Archive for the ‘New’ Category

“How dare you?” Greta Thunberg.

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Somebody must have explained to the 16-year old from Sweden that you have to be brash to get noticed in North America. She would be quite unlikely to say ‘How dare you?’ to her elders back home in Sweden. Yet it worked at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Tuesday.

But the point is that it took that small-sized girl to tell hundreds of climate representatives from around the world that their climate change plans are inadequate to save the planet.

She is coming to Montreal to take part in a climate awareness march on Friday. Many schools are shutting down for the day to encourage their students to take part. And if our politicians also pay attention, it will be worthwhile.

But it is tough in a country that has climate change deniers ruling key provinces and contending in the current election. We have the premier of Alberta fighting to get the Trans Mountain pipeline twinned so that more polluting bitumen from the tar sands can be shipped to other countries to pollute some more. And he is supported by the premier of Ontario, our largest province, the other Prairie premiers and the leader of the national conservatives, Andrew Scheer.

“How dare you,” Mr. Scheer? And, “how dare you,” Mr. Trudeau?

Yes, Canadians also want to know what prime minister Trudeau intends to do with that pipeline.

Canada cannot even meet its reduced carbon emissions by 2030, let alone the proposed new targets for 2050. Maybe our politicians are hoping they will not have to take responsibility for their failures in another 30 years. Will the politicians of 2050 just move the targets to 2100? What will be the point if nothing is left? Do we want a planet, no longer worth saving? Is greed to decide our world’s future? Are we sewing the whirlwind that will destroy our world?

“How dare we?”

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

They’re not your father’s conservatives.

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

What happened to the red Tories? Is the decency of Ontario’s once premier Bill Davis a memory of the past? Whatever happened to the conservatives with whom I could share a joke? I used to like many of these people. They worked hard for charities. They were good neighbours. They would listen to your liberal proposals. They were honourable and respected people.

At all levels of government today, the conservatives are disappointing us. The saddest are on municipal councils, awaiting their opportunity to move up the ladder. In my Ontario riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, we have another empty suit from city council wanting to move up and also do nothing in Ottawa but vote the party line.

I was laughing the other day at his lame offer to voters to restore the Lake Simcoe environmental clean-up program. It seems that he blames the liberals for ending the program. Actually, the program ended when the conservatives said that it would end. The job was as complete as it would get. The only serious phosphate pollution left that is destroying Lake Simcoe is either airborne or washed in from farmers’ fields. I would love to see the first conservative politician in Ontario who tries to do something about that.

Maybe, he should talk to his friend premier Doug Ford about that problem.

But what really gets me about the promises, that Andrew Scheer is running around the country making, are the boutique style cuts that are really only for his rich friends. These are promises such as money for start-up businesses, or if you spend money for your kids’ sports, fitness programs or registered education savings, or travel to work by public transit or commuter trains or want your parental benefits tax free. These are ideas launched by the Harper conservatives that almost require you to have very thorough tax accountants doing your taxes. If these programs ever come into existence again, they will make a lie of the ability of the average Joe and Josephine being able to do their own taxes.

Many people have a hard time separating the Ontario conservatives at Queen’s Park from the Stephen Harper style conservatives in Ottawa. The lack of decency, the mean-spirited approach does not suggest the type of people we want running this country.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Who builds our nation?

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

This is an important ask. We have already had enough of this traditional election. We have been listening to the platforms. We already know the ideologies of the various parties. We have listened to the environmentalists, jeered the libertarians, shivered at the contempt of the conservatives, scoffed at the socialists, and puzzled over the left/right liberals. And all we really want to ask is who is going to take this nation to the world leadership it can so easily earn?

And size is not a measure of leadership. Nor is gross domestic product a measure of anything other than creating financial value. Leadership is ideas. Leadership is shared conviction.

Here are two examples of leadership: First was John A. Macdonald who pulled this nation together by building a railroad. It was no easy task, he coloured outside the lines occasionally to get the job done—but it did get done. He banded his dream of a nation with rails of steel.

The second example of leadership was the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Again, it was no easy task. It was Pierre Trudeau who made it happen. It was an idea that helped develop our nation. It was an idea that freed the individual in a nation that cares about all. And, it still has its detractors.

But Canada has to stop taking baby steps into the future. It has to keep building on the vision the world has of this country. We already have the reputation of being welcoming and decent. We are not part of any other nation’s army. We seek to help keep the peace. We welcome the dispossessed. We want to be a country of opportunity. We want to do our part in humanitarian service for the rest of the world.

Amazingly, all it takes is leadership. It takes a single idea. It takes one person to take the first steps. It needs a leader who can say ‘Yes, we can.’ And then does it.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump tramples on our territory.

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

The other day something caught my eye on the opening page of Microsoft’s browser. The company was doing a survey to find out why people dislike their MSN News. I did the survey, but I was reaching for different ways to spell ‘crap.’ This is news lifted from news-gathering people. Microsoft takes no responsibility for the authenticity.

The other day, they even had some Canadian news among the Hollywood trash. It was an item about president Donald Trump commenting on the current Canadian election. It was a lift from U.S.A. Today and, in it, Trump says he has always had good relations with Trudeau. And if you believed that, you could be sitting on the moon eating all the green cheese you want.

You always know when Trump is lying. He is moving his jaw bone.

The truth is that Trump has always been jealous of Trudeau. He hates him for his good looks and youth. He resents his ease in speaking French and he was obviously annoyed that at the recent G7 conference, French president Macron and Trudeau could chat in that language and leave Trump out in the cold.

And Trump also knows that the Canadians bested him by simply holding their positions in the recent free trade negotiations. Trump had obviously been advised by his negotiators that what they got was all they were going to get and there was no reason to prolong the negotiations. Trump does not like losing. He does not like Trudeau.

Donald Trump’s kindred spirits in Canada are people like Doug Ford, premier of Ontario, Jason Kenney, premier in Alberta, and Andrew Scheer, whom Trump wants to see win the current Canada-wide election. These are much friendlier people who would support him next year in what is shaping up as very iffy election for Trump.

Mind you, I expect that Trump’s chances next year are about as good as the chances of Microsoft becoming a respected news source.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The timeless media tempest.

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

It seems as though this election is taking place just for the benefit of the news media. I am not sure of the right word for it but it is the most over-reported and over-analyzed campaign I have ever seen and it is only week two. I can only hope that the media are not still ramping up to full coverage!

Maybe it was the long run-up to the fixed date with which we seem stuck. The political mills have been grinding away for about nine months and yet all hell broke lose when the election was called. I am getting so many campaign advisories, newsletters and news releases each day that I could spend every waking hour reading them. I learned speed reading many years ago but that does not seem to help with material on a computer screen.

I think it is best not to get bogged down in the morass of social media stuff on the Internet. There are a few insights in blogs that I check occasionally but there is a lot of bad information out there among the personal information that you did not need to read.

But it is the traditional media that are having a last hurrah. Geriatric pontificators are enjoying themselves commenting on the foolishness. Reporters work in wonder of finding out what is going on.

I think the distaff of the commentators are finally getting their innings. I love the breezy style of the CBC’s Vassy Kapelos and the more desperate style of Mercedes Stephenson on Global. And who is this Kady O’Malley of Torstar’s The Lead?

Before this campaign is over, I hope someone can find out if Andrew Scheer ever had a sense of humour to lose. Maybe we are all hoping that the campaign might bring some aging and political smarts for Justin Trudeau. The upshot of this campaign should see the honourable retirement for Elizabeth May, for doing the tough job, and the departure of Jagmeet Singh to attend to his law practice.

If the vote was tomorrow, I would still vote for the liberal candidate in my riding. I am a liberal and I am absolutely appalled at the ignorance of the conservatives about global warming—and I have always resented their mean-spirited “I’m alright, Jack” attitude.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Oh, the drama of it all.

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

It is too bad the media cannot find more important news. The best answer to the current media tempest came to us the other day from New Brunswick. This reader said, “You do know that Justin Trudeau also taught drama, don’t you?

“And did anyone who saw his costume and make-up at that time think to tell him his make-up was inappropriate? Probably, not.

“And have we heard any of his political opponents say, ‘He’s apologized, let’s move on.’”

I was born in an era when black and non-black radio listeners alike in North America were listening to two white men playing the parts of blacks in a very popular radio show called ‘Amos and Andy.’ We also listened to Eddie Anderson playing the character, Rochester, to radio’s Jack Benny, as well as Hattie McDaniel playing the black maid, Buelah, who solved all the problems for a white family.

It was also the era when major league baseball executive, Branch Rickey, sent a young black baseball player, named Jackie Robinson, to Montreal to play for the Montreal Royals and to see how he would handle himself.

But we can hardly crow about Canada’s supposed open arms to all. We still have some white supremists around to embarrass us. We also have sob-sisters in the media that tell us all white men are rotten and we owe apologies to women, aboriginals and people of color for past insults and abuse.

I hardly think any person owes any apologies for things that happened before they were born.

I look at this current kafuffle with Justin Trudeau as a question of intent. At the times when Justin Trudeau appeared in black face or any other color, was he deliberately insulting an entire race? The answer is ‘No.’ Was he deliberately hiding the fact that he did wear the make-up? The answer is ‘No.’

Does anyone care? The answer is probably ‘Not much.’

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

So far, so what?

Friday, September 20th, 2019

The dispatches from the front line of the current election strife are mostly about stupidity, compounded by incompetence. Despite the usual whining, scratching and digging up old pictures of each other, the kids are playing by the rules.

Justin Trudeau and his liberals are establishing a traditional campaign ground game. The leader flits about the country, offering bribes with our own money to vote for him and apologizing for once being young and stupid. It makes you wonder how many times you can ask for a second chance?

As you would expect, the conservatives and ‘Chuckles’ Scheer are still getting their roles straight. Chuckles is the lonely pedlar from the Prairies offering a mixed bag of goodies to the rubes.

The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is counting on his Sikh friends to at least win Brampton in Ontario for his socialists—anything else is up in the air.

And Elizabeth May and her greens are trying to get used to all the media attention.

There is no point in looking at the polls yet. Not everyone can be in the position they hoped to be at. We were expecting more movement in the green support but those figures have remained flat. There seems to be some delay factor built into the pollsters’ algorithms.

The conservatives got the usual early start in the lawn sign pollution. They know that for every unordered lawn sign torn and thrown in the garbage, one will be left standing, no matter if the homeowner cannot vote—it helps the conservative candidate look strong, at first.

In addition, the first of the conservative four-color literature has gone out introducing Chuckles and their new candidates. The liberals are still cleaning out their new riding campaign offices and ordering their signs. ‘Where to find a competent campaign manager?’ is still the liberal question of the day. Not so the NDP as they try to find some supporter with a garage that can be turned into cheap storage for signs and a make-shift campaign office. And the greenies are sitting at home, wondering what to do next.

On the national scene, the liberals are preaching and reaching to the middle class. They have met the attack ads head-on by refusing to join in a four-party love fest called a debate and got away with it.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

We can do that ourselves, thank you.

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

This ongoing concern for foreign countries interfering with our federal election is more of a joke than a threat. It is not that it could not happen, but why bother? What would be the mythical country’s objective? Why would they, for example, prefer one of our leaders over another? This is not something that any country would be so foolish to do for practice.

Frankly, we can screw up this election ourselves without any outside help. As it stands at this juncture, the liberals and the conservatives are doing more damage to each other and themselves than any foreigner could do for them. And the NDP and the greens are warring with each other as well as fighting the older parties for the crumbs from the table.

While the telecom companies love to tell the public that telecommunications just vanish into a cloud to re-emerge some seconds later in another part of the world, the World Wide Web has finite, defined transmission channels that connect the countries of the International Telecommunications Union.

Many Canadians are unaware that Canada is not just a member of what are known as the Five Eyes, the five countries that regularly police material being communicated around the world. Canada originated the capability when it developed the secret Hydra installation on the north shore of Lake Ontario, early in the Second World War. Canada provided the intelligence gathered to the Allies to give them a leg up in winning the war and the Ottawa based Canadian Communications Security establishment of today takes second place to no country in its special telecommunications reading capabilities.

And besides, the only country that would possibly benefit from controlling a Canadian election would be the United States of America. And if congress ever found out that the Trump White House had ordered such manipulations, they would jump on the opportunity to impeach him. Why not? They want to impeach him for something!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Singh seeks separatist support.

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

The NDP’s leader Jagmeet Singh must be desperate. In a province that discriminates against people such as him because of his turban, he is pandering to the péquiste to try to keep a few of the Quebec seats won by the NDP in the 2015 election. The party had fallen from 59 seats in Quebec in 2011 to 16 in 2015 and is concerned that it might have no seats in the province as a result of the 2019 election.

To try to stop the erosion of support, Singh issued an 11-page platform just for Quebec the other day. He promised a further effort to downplay the use of English in the province. This included taking away the rights of federally incorporated companies in Quebec to operate outside the province’s draconian language laws.

The platform included the right for Quebec to reject participation in programs such as Pharmacare and be financially compensated by Ottawa to subsidize its own such program. This is despite the point of Pharmacare being to enable the single customer to make the best deals to lower the cost of pharmaceuticals.

The most ridiculous promise in this program was that the federal NDP would work towards Quebec signing in on the Canadian constitution, under any conditions it wanted. The point of the Canadian federation is that the federal authority has its direct responsibilities and the provinces provide the services to their provinces. This has evolved over the past 150 plus years into an effective co-dependency and it works. It is an arrangement that depends on goodwill and common goals.

The platform showed a lack of diplomacy and long-term thinking on the part of the NDPers who framed it. There is a world of difference between holding out an olive branch and capitulation. It is regretful that Mr. Singh is not as sensitive to the history of Canada’s French-English relations as he might be to his ancestors’ trials in the Punjab state in the Indian subcontinent.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

It’s Tory Tax Tuck Time.

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

We hardly got through the first week of the federal election before the conservatives brought out their usual election chestnut. It is time to promise lower taxes. It would hardly be a Canadian election without it. And, as usual, this bribe will not even pay for your drive-though Tim’s on the way to work.

And, as is also usual, the tax goes to the rich and poor alike. The conservatives never discriminate against their rich friends. The only problem is the rich might not notice the minor uptick in their annual refund. Nor would they really care.

But what is really concerning in all this B.S. is the flip side. By that, we mean; where the money for this tax tuck will come from? In making the big announcement, ‘Chuckles’ Scheer made it clear that he is not going to cut any core services to flesh out the $6 billion this tax cut will eventually take out of government revenues. All you know is that you might have to forget the bridges or fire-fighting airplanes that the money might have provided Canadians.

While the generosity of this questionable bonanza seems mute, it is a wonder that some Canadian voters like it. It must be what makes their effort to elect some of these mean-spirited conservatives worthwhile. It puts something in their pocket.

And when you look at it in relationship to the total federal government budget, it certainly does not mean a hill of beans to the voters.

But look at it in terms of government spending and it can mean something. It could go a ways in supporting a national Pharmacare program in step with Medicare. It could mean more long-range patrol aircraft to assure our borders in the north. It could help modernize our national policing under the RCMP. It would help pay for our current refurbishing of our parliament buildings.

It makes you wonder why these Neanderthals even want to go to Ottawa. They do not believe in having a government that can be meaningful for Canadians. They do not even care about Canadians. They do care about themselves and their ideology. We certainly should not be electing conservatives.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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