Archive for the ‘New’ Category

A weekend of infamy.

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

Ontario liberals are wasting their money this weekend as they gather in Mississauga to confirm a new leader. With a new leader, about half a million in the bank and some good media coverage, the party should be ready to roar back at Doug Ford’s hapless Tories.

But it will not be long though until Ontario voters wonder what might be the difference.

It is the same problem as the American democratic party is having with its corrupt system of choosing presidential candidates. If you look at the history of those boring delegated conventions in the U.S., you realize that, in the main, they drill down to the blandest candidates. It is all manipulated anyway.

What happened to the republican party four years ago was that a pompous ass kept threatening to buy the republican convention, so they gave it to him. Donald Trump bought that convention at a fire-sale price.

To nobody’s amusement, New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg tried the Trump technique on the democratic party this time around and nobody bought it. Bloomberg wasted some of his billions.

But, thankfully, the situation is different in Canada. It would be foolish to say it cannot happen here but we are actually seeing variations of that in Ontario in recent leadership contests.

When Patrick Brown bought the Ontario conservative leadership in 2015, it cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Where the money came from is only conjectured. Brown hired the organizers from Hindi temples and Muslim mosques. They sponsored parties throughout Ontario to which they invited both citizens and recent immigrants from the Sub-Continent. Of the 100,000 of these people in Ontario, the organizers signed up close to 40,000 as members of the Ontario progressive conservative party. They could pay the $10 membership fee or the organizers would pay it for them.

In Del Duca’s case the membership fee was $20 (for two years) but he only needed to sign up 14,000 to swamp the existing liberal party membership. Back when I worked on the party newspaper in Ontario, the party had 70,000 paying members. That was back when Ontario parties were run with a higher regard for honesty.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

 

The downhill dance of Doug Downey.

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

It is all Caroline Mulroney’s fault. Nobody wants a member of the legislature who constantly embarrasses the people in his riding. We sure got that in spades in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. And if only Caroline Mulroney knew more about Canadian and Ontario legal traditions, she would still be attorney general.

Instead, Ontario has the embarrassing Doug Downey, a small-town lawyer from Severn, Ontario, as attorney general. Ford parachuted him into the Barrie area seat to keep Patrick Brown out. It is not that I think Downey is stupid but he seems to be in dereliction of duty when he does what his boss, Doug Ford tells him to do. Consider Downey’s struggles to change how we appoint judges in Ontario:

Downey’s boss is not a highly educated person. He is a great believer in cronyism. He wants people in positions of power in Ontario to be good conservatives—this includes judges.

But how is Downey going to tell the good guys from the bad guys if he is only sent two recommendations of qualified people, when he asks the independent committee to give him some recommendations?

There might have been more than a couple of formal letters go back and forth here. The upshot was that he finally asked the committee to send him a list of all the applicants. It would appear that Downey was going to put cronyism ahead of having qualified judges.

That might have made sense to Downey but it outraged many of the legal community in Ontario. The province has an envied reputation throughout Canada and the U.S. for its non-partisan judicial appointments.

But what should be obvious to all in Ontario is that this guy Downey does not seem to have read the specifications for his job at Queen’s Park. As chief law officer for the province, he has a responsibility to advise the premier and the various ministers of the crown on how to stay out of legal entanglements. Failure to provide this advice and/or having it ignored is not acceptable for an honourable person. He should resign.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Like talking to the wind.

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Our politicians need more experience in dealing with our native peoples before they announce they are meeting milestones. Milestones are just road markers for those who can read them. Talking with our native peoples is a process. It is like talking to the wind. What is carried where is always a matter of conjecture.

These are peoples with only an oral history of the times before Europeans started arriving on their shores. Their tales were told and retold in their lodges and wickiups and around campfires.

What other Canadians will skip over in a conversation, our native people will cover in detail. It is like cabinet member Carolyn Bennett probably didn’t notice the other day that the milestone she reached with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs had little to do with the problem of their supporters blocking train tracks.

Canadians, whether native or not, know that there have been many missteps in our relations with each other over the years. Sometimes Canadians meant well and really made a mess of it. Sometimes the native peoples were obliging and also regretted it.

But today, we are all tired of the failures of our politicians in seeking reconciliation. While we try to be polite and observe the rights of our native peoples to their treaty and ancestral lands, the actions of a few of them in blocking trains and roads has frustrated the general population who often have no idea what is the cause of the disruption and what can be done to rectify the problem. What it is doing is making race relations more difficult.

In an interview with grand chief Joe Norton of the Kahnawake First Nations in Quebec, Mercedes Stephenson of Global Television gave him a platform to state his complaints. What we heard was how limited his knowledge was of the concerns of the West Coast natives of Wet’suwet’en. His solution was that he could send some of his native police to B.C. to replace the RCMP (who are the B.C. provincial police) who seem to be disliked by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. That would certainly add more confusion.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The Joiners.

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Remember the old Blues Brothers number: Everybody wants somebody to love. I was thinking of that last week as people were wreaking havoc on hapless commuters and train travellers across Canada. I am always curious about the joiners, looking for their fleeting 15 minutes of fame.

When others are looking at the police seemingly standing around contemplating the time wasted on this duty at these blockades, I look at the joiners. And that is what they are: they are joiners.

At one site on a rail line, there was one stupid kid standing around waiting to be arrested and he had a bandana over the lower part of his face. He must have thought the bandana made him look like some kind of desperado. All it did was look silly. The kid did not act as an aboriginal might. He had no such connection. He was just a joiner.

Joiners go to the action. They were in their glory last year when they joined a couple million people in celebrating the basketball win by the Toronto Raptors. Even I was impressed by the size of that turnout. I watched it on television.

Joiners used to get religion, join some holy rollers group and stay out of trouble. Lately they have found that going where there is trouble is more interesting. They saw how these more obnoxious groups like Black Lives Matters and Canada’s native peoples can screw over trains and automobiles, block bridges and traffic and even get even with police. This is much more fun than smoking a joint with other losers. Especially when cannabis is not even illegal any more.

I always found that there was a considerable number of joiners ready to sign on for an election campaign. If you signed up a bunch of young ladies first, the young guys were sure to follow. They were never much for the heavy lifting in the campaign but they sure looked good for crowd scenes to impress the media.

What politicians such as Doug Ford do not understand is that these joiners will buy your BS as long as you buy the beer but then they wander off. You have to work hard at keeping them feeling important.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Where have all the leaders gone?

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

You get the feeling that we are talking about a ghost. Everybody is looking for leadership. Nobody has seen it. Talking to a friend about it, he said the problem is that there are too many rowboat people and not enough canoeists. He explained it as most people row a boat facing where they have been. Canoeists on the other hand, face where they are going. We just need more canoeists.

Look at the pitiful state of our national political parties. The only ones that even matter are the liberals, conservatives, new democrats and the greens. Two of the parties are looking for leaders and the other two should. The conservatives reached their cut-off date this past week and who do you think that choice will excite? The greens are still arguing about how to manage a contest and they might not have one.

The NDP are in the worst shape. The party lost a third of its caucus in the last election because of the lack of leadership, lack of direction and its inability to raise adequate funds for a national campaign.

But the most serious lack of leadership is in the liberal party. Justin Trudeau is certainly not his father. And he is not a leader. A leader brings clarity to direction and nobody has a clue as to where we are going with Justin. And it is a lot more than our environmental direction that is concerning.

The PM was talking reconciliation with our native peoples four years ago and look how far have we come with that?

How many prime ministers get to spend billions on a pipeline that nobody wants except the greedy who do not care about the environment.

Trudeau is a hypocrite. He claims support for feminists and you might want to check with Jody Raybould-Wilson MP on that one. He enjoys travels to meetings of world leaders but what has been his contribution at those international conflabs?

Trudeau has been tearing down the liberal party as he and his underlings pester registered liberals for money. The party has been crying out for leadership.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The end of an era.

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

We were unlikely novitiates in the liberal party of the 1960s. I honestly do not remember where or when we met. Yet I do remember the launching pads of our friendship over the years. Hon. David P. Smith was an impulsive, fun-loving and caring guy. He died on February 26.

A key memory was his first municipal campaign in the 1970s. I had been out and when I arrived home, the wife came out, told me I had people waiting for me in the living room and went to have coffee with a neighbour. It was two guys named Smith: David and his campaign manager, Larry Smith. And prominently displayed on a sofa was the worst election sign I had ever seen.

“Peter, I’m gonna run for alderman in Ward 11. Isn’t that a great sign? With that introduction and that sign, I think I was struck dumb. Then, in the classic line from the movie The Candidate, he asked, “What do we do now?” It was 21 years later that prime minister Jean Chrétien would facetiously complain that Smitty had let him down by not winning all of Ontario’s 99 seats. He lost just one. (Barrie, the area I live in today.)

The only municipal election David lost was when he overreached in a crowded field and went for the Toronto mayor’s job. It was one of the rare times he annoyed me. At his opening campaign meeting around a huge boardroom table at a downtown law firm, people were introducing themselves. They were all lawyers. When it was my turn, David broke in and said I was his good luck charm and he always won when I was involved. If you have ever been in a political campaign run by lawyers, you would understand why I did not return. David lost.

He was much more contrite a couple years later when the Joe Clark conservatives fell and he called me to ask if he could run in my riding. I said sure, the liberals in the riding liked him and he had an easy win.

I was laughing along with prime minister Pierre Trudeau a few years later, when Pierre made him minister of tourism. David was the world’s most avid tourist. Not even I could help David when the Mulroney conservatives won the next election.

David was among the last appointees to really earn that Senate seat. He stepped into the national director role for the liberal party as our friend Keith Davey slipped away into the fog of Alzheimer. David was a dedicated liberal. He will be missed.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Del Duca Doesn’t Do It.

Friday, February 28th, 2020

The Toronto Star actually endorsed a candidate for leader of Ontario’s liberals without telling their readers anything of importance about him. They tell us former MPP Steven Del Duca is a good organizer without giving any examples. They tell us he can raise funds without understanding where they come from. They tell us he likes the centre-right political playground instead of being a lefty like Kathleen Wynn.

And that is an endorsement?

Former premier Kathleen Wynne was the most reactionary of liberals. She was slow to listen, slow to react and unembarrassedly milked any media opportunity that made her look even a little bit progressive. To suggest Del Duca is more right wing than her is to put him in a similar political view as Maxime Bernier.

And Wynne seemed to have the political common sense of a gerbil. When she surrendered before the campaign was even over to that ass Ford and his collection of conservative connivers, it was her high-water mark of blundering politics. She gave no thought to the candidates and party supporters she was betraying.

But of the 20 or so of the liberal candidates who had a chance at the time of winning their seats, I hardly think Del Duca was included. Micheal Coteau and Mitzie Hunter were two we expected to pull through because of their strong riding support and their hard work.

The one thing for sure is that the liberal party has little chance of serious reform with someone such as Del Duca at the helm. The federal party has been changed under Justin Trudeau into a collection of easy marks for constant fund-raising. They have little input on where the party is going, its policies or in choosing its candidates.

It will be a sorry day next week if Steven Del Duca walks away with the party leadership. It will be when liberalism dies in Ontario.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

This gang can’t shoot straight.

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

They must find these companies under a bush somewhere. We are talking about Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, a Canadian casino management company based in B.C., that is currently being taken over by an American company with deeper pockets. Gateway operates casinos in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. In Ontario, the company manages casinos in central, northern and southwest Ontario, including Casino Rama, Innisfil Casino and one to be opened in Wasaga Beach. As we live in central Ontario, we can report that Innisfil has no craps and is an ongoing disappointment, Rama has fallen on hard times and Wasaga is coming.

The wife and I picked a bad day last week to stop at the Innisfil casino. I do not know if the weather report that said it was the coldest day of the winter so far, was to blame for the technical problems but it might have been reason for missing staff. It started with no staff for the coatroom. There were also some very grouchy slot players who could not get their payoffs because of a computer glitch. The wife was pleased when I said we could come back when people are happier.

And we know better than to eat in their restaurant. We have heard various excuses for the food there but it just seems to be poor quality, cooked without caring.

The company downgraded our favourite restaurant at Rama. They turned it into a burger joint. One thing I know about successful casinos after years of trips to Las Vegas is that if you stay away from the buffets, gamblers can expect good food. At Rama, the only thing this management company did with the other restaurants seemed to be to raise the prices. And, while I might be wrong, they seem to have simply cut off the comps while taking three months to convert to their own “Club Rewards” program.

I expect leaner times when they get the program started again.

But I think the system of comping gamblers on table games should borrow elements of the system in early Las Vegas where the pit bosses controlled the comps. These are the people who can see the action best. They know the gamblers best. And the people who stimulate the gambling and make it fun are not the whales of years gone by.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Bridging the American Divide.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

The democratic party achieved a breakthrough of sorts last weekend in Las Vegas. It was a win for leftist Bernie Sanders and was the first clear indication of why Sanders is the answer to Trump. It also looks like the first proof that the old-time democrats need to draw up their sphincters and recognize that social democracy is their future.

For the first time last weekend, we saw Latinos, blacks and other thinking Americans coalesce behind the man who believes in the same type of America as they dream about. It is these Americans, as well as youth and women standing up against the billionaires of privilege.

Bloomberg’s billions did not impress them. Trump is but an entertainment for the vacuous of middle America. Trump seeks to divide people while social democracy can bring them together.

No country should ever allow its billionaires to define it for their own greed. A nation is for the benefit of all peoples and their future.

But be warned. The stronger the delegate strength that the Sanders team can put together, the stronger will be the democrats heading home from the convention, committed and together vowing to rid America of the scourge of Trump.

It will be a new beginning. It will be an executive of government by and of the people. It will spell an end to the challenges against women’s rights. It will open opportunities for the forgotten of America. It will mean government-run Medicare for all. Nobody left behind.

Americans could usher in a new beginning without bigotry, without discrimination and prove once again to be a leader among nations. It will be a world where America is listened to and respected, Americans will enjoy a new security, a time to look beyond that daily search for trust in today and the future.

In the four years of the Sanders Presidency, there will not be much time but it will herald a new attitude. It will give the country time to reform its politics and decide what is important.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Buffalo Declarations and other Bull.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

There is an odour emanating from the politics of self justification in Alberta. And it is not that of the wild prairie rose. It is the greed and the false tears and it is the manure that helps it grow.

I remember as a young man, standing at the government dock on the shores of Cold Lake. I was looking across the water as I waited for the Beaver (the kind that fly) to come in on its floats to take me further north. I remember thinking this is awesome country.

But it does not need these avaricious politicians who pander to millionaires and foreign resource robbers who tear into the ground to attack our heritage and despoil our future. It does not need these mindless politicians who pander to their voters by blaming eastern politicians for their shortcomings.

Did all Alberta politicians fail Economics 101? Do they not realize that Teck Resources quit the idea of the largest, most polluting open-pit mine in the tar sands because the company realized that it could not make money? Any smart investment analyst will tell you there is no future in bitumen. There is no booming market in oil futures.

But then we have to contend with the ignorance of the Buffalo Declaration that underlines Alberta MP’s political efforts to undermine our Canada. Please, please tell me in what way is Alberta not an equal partner in this Canada?

And, for God’s sake, in what way is Alberta culturally different from the rest of the country (other than Quebec)? I have always found that I get excellent and friendly service in Calgary despite whatever accent people from Ontario might have.

The four Alberta politicians who wrote that silly Buffalo Declaration are not speaking for all their constituents nor is their whining very helpful. It is an interesting counterpoint to the LEAP Manifesto of the NDP. It is also going nowhere.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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