Archive for the ‘Federal Politics’ Category

On the road to Oz, the Lion starts strong.

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Dorothy has already clicked her heels and the Cowardly Lion has been the first to put a paw on the Yellow Brick Road. It is very early in the trip and he can act brave. There is no competitor yet on the road to Canada’s federal election.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also in an element that he enjoys—and where he comes across strong. It must be the school teacher in his training. He enjoys the cut and thrust of town hall meetings. It is a chance for him to teach and preach and he is good at it. I was particularly impressed with his handling of an immigration question at the meeting in Regina last week.

Trudeau actually drew the questioner out on what he was asking and helped him phrase his question so that what he was saying was clear to most people listening.

What he accomplished in drawing out the question was to establish it as the current tone and misinformation as spread by the conservatives around conservative leader Andrew Scheer (the Tin Woodman, who will be joining the others on the Yellow Brick Road to the Canadian election).

What it boiled down to was that the questioner in Regina did not consider the Christian and Muslim religions to be able to co-exist.

Mr. Trudeau countered with the contention that it is the ability of different cultures and religions to co-exist in Canada that has built a strong and vibrant nation. There was no question in the reaction of the audience, that they agreed with the prime minister’s point. It was a spirited and clear explanation for the reputation Canada has gained around the world for being an open and caring society.

But it is also something all Canadians, who really care about this country, should be repeating. If we hear vapid, unthinking expressions of bigotry, we need to counter them. Please do not leave this type of ignorance unanswered.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The amazing breadth of progressivism!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

It has always pleased me that the people running the Progressive Bloggers web site have included Babel-on-the-Bay in the collection. It also becomes important when I note that as many as a third of my constantly growing number of daily readers are able to find my website through the portal.

But in checking the collective site periodically, I am sometimes amazed at what is included in the definition of progressive. It is obvious, I am sure, that the best read of the blogs is the one (or more) each day from the chap in Montreal who is so adept with his photoshop software at creating cartoons of political characters. And I always enjoy reading treatises and comments from the King of Curmudgeons on Vancouver Island. He inspires me.

But the point of this commentary, was my surprise recently to receive an e-mail comment from the editor of the Maple Monarch. If I would ever make a choice between the most regressive tracts in Canada, it would be anything about the monarchy or from the Fraser Institute.

But the editor of the Maple Monarch surprised me. He was commenting on my diatribe about the uselessness of walls as a deterrent against people. His comment was a scholarly epigram about walls through history that served a purpose. He certainly knew a few things about the Great Wall of China. All I could do was counter with Hadrian’s Wall that did a job, for a while in Roman times, in keeping my Scot’s ancestors away from the English farmers’ wives, daughters and sheep.

While it surprised me to find that the Maple Monarch is now considered a progressive blog, who am I to say who is progressive and who is not. I have always found that if it is something, I can do nothing about, why let it worry me?

And it supplied a fast and easy commentary for today.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Navigating a sea of indigenous irony.

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

It would be funny if it were not so sad. Canadian politicians constantly try to solve problems for our aboriginal peoples but they often use our concern to abuse us for just not being aboriginal.

What I have never understood is that instead of making sure they have clean water to drink in their communities, someone in government thought they might like to be called “indigenous” instead of aboriginal. I could care less but I know that “indigenous” means “from here.” They are not. Their ancestors came from Asia like many other Canadians—just thousands of years earlier. They should be proud of that.

But that is minor compared to the way the government tried to foist the national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls on them. They tried to set time limits on an oral culture. “Sorry Mr. and Ms. Politician, an oral culture does not rush to meet the deadlines for the next election.”

It was more than 35 years ago that I was involved in a long series of casual conversations about aboriginal needs with a friend in Winnipeg. What I helped to do was create a native-friendly fellowship centre in the city to try to have a positive place for aboriginals coming to the city. We also added a computerized training centre at a separate location for the disadvantaged, whether aboriginal or not. (We were hoping it would open windows for education in remote communities.)

But what annoys me about our aboriginals is when they try to hold us up for ransom. A current example is the problem with the liquified natural gas pipeline into Kitimat, B.C. We have the right to ask the tribes to resolve their own problems as to who speaks for them. When the elected leaders of the tribe sign a deal with the pipeline company, the company has the right to expect them to represent the tribe. It hardly makes sense for the company to have to call the police because members of the tribe are now listening to hereditary leaders rather than those they elected for the purpose.

There is a far more serious protest to be made when Trans Mountain tries to twin its pipeline to Burnaby. Trans Mountain has a long way to go to be approved by all the tribes along that route and those tribes really need our help to stand up for their rights.

And many of us, whose ancestors came to this land much later, will stand with them.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Assisted death in Canada is a failure.

Friday, January 11th, 2019

In case there is a deity, I would like my final prayer to be:

God, or whatever you wish to be called, it has certainly been an interesting experience visiting this life. I realize that our visits are limited but we are on a relatively easy rein while we are here. I have enjoyed the laughter of children, the come-hither look of women, the blueness of the waters, the softness of summer breezes, the green of the forests, the exercise of good discussion, the clean, crisp air of winter, the warmth of family, good food and drink and the companionship of wonderful people. Would I be asking too much if when my time is finished on this earth, to please let my passing be fast and painless, without interference by those assholes in Ottawa.

When the federal liberals bring out their short list of accomplishments before the election later this year, it would be a travesty to include medically assisted death. The law, such as it is, passed in 2016, is a failure. Never has so much pain and suffering been inflicted on people since the Inquisition was ended by the Roman Church.

It seems to be this demand by the law that death must be “reasonably foreseeable” that is causing most of the problem. Pain and suffering do not seem to count for anything.

And who the hell let politicians loose on this question anyway? Frankly nobody is all that interested in their narrow prejudices. All I know is that people should have the right to pick their time of dying as they wish. It appears inhumane and decidedly cruel to wait until the person is screaming in pain, with no hope of succor, to be asked if they are of sound mind. How can you be? It is not that all doctors can know what is best but we ask for their medical opinions. We should not then ignore those medical opinions.

This is my life. I am enjoying it. When the day comes that I can no longer enjoy it or look after myself, I think a caring government would allow me to choose the time to end this mortal existence.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Singing Singh a sad song.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

It is understandable to hear that Canadian new democrat supporters are being told to “Singh or swim.” If they have not thought about it before now, time is running out on them. And when a left-wing apologist such as Thomas Walkom writes about Singh in a despondent tone, as though the NDP leader might just be early road kill on the Yellow Brick Road to the fall election.

It hardly seems to matter when prime minister Trudeau decides to call the by-election in Burnaby South. Even if Jagmeet Singh does make a ceremonial bow in the House of Commons, what good can it do him?

It might not be his fault but his timing is so bad. It is a time when populists both in Canada and the United States are pumping up the anti-immigrant bigotry. It can hardly do him or his party any good. Much of the anti-immigrant rhetoric might be against Muslims but the ignorant who listen to that crap are hardly expected to know the difference between Muslims and Sikhs

At a time when the American president is running a diatribe for a wall against immigrants and the Canadian opposition leader is railing about our porous border, the NDP leader is a poster boy for immigration. That might be a bespoke suit from Harry Rosen’s that he is wearing but the accessories are what are known as the Five Ks of Sikhism as ordered by the Tenth Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

Nobody wants to be honest about this but Singh would never have won the leadership of the NDP if he had not encouraged fellow Sikhs in Canada to join the NDP and vote for him. The very large number of Sikhs in British Columbia and Ontario put him over the top. The only problem is those numbers pale when compared to the total voter population of Canada.

It was as simple as Patrick Brown, the disgraced former leader of Ontario’s conservatives, winning the mayoralty of Brampton. Brampton was where Jagmeet Singh held his seat in the Ontario legislature. All Brown did was promise the very large Sikh population in the area that he would greatly expand the number of parks with cricket pitches. They think that Brown will make Brampton the cricket capital of Canada. Sikhs do so love the game of cricket.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Jason Kenney would rather fight.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

The last thing Canada needs is another provincial leader spoiling for a fight. Alberta opposition leader Jason Kenney was on Global Television’s West Block last Sunday laying out his battle plan and various lies for his anti-Trudeau, Anti-Quebec and anti-British Columbia campaign. This is, of course, provided his reconstructed conservatives win the Alberta election, expected in May.

Kenny wants to join Doug Ford of Ontario, Scott Moe of Saskatchewan and Andrew Scheer leader of the federal conservatives in tearing into the Trudeau liberals in the federal election expected in October. If Mr. Moe, Mr. Ford and Mr. Kenney were honest about it, you would expect the gentlemen to be resigning their provincial jobs and finding an electoral district that might have them as the conservative candidate. There is no doubt but that Mr. Scheer will need all the help he can get.

But for the three provincial gentlemen to interfere in the federal game with slander, false news and hyperbole from the sidelines is bad politics and a betrayal of the people they purport to represent.

First of all, the liberal government has made it clear that the carbon pricing to be charged on major polluters selling fossil fuels in their many forms, will be refunded to Canadian taxpayers in their taxes. The objective is to show people the real price of these fuels and the need to fight global warming. Mr. Scheer and his chorus can keep denying global warming and the increasing danger to our planet and they might eventually join the fight, but by then, hell will likely be frozen over.

But that nasty bastard Kenney has been lying to people since he was in college in San Francisco telling Catholic co-eds that they could not learn about abortion. He certainly does not admit to the highly polluting problems with the products of the Alberta tar sands. He resents that the prime minister bought the Trans-Mountain pipeline to help solve the problems for Alberta and says that the PM is now blocking the pipeline.

The problems with the Trans-Mountain pipeline are far more serious than the whims of the prime minister. The problems have far more to do with the sloppy job the Calgary-based National Energy Board (NEB) used to do on pipelines for Alberta. The NEB is no longer a lap dog for the oil industry.

And what is particularly outrageous is Kenney blaming Quebec for blocking the Energy East pipeline through that province. The proposal was nothing but a tissue of lies for the tar sands people and it was legitimately stopped. Kenney wants Albertans to hate Quebec.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“We’re off to see the Wizard”

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Canadians will face many adventures as they whistle their way down the Yellow Brick Road in 2019. They can travel hand in paw with Dorothy, Toto and their companions. It will not be the predictable adventures with witches and wizards as in L Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The first problem is that not all Canadians are pleased with the choice between Scarecrow – Jagmeet Singh, Tin Woodman – Andrew Scheer and Cowardly Lion – Justin Trudeau. Many voters want change for the sake of change. They might not relish the turmoil that attitude can bring but they will take their chances.

After all, Jagmeet Singh is a leader without a united party or any real policies or commitments behind him. He took the leadership by the swamping of his party’s memberships in Ontario and B.C.  with his co-religionists. His risk is that few Canadians understand his religion and it makes him different. He is the scarecrow who scares birds and voters.

Conservative voters might feel a tin woodsman such as Andrew Scheer will bore more voters than he can win over. And a cowardly lion, despite his supposed liberalism, will likely have less appeal than in 2015. Both are conflicted on the environment and on pipelines. There are no more sunny days.

Maybe this is the year for one of the new parties. It happened in Quebec in 2018. And Doug Ford went from former city councillor to premier in Ontario in less than six months last year. Can we expect some similar surprises are in store for us in 2019?

Who knows? Jason Kenny might not be able to oust Rachel Notley in Alberta and might try for a triumphant return to Ottawa.

But what about all those social conservative diehards who supported Quebec MP Maxime Bernier in the last conservative leadership? Is his new People’s Party of Canada to be ignored?

And what about everyone’s perennial favourite with her caucus of one, Elizabeth May? Could she gather four or five Green MPs to help her?

Canadians will have to wait until October this year for the answers.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Down the Yellow Brick Road in 2019.

Friday, December 28th, 2018

We have a long journey before we arrive at the Land of Oz. We have much to ask of just one small wizard. When L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (published in 1900), he had no idea how appropriate it is to the Canadian election slated for October 2019.

Canadians will have Dorothy and Toto to lead the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion in their journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the Land of Oz. You might know them by other names but the Scarecrow is new democratic leader Jagmeet Singh, the Tin Woodman is conservative leader Andrew Scheer and the Cowardly Lion is liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau.

At the Land of Oz, they hope to ask the Wizard to send Dorothy and Toto back home to Kansas, to provide Jagmeet Singh with ‘bran-new’ brains, Andrew Scheer with a ’heart’ and the prime minister with a potion of ‘courage.’

There is no question but Jagmeet Singh needs additional brains to reconsider his foolish way of winning the leadership of his party. He has proved that the Sikh community in Canada will support him but he has a long way to go to convince the rest of Canada to follow him.

Andrew Scheer needs to understand that conservatism can have a ‘heart.’ He tries so hard to show conservatives that he is on their side that he fails to lead and to show them that conservatism can also have the empathy that makes for effective leadership.

And then there is the prime minister who only needs the courage to do the job even better than the way his father did it. Justin Trudeau has to have the courage to stand up to world leaders and represent Canada as its people deserve to be represented. Visits to foreign lands are not a dress-up event but an important opportunity to carry Canada’s messages of world peace, of environmental concern and of acceptance of all peoples.

In a country yearning for leadership, all political parties are failing us if they do not see where we want them to lead. We are not a country of ideologues but a country of caring. We have family ties around the world and we fail those peoples if we do not show the world leadership of which our country is capable.

We will see how our politicians handle themselves in the coming year as we travel with them down the Yellow Brick Road.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

All are visitors at Stornoway.

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Welcome to Stornoway. May your visit here be brief. Think of it as a stopover on the road to success or on the road to oblivion. It is a 34-room house built in the colonial revival style in 1913/14 in Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Park area. Stornoway is owned by the Crown and is designated as the official residence of the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in the House of Commons.

It is considered second prize.

The current occupants of Stornoway are Andrew Scheer M.P. from Saskatchewan, his wife and family. He won the right to live there when he won a strangely orchestrated conservative party leadership contest against 13 opponents. The voting was by a preferential ballot that, in effect, worked down to the lowest common denominator. Scheer won on the 13th counting of the ballots by 50.95 per cent. And that is only one of the reasons that we call him ‘Chuckles.’

The only thing that ‘Chuckles’ is noted for is that he was Stephen Harper’s Speaker of the House of Commons for the last term of the Harper conservatives. His campaign slogan in the leadership contest was “Real Conservative, Real Leader.” He has yet to prove that second part. He is not an inspiring orator. He does not suggest creative solutions. He is a boring, western conservative.

But one thing Chuckles has proved as leader of the opposition is that he can be a nag. Many Canadians see him on television clips from question period in the House of Commons. All he is doing is nagging the government. There are also many Canadians who would not know him if they tripped over him.

But they will come to know him in the coming year. This will be the time that he leads his conservatives into the breach. He will make politician’s promises, smile for the videographers and photographers, kiss babies and promise Canadians a conservative nirvana.

Chuckles will not be chuckling too much about playing second fiddle next year to two provincial politicians in Ontario and Alberta. At best, Chuckles is expected the retain his lease on Stornoway.

We encourage readers to stay tuned.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Hold your bets on the 2019 election.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Got a call from a call centre the other day looking for funds for prime minister Trudeau’s liberals. It is likely that they have to push harder these days. It is also unlikely that the conservatives are having it all that easy to get money to support ‘Chuckles’ Scheer’s conservatives. At a time when we are all supposed to have warm and fuzzy feelings for our fellow Canadians, these are not giving times. And while the consensus might be that Trudeau will win, nobody wants to put much money on his liberals.

The question of Justin Trudeau’s worth as prime minister is serious. Watching Trudeau with his bad speaking habits of a school teacher hemming and hawing his way through another lesson for a raucous opposition does not build your confidence. And for him to lecture the Chinese that Canada is a country that is ruled by law just shows us that he does not understand the Chinese. And we gave up with him sometime ago waiting for him to tell Donald Trump to get stuffed.

Oh well, maybe his feminine side does not allow him to be blunt with the American president. You can call the new NAFTA ‘breakfast’ for all anybody cares—just make sure it is a fair deal and Trump stops screwing us with tariffs.

At this point, we really need to say something about Andrew Scheer. ‘Chuckles’ has been doing his thing in Ottawa for a long time now and nobody really cares. People give money to the conservatives because they believe they should. The only problem is that more of that money is going to start going to Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. By the election time next year, the frustration with ‘Chuckles’ is going to eat away 10 to 15 per cent of the conservative vote and the Tories are going to lose some ridings to other parties. Oh well, their next leader will be tougher!

The new democrats were saved for last, only because they will be. Jagmeet Singh probably has the support of enough South Asian immigrants in the Burnaby South by-election to beat the Green Party candidate. The only problem is that if the liberals can get out their vote, Singh is in trouble and many new democrats will be pleased. If Singh wins the by-election, the NDP is in trouble. It’s a ‘Catch-22.’

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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