Posts Tagged ‘Barrie’

Teaching our youth to hate.

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Conservative MP John Brassard from Barrie-Innisfil has a problem. He thinks it is alright to teach our youth to hate and to work against our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The people in his electoral district might like to ask him about this before mistakenly re-electing him next year.

John Brassard used to be a fireman, not a lawyer nor any kind of expert on Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He has a right to his opinion on the subject of abortions, as we all do. What we do not have is the right to confront women who might be seeking an abortion and to harass them. Neither should our youth be paid with government money to distribute hate literature in the form of purported pictures of aborted human embryos.

It seems John Brassard is objecting to the large number of faith-based organizations that are being refused funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program. As I understand it, the government wants an attestation from these organizations that they will respect the reproductive rights of Canadians as per Canadian law. If they are not willing to promise not to use government funds to work against the legal rights of Canadians, they will not be given government funds.

John Brassard says this is in conflict with the Canadian Charter rights of Rights and Freedoms. Mr. Brassard has it backwards. The charter protects his co-religionists in their right to their beliefs. The only thing they are being asked is for them to respect the rights of others.

He is adding further insult to this situation by suggesting that the attestation being asked for is in effect the Liberal party’s position. He should check the various votes in the House of Commons for years back and he will find our present reproductive rights in this country are there because of the votes of fair-minded people of all parties, who helped make Canada a more liveable and open society, where everyone’s rights are respected.

If Mr. Brassard was running next year in my electoral district, I would make it a personal project to help ensure that he and his mean-spirited political attitude are defeated.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The redemption of Patrick Brown?

Monday, March 19th, 2018

How do you like those phone calls you get from automated polling systems? The worst of them are the ones that want you to press one if you intend to vote conservative and two if liberal. I always have lots of fun with them by pressing numbers at random.

But I had to pause and think about a series of those calls last week. After two calls on subsequent evenings, I thought it might be the local mayor testing the waters for his political future. I sent him an e-mail kidding him about the surveys and suggesting that his party needs him at Queen’s Park.

But when the third automated polling call came that evening, I had an even better idea. What if it is former conservative leader Patrick Brown checking out his options? He has been told that he is not getting a pass from the conservatives to run for them in my electoral district of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. The only path for redemption left for him would be the mayor’s chair in Barrie.

He could hardly come back as a councillor. That was where he started 14 years ago. He did not seem to like practicing law or whatever he was doing after finally passing bar admission. He only stayed a councillor until, on a second try, he finally won a federal seat for the conservatives.

The mayoralty could be the ideal route back. He can hardly disprove somehow that he prefers younger girls. From now on he should solemnly promise to check their driver’s licences before inviting any of them to his Shanty Bay home to admire his hockey memorabilia.

And he never has been mayor of Barrie. The job pays well. It is an easy job. You get your picture in the local media all the time. You get to cut a lot of ribbons and greet visiting dignitaries. It is not as though you are expected to really run things. The toughest part of the job is getting the ward councillors to maintain some decorum at open council meetings.

And it would free up the incumbent mayor to do something useful. Having a guy who graduated from the London School of Economics worrying about the high householder taxes in Barrie is a terrible waste of talent. The city staff will continue making all the decisions anyway. The mayor is just for show.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The indignities of the indigenous?

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

It is important that we respect Canada’s aboriginal peoples but calling them ‘indigenous’ is basically stupid. Your Oxford dictionary will tell you that ‘indigenous’ means ‘produced naturally in a region.’ Canada’s aboriginal peoples have roots in Asia and were nomadic to the point of their early ancestors crossing ice bridges to North America.

All this comment is because of the outrageous costs to Barrie taxpayers inflicted by a group calling themselves the Ontario Coalition of Indigenous Peoples. This is a spurious action and it might be fair to ask why the city’s lawyers have not been able to get the action dismissed.

The fiasco started just 200 to 300 years ago when nomadic Indian tribes would camp during the summer months at the south-west corner of what became known as Kempenfelt Bay. Later the area became Allandale Village and even later was absorbed into the City of Barrie.

The Indians would camp, fish and smoke some of their catch and enjoy the bounty of the area for a couple months maybe. During that time, the aboriginal people would give birth, live and die. Decisions about where to bury granny were made arbitrarily as specified burial grounds were for civilization. And yes, archeologists might naturally find some of granny’s bones in the area.

But those few bones hardly justify the waste of millions of dollars in development in this part of Barrie. There is no formal cemetery or burial ground under the empty and unused Allandale train station—that was painstakingly restored at outrageous cost by a spendthrift city council.

Barrie does not even use the fenced off train station as a train station. It regularly brings GO trains and busses into the area but the sale of tickets is automated. There is nobody but other travellers to provide information. There are no waiting rooms and no washrooms. It is probably the most ill-equipped train station in Ontario. They cannot even dig a hole for a privy!

But this person who works for the Ontario Association of Indigenous (sic) Peoples is preparing to do a Stage 4 archeological assessment (under the restored train station) this coming summer. It is obvious that even he does not really believe that this further digging will produce very much. You can almost see him smirking when demanding that Barrie City Council give the entire site to his organization. I somehow wonder if we would ever be quite that generous?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

First: Forget the pollsters.

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

If there was one piece of information that helps us handle the current political situation in Ontario, it is the knowledge that the pollsters cannot cope with turmoil. Even if some of your best friends forever are pollsters, there are times when their forecasts must be ignored. It is in this period before an election that they become skittish and excited and their figures become wildly erratic.

Add to that the ongoing self-immolation of the pollsters’ preference-for-change party and they are beside themselves on their therapist’s couch.

And, admittedly, the Ontario conservatives have created a conundrum. Nobody expected the potential ruling party to self-destruct five months before the provincial election. Their attempt at changing leaders has been sloppy.

The Romans at least killed Julius Caesar. They did not leave him writhing and twisting in the winds of winter for all to see and mock.

And conservative guru Jaime Watt admits that the Albany Club decision to let Patrick Brown run to succeed himself was the only right decision. And yet, he then criticizes Brown for doing it!

We can all understand that Brown willfully destroyed himself in the attempt to fight off the challengers. Watt even gave credence to the piling on of specious charges seeking to further defame the fallen conservative leader.

But then Watt supplied his own scenario to further the possible redemption of Brown. He told us that Brown is ‘well liked’ in Barrie. As someone who lives in the middle of what was to be Brown’s new electoral district, I can factually advise you that there are also many people who despise Mr. Brown who will be sure to vote here.

To tell us that Brown’s support by conservative Paul Godfrey’s National Post and social media channels were helpful, you can only consider the suggestion as a weak attempt at political humour.

We realize that Brown did nothing wrong (according to CTV News) other than demonstrate his terrible lack of common sense, his inability to lead, his unattractiveness for women, his emotional state and his inability to control himself. Regret cannot cure those problems. He should have been out of politics many years ago. Let us hope we will not have Patrick Brown to kick around any more.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Conservative Cauldron Continues.

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

‘Tis the time of the witches. Their cauldron continues to boil and bubble. They use paddles to stir their daily trouble. Their spirit has again cursed Barrie’s Patrick Brown. Brown is down, Down for the count? We frown.

Did somebody do the mathematics? Did the ethics commissioner ask the wrong question? Are the ‘enquiring minds’ of the Ontario provincial police making enquiries? Did the loose cannon, Randy Hillier MPP accidently hit a target? Among the tears of Barrie voters, there is many a smile this morning.

But all bets are off. Recomputing the Tory race on a daily basis is an impossible task. A morning line is simply that. It hardly predicts the future. I remember one time doping out the Breeders Stakes and finding the perfect horse. That horse was going to make me rich. It went eagerly into the gate and took off in the pack. It showed great form for about 20 metres and then dropped dead. My fortune was hauled off the track in a truck.

We knew that Brown was a loser. We knew that he could beat Tanya Granic Allen. That was to be his contribution. There was a coin toss over Brown and Ford. We figured that more Tories were mad at the elites than gave a damn about Brown and gave the edge to Ford.

But you can never trust a preferential ballot. How do you think the federal Conservatives ended up with ‘Chuckles’ Scheer? And what helped make it happen was a preferential ballot. I have always maintained that the preferential ballot is a way for losers to be the choosers. And they keep on showing that I am right.

Mind you, giving every electoral district the same weight in the voting is also lunacy. Electoral districts are not created equal. The original concept of a riding was the distance a man on horse could travel in one day. It had little to do with the number of voters.

It is like the foolishly corrupted system of the electoral college in the United States. There were three million more Americans who wanted Clinton as president but the electoral college Trumped them.

The only good news for the Ontario Tories is that Patrick Brown will not be there to kick around. This is a race for the distaff.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Terminating the Tory Turmoil.

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Has peace been restored? Has the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario come back to its senses?

There was a wonderful shot on Global Television last night of a lone television reporter standing vigil on King Street in front of the Albany Club in Toronto. The sheen of that heavy wooden door has guarded the club and conservative secrets for some 125 years. It is from this club that all decisions of the Ontario Conservatives are believed to be made.

And it was from the Albany Club that we found out that Patrick Brown could run to replace himself as conservative leader. Mind you, why not? It is obvious to any savvy politico that Patrick Brown cannot win.

The situation was out of control. Temporary caucus leader Vic Fedeli had willfully ejected Patrick Brown from the conservative caucus at Queen’s Park on the flimsiest of grounds. He did not want Brown to run in Barrie–Springwater—Oro-Medonte. He said he had not been vetted!

The gal who might be the wicked witch of the north who is running for leader on behalf of the religious conservatives: nobody bothered to vet her!

And did anyone think to vet Doug Ford? That guy never read the rules for candidates for the leadership and says he is running against those Albany Club elites.

But the Tory caucus’ loose cannon, Randy Hillier, has jumped into the various arguments with his irrational charges. Many thought Randy was going to run for the Ontario Landowners’ new political party.

And who is surprised that Patrick Brown has bought himself a little get-away place in Shanty Bay (where Barrie’s rich live) for just $2.3 million? (It might cost $8 million in Toronto.)

Brown can come up with a $600,000 down payment on that shanty but it takes him four weeks to find a woman who will tell the media she is his girl friend and that he is a swell guy. Those of us in Barrie who know Brown by sight have never seen him with the same woman for more than ten minutes. They leave.

You do have to wonder at the reputed price offered for Brown’s share of Hooligans bar. That $375,000 offer seems a little excessive but then I have no idea what 200,000 Aeroplan miles are worth. All I know is that after close to a decade going back and forth to Ottawa and all those trips the taxpayers paid to India, he probably has lots of Aeroplan miles to redeem.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Out of the limelight for Patrick Brown.

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Have you heard that old politicos just fade away? Younger ones are noisier. For example, take Barrie’s favourite son, Patrick Brown. If you hitch your horse in front of any of the many saloons on Barrie’s main street, you are welcome inside but you best not say too loudly that Patrick Brown is a putz. There is some of misplaced loyalty here about.

But, Patrick Brown needs to look for a new way to make a living. You have to realize that a guy like Brown has nowhere near the savior faire of TV anchor Steve Paikin. There are venturesome ladies who might like to cut a notch in their bedpost for a TV personality such as Paikin. And if he really did invite (in a gentlemanly manner, no doubt) publicity-hungry Sarah Thomson to enjoy some casual sex with him, she should have been flattered. All she needed to say was a polite ’yes, please’ or ‘no, thank you.’

Brown is an entirely different matter. This is a guy who appears to be awkward and immature with women. He is no ‘playboy.’ No doubt he could possibly achieve some success with understanding women in their 30s. Yet, he goes after the much younger who are initially attracted to his political position but then find he has nothing of interest to talk about.

There is certainly nothing for those young ladies to complain about to CTV. If they were invited to Brown’s home after drinking too much and accepted, did they think he was looking forward to a spritely game of Monopoly? In both cases, they said they lost interest and asked to be taken home. He did. What is the problem? Is CTV complaining about his bad judgement or bad politics?

Brown ended up with three problems. First he was too upset to listen to his staff. He was paying them for advice and he was stupid not to listen to them. Being upset on camera is not a sympathetic position. It is too much like regretting being caught.

The second problem for Brown was that in his absence from Queen’s Park, the knives came out. Conservative MPPs could now say what they really thought of Brown.  They do not like him.

The third problem is that he will never get elected in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, unless the Liberals run someone as immature against him.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Brown’s political days are done.

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

When your entire life is politics, the end of your run can be a tragedy. Like the marathon runner, he is, he felt the eagerness for the starter’s gun and the highs of the final stretch. For the rest of his life, Barrie’s Patrick Brown can only say, ‘If only…”

No, there are no regrets for him. He knew the chances he took. He was not a person who attracted women. Making sexual advances on a person who works for you is reprehensible. There is no excuse.

What is also of concern is the cavalier way Patrick Brown could use his position as a Member of Parliament. There have been questions for years now about his involvement with charities such as a hockey event for the Barrie hospital. The claim that one of his accuser’s makes that he hired her to work on this charity event, pressed her to travel with him on his frequent trips to India and gave her a raise after making sexual advances is a sordid story.

Patrick Brown was a sorry sight at the Queen’s Park news conference on Wednesday. He called it to deny the allegations made by CTV News. Emotions on edge, he denied everything. If he had listened to any of his advisers, that would have been a very different event. It is an extremely difficult situation for anyone to handle and he blew it. Even if all the accusers would recant, he cannot recover from those few moments.

Patrick Brown is finished in politics.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Brown plays bad with the big kids.

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

The first time I met Barrie, Ontario politician Patrick Brown, I wondered what this miserable person was doing in politics? He has no personality. He has little grasp of election issues. What I soon learned was that he is a gamer. And his game is politics. He plays the game of politics as a video gamer would use a PlayStation 2. It is his strength and it is his weakness. The true test of his skills will be on June 7, 2018—the coming provincial general election.

In watching Brown through five election situations over the years, I can report that he tends to push the envelope on what is legal. He obeys the rules—when he has to. I do not think some of his financial reports to the Returning Officer would bear up well under the scrutiny of a forensic accountant. He is a more effective campaign manager than candidate.

Most of Brown’s opponents admit that he is a good retail politician: he knows how to work the riding. His only problem is that he is not good with people. He is a poor public speaker. He does not have a good grasp of many issues. He has little humour and no empathy.

Since taking a seat in the Legislature of Ontario, he has been a weak Leader of the Opposition. He is no hero to his caucus. Neither the centrists nor the social Conservatives in the caucus trust him. He is telling everyone that he is a pragmatic centrist but nobody knows where he would be if in power.

His most serious problem has been a careless comment to the media that he thought was going to get him coverage. He failed to think through what he was saying. It was a play on words that was the same as saying the Premier was “on trial” in the Sudbury trial of two Liberal apparatchiks. That trial was dismissed by the judge and Brown has failed to apologize for the insult to the premier. He is being sued.

The point is that Patrick Brown is out of his league. I am sure that his family was in despair of him ever passing the Bar Admission for Ontario. He looks like a hick and he is definitely small town. The reason he works so hard at this game of politics is because he is always behind. He has neither the smarts nor the skills.

He broke the rules to become leader of his political party and the party people should have called him on it. It is easy enough to prove. For him to find his way to the Premier’s office would be a disgrace.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

A station ghosts have forgotten.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

As the winds of yet another winter blow through the beautifully restored but empty train station by Kempenfelt Bay, you wonder at the foolishness of Barrie’s city council. In the words of an old television series, they see nothing, they know nothing.

The story of the train station started about 700 years ago when nomadic aboriginals would sometimes camp at the shallows at the south-west corner of Kempenfelt Bay to fish and enjoy the cooling breezes from Lake Simcoe. There might have even been some disputes with other tribes about the right to camp there.

Europeans only started showing up 300 years ago when the area served as a portage point on the way to the head of the lakes. It was about 200 years ago that a village started at the portage on the north side of the bay and a village called Allandale started at the south-west. Trains have been coming to Allandale since 1853.

Today, Allandale is in the centre of the City of Barrie and the train station lands have become the de facto GO Train terminus and bus station. The only problem is that the preserved train station (built in 1905) remains unused. GO Train services are all automated, tickets are in a machine, buses pick up and discharge passengers. The only problem is that nobody knows anything and nobody sees anything. Only ghosts are in residence.

My barber, who has a small shop near the bus entrance, has noticed one problem. People who have to wait for a bus or train have no amenities. There are no snacks or coffee purveyed and there are no washrooms. When in need of a washroom, people sometimes ask her. She does not really have public facilities, but she is not cruel.

When the small business owner asked her local councillor about this problem, he assured her there were facilities. She checked the entire site again and realized that her local councillor did not know squat. So much for him.

When she told me about the problem, I checked with Barrie’s mayor. He acknowledged the problem. But it is Metrolinx’s problem, he told me. They are responsible for the GO Trains, buses and facilities but not the unused train station. It is an historic site, owned by the city. It might be a long time before it is open to the public for any purpose.

It seems nobody is in any rush. With the discovery of some possibly human bone fragments on the site that could be 200 or 700 years old, the Ontario Coalition of Indigenous Peoples (OCIP) has demanded that the land and the station be turned over to them as an aboriginal burial site. Since other local aboriginal tribes and groups seem skeptical of OCIP’s bonafides, there has been no rush for the city to give away a multi-million dollar restored train station and the site.

But nothing more is expected until the Wilfrid Laurier associate professor of Indigenous studies hired by the city gets around to a fourth level study of the site next summer, looking for historical artifacts.

It  seems like a long time to wait for a washroom.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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