Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

Looking mean and meaning it.

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

That was dumb. Watching finance minister Chrystia Freeland deliver her financial update was more of a tribute to my interest in politics than any immediate need to hear her deliver it. What left me annoyed though was the rank stupidity of our opposition parties’ responses.

While the speech itself was boring, poorly structured and self-congratulatory, the conservative response was worse. Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre came out of his seat like a guard dog smelling dinner. If he thinks the liberals are putting Canadians too deeply in debt, he should tell them where to cut. And which voters to leave out in the cold.

He complains a lot about the government not knowing exactly when it will start receiving the vaccines that have not yet even been approved for use. The problem is that the government is in the dark also. They seem confident that some of the more promising vaccines will be arriving in the next couple of months. We have been teased a bit by the good progress reports but Canada has its own logistics problems in making the vaccine available to Canadians from coast to coast. As it is, the government has committed to buy up to 400 million doses of various potentially successful vaccines.

But even before the vaccines are available, O’Toole and his attack dog are harping at the government for not having distribution plans in place. What they do not seem to realize is that if we start vaccinating Canadians in the first quarter of 2021, we will still be vaccinating over the coming summer. The roll-out of vaccines will not be overnight.

And some of the more likely vaccines will require special conditions for shipment and storage. Some require conditions of extreme cold for storage. They are not just boxes of vials.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Political leaders get lots of advice.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

It is part of the job. Leaders of all political parties get lots of advice—most of it ignored. Maybe the Toronto Star is not aware of this phenomenon. That must be why they run advice columns for different leaders every Sunday opposite the editorials. One of these, that ran last Sunday, was intended for conservative leader Erin O’Toole.

As befits the conservative party, the advice was far from progressive and you could picture the writer yawning as he wrote it.

The first idea was to show off the excessive amounts of money the Tories are reaping from their pleas to their base. The suggestion was that they give all the money they dredge from their supporters in December to charity. I wish they would—and then good luck in January trying to get more. If conservatives wanted that money given to charity, they could have got the refund from Revenue Canada directly.

And talk about double-dipping. Would they get a political donation credit and then further credit on their taxes for the charitable donation?

But the conservative supporter goes on to suggest that the second wave of covid-19 might be an opportunity of benefit to Mr. O’Toole. First of all, there also might be many Canadians appalled at a politician thinking they can benefit from sickness and death.

The fact that Justin Trudeau had an uptick in the polls for his cuckoo-clock type appearances was more the fact of the exposure, the warmth of the home setting and his manner in handling the non-political information he was providing for the public. For the opposition leader to try to mimic the presentations to criticize the prime minister would hardly get the cooperation of the news media for long.

Doug Ford has fared badly with his attempt to do group presentations at Queen’s Park. Some of the media’s questions lately have been answered with tirades from the intemperate, inexperienced premier.

And we were under the impression that this conservative writer was experienced. For him to suggest that O’Toole attack the liberals for the generosity of the support for Canadians caught in a pandemic is a bad idea. Sure, there will be some ill-considered payments when you are ‘rushing funds out the door’ but so far, they appear to be catching most of the errors and getting them fixed.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The auditor versus the label salesman.

Friday, November 27th, 2020

It might not be a fair fight but Ontario voters are enjoying it. The ups and downs and the tantrums of former label salesman and now premier Doug Ford are generally entertaining but when he and the province’s auditor general cross swords, the province can see the problems with better clarity.

The problem might be that both of the protagonists are out of their depth. The problem is that Doug Ford’s limited education and political experience, ill prepared him to do battle with both a coronavirus and an experienced auditor general.

You can also make the claim that, once again, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk has overstepped the bounds of her job. That does not make her wrong in telling us that Ford and his Tories are doing a lousy job on the pandemic. When the conservative premiers have made it very clear to Ottawa that the federal role is to do nothing but send money, we have to hope they know what they are doing.

And we agree that Bonnie Lysyk continues to exceed her financial accountability role to point out the lousy job the politicians are doing. She has also pointed out that the province’s medical officer of health is also not doing his job.

But why should that matter when the Ford government is not listening to him either.

What this all boils down to is that once again, the auditor general of Ontario has pointed out the deep pile of do-do that the Ontario government is driving us into. That is her job. How she does it is another matter. She did the same things to the liberals when they were in power.

But we know for a fact now that Ford and his Tories are doing a lousy job. And we have also learned that Ford’s minister of health is no better at her job than the premier is at his.

We hear a retired army general will be reporting in at Queen’s Park to take over distribution logistics for coming vaccines. Let’s hope that he does a better job at that than the politicians have done so far.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Parsing Pierre Poilievre.

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Pierre Poilievre, conservative member of parliament for Carleton electoral district in the Ottawa area of Ontario, has described himself as a political junkie. He was born and educated in Alberta, worked for politicians such as Jason Kenney and Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day. He came east to find a riding that could be won despite his French name.

But he is still an Albertan and appears to think of the current prime minister’s father as the Great Satan. Poilievre impresses us as sitting on the extreme right-wing of Canadian politics—in seeming contrast to conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s talk of finding a middle ground for the party. Maybe Poilievre would be happier with a leader more like U.S. president Donald Trump.

But Erin O’Toole seems not to notice his finance critic’s flirting with extreme right-wing conspiracy theories and consorting with fake news.

Poilievre is currently running a petition to “STOP THE GREAT RESET.” He must think ‘the great reset’ means something other than the need for fresh thinking after the pandemic is over. Many politicians are concerned about those in our societies who have been most harmed by the pandemic. The great reset is nothing more than ideas for bringing these people more into the mainstream of our societies.

But an extremist such as Poilievre has no interest in these concerns and can ignore their plight. This is a guy with a political objective that could even include the prime minister’s office in Ottawa.

It has been fascinating watching him on Zoom in the pandemic parliament. He is one of the few MPs to appear on Zoom with full television make-up, professional back-ground set and lighting. He is not missing any opportunity to look sharp and seek greater fortune.

The only problem is that he still comes across as a mean little bastard. We do not wish him well.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Back to the Bully Pulpit.

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

It might have been a term coined by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt but our prime minister Justin Trudeau did the bully pulpit one better. It was living in Rideau Cottage while the official residence at 21 Sussex was under repair. Trudeau did a cuckoo clock single out the front door of the cottage to address the latest news of the coronavirus.

Where lesser Luminoso would need support by technical experts or henchmen, our prime minister does it alone.

It actually seems more crowded all the time at the Ontario political updates. Despite the team effort, Doug Ford is losing traction with his voters as he rants on. His problem is that he little understands the experts and leans heavily on his own solutions. People are questioning the science behind some of his answers. The largest puzzle he presented recently is closing virtually all small business in the most populous cities in the province while leaving the schools in operation. And it will not help to look to education minister Stephen Lecce for answers.

But even from his bully pulpit, Justin Trudeau knows better than to challenge how some conservative premiers are handling the pandemic problems. Health care is in the hands of the provinces and the feds would be crazy to intervene. All Trudeau can really do is support the provincial efforts and plead for public cooperation in these serious times.

Even when we have some vaccines in the offing, the rapidly escalating case loads of pandemic sufferers is of growing concern. Hospitals in some provinces are reaching capacity and there are fewer and fewer healthy health care workers to fill the gaps.

But what Trudeau can do is throw more aid money into the maw of the coronavirus. In some provinces we are looking at disaster as more and more of our small businesses are ordered to shut their doors, never able to re-open. We will suffer the sores of this pandemic for years to come.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Doug Ford buys Ontario.

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Listening to premier Doug Ford blow on about his Buy Ontario pitch brings back memories. After all I go back to the days when the province used to promote doing home renovation jobs in winter “When men and materials are available.”

But Doug’s objective is to compete with president-elect Joe Biden’s ‘Buy America’ speech fillers. You have probably noted that American politicians usually include this idea when their speech seems to be lacking substance. It is just a filler, easily said, soon forgotten.

Doug should listen to a very experienced politician he knows by the name of Hazel McCallion, the former mayor of Mississauga. Hazel spent most of her life building her city and she still has words to the wise for political newbie’s such as Ford.

I remember years ago when I was working in Mississauga and one of the division heads wandered into my office. He wanted to know why the City of Mississauga was not buying his product. He wanted me to talk to the mayor and city council about this. Since some of his division’s products were made in the area, he thought they should have more consideration.

I explained that I did not have time for such a presentation myself but it would probably be better if he made the presentation himself. I fed his ego a bit, told him how to arrange to make the presentation and sent him on his way.  I already knew exactly what Hazel would do to him.

She had a stock answer for companies with their local-source product presentations. She would give them a lecture about how Mississauga attracted industry such as his because the city provided excellent services at the lowest tax rate of any city in Ontario. And one of the ways that they could offer the lowest tax rate was that they always bought at the lowest price.

My only addendum to that is that we need to challenge our local companies to innovate, to add value and to be good corporate citizens. It is hard not to want do business with those companies.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Turkey or turmoil for Christmas.

Monday, November 16th, 2020

Do you ever get a feeling that something is off and you are not entirely sure what it is? It has been bothering me for a while. There is a feeling coming out of Ottawa that does not bode well. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is salivating for an election. Federal cabinet members are going around talking to the news media as though they have something else on their minds.

A part of it might be the situation south of the border. Who trusts Trump? We might be wishing that we had are own border wall. That petulant child-man in the White House is cooking something in his mind that might just interfere with everyone’s wish for a smooth transition of power in Washington on January 20. We keep wondering what part Mr. Trump will play.

But Canadians have their own problems. We have legislation backing up in Ottawa as the pandemic takes precedence. The Trudeau government is starting to baulk at the mounting costs of mitigating the economic disaster we are facing. The prime minister is nowhere near as cocky as he was over the summer. The days are darker. The storm clouds are gathering. And the pandemic numbers are mounting.

What could Erin O’Toole possibly be thinking in wanting to take the government out of Trudeau’s hands? Has he any better idea than the liberals? What possible incentives could he be thinking of to get both the NDP’s Singh and the Bloc’s Blanchet on side? He is wasting his time if he cannot get them to help defeat the government.

An election at this time of year is not unprecedented. The last time Canadians had an election over Christmas, we ended up with what some of us thought of as the Mulroney effect. When Joe Clarke’s conservative government was defeated by the resurgent Pierre Trudeau and the liberals, Clarke was, in turn, defeated two years later by Brian Mulroney for the conservative party leadership.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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O’Toole’s Big Tent Dreams.

Friday, November 13th, 2020

Federal conservative leader Erin O’Toole is making his intentions clear and prime minister Justin Trudeau can ignore the intent and lose everything. O’Toole is attempting to mix the Harper base, the Jason Kenney ethnic strategy, the liberal union strategy and the frustrations of Donald Trump’s base.

There is no question but O’Toole is the natural to inherit the Stephen Harper base of Western conservatism. He is working hard at being the nice guy with the nasty friends. Being from Ontario, he can use his blandness to set him apart from the gaucheness of Ontario premier Doug Ford and the stridency and misogyny of Alberta’s Jason Kenney.

Yet it is the ethnic group inroads that Kenney made for the Harper government that O’Toole is trying to work to his party’s advantage. Did you think that all those walls of ethnic groups behind Harper appeared by magic? I thought the funniest one I ever saw was the group of boy scouts that Harper used once for a backdrop.

O’Toole is also taking a direct shot at the union support that the liberals had attracted away from the new democrats. It has long been a wonder why some of our more controlling unions did not recognize their affinity for conservatism. These are unions that will fight for the status quo to their last surviving member. There are many unions that consider ‘Solidarity Forever’ to be a conservative camp song.

The most recent lesson in building a big tent was the supposed aberration of Donald Trump as president of the United States. That should not have been as much of a surprise in 2016 as we made out. Even the most conservative of polling firms are still trying to find out where some of those Trump supporters originated. While the born-again Christians who formed so solidly behind Trump are more prominent in the U.S., they are also a strong element in Canada.

Another item O’Toole has outstanding in his big-tent mix is how to sell some environmentalism to the Prairie provinces?


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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To listen and to learn in Ottawa.

Sunday, November 8th, 2020

Yesterday it was noted how quiet the Ottawa scene has been while history is made in America.

But we ignore Ottawa at our peril. You have to listen to buzz in the quiet. There is the testiness of the conservative caucus—planning for the partisan attacks to come. There is the disquiet of the new democrats hoping to build a new future. There is the hope for new leadership and new challenges among the greens. And the bloc MPs share their hopes for a future, no sitting bloc member can expect to see.

It is the nervous energy of the liberal caucus that spins Canada’s immediate future. Do they sit quietly in the balcony watching the high jinks of the country below or is there serious thought of the road ahead for their party, their leadership and their country??

Do they realize the crossroads where their country is at? Do they see the changes that move like the world’s tectonic plates?

Do they see the damage that Justin Trudeau has done to the once-strong liberal party? Is the liberal list of registered liberals just Trudeau’s handy ATM? And whose electoral district do you represent? Is it your riding, or Justin’s?

As a member of parliament, who do you represent? Is it the riding or the liberal party? Who do you speak for in parliament? Your political masters in the PMO? Or Canadians? And are you financially independent for the next election? Are you allowed to think or are you just a rubber stamp for the PMO?

And speaking of the PMO, is that collection of sycophants capable of keeping the prime minister out of trouble? Do you realize the naiveté of your leader? He learned so little at his father’s knee.

So, let’s give a passing thought to our MP’s. We will soon be seeing them at the hustings.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Colour coding Doug Ford.

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

A month ago, Ontario premier Doug Ford turned thumbs down on colour coding the severity of the pandemic. Now he tells us the doctors have talked him into doing it. In among the much more interesting American election news the other evening there was an item about the new color coding.

If you are not from Ontario, you might never have seen Dougie in action talking about the pandemic. It really is a treat. It has none of the chutzpah of Justin Trudeau’s cuckoo clock single at Rideau Cottage, but it suits his style. Ford brings three or four cabinet ministers or senior civil servants along to give the session some gravitas. He lets them talk occasionally but it is, without question, the Dougie Ford show and tell.

He has been hard-put to convince the news media to stick to the pandemic when it is about the only chance they get to ask him about other provincial subjects.

It does not appear that the premier gets any briefings on these other subjects but he bravely takes them on. It is fun when some of these questions are prepared to embarrass him. A good example was the recent covid-19 bill that had been introduced in the legislature that had a little gift hidden in it for the premier’s friend Charles McVety. The Whitby-based Canada Christian College that McVety runs was being given university status so that it could grant degrees.

The questions from the news media became interesting after it became known that the bible school had not been approved for granting degrees by any senior educational body.

This leaves the premier with the question if he should stay out of trouble and just send lesser ministers and senior health experts to do these briefings.

But it looks like he loves the limelight too much. There he was, hogging the spotlight, and digging a hole for himself. After shrugging off colour coding the various levels of covid-19 seriousness, here he was really confusing people with his new codes. He missed the mark on that one.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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