It’s time to deliver the profile.

October 6th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

No, this is not for that American television show. The profile we will be presenting one day this week is best described in horse race terms. It is called a Morning Line. It is commonly in the Racing Form, newspapers and shown on the track totalizers. It is simply an educated guess as to the possibilities for that race. In this case, it is an election. It makes no guarantees. It is more of a starting point to get the betting underway.

What needs to be remembered is that under our voting system, we do not have one election. We are having 338 elections to decide who runs the country. Some of the elections are considered a slam-dunk and many are being hotly contested.

Not all the candidates are the same. Not all the voters feel the same way. There are regional differences. There are different candidates. Canadians do not think alike from coast to coast. There are rural voters and urban voters. And did I mention different languages? There are also smart voters and less smart voters. There are many age groups and supposed classes of voters. This is why political leaders exhaust themselves fliting around the country, making extravagant promises to all the different types of Canadians.

And sometimes it is not a question of who are the 70 per cent of Canadians who voted but who were the 30 per cent, or so, who did not?

It is all so much simpler under proportional representation. Bear in that that method of voting works well where the voters are mostly illiterate. All you have to do is count all the ballots from the election and let each party appoint members of the parliament according to their percentage of the vote. The only problem is that the only person you can vote for is the leader of the party. You might never have a member of parliament who represents you or your area. You probably, never again, have a majority government that can get things done.

I like the way we do it today. Canadians are going to be interested in seeing who wins. Because the only poll that matters is the poll we will be counting on October 21.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Don’t sweat the big stuff.

October 5th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

This election campaign is built around small stuff. We even have small minded politicians to keep the arguments unimportant. Nobody seems to want to fight over the important things that could change the way of life for Canadians. It seems like a typical Canadian election.

After all, why argue about his silly power corridor for Canada when you can accuse Andrew Scheer of being a closet American? Did you know that John A. Macdonald built the first real power corridor across Canada and called it a railroad? Did you know that the first telecommunications corridor in Canada ran down those same tracks? Scheer is really a latecomer to that power corridor game.

And who complained about the liberals having two airplanes for this election? If our lame news hounds cannot get off the bus and walk to the airplane, then you are going to have the occasional prang on the tarmac between bus and plane. The liberals are just showing that they are prepared by having two planes already painted and ready to go.

Who cares if the green party promises will be kept? Do you really expect Elizabeth May to be forming a government? What makes you think her green party would even be able to make a deal with a minority government?

It looks as though the conservative campaign should be happy with all the dirt being dug up about Scheer. It must prove to them that Scheer has a chance.

What is the definition of a loser in this election? Have you ever realized that it is someone to whom nobody bothers to attack? It is hardly that his opponents love Jagmeet. They just do not want to take a chance on being called racist. They will leave that to Maxime Bernier of the peoples’ party. He is going nowhere anyway.

But what a two-bit, useless election this is! I could have filled a file drawer with all the small-minded promises of the unimaginative parties with the knowledge that very few are ever likely to be kept.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

TVA provides a forum for losers.

October 4th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

Making sense of the political sparring on Pierre Karl Péladeau’s French language television network, TVA, on Wednesday was easy. It was the time for Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc Québécois and the New Democrat’s Jagmeet Singh to come on strong and hard. This was their first major chance to make their case for rural Quebec votes.

Both of these minor party leaders are faced with not being recognized as an official party in the house of commons. You need to elect 12 members to be recognized as a party. And with that recognition comes staffing money and the right to ask questions in the house.

It is no surprise to note that the urge to separate from Canada is a dying proposition in Quebec. It is not the challenge it was to the province’s youth 60 years ago. Blanchet stepped into the leader’s role of the Bloc because no one else was interested in the thankless job. A life-long Péquiste, Blanchet had previously served as a cabinet member in Pauline Marois’ Parti Québécois government.

But times have changed and instead of being the left leaning party of the past, Blanchet promotes the right wing CAQ government of François Legault. He cheerfully promoted the CAQ bigotry in Bill 21 that forbids the wearing of religious symbols by people in authority representing the Quebec government. He even needled Justin Trudeau on the subject but Trudeau stuck by his guns that he wanted to see how the courts treated the various challenges already in play.

I think the best act was by Jagmeet Singh who was fighting desperately to save even one or two of the 14 Quebec seats the NDP had on dissolution. He is fully prepared to give Quebec voters anything they want if he could just keep those seats.

Early in the day, I think Singh did a little street theatre with an old gentleman who told him, in English, to take off his turban and get a haircut. It would have been more credible if the media had not heard the old gentleman say he was going to vote NDP as he strolled away.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Doug Ford: The man who isn’t here.

October 3rd, 2019 by Peter Lowry

We hear that premier Doug Ford is low bridging this federal election. It is at the begging of his friend Andrew Scheer. Conservative leader Scheer did not want to be upstaged by his provincial supporter. Scheer’s handlers have enough trouble convincing voters that ‘Chuckles’ is not just a tool for the premiers.

It is hardly surprising that Scheer’s opponents travel around Ontario always mentioning the conservative leader and his provincial pal in the same breath.

But an education workers strike that will hit Ontario next week will be the convincer. It will be a fine example of what conservative policies will mean. Electing Scheer would mean erratic cuts in critical fields of government responsibility. Just one example will be a disaster for companies that export around the world. The other day Scheer said he would cut the small amount of foreign aid that Canada provides by 25 per cent. Just think of that as creating another 25 per cent decline in foreign purchases.

And Doug Ford does not need to say anything to make that connection. He is not just a blow-hard who recklessly cuts programs needed to help people. He is a man who thinks wealth has its privileges. He lied his way through the last Ontario election, saying he was ‘For the People.’

As soon as he was elected, he showed his vindictive side and proceeded to get even with the people of Toronto by cutting the number of councillors to a minimum that could not do the job for constituents. He downloaded social costs to municipalities stripping them of their ability to budget effectively and he took away municipal control of their mass transit operations. Doug Ford has since turned his sights on the health and education portfolios of the Ontario government. He has cut and has had to restore programs critical for the sick. He has reduced the number of teachers and increased class sizes in our schools.

This is the conservative strategy for all of Canada. It would be bare bones government if we elect Andrew Scheer and the conservatives on October 21.

And if you do not think he is like his friend Doug Ford, you did not pay attention when Scheer was speaker of the house of commons for the last four years of the Harper conservative regime. It was an unruly, disrespectful government and past legislation that shamed Canadians. We do not want to go backward.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The confusion of the pollsters.

October 2nd, 2019 by Peter Lowry

It is difficult sometimes to explain why the opinion pollsters are straining themselves in this current Canadian election. If we had proportional voting, it would all be so easy. It is because we use first-past-the-post voting that we are so confused. It is because Canadians actually prefer first-past-the-post that it comes to this.

What needs to be remembered is that under our voting system, we do not have one election. We are having 338 elections to decide who runs the country. Some of the elections are considered a slam-dunk and many are being hotly contested.

Not all the candidates are the same. Not all the voters feel the same way. There are regional differences. There are different candidates. Canadians do not think alike from coast to coast. There are rural voters and urban voters. And did I mention different languages? There are also smart voters and a few dumb voters. There are many age groups and supposed classes of voters. This is why political leaders exhaust themselves fliting around the country, making extravagant promises to all the different types of Canadians.

And sometimes it is not a question of who are the 70 per cent of Canadians who voted but who were the 30 per cent, or so, who did not?

It is all so much simpler under proportional representation. Bear in mind, that method of voting works well where the voters are mostly illiterate. All you have to do is count all the ballots from the election and let each party appoint members of the parliament according to their percentage of the vote. The only problem is that the only person you can vote for is the leader of the party. You might never have a member of parliament who represents you or your area. You probably, never again, have a majority government that can get things done.

I like the way we do it today. Canadians are going to be interested in seeing who wins. Because the only poll that matters is the poll we will be counting on October 21.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Death by a thousand tax cuts.

October 1st, 2019 by Peter Lowry

Canadian voters are being nickel-dimed and conned by their politicians. Even Elizabeth May and her greenies have joined into the game of making promises, with funds, from where, they do not really know. It is a game that voters should not buy. Let’s face facts: Sheer is no savior, Trudeau is untrained in being a trustee, Singh will be lucky if there is a party with him after the election And Ms. May and her rag-tag army would not last a day in a real battle for the environment.

It is time for everyone to take a dose of reality before they vote. You are deemed to be adults, you know! You are supposed to have some idea about what you are doing.

Those wonderful people out on the Wet coast are fighting a desperate action to protect their Orcas, their pristine mountains and the best ski hills in the Americas.

Our people in Alberta, who blew all the money from their first oil bonanza, are lying to themselves that bitumen will make their foreign investors and themselves rich again. And Saskatchewan and Manitoba want to be part of that rodeo?

Ontario is facing its own disaster with the guy running the circus at Queen’s Park. If they can survive that fiasco, Ontario voters are ready to take on the world.

Quebec is still cloistered with its own demons as the anger of the past passes into a confused history. And God bless the Atlantic provinces as they provide Canadians with an anchor.

Everybody should pay attention to the upcoming televised leaders’ debates. Make your own decision. And if you cannot believe any of those people, check out your riding candidates. Try to pick the smartest liberal or conservative. You need someone in a position to do something. They will need to know what they are getting into. We need people who can make a difference.

And do not worry about all the promises. Few of them will be kept.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

All Americans need decide Trump’s fate.

September 30th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

It seems undemocratic for Congress to decide the fate of the American president. As self-serving and as obnoxious as president Trump might be, he was the choice of American voters. They should decide his fate.

As a relatively impartial Canadian, I make this suggestion as I am as concerned for democracy in my own country as I am for democracy in America. History shows us how easy it has been for democracy to be set a side. Democracy is never guaranteed. It needs watchful citizens and politicians. It needs the support of the courts.

The first sign of trouble in a democracy is a falling off of participation at the polls. If people are prevented or discouraged from voting by others, it is an abuse of process. If people lose interest in voting, it is a sign of not caring or believing that their participation is a waste of time. This worries me in the United States as it does in Canada. Both countries are trending down in voter turnout.

What has always surprised me is the propaganda spread around the world by America as being the ‘Land of the Free’ and the assumption that it is the world’s most successful democracy. I think I will wait until national elections in the U.S.A. are under the control of a truly neutral body, instead of state officials, before applauding. In many states in the U.S., political gerrymandering has become something of a fine art and an embarrassment to the country.  And Americans will only get a gold star for common sense when supreme court judges are chosen for their lack of bias instead of their political leanings.

But the point of all this discussion is the concern for impeaching Donald Trump. I have absolutely no use for the man but I feel that the people need to make the decision. By doing so, they will recognize the power of voting. Congress can make a mess of the decision. If they succeed, they will save a few months of Trump but you cannot tell me that Mike Pence in the White House would be any better. For that man to be in office for even those few months, until the January, 2021, inauguration of a new president, could be painful.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Over-Analyzed Election.

September 29th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

It’s a circus on the hustings. It is like somebody tossed a cherry bomb into the outhouse. Everybody has an opinion to lay on you as to what is happening but not what will happen. There is more coverage every day from radio, television and daily newspapers. They tell you what is going on and yet cannot tell you what it all means. And besides you can read magazines, follow blogs and subscribe to newsletters. The Internet, with its Twits and Facebooks and fake news is ramping up. Everywhere you go, people want to talk about what will happen, but nobody knows what to say.

In a lifetime of knocking on doors for politicians, I have never been more reluctant to be telling people how to vote. The pollsters have never been more wary of their own forecasts. The talking heads of television are hedging. The columnists of our newspapers are telling us of everything except what might happen on election day. All they know is that they do not know.

We have reached the point where there is too damn much reporting and of where we are at. We read gleeful reports, ad nauseum, of the missteps of the politicians, their culpability and the nuances. They are all prone to error.

The greenies cannot add two plus two. It is increasingly embarrassing for them to keep making promises everybody knows they cannot keep.

The NDP are promising you the moon as it is more and more obvious that the party is really fighting for its very existence. Jagmeet Singh is working on a shorter and shorter lease.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer must have a death wish as he makes himself ever more at odds over the environment. He is making himself a laughing stock as a denier of global warming. Greta Thunberg warned the deniers she was coming!

And then there is Justin Trudeau. He might be the best we have but he still needs to grow into the job. And the job of prime minister is not just another opportunity for a selfie!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

In the Sorry State of Sorry.

September 28th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

You never think of Sorry as a place but the current election in Canada seems to be parked in a Sorry State. And why do I get the sad feeling that we are all going to be sorry when it is over? It is like many of our American friends south of the border. Do you not think they are sorry for the sorry state of their politics? Add the poor Brits to that. The threats of their out-of-control politicians in that royal realm grow worse every day.

‘So, why should Canada be free of the pain?’ you ask. Is it some mythical God’s wrath for what we have done to His beautiful planet? According to the Christian bible, He was supposed to have created this firmament exclusively for us. The scientists tell us that there might not be a second earth with exactly the same set of circumstances to allow us to live, love, lust and litter with the same abandon.

But getting back to the stupidest election in Canadian history, I do not think I could feel any sorrier for Canadians, at this time. Who told these so-called politicians that they could spend outrageously to traipse around this country making outrageous promises that they will probably never have to deliver?

And it has been my experience through many Canadian elections that the carrying out of promises is rarely Job One for many politicians. We have also had the experience of Canadian politicians doing the exact opposite of what they promised during the election.

The first rule of all these promises are that you have to keep them vague. Make them sound good but keep details to the minimum. And, for goodness sake do not, in any way, suggest that taxes will be raised to pay for the idea.

But you have to feel sorry for the politician who has to promise the old chestnut of finding savings in better government efficiencies to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in promises. The line has been used so often by alternating governments that it has lost all validity. You would swear though that our politicians think all that money they are spending comes from orchards.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Wilson-Raybould: A woman of a certain age.

September 27th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

Maybe after the election. Jody Wilson-Raybould can take her own one-person show on the road. At the present, she is attempting the more difficult task of getting elected as an independent candidate in a critical election. If the prime minister’s mother can pull off a one-woman show, why not Wilson-Raybould?

Anyone who can get a four-minute commercial for herself on national television (Global 6:30 Eastern News, September 23) should be able to do it. As a lawyer, she might also figure out what that the book is worth as a campaign donation. And where her book fits in as campaign literature, I am not sure either.

I might get a chance to glance at her book after the election, but right now, I am too busy.

All I can comment on is the title. I do not like the title. It is called From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada. Is this some mythical land where the waters are always clean and the hunting good? And what if there are no indigenous nations in North America to rebuild?

I will admit that I am not as familiar with the west coast tribes as I am with the prairie and eastern aboriginal peoples. Nor would I claim any expertise as to their origins. I believe what the scientists tell us that these peoples migrated to North America from Asia. My ancestors came to this land more recently than those of the aboriginals but I believe we can all be proud to be Canadians. I cannot find the source of the decision someone made to claim Canadian aboriginals come from this land. They do not. Our ancestors were all immigrants at one time or another.

I have too often been appalled at the neglectful way our politicians and government employees deal with the aboriginal communities. We certainly should do better. After the election, I will check and see if Wilson-Raybould’s book has any suggestions.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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