Archive for the ‘Provincial Politics’ Category

It’s all bad news for Jason Kenney.

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

If you had a Voodoo doll, would you call it Jason Kenney and stick pins in it? Well, somebody must be!

Of all the business indices listed in the Toronto Star yesterday, oil was the only commodity showing its usual downward spiral. It is so bad that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has claimed that the pandemic has impacted the demand for energy harder and for longer than was previously feared.

It is expected that demand for crude oil will fall from last year’s 9.5 per cent by another 9.5 per cent this year.

But what do you expect of a guy like Kenney who puts all his eggs in a basket made with the dregs of the Athabasca and Cold Lake tar sands? This is the guy who fights with the provinces’ doctors instead of protecting the public from the looming pandemic. He pours Alberta tax dollars into pipelines that might never be completed. He vilifies the prime minister who risks his reputation providing just one of the pipeline possibilities.

Jason Kenney came home from Ottawa, where he had been a senior cabinet minister. He came to unite the right. He came to lead that right. He came to show his distain for women. He came for himself—not to help the people of Alberta.

He also came at a time when the United States is increasing its fracking capabilities and oversupplying its home market.

And to top it all, the Alberta premier seems to draw some of his remarks about the coronavirus from Donald Trump in the United States. During a speech to the legislature late in May, Kenney kept referring to covid-19 as a flu. That Voodoo doll must have been working overtime that day.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Ties that bond.

Saturday, September 12th, 2020

A friend sent me a copy of a letter he sent to two liberal members of the Ontario Legislature the other day. He was concerned about Ontario’s lack of planning for electrical generation in the next couple of decades. He is particularly concerned that Ontario’s nuclear generation capabilities are well past their ‘best before’ dates and have to be taken off line in that time.

This leaves Ontario few options. I can tell you from a study I did for the Ontario ministry of energy back in the 1980s under the Peterson government that new nuclear plants are not an option. They are too expensive to build, they are not wanted anywhere in the province, and they take too long to run up to full power and too long to shut down.

The only really flexible form of power generation, at present, are gas-fired plants that can be located where needed—when users allow them.

But the negative is that you have no way of knowing what the cost of gas will be 10 to 15 years down the road. This is just another craps shoot.

The other choice for Ontario is to contract with Manitoba and Quebec for our long-term electrical energy needs. Both provinces want to export energy as they have the water power resources for the growth of large-scale hydro plants that can provide low-cost energy for many years to come. And committing to Ontario’s needs is a far better deal for them than selling into the U.S.

In addition, provinces can get support from the federal government for the interprovincial transmission lines. As Canada moves to meet its commitments to reduce global warming, all provinces will want to share in our hydroelectric resources.

High-speed national rail lines, high-efficiency commuter lines and the continued move to electric vehicles all depend on reliable sources of low-cost electricity. It is a resource for all of us.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Ontario’s petulant premier.

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

After more than a year of silly stickers on our gas pumps, Ontario voters have got the message. And the Ontario Court System has finally got around to noting that that the Ontario government’s stickers are in breach of the retailers’ Charter rights. Is this a fair resolution to the foolishness?

If it were not for the surveillance cameras mounted in gas stations across the province, many of us would have liked to make our own comment on Doug Ford’s affrontery. And what is the court going to do to recompense Ontario citizens for this inaccurate and appalling politicizing at the pumps where they go to get fuel for their gasoline-guzzling automobiles?

It looks like the Canadian Civil Liberties Association let us down this time around. We do hope that the court, at least, saw fit to award costs of the action to the association.

It seems appropriate that the court should announce its decision on the same week as we are having an official visit by the premier of Quebec. It was an excellent opportunity for the citizens of both provinces to note how much smarter the premier of Quebec is than the premier of Ontario.

This was the smart premier who stuck with his province’s promises to California in the ‘Cap and Trade’ deal. Cancelling Ontario’s participation probably cost Ontario taxpayers more money than their premier would really like to admit.

But then we never seem to know which Ontario premier we are getting these days. There is the petulant Doug Ford who wants to get even with his old foes at Toronto city hall. And then there is the warm and fuzzy Dougie who refers to Toronto’s mayor as his best friend forever (BFF).

And what about his other BFF, prime minister Trudeau?


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The boy who called Wolf.

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

It is important to remember better days in politics. Like the time I had a laugh with conservative premier Bill Davis. I was able to introduce him to a large luncheon at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel as “The man on my far right, William Davis, Premier of Ontario.” His retort, from the end of the head table, was that it was the only place to be.

What was obvious to people at that event was that Bill Davis and I could be friends. And we were not going to let some differences in politics interfere with that.

It is something that is missing in to-day’s politics. What we are seeing is a constant harangue of vitriolic exchanges—particularly in Ottawa.

It is to be regretted that the new conservative leader Erin O’Toole felt he had to come out swinging against prime minister Trudeau. And it is beginning to look like he will soon have a coterie of like-minded conservatives backing him up.

I think the nastiest of his back-ups will be that right-wing cowboy from Calgary with the French name: Pierre Poilievre. I have never seen a conservative finance critic enjoy himself so much.

But like the boy who called wolf just a few too many times. I think the conservative attacks will soon lose impact, What Bill Davis proved in Ontario, those years ago was not that bland works—but it is humanity that works. Starting out with some integrity would be a welcome sign.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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If you cannot honour our past…

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

How can we expect you to honour our future?

Just get your Goddamn hands off John A. Macdonald. Nobody has the right to damage or deface a statue of an honoured Canadian. We have so damn few real heroes in Canada, we need to cherish the ones we have. You keep your grubby hands off mine and I will help protect yours.

Last Saturday, a couple hundred, so-called protestors, in Montreal, pulled down the statue of John A. Macdonald. And the ignorant local police just watched.

It seems these people had started out on a peaceful little march to defund the police (what ever that means). Since they had also conveniently remembered to bring bolt wrenches, spray paint and ropes along on their innocent little protest, they put them to use.

Good on Montreal mayor Valerie Plante that she condemned the action. And tell that trouble-maker in Edmonton that he can put up a statue to Earnest Manning in front of the Alberta Legislature. This country needs a good laugh.

But what we do not need is assholes who do not understand the racial attitudes of 150 years ago. We have come a long way since then. Yes, John A. Macdonald was a racist, who had little understanding of the needs of our aboriginal peoples. Sir John was also a drunk and a scoundrel.

But he was our drunk and our scoundrel. And you leave him alone.

When Macdonald and his cabinet enacted the Indian Act, they thought they were doing something good. Today, we know that they really screwed things up. Isn’t hindsight wonderful!

And, frankly, I think many Canadians are fed up with these wet-behind-the-ears, juveniles telling us Canadians we are racist. Nor do we believe that our federal, provincial or municipal police are systemically racist. In fact, I am not all that sure that these accusers could provide a cogent explanation of the descriptor ‘systemically racist.’


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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I’m Ba-ack.

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I have spent the past three weeks in hospital. I remember waking up after an operation to put my ankle back together. I was completely disoriented but conscious of the need for a washroom. I remembered where I was when a gaggle of hospital attendants were standing over me, on the washroom floor, asking how the hell I got there.

Having had only brief occasion to assess Barrie’s darling Royal Victoria Hospital in the past, I was unaware of the mess Covid-19 and the Ontario conservatives have wrought. The Ford government has created a guessing game as to what items the hospital will be short-shipped this week.

I think the biggest mistake the hospital has made is furloughing all its local volunteers who had found their way in this stupid maze of a hospital. These people, in their blue vests, were the ambassadors for the hospital to their community. They kept the charity funds flowing and the hospital operating at a high level.

Mind you, there is no earthly rationale for the abdominal food they feed their patients. One wag of a team leader told me that is how the hospital convinces patients to go home. If that had been the case, I would have been home on day two.

And what ever happened to the quaint custom of daily rounds by the doctors? I think I saw a doctor once in over three weeks. I have no idea just where these guys and gals hide. They seem to work as ancient alchemists hiding in the background, creating new and more insidious mixes of pills to confuse your bowels. Frankly, I am tired of discussing my bathroom habits with youngsters in tight scrubs who are the same age as my grandsons.

Maybe tomorrow, I will come up with something acerbic about our politicians


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Never confuse Kenney with Trump.

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

One of my favourite writers wrote in a Toronto Star op-ed the other day that she thought Alberta premier Jason Kenney is the closest thing Canadians have to Donald Trump. As much as I hate to argue the case, Ontario’s premier Doug Ford holds those honours. Neither Ford nor Trump had the background or experience for their job. Neither is competent.

And neither Ford nor Trump can hold a candle to Kenney in terms of political experience and sleaze. Kenney knows what he is doing. From the first day, after leaving Ottawa for Alberta politics, he hit the ground running. He is a textbook demagogue.

Kenney knows how and when to stab his allies in the back. He knows how to build the coalitions of power. Sure, he panders to the one per cent. He is their lap dog. With the rest of us, he bares his teeth and dares us to challenge him.

My greatest disappointment with Linda McQuaig’s op-ed the other day was that what she was saying was old news. Haven’t Albertans known for years that any profit from the tar sands goes to out-of-province investors? Albertans get the few jobs and the crumbs from the table.

The current provincial government and previous ones have made a myth of the supposed oil treasure locked in the tar sands. To continue this false news through the $30 million being spent on Jason Kenney’s Canadian Oil Centre war room is an insult to the intelligence of Albertans and all Canadians. Albertans should be hitting the streets though, objecting to the billions of their money, Kenney and Trudeau are wasting on pipelines to nowhere!

But Kenney is busy. He would rather fight with the province’s doctors than help them fight Covid-19.

He thinks he can get the post-Trump government in Washington to approve the completion of the TC Energy pipeline connection to the Texas Gulf ports. These are but the delusions of a demagogue.

People across Canada share the concern for how repeated Alberta governments have denied the province a balanced, stable economy. The tar sands never were the answer.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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“When Giants Walked Among Us.”

Monday, July 20th, 2020

That line about giants came in an e-mail from a reader the other day. It was referring to the time of Lester B. Pearson, Pierre E. Trudeau, John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. It was a heady time to be involved in politics. It was a time to not only share the dream but to be involved in making it happen.

But what have we come to today when pygmies are allowed to besmirch giants? Why can a group, using the honourable name of the American Black Lives Matter organization, be allowed to toss paint on the statue of one of Canada’s giants, John A. Macdonald?

An American who helped found the student nonviolent coordinating committee and spoke just before Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech to the Washington March, died last week. His name was John Lewis and he served as a liberal democrat in the House of representatives for many years. He spoke out for equality and justice.

John Lewis could have told these pygmies in Toronto that civil disobedience does not work. He could have told them that defacing public property does not work. He could have told them to join a political party, get elected and take their cause to where it matters.

I also think those ignorant people who dishonoured Canada by trying to deface Sir John’s statue should meet me there later today—and bring their toothbrushes—they have a cleaning job to do.

And after Sir John has been restored, we will can march behind the pink palace to the statue on Queen’s Park Crescent of what’s his name on the horse. We are also going to clean up that horse. That is one damn fine horse and does not deserve to be painted pink.

But do not worry about Egerton Ryerson’s statue. You did not get any paint above his knees. He has had far worse things done to him by students of the excellent university named after him.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Defund Police: Then What?

Sunday, July 19th, 2020

It reminds me of something out of an old Zane Grey novel. These people who mostly look like they need a job themselves are telling us to take away the money budgeted for police. Are they all so stupid that they think we do not need police?

Surely, they do not think some cowpoke is going to amble into town and save us from the big, bad policeman. I would welcome the chance to tell the cowpoke to start by getting rid of those noisy people who want to defund our police.

What else would you advise us to do with a bunch of knuckleheads who do not take the time to understand how we run our police in Ontario. The people who make the rules about our police are not at police headquarters or city hall. They are at Queen’s Park. They write the laws. They run the province’s Special Investigations Unit (S.I.U.) that investigates when the police shoot somebody. They appoint half the people on the city police board. No doubt they need a good laugh.

And I think us citizens are going to be generally happier when those law makers at Queen’s Park make it illegal for you to plunk your asses down on the asphalt and block traffic. I know there are laws against jaywalking. We need one against ‘jaysitting.’ In any event it is not a good idea to piss off the general public when you want them to support your cause.

What might have surprised all these yahoos who have been demonstrating their little hearts out over the brutality of police was the recent action by the S.I.U. The provincial agency has charged the police officer in Mississauga involved in tasering and shooting a citizen with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and careless use of a firearm.

What these demonstrators need to understand is that the system can work. It is the person who writes letters, the person who speaks to their elected representatives, the good cop who says ‘no more’ and the respectful questions that get the answers. Stupid antics, by stupid people, get the brush off.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Ford follows mentor Trump.

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

From the low of being booed at the Raptors’ celebration in Toronto last year, Ontario premier Doug Ford feels it is time to hear some applause. After all the exposure he has gotten from the pandemic, he is ready to go on the road again. Like Donald Trump in the U.S., Dougie feeds on the approbation of his sycophants.

Since the province is not yet ready for large crowds of voters to gather and cheer the premier, he is cherry-picking the Covid-19 success stories around the province to keep the media interested. As long as the television reporters are there with their cameras, Dougie considers it a win. That is one thing that he has seen for himself with the daily news appearances at Queen’s Park to report on the pandemic and what might or might not be news. He revels in it.

Trump, conversely, has to have his numbers. It is his followers he needs to see at his rallies. When there were empty seats at his last rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his campaign organization had to develop a plan for once or twice per day Internet events for his followers. It is the numbers that are critical. That is why his organization requires a ticket for each virtual event attendee.

While Ford is reaping the rewards for listening to the medical experts, Trump is suffering the consequences of his brushing aside the experts in the U.S. Putting vice president Pence in charge of the of the federal committee dealing with the coronavirus was a serious mistake.

The only problem Ford has with his approach is the bad timing. Any lift his approval numbers gained this far ahead of the election could be history when Ontario next goes to the polls. Too often the leader in the polls when the election is called, is not the leader on election day.

But then nobody really thinks that Trump or Ford are really politicians. They really just need someone to pat them on the head and give them an ‘attaboy.’


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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