Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’

Banking on the Bigotry of the Bloc?

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

When does la laïcité (the separation of church and state) become the political war cry in Quebec during a federal election? And why does it front as a cover-up for the institutionalized bigotry that exists in la belle province?

Since the time of the ‘Padlock Law’ of the Maurice Duplessis government of the 1930s and the growing disenchantment with the once-powerful Catholic Church, Quebec politicians have declared an open season on political thought, religious garb and artifacts, and the use of any language other than French.

This attempt at creating a regressive island, speaking a quaint form of French, in a more liberal North America has caused some strange anomalies in the politics of Canada. If not appreciated in Quebec, English-speaking Canadians have, at least, been quiet over the past 20 or so years about Canada’s arcane and out-of-date constitution. If you want to strike fear in a Québécois heart just mention the possibility of updating the Canadian constitution.

I had a series of good laughs the other day reading an opinion about constitutional renewal from the doyen of the Toronto Star’s opinion writers, Susan Delecourt.

The best laugh was when I thought her initial reference to what she calls a constitutional creep was just a nasty way to talk about the premier of Alberta.

What she was really getting at was the possibility of the constitution again coming to the fore in the catastrophic possibility of a Bloc resurgence next week, giving Andrew Scheer the prime minister’s office.

The constitution is certainly not on Justin Trudeau’s agenda. The last time I talked to him, I tried to point out the need for a constitutional review. His elitist solution to the problems of the senate and his failed attempt to change how we vote are his answer to any real change. He seems to have some pathological fear of constitutional change. How his father left him with that attitude, I have no idea.

But Susan Delacourt is quite right when she says that conditions might be ripe for a prime minister Scheer and Canada’s current collection of conservative premiers to really screw up the constitution. If they just promised Quebec’s Legault anything his heart desires, they would have the 50 per cent of the population and the seven provinces needed to really put the conservative screws to our country. And probably start a civil war in the process.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Taking the road to totalitarianism.

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

It is in Fortress Alberta that Jason Kenney did declare that his propaganda machine will be removed from all controls. What started as a so-called war room will now be known as the Alberta Energy Communications Centre and based in Calgary.

Nobody has said whether this new entity will replace the propaganda arm of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). This organization has been relentless over the years in trying to get the news media to refer to the Alberta tar sands as oil sands and tar-sands bitumen as ‘heavy oil.’

These are the people who tried to take advantage of deaths in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec from highly volatile fracked crude oil, to try to sell the idea that pipelines were safer than rail.

But Jason Kenney has more extensive ambitions. As Alberta, leader for life—or at least until he gets bored and returns to Ottawa. His propagandists are there to deny global warming. They will fight to finish the Trans Mountain pipeline and the Energy East pipeline. They will make bitumen the saviour of the Canadian economy.

But the biggest challenge to this communications centre will be to promote Jason Kenney as the hero of Canadian unity. After all his threats of taking Alberta out of the Canadian federation have caused nothing but laughter from his friends down east.

But the most serious concern is that we are not all that sure how much public money has been spent on this form of totalitarianism—and how much more will be channeled into it.

The best indicator of the intent is that the centre has been privatized and removed from any responsibilities under Alberta’s freedom of information act. Premier Kenney does not want any sneaky media people finding out what these people are doing, And Heaven-forbid that the good people of Alberta be told anything about what their premier-for-life is doing.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Jason Kenney: Doug Ford’s understudy.

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Every actor needs an understudy. It just seems appropriate for the much-detested premier Doug Ford in Ontario to have a truly obnoxious stand-in during the federal election. It is conservative leader Andrew Sheer’s good buddy, Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta, who was standing in for premier Ford this past weekend.

It seems that nobody trusts Ford to behave. What makes them think Jason Kenney is housebroken is open to question?

But real conservatives love Kenney. He is a misogynist, selfish, mean-spirited and a global warming denier. Since he was at a Catholic college in San Francisco, he has shown his dislike for women. He is a social conservative but insists on calling his upcoming budget slashing in his province by the more diplomatic words: fiscal restraint.

To put it simply, Kenney thinks he can hide the fact he is a weasel by telling people he is really a loveable koala. He has the majority of Alberta voters convinced he is the second coming of Peter Lougheed. They think he is going to get the Trans Mountain pipeline twinned so that the province can ship diluted bitumen to Pacific nations and carry on the free ride for Alberta taxpayers while the foreign owners of their tar sands companies get rich.

It was reported that when Kenney was in Toronto, he was busy campaigning at Buddhist temples and checking out the dim sum at local restaurants.

But while campaigning for the conservative candidate in Doug Ford’s federal riding, Doug Ford was nowhere to be seen. In helping that conservative candidate in Ford’s riding, Kenney was campaigning against Ford’s late brother Rob’s widow, who is running for the People’s party. It is assumed that not everything has been patched up between Ford and his sister-in-law.

Jason Kenney also visited Ottawa while he was in Ontario. This might just have been nostalgia for the time Kenney was playing a role in the Harper government—a much bigger pond than the Alberta legislature.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Jason Kenney: Alpha Male?

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

When Gillian Steward from Calgary wrote in the Toronto Star recently about Alberta’s Jason Kenney being the federal conservative alpha male, it had to be another example of her wonderful sense of humour. Quite frankly, by no definition, that I can think of, can you consider Kenney an alpha male.

An alpha male is a leader of the pack. He is macho, he is desirable to the females of the pack for procreation purposes. For God’s sake lady, Kenney does not appear to even like women. He is a misogynist. Have you not heard the complaints fellow conservative women have made about him?

I have never suggested that Jason Kenney was anything other than a person with a low libido. Though, there was always the tendency to pair him with John Baird, the other fat-and-forty bachelor in the Harper cabinet. I referred to them, at the time, as the Bobbsey Twins.

But there is nothing in the Bobbsey Twins books of many years ago to compare to the mean machinations of the Kenney twin. He has little consideration for others or for fairness in politics. For him to promote the idea of Alberta separating from the rest of Canada so that he can propose the solution as getting rid of Trudeau is two-faced. Not only does the idea of a separatist Alberta become sillier over the years but Kenney looks even sillier proposing it.

We have already seen samples of Jason Kenney’s stupid war room in action. The concept of him running a propaganda machine to help Chuckles Scheer by attacking Justin Trudeau goes against the grain of most Canadians.

It would be foolish to suggest that Trudeau did everything right in his first four years as prime minister but he did more to help Alberta than he should have. Kenney needs to understand that effective propaganda needs to have some sliver of truth to it to be accepted as credible.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Diogenes, Leadership and SNC-Lavalin.

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

There is no time left for what might have been. Canadians are going into an election when what we so desperately want to say is ‘None of the above.’ Are we condemned to face a future of failure? Are we helpless? Have we found there is no honest man?

Justin Trudeau embarrasses us. Jagmeet Singh insults us. Andrew Scheer frightens us and there is no other workable solution.

Justin Trudeau has been weighed in the scales and found wanting. He should have resigned six months ago and given the liberal party a chance to regroup. His chief of staff knew to resign. The clerk of the privy council chose to resign. Justin Trudeau believed that he was untouchable. He was aiding his enemies. He was creating a conundrum for Canadian voters.

In a world facing disastrous climate change, we are seeing the frustration of electorates and civilizations around the world. Populists of the right and left are our false prophets. We turn to a Trump or Brexit and wonder at the failures.

In Canada, that so welcomes those seeking freedom from oppression, a single ethnic group swamps the membership of a political party. Singh embarrasses the NDP. This is no solution.

And it has been an extended silly season for the conservatives in the past few years. They had a federal leadership that chose the least of potential leaders in a federal lottery that proved that leadership does not matter. And then they chose right-wing demigods in Alberta and Ontario to claim the conservative brand.

With two months to go before the election, there is much to resolve. Canadians are resourceful. Let us find that solution together.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

From small creeks do mighty rivers flow.

Sunday, August 11th, 2019

From the Manchester Guardian to the Toronto Globe and Mail, there have been reports of our federal government scientists testing spills of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands. As one source pointed out to me, this was the government laboratory that former prime minister Stephen Harper forgot to shut down. They are still doing their job today.  They just do not realize how much has been done for them.

The researchers are at the Experimental Lake Region near Kenora, Ontario. They are pouring measured amounts of diluted bitumen into a fresh water lake to determine its impact. Everything is measured and contained to enable the researchers to forecast the impact of larger amounts of spilled bitumen.

The most important discovery to-date has been that diluted bitumen floats—for a while. The earlier assumption was that diluted bitumen had a lower density than water and could be easily be scooped from the surface of any water. This was a seriously incorrect assumption.

On the word of Americans in the area of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and Canadians in the area of the North Saskatchewan River in Canada, diluted bitumen floats—for a while—and then sinks to the bottom of the water. In the earlier example in Michigan, the Enbridge people stopped counting the costs of clean-up at a billion U.S. dollars.

The smaller spill in Saskatchewan River was cheaper for the Husky company that owned that pipeline. The problem here was that less news got out about the spill because of the bias of the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments. They prefer to keep quiet about diluted bitumen spills.

But science is relentless and the federal government scientists will eventually get to experiment with water currents and tides and be able to tell us that diluted bitumen is a serious hazard in spills because it will drift or move with the currents until it can no longer float.

It is to be regretted that so much false information is still out there about using pipelines for diluted bitumen. It is not heavy oil.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

It started with John D. Rockefeller.

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

It was John D. Rockefeller in the 1800s who put together Standard Oil of New Jersey and created ‘Big Oil.’ He created the power house that to this day is destroying our environment, launching wars and feeding much of the corruption of North American politics. And it is the same anti-trust laws that were written to bring down Rockefeller that created the Big Oil cartels that buy and sell politicians to do their bidding to-day.

There is no doubt that an astute observer such as writer Linda McQuaig has understood this for a long time. Many of us have wondered by what channels the money is assembled but there is little doubt that politicians such as Jason Kenney in Alberta have no lack of funds to fight the Big Oil battles. Writing in the Toronto Star the other day, Linda asserted that the real foreign meddler in Canadian politics is Big Oil. Hell, these are the people who put Donald Trump in the White House. Buying Alberta or all of Canada is small change.

But the heart break in all of this is the decent people of Alberta who do not understand how they are being betrayed on behalf of Big Oil.

Linda’s specific complaint is that the small amounts of money coming from foreign sources to support the environmentalists in the fight are nothing compared to the monies that Jason Kenney has to fight them. When people such as the Koch brothers of New York, whose Marathon Oil is a big customer for Alberta bitumen from the tar sands, buy a politician, they expect results. They want results from Kenney’s War Room that he has put together to fight the environmentalists.

It would be very interesting to follow the money trail that paid for Jason Kenney to return to Alberta after the conservative loss in the 2015 federal election. It was not in-expensive for him to start out touring the province with his message of ‘Unite the Right.’ He had little problem, but still an expensive campaign, to take over the conservative party. And then it was more expense to challenge Brian Jean to take over the rest of the right. And the people who orchestrated it all are still celebrating at the Petroleum Club.

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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

‘Yesteryear Politicos’ and ‘Tired Advice.’

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

(This posting has been modified to include some corrections. I apologize for the earlier errors.)

Most people are probably unaware that they can get a good laugh about Canadian politics from the Ottawa digital newsletters, Hill Times or iPolitics, almost every day.

Back when you could get complete samples of the newsletters, I determined that the average ages of their opinion writers might be about those of my grandsons. While I am very proud of them (my grandsons), they do not have the experience needed to contribute much in the way of opinions on Canadian politics. Nor do I find the opinions I have read from both publications show much experience.

Since iPolitics is owned by the Toronto Star, you would think that Susan Delacourt or some of the Star’s old timers would pitch in occasionally to give the kids a hand.

What prompted this comment was the hilarious plaint from Hill Times writers yesterday that the green party had reached into the past. They were engaging “in politics of (a) bygone era” and had hired “a politico from yesteryear” to be in their “war room.”

I can remember in the early 2000s when liberals asked me who was this upstart Kinsella running some ‘war room’ for the liberals? It makes sense to me that green leader Elizabeth May needs even more help to keep her green troops in line.

Before I knew that the Toronto Star had bought iPolitics, I had even offered the newsletter some of my expertise. They did not seem interested and that is their loss.

In any event, the better story than the green party’s desperation is the war room being created out in Calgary. This is Alberta premier Jason Kenney’s answer to people who do not agree with him. That should be a very busy war room.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

When Premiers come out to play.

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

It was an interesting pack of premiers around the conference table at this year’s Canadian premiers’ meeting. They hardly had Justin Trudeau under their thumb. And they hardly bothered to try.

This was a meeting to plan for October’s federal election. The odd men out were the bookends—John Horgan of British Columbia, NDP, and Dwight Ball of Newfoundland and Labrador, liberal. It was hardly a surprise for the premiers to recognize François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) as an honorary conservative regime.

The conservative cohort were all invited to a preplanning meeting and a flapjack flipping event at the Calgary Stampede the week before. At that meeting, the real chair of the premiers, Jason Kenney held sway. The only notable aspect of that event was when they found out that Doug Ford could not flip a flapjack without burning it.

But then Ford was out of his element at both meetings. The other premiers found him boring, competitive, wrong and rude. He made the opening gaff of the conference in Saskatoon by not attending the opening meeting with some of Canada’s aboriginal leaders on a reserve just outside of town. (God forbid that he ever learn anything or to even respect others.)

What was different at the actual conference was the unanimity of the premiers demanding that more be done to combat Buy America policies in the U.S. that run counter to the new North American trade agreement, that might or might not be approved by Congress in the next year.

There were also the usual promises to do something about trade barriers between provinces that business people have been struggling with for many years. It was just another chance for Ford to do some sloganeering about Ontario being open for business. They knew that.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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