Posts Tagged ‘Bloc Quebecois’

Please Justin, get a haircut.

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

We hear through the grapevine that Justin Trudeau and his liberals are thinking election. Since I am supposed to have an opinion on this proposal, I will need to reach deep into my conscience to see if I could support such foolishness at this time.

The one thing that is clear to me is that Justin Trudeau needs tonsorial intervention. A decent haircut and the removal of that facial hair would be a good beginning. I was practically sitting on my barber’s stoop yesterday when she re-opened her business. Let me assure you, it felt wonderful. Life is lighter when the pigeons no longer look at your head with thoughts of nesting.

But now to the question at hand. Should there be a snap election during a pandemic?

The answer is an unequivocal: No. I might be a liberal but that does not require me to approve of stupidity.

It hardly makes sense to call an election as the major opposition party (that actually had the largest vote in the last election) wastes its time in a leadership contest to go nowhere. It hardly matters who wins in the conservative race. The contestants are all losers.

The guys who really need a new leader are the new democrats. If they are too slow to recognize their leadership problem, they deserve the lack of respect they get.

The only party that has really gained ground in Ottawa is the Bloc Québécois. Blanchet and his team are having far too much fun with their new found power to want an election.

But you cannot blame the conservatives and new democrats for being annoyed with Trudeau’s popping in and out of the cuckoo clock at Rideau Cottage. Nor can you deny the need for speed in rescuing Canadians from the serious financial impacts of the pandemic. That does not mean that some of these financial rescue programs do not need a serious second look and adjustments. The opposition are entitled to their views and their criticisms. Justin needs to continue playing nice.

-30-

Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Who Knew?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Politics can be full of strange happenings. Canada had an election seven months ago. The guy who was prime minister is still prime minister and doing very well, thank you. He lost 20 members of his party caucus and his party came second in popular vote. You would think he would have something about which he might be embarrassed.

But no. It was the poor schmuck whose party won the popular vote and who led an additional 26 members of his party to Ottawa, who saw the handwriting on the wall. Party leader Andrew Scheer resigned before the party took a vote to tell him to get lost. Scheer resigned as conservative party leader and, it turns out, few want the job.

And yet there were other strange things that happened last October. The guy who more than doubled his number of MPs in the house of commons was the leader of the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc vote alone, handled carefully, could keep the liberals in power for the full four years of this parliament.

The guy who lost the most in the election was the leader of the new democratic party. Jagmeet Singh dropped 15 members of his caucus and did not seem to even consider it a bad-hair day. What? Him resign? I guess nobody in his party thought of it.

The person who really won big was green party leader, Elizabeth May. She not only won her own seat but she doubled the size of her caucus. She went from one MP to two. With this accomplishment under her belt, May promptly resigned as leader. She had had enough. She might have been the only smart party leader left.

I would dearly love to report that peace, order and good government prevailed after the election. And then along came a novel coronavirus pandemic and everything went to Hell. I am sitting here in my den, drinking my morning coffee, doing nothing, looking out at the world and wondering what I will feel like writing about tomorrow?

-30-

Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

In the job nobody wanted.

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Watching the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson trying to interview Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, on Sunday caused mixed emotions. Here is the guy who took on the job for the Bloc that nobody else wanted and he is running rings around the Global Television interviewer. And he is just as difficult to pin down in English as he is in French.

The other day, in a speech in Calgary, premier Jason Kenney of Alberta said that Blanchet needs to choose a lane. The inference was that Blanchet was trying to drive in two of the freeway lanes at the same time. He wanted to have things both ways.

Blanchet, in turn, ridiculed Kenney for claiming that the Bloc wanted the financial benefits of Alberta’s oil and gas production but was barring the passage of pipelines through Quebec. He pointed out that Line 9 of Enbridge is already approved to be reversed and deliver diluted bitumen to Quebec. His complaint was that the Energy East pipeline, which the péquiste opposed, was designed to run through Quebec to Saint John, New Brunswick. There, the diluted bitumen was to be shipped by the Irving interests to European destinations. Blanchet saw no value to Quebec in that.

Jason Kenney is equally vociferous when it comes to getting advice from Quebec. He accuses Quebec of taking equalization payments from Alberta’s oil and gas resources and not giving any support in return. Blanchet, in turn, explains that Quebec has never got any equalization payments from Alberta.

But sitting in the middle of an argument such as this was not a spot Mercedes Stephenson considered comfortable. She seemed to be decidedly uncomfortable throughout the interview.

After all, what could she say, when Blanchet stated that there would never have been an original Alberta oil boom without the early financial support from Quebec? That was not going to be proved one way or the other in a half-hour television news program.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

On the home straight.

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

We are in the final week and nobody really knows how this election will play out. We tend to confuse what we hope will happen with what is really happening. The pollsters seemed locked in secondary races and are ignoring the real one.

Maybe green leader Elizabeth May is the only realist. She admits to the media that she is not running to be prime minister. She does have images of being the balance of power dancing in her head but the pollsters are even pooh-poohing that idea.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is the least likely to achieve. Instead of dealing with the realities of being a third party, he has delusions of the glories of the prime minister’s office. His princess is going to be terribly disappointed with the results. The reality for Singh next week will be the heavy loss of Quebec seats for the socialists. And there is no way those losses can be recovered with a few possible gains in B.C.

But, in the same way, the higher poll figures in Quebec for the Bloc Québécois do not seem realistic. I agree that these voters are telling the pollsters that they are inclined to vote for the Bloc in rejection of the Tories. I also think many Quebecers are up to their usual tricks on the pollsters. There is a possibility that more than a few of those reported Bloc votes are really parked votes that the voters are embarrassed to admit are going to the liberals.

What worries me the most is the deteriorated state of organization in Ontario liberal riding associations that are not running an incumbent. If the effectiveness of the Tory ground game when Doug Ford had his romp to power provincially, is even half as good this year, it will be more than the liberals will be able to match.

And it should be obvious by now that the conservative weakness this year has not been Doug Ford but Andrew Scheer. Chuckles is no leader or debater or politician and he was lame when on the defensive. Even his attacks on Trudeau often come across as hollow and rote. He is not credible as a leader.

I think the forecasts in our Morning Line are still valid. We will be putting it all together next week. We live in interesting times.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

TVA provides a forum for losers.

Friday, October 4th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Why listen to Bernier?

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Chantal Hébert made an interesting case the other day. She wrote in the Toronto Star that Maxime Bernier of our new People’s Party of Canada should be allowed to be part of the leader debates for the October 21 election. Despite it being doubtful that Bernier will retain his own parliamentary seat for Beauce in the election, the columnist thinks he has a contribution to make.

Hébert makes her case by complaining that people want to exclude Bernier because of his party’s policies. (The new democrats have complained that the PPC promotes “hateful and intolerant ideas.”) She notes that similar complaints were made about the Bloc Québécois and the Reform Party when they first appeared on the electoral scene.

She argues that the form of populism Bernier espouses has already taken root in the United States and is rampant throughout western Europe. She sees no reason to sweep this truth under the rug. She would prefer to address it head-on.

The only problem with her viewpoint is that time on national television is an expensive commodity and these arguments would be better handled in high school civics classes. Teaching tolerance and open-mindedness is not something you can convince people of in the hard pace of a political debate. And definitely not coming into the wind-up of a national election.

My one serious argument is that reality is there are currently 16 federally registered political parties in Canada and if they all were give access to the debate, it would be cumbersome and a frankly boring affair. It is bad enough that we will have five party leaders representing their respective parties in the two debates. It means that politeness will become more important than spontaneity and there can be little interaction between the leaders.

I think voters learn more about these so-called leaders when the debate is open and honest. They need to address each other and call out their dishonesties. The moderator is not there to referee but to ensure each is heard.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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