Archive for the ‘Federal Politics’ Category

No party politics for Jane n’ Jody.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

It had been puzzling many of us just where former liberals Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould got the crazy idea of running as independent candidates. Neither had shown much political savvy during the SNC-Lavalin fiasco. When they chose to run as independents, all we could do was assume they got some very bad advice and wave bye-bye. It was hardly a smart choice.

But now we have found the source of their problem. The Toronto Star has revealed all. It seems the ladies have been taking advice from a self-styled democracy reformer who does not believe in political parties. It seems this guru knows little about party politics. Maybe he finds it easy to resolve things that he does not understand.

This is a consensus guy. He was involved in last year’s municipal referendums in Cambridge and Kingston that voted in favour of switching to ranked ballots for city elections. It was an excellent example of the goat leading the lambs to slaughter. He seems to be unaware of the point that ranked ballot systems encourage the selection of the mediocre.

But then this is a guy who seems to misunderstand the rationale of political parties. He must think consensus should replace action. And that inaction can be better than progress.

What he does not seem to understand is that most of us politicos cut our baby teeth on municipal politics. When you learn from hard work and experience, you can move up to provincial and federal politics.

But he and Jane Philpott should get their comeuppance in her riding. The odds in that situation are that Philpott will pull enough votes from the official liberal candidate to elect the conservative candidate.

The situation in Jody Wilson-Raybould’s riding is clouded by what the prime minister intends to do with the Trans Mountain pipeline. If he goes ahead with twinning the pipeline, all bets are off in B.C.

But this so-called democracy advocate who thinks just two independent candidates will have the balance of power in the next parliament is leading those ladies down the garden path.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Opportunity calling Andrew Scheer.

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

For a guy who got his job by surprise, conservative leader Andrew Scheer MP is a happy camper. He can hardly believe it when public opinion polls show him defeating liberal leader Justin Trudeau.  All he could do two years ago when he got the job of leading the party because of a dumb voting system, was put his head down, try to make peace with the unruly losers in the leadership race and concentrate on the rules of parliament. That was what he knew best.

The Saskatchewan MP was Speaker of the House of Commons during the time of Stephen Harper’s majority in parliament. All he had to do was what the prime minister told him to do. No hassle. No trouble. Maybe a bit embarrassing having to contend with the shrill antics of MPs such as Paul Calandra and Pierre Poilievre during that time but the perks of being Speaker soothed his guilt.

But now he is expected to go out on the hustings without a parachute. He has to read speeches about things he is not so sure about. The way his speech writers have him leaning on these people crossing the border to try to get refugee status in Canada has him worried that he might sound like a bigot. It is bad enough that sometimes people wonder if he wants to build a wall along the Canada-U.S. border. There might too many zeroes in that speech for him to count.

He wants to just give friendly ‘Gee-shucks’ speeches to those non-judgemental folks in his riding of Regina—Qu’Appelle. They are hardly about to question any facts or figures that the speech writers have dreamed up.

And he sure as heck wants people to stop calling him ‘Chuckles.’ He can hardly help it if his high cheek bones remind people of the Joker in the Batman comics.

But he sure hopes that people will stop asking him about global warming. He is not as sure as those guys who are helping him, premiers Doug Ford in Ontario and Jason Kenney in Alberta. They know all about that false news promoted by liberals that the world is going to get too hot for humans. Maybe he thinks by then, we will have better air conditioning systems.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

How Justin Trudeau can win.

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

There is a summer of barbeque season to go before Canadians get into the cut and thrust of a federal election. And it is certainly to soon to say who might win. It is even to soon to consider the odds for a morning line. What we can do is pontificate on winning strategies for the parties. Today we will address the liberal party.

I was there in 1974 when Pierre Trudeau took our liberals into the same kind of meat grinder as his son is facing in 2019. It seems that the two Trudeaus share the same need for a harsh lesson on the realities of politics. In 1974, Pierre learned to pay attention to his political advisors. The question now is, can Justin learn?

Think of how you would react, for example, if Justin Trudeau invited Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould back into the liberal party and his cabinet? It would be a bold move and would silence some of the strong criticism he faces.

Or what if sometime, out on the barbeque circuit this summer, he detailed a plan, not for a corridor just for pipelines and communications links across Canada, but also for high-speed electrified trains? Since communications and pipelines already use rail corridors, when they can, it would make more sense than the conservative plan.

This next idea needs to be thought through and smoothed out. What Trudeau needs is a more substantial slogan than “Sunny days.” I think it has to be something that captures the imagination more like “Nobody left behind.” While he could woo the middle-class last time, this time he needs something more all-encompassing. I think he has pissed off more than a few of our seniors by ignoring them over the past four years. Not everyone is satisfied with a selfie.

Our aboriginals also need to feel loved. (But damn-it-all, do not put on another feathered headdress.) Justin just needs to roll down his shirt sleeves, burn his tie, put on his jacket and get serious about Canada’s real needs.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘None of the Above’ is not an option.

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

There seems to be some disquiet across this fair land over our lack of good choices in the looming federal election. And whose fault is that? Frankly, Canadians have been encouraging mediocrity in politics for far too long. We have been trashing our political parties. We have been lying to ourselves about supposedly lying politicians. We have been buying into some serious bullshit about how nice Canadians can be.

We are not nice. We have turned the beautiful ballet of hockey into a blood sport. We seriously believe that we can beat the Americans at their own games such as baseball and basketball. (All you have to do is hire better American players.) And we buy into the blather that our foreign affairs people know what they are doing, when all they do is whore for the Americans.

But the truth is that this is a country that has lost its way politically. It has succumbed to mediocre politicians who use political parties as their own and use those who support them as their personal automated teller machines.

New democratic party membership has fallen so low that just the Sikh immigrants in British Columbia and Ontario could swamp the membership and give the party leadership to Jagmeet Singh. The same fall-off of party members in the Ontario progressive conservatives allowed a weasel like Patrick Brown to swamp the membership with Indian sub-continent memberships and take over the party.

And it was Justin Trudeau himself, who ended the membership structure of the federal liberals. While he was still popular, Trudeau ended the party’s independence, its ability to choose candidates and he now uses the party lists solely to raise money for his ongoing financial campaign.

And that leaves us with a liberal government run by an elitist, a conservative party headed by a nobody, an NDP party run by an unknown and a nascent green party run as a one-gal band.

All I can suggest is that each of us take the time to pick out the best candidate in our riding who cares the most about us, the voters. It is our only choice.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Profiling politicians.

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

It is often amusing in the popular American TV program Criminal Minds when one of the actors, playing the part of an FBI agent, without much script support, out of the blue, says it is time to deliver the profile. They remind me very much of how our political commentators can profile our politicians based on so little evidence.

In all sincerity, I believe that it takes considerable experience and observation to profile politicians. The reason we all fail when it comes to someone such as Donald Trump in the U.S.A. or Doug Ford in Ontario is that neither gentleman can be truly described as a politician. They are political wannabes and fail so miserably at the task before them.

But it is also easier to profile the run-of-the-mill politician than profiling political leaders. Leaders require a further set of profiling steps. Would you, for example, have profiled a young Reform M.P. named Steve Harper in the 1990s as potential leadership material?

Let’s look at an abbreviated profile of the three federal leaders of the major political parties in Ottawa and maybe we can see how it works:

Let’s start with the new democrats. Jagmeet Singh profiles well as a politician. Where he falls down is that he is an observant Sikh. Canadians, in general, have little knowledge or experience with Sikhism. It will work against his party. Some bigotry is involved though, in most cases, it is the just that people do not like to vote for a person they do not feel they know.

Andrew Scheer of the conservatives, on the other hand, is your typical white Prairie politician in a suit. He lacks personality and is easily forgettable. He has hardly done anything that would cause people to dislike him. Nor has he done anything to cause people to like him. He could get elected simply because he is a known brand of politician.

This counters liberal leader Justin Trudeau. In some parts of the country people love or hate him simply for his name. He is faced with being considered effete, elitist and ineffective. His signature promise in the last election of voting reform was a mistake and it is going to cost him this time.

Now, if the election was tomorrow, for whom would you vote?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Defining a different destiny.

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have chosen their political destiny. They have chosen the path to likely political oblivion. There are few politicians who have come back from the Coventry of parliament to survive as an independent. To run as independent candidates is an ‘All-in’ bet.

The two former liberal cabinet ministers obviously had the door held wide for them to join in almost any other party. For them to refuse all offers is either their inflated idea of their importance or a wish to make their statement and then fade into the night. If nothing else, they will likely deny their ridings to the official liberal candidate.

Frankly, there is little they can really contribute to Canada’s parliament as independent members. Even worse, there is little they can do for the people who vote for them. Seated in the furthest corner of the chamber and with no rights other than those given by one of the recognized parties, you quickly become the forgotten Canadian.

And even if they can afford to pay for their own campaigns, the election act blocks them from spending more than $5000 of their own money. They have to raise the rest of the money for their campaign at $1600 or less from many donors and then you are still blocked under the act from spending more than allowed for the number of voters in the electoral district. And, last time I checked, they are only allowed to raise the money during the election period—parties are allowed to raise funds year-round.

Frankly, I have never seen the value of running as an independent. You are far better off to start your own political party and build an organization that can come to mean something.

And while the two former cabinet ministers were elected as liberals, I would question that designation based on their performance in parliament. Both were involved in the medically-assisted suicide bill and that bill, as it finally came into law, was a serious disappointment to many progressives in the liberal party.

I will just say ‘bye’ to them now.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Ignoring Bernier is bad advice.

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

It amuses me that people are telling Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer that former conservative MP Maxime Bernier is not a problem. That is bad advice. First of all, you have to ignore the pollsters who are having trouble measuring Bernier’s support. And then you have to understand the people who would support Bernier. Finally, you also need to understand that the People’s party does not have to elect a single MP to cause problems for Scheer’s conservatives.

Before getting into the whys though we should explain that Maxime Bernier came second to Andrew Scheer in the conservative sweepstakes a couple years ago because of the very stupid process they used to choose a leader. The conservatives used a preferential ballot to choose between 13 (final) candidates. People were actually asked to number their preference from one to thirteen. Then the computers just kept counting the ballots (dropping the candidate with the least votes) until somebody had a majority. It took every possible ballot to finally come up with Scheer, at a fraction over 50 per cent. The winner was Scheer because he was the least disliked candidate. Being the second least disliked hardly made Maxime Bernier a powerhouse in the conservative party.

Bernier is more of a libertarian than a conservative. Libertarians are extremists to the political right of Canadian conservatism. They are a strong segment of the party but would likely constitute less than 15 per cent of the general party membership. The former provincial wild rose party in Alberta was dominated by libertarian influence.

But where Maxime Bernier is a powerhouse is in The Beauce and the Quebec City region. Depending on how many people’s party candidates he can get in previously conservative ridings, he could cause the defeat of five or six conservatives in Quebec. There are not many opportunities for that in other parts of the country but in Alberta and B.C. where liberal votes will be hard to find, there will be throw away votes from both the right and the left and strange things can happen.

If the Trudeau liberals smarten up and start wooing voters instead of pissing them off, this election would not be such a string of question marks. As it is today, it would be very difficult to rationalize any form of majority government after Oct 21. The NDP are toast and the greens cannot believe their good luck. What will happen is anyone’s guess.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Scheer would do better if he shut up.

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Sure, it is almost five months until the federal election but everyone is out stumping anyway. You would swear that the election was in June and everyone is getting desperate.

But there is no excuse possible for the blather we are getting from the conservatives. Who told conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer that he had to have an economic plan? He is a conservative. What else do you need to know?

The good news for Chuckles is that A) Not too many Canadians know anything about him and B), he is not prime minister Justin Trudeau. Add those two facts together and that, according to the public opinion pollsters, spells “winner.”

But every word Chuckles utters about the economy seems to be reflected back by premier Ford in Ontario. Ford never had an economic plan for his province. Why should Chuckles have one for the country?

The current problem is that premier Ford has fallen from grace. It seems that some of the cuts he has been making in everything for which the province has responsibility, are causing some second thoughts. It means that quite a few Ontario voters might look elsewhere rather than trust another conservative in Ottawa.

This situation might also be exacerbated by that new premier in Alberta. Here again we have a conservative who forgot to tell people that besides being a known misogynist, is also strongly opposed to abortion. His conservative caucus is probably dominated by social conservatives who are likely to try to end abortions in Alberta.

That is unlikely to become a problem in the other provinces except for the fact that Chuckles is also anti abortion and electing him might just get the arguments going again in this country in concert with those anti-abortion Neanderthals south of the border.

Bear in mind that there are certainly more conservative provincial governments now than there were in the last federal election. Chuckles will expect to have cooperation and endorsements from most of them. He also knows that their support of him comes at a cost.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Choosing Chuckles for Canadians?

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Of all the ridiculous strategies for the coming federal election! Why should the liberals attack the conservatives when their real opposition in the October election is themselves? To waste time attacking conservative leader and Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer is assuming that he concerns Canadians. He never has been the problem.

The liberal problem is that they have not kept their promises very well. They have made some boo-boos. They were heavy-handed with a couple of their women cabinet ministers. Yet they can hardly resort to the 1935 campaign when the liberals posed the slogan “King or Chaos.”

You can well imagine that last year in Ontario, if the slogan had been “Wynne or Chaos.” Even more voters would have voted for the Doug Ford brand of chaos. And they are getting that chaos—in spades!

It seems to this political apparatchik that there might be two types of liberal parties. There is the liberal party that owns up to its mistakes and tells the voters how it is going to do better. And then there is the party that says, “So what, we are still better than those other guys.”

I hardly think the voters give a damn for that second approach. It just makes them angrier.

And even if Chuckles and his party remain climate change deniers, how are the liberals better if they go about doubling the Trans Mountain pipeline? The Trans Mountain pipeline equipped to ship tar sands bitumen to the ocean port in the Burrard Inlet would be a disaster. It would make Justin Trudeau Canada’s number one climate-warming hypocrite.

There is no economic, environmental or political rationale for the liberals twinning that pipeline. And they would lose more votes than they could win for the effort. The world environment does not need the added carbon pollution. The old pipeline can recoup some of the taxpayers’ money as it is used to send the west coast refined gasolines and other products. It will be needed long enough to support the changeover to less-polluting forms of energy. And then it can be dismantled.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Poison Ivy is also Green.

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

It has been very difficult to decipher exactly what Green party leader Elizabeth May has in mind. Our Ottawa parliamentarians were in an emergency debate on the climate emergency our scientists had reported. Being head of the Green party, Ms. May came out with a program to save the world—or, at least Vancouver Island.

Ms. May wants to abandon political divisions in the House of Commons and in cabinet. She wants a war cabinet with participants from all parties to face the climate change catastrophe in Canada.

But I am not sure I can do this program justice in explaining it. Please, do not get me wrong. I have always been impressed with Ms. May. She has been doing an impossible job, by herself in recent years. She is an excellent MP. Her real problem is her party. There are some very sincere tree-huggers, a bunch of knowledgeable environmentalists, and more than enough dingbats in that party. For Ms. May to get that party in shape for the coming election, she needs to be expert at herding cats.

She needs to get all 337 of her fellow Green candidates singing from the same songbook. They will all make promises but once they start winging it out in their electoral districts, you have no idea what they are promising.

And the chances of them explaining what Ms. May proposed in parliament the other day are tenuous, at best. In fact, I would wonder if even 25 per cent of the Green candidates could entertain any serious questions about the idea.

She is suggesting that everybody pitch in. We would all work on retrofitting Canadians’ homes. It sounds more like the cultural revolution in China during 1966 and 1967 under the Red Guards of Mao Zedong.

I agree with Ms. May that we all need to do more to cope with climate change. I just hope she has a Plan B that looks after the serious business of being a country while we are saving the world.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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