who really understand that the people the least supportive of our democracy are politicians. They rarely volunteer to be voted from office. Those running political parties would much prefer to run them as oligarchies. Party leaders such as conservative Stephen Harper and liberal Justin Trudeau have concentrated far more political power in their offices than our constitution ever considered. Our only safeguard so far in this is that the political parties have a measure of control but it is less and less as time goes on.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Democracy Denied.

Saturday, October 10th, 2020

Canadians should stop worrying about the fascist leanings of that guy in the American White House and worry more about the death of democracy in Canada. Every day, we see the continued erosion of democracy in Canada’s political parties as another brick in the wall closing down our democracy.

I make no secret that I am a liberal. It is why I received an e-mail from Suzanne Cowan, president of the liberal party the other day telling me how it is going to be for people to become candidates for the party in the next federal election. I should send her an answer asking when the party agreed to this arrangement? There is nothing democratic about this selection of candidates.

The problem started back in the 1980s when the liberals ended up with some very bad choices for candidates when they were selected by a gang-up of their ethnic or religious group. It was during the 90s that Jean Chrétien’s liberals got parliamentary approval to having party leaders sign off on all candidates for their party.

Instead of the measure being used as a last resort, to block gang-ups in the electoral district associations, it became a way for the leader of each party to decide who would be their candidate. Leaders such as conservative Stephen Harper and liberal Justin Trudeau used this to further their discipline over their parties. It did little to further democracy in Canada.

We have effectively neutered Canada’s political parties. Instead of democracy, Justin Trudeau is ushering in his personal autocracy. He is an elitist, supported by his own cabal in parliament.

The only problem Trudeau has not addressed is what to do about the liberals who might object to being used as his personal piggy bank. There are too many times that more than one e-mail from the party in a day will ask for more money.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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