Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Scheer’

Potholes on the Yellow Brick Road.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

It’s the time of year in Canada. The roller-coaster of ice and snow, melting and freezing, leaves even a yellow brick road a minefield of broken and missing bricks. Dorothy and Toto and their three friends have to watch where they step.

With the Cowardly Lion (Justin Trudeau) more familiar with riding on elephants in costume, being transported in the helicopters of rich family friends and the convenience of government jets, he seems more prone to falling into the larger potholes. One of the first to be tripped up, he has fallen into one that could require Quebec’s giant engineering firm of SNC-Lavalin to repair.

It really makes us all wonder at the seeming inability of the prime minister and his wunderkinds of the PMO to handle this current tempest with his former justice minister and, more recently, former veterans’ minister. To stretch the problem this long and to keep feeding us piecemeal snippets of information about the debacle does not seem appropriate to 2019.

The good news/bad news yesterday was the resignation of the prime minister’s principal secretary Gerald Butts. He and the prime minister think alike. They both lack some basic political instincts. Neither understood that the win in 2015 was not theirs. It was a gift from an used up Stephen Harper. Measure Butts’ replacement by his or her political smarts. That is what is needed.

But where is the Scarecrow (Jagmeet Singh)? The poor chap is in the midst of a life and death struggle to take a seat in the House of Commons. He is far from his home grounds of Brampton and at a complete loss to tell you how he is doing. The liberals might as well give him the bum’s rush because the NDP caucus in Ottawa will demand his resignation as leader if he loses in Burnaby South. Oh well, February 25 will tell the tale.

But it is the Tin Woodman (Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer) who is the enigma, who can benefit the most from the confusion of the others. He is but a buffer for the parochial concerns of his friends, Doug Ford in Ontario and Jason Kenney in Alberta. Provided, of course, Jason can defeat ‘Rachel Notley’s party’ in the spring elections in Alberta.

What we re sensing in these early stages is anger and annoyance with all political parties. The Cowardly Lion needs more than to be brave. He needs to learn to be a leader. The Tin Woodman needs more than a heart. He needs to learn to connect with people and offer positive directions.  And the Scarecrow needs more than brains. He needs to realize that his politics have to stand apart from his religion.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Chuckles’ checks campaign conditions.

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

With the new democratic leader Jagmeet Singh tied up in a do-or-die by-election in Vancouver and the prime minister under steady fire on the SNC-Lavalin debacle, the conservative leader is out testing fault-lines for the coming election in the Fall. While Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer is not particularly glib, he seems to have hired some better writers.

In a test flight of fancy in Fredericton the other night, he got off the line that a liberal carbon tax is “a tax on commuters and a free pass for polluters.” For pure, lyrical political B.S., you have to put a mark on the wall for ‘Chuckles’ on that one.

The liberal plan, as this writer understands it, is that the federal government is collecting money from people who make carbon producing products such as gas for your automobile and they will give you a credit on your income tax for your share of this bonanza. Of course, Imperial Oil et al will promptly charge the bill from the government to you at the gas pump. If you are lucky, the government gives you your money back.

This money that has gone on the merry-go-round of carbon tax to taxpayers’ dividend will also improve the volumes and velocity of the money supply. Economists like to analyze things like that.

Mind you, ‘Chuckles’ says that job number one, if he ends up in the prime minister’s office, is to cancel such carbon pricing. For some reason, he thinks it is an imposition on “hard-working families.”

It was at this point that he gave a shout-out to New Brunswick’s new conservative premier Blaine Higgs, who was in the audience. He welcomed the premier to the good fight against carbon taxes.

‘Chuckles’ also tried a few lines on Trudeau and the new NAFTA. Other than failing the dairy farmers, it was not all that clear what he was complaining about. He needs to work on that one. Maybe one of his aides could read both versions for him and tell him what has changed.

It was a good start for ‘Chuckles’ in New Brunswick. He has no MPs from the province in his caucus and prospects are not that great for this Fall. He started there because he needs the practice.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The snake to the right.

Monday, February 11th, 2019

There are times when we have compared politics to the game of Snakes and Ladders. The political edition is deadlier than the children’s game you remember. Just ask former liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould about the ride when you slide down one of those snakes?

But right now, we are looking to the right of the game board where former conservative MP Maxime Bernier is trying to get into the game. To the consternation of conservative leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer, Bernier is sucking the crazies from the conservative play list. The alt-right in Canada have been looking for a political home. They are not among your more lovable next-door neighbours but they do get out to vote.

Bernier might deny that he wants their vote but it was his obvious starting point when he blew off the foolishness of supporting ‘Chuckles’ as conservative leader. His People’s Party of Canada has to be built from the extremist libertarians, neo-Nazis, bigots, white supremist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-multicultural dissidents. If Donald Trump can put together a winning coalition among similar such groups in the United States of America, Maxime Bernier figures he can do it in Canada.

Mind you, Bernier is a product of the fading bigotry and tribalism that is the last stronghold of the Catholic Church and the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society in Quebec. The occasional pseudo nationalist outburst in the West is just a reaction to the parochial nature of disagreements with Ottawa over the years, promoted by mean and small-minded western politicians.

But it is in Quebec and the West where the core of Bernier’s party is being built. It is amusing to watch ‘Chuckles’ gnash his teeth over it. It is not the seats in parliament that Bernier might win, but the seats in parliament that Bernier can keep the conservatives from winning, that is concerning for ‘Chuckles’ and his conservatives.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Out in the open with ‘Chuckles’ Scheer.

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

It’s time. Canada’s conservatives can no longer keep their leader a secret. Bloggers and broadcasters, reporters and speech writers are all digging into his history to find something to say about MP Andrew Scheer. He has been hiding in plain sight in Ottawa for the past year and a half. It is just that by keeping him secret, the Tory fund raisers brought in twice as much as the liberal party last year.

‘Chuckles,’ as we like to call him, is really the Tin Woodman who will be travelling down the Yellow Brick Road to the October 21 election this year. And, as you probably know, the Tin Woodman wants the Wizard of Oz to provide him with a heart. He wants to be seen as aware and caring.

The problem is that Chuckles is an uninspiring, uninteresting and boring western conservative.

Chuckles is also an excellent example of the last-man-standing of preferential balloting. In that type of voting, the voters drill down on the ballot to effectively select the least obnoxious of the candidates. It took 13 ballots in the conservative party counting to find that Chuckles was the least obnoxious of the 13 conservative party candidates. He finally got 51 per cent of the votes, narrowly beating out fellow Tory MP Maxime Bernier who had 49 per cent.

Chuckles’ claim to fame in the conservative party is his longevity as a Saskatchewan MP and serving as the tame Speaker in the House of Commons for the last term of the Harper government. That was when the conservative government had a majority and passed most of its undemocratic legislation. Chuckles was not known for his fairness while wearing the black robes of Speaker.

Chuckles ran a desultory campaign for the conservative leadership under the slogan “Real conservative, Real leader.” He was considered a front runner because of the 32 members of the conservative caucus who supported his campaign. His continued allegiance to prior party leader Stephen Harper has earned him the sobriquet, ‘Stephen Harper Lite.’

And to add to that is to imagine someone even more boring than former PM Stephen Harper.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Potholes on the Yellow Brick Road.

Monday, January 28th, 2019

While the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion are still planning their trip with Dorothy to the Emerald City and the October election in Canada, it is best to check for potholes. Peering into one of these potholes the other day, I saw Canada’s former ambassador to China sitting in it and wondering how he got there.

This is a serious hazard for the Cowardly Lion. It took Justin Trudeau almost a week to fire our politico-cum-ambassador. The arguments must have raged at the Prime Minister’s Office but it took a second attempt to put foot in mouth that got McCallum bounced. And nobody ever said McCallum was wrong—wrong to tell the truth, maybe.

It is against this news background that author Jonathan Manthorpe is making hay selling his new book on China, Claws of the Panda. I have not read it yet but I am still waiting for Jon to autograph my copy of his first book, The Power and the Tories about the Bill Davis government in Ontario.

Interestingly, while Jon was in China trying to fathom the depth of the country’s communist government, I was watching Beijing extend its influence into Canadian-Chinese news media. I had the impression that those people understood more about the future of newspaper publishing than Conrad Black, Paul Godfrey and Torstar’s John Honderich, combined.

My best source of information at the time were the many delegations from Beijing that I took on tours and entertained for a computer company. They usually assumed I was a fellow technologist and they always enjoyed their visit. It earned me many invitations from other high level visits from Beijing.

But it is Hauwei’s inscrutable technologies and the extradition of Hauwei executive Meng Wanzhou affair that has the Canadian public wondering. First of all, explaining 5G networks is a tough job and how this technology can give Hauwei access to state secrets is not an easy subject for politicians to digest.

But then you also need to understand Canada’s relationship in the Five Eyes which allows us to listen in on everybody else. Which begs the question, how the hell is any of this explained to a dolt such as Donald Trump? And that clown has someone with all the nuclear codes sitting outside his door?

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The dynamics are different.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

When talking about dynamics in politics, we are talking about what will influence the political outcome. And in looking at the upcoming by-elections in three federal electoral districts on February 25, we have to deal with each district as a separate entity.

Reading the tea leaves for the three by-elections is especially important because these will be the last federal by-elections before the general election scheduled for October, this year.

The complexity starts in Burnaby South. The electoral district in Vancouver, B.C. was previously held by Kennedy Stewart of the NDP. Mr. Stewart resigned to run successfully as an independent candidate for Vancouver mayor. He strongly opposes having the Trans Mountain pipeline expanded and coming through the city to transfer diluted bitumen from the Athabasca and Cold Lake tar sands to ocean tankers in Burrard Inlet.

Despite the resignation of the initial liberal candidate, her replacement is a former Speaker of the B.C. Legislature, also of Chinese heritage. With 38 per cent of the district population of Chinese descent, he has the same base as the previous candidate.

If the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh can get out the word forcefully that he opposes the Trans Mountain, he will likely get a lot of help in getting out his vote. Mind you he will have the prime minister and lots of cabinet ministers in the riding smothering the voters with kindness.

Pipelines are of nowhere near the importance in Montreal’s Outremont electoral district. The NDP consider this riding important in that it was former NDP leader Tom Mulcair’s seat. It is also a must-win seat in October for the liberals if they are to hold their majority in parliament.

The third by-election is in Ontario’s York-Simcoe electoral district. The fiefdom of federal conservative Peter Van Loan for the past 14 years, York-Simcoe was a cake-walk for conservative Caroline Mulroney in the recent provincial election. The conservatives could be too confident.

Like all by-elections, the key in all three districts is identifying your voters and getting them out to vote. To do that in February takes far more volunteers than the areas can produce. They will need help from other electoral districts. In by-elections, it is the party with the best ground game that wins.

If the liberals win none of the by-elections, they are in trouble.

If the liberals win just one of the by-elections, it will mean the October election will be hard fought.

If the liberals win two of the by-elections, it means the status quo in October.

And if the liberals win all three of the by-elections, the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team is also likely to win the Stanley Cup.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Jason Kenney would rather fight.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

The last thing Canada needs is another provincial leader spoiling for a fight. Alberta opposition leader Jason Kenney was on Global Television’s West Block last Sunday laying out his battle plan and various lies for his anti-Trudeau, Anti-Quebec and anti-British Columbia campaign. This is, of course, provided his reconstructed conservatives win the Alberta election, expected in May.

Kenny wants to join Doug Ford of Ontario, Scott Moe of Saskatchewan and Andrew Scheer leader of the federal conservatives in tearing into the Trudeau liberals in the federal election expected in October. If Mr. Moe, Mr. Ford and Mr. Kenney were honest about it, you would expect the gentlemen to be resigning their provincial jobs and finding an electoral district that might have them as the conservative candidate. There is no doubt but that Mr. Scheer will need all the help he can get.

But for the three provincial gentlemen to interfere in the federal game with slander, false news and hyperbole from the sidelines is bad politics and a betrayal of the people they purport to represent.

First of all, the liberal government has made it clear that the carbon pricing to be charged on major polluters selling fossil fuels in their many forms, will be refunded to Canadian taxpayers in their taxes. The objective is to show people the real price of these fuels and the need to fight global warming. Mr. Scheer and his chorus can keep denying global warming and the increasing danger to our planet and they might eventually join the fight, but by then, hell will likely be frozen over.

But that nasty bastard Kenney has been lying to people since he was in college in San Francisco telling Catholic co-eds that they could not learn about abortion. He certainly does not admit to the highly polluting problems with the products of the Alberta tar sands. He resents that the prime minister bought the Trans-Mountain pipeline to help solve the problems for Alberta and says that the PM is now blocking the pipeline.

The problems with the Trans-Mountain pipeline are far more serious than the whims of the prime minister. The problems have far more to do with the sloppy job the Calgary-based National Energy Board (NEB) used to do on pipelines for Alberta. The NEB is no longer a lap dog for the oil industry.

And what is particularly outrageous is Kenney blaming Quebec for blocking the Energy East pipeline through that province. The proposal was nothing but a tissue of lies for the tar sands people and it was legitimately stopped. Kenney wants Albertans to hate Quebec.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“We’re off to see the Wizard”

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Canadians will face many adventures as they whistle their way down the Yellow Brick Road in 2019. They can travel hand in paw with Dorothy, Toto and their companions. It will not be the predictable adventures with witches and wizards as in L Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The first problem is that not all Canadians are pleased with the choice between Scarecrow – Jagmeet Singh, Tin Woodman – Andrew Scheer and Cowardly Lion – Justin Trudeau. Many voters want change for the sake of change. They might not relish the turmoil that attitude can bring but they will take their chances.

After all, Jagmeet Singh is a leader without a united party or any real policies or commitments behind him. He took the leadership by the swamping of his party’s memberships in Ontario and B.C.  with his co-religionists. His risk is that few Canadians understand his religion and it makes him different. He is the scarecrow who scares birds and voters.

Conservative voters might feel a tin woodsman such as Andrew Scheer will bore more voters than he can win over. And a cowardly lion, despite his supposed liberalism, will likely have less appeal than in 2015. Both are conflicted on the environment and on pipelines. There are no more sunny days.

Maybe this is the year for one of the new parties. It happened in Quebec in 2018. And Doug Ford went from former city councillor to premier in Ontario in less than six months last year. Can we expect some similar surprises are in store for us in 2019?

Who knows? Jason Kenny might not be able to oust Rachel Notley in Alberta and might try for a triumphant return to Ottawa.

But what about all those social conservative diehards who supported Quebec MP Maxime Bernier in the last conservative leadership? Is his new People’s Party of Canada to be ignored?

And what about everyone’s perennial favourite with her caucus of one, Elizabeth May? Could she gather four or five Green MPs to help her?

Canadians will have to wait until October this year for the answers.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Down the Yellow Brick Road in 2019.

Friday, December 28th, 2018

We have a long journey before we arrive at the Land of Oz. We have much to ask of just one small wizard. When L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (published in 1900), he had no idea how appropriate it is to the Canadian election slated for October 2019.

Canadians will have Dorothy and Toto to lead the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion in their journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the Land of Oz. You might know them by other names but the Scarecrow is new democratic leader Jagmeet Singh, the Tin Woodman is conservative leader Andrew Scheer and the Cowardly Lion is liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau.

At the Land of Oz, they hope to ask the Wizard to send Dorothy and Toto back home to Kansas, to provide Jagmeet Singh with ‘bran-new’ brains, Andrew Scheer with a ’heart’ and the prime minister with a potion of ‘courage.’

There is no question but Jagmeet Singh needs additional brains to reconsider his foolish way of winning the leadership of his party. He has proved that the Sikh community in Canada will support him but he has a long way to go to convince the rest of Canada to follow him.

Andrew Scheer needs to understand that conservatism can have a ‘heart.’ He tries so hard to show conservatives that he is on their side that he fails to lead and to show them that conservatism can also have the empathy that makes for effective leadership.

And then there is the prime minister who only needs the courage to do the job even better than the way his father did it. Justin Trudeau has to have the courage to stand up to world leaders and represent Canada as its people deserve to be represented. Visits to foreign lands are not a dress-up event but an important opportunity to carry Canada’s messages of world peace, of environmental concern and of acceptance of all peoples.

In a country yearning for leadership, all political parties are failing us if they do not see where we want them to lead. We are not a country of ideologues but a country of caring. We have family ties around the world and we fail those peoples if we do not show the world leadership of which our country is capable.

We will see how our politicians handle themselves in the coming year as we travel with them down the Yellow Brick Road.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

All are visitors at Stornoway.

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Welcome to Stornoway. May your visit here be brief. Think of it as a stopover on the road to success or on the road to oblivion. It is a 34-room house built in the colonial revival style in 1913/14 in Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Park area. Stornoway is owned by the Crown and is designated as the official residence of the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in the House of Commons.

It is considered second prize.

The current occupants of Stornoway are Andrew Scheer M.P. from Saskatchewan, his wife and family. He won the right to live there when he won a strangely orchestrated conservative party leadership contest against 13 opponents. The voting was by a preferential ballot that, in effect, worked down to the lowest common denominator. Scheer won on the 13th counting of the ballots by 50.95 per cent. And that is only one of the reasons that we call him ‘Chuckles.’

The only thing that ‘Chuckles’ is noted for is that he was Stephen Harper’s Speaker of the House of Commons for the last term of the Harper conservatives. His campaign slogan in the leadership contest was “Real Conservative, Real Leader.” He has yet to prove that second part. He is not an inspiring orator. He does not suggest creative solutions. He is a boring, western conservative.

But one thing Chuckles has proved as leader of the opposition is that he can be a nag. Many Canadians see him on television clips from question period in the House of Commons. All he is doing is nagging the government. There are also many Canadians who would not know him if they tripped over him.

But they will come to know him in the coming year. This will be the time that he leads his conservatives into the breach. He will make politician’s promises, smile for the videographers and photographers, kiss babies and promise Canadians a conservative nirvana.

Chuckles will not be chuckling too much about playing second fiddle next year to two provincial politicians in Ontario and Alberta. At best, Chuckles is expected the retain his lease on Stornoway.

We encourage readers to stay tuned.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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