Archive for the ‘New’ Category

Promises, promises!

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Most people are sceptical about political promises. We should certainly be dubious of conservative leader Doug Ford’s recent scattering of promises in the Ontario election. Some, such as paving over the Green Belt around Toronto, had to be withdrawn immediately but he still has a backlog of questionable promises, such as redrawing the sex education in our schools that could best be forgotten.

But among these various promises, there are some even a liberal can like. The promise to have beer and wine in convenience stores is certainly long overdue. It represents an excellent opportunity to upgrade the province’s convenience stores along with ending the long-running blue-stocking era of Ontario politics.

This would also end the long-term milking of all the profits of alcohol sales in the province into the coffers at Queen’s Park. The convenience store operators need to be allowed to make some money to enable them to upgrade their older, dilapidated stores.

It is like the stupid mistake the Harris conservatives made when they amalgamated Toronto. At the same time as they put Toronto together with the suburbs, they started downloading more provincial costs on the municipalities. It left Ontario municipalities without the sources of revenue to pay their bills. Sure, the municipalities are creatures of the province but they should not be kept in poverty.

Maybe that is the same as Dougie’s promise in regard to the minimum wage in Ontario. The silly bugger thinks he can freeze the minimum wage at $14 and give minimum-wage earners a tax credit instead. Too bad Dougie has never had to live on a minimum wage. Any tax accountant can explain to him why a tax credit is likely to be irrelevant if you are only earning $14 per hour.

The major difference I have noted between Dougie and his evil twin Donald Trump is that Dougie has been known to admit that he does not know everything. He proved that conclusively when he was a Toronto councillor.

When somebody explains the present cap-and-trade system that Ontario has with California and Quebec to him, Doug might become a devotee. The secret of cap-and-trade is that the public will never find out what is really happening. Cap-and-trade can be better than bribes.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t blame me, I voted liberal!

Friday, June 8th, 2018

From the catbird seat yesterday: I felt as though I was on the lip of an active volcano watching the devastation of the countryside. It was both a sad and a challenging night. A new day dawns and Kathleen Wynne is gone; that is good. We thought Ontario voters were too smart to elect Trump-lite and we found we were wrong. Ontario voters can be just as stupid as Americans.

But what choice did they really have? Kathleen Wynne gave them license to riot. There are no apologies. Her final act was to cut the party adrift. She has been a target for the last two years. She should have quit when we first saw the problems she was having. Ed Clark of TD Bank was her nemesis.

That was quite an aria we heard from Andrea Horwath yesterday. She was always the problem and never a solution. The new democrats in Ontario are tired and hopelessly out of date. It is a party without a future. Socialism betrays them. The party never had its own agenda.

But speaking of agendas folks (as Mr. Ford calls us) you need to start taking a hard look at the horde Mr. Ford has brought to the gates of Queen’s Park.

It started over a year ago as we looked at the chicanery going on in the conservative party under boy-leader Patrick Brown. Whomever set up that take-down of Brown in January did the party a favour. Though, in time, people will regret the results.

And if you think Mr. Ford will be the problem as premier, it will not be that bad. Ford is just incompetent. It is people in the horde you need to watch. We saw Caroline Mulroney’s father being rude to a Global TV reporter in that safe conservative country club electoral district she had picked last night. Brian is back folks.

The real difference between Ford and Trump is that Ford knows he cannot do it all. He has never been the schemer and dealer as is Trump. Heck, even his sister-in-law knows he is incompetent in business.

(It reminds of the three Peterson boys. Jim, David and Tim were all elected as liberals at one point and the employees of their father’s old firm were allowed to run the company properly.)

We live in interesting times.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

All bets are off.

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

For the first time since I first got involved in politics, I cannot make a guess on the outcome in an Ontario election. Results that used to be so easy to fathom, have gone murky and I will be hanging out by the television tonight hoping beyond hope that common sense will prevail.

The good news, so far, has been that about 200,000 more people have voted in the advance polls. A low turnout in this election would be bad news.

But what cannot be read is the impact of premier Kathleen Wynne saying she cannot win. How many good liberals will go down to defeat because of her foolish and self-centred statement? Her timing stinks.

But was that not the finest political roorback you ever saw when Rob Ford’s widow and her lawyers went after that ass, Doug Ford? Three days before the election, they slammed her brother-in-law on his merry way to maybe becoming premier of Ontario. If the liberals knew anything about that scheme, Kathleen Wynne would never have conceded the election—that being just one more reason, you never, ever quit.

The family squabble over the late Rob Ford’s estate was incidental to the revelations about Doug Ford managing anything. Finally, someone knowledgeable of Doug Ford’s weaknesses has said what many of us could only guess at: they tell us Doug Ford is incapable of running a label printing business. And he wants to run a $150 billion operation such as the Province of Ontario?

And please, please do not assume that the fat lady gets to sing before this absurd opera is over. Andrea Horwath of the new democrats is less competent to run a daycare centre, than she is to run the province. That woman is going to end up getting religion with all the manna that has landed in her lap over the last week.

But looking at the bright side of things, there is an outside chance that we can elect enough liberals to keep both the conservatives and NDP from getting a majority of seats in the legislature. It would force the liberals and the NDP to work together for a couple years before we have another election.

It would enable the liberals to repair the damage to their party and elect a new leader with a one-member-one-vote democratic choice. It would also give the conservatives time to dump Doug Ford and, if the NDP is smart, they could do much better than Andrea Horwath.

As we used to say (jokingly) in politics, it’s election day; vote early and often!

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump to be at Le Manoir Richelieu.

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Despite being in danger from maddened beavers, American president Donald Trump says he is coming to gamble with the rich and famous of the world this weekend. The other six members of the G7 are not his friends and the old Manoir overlooking the St. Lawrence River is not to Mr. Trump’s more spacious standards. It is time for typical Trump bravado.

How will German chancellor Merkel respond when he says the new tariffs are not personal. He will say that he only put the 25 per cent tariff on steel and ten per cent on aluminum to get their attention.

And Mr. Trump thinks he needs the world’s attention?

The American president already has host prime minister Justin Trudeau’s attention. Trump has been demanding more and more concessions on NAFTA to try to force the Canadians to comply with American demands or call quits themselves on the North American trade treaty between Canada, Mexico and the United States. So far, the Canadians have stood their ground, been cool to separate deals and not taken the bait.

But now there will be allies in the room. French president Emmanuel Macron is no friend of Trump. With his is age and interests being more similar to Justin Trudeau, he and the Canadian prime minister are natural allies.

With the United Kingdom heading steadily and foolishly towards Brexit, one wonders what prime minister Elizabeth May’s motivations will be this year? Is the vaunted G7 about to become the G6 as her parliament makes repeated cuts to her travel budget?

Prime minister Shinzō Abe of Japan is also looking hard at those steel tariffs from his formerly close friends in Washington. He will also have much to discuss with his friends in the G6. And why his neighbour from China is not there becomes a more serious error every year.

The new kid on the block this year is Giuseppe Conte, the new prime minister of Italy. A jurist, he might just take in the entire circus and save his judgement for the end.

The good news is that the Casino de Charlevoix is right there and anytime the participants get bored, they can go to that nice little casino and make a contribution to the Quebec economy. There is always more than the magnificent scenery to please tourists at La Malbaie.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

If you don’t know, don’t!

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

It has always been grating on election day hearing radio announcers telling their listeners to get out and vote. They actually say if you do not know who to vote for, vote anyway. Why?

Why would you want to go to vote against what your neighbours had thought about and maybe struggled over the decision? You would not believe the number of times when at the polls on election day, voters have come to vote and asked who is running for what party?

I have always wished there was some way to qualify voters and make sure they at least know who they want to vote for when they come to the polls.

I was asking someone from a local campaign office yesterday why nobody had called or, at least dropped literature for the candidate, at my apartment building. The answer I got back was that it was rated as a low-turnout poll and had probably been dropped in favour of more effort in another area.

I remember years ago, there was a bye-election in one of Toronto’s poorest areas and I was given a low-turnout poll that the NDP had won in the previous election with 42 votes. By practically living in the poll for the next three weeks, I got to know most of the voters on a first name basis. I more than doubled the vote in the poll and beat the NDP by two votes.

There is no such thing as a low-turnout poll. There are only polls that have not been worked properly.

One of the great disappointments I have had here in Barrie is the insular nature of this town. Part of it is the fact that it serves, in part, as a bedroom community for the Greater Toronto Area. When people only have weekends to look around where they live, it is hard to build community spirit. And in today’s Internet and smart phone era, extended family can replace community.

Politics has also changed and not for the better. Leader-down, politics is breaking down the community’s ability to come together in supporting local candidates. First, you have to pick your candidate far enough ahead of an election to give the him or her time to build a base. It is also critical that local candidates and party supporters have a say in policy development. This leader-centric party system we have been struggling with does not work.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Has Doug Ford ever lied to you before?

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Have you dug into Doug Ford’s ‘fully-costed’ plan for Ontario? I trust it has satisfied your thirst for knowledge? It reads like a used-car salesman’s figures done on the back of an envelope. And the figures never add up.

But that is the problem we have always had in working with one of the Ford brothers. They see a desire for negotiation as a sign of weakness. You just bought a Ski-doo trailer to hitch to your used car.

What amused me in learning about how Doug Ford had costed his plan, the person handing out the plan to the news media reminded me of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump’s hillbilly press secretary. The attitude about the conservative plan was ‘What you see is what you get.’

The trouble with the entire list is it is a series of pipedreams. This is not a program. This is a ‘shut up’ list. You ask for it and Doug Ford declares you can have it—in your dreams.

Did you see the figure for a 20 per cent reduction in provincial tax for the ‘middle class’? If you define middle class as the second tax bracket for Ontario taxpayers, the Tories are offering you a break that will cost the government $2.6 billion. Maybe you were unaware that this tax break—that you cannot collect for another four years—and maybe you will remember to vote for the conservatives again!

If you have been listening to the gasoline gurus, you will have heard that the price of regular gas will be over $1.50 a litre by the end of the summer. How much do you want to bet that the oil companies will beat you to any five-cent drop in gas taxes? And who benefits if the Tories can really axe the liberal cap and trade system—and then go to the Supreme Court to try to keep the federal government from putting in a carbon tax?

What is really amusing in these crack-cocaine type dreams over conservative plans are the hope to save $270 million in corporate welfare(?) while cutting business taxes by 20 per cent.

But the real nightmare would be if the conservatives win a majority government on June 7. Canadian conservatives in recent years have been more noteworthy in what they do not do, rather than anything proactive.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A real liberal never gives up!

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

Kathleen Wynne betrayed Ontario liberals yesterday. She surrendered, she gave up, she quit and she did the unconscionable. She ended her run as Ontario liberal leader the way she began: breaking the rules. Kathleen Wynne never put the party first and the party is paying the price.

From the time the North Toronto teacher first ran for provincial politics, she has put herself ahead of the party. It is all about Kathleen. In the guise of the lonely runner she held herself apart from liberals. Those of us who questioned her liberalism were sent to Coventry.

What liberal would take the advice of a banker to sell off Hydro One? The electricity distribution system was the core of controlling electricity rates in industrial Ontario. She dragged the party down a conservative path. It was only when an election loomed that she would look at liberal issues.

As a pseudo liberal she tried to tie a decent minimum wage to getting re-elected. The cynicism was obvious. It was the same as promises of free dental care, daycare, pharmacare for seniors and the list rolls on.

She put it all in the past yesterday. She did the unconscionable. She surrendered the field. She had no thought for the liberal party. She thinks it is all about her.

It is not. The liberal party has to carry on. It has to bring principles to politics in Ontario. It is the party of people’s rights. It is the party of progress. It is the party of people who work for the voters and not always for the party’s leader. It is a party of thinkers.

The liberal party can stand apart from the unfeeling failures of conservatism. It rejects putting the state ahead of the people of socialism. (Liberals can order York University people back to work to stop the abuse of students.)

There are harsh times ahead for Ontario and we need some good liberals in the legislature at Queen’s Park. We need a new and democratic leader to pull a caucus together in the interests of the people of Ontario.

And there are some good liberals running across Ontario. We need liberals from the eastern Ontario, northern Ontario and the southwest, as well as Toronto. These are not people to reject because of the failure of Kathleen Wynne. They are people who matter. Take a look. Make sure we have some strong people represent us at Queen’s Park. I am voting liberal in my riding.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The risk of being Trump.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

It is always play time at the fun house on the Potomac River. This is Mr. Trump’s domain these days and he takes great delight at pushing the buttons of power. In his childlike way, he abuses the powers of his office. Friend or foe alike, he cares not for rules or truth or the future.

It is why I do not like to write as much about him anymore. It is that he is not a politician. He is a clown. He surrounds himself in the White House with a pratfall of clowns.

The only problem that Americans will have to face is that it will take many years to restore the respect, the trust and the nation to nation friendships that the American Empire has had in the past. The world is learning from Mr. Trump that America’s word can no longer be trusted.

Mr. Trump is facing is the same problem a little boy encounters when first he pisses into the wind. He gets wet. He will get worse than wet in a world that turns on America. He is defiant. He is costing America acceptance, influence, power, respect and trade.

He has no understanding that nobody wins when you kick your neighbour’s dog. You can only get payback. And when you screw around with integrated manufacturing systems across borders, you drive up costs. Could nobody explain to him that the three of the largest aluminum smelters in Quebec, producing a million metric tons of aluminum per year, are mainly owned by ALCOA. Who does he think he is hurting with his tariff?

Who does a 25 per cent tariff on steel harm when Canada is a major source of supply of rolled steel for automobile and truck bodies? The American steel makers could hardly duplicate those rolling mills overnight.

Just wait until the Trump loyalists find out what their new Chevy pickup will cost them next year. And why have Canadians stopped buying their produce? And why can they not get casual help bringing in their crops?

Trade wars are ugly. Memories of trade wars are bitter. And those memories last. They leave bad tastes and lasting distrust. In a world taking the path to freer and open trading relationships Mr. Trump is the spoiled child using tantrums to try to get his way.

Mr. Trump promised his claque that he would make America great again. Does he have to destroy it first?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Are some more indigenous than others?

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Either we are all ‘from here’ or none of us are. If academics and government can refer to our first nations as indigenous then they must have changed the meaning of the word. Does the Oxford dictionary get a vote in this? The word experts still think the word ‘indigenous’ means ‘from here.’ And why are all these supposedly learned and authoritative people using the word ‘indigenous’ improperly? Canada’s first nations peoples are not indigenous.

And why are we choosing to stigmatize Canadians who also happen to have ancestors from among our first nations? Their ancestors came by land bridge or by sea many thousands of years ago. In Ontario, the aboriginal peoples tended to be nomadic. They lived off the land, picking seasonal fruits, trapping animals and birds and fishing the fresh waters. There were few, if any, ancestral lands but the ones we knew could be honoured.

And yet Canadians have vague knowledge of those early citizens of the land. Theirs was an oral history, passed down through generations. Little is preserved of the past.

Does being connected to Canada’s distant past bring shame? Is there some special honour imparted to those whose ancestors came 200 or 300 years ago?

What is going on? Are we honouring ignorance?

And we should stop mindlessly vilifying those who tried to help our aboriginals by showing them the path of the ‘white man.’ The residential schools were crude, terrorizing and unforgiving but what else would you expect of the times? How were people living in our cities back then?

The truth is today that there is no possibility to maintain a sustainable lifestyle for a hunter-gatherer culture in North America. We need to respect and honour the past and the customs we share. Reality is that our climate is changing and if it was thousands of years ago, we human types would finally uproot and move with it.

And what are we doing in those remote communities where only government handouts can sustain life? Why should we condemn people to live in such desolation and distress?

Humans have to continue to evolve. Change is the constant. We leave the past behind. We leave the old and embrace the new. We learn. The evidence of change might be generational but it does happen.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Conrad loves Donald.

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

It is hard to think of two people more deserving of their mutual admiration. Both Conrad Black and Donald Trump think the American President is a wonderful guy. And Lord Cross-the-Pond Black has written another coffee table tome to hopefully prove it.

As book number 47 (or so) by friends and foes of the Trump legend, this one will have to be considered friendly. You should find it in the fiction section, rather than biographies. It will be remaindered soon. The only question with Conrad Black is whether he has the hots for Melania Trump or would he just like to cuckhold his friend Donald. And would Donald care?

What gives us the best laugh is Conrad’s opening question: he implies that Donald Trump epitomizes America. That is the cruelest, deepest insult to America I have ever read. Like most good insults, it borders on the truth. Trump’s vulgar braggadocio can hardly be denied. Yet Trump has never understood his connection with the Eisenhower highways to America. It is the hoi polloi of the red states that restore him.

But when Conrad suggests that Trump shows a common touch, you should try not to choke on your mint julep. Conrad would not know a common touch, even if it grabbed his ass.

And you should not be fooled by Conrad waving his prisoner number. His sojourn in an American prison was not among the common drug dealers and rapists but among the elite in what Americans call ‘Club Fed.’ These are casual lock-ups for accountants who get greedy. It was a prison such as that where Al Capone was incarcerated and still able to run his criminal empire.

Conrad’s greatest hypocrisy is in regards to Donald’s treatment of the news media. The claim that the media are ‘flaccid’ is no thanks to Conrad’s career in helping destroy the qualities of journalism, dictated by the North American model. By turning the previously locally owned media into centrally printed copies of major city values, Conrad helped destroy trusted communications in rural America. Good communications is based on understanding your audience.

As Lord Cross-the-pond enjoys his retirement here in Canada as a visitor in Toronto’s palatial Post Road enclave, he continues to show that he can still put a few words together in a literate style. What his opinion is worth, is another question.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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