Archive for the ‘Provincial Politics’ Category

‘Corrupt Kathleen’ campaign comes to Canada.

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

It hardly took long. Sleaze spreads. The Ontario Conservatives had to think of something to overcome their lack of leadership, ethics, ideas and policies. When your party leader is a nobody, you attack the person people know. It makes you feel superior. It worked for Donald Trump did it not?

We can certainly assure you that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is no Hillary Clinton. She might not be as smart as Clinton but she is more of a street fighter. She is no lady. She is not going to take any crap from a putz like Patrick Brown.

That silly ass Brown deliberately said to the news media that the Premier was “on trial” when she appeared (as a witness) in the Sudbury bribery trial. He might not be a very successful lawyer but he was trained as one. He must have read something about slander and libel. He also knows that a judge’s ruling on what he said can be year’s away. It hardly matters then. The trial by voters is next June.

But, until then, Brown and his friends are going to try to pile on the sleaze. It does not seem likely that Kathleen Wynne will let them. This coming election campaign might not be fought under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

Hillary Clinton’s major mistake in last year’s American presidential campaign was not calling Trump for what he was—an overblown ego and narcissist who was totally unqualified, and unequipped to serve as president of the United States.

Those of us who know Patrick Brown can assure you that electing him as Premier would be an unmitigated disaster. He has never seemed to care much about policies, people or politeness. We are beginning to wonder when his handlers are going to hire some poor woman to hang on his arm to help him look normal?

I am going to get Stevie Cameron’s book On the Take off my bookshelf and remind myself of the sleaze of the Mulroney years in Ottawa. It seems that former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is now a major fund raiser for Patrick Brown. It is likely to be the quid pro quo for Brown giving Mulroney’s daughter the nomination in the York-Simcoe electoral district for next June’s election in Ontario.

They are going to need a lot of money if they keep buying heavy flights of TV commercials defaming Kathleen Wynne.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Hyperloop hardly halts high-speed trains.

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Do you want to be sent by pipeline down the Montreal-Toronto corridor? They are suggesting that the city to city trip will be in as little as 39 minutes. It sounds like a great idea but I am not sure that 39 minutes of claustrophobia, g-forces and sheer terror would be worth it.

Damn it all, if I am going to travel across Ontario to go to Montreal, I want to be able to look out the window. Hyperloop systems remind me of those tubes in the old ‘five and ten’ and other large stores that sucked in round containers and distributed them to other departments. I was always surprised when my change and receipt came, with a plop, back to where I was waiting.

My old friend David Collenette, former Prime Minister Chrétien’s transport minister, is currently doing an environmental assessment for Premier Wynne on a high-speed train line from Windsor to Toronto. It is just part of Wynne’s contrariness that she wants to go backwards to Windsor before she goes forward to Montreal.

I have been a proponent of high-speed electric trains for Canada for many years and I have always felt like a voice in the wilderness. What drives me nuts on the issue is that Quebec has all kinds of cheap electrical energy available for this project and some form of pernicious separatism has prevented Quebec politicians from getting behind the need for high-speed electrified trains. Airplanes, buses, automobiles and diesel locomotives pollute. High-speed electric trains cause the least pollution.

Ontario was a world leader in interurban trolley systems back at the turn of the 20th Century and gradually got rid of them with the growth of the automobile and congested highways. It amazes me that all these politicians can give lip service to environmentalism and yet never get serious about electrified train systems.

It has always seemed to be rejection of our first prime minister’s, Sir John A. Macdonald’s dream of Canada that we have not followed through on keeping this country linked by modern railways. Are we the last country in the G-20 to recognize the value of electrified, high-speed trains?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

In search of leadership.

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

This is not as simple as Diogenes with his lamp, searching for an honest man. There are many possibilities in life for leadership and many who believe they can fill the need. In Canada, we tend to assume that when the need arises, a leader will step forward. We could not be more wrong in our assumptions and our best example of this is our municipalities—where, in most cases, we lack the organizational structures that can support leadership.

I was thinking of this today because of the ongoing complaints of the Toronto news media about where Toronto Mayor John Tory is leading the city. Mind you, the term leading might be inappropriate in this situation. It is a task more like herding.

In Toronto today, the voters elect a mayor citywide and 44 councillors in their individual wards. While most of these people are or become affiliated with this or that political party, there is no party platform or discipline to hold them accountable. They run on their own platform in their own neighbourhood. They are accountable only to their own voters. And if that is more than 35 per cent of the potential voters, it is considered a high turnout.

Watching various mayors put together their coalitions over the years, it seemed to be more of exercise in personality than of politics. They made it personal. It was more a moral persuasion than political party discipline.

A recent report on Toronto City Hall commissioned by the Toronto Sun Newspaper hardly solved the problems. A major recommendation was that council could have more time for the important stuff if it delegated more community problems to the existing community councils. Nobody seems to have pointed out that this would be moving the city backward.

The newspaper’s plan also included somebody having to write consumer-friendly write-ups on issues that the council was bringing up for debate—and here we thought that was the role of the news media!

Actually, nothing is going to improve on the municipal front until a provincial leader realizes that the lack of political accountability in Toronto is the biggest problem. This true leader will liberate the city’s serfs.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Does Wynne win with weed?

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Everyone seems to be a bit nonplused by the possibility of Premier Kathleen Wynne promoting the sales of marijuana in Ontario. It might not be the best idea to come down the turnpike recently but it is certainly creating consternation. If Wynne and her Liberal sheep continue in their usual form, we voters will be the ones shorn.

The first question you might ask is what qualities would you want in a store that sells legal marijuana? Would you prefer a group that knew something about marketing? Would you prefer a group who knew something about the product they are selling? Would you prefer that a store is a short walk to in your neighbourhood or a long drive to a suburban mall?

As you can see, there are more than a few questions. Now tell us what kind of a company fits. Do you think the Liquor Control Board knows anything about marketing, or knows much about marijuana or will there be a store convenient to you to fill your needs? Or will you care?

Of course, you would hardly expect the government to follow the old distribution patterns and locate all its stores within a block and a half of every high school in the province. This means we expect the stores to reach out to new markets.

Maybe the LCBO could get Premier Wynne to promote marijuana for seniors. They could create commercials saying that weed is the best way to forget the aches and pains of aging. Mind you that would mean that there would need to be a related delivery service. How about we give that part of it to Amazon?

Maybe the major market for marijuana is just the aging hippies who have not heard that smoking is bad for them.

But the serious question here is whether Wynne and her Liberals are going to benefit from anything other than the profits from selling marijuana. When they pick the LCBO to do the marketing, it was just the same old song, all over again. And they are going to use the old water torture trick of opening a few stores at a time. Wynne never does anything all at once. It is like the booze in Loblaws, raising the minimum wage or the selling off of Hydro One. If it works once, why not do it again and again?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The water of life.

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

A handful of snow melting on a peak in the Rockies can become part of a torrent by the time it reaches the ocean. It is the water of life for the creatures of both land and sea. It is a place for salmon to spawn, the creatures of the forest to drink and humans to take their waters. It feeds the green of our forests, the growth of our cash crops and the needs of our towns, cities and farms.

And it is so fragile. The disgrace is if we spill the contents of a pipeline loaded with diluted bitumen into those waters. From the tiny babbling brooks to the mightiest of rivers, diluted bitumen is the threat of death. It floats down river to when its diluent is washed away and then it sinks, there on the bottom to conflict with the ecosystem.

Diluted bitumen is not crude oil. It is enabled to go through a pipeline by heating that pipeline and forcing it through the pipeline at greater pressure. It is not a question as to will the pipeline fail but when?

Ask the 70,000 people who live along the North Saskatchewan River. The Husky spill of bitumen on that river travelled 370 kilometres before it was just an oil slick that continued to contaminate. The bitumen had settled along the river bottom. And that was less than 250,000 litres of diluted bitumen that denied potable water to humans and animals alike.

Ask the people of Michigan along the Kalamazoo River and its tributaries. The Enbridge bitumen spill in Michigan cost more than US$2 billion and will never really be cleaned up. That bitumen that settled in the rivers has just become part of Michigan’s ecosystem.

And when Prime Minister Trudeau broke faith with the ecology and allowed the expansion of the Kinder-Morgan Trans-mountain pipeline, he was not just saying “go ahead and double the pipeline.” He was changing the old pipeline (built in the 1950s) to heat it and to increase the pressure. Along with the new pipeline being added, Kinder-Morgan will be able to triple the amount of diluted bitumen, it can send to the ocean port. This will greatly increase the tanker traffic around the B.C. coast.

As the aboriginal tribes of our west coast remind us, we are endangering the water of life. Is it worth it?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Money has its privileges.

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

They named the provincial Conservative candidate for York-Simcoe the other day. There will be no sweaty contested nomination meeting for former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s kid. Caroline Mulroney got a free pass. And just to drive the point home, at the announcement, she harangued the provincial Liberals for wanting to raise the minimum wage in Ontario.

Obviously Caroline Mulroney has never walked in shoes where the soles were falling off. Her life of privilege at the Prime Minister’s residence and at university in Boston and New York hardly prepared her for the ardour of representing the rural and the rich in their estates in York-Simcoe.

Or is she still remodeling that estate in Georgina as a weekend home for her family? Her husband works for New York’s Blackstone Investment Group of hedge fund fame and probably will want to spend the work week in Toronto.

But maybe it all depends on the schools their four pre-teens are attending?

It is what Caroline Mulroney can possibly contribute at Queen’s Park that has us stumped. She has absolutely no grounding in provincial matters. Reading what someone else thinks about the raising of the minimum wage in Ontario would take a lot more understanding of what poverty means and the trials of living on less than a minimum wage.

Mind you Caroline Mulroney will make an attractive candidate for Patrick Brown to hide behind. He wants people to forget the sleazy way he swamped the membership of the Ontario Conservatives to take the leadership by default. Nobody had thought of signing up more than 40,000 temporary members of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. They were mainly from the Indian Sub-Continent and nobody questioned whether they had paid their own membership or not. The 20,000 long-time members of the Conservative Party never had a chance.

But that has nothing to do with Caroline Mulroney. She had to listen to people commenting on how sleazy her father was all her life. She probably learned to ignore it.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The reluctant reformers!

Monday, September 11th, 2017

It must have confused Justin Trudeau’s campaign team in the 2015 federal election when they realized that Thomas Mulcair and his New Democratic Party were running to the political right of them. Their first problem in that overly long election campaign was how to stretch out their planned promises. And obviously more supposed reform promises had to be added.

But promising reform and delivering on the promises are different things. Policies that are proposed just to make the party look like reformers are often hard to deliver.

The most obvious slip from cup to lip was Justin Trudeau’s promise of voting reform. Whomever came up with that idea without thinking it through is no genius. And giving responsibility for the file to a political newbie was a disaster. For those who took the time to follow the special parliamentary committee’s hearings and carefully read its comprehensive report, would have found a wealth of information. The solution will be there when Canada finally corrects its out of date constitution.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau seems to be in the hot seat more than anyone else in cabinet but Canadians are still waiting for him to produce more than an update on the old-fashioned Baby Bonus. He let us all down by not ending the stock option payments for the one per cent and now he is under fire for wanting to do something about our privileged private corporations.

It warms the cockles of our hearts when those earning vulgar incomes are told they might not be able to sprinkle money around the family just to lower their taxes. If a convenience store really pays family members for their work, they deserve it. You can hardly suggest that a brain surgeon’s family are helping out in the operating room.

The Trudeau government’s most serious failures as reformers are in the environmental and the marijuana files. Justin Trudeau blew away all his credentials as an environmentalist when he approved pipelines for diluted bitumen from the tar sands.

And our sense is that it was a bad idea to rely on a retired cop to figure out how to legalize marijuana. The involvement has gone a long way beyond the original intent to simply decriminalize weed. And turning the individual provinces loose to make money on pot does not make the federal government less culpable. Judging by the Ontario government’s planned role out of legal Mary Jane, this looks like a marketing disaster.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The Conservative knives are out for Brown.

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Have you figured out why Ontario Premier Wynne is looking so smug lately? It has finally occurred to her that she not only has a chance to hold on to power in next year’s election but she is even getting help from Conservatives. Rather than support some of the extreme right-wing splinter parties that are forming, such as Trillium, these Tories will give Wynne more time to hang herself while making sure they have an honest choice to replace Tory leader Patrick Brown. And believe us, the political knives are out for Brown.

Those of us in Brown’s Barrie area electoral district could almost form a three-party campaign to ensure that Brown is defeated.

From the first time I met the little weasel 13 years ago, I wondered why anyone would ever want to vote for him. It took a short time to find out that he was a user and he used whatever lie was needed to bring people into his web. There are hundreds of people here in Barrie waiting for the opportunity to turn the tables on him. They are a force.

But like most of Brown’s problems, he brought it on himself. His upbringing is as a right-wing Catholic. He has proved to be anti-abortion and anti-same sex marriage. Not that he has any success with the ladies. What we hear in his home town is that women do not like him. Even the ones on the religious right are just not interested.

That enables Brown to concentrate on politics. That seems to be his primary and only love. He never seems to let the truth stand in the way of a good story. He certainly used dishonest tactics to win the Ontario leadership. When confronted on issues, he tends to consider a nimble turn-around to be the best defence.

Brown is a marathon runner and a mediocre hockey player. He has never contributed any thinking to Conservative party policy and has always avoided getting involved in it. He is desperately hoping that the Conservative Party will come up with some ideas for next year’s election. He is a political organizer, not a thinker.

The preliminary website for the Conservatives creating “I’m Out.ca” for Ontario Conservatives is honest and straightforward. They certainly do not like Mr. Brown. It will be fun to see how that movement grows before next spring and the June 7 election.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

What is the price of one child?

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Children are returning to school at this time of year. In our wisdom, we Canadians have two types of school boards. (In most provinces.) We have a Catholic Board and a public board. The Catholic board must be the junior kindergarten of politics. It is where the wannabe politicians go to make their mistakes.

And they made a lulu of a mistake recently. The Catholic Board in Toronto caved in to unreasonable pressure and blocked the police and their school resource officer program from their schools until they get around to discussing the program at their next meeting. They were caving in to the demands of people with a bias a mile wide, using American statistics and who are not interested in the needs of our children.

These people are claiming that “putting police officers in schools puts vulnerable and ‘racialized’ students in danger…” Oh! What about the vulnerable children it helps? And who is really ‘racializing’ these students?

The only people we know who are forcing racial stereotyping are these writers in Toronto who write ‘black’ with a capital ‘B.’ They are the people who go to the Police Services Board to cause trouble and radicalize the proceedings. They are not there for the children. They are there to make a name for themselves. And they might not like the names they are earning.

These writers, who all seem to be black (without a capital ‘B,’ dear editor), are using American statistics to make their case. When they try to import these statistics, their case fails.

What about the kids we hear saying of the program that “That cop is my friend.”? That is the report that makes the case for the program. For every child who is told he or she should feel threatened by the police in schools, there must be two or three who feel safer. Who are we serving in these cases?

Frankly, if at least one child’s life is saved from getting involved with gangs and guns because of the police program, we should feel strongly about supporting it as citizens.

If we err in this, let us err on the side of the children.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Fear of Ford.

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Is he, or isn’t he? Is Doug Ford running for the mayoralty in Toronto next year or for the Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election? And who cares anyway? Oddly enough that is a matter that is mainly of concern to provincial politicians. Incumbent Mayor John Tory, who wants another term, could care less. The fact is that nobody expects Doug Ford to discover a magic elixir for winning in politics.

Doug Ford will let us all know where he is headed at Ford Nation’s annual backyard barbeque later this week. The reality is that Doug Ford reminds us of the old story about the erstwhile fisherman who goes to the fishing hole where his brother could always catch fish. He spends a day fishing with no luck. He is giving up when a fish jumps above the water and calls out: Where’s your brother?

Well Rob Ford is dead and Doug Ford in no fisherman. And Ford Nation is just a bunch of freeloaders.

The reality of the story, as any knowledgeable political apparatchik can tell you, is that Doug Ford is appreciated for his money and his name but he is a political liability. If there is fresh dog poop anywhere within range of the political Doug Ford, you can be sure he will step in it.

Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown is running a fragile campaign into next June’s provincial election and he hardly needs a loose cannon like Ford on his team. The younger Ford brother is a guy who thinks of Donald Trump as his hero. Brown wants the kind of candidates who can slide in under the radar. His campaign will be built on vilifying the Liberals and creating a massive vote against them. It is the only way a putz like him can get elected.

Patrick Brown is the type of candidate whom nobody has ever voted for as an individual. He is a wasted vote. He offers nothing other than a vague support for his party and not being the other guy. He is a user. And he is dishonest. He took the leadership of Ontario’s Conservatives by skulduggery—signing up temporary members of the party and paying for most of their memberships. His hero is former Ontario Premier Mike Harris.

But as much as Doug Ford would worry Patrick Brown, John Tory could care less about him. Lord knows, John Tory is not the perfect mayor. It is that Doug Ford is the kind of candidate who makes John Tory look good.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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