Archive for the ‘World Politics’ Category

Does Singh know why O’Toole’s nice to him?

Monday, February 15th, 2021

It might have been the annual event celebrating Saint Valentine, but Jagmeet Singh of the new democrats should be suspicious of all the cards he received from conservative MPs. The rationale for all this lovey-dovey, kuchi-koo business from the conservatives could only be that they need Jagmeet and his NDP caucus to support them if they call for an election in the spring.

The Bloc Québécois have already blown them off. The Bloc are hardly likely to encourage an election when Trudeau and his liberals are riding high. And that would probably include the greens and independent MPs.

The election, that could happen in June, could be a desperate attempt by conservative leader Erin O’Toole to save his neck and that of his party before the liberals get too high in the polls.

It could happen. Was it not Trudeau who did the end-run and ask his friend Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, to facilitate getting some life-saving vaccines from India? After all, when India needs to vaccinate 1.3 billion people, you can always slip 20 million or so doses to your buddy in Canada.

The Serum Institute in India is already licensed to produce a billion doses of the U.K.’s AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in cooperation with Oxford University. They are committed to use half of those billion doses in India and the other half to be supplied to low-income countries without the funds to acquire vaccines. There are two other vaccine producing operations in India, so, technically, the doses sent to Canada could come from these producers.

The only problem is that the AstraZeneca vaccine has yet to be approved in Canada. What counts most though is the needles in arms in time for an election and the end of these lock-downs.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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We are coming back.

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Yes, we are starting to get the urge to write. It has been a longer hiatus than intended. Today we are just doing a test with one of our favourite commentaries from 2016. I expect the discouragement in writing political commentaries is the short life of many of the comments. Occasionally one has a long life—an excellent example is the following which was written in response to one of our less complimentary comments about the U.K.


While Babel-on-the-Bay was urged to produce a morning line on the Brexit vote, the decision was made that it was far too close to forecast. And it was. Along with the disappointment of the morning after, the in-box contained a 1900-word diatribe on our ‘pompous’ Brexit commentary. Never has 400 or so words of comment produced so much vitriol.

It is freely admitted that the Brexit commentary was far too casually handled and poorly edited. We all need a good editor. And it is also admitted that this ignorant colonial can never get the names of Great Britain, the United Kingdom and its various subjects and components right but who cares that much? Canadians learn all that stuff in grade school and quickly forget about it. You have to also swear allegiance to the Queen when you join the Canadian military but you forget about it after you leave.

We were also accused of taking liberties in using the royal ‘we.’ In years of teaching writing to business people, the point was always made that only a child writing to Mommy from camp starts sentences with ‘I.’ The point is that Mommy cares about you; people receiving a business letter from you do not. If you write about what others care about, you will get their attention.

Obviously, we did that with this gentleman. He told us he was annoyed as hell. He disagreed with our opinion. Oddly enough, that is also our objective. While reasonably confident in our opinion, we do like to receive comment from readers to keep us on our toes. This gentleman showed us how angry older men can get. He wanted to put a trapdoor under our toes and a noose around our neck.

He sees corporatism as the problem and the neoliberalism of the politicians as the support structure that maintains the corporatism. A former Brit, he sees his adopted country of Canada as being ruled by foreign corporations and decries our politicians’ desire for mounting numbers of free trade pacts. He just does not recognize that the problem is more about political laziness and carelessness than plotting.

The writer sees Babel-on-the-Bay’s ‘lordly’ take on Brexit and the Brits as an example of our failure to understand that everything was going down the drain for the average person in the UK. Frankly we also read a lot of bigotry and ignorance in the scenario. The entire fiasco could not have been better directed by England’s famed Boulting Brothers.


Copyright 2016 and 2021 © Peter Lowry

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UK Teeters at the Precipice.

Monday, December 14th, 2020

It seems like a long time since the United Kingdom has had any real leadership. This Brexit business is a dog’s breakfast. Every subsequent leadership aspirant has made a bigger mess of it. Now we are down to the wire with that pathetic guy who looks like he chops at his own hair with the garden clippers. He is called Boris. If it was not for the hair, he would be boring.

If anyone ever needed a Boswell, it is this particular Johnson. He thinks of himself as a stuntman rather than a prime minister. He is an allegory of a politician rather than a real one. He is hardly a popular populist.

And he has a short time left to exit the EU with his pants. Johnson plays with fire as he tries to play partner to the Union while accepting none of the responsibilities. He thinks he can fish in their pond but nobody can fish in his pond. He has never heard of ‘quid pro quo.’

In the UK, they call it a hard Brexit. It is what the Brits deserve for their bigoted, irresponsible, close-minded, ‘I’m alright Jack’ vote to leave the European Union. It is hardly what the Scots and Northern Irish had bargained for and they will probably jump from the U.K. back to the EU at their earliest opportunity.

It is a sad ending to the glories of the once-great British Empire. It must have been for old times sake that Canada has signed a trade deal with the U.K. It just shows how important it was that we forgot to pass it into law before parliament broke for the Christmas holidays recess. (I guess we will get around to making it official sometime next year.)

But it is embarrassing that we have a better considered deal with the rest of Europe than we have with the U.K. Oh well, we are still part of the old Commonwealth you know.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Pondering the politics of the potty.

Sunday, December 13th, 2020

There are issues that people will step up to and there are issues that cause them to smirk and back away. I was reading a very intelligent story the other day about the politics of the toilet and the need for our politicians to grow backbones. To quote a current television commercial about toilet paper: “Everybody does it.” And our politicians have to recognize it.

But it happens at the most elemental level of politics that people are unwilling to face the issue. I took a problem to my city’s mayor over two years ago and it still has not been fixed. I worked hard to get that guy elected ten years ago and he is in the middle of his third term in the mayor’s chair. And yet, he cannot handle the need for public toilets in a city of around 150,000 and summer visitors in the tens of thousands.

I have checked out venues around the world for people to meet, to congregate, to be entertained and to enjoy food and I have always walked away from facilities with inadequate or inconvenient washroom facilities for the numbers expected. It is part of looking after your guests.

Well, I can tell you now: Do not come to Barrie, Ontario if you cannot say no to your basic human need to go to the toilet.

I told the mayor that my barber was frequently requested to provide toilet facilities to desperate people from across the street at the GO Train terminus. Since there are no Go Train employees working in that location, they think that toilets are unnecessary. The provincially run commuter train and bus service expects people to wait for trains and busses but there are no toilets at that terminal. They have a ghost station on the property, the historic Allandale Station, that cost the citizens of Barrie considerable money to restore, but nobody has ever thought to restore its old washrooms or use it for any other purpose.

Frankly, the mayor and council in Barrie have shown no backbone at all. They pretend they do not pee or poop like anybody else!


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Blame stupidity and short-sightedness.

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

We used to have some control in Canada about who bought and sold our industry. If you are smart enough to realize that you might be desperate for a vaccine to cure a new coronavirus some day. You would have kept Connaught Laboratories in Toronto working on vaccines and other products such as insulin, for Canadians and world markets. As it is, we are waiting for initial shipments of covid-19 vaccines from companies in the U.S. and Britain.

A week ago, conservative health critic MP Michelle Rempel Garner criticized the Trudeau government saying “This is gross incompetence that’s going to cost Canadians their lives and their jobs.”

The only problem with this complaint was that Connaught Laboratory and it’s vaccine production capabilities were sold to a French company under a privatization program initiated by the conservative government of Brian Mulroney in the 1980s. Production of insulin and other products of Connaught were then shifted to Europe. That leaves two European companies and one American company producing insulin that was invented in Canada.

Connaught Laboratories was created by a famous Canadian, Dr. John G. Fitzgerald. It was originally opened to produce antitoxin for diphtheria and then gained more notoriety producing Banting and Best’s insulin. Fitzgerald eventually sold a successful Connaught to the University of Toronto for one dollar. The university took the gift ,that was given to them in good faith, and later sold it to the Canadian government for $29 million.

In addition to not having vaccine production ready for the covid-19 pandemic, Canada is hardly first in line for the vaccines now being produced in the United States and Great Britain.

On a personal note, I remember buying insulin for my diabetic son before the Mulroney sale of the former Connaught Labs. Two vials lasted him almost a month and cost about $10 each. Today, American-made insulin is costing him $30 per vial. He figures he cannot complain. If he was in the United States, he could be charged closer to $300 per vial.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Searching for the real Canada.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

There is a Canada out there somewhere that we want to build on. It is a Canada led by those who can really lead. It is a Canada created willingly by our collective inspiration. It is a Canada built on equality and freedoms.

It is a country that inspires. It is leadership that you trust. It rejects the elitism and naiveté of a Justin Trudeau. It laughs at the conservative sham of Erin O’Toole, the desperate search for rationale of the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh and the foolishness of the Bloc’s Yves-François Blanchet. Real leaders mirror the aspirations of their followers. They present a path that we can follow.

It is not a country that ties itself to the concerns of 150 years ago. It is a country that concerns itself with a strong future. At the present, we have no leadership that can handle the changes that are needed. We are locked in the sham of royalty. We are appointing elites to positions of power. We are borrowing our security from the vagaries of the United States of America. We are living a fiction.

Instead of our industry working for us, it wants to reign over us. We sell it off to the highest bidder and think the wealth gained gives us strength. We are bought and paid for by the one per cent—the self-absorbed, who suck our blood, who seek to dictate an unequal future.

Instead of realizing a collective future, we are building walls between urban and rural. We are divided on religions, separated by skin colour, labelled by education, clinging to possessions, marked by professions, separating on languages, in wonder of wealth and defining ourselves by east and west.

Can we not understand that just being Canadian is a gift of immeasurable proportion? Tell that to the downtrodden of Africa. Tell that to the war-torn of the Middle East. Tell that to those torn by the religious turmoil of the subcontinent. Tell that to the down-trodden masses of Asia.

Yes, we need to bring our own house to order before we can address the rest of the world. The solutions are not in political ideology. They are in our humanity.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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How about a modern royalty?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

It must be the damn pandemic. The wife and I have these occasional short arguments. They come from frustration with the restrictions and need for more interaction with others.

But what does come out of these brief squabbles are ideas. Today’s was the idea that she is a closet monarchist and I am an overly opinionated republican. It is hard to fathom where these ideas come from but this one, might be useful. I needed a subject for today’s blog.

Modernizing the monarchy is hardly a new idea. There have been many variations on this theme since Mark Twain wrote The Prince and the Pauper. It was one of my favourite books as a youngster.

The point was that being in pandemic lockdown hardly seems boring if you have a house with all the rooms of Buckingham Palace in which to wander. And that is not to mention the servants.

Some people are impressed with Harry, Meghan and young Archie. They think the ex-royals are the modern version of royalty. “Sure,” I tell them, “They move to Hollywood where Americans have been creating their own pseudo royalty for many years. Harry, Meghan and their son are just trading one form of royalty for another. I’m not sure what they are giving up.”

I will admit there is a stuffiness to real royalty that is hard to crack. I have met some of the crowned heads of Europe and I have never been impressed. These people seem so bored with their responsibilities and cutting this or that ribbon at this or that opening is not a life that everyone would want.

No doubt, Harry’s Meghan quickly bored of the ceremonial aspects of life among the royals of England. It is not a future anyone would seek if they wanted to make anything of their life. I think she saw it as more boring than meaningful. Being part of the support group for a person as strong as Queen Elizabeth II, would just not be a very challenging career.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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It will never be the same America.

Friday, November 6th, 2020

Mother was born in Milwaukee, grew up in Chicago and then married a Canadian. It made Chicago a special place, as children, where we visited fun relatives. Two of my brothers now live in the United States. I have always felt at home in both countries.

But no longer. We have Donald Trump to thank for that. He polarized America. He divided the nation. He promoted hate. That compulsive liar built a layer of thousands of lies around the American presidency. More than a century of trust and friendly relations between our countries were blown away as with the wind. Not only Canada, but the entire world, has now seen the dark side of America.

Donald Trump is a traitor to America’s friends and succor to its enemies.

And the unguarded border between our countries stands empty and without tourists while the pandemic ravages virtually unchecked throughout America. Each state fights the pandemic battle in isolation.

We have had four years of president Trump and his friends. We know their greed. We know their disrespect for our environment. We know of their disregard for treaties and their selfishness in trade with nations.

Will and does America want to rebuild the honours it won in two world wars? Will it ever restore the respect for its fairness and willingness to help its friends? Can the white house be restored as a beacon to the world of democracy?

Four years of slurs, failures, unreasoned meanness and pettiness have been more than enough to leave the world wary and deeply concerned.

America does not dwell in this world in isolation. The rest of the world shares with the United States of America concern for the pollution of the polar regions, the melting of the ice, the deaths of animal, fish and bird species and the threats to the liveability of our planet.

We all share a growing concern for our existence as a species.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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That horse has left the barn.

Sunday, June 28th, 2020

It was a presumptuous letter to the prime minister from some of our Canadian enlightened the other day about the Meng Wanzhou extradition case. There was a time when I admired some but not all of those signatories. They were people who added much to Canada’s reputation in law and politics. They appear so far behind the curve now that they have become irrelevant.

First of all, the timeline involved in this case is world’s away from these people’s reasoning. The fiasco goes back to December 1, 2018. That was when Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou landed in a company plane at Vancouver airport and was arrested by the RCMP on an American arrest warrant. It is routine for Canada to honour a warrant issued by the courts of a country with which we have reciprocal extradition treaties.

Despite prime minister Trudeau’s consistent blather about Canada being a country of laws, it was in the first two to three months of this matter when that letter might have been of some merit. Here it is, a year and a half into the Canadian courts determining the validity of the American case while Meng Wanzhou is enjoying a visit to scenic Vancouver in one of the two mansions her or her company owns there. Meanwhile two Canadians are being held in retribution in durance vile in the cesspool of a Chinese prison.

The one thing for sure in this matter, is that the Chinese tourist industry is going to take another serious hit after this pandemic moves on. The Chinese are getting some serious black marks in human rights. It would hardly bother them to put a bullet into the back of each of the heads of those two Canadians.

But from what we know today is that Canada is not going to earn any brownie points from the American white house over this. The rule of law has never impressed the current American president.

All that Canadians know is that we are being sucker-punched by both sides of this dispute. Even people that you would expect to back the prime minister are bitching at him. This is a no-win situation.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Scorched earth for Beijing.

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

There is a very simple answer for the problem of Beijing coming down so hard on Hong Kong. It means that the leaders in Beijing are breaking their bond. Their promises are hollow. Leaders who betray their own are not honourable people.

The answer is to deny them the very value of the possession. And that value is the people. Take away the entrepreneurs, take away the business, banking and shipping experience. Take away the skilled workers and what is left?

Some in Hong Kong will want to go to New Zealand or Australia. Some will try for extensions of the limited overseas passports to become residents of the United Kingdom. More than 300,000 Canadians, who are now working and living in Hong Kong will want to return to Canada. Canada is the most attractive country to most Hong Kong residents. The Cantonese dialect used in Hong Kong has many who understand it already in Canada. And what Canada has over other countries, is the ability to absorb a million Chinese into its mix of races.

And yes, there will be some bigotry and code words developed to show the objectors but the Hong Kong people would get that if they moved somewhere in Mainland China. There are always people wary of strangers, sceptical of people who are different. They get over it.

But Canada’s need for accelerated immigration is too great to dismiss. Just 35 million Canadians are not enough. We have to maintain our sovereignty over the north. We have to build a stronger trading nation. We have land for modern farming. We have cities to grow and expand. We have technology to utilize. We have the structures and teachers to grow greater universities. Canada has an amazing future. Our progeny can all be part of it.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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