Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’

Alberta should say no to own police.

Friday, November 15th, 2019

We are hearing a lot of bad ideas from Alberta of late. When premier Kenney gets into a hissy-fit, he rails and rants a lot and he comes up with some really dumb suggestions. The dumbest of them is the one where Alberta would create its own pension plan and put all the money into the tar sands. Another is the idea of firing the RCMP as the provincial police in Alberta and creating their own provincial police.

The policing idea has merit but I would suggest that the start-up costs for an Alberta force would be sizeable and there could be unnecessary levels of chaos in the transition. What Kenney and his friends should do is hire the Ontario Provincial Police to do the job. The OPP has the training facilities, the people and the skills to provide a seamless transition. And the good news is that Doug Ford was never allowed to put his people in charge of the OPP. They are untouched by politicians.

It makes them one of the best police forces in North America. Compared to the nearby New York State Police, headquartered in Albany, the OPP are paragons of virtue. They always stood a head taller than the Quebec Provincial Police but I am told by Quebecers that the QPP are no longer the bunch of thugs, they used to be.

While my experience with RCMP headquarters in Ottawa was always friendly and interesting, I could not say that for the kids fresh out of training in Regina who travelled the roads of Alberta looking for someone to harass.

But just why the dismissal of the RCMP as provincial guardians of law and order in Alberta would be a blow for freedom by Kenney is beyond me. It is easy enough to imagine that pulling four million people out of the Canada Pension Plan would be a small set back for the larger plan but the entire idea is that the larger the plan’s base the easier it is to ensure growth in its asset base. Small plans are more vulnerable.

Especially if you put the Alberta portion into as polluting an industry as Alberta tar sands.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

It seems that we are dealing totally in the small stuff these days. Imagine getting outraged by that blowhard on Coach’s Corner between the first and second period of Hockey Night in Canada. That is the viewer’s opportunity to get a fresh beer or to go to the washroom. I am now sick of that constant repeating on television of what Cherry said in that stupid rant. That was more than I ever wanted to hear from him.

But if the Rogers people need a replacement for Cherry, I think they should talk to Jason Kenney. Kenney might seem to have an interesting perch out there in Alberta, but I think his real love is the federal scene. He might want to come back to the East to get ready for when Scheer gets turfed by the Tories.

And Scott Moe of Saskatchewan would make a good back up for Kenney. He is more of a whiner that Kenney and he might not know much about hockey but get him a couple good writers, teach him how to read a teleprompter and you have the perfect solution.

And I never have figured out the role of Don Maclean on that schtick. He always stands there like a dummy. And I could have sworn he nodded just once during that rant but he was hardly keeping Cherry under control. His apology was too late. Should Rogers not fire him?

Another small problem is the lack of cabinet representation for Alberta and Saskatchewan. I think it is a shame that the five million plus, Canadians in these two provinces are not represented in the federal cabinet. I realize that it is hard to plan these things in advance but just whom do you think is responsible for this state of affairs? If the dislike for liberalism is that overarching in those two provinces, why give them someone else to hate by appointing some western liberals to the senate and then to the cabinet?

Back in the heyday of the Reform Party of Preston Manning, he used the slogan ‘The West wants in.’ Now we are told, ‘The West wants out.’ Alberta belongs to all of us. Where do they think they can take it?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Goddamn the CPR.’

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Can you imagine two more Canadian icons than journalist Allan Fotheringham and the Canadian Pacific Railway? It came as a pleasant surprise recently to see a television interview with ‘Doc Foth.’ He was as sardonic as ever. I have always admired Fotheringham for his writing skills and his humour. In fact, I have not read a copy of Maclean’s magazine since they unceremoniously retired him in 2002.

But all I was trying to do was check my memory of something I think Allan wrote 20 or 30 years ago. It was the probably apocryphal story of the Saskatchewan farmer whose wife ran off with a drummer, whose daughter did not know who got her pregnant and the locusts destroyed his wheat. The farmer looks to the heavens, shakes his fist and roars: ‘Goddamn the CPR.’

A friend reminded me of the story when he asked me about a Toronto Star editorial cartoon by Michael de Adder that he did not understand. It was a drawing of Alberta premier Jason Kenney at his desk and he had spilled his little bucket of paper clips. The comment coming from his mouth is: ‘@#Z$ Trudeau.’

What the cartoonist was showing was the well-known penchant of our dear friends out on the Prairies for blaming someone else for their spills and other problems. From the time when then prime minister Pierre Trudeau had asked some Prairie farmers a rhetorical question about selling their wheat, it has been popular across the Prairies to replace the CPR with a ‘Trudeau’ when complaining to their deity.

For all that our current prime minister Trudeau has tried to do for the Prairies, he is still vilified by Prairie politicians. My respectful advice to these politicians is that they should own the problems they create. Nobody in Ottawa is responsible for the volatility of crude oil pricing on world markets. Nor are they responsible for the environmental problems when shipping diluted bitumen. And they can tell Jason Kenney to pick up his own ‘@#Z$ paper clips.’

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

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