Archive for the ‘Provincial Politics’ Category

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 political pivot point of 2018.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

In every election there is a point of pivot that decides the outcome. It has been fascinating listening to people across Ontario in the current campaign, learning of their concerns and frustrations. And they are concerned and conflicted and caring. They have been looking for solutions. Sometimes the solution can be forced on you by an outside source.

The pivot point came Tuesday, May 29. It took the high ground away from the Ontario liberals. It left the party of Wilfrid Laurier in limbo. It was the hypocrisy of the federal liberals that betrayed everything done for the environment by the provincial liberals that did the deed.

It was never easy for Ontario to end the use of coal to generate emergency electricity needs. And do not mention gas plants. It has not been easy for Ontario to promote hybrid autos. The province has had constant criticism of its efforts at cap and trade as an alternative to carbon taxes. The government has been vilified for its efforts to promote clean energy.

And what was the point of creating a greenbelt to protect our environment, our sources of potable water, our recreational areas and our farm lands? Our farmers seem to be unappreciative of the protection. Builders and politicians try to betray us.

We have Doug Ford to fight carbon taxes for the uncaring. Money beats caring about the environment with his rich friends. His voters hardly care about his loudmouth promises of magic money to cut taxes and give away the treasury. Doug Ford is a fool and he will be the fools’ folly.

And to suggest that the new democrats offer more than the liberals is an experiment that led to the disaster of Rae Days and then Harris’ hype.

So, who is the bad guy? Who let the dogs out?

Only our poster boy prime minister, Justin Trudeau, could leave us tumbling down the into the depths. He has forgotten his promises when a newby in Paris. He has forgotten it was once 2015. He no longer cares about the promises of Canada’s environment.

Trudeau and his neoliberal government of misfits have betrayed us all.

Nobody would care if it was just crude oil his pipeline would send to Burrard Inlet. Does he even know of the danger his pipeline threatens the environment? He wants to pipe diluted bitumen under pressure over the Rockies and on ocean-going tankers in the Straits of Georgia. He hardly cares that bitumen is a substance that just keeps on polluting.

Justin Trudeau has certainly polluted the Ontario election.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Yes, but did the fat lady sing?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Listening to and reading analyses of the Sunday night political leaders’ debate in Toronto, you wonder if they were at the same debate. Frankly, the analyses were better than the debate. Kathleen Wynne did less than expected. Andrea Horwath was rude and foolish. Doug Ford made you wonder if they had a cardiologist on stand-by.

Collectively, they were less than coherent, unhelpful and were looking like they were trying to remember what their handlers had told them to do.

Doug Ford’s opening statement was a stream of B.S. that was off the wall and you would have to be an idiot to believe any of it. And not even a moderator is allowed to tell a Ford what to do.

Kathleen Wynne’s opening ‘mia culpa’ was insincere and forced. It was too little and too late and pointless.

And whomever dressed Andrea Horwath for the occasion should have added a stethoscope necklace to the costume. You can dress that woman but where would you want to take her? Can you really think of this person as premier?

I have never seen a debate such as this where you cannot imagine even the incumbent looking like a winner. They were all bad.

And what right has Ford to be arrogant? And that was the least of his problems. If he had called the audience “My friends” one more time, I was ready to throw something at the television.

And why was Andrea Horwath so shrill and rude? She talked over everybody else and at times you thought she would never shut up.

As a wrap to a pollsters’ campaign, it was a dud. Ask yourself this: Did the pollsters ever tell you how many people said they were undecided in their various polls? Did they tell you their formulae for balancing the demographics for the parts of the population their polls failed to reach? Did they tell you who answers the telephone in households they are able to reach with interactive voice response (IVR) calling?

Polling is an inexact science. They are supposed to tell you the computed margin of error but I would challenge the interactive voice response people. They call thousands of households and they say their margin of error is as good as the Internet groups and live calling. Are they all equally bad?

The exchanges between the leaders became tedious and I was never sure if Andrea Horwath can sing. I might never find out.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Considering consequences of change.

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Step right up Ontario. If you want change, you can have it. You can get it in spades. The only problem is this change is like a game of snakes and ladders—where both the snakes and the ladders are slippery slides to disaster.

It is time to face the facts. People are mad. And they have every right to be mad. How are Ontario’s citizens supposed to feel when they have been wanting change for the past eight years and we still cannot get it. People are feeling frustrated and their anger is real.

It started with the 2011 general election and a quick reading of the voting that year tells the story. The voters obviously wanted change. What we got was the manipulations of a minority government, a new premier and a chance to have change in 2014.

But the chance for change in 2014 was blocked by a foolish conservative leader promising to fire 100,000 civil servants. To make matters worse, the NDP leader did not appear to know what she was doing. The voters had no option but to give the new liberal leader the reins.

Like in the old Frank Sinatra song: Regrets, we’ve had a few. The news media beat us over the head with the gas plants scandal. It is useless to tell people that all three parties caused the problem. It was easier to just blame the liberals. They were supposed to be good managers.

And when an apolitical banker got the liberals to start selling off Hydro One, the excrement really hit the fan. The liberal government could hardly say, “Oh, you would rather we raise taxes instead?”

If you just stub your toe these days, it is the fault of those damn liberals.

But we are reaping the anger that was sewed by all three parties.

Now we are closer to election day, people are trying to figure out strategic voting. What they will find, to their disgust, is that strategic voting does not work. Feel sorry instead for the two or three per cent of Ontario voters who want to vote for the Green Party. That is a waste of time and effort.

While you can hardly plan for it, if everyone stays the course, we could have a minority government.

The one thing we know for sure is that the pollsters are wrong. They have been reflecting the anger of the voters and think it is only directed against the liberals. Like in the United States, it was the anger against both Democrats and Republicans that gave them Mr. Trump as president.

Ontario voters should be smarter than that.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Confounding a confluence of conservatives.

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

It is all happening Monday at Toronto’s stuffy old Albany Club. As I told my host last time I was invited to the club, this is no place for a left-wing liberal. The 125-year old building on King Street East has been the spiritual home for Canada’s conservatives since the 19th Century. It is truly the perfect place for right-wing plotting and scheming.

The rich and famous of conservatism will be there Monday to hear from the ghost of prime minister’s past, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. Yes, and you thought he had gone to his reward in corporate board room heavens. He has come down from his corporate inner sanctums and business conclaves to preach to the Ontario conservatives with a spare $1,222 in their pocket to support Mike Harris’ kid. The junior Harris, is trying to win the Kitchener-Conestoga electoral district, where he was appointed to run by leader Doug Ford.

Maybe nobody in the Kitchener area wants to or can afford to support the junior Mike Harris. Besides, when you have a drawing card like the former prime minister, would you waste him in the hinterlands?

It is assumed that this is all new money being raised, as $1,222 is the maximum you are allowed to donate to a provincial campaign.

But what will the former prime minister have to say that would be worth that much? We can bet you that it will be nothing nice about the liberals in Ottawa or in Queen’s Park.

The good news for the loyal attendees is that neither leader Doug Ford nor the candidate is allowed to be there for the fund-raiser. Ford has already been told that he is under investigation about being at another fund-raiser. Under the new election laws in Ontario, neither a candidate nor his/her leader is allowed to be there when people are giving them money. If that seems strange to you, raise your hand—which did not do me any good and will probably not do you any good either.

Of course, this liberal would dearly love to be there to hear Stephen Harper say nice things about Doug Ford. Admittedly, Stephen Harper is somewhat self-centered and has a tendency to only talk about himself. I am quite sure that is not worth $1,222.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A vote to assure Quebec’s future?

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

Sometimes you have to shake your head, throw up your hands and admit nobody understands Quebec politics. The latest confusion is the promise of four political parties in the province to ditch first-past-the-post voting. They are promising that if one of those parties is elected to power later this year, the party will implement mixed-member proportional voting for Quebec.

What is so confusing about this idea is the fact that historically, this form of voting could only help the liberals in Quebec. The liberals in Quebec are traditionally under-represented in the National Assembly. This is because of the traditional liberal voting support in the Montreal Island area Proportional representation would help to increase their number of seats.

And, at the same time, the change would tend to make majority government a rare event. Yet it was the leaders of the Coalition Avenir Quebec, Parti-Quebecois, Quebec Solidaire and the Green Party of Quebec who brought their proposal to the news media at the national legislature.

Mixed member proportional is not full proportional voting. It is, as mixed member implies, a partially first-past-the-post election and a partially proportional system. It was this type of voting that was proposed in Ontario in that province’s 2007 referendum. In that case there would have been 90 MLAs elected in large electoral districts and 30 appointed afterwards by their political parties according to a complicated formula. The idea was that with this system the numbers of voting members of the legislature would more closely reflect the popular vote.

Proportional voting is designed for countries where large numbers of the voters are illiterate and have to vote for party symbols as opposed to names. It is also why proportional voting is the most used system.

The most serious objection to proportional voting is that when people are appointed to represent a party, they represent their party rather than the voters. More recently the federal liberals tried to do away with first-past-the-post voting and no suitable replacement was agreed to by the all-party committee of the House of Commons. The federal liberals gave up.

And that is what seems to happen. British Columbia has had two tries at referendums to replace first-past-the-post voting and has failed both times. The current Green Party backed NDP government in B.C. wants to take another try but all-party agreement of the legislature seems most unlikely.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The pollsters have peaked.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

“O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.”

Obviously, Sir Walter Scott had a better take on pollsters 200 years ago than we do today. Ontario voters have been bamboozled by the pollsters since the beginning of the current provincial campaign. As much as the thought of a Doug Ford led government amuses them, the pollsters have now said Andrea Horwath is also in contention. That thought did it. It is time for the grown ups to step forward.

It is not that Andrea and her new democrats have failed mathematics. Another billion or so in debt is not going to make or break the province and everybody makes mistakes in math. It is just that the new democrats are bringing nothing new to the table. There is less talent in the NDP caucus at Queen’s Park today than Bob Rae had with him when he accidently became premier in 1990. All the NDP proved at that time was that they would turn the government over to the incompetent Mike Harris.

But for a real incompetent, Doug Ford, would be hard to beat.

The smartest thing Doug Ford could do would be struck by some mysterious disease and not show up for the final leadership debate next week. More and more of his candidates have been struck by that mysterious disease and not shown up for debates in their electoral districts. It reminds me of the Quebec NDPer who went to Las Vegas for the 2011 federal election and won election.

I can think of more than a few candidates over the years who would have got more votes if they had gone fishing instead of wandering aimlessly where the voters could see them.

And as for Andrea Horwath, I thought we were done with her. People seem to think it is mean of me to mention her dress, deportment or demeanour. The problem is that she dresses like a refugee from a Russian gulag. She is not leading that bunch of no-goodniks in the NDP caucus anywhere and I defy you to tell me anything she has ever come up with on her own? Did you see her giggling her way through that first debate?

The problem we have is that Horwath is horrible, Ford is a fool and Wynne is supposedly the wicked witch of the north. What is likeable about any of them?

But I am going to vote for the liberal candidate in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte because he seems like a decent guy and is the only acceptable candidate who could represent us. All the other candidates seem to only represent their parties.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Mixing baloney and beer.

Monday, May 21st, 2018

People in Ontario are starting to laugh over the desperate efforts of conservative leader Doug Ford to promise voters anything to vote for him. It took him until halfway through the campaign to come up with something I liked. Doug Ford has promised to have beer in convenience stores.

It is too bad that it would not be worth seeing him elected to make that happen. The last time I believed a promise like that was when liberal David Peterson promised it in 1985. I liked David and it was his minority government that brought in a bill to start the process. The bill was defeated at the time by the combined conservative and new democrat majority. That was as close as Ontario has ever come to doing something decent for its beer drinkers and its convenience stores.

We just laughed when conservative Timmy Hudak promised beer in convenience stores in the 2014 election. We knew at the time that Timmy was going nowhere but back home to Fort Erie.

It was Ed Clark, Kathleen Wynne’s nemesis, who lead her down the path of pandering to the large grocery chains. Once he had the poor premier on the ropes for trying to privatize Hydro One, they started the water torture with beer and wine in the large grocery stores. It was the constant drip of publicity from the politicians that got everyone tired of the possibility before we bought our first six-pack at Loblaws.

What I think is the disgrace of this approach are the oppressive regulations that the grocers have to tolerate to carry some beer, cider and wine on their shelves. And yet the regulations prevent them from making money on the products. They are offering the alcoholic products only to encourage the public to shop at their stores. And they are paying for the privilege.

Knowing the margins that grocery stores operate within, I see this as an onerous imposition on the grocery chains. It would also be impossible for convenience stores to work within the same regulations. We would have to give our convenience stores a boost in income to enable them to pay a living wage to their employees.

The truth is that our grocery chains hardly need alcohol to attract business. And the LCBO is just a cash cow feeding more than $2 billion a year into the treasury at Queen’s Park.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

We are not ready to surrender.

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

What are we coming to? When fair weather warriors are conceding defeat, are we all supposed to lay down our arms? I have been involved in too many comebacks to go along with that.

We should not get mad about the current situation. The smart get to work. What have we failed to do? What more is possible? For me, a campaign never ends. You have to maintain that enthusiasm that got you involved all the way. There is no letting up.

And the one thing you can be sure of is that Kathleen Wynne is not going to give up. There is nothing sadder than to see a politician lose his or her backbone. The situation in Ontario today is really an opportunity. It is an opportunity for the real leaders to step forward. It is an opportunity for politicians to do their primary job in our political system. It is taking the opportunity to win your own election.

If you thought you would get elected on your leader’s coat tails, forget it. If you thought your electoral district always voted for your party, forget about it. This election requires politicians who can win, with or without party endorsement. It is time to represent your voters.

There are many voters in your electoral district who want to see leadership. There are those who think Doug Ford is just a windbag making foolish promises he knows he cannot keep. Kathleen Wynne is no Godzilla but, at times, she has seemed cold and unresponsive. And Andrea Horwath is a not taking her party anywhere.

The candidates are not responsible to any of those leaders—unless you were appointed by one of them to run in a riding where you do not live.

But do not feel you need to hide your party affiliation. If you are a conservative, you need to be careful about what you are supporting. You have to admit that Mr. Ford is not always careful about what he promises people. If you are a NDP candidate, you really need to show how that party’s principles can benefit people in your community. If you are a liberal, you just have to remind people that the core ethic of liberalism is individual freedom.

And it is that freedom that we always have to fight for. It means equality of opportunity for all, an opportunity for a healthy environment, it is taxing people fairly to pay for the infrastructure and services of our society, and it is ensuring better education and health care for everybody.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Mother’s magic money.

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Listening to Ontario conservative leader Doug Ford recently reminded me of my early childhood in Toronto. Doug Ford never seems to worry about where the money for his promises will come from. Neither did I—as a child.

I remember during the Second World War and my mother was sole support for those of her six children she could keep with her. The salary she earned as a bookkeeper at a war plant was meager. It rented two rooms for us in an old house off Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto.

But mother had a secret that few families such as ours had. She had a card that worked like money. Us kids thought of it as mother’s magic money. Maybe we forgot this later in life after Diners’ Club cards (for the rich) appeared in 1950 and the universal VISA (as BankAmeriCard) and American Express cards made their appearance in 1958.

I just remember making a long walk one winter down Yonge Street to Eaton’s wonderland of an emporium. I had mother’s card in my pocket and an extra nickel to buy myself one of those frosted malteds in a cone. There was absolutely no surprise shown by a clerk when I presented my mother’s card and told her what I wanted—while still munching on my cone. I proudly pulled my new two-seater toboggan up Yonge Street and home. I now had the way to take all my newspapers with me as I did my deliveries, despite the deep snow of that winter.

But mother made a point of teaching us children that while it might be magic, briefly, the bill from her T. Eaton Company card had to be paid in full at the end of each month.

That is what Doug Ford seems to forget as he traverses Ontario these days promising simultaneous great expenditures and great tax cuts. All we need do is be foolish enough to vote for him and the magic money will flow. One thing is for sure: he has absolutely no clue as to how a conservative government will pay the bills.

And if we had one more group at Queen’s Park searching for ‘efficiencies,’ we would be spending far more on the people finding efficiencies than the amount of efficiencies found.

Maybe Mr. Ford simply does not care. He has always had others in the family business to worry about paying his bills there. All I know is that somebody might have to care.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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