Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

And a sneer from Scheer.

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

It was difficult to assess all sides of the discussion last week to the finance minister’s snapshot of Canada’s financial position. To be fair, minister Morneau is not a dynamic speaker. You needed time as he droned on to grasp the dimension of the how far this pandemic has taken Canada into debt. And it is not even over!

What is to be appreciated though is that Canada is doing the job that has to be done. Canada is working to save lives. Canada is working to save jobs and businesses that can assure us a strong recovery.

But instead of recognizing the efforts from the government benches of parliament, acting opposition leader Andrew Scheer sneers. He nit picks the programs. He tells us that the government is just wrong. He tells us that the government is slow to fix gaps. Mr. Scheer and his conservatives carp a lot.

Conversely, Jagmeet Singh and his NDP want more. When a bit helps, they want more. He claimed that much of the help being delivered to Canadians was at the bequest of the NDP. He is concerned about the negativism of the conservatives. He is concerned that the liberals will start to back down.

Singh and other NDP spokespeople believe the weakness in the liberal efforts has been in the lack of special programs for the handicapped in our society. It is no surprise that liberals agree with them. These programs were created in haste and they are still being adjusted to ensure all segments of society are helped.

I thought the best comments were by former green party leader Elizabeth May. She agreed with the weakness pointed out by the NDP but made a fulsome defence of the government efforts. She also agrees with this writer that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) makes an excellent start towards a basic guaranteed income for all Canadians. It is amazing how much such a program can really save us.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Jason Kenney is ‘All In’ on Keystone XL.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Alberta premier Jason Kenney just went ‘all in’ against a stacked deck. Most of us thought Jason Kenney was smarter than that. He seems to be betting that Donald Trump will win a second term as president of the U.S. in November. It would be the only way that the Keystone XL pipeline will ever be completed.

But Kenney gets to gamble with Albertan’s money. So, what is another billion? He is paying down $1.5 billion of treasury money and offering a $6 billion loan guarantee to connect the pieces of the pipeline running from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. From there, it can connect to existing networks and reach Texas Gulf shipping points.

He watched the kick-off of building the Alberta leg of the pipeline, from Oyen, Alberta, to the U.S. border last week. He was like a proud papa peering into the nursery. This is his baby.

But he lies.

He told the media that his people were already hectoring the American democratic party leaders to make sure the pipeline gets built, no matter who wins the November election.

Jason Kenney conveniently forgets that the presumptive democratic candidate in November is former Obama vice-president Joe Biden. Biden has already made it very clear that he will cancel the Canadian pipeline. It was denied repeatedly by president Obama and Biden will finish the job.

The Keystone XL project has been under repeatedly-delayed, piece-by-piece construction, for the past decade. It has been fought by environmental groups and by American Indian tribes. President Obama cancelled it a couple times. The courts have delayed it. Donald Trump gave it the go-ahead.

And the simple truth is that the Americans neither need nor want the pipeline. It is needed by Alberta to help get diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to Texas Gulf ports for shipping to world markets. Americans have more than enough fracked oil and bitumen of their own. They do not need the Alberta product.

Jason Kenney has gone all in and Alberta is the loser.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

When you can’t press the flesh.

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Thinking about political leadership campaigns, it occurs to me that the constraints on the candidates today are not only catastrophic for the candidates but impossible for the party faithful to judge. How can you expect the party members to make a reasoned choice? When meetings cannot take place, you have no chance to question the candidate directly and you really do not get a chance to see how the candidate might perform in a general election. What is left?

What you need obviously is a highly creative effort that breaks new ground in political campaigns. And good luck on that!

What amuses me about the current conservative fiasco is that all trails seem to come back to Barrie and Patrick Brown. He is like Marley’s ghost promising conservative spectres of the past, present and future.

One of these spectres is Walied Soliman, a close friend of Brown’s since their days at University of Windsor law school. Soliman is currently chairing MP Erin O’Toole’s national campaign.

Another spectre is Alex Nuttall, the former MP from Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. Alex spent years as Patrick Brown’s understudy on the conservative farm team at Barrie city council. I always thought he appeared angry when campaigning in 2015 and that might have been one of the reasons Alex won the seat by less than 90 votes. Few were impressed with his performance in Ottawa. He did not run for re-election in 2019.

One of Nuttall’s mistakes while in parliament was publicly supporting MP Maxime Bernier for the conservative leadership that ultimately chose Andrew Scheer.

To-date, the conservative leadership candidates have only seemed to differ on what they might do about climate change and their differences on abortion. While MacKay and O’Toole are considered to be the front runners, the method of balloting and the weighting of the ridings makes it almost impossible to forecast the outcome.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

O’Toole should cool it.

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

It is a pity to waste good political advice on conservatives but MP Erin O’Toole’s current hissy fit with Peter MacKay’s leadership organization could cause irreparable harm in Canadian politics. And rather than being amused by the lack of political smarts of the Erin O’Toole leadership organization, most knowledgeable politicos are appalled by the growing rift.

I am not sure how many times I have given people in the liberal party the lecture about contests between people of the same political party. There is nothing that people in the same party love to do more than to gossip. At political meetings the most important conversations take place in washrooms, hallways and hospitality suites. (Those that take place in convenient beds during gatherings are a subject on its own.)

The point is that, no matter how hotly contested an issue such as the party leadership might be, these are the same people with whom you are going to be working side-by-side in the next election. You should never annoy a fellow party member in any manner that cannot be laughed about or walked back.

And, for heavens sake, never, ever involve Elections Canada or any police. It is only the campaign manager’s responsibility to always be able to lie to any regulatory body with a straight face. And nobody else needs to know everything.

The good news is that Elections Canada and the various police departments in this particular case have a far more sophisticated view of these matters. They are most unlikely to find any wrong doing has taken place. They certainly do not want to charge anyone with what would be a minor offense.

What I would recommend to the conservatives at this time is that they cancel their leadership contest for lack of interest. It might embarrass the party a bit but it is far less embarrassment than having MacKay or O’Toole running the party. In fact, Andrew Scheer is a better interim solution than either of those chuckleheads.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Dougie has “lost the plot.”

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

A chap from ‘Ole Blighty’ was talking the other day about the United Kingdom’s prime minister Boris Johnson. He said “Bo-Jo has lost the plot.” The description fits too many politicians today. Johnson is just one of many. America’s Trump certainly fits the part. The Donald seems to have never read the script. The point is that there are too many pseudo politicians today who think the play is about them. And it is more serious the closer they are to home.

Consider Ontario premier Doug Ford. He has the news media all excited that they are seeing a new Doug Ford because of the job he appears to be doing on the pandemic.

They seem to forget that this is the candidate who was least qualified for the job of premier in Ontario. He came into the job two years ago in total ignorance of what the position entailed. His first serious action was to get even with the Toronto politicians who ridiculed him when he was a Toronto councillor in the seat of his late brother Rob. In a truly destructive act, he cut the number of Toronto city council seats in half when the election process was already underway.

His first cabinet was a collection of prima donnas and blowhards. They were playing their own games and he soon had to start replacing bad actors. Caroline Mulroney quickly proved that her training and experience in New York was of little use in Ontario. But again, legal experience was hardly the consideration when Dougie replaced Mulroney with a small-town ward healer from Severn, up near Orillia. He put a trusted sycophant in finance and replaced a fumbling education minister with a slick operator who had interned with Stephen Harper.

But what really happened was the coronavirus. Both Dougie and his health minister found they had no choice but follow the lead of Ottawa and the health professionals. The only thing that would keep Dougie from getting into serious trouble in the next two years would be if the pandemic lasted that long.

The point is, Dougie does not know how to be a good premier.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

A pandemic is no time to be Tory.

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

You need to be considerate of your conservative friends in these troubled times. You might even think kindly of inviting some conservatives into your circle. Share the lottery of covid-19 with them. They are suffering the conviction of their politics.

Their American hero Donald Trump is scraping the nether regions of the American polls. Our federal conservatives have attracted but a few losers to their leadership contest. The conservative premiers are lining up with the liberal PM. These are sorry Tory times.

And let us not forget the mayor of Canada’s largest city. John Tory seems to be struggling with his conservative ideology during these troubled times. And here is a man who stood so tall just a year ago in feting our basketball Raptors.

We might as well face the facts that the liberals under Justin Trudeau have proved that they are the spending champions. Not since World War II has our government worked the printing presses for money so tirelessly. The Bloc Québécois have been asking for an accounting but it is probably more out of curiosity than any idea that it should embarrass the liberals.

But what does all this sudden money say to conservative supporters? What is all this foolishness about balancing budgets? Why are conservative leaders still talking tax cuts? When this pandemic is over, we are going to have to keep spending to rebuild our economy. Balancing the books will require a long run of a robust economy.

The facts are that despite the seeming neoliberalism of finance minister Bill Morneau, billions more will be needed in infrastructure spending after the pandemic is declared over. And there will be little savings in monies needed to keep the vulnerable in our society alive and well. I am not sure the London School of Economics or any university-level economics course teaches how to spend our way into a better future for all.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The new Ford is still a Model T.

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Not to be confused with products of the Ford Motor Company, today’s comment is about Ontario premier Doug Ford. It harks back a hundred years to that time when you could have any colour of Ford Model T, as long as it was black. And you need to face facts Ontario, the model Ford you bought in the 2018 provincial election is the same ignorant, blowhard you are seeing today.

Just because an incautious news media tells you Doug Ford has changed, why should you believe it? Why do you think he usually appears for those Queen’s Park briefings with two or three of his more credible ministers? This does not display self-confidence. This is a man relishing his time of control but ready to step aside and let someone else take the blame.

His favourite fall-guy is minister of education, Stephen Lecce. While the pandemic takes away the headlines, Lecce has been quietly giving in to teachers’ demands for when classes are returned. And watching him in action, you have to admit, the pandemic has taken much of the wind from Lecce’s sails.

Ford might think he has been smart to keep health minister Christine Elliott in the forefront. If only that lady knew how to dress for her job and control her facial muscles when listening to Ford speak, she would have a future in politics.

Using economic development minister Vic Fedeli for some supposed financial credibility in those one-act TV plays at Queen’s Park is probably Ford’s weakest move. It is more like inviting a viper to a friendly picnic in the park.

But Doug Ford has not changed. He is biding his time. Nobody wants this pandemic over and done with any sooner than the label salesman from Toronto. This nasty man has more mindless conservative extremist measures to inflict on Ontario. Be ready, be watchful.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

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.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The future is ours.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

As the song asks, “How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?” That was a song that many believed after the First World War. It is also a lament for those politicians who think they can give the public greater freedoms and then expect to be able to take them back. There is too much blowback.

Take the simplest of changes. Ontario premier Doug Ford slipped one in recently that I did not notice. It is called off-sale of alcohol by bars and restaurants. It means that a customer, ordering a pick-up or delivery order can include a bottle or so of appropriate wines or beers to go with the order. It is what we used to call bootlegging.

I was quite pleased to see this convenience on the web site of one of my favourite restaurants. That is smart marketing. Not that the restaurant had the advantage for long. When one leads, the others will follow. The only mistake I see being made is that the restaurants are trying to get away with their normal doubling of the price of the wine. They can probably get away with a $3 or $4 convenience charge but doubling the price of a decent wine is a bit stiff. You can justify a higher mark-up when it is served at dinner in the restaurant but not when it is an off-sale.

As it is, I am getting used to ordering my weekly box of goodies from the liquor control board. They have the order ready for me when I get to the store—no line-up, no waiting. I would be happier though if the LCBO would fix that damn ordering program. It is clunky, over-sensitive and badly designed.

Over the years in the computer industry, I never wrote a line of code but, at different times I had programmers reporting to me on projects. They would bring me their completed code for this or that part of the project. The objective was to see if I could find fault in how it carried the function. I did, too often!

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Can Chuckles make a comeback?

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The conservative party and the news media have written off acting conservative party leader Andrew Scheer much too soon. When he resigned late last year, the unwritten proviso was that the party thought they could get someone better. There might be four or five people vying for the honour of replacing Chuckles but you would have a hard time convincing any sizeable number of conservatives that any one of them is any better.

In fact, it is hard to say which of the four or five prospects could be half as effective as poor old Chuckles. You might expect that Peter MacKay has some of that same experience in the conservative party and in the Harper conservative government. When you ask knowledgeable conservatives about MacKay’s experience, you get a thoughtful answer that agrees, “Yes, he was there.” And then nothing but a sad look.

The facts are that Peter MacKay is a lightweight. He had three important portfolios in the Harper cabinet. He was an embarrassment in all three. He seemed to be working on a reputation for being the playboy of Ottawa and the eastern seaboard. Each portfolio he was in was just another set of photo ops. Mind you, he embarrassed the entire country in coming on to American secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

The reason I mentioned the four or five candidates is because last week an Ontario superior court judge said that Jim Karahalios should not have been ejected from the race when he maligned Toronto lawyer Walied Soliman, campaign manager for candidate Erin O’Toole.

I have a hunch that we might not know if there are four or five candidates until we have a ruling from the supreme court. It took a couple days for the right committee of the conservative party to kick out Mr. Karahalios again.

In the meantime, Erin O’Toole is going around being nice to any or all conservatives, hoping for their second vote approval. All O’Toole needs is for Peter MacKay to keep shooting himself in the foot. And that can be as good as money in the bank. There are a couple other candidates—we call them losers.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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