Archive for the ‘World Politics’ Category

“How dare you?” Greta Thunberg.

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Somebody must have explained to the 16-year old from Sweden that you have to be brash to get noticed in North America. She would be quite unlikely to say ‘How dare you?’ to her elders back home in Sweden. Yet it worked at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Tuesday.

But the point is that it took that small-sized girl to tell hundreds of climate representatives from around the world that their climate change plans are inadequate to save the planet.

She is coming to Montreal to take part in a climate awareness march on Friday. Many schools are shutting down for the day to encourage their students to take part. And if our politicians also pay attention, it will be worthwhile.

But it is tough in a country that has climate change deniers ruling key provinces and contending in the current election. We have the premier of Alberta fighting to get the Trans Mountain pipeline twinned so that more polluting bitumen from the tar sands can be shipped to other countries to pollute some more. And he is supported by the premier of Ontario, our largest province, the other Prairie premiers and the leader of the national conservatives, Andrew Scheer.

“How dare you,” Mr. Scheer? And, “how dare you,” Mr. Trudeau?

Yes, Canadians also want to know what prime minister Trudeau intends to do with that pipeline.

Canada cannot even meet its reduced carbon emissions by 2030, let alone the proposed new targets for 2050. Maybe our politicians are hoping they will not have to take responsibility for their failures in another 30 years. Will the politicians of 2050 just move the targets to 2100? What will be the point if nothing is left? Do we want a planet, no longer worth saving? Is greed to decide our world’s future? Are we sewing the whirlwind that will destroy our world?

“How dare we?”

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Mother of all Parliaments.

Friday, September 6th, 2019

This mother certainly has her problems. And if you believed Theresa May was incompetent as prime minister, you probably should not have gotten your hopes up for Boris Johnson. The U.K. parliament at the Palace of Westminster has not seen so many comings and goings since the British civil war in the mid 1600s. (Mind you, Oliver and Richard Cromwell and the Roundheads probably kept better discipline.)

But Johnson! That guy not only shamed London’s barbers but his thinking is about as addled as his hair. I was surprised that the French police let him into Biarritz recently for the G7 conference. He looks more like an escapee from a Russian Gulag than a Brit. And does he really think that a no-deal Brexit would work? It is as though U.K. voters never realized what a ‘pig in a poke’ Brexit could be. It seems to be good reason today for the return of Northern Ireland to Dublin and Scotland to the Scots.

The Brits could pretend that the entire Brexit mess was just another of those silly Christmas pantomimes that they use to entertain the children. Someone who looks like Boris can wear a wig and play the villain and chase the long-legged girl who plays the part of a boy.

The more serious question at this stage is whether the European Union wants the English troublemakers to stay with them? This Brexit business has certainly caused some dissent in the ranks on the continent. Without the stabilizing hand of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the near future, the EU could see a rise in the right wing that could destabilize what has been a strong and effective economic union. Brussels might have bit off a little more than it could chew sometimes but the overall effectiveness and benefits of the union cannot be denied.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

To be in Biarritz in August.

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

It is like making the scene in Gstaad in February, you really should do Biarritz in August. It is reserved for the world of the rich and famous and now the world leaders. While the Boris Johnson’s and Donald Trump’s might have lowered the bar somewhat, Emmanuel Macron knows how to throw a good party. And he knows how to treat guests.

There will be no wrangling at the French president’s party. He has already told them there will be no communique of agreement. He expects little agreement. Macron considers the tiff between the European Union and Boris Johnson and his Brexit problems are puny beside the concern for the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

I expect the other world leaders to be civil and they will be reluctant to tell Donald Trump how childish is his trade war with China. He is not smart enough to realize that his stupidity is driving the world into a serious economic recession.

And speaking of dim bulbs, it was disgusting to see Boris Johnson going all buddy-buddy with Justin Trudeau as though the colonies could save the U.K. from economic disaster when it is outside the European Union. Trudeau has to keep out of the Brexit mess if he really wants the CETA trade deal ratified any time soon.

Macron even sprang a surprise guest on the world leaders in an attempt to reduce the tensions with the Iranians. It fell a bit flat but good for the French for trying.

While Macron is so busy trying to be a good host, it was Donald Tusk, president of the European Council who was trying desperately to pull the G5 or 6 or 7 or 8 back to its purpose of cooperation and trade. These countries account for the majority of the world’s trade and if they cannot work together, we are in a worse mess than we thought.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Brits are crazy too.

Monday, July 29th, 2019

There is a pattern emerging. What particular hell we are heading for might still be a mystery but I fear the pace is accelerating. What you would have thought impossible a few years ago is to-day’s horror.

To make matters worse, there is no discerning a rational path for the phenomenon. For one, I think it started with Donald Trump arguing with President Obama about where he was born. Now, why would that lead to Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton? You can hardly blame Clinton for not knowing how to put down Trump. Nobody knew what to do about Trump; least of all Trump. He was surprised as every other American when his ridiculous campaign won the Electoral College and the presidency of the United States of America.

And America has suffered the indignity ever since.

But Canadians have nothing to laugh at. We had an indication of the problem when that misogynist Jason Kenney torpedoed Rachel Notley in Alberta. A third of the Canadian population soon got their come-uppance in Ontario when that nitwit Doug Ford suddenly landed in our laps as premier of our province. And we had no idea why we deserved it. All we knew was that there was a strange disease invading our lands. We were electing fools and charlatans.

But, not to be undercut by lesser minds, the Brits were out to show us up. It started with some Brexit agitation and soon got out of hand. In their typical way, the Brits delegated the task of soothing the pain of Brexit to a person who would do better running a private girls’ school.

They have now replaced the headmistress with one of the nincompoops who started the Brexit business. Would you believe that the guy with the perpetual bad hair day is now the first minister in the Queen’s cabinet? This could drive the poor old dear to consume more of the palace’s Sherry.

Can you not just imagine Boris Johnson flying back from Brussels one day soon, waving a piece of paper and claiming: “Brexit, in our time!”

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau should listen to McCallum.

Monday, July 15th, 2019

John McCallum was building a very solid career as a professor and as an economist when he took a misstep into politics in 2000. While it took him a while to learn the ropes, his greatest political success was in Justin Trudeau’s government as immigration, refugees and citizenship minister. He brought in large numbers of Syrian refugees with help from Canadians from coast to coast. He made his mark.

But what amount of ego encouraged him to take the post of ambassador to China, we might never understand? He could hardly be so foolish as to think his ethnic Chinese wife gave him a leg up. This man, who throughout his career had been paid for his opinions, was now supposed to be a noviciate to Chrystia Freeland in Canada’s foreign affairs. That was a bad position for a free thinker.

John McCallum would have been introduced in Beijing as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary (meaning he had the right to speak for the Queen in the right of Canada). He barely opened his mouth for the next two years but that was learning the job time. When he did speak his mind, he was fired.

And that firing did no good for John McCallum and it did no good for Justin Trudeau. What John said was his opinion that Canada would be better off to release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhuo. Donald Trump had indicated that the request for extradition was political. Canada has an obligation to comply with legal requests for extradition to the U.S. for legal reasons but not for political.

The prime minister ignored the door that the American president had opened. What it said to the Chinese was that Trudeau was so firm in his desire to support the Trump position that he would fire a man who told the truth.

To make matters worse, John McCallum was fired at the end of January and no replacement has been announced six months later. That is an insult to the Chinese. They have recalled the Chinese ambassador in retaliation.

And just to rub salt, the conservatives are now complaining about some recent McCallum remarks. He told the Chinese that further retaliation would just help the conservatives in the coming election in Canada. The conservatives told the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about it. What exactly CSIS can do about a private citizen expressing an opinion, we are not sure.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Now pinch hitting for Canada: Donald Trump.

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

We really need that. Can you think of anyone less able to speak for Canada to the Chinese? Donald Trump was grandstanding with Canada’s prime minister in the Oval Office in Washington the other day. The media had been allowed in for some quick questions and to get their pictures and quotes. Trump told the media that he would be going to bat with China on behalf of the Canadians.

Mr. Trump was telling the media that he was meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan next week. He said he would take the opportunity to ask for the release of the two Canadians who are being held hostage by the Chinese in retaliation for Canada’s detaining of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for possible deportation to the face the courts in the United States.

What is surprising about this is that Canada is also a member of the G20. Obviously, Mr. Trudeau could meet with Xi Jinping and ask for himself. It is hard to believe that the Chinese president would listen to Donald Trump before he would listen to Justin Trudeau. It is hardly likely that Donald Trump would make a more cogent argument for the release of the Canadians.

And if there was any horse trading involved, the Huawei executive is presently vacationing in her luxurious Vancouver mansion awaiting an extradition hearing. We have something China wants. China has something we want. Is that not the essence of a horse trade?

And Justin Trudeau should stop giving us all the lip service about Canada being a country of laws. He has recently proved that is all B.S. Especially when you consider his actions with Jodi Wilson-Raybould, who was a fair to middling justice minister for Canada, until the prime minister wanted to play patty-cake with SNC-Lavalin, to save them the embarrassment of being found guilty of bribery.

It would certainly be appreciated by Canadians if Justin Trudeau would have his own discussion with the Chinese.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Mr. Trudeau goes to Washington.

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Frank Capra’s 1939 movie, Mr. Smith goes to Washington, is not only a classic but it was the film that made James Stewart a movie star. And if Mr. Trudeau plays his part properly, his trip to Washington this week could help him keep his job as prime minister.

First of all, Trudeau should tell his staff that he does not go to Washington to ‘ask’ anything of Mr. Trump. He can ‘discuss’ or ‘tell’ but he is a world leader and he should never have to ask that ignorant Mr. Trump anything more important than ‘Where’s the washroom?’

And if it was that nincompoop conservative Andrew Scheer going to Washington to represent Canada, he would be all atwitter to be in the presence of the disruptor of the free world.

But that is why we should not ‘ask.’ It is Trump who has caused all the problems with China. Someone has to tell the accidental president that he is making a mess of it. You can be patient and use kind words if you like. I hear that is helpful when dealing with slow thinkers.

But Trump either respects our guy or he does not. Remember that an earlier U.S. president Lyndon Johnson and prime minister Lester Pearson were old friends when the big Texan grabbed ‘Mike’ Pearson by the lapels and accused him of pissing on his living room rug. Plain talk is possible.

You never know what will grab Trump’s limited attention. If he is not going to listen, Trudeau can always go home and tell his acquiescent justice minister to tell the judge on the extradition case to return that gal from Huawei to hearth and home in China. Her holiday in lovely Vancouver is over.

Sure, sure, we are a country that obeys the law. It is just as sure that we are a country that also knows how to bend the law a bit for our friends in the People’s Republic of China!

What Mr. Trudeau has to understand is that the Chinese are very big on saving face. It is hardly new for the Chinese. They really cannot understand why Trudeau thinks diplomacy should require him to drop his jeans for Mr. Trump. Most Canadians do not understand it either.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“Send in the Clowns.”

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

“There ought to be clowns – Well, maybe next year” are the haunting words at the end of the Stephen Sondheim song that is a lament using a circus metaphor. We were reminded of the song as we were reading and hearing about the American president’s travels this week. Is this what world politics is becoming today? Are we replacing our serious need for effective politicians with clowns?

Are there right-wing clowns? Are there populist clowns? Are there bitter and hateful clowns?

Is Donald Trump of the United States one of those scary clowns? And why was he in London? Theresa May needed no farewell tour from him. It is her farewell that is coming. She is toast. She tried the impossible in getting the United Kingdom out of the European Union. She is a scraggy clown.

But the bookies have picked her successor, Boris Johnson. Can you imagine that clown in 10 Downing Street? Here is a guy who needs his own James Boswell and a decent barber. He is a scary clown and Donald Trump likes him.

Donald does not like Sadiq Khan, mayor of London. Donald is an equal-opportunity bigot. He does not like any people with Muslim names. The Brit politicians quickly dumped Donald and Melania on the royals. The royals played the game with him, gave him lots of ceremony but not much love.

Trump is off to the Channel and the beaches of Normandy for the anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. And he will get a chance to scare French President, Emmanuel Macron. Mind you the French are hoping to keep the task of entertaining the Trumps filled with the ceremonies about how America saved France in the Second World War. I guess Trump will not be meeting his French counterpart, Marine Le Pen. Now that is one scary clown.

But after all this ceremony, Trump will be off on a well-earned holiday at another of his golf resorts, this one in Ireland.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“Penny for the Guy, Gov?”

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

By this November five, Guy Fawkes Day, one really wonders at what the value of the Brit Pound might be on world markets? It used to be a Brit tradition and as much as the Brits love their traditions, a penny does not buy much fireworks any more.

With the outrageous incompetence of the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ to resolve the Brexit fiasco, the rest of the world is dumbfounded. With a ditz for a prime minister, dolts in the cabinet and dummies running the opposition, they might as well stop singing There will always be an England. The bookies are giving long odds on that.

There is a certain justice to the Bank of England being run at this time by a Canadian. If he has been smart, he has been selling short the pound. When you think of all the wars between England and the continent over so many centuries, you would think they would be tired of all the wrangling.

The last (and hopefully final) deal offed by the Europeans was quite decent of them. I suppose everybody needs to have a special charity case to look after and I guess the Brits will be Europe’s.

The great gaping hole in the tariff wall is that open border in Ireland and it is what makes a farce of everything those foolish Brexit supporters wanted to do. It seems that the Europeans have a better appreciation of what that open border means to the Emerald Isle than the Brit parliament.

We get the feeling that the United Kingdom is going to get less united by all this foolishness. This ‘damn the torpedoes’ nonsense of the Brexit supporters is not going to get much sympathy from the more practical Scots and Northern Ireland will have to choose between their loyalty to the Crown and their preference for eating regularly.

It might be just another ho-hum Brexit day for the Brit parliament, but the rest of the world is tiring of it. For all the propriety airs, the Brits take of us colonists, I hardly think they are going to get any lend-lease support for this mess they have gotten themselves into.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Empty handed in Hanoi.

Monday, March 4th, 2019

That came as a shock. We had no idea that the sawed-off little runt of a dictator from North Korea was smarter than American president Donald Trump. He left Trump standing alone in Hanoi at Air Force One with his trousers (figuratively) open. While we would never recommend Donald Trump to Mensa, we have obviously been absorbing American propaganda for too long about North Korea.

I was always under the impression that the ugly little troglodyte from Pyongyang was a dupe for the North Korean generals. Now we need to rethink it as an unholy alliance.

What remains puzzling was understanding why Kim Jong Un would spend 70 hours on a train coming to Hanoi through China when he had no intention to dispose of any of his nuclear arsenal. His one offer of shutting down a major nuclear research centre still left him with that large nuclear arsenal.

The joke is that it is Trump who is supposed to be the gamer, the con man and the closer. He is even credited with a book called The Art of the Deal. Obviously, the book was ghosted. It was certainly not worth the bother of reading.

And it is also obvious that the Korean cretin has been playing Trump for the fool he is. All he was doing was making the American lose face. The Americans would be best to keep Trump away from him and let the South Koreans handle their own rapprochement.

It might be fun to be a fly on the wall in Beijing and hear how China’s Xi Jinping likes the idea of a nuclear-equipped and industrialized Korean Peninsula, nose to nose with Manchuria.

Mind you, it is still likely that Trump could do better than Brit prime minister Theresa May in solving the Brexit problem with the European Union. He can be had cheap. Nobody in the U.S. would complain if he was kept busy fixing things for the Brits. Think of the money to be made if he also swings a deal to convert Buckingham palace into a Trump Hotel.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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