“Once more unto the breach, dear friends…”

June 16th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

And once more Ontario liberals found that they were not masters of their own destiny. Ontario liberalism is a fiefdom and the serfs were told once more last weekend what will be. Whatever you might wish to call it, it is not democratic. It is not run by or for the people.

The call for a one-member-one-vote leadership convention by these provincial liberals drew 57 per cent support and so was denied as it did not have a super-majority of 66 per cent. The hands of past manipulators denied freedom to the present.

The federal liberal party had broken down the old feudal system of ministers being in charge of their fiefs in the 1960s under Lester Pearson. It was why the Ontario provincial party broke away—to return to the old ways with a party run from the board rooms of the larger law firms.

It worked well enough, producing the subsequent governments of Dalton McGuinty and then Kathleen Wynne. Whether they were particularly liberal was always a question.

But now the challenge is to find a progressive liberal who can capture the imagination of the liberal party and then the voters. Whomever the new party leader will be, he or she will need to overcome the conservatism of the rulers of the provincial liberal fiefs.

I think the smartest candidate for leader of the party, so far, has been Michael Coteau, MPP for Don Valley East. He worked hard to get the change to one-member-one-vote while I understand another possible candidate, Steven Del Duca, kept out of the discussion and did not even vote. That tells us volumes about Del Duca.

What I admire most about Michael Coteau’s campaign is that it is built on what he has been hearing from liberal party members across Ontario. I find it is a bit of a novelty to find someone who really wants to listen. The campaign will not get intense until January next year when the delegated convention is slated for March 7.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Circle your wagons; they’re on the warpath.

June 15th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

And here we thought war rooms in politics were a thing of the past? Now we see that the Toronto Sun has resurrected the idea with a one-time liberal in command. This must be the companion war room that PostMedia, owners of the Sun, promised Alberta premier Jason Kenney to complement his war room against the ‘lying’ eastern media. This includes those particular media that do not approve of Kenney’s province shipping highly polluting tar sands bitumen in pipelines or any other way.

I checked out what must have been a podcast coming from PostMedia’s Sun war room. I was not impressed. It was a seemingly tired diatribe against prime minister Justin Trudeau. It was, what it was.

But it seems Paul Godfrey and friends are taking an ‘anything goes’ approach to this election campaign. While PostMedia publications are well known for their conservative bias, bias might be too mild a word for their current stance.

Despite Trudeau’s insistence (to this time) that he is intent on finishing twinning the Trans Mountain pipeline, it is not fast enough for Kenney and PostMedia. It is not really ideal for democracy when you consider that PostMedia with both the Herald and Sun newspapers in Calgary and both the Journal and Sun newspapers in Edmonton dominate Alberta media with a combined daily circulation of well over two million copies.

PostMedia is majority owned by American Media Inc. (AMI) which has a stayed indictment by the southern district of New York federal prosecutor office on condition of good behaviour for three years, until September 2021. This possible prosecution was over some improprieties believed to be in support of Donald Trump’s presidency. It was because of this that AMI was forced to sell the National Enquirer and other similar publications.

Canadians have never been too impressed with the National Post or any other PostMedia publications. I tend to think of them as Paul Godfrey and Conrad Black’s legacy.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The late, unlamented New Democratic Party.

June 14th, 2019 by Peter Lowry


This information has been available for a while but this writer has been reluctant to mention it. The problem I have is with some of my readers who are entrenched supporters of what is left of the federal new democrats. They tend to vilify me for even reporting the failings of their party. Not that it should really bother me. I am a left-wing liberal and am used to abuse from within my own party.

But the problem today is that there are malingering NDPers who do not know what else to say to the pollsters. The party is hardly at the lowest ebb of support since the CCF was founded. It is lower.

It will be October before we get a sense of just how bad it is. I would consider it a win if the party keeps its official standing as a party in the house of commons.

And I do not think it can be blamed just on the lack of leadership. This is a party without a scintilla of direction. The old guard of the NDP  are split between the organized labour supporters, the environmentalists and the old socialists. And with nobody to pull the rabble back together, few of the rank and file have any direction.

It is a shame we have to mention the titular leader but Jagmeet Singh is just not cutting it. His position is like that of a catholic choir boy suddenly being anointed Pope of Rome. There is no honeymoon.

But Jagmeet is lost in the morass of political squabbling over who among them killed their party. The only benefit he has found is that he can announce anything off the party wish list and nobody denies it. Mind you, nobody supports him either.

It is still too early to tell but we can probably expect that of the 41 NDP seats they now hold in parliament, for every three seats they lose, the Green party will gain a seat. And if the greens gain enough for party status, they will do so at the NDP’s expense.


A NOTE TO READERS: When I went to public school in Ontario, they were still teaching us young Canadians British history.  We learned the difference between Britain and the ancient Celts who lived in what is now England before the Romans came, who were known as Britons. Now please understand that we do make the odd editing error in writing our commentaries. I was trying to give my Green Party friends something to think about yesterday—not start a war. And what about those Raptors!?

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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If you paint a pig green?

June 13th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

The question is if you paint a pig green, would it no longer roll in the mud? And if we are concerned about the environment, should we vote for a party called ‘Green’? Is it that simple? Have we solved the problem of global warming, have we protected the environment and will we all live happily ever after?

Maybe life is not so simple. There must be other political parties that care about the environment. Why, just the other day, the prime minister announced that we were going to do something about single-use plastics. He painted a rather gruesome picture for us of whales washing up on shore with their stomachs full of plastics that are drifting through our seas.

Of course, the PM allowed for exceptions. He figures that we will need at least four years to determine what plastics to ban, what to convert from plastic to some more degradable material and what will have to be an exception for later banning. He sees it as an opportunity to create some new industries. He was vague on details.

We could check on the new democrats. They always have good things to say about the environment in their pamphlets. Maybe they will not look like such hypocrites now that former NDP premier Rachel Notley is no longer beating the drum for more tar sands bitumen to add to world pollution. She wanted pipelines and rail cars to get the bitumen to ports where the stuff could be shipped to countries that do not worry so much about pollution.

And you would think that the NDP opposition in Ontario would be making the most of their opportunity to show up premier Ford and his conservative cronies for their appalling ignorance about the environment and the causes of global warming. So much for the NDP!

And as for Mr. Ford and friends: Those ignoramuses are using our taxpayers’ money to say they have a better plan for global warming. I think it includes toasting marshmallows.

And that basically leaves those people painted green. They remind me of the ancient Britons who were druids and worshiped trees and painted their backsides blue.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Kindergarten for conservative candidates.

June 12th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

There is nothing new about politicians who learn their craft while climbing the ladder of politics. Many make a start on school board, get to know the people of their area and wait for the right time to move up to municipal councillor. Municipal council, in turn, can become the incubator popping out fresh young faces to be your next member of the legislative assembly or member of parliament.

While politicians of all flavours can be found on this path, it is most common in Ontario to find they are paid up members of the conservative party. This is where they find their mentors, their funding sources and support for the campaigns to come. No city beats Barrie in this conservatism of its city council.

It was why after being in the city for only a few years, I ran the campaign ground game for a new mayor. He ran against two well-known conservatives and a group of also-rans. He is now on his third term as mayor.

While I like to think that Mayor Jeff Lehman does what he can with a council that wants to defer any contentious issues until they are told what position to take, this city council is not progressive. We have a burgeoning, successful city here despite a council of small city minds. The truth is, the city is run by its senior staff and people learn you best not interfere.

Recently a brash young councillor became annoyed with two former city council members who are now the sitting members of parliament. They are both about what you would expect in a city that allowed the rise of Patrick Brown, from councillor to MP, to leader of the Ontario conservatives. The councillor was angry about white-supremacists joining in on Andrew Scheer’s remarks to some westerners castigating prime minister Trudeau for not building them a pipeline fast enough.

It was hardly a municipal issue and the councillor was out of line using his position to demand an apology to Canadians by the conservatives.

But it was also hardly an issue for council’s ethics commissioner. Nor was it worthy of a threatened law suit from the two MPs.

Mind you, I think I should drop in on council meetings more often. It is obviously becoming more fun.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Chuckles’ is Counting on Chaos.

June 11th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

Conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer has reason to worry about the antics of Ontario premier Doug Ford. With less than five months to the scheduled October election, the conservative leader’s team knows the election is really going to be fought in British Columbia and Ontario. The other provinces are predictable. It is a butterfly already flapping its wings on the west coast that will create the chaos in Ontario.

And Chuckles Scheer is counting on that chaos. He needs something to upset the balance of Ontario’s traditional voting patterns. He needs warning signs on the economy. He needs layoffs and union unrest.

Scheer is looking for seats in liberal Toronto. He needs NDP seats in Hamilton and Northern Ontario. And it is the chaos caused by premier Doug Ford that can help deliver that. Without chaos, Ontario remains a federal liberal fortress.

And to further frustrate Scheer, he cannot be seen condoning Ford’s foolish antics. All he had planned to do this fall, as Ford tore into Trudeau, was to tsk-tsk and comment that boys will be boys.

But Dougie might be planning to hide out for the summer at the Ford’s summer compound. He wants to be as far away as possible from the antics at Toronto’s Pride parades and festivities. The whole idea was for Scheer to act as the only adult available in October and be seen as a stabilizing factor by the voters.

While it would be hard to believe of Ford, he might have even promised himself to stay out of the federal election. After all Kenney and Moe in Alberta and Saskatchewan are hardly going to make a difference leading their provinces against the liberals. The Plains are no happy hunting ground for Trudeau. He might as well overfly and forget those two provinces.

As for B.C., Trudeau’s fate hangs by the thread of the Trans Mountain pipeline. If he can just find some way to get out from under the weight of that pipeline, he might not come to a complete slaughter at the polls in that part of the country.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Sir John A. showed the way.

June 10th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

He might have been a drunk, but he had vision. He saw a nation across the top of North America brought together with bands of steel. Sir John A. Macdonald saw trains running from coast to coast of a country growing strong and free.

And it could be the belief in that vision that is leading Bombardier to sell off its commuter jet business and concentrate on the company’s expertise on transportation that runs on steel tracks. In a country seeking to lower carbon emissions, high-speed electric trains can challenge air travel. Fast electric commuter trains can challenge the automobile. Modern streetcars, light rail and subways can move people in our congested cities.

From early errors in supplying Toronto with streetcars and Canadian National Railways with trains, Bombardier is learning its trade. With operations in Europe and Asia, the Canadian transportation company has over 40,000 employees building high-speed transportation systems. With 7000 employees in China alone, it is building urban mass transit systems for that rapidly modernizing country and is bringing home constant improvements in efficiency and design. It is ready for the challenges of Canada’s winters that beset the early experience with Turbo trains. We are ready for the corridors and networks of trains that can serve Canadians into the 22nd Century.

But our real concern must be for the politicians with the vision of Sir John A. The challenge must be the willingness to commit the effort, the monies, the labour and the belief in our country’s future.

We can start immediately with just the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor. And then extend it to Quebec City and Windsor, Fredericton and Winnipeg, the Saskatoon and Edmonton leg with the Regina and Calgary legs and the cross corridors for the provinces. It is not a simple path, but a network that can serve a nation.

And it will take more people. It can only be accomplished over the current century through the determination of millions of people who understand the vision of Sir John A.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Mixing ignorance and ideology in Ontario.

June 9th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

It’s a bad combination. Ignorance in itself is bad enough but in a mix with an ideology as strident as conservatism, it is simply bad government. It is a colonic that the people of Ontario do not need.

It is hardly surprising that today you listen to the quiet admissions of the loudest and angriest voters in the last Ontario election. They told you bluntly to shut up last year when you tried to explain the dangers of a blow-hard fool of a leader and a get-even attitude.

Maybe it is not as dangerous as the situation in the United States. Donald Trump has no ideology and governs on ignorant whims. At least Doug Ford is not allowed to declare war. Mind you, it was similar that as soon as coming into office, he ripped into the Toronto politicians who disrespected him and his late brother. Premier Ford and his cadre of cronies were on a vindictive rampage.

And in the manner of tyrants everywhere, Ford claims the enemy is the budgetary shortfall and failings of the previous government. And here, in a time of high employment, he claims bad times have come and austerity the only answer. Rather than solving any problems, we have elected Ford to create problems.

Ford not only creates problems but he creates them as he ‘supposedly’ solves others. He fires the ‘six-million-dollar man’ and creates costs of many millions more. He reduces critical funding to cities and is forced to recant by the hue and cry of the citizens.

And even he can find out he is wrong. He tries to implement a ‘buck-a-beer’ promise and finds that Ontario alcohol taxes have driven the cost of a single beer far over a dollar.

Ford’s latest gambit is legislation to freeze the public service wages. This is a direct ideological attack on unions and it will likely end up before the courts. There is no economic rationale for such a freeze.

Ontario went through eight years of ideological stupidity with former conservative premier Mike Harris 16 years ago. This is far too soon for another economic enema.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Tweeting of the Twits.

June 8th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

What wannabe politician will dare venture into the electoral fray this fall unarmed with a hashtag of caring? Will the banality of the Twitter blather drive us to Snapchat or will we start tooting on Mastodon? And there is still much to say about the depths of Facebook. The point is that there are options for computer-savvy politicians. You are probably not as rich or as brazen as Donald Trump, so do not expect a huge number of followers.

The important message in this is that you are always better off leaving the twits and other messages to someone you trust in the 16-to-24 age bracket. These people grew up with the Internet and use the right language. Us old fogeys (anyone over 35) use archaic language, lack skill at using emoticons and need more than 280 characters to express ourselves clearly.

But the point here is that there are many ways to communicate with supporters and voters as well as the traditional political pamphlets. Not, I hasten to add, that you should ever forget the impact of a strong, colourful piece of literature. And I noticed there were few politicians over the years who lost when their team produced a tabloid, or a series of tabloids for them to build a winning campaign.

The world today is doing what it is always doing: transitioning. You have people in your electoral district in their 90s. They can be quite reliable voters, if you are helpful. And there are first-time voters who are not sure how our system of voting works. You can also be helpful to them. And you have to be sure that every voter has been asked to support your candidate.

There is also one other factor to consider in regards to social media. Being Internet savvy will keep many MPs engaged during the next parliament. The consensus is that in that parliament there will be a strong movement to bring some regulation and the all-important taxation needed to this digital aspect of Canadian life. The invasions of privacy that we have been seeing in recent years and the need for determining borders for taxation purposes has been ignored by Canada’s governments for too long.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The fallacy of false findings.

June 7th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

If we constantly lie to ourselves, who are we fooling? We lie about our first nations peoples being indigenous. And now we are accusing those whose ancestors came later to this land of the horror of genocide. This is wrong. This is burying our heads in the sands of time

Are we taking the blame for our father’s failings? And his father and his father before him? Does the immigrant stepping off the boat assume the mantle of tyranny that is dispersed willy-nilly to us all?

We should remember that our forefathers were hardly stupid but they dealt with events as they were in their times. Maybe they bought into misconceptions about the natives of their day?

And who the hell gave them license to call themselves ‘indigenous’? They came to this land thousands of years before the first Europeans but they are not from here. Is this just another lie by our politicians to curry favour with the aboriginals?

And the inquiry that just came to its conclusions should be ashamed. The accusation of genocide is evil. It divides us instead of seeking common cause. Genocide requires a plan. It includes an intent—a common purpose. We cannot allow Canadians to be pilloried in this manner. If our police cannot protect Canadian women and girls, we had better hire and train better police.

Even though the residential schools were wrong, the intent, at the time, was to help. It was the wrong way to help. It showed a lack of respect. It showed wrong thinking. It set afoot some terrible injustices. Children were mistreated and died. Families were torn apart.

But today we have the technology for distance learning. We can also deliver adequate housing and potable water. Where the aboriginal peoples choose to live is not the problem. Political will is the problem.

We need to put the blame where it belongs. Promises unkept are lies.

Why cannot the people of the north be our wardens of the north. It can be an opportunity, not a banishment. Why can they not be hired to be our first responders and help protect our boreal forests from wildfires and to help to replant and reforest as needed. They can also help to preserve and protect the wild life we are losing.

Our aboriginal peoples, our first nations, need and want our respect. They need the opportunity to earn it. We have to help make it happen.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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