Posts Tagged ‘Caroline Mulroney’

Keep your enemies close.

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

Ontario premier Doug Ford has found out that shuffling cabinet members is more difficult than the original creation of the cabinet. He not only has to deal with broken promises and damaged egos but he has to evaluate the anger generated by demotion and the ability of those wounded to get even. It is even more of a problem when the major change really needs to be made at the head of the cabinet table.

This is a game that the Fordster cannot win. For every problem solved, two or three are created. Dumping North Bay’s Vic Fedelli as minister of finance was something akin to pissing off a python. The best-dressed guy in Northern Ontario might have a vicious streak. (Just ask former conservative leader Patrick Brown.)

It is really a question as to who makes the first move to get even. One of the two Lisa’s might be the more dangerous. Lisa MacLeod could be angry as Ford punted her from social services to tourism and sport.

But then, Lisa Thompson was all set to go to war with the teachers’ unions when she was yanked from education and dumped into government and consumer services. It is likely it will take her a while to understand the differences between the two ministries.

But speaking of being sidelined, what do you think of what Doug did to Brian Mulroney’s kid? He took an axe to her dreams of fame and fortune in Canadian politics, in daddy’s footsteps. Mind you, Ford replaced her with a ward healer from Orillia who had been airlifted into Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte by the Ford brain-trust in the election last year. Neither of those failures to launch is ready for the heavy duty of being chief law officer for the Ontario government. Now who is going to keep our Dougie out of the courts of justice?

With seven new faces in the cabinet, Mr. Ford hardly wanted any of the ministers he dumped, turned loose to do him harm. It is getting a bit crowded around the cabinet table.

And we should mention Rod Phillips, Ontario’s new finance minister. Maybe minister Phillips will bring some of his magic from when he was head of Ontario Lottery and Gaming to the job. I have always thought of him as Paul Godfrey’s errand boy. My, they grow up so fast!

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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.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Our 400 MPP.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

There is no point in complaining that our Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte member of the legislature is never in the electoral district.  He obviously drives through it every time he goes to or from the legislature in Toronto and his home. When you live where MPP Doug Downey lives you still have a way to go past Barrie before you are home in Severn.

Whether it is fair to the people of his electoral district is another matter.

Downey was a parachute candidate. A former Orillia councillor and the go-to guy up in Severn for the Ontario conservatives, he was appointed by Doug Ford to run in Barrie to keep Patrick Brown out of making a comeback from here. And now that Orillia has its own Costco, he does not need to come to Barrie very often.

But after six months in office, nobody here seems to have heard from our MPP. You would suspect that especially a parachute candidate would want to be noted at special events around town. And while I have not been at all the major events in Barrie in that time, I have been at those where you would expect an MPP to make an appearance.

Mr. Downey is a disappointment.

But then his entire conservative caucus at Queen’s Park have been letting us down. They have a responsibility to temper the ignorance that Doug Ford brings to his job. You would think as a lawyer himself, Mr. Downey would realize the limitations of the advice of New York trained Caroline Mulroney. He and other lawyers in the caucus have to be prepared to caution her on some of her errors. She is obviously not listening to her civil service advisors. Caucus members need to help.

Nor is likely that anyone can temper the right-wing rage of a Lisa MacLeod but with her heading up the new controls on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), the caucus must feel like it is on an out-of-control bus careening down the highway. You really do not want the types of problems that woman is going to create. The proof will be in the levers she pulls. There will obviously be more on this subject.

But it is safe to guess that Mr. Downey is just a one-time MPP for Barrie. Why bother getting to know him?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Meet Ms. Mulroney and Ms. Simard.

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Coventry can be described as that place in the corner of the Ontario legislature to where politicians are sent to be forever forgotten. They continue to draw their pay from the taxpayers but there are no committee perks and no opportunity to speak on motions. It is a place for non-persons.

There are currently two occupants of this corner. One did something bad, maybe. We are not sure of what. The other chose the corner because of principles. She is MPP Amanda Simard from Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, a largely francophone constituency where Ontario and Quebec meet.

Ms. Simard found it impossible to have principles and remain a conservative. It tells you much about the other members of her former party in the legislature.

Of particular note in the legislature is the daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney. Caroline Mulroney is a politician with ambitions. She had barely selected a safe seat where she would run and bought a summer home in the electoral district on the shores of Lake Simcoe when an opportunity came along to be conservative leader. Ms. Mulroney is certainly her father’s daughter. She sprang quickly into the fray.

But when Ms. Mulroney could not handle fellow candidates such as Tanya Granic Allen, her hopes for early leadership bottomed out. Things did not get better when, as the New York trained Ontario attorney general, she tried to justify the use of the charter of rights’ not-withstanding clause to change Toronto from 47 to 25 wards.

But it was in her additional role as responsible for francophone affaires, that Caroline Mulroney did not support her parliamentary assistant in the portfolio, Amanda Simard. It seems Ms. Mulroney never even gave the younger MPP a heads-up on what was happening. She could, at least, have sent her regrets.

It should be obvious by now that Caroline Mulroney has none of the smarts nor judgement nor caring needed to be in politics. Daddy might be disappointed but daddy be damned.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Chuckles’ confusion of conservatives.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Federal conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer knows that a bunch of whales is a ‘pod,’ and a group of geese a ‘gaggle.’ We are guessing that he has also found out that a collection of conservatives might be a ‘confusion.’ He was at a celebration with an Ontario confusion of conservatives the other day and he would have been smarter to have stayed at Stornoway.

It is not as though Doug Ford’s black conservative heart is not in the right place but his lack of experience and political reasoning and seasoning is showing. The other day Dougie’s finance guy Fideli dumped all over Ontario francophones as though they did not matter. He took away the proposed French language university that the liberals had proposed. He abolished the French language commissioner who made sure that Ontario francophones are treated fairly.

It is not as though Chuckles is that concerned about Ontario francophones—they rarely vote conservative anyway. It is just that Quebeckers are very patronizing of their Ontario amis (that is French for friends, Dougie). Chuckles Scheer simply cannot afford to have Quebecers annoyed with all conservatives just because of Ontario premier Ford being such a klutz.

Mind you Dougie is not continuing to do so well with the anglophones in Ontario either. Chuckles might be worried needlessly. Next fall will be Ontario voters’ first chance to comment on their conservative regime at Queen’s Park.

And it is not as though Chuckles could complain to Brian Mulroney that his kid is not doing her job. We thought it was a joke when Dougie made Caroline Mulroney responsible for francophone affairs as well as attorney general. She is doing exactly the job that Dougie expected: absolutely nothing. After all she has probably not spoken French except as a tourist since she was 7-years old. She got her education and legal training in the United States.

The bad news is that Quebec premier François Legault came to Toronto yesterday expecting some answers from Dougie about what the hell he thinks he is doing?  Legault has more than enough to be annoyed with Dougie about. Fideli’s fiasco last week was just icing on the cake.

Reports are that in their two-hour meeting yesterday, Ford and Legault agreed to disagree about Ford’s treatment of francophones in Ontario. The next meeting between the two business-man premiers might not be as friendly.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“And miles to go before I sleep.”

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

It is rare that a politician(?) such as Doug Ford can remind me of a snatch of a poem such as the one published by Robert Frost in 1923. The haunting words are “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”  

What brought Dougie’s problems with promises to mind was a question posed by a judge the other day about whether the Ontario premier might have checked with his government’s lawyers before passing a law regarding the number of councillors to be elected in Toronto. The problem was this new law came into effect after the election race was already underway.

While we would certainly not question the right of Dougie’s government to make the change, there is some concern about his timing of the change. I suspect that might be where the judge also hangs his hat when making a ruling. And there just might also be a question of liability. Dougie talks a good game about savings but does sometimes tend to be somewhat cavalier with taxpayer money.

But the question of legal advice from the new government’s lawyers had an element of humour to it. You know, of course, that the new attorney general of Ontario has never practiced law in Ontario. I am not sure if Caroline Mulroney ever passed the Bar Admission examination in Ontario? I am not aware of any reciprocal agreements regarding the right to practice between Ontario and the State of New York, where Ms. Mulroney trained in law and worked, briefly, for the State Attorney’s office.

Mind you, it is hard to think kindly of the voters in York-Simcoe who voted for an elitist such as Mulroney. She and her husband bought a $2.5 million country estate in the electoral district after the sitting conservative MPP told her party she was not seeking re-election. It is a bit of a stretch to try to think of Mulroney’s $5.3 million-plus Forest Hill home in Toronto as a pied-à-terre. Though when you consider her children go to private schools, you wonder at her suitability to be a politician.

Now that she has seen Dougie in action as premier, one would also wonder if she has not been rekindling her ambition to be premier of Ontario. These interesting times we live in are fraught with possibilities.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Folks find Ford far from frugal.

Monday, August 6th, 2018

We are told that Ontario premier Doug Ford is going to sue prime minister Justin Trudeau. And he is going to use our money to do it. I hardly see how that is going to please Ontario residents. Other than our money going to enrich a bunch of lawyers, what is the point? Why is premier Ford using our money to massage his ego?

This does not make sense. Why should this guy use our money? He is supposed to be a millionaire. Why should he not have some skin in the game?

This is the guy who promised us all kinds of savings in the provincial government. The only cuts in spending we have seen so far are the announced cuts by the lady with the sharp pencil from Oshawa in the increase in proposed spending, such as for the mentally ill. That is a less than impressive saving!

Ford promised us that it would cost us nothing to fire the guy running Hydro One. It seems ‘nothing’ is more like $9 million. Bad math Dougie!

That social services minister from Hell, Lisa MacLeod, did her part. She shaved half of a three per cent raise in funds for people on disability payments. Maybe she figures that will hold those shirkers!

It is what Lisa did to the people expecting two more years of the test of guaranteed income that caused the greatest shock. These people were rebuilding their lives under the test program that the conservatives promised would continue. No, it is not. The Ford cabinet changed its mind.

But, do you note that most of these cuts were in proposed increases. Nothing has been saved, it was all future spending. Yet it is alright to spend $30 million to make lawyers richer on a law suit that will go nowhere.

And the laugh in all of this is that the law suit will be under the management of a lawyer who has only practised law in New York State. Attorney General Caroline Mulroney will likely have her application against the federal government’s carbon tax plan thrown out of the Ontario court of appeal by a judge who has much more important matters on his or her calendar. And there are definitely fewer guarantees that the other version of the carbon tax case being sent to the supreme court jointly by Ontario and Saskatchewan will get much further.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

By Golly, It’s Ford Folly.

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

After spending some time checking out the line-up of found-ins referred to as the Ontario cabinet, we have an uneasy feeling in the middle of our back. This is supposed to be the people’s cabinet. We are not sure just who the people are to whom this refers.

The cause of concern was the report from the Toronto Star’s bureau chief at Queen’s Park that none of the new cabinet ministers were being allowed to appoint their own chiefs of staff or communications heads. All such decisions are coming from the new premier’s office. And since the premier himself knows nothing about those skills, all decisions are obviously being made by the premier’s staff. And this implies that premier Ford himself did not have too much to say.

The day that Christine Elliott, with years of experience, does not know whom she would want in her office backing her up, there is something wrong. If the premier’s staff think they can push the new minister of health around, they are in for early trouble. And in her other role as deputy premier, she has to be read in on much more than the premier’s staff.

The same can be said for Vic Fedeli, the new minister of finance and former North Bay mayor. Fedeli is more of a right-wing ideologue than a populist and he will have a tough time fulfilling many of Doug Ford’s conflicting promises. If he ever says he has saved six billion somewhere, you will know you are hearing fairy tales.

It seems we have let the fox into the hen house when Ford’s people picked Caroline Mulroney to be attorney general of Ontario. We have the unusual situation of a member of the New York State bar being given the top legal job in Ontario. Luckily, she is not connected with our education system as her three children attend private schools. Her weekend home is an estate in Georgina (part of her electoral district of York-Simcoe) while during the week, her and her family are in residence at their multi-million dollar home in Toronto’s Forest Hill area.

Mulroney has also been named as head of francophone affairs. She was educated in French as a youngster in Ottawa when she lived in the prime minister’s residence on Sussex Drive. What she might know about francophone affairs she could only have learned from her father. She went to American universities and worked and married in New York until she and her husband and children came to Toronto.

There will be more to come on Ford’s Folly.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t blame me, I voted liberal!

Friday, June 8th, 2018

From the catbird seat yesterday: I felt as though I was on the lip of an active volcano watching the devastation of the countryside. It was both a sad and a challenging night. A new day dawns and Kathleen Wynne is gone; that is good. We thought Ontario voters were too smart to elect Trump-lite and we found we were wrong. Ontario voters can be just as stupid as Americans.

But what choice did they really have? Kathleen Wynne gave them license to riot. There are no apologies. Her final act was to cut the party adrift. She has been a target for the last two years. She should have quit when we first saw the problems she was having. Ed Clark of TD Bank was her nemesis.

That was quite an aria we heard from Andrea Horwath yesterday. She was always the problem and never a solution. The new democrats in Ontario are tired and hopelessly out of date. It is a party without a future. Socialism betrays them. The party never had its own agenda.

But speaking of agendas folks (as Mr. Ford calls us) you need to start taking a hard look at the horde Mr. Ford has brought to the gates of Queen’s Park.

It started over a year ago as we looked at the chicanery going on in the conservative party under boy-leader Patrick Brown. Whomever set up that take-down of Brown in January did the party a favour. Though, in time, people will regret the results.

And if you think Mr. Ford will be the problem as premier, it will not be that bad. Ford is just incompetent. It is people in the horde you need to watch. We saw Caroline Mulroney’s father being rude to a Global TV reporter in that safe conservative country club electoral district she had picked last night. Brian is back folks.

The real difference between Ford and Trump is that Ford knows he cannot do it all. He has never been the schemer and dealer as is Trump. Heck, even his sister-in-law knows he is incompetent in business.

(It reminds of the three Peterson boys. Jim, David and Tim were all elected as liberals at one point and the employees of their father’s old firm were allowed to run the company properly.)

We live in interesting times.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump Lite and the Ontario PCs.

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

After spending Saturday afternoon watching Rosemary Barton and CBC News struggling with the Ontario Conservative fiasco, I was not sure whether the party or the news media did the worst job. It was embarrassing. I actually paid the CBC $6.85 plus GST for the right to watch that screw-up on streaming video. And I want my money back.

I spent a career working on news conferences, conventions, political rallies, candidate selections and leadership contests across Canada. I always worked to the rule that whatever happens is supposed to happen and you live with it.

But I never considered that you could have a disaster such as the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership announcement.

The worst of it was that nobody seemed to be in charge. There seemed to be nobody willing to deal with the news media. There was no information shared with the attendees. They waited for hours without anyone coming to the microphone to apologize for the delays and then they were sent home without answers. Like wayward children, they were sent to bed without their supper.

What really amazes me is that when you are using computer collection of data (such as voting) that you would not write the simple program needed to count those votes. The only time I complained about the weighting of the ridings is when I tried to simulate a program to do that in preparing Babel-on-the-Bay’s Morning Line.

I estimated that there would be less than 70,000 votes cast. It was also clear that Tanya Granic Allen was the fringe candidate. She did better than expected but still came fourth.

It was the collapse of the Caroline Mulroney campaign that surprised us. Like her father, her campaign was just hot air. She blew it.

But it was the attempt to make all electoral districts equal that left the Tories in a mess. Like the electoral college in the U.S., the Tories had an undemocratic system. In the end, Christine Elliott won the most votes and Doug Ford won the election.

All I could think of last night was that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne had a chance to resign last year. We can only hope that she takes a look at what Hillary Clinton did wrong in the last U.S. election. She has to remember that there are lots of angry conservatives in Ontario. Her and her party have to win the rest.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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