Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

Andrew Scheer woos the 905.

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

Meet Andrew Scheer, leader of the conservatives and ambassador to the 905 ridings of Ontario from the more peaceful, less frantic reaches of Prairie conservatism. The 905 region is also known as the Golden Horseshoe that wraps around the City of Toronto. It is also home to much of the wealth that drives Toronto. The conservatives have to win this area to win enough seats to form a government again in Ottawa.

Scheer assures us that his conservatism is not much like the bombastic conservatism of Doug Ford at Queen’s Park. He probably has a point that he is not much like Mr. Ford. He lacks the charisma.

We hardly knew Mr. Scheer when he was picked as the least contentious, and least interfering speaker of the house of commons after the 2011 election. It was a parliament that had the first majority conservative government in Ottawa in many years.

And it was when Hell broke lose. It was the least orderly parliament in many years. It suffered from too many cheap shots and catcalls. Questions to conservatives went unanswered or simply drew insults. That parliament passed questionable and often undemocratic bills without being given time for proper consideration. It was a record low point in foreign affairs. It was a house needing a good house keeper, not Andrew Scheer.

But once the public had done with the Harper government, it was Andrew Scheer who won enough support to be the new conservative leader. Of 13 leadership hopefuls, he was the least likely to do anything. And he did little but carp.

And he is now out there on the hustings—mostly in the 905—telling Canadians that it is time for them to get ahead—because they can be sure that a Prairie conservative does not believe in the government helping its citizens.

Don’t ask this conservative to add Pharmacare to Medicare. He is certainly not interested in doing anything about our endangered environment.  Oh sure, he makes promises, because he wants you the elect him. Don’t count on him coming through with anything meaningful. He wants to help his friends, the conservative premiers. He wants to help the rich. Like all conservative ideologues he is a mean-spirited person. He is also a social conservative, do not ask him about women’s rights.

I call him ‘Chuckles.’ He is a clown.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

They’re At Post!

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Finally. This never-ending scrabbling for political position has a finite finish line. The free-for-all has focus and Elections Canada is in charge. Like with stewards at the track, there are rules to be observed.

It is an election like no other in Canadian history. It is not the politicians who have changed. It is the voters. There is a distrust and unease on all sides. We are seeing olive branches offered by traditional conservatives. Concern is on the face of liberals. Socialists look in wonder at their NDP.  Is Green the color of Canada?

These are not the parties of John A. Macdonald, William Lyon Mackenzie King or Tommy Douglas. No party talks of tradition. And, yet, are they ideologues? And how likely are their promises: “Yes, Mommy, I’ll be good.” Do they have an agenda for Canadians?

Is the bitterness to be directed from Alberta? Are the fools running Ontario? Will the Atlantic provinces hold promise? And who will be the bête noir of Quebec? Will ‘beautiful’ B.C. be bountiful?

There will be no morning line at the track today. What prognosticator has the polls or prescience to prove anything? The sense of this election is deep in the gut and there is many a bellyache. The Trudeau liberals will defend their record—such as it is. The conservatives will be defensive of their woefully inadequate leader. The NDP will try to win with some stalwart old-timers. Elizabeth May will keep looking behind her, in hopes that some partisans will be there.

But there is hope. All politics is local. Here in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, we are still gerrymandered in aid of the rural conservatives. We have another empty suit conservative to consider and the usual suspects from NDP and Greens. The liberal is different, aggressive, daring and honourable. I will bet on him but not his leader.

I am expecting the possibility of a liberal minority. It is as good a bet as any.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Our MPP is heard from.

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

It seems that the member of the Ontario legislature for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte does visit Barrie occasionally, usually while on his way to or from his home up in Severn Township. Recently, Doug Downey M.P.P. even held a news conference in Barrie to discuss the problem of what he calls ‘Catch and Release.’ It might be sporting for fishermen but causes ongoing problems for our police in smaller cities such as Barrie.

In Barrie, the courts are located on the edge of downtown, convenient for people to return to the scene of their crime and repeating it. The police tend to blame the problem on the supreme court that has ruled that a person charged with multiple crimes still has to be treated as guiltless until convicted of something.

The basic problem is that the politicians starve the courts, refusing to expand them or to appoint more judges and then blame the judges for not processing criminal cases fast enough.

As attorney general of Ontario, Downey has to take responsibility for the problem. He expressed the problem quite succinctly in the news conference when he said that keeping costs under control is also important to his government.

What is becoming clear to most Ontario residents is that this current provincial government places too much emphasis on controlling costs and very little in doing the jobs that Ontario taxpayers are funding.

In fact, this government cuts so many costs that it creates more serious problems than we had in the first place. They constantly put their ideology ahead of doing a good job.

To make matters worse, we have a premier who has no clue as to how to run the province. He blustered his way through an election campaign against a government that had run out of gas. We are paying for the consequences.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

From Rae Days to Ford Years.

Monday, September 9th, 2019

It does seem odd to think of current conservative premier of Ontario Doug Ford and former NDP premier Bob Rae at the same time. The other day Bob Hepburn of the Toronto Star tried to compare the two in an opinion piece. He failed. The reasons that Bob Rae failed as premier and Doug Ford will fail are very different.

Doug Ford will fail because he doesn’t listen to advice: Bob Rae failed because he did listen. Rae listened to Thomas d’Aquino. At the time, d’Aquino was running the Business Council on National Issues—the most powerful business group in Canada.

It was d’Aquino who convinced Bob Rae and his finance minister, Floyd Laughren from Sudbury, that the most serious economic problem facing Canada in the 1990s was the out-of-control deficits at the time of both federal and provincial budgets. He convinced the provincial politicians that Paul Martin, finance minister for the Chrétien government was already on board.

The problem was that, as a left-wing economist, Laughren had no solutions to the growing deficits. Rae of course, was more of a middle of the road liberal and bought into the Martin solution. Rae ended up giving his name to the imaginative solution of civil servants taking unpaid days off instead of pay cuts, which they were anyway.

Rae became a laughing stock and his government was easily defeated by what Ontario residents found was much worse conservative government of Mike Harris.

There are many similarities between the Harris government of 1995 through 2003 and the present Ford regime. The very fact that Harris won a second term was more a commentary on the weak opposition facing his government at the time than any high approval rating. And after the deaths in Walkerton, Ontario in 2002, because of the poor management, Harris was toast.

Since Doug Ford’s style is just bluster and incompetence, nobody expects him to be around after the next provincial election.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Some of us have fun with politics.

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

It was sad the other day to read both Susan Delacourt and Chantal Hébert of the Toronto Star and their dour take on the upcoming federal election. The ladies are two of Canada’s most astute reporters on things political and here they were being pessimistic this early.

I was particularly disturbed by Chantal’s dark take on the state of politics in Quebec. I thought we were both on the same train through la belle province as the liberals fight the good fight against the forces of evil, separation and the far right. We both seem to agree that Maxime Bernier will fold his libertarian tent and retire to the Beauce after proving nothing with his bigotry in this election.

But I expect those polls that show a resurgent Bloc Québécois are just hiding some parked votes that Trudeau can easily reap on election day. There is really no other route for the Quebec vote this time around.

I am also concerned about Susan Delacourt. I have always appreciated her sense of humour. Sure, she can criticize me for using nicknames for some of the sillier politicians. She is the one being paid the big bucks for her opinion. I have to work hard for the laughs my writing affords me. Just wait until she is retired. (Tomorrow?)

I hardly use nicknames for the serious politicos. You cannot convince me that conservative leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer is not a clown. The desperate attempts of the conservative brain trust to cast him as serious are wearing thin on far more Canadians than just yours truly!

And please tell me how else we are expected to counter the sad-sack situation on the prairies? The exploitation of the tar sands for the benefit of foreign-owned oil companies is doing nobody any good and the lies spewed by their bought and paid for provincial politicians disgrace all Canadians. I think decent politicians should just fly over the prairies this election.

British Columbia is always a pleasure to visit. That province is only dangerous for politicians who want to complete the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Slipping in the Slogan.

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

It might surprise regular readers but this blogger does not believe in slogans. Oh yes, I use them, but more in sarcasm than in concurrence. It is just that I see an election as a sequence of events that can only become a slogan close to the end point: the voting. And the real theme is often something that the voters see before the politicians.

For the prime minister to be running around the country spouting some silly slogan about “choose forward” to anyone who is still listening is insulting to the listener and makes him sound feeble minded. What is the alternative? Walk Backward?

But, speaking of ‘feeble minded,’ have you heard Chuckles Scheer confounding the voters with “It is time for you to get ahead” which sounds rather mean-spirited. I think it works better if you change it to ‘It is time for you to get a head.’ You could consider it something of a public service slogan.

But it is not.

It is not as self-serving though as the NDP slogan that has been introduced as “In it for you.” It is unclear as to why they are in it for ‘you.’

It has potential though when you consider the additional words that could clarify the message. It is like the slogan used on billboards for conservative Barry Goldwater in the 1964 American presidential election. It simply said “You know he is right.” It worked until somebody started buying adjacent billboards saying “Yes, Far Right.”

But that is not as bad as the silly slogans that my city of Barrie uses. Depending if you approach the city from the north or the south on Highway 400, the northbound traffic sees the city as “Well played” and the southbound get the slogan “Well connected.” ‘Well played’ is a British term usually thought of as related to the game of cricket. ‘Well connected’ is more of a business term. Why either is used for a city such as Barrie, is lost on me.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Can Kenney, Curly (Ford) and Moe pull it off?

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Conservative leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer might not offer much of a challenge to Justin Trudeau but when you consider the three stooges running in the back field, it makes you think.

Canadians, outside of parliament and his Regina riding, have little reason to have an opinion of Chuckles. Very few of them know much about him. And nobody was wasting time calling for his head when he was such an inept speaker of the house of commons from 2011 to 2015. And in the time, he has been leader of his party, he pales behind the image of his former boss, Stephen Harper.

But having the three stooges running his backfield offence might just be the focus that pulls it off. They would add weight to any football team. They are certainly more colorful than most. Jason Kenney might be premier of Alberta today but he knows the tricks and lies needed to work the Ottawa scene. Curly (Doug Ford) premier of Ontario might be a bit of a bull in a china shop, but bull is bull and he is full of it. Scott Moe, premier of Saskatchewan, on the other hand, is an experienced Prairie politician.

And Jason Kenney has put together a particularly lethal false news team in Calgary. It is made up of writers from Paul Godfrey’s PostMedia and some key conservatives. That is potentially the deadliest weapon in the arsenal but it has not yet had a chance to really show its stuff.

It is assumed that Ford is just puttering around in the backfield awaiting a call when his style of bluster is necessary. Chuckles did publicly ask that Doug take a break and do nothing but that is not part of Ford’s nature.

While premier Moe would have been in the Regina MP’s corner anyway, he is probably more suited to the team approach.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Change in Chuckles.

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Did you notice the change in conservative leader Andrew Scheer? I was watching a Blue Jays game the other day and they had a political commercial between innings featuring him. It was not smoke and mirrors but make up. His prominent cheek bones had seemingly disappeared. I walked over to the high definition large screen TV and had a close look. That was it, just make up.

It probably will not help. He is still ‘Chuckles’ to many Canadians. We first noticed him when he was chosen house speaker for Stephen Harper’s last four years as prime minister. It was a time of unruliness in the commons for the conservatives, the insulting answers to serious questions in question period, the lack of decorum, and the uncontrolled conservative members of parliament.

It was not a surprise that the conservatives would compromise on Chuckles when choosing a new leader four years ago. The tide for Justin Trudeau’s liberals was still running strong at the time. Nobody seriously thought of Chuckles as a threat to him. Scheer was the stop-gap leader. He was just someone to hold down the job and to be replaced after this coming election.

Imagine the consternation when the tide for Justin turned to the ebb. He is hardly as smooth and as ready for being prime minister as so many thought he was. He makes foolish promises, he can be arrogant and he can make mistakes—even if he doesn’t admit it!

But imagine the consternation in conservative ranks when the polls started to say Chuckles could be the next prime minister. That blew the sleep out of many conservative eyes. What the hell were they going to do now?

But not so Kenney, Curly (Ford) and Moe. The three premiers thought that the Prairie religious conservative Scheer would be very cooperative with them—and they liked that idea. They were throwing their weight with Chuckles.

As the old Looney Toons cartoons used to say: “Th-Th-That’s all folks.”

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Repeating history with Doug Ford.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

The worst of the mistakes made by Mike Harris, conservative premier of Ontario from 1995 to 2002, was the downloading of provincial government expenses to municipalities. It was a stupid and ill-advised. And despite the lessons learned, we now have premier Doug Ford following in Harris’ draconian footsteps.

Where the municipalities had thought the Ford government had backed down on some of these moves, he announced them anew this week at the annual meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). Where he had backed down on cutting funding for ambulance costs, daycare support and public health retroactively this year, he has now promised the cuts for next year.

These are all services that the previous liberal government had assured the municipalities would be looked after by the province. While there were few details in the speech that the premier read from a teleprompter, it is assumed that it will be at least 30 per cent of these costs will end up coming from municipal revenues.

Each of these services is essential to the well being of Ontario’s municipalities and they can only pay for them with substantial increases in property taxes or cutting of other core services.

These changes are believed to be designed to aid the provincial government in covering more of its deficit without raising taxes. It is supposed to make the provincial politicians look better at controlling the taxpayers’ money than the municipalities. When premier Mike Harris did it, he had little understanding of the economics of the province and its municipalities and many of the cuts he made caused serious results in services delivered and even deaths from failure in delivery of essential services that people had trusted.

Doug Ford, on the other hand, continues to want to get even with Toronto for the way the city treated his brother when mayor.

Mike Harris wanted to create a legacy. Doug Ford is just vindictive.

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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.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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