Archive for the ‘Federal Politics’ Category

Out in the open with ‘Chuckles’ Scheer.

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

It’s time. Canada’s conservatives can no longer keep their leader a secret. Bloggers and broadcasters, reporters and speech writers are all digging into his history to find something to say about MP Andrew Scheer. He has been hiding in plain sight in Ottawa for the past year and a half. It is just that by keeping him secret, the Tory fund raisers brought in twice as much as the liberal party last year.

‘Chuckles,’ as we like to call him, is really the Tin Woodman who will be travelling down the Yellow Brick Road to the October 21 election this year. And, as you probably know, the Tin Woodman wants the Wizard of Oz to provide him with a heart. He wants to be seen as aware and caring.

The problem is that Chuckles is an uninspiring, uninteresting and boring western conservative.

Chuckles is also an excellent example of the last-man-standing of preferential balloting. In that type of voting, the voters drill down on the ballot to effectively select the least obnoxious of the candidates. It took 13 ballots in the conservative party counting to find that Chuckles was the least obnoxious of the 13 conservative party candidates. He finally got 51 per cent of the votes, narrowly beating out fellow Tory MP Maxime Bernier who had 49 per cent.

Chuckles’ claim to fame in the conservative party is his longevity as a Saskatchewan MP and serving as the tame Speaker in the House of Commons for the last term of the Harper government. That was when the conservative government had a majority and passed most of its undemocratic legislation. Chuckles was not known for his fairness while wearing the black robes of Speaker.

Chuckles ran a desultory campaign for the conservative leadership under the slogan “Real conservative, Real leader.” He was considered a front runner because of the 32 members of the conservative caucus who supported his campaign. His continued allegiance to prior party leader Stephen Harper has earned him the sobriquet, ‘Stephen Harper Lite.’

And to add to that is to imagine someone even more boring than former PM Stephen Harper.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Politics in anxious times.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

If prime minister Justin Trudeau had his druthers, he would not want an election this year. It is simply bad timing. Canadians are anxious. It is not any one thing. The world is just not behaving as it should. Not even the weather is acting as normal. People are concerned. There is that clown in the White House in Washington. You can hardly blame everything on him, even if you would like to.

And what can you count on? The stock market is just perverse. The Brits are stupidly leaving the European Union and do not admit why. The rich are getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer. And have you seen the price of bread recently?

People are pissed. They are looking for scapegoats. They hardly need another stupid politician to get in their way. Justin Trudeau and his little friends have worked their hearts out for our approval. Sure, they blew a few promises. Yes, you will be using first-past-the-post voting in October. Maybe they did save the North American trade agreement from that terror Trump. Who knows?

But do not ask for the right to die in a frivolous manner. There is more than one way to default on a promise.

The liberals are going to spend the election telling us how well the economy is doing and how much they love the middle class. The opposition are going to tell us, it can be better. The liberals will tell us what a great job they are doing for the environment. The opposition will tell us the environment is just fine, thank you. The liberals want a price on carbon. The opposition will tell you it is just a tax grab.

But why did the liberals buy the Trans Mountain pipeline to ship highly polluting bitumen from Alberta to countries that do not care about pollution?

The liberal cabinet spent an expensive weekend retreat in Quebec recently planning their messaging for the campaign. The message is ‘vote for us and take another selfie with Justin.’

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Potholes on the Yellow Brick Road.

Monday, January 28th, 2019

While the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion are still planning their trip with Dorothy to the Emerald City and the October election in Canada, it is best to check for potholes. Peering into one of these potholes the other day, I saw Canada’s former ambassador to China sitting in it and wondering how he got there.

This is a serious hazard for the Cowardly Lion. It took Justin Trudeau almost a week to fire our politico-cum-ambassador. The arguments must have raged at the Prime Minister’s Office but it took a second attempt to put foot in mouth that got McCallum bounced. And nobody ever said McCallum was wrong—wrong to tell the truth, maybe.

It is against this news background that author Jonathan Manthorpe is making hay selling his new book on China, Claws of the Panda. I have not read it yet but I am still waiting for Jon to autograph my copy of his first book, The Power and the Tories about the Bill Davis government in Ontario.

Interestingly, while Jon was in China trying to fathom the depth of the country’s communist government, I was watching Beijing extend its influence into Canadian-Chinese news media. I had the impression that those people understood more about the future of newspaper publishing than Conrad Black, Paul Godfrey and Torstar’s John Honderich, combined.

My best source of information at the time were the many delegations from Beijing that I took on tours and entertained for a computer company. They usually assumed I was a fellow technologist and they always enjoyed their visit. It earned me many invitations from other high level visits from Beijing.

But it is Hauwei’s inscrutable technologies and the extradition of Hauwei executive Meng Wanzhou affair that has the Canadian public wondering. First of all, explaining 5G networks is a tough job and how this technology can give Hauwei access to state secrets is not an easy subject for politicians to digest.

But then you also need to understand Canada’s relationship in the Five Eyes which allows us to listen in on everybody else. Which begs the question, how the hell is any of this explained to a dolt such as Donald Trump? And that clown has someone with all the nuclear codes sitting outside his door?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump can: You can’t.

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Social media are a trap just waiting for the unwary politician. While I have tested some of the major social media apps, I try to stay away from them like the plague. They are not mainstream. They are not only overrated but they are for people who need to get a life. And what makes you think you can convince a non-voter to go to the polls and vote for you?

But social media do present a problem for the serious politician. It has become part of the communications mix. You should always be careful to understand the demographics of the programs. You need to have people from within that demographic to look after what you feed it. I never advise candidates to do their own entries. Check it occasionally but you have far more important things to do.

Your job is called pressing the flesh! And you best keep the pressing to a firm handshake. Meeting the voters and making a favourable impression is your job. And if you do not like doing that, stay out of politics. And do not say or write something in Mandarin or Punjabi or Urdu that you think is exclusive to your supporters. The listeners and readers are not all your supporters.

And it is very important that you remember that Donald Trump in the United States can get away with saying something stupid. It is expected of him. He can say something stupid and he is still president and a billionaire. You say something stupid and you might be toast like the gal who was supposed to be running for the liberals in the Burnaby South by-election.

It would also be wise, if you are supporting a particular political party and want to be a candidate, to stick to supporting the party’s positions on the current issues. And it is also wise to be very careful of adding anything to the party position. What seems logical to you might not be logical to other party members and candidates.

A candidate is always criss-crossing the electoral district, meeting groups, attending all-candidate meetings, coffee parties, and talking to individual voters. You have to be everywhere and be noticed as being everywhere. It is what candidates do.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

What to do when money wins?

Friday, January 18th, 2019

The cynic tells us that everyone has a price. And when you are dealing in billions, what is a million here or there? I have often wondered when the companies exploiting the tar sands and the pipeline people were going to give the aboriginal peoples who have stood in their way a serious piece of the action. Now we find that they are not only offering participation, they want to sell the tribes everything.

A recent deal between Teck Resources and the aboriginal groups around Fort Chipewyan shows that the aboriginal nations are more inclined to be joining instead of fighting. It is as though, they have given up on the government protecting them.

Of special interest is a potential deal reported by the CBC that a group of aboriginal nations who have been involved in resource exploitation are interested in buying the Trans Mountain pipeline from the government. It was also clear from the quick denial by finance minister Bill Morneau that this is not a joke. It is for good reason that the government is not comfortable with Justin Trudeau’s rash decision to buy the Kinder Morgan package. The aboriginals can probably get it for a fire-sale price when the timing is right. And while these first nations do not always play well together, they understand each other and the negotiations would be fair and expeditious.

And can you imagine the relief for government and taxpayers when more of our first nations start to become financially self sufficient and paying taxes.

The only people who would be left with egg on our faces will the environmentalists who have been backing them. It would sure feel funny fighting the aboriginal-owned pipeline and those huge ocean tankers on behalf of the marine life in the Strait of Georgia.

I can already hear premier Rachel Notley and that damn Jason Kenney snickering over their brandies at the Petroleum Club.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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