Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

No, Dougie isn’t done.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

One of the Toronto Star’s better political writers wrote last week that Doug Ford’s motive (for interfering in Toronto’s civic election) might not be pique. That could be right. Doug Ford’s vendetta with certain people in Toronto politics goes way beyond ‘pique’ or even annoyed.

And is Dougie done? Not by a long shot. Doug and Rob Ford had plans for Toronto and Dougie is the guy committed to carrying them out. He is in the prefect position to make Toronto kow-tow to him and he is going to enjoy it.

What was that he said during the recent election campaign about the province taking over Toronto’s subways? He might as well take over the streetcars and buses at the same time. He probably wants to privatize the transit commission. He might not understand why the GO trains have to be electrified but it would make privatization an option for that system because of the capital funds needed.

The pundits always said it was a dictatorial bastard like Benito Mussolini who was able to get the trains to run on time in Italy. Maybe Doug Ford wants that distinction in Ontario.

One thing for sure is that the time of the bicycle in downtown Toronto is soon to end. Dougie will return the streets to trucks, SUVs and family automobiles as God must have intended it. He will declare that open season on cyclists who do not even know the rules of the road is over!

And you need to remember that the Ford brothers never made small plans. Dougie will want the biggest ferris wheel in the world down at Ontario Place. That would bring the crowds, he would crow. (I know where he can get a great deal on some of the ferris wheel parts at Staten Island in New York.)

We better also save some space for a casino along the waterfront. Dougie has not got his nose into that subject yet. Despite Woodbine’s weak toe-dipping approach to its casino, Doug will want more casinos—all the more funds for our benevolent conservative government.

But I must admit that the best advice we can give to people today is that you have to remember that Doug Ford is an accidental politician. Do not expect him to act as a normal politician. He will tell you himself that he is just standing in for his dear departed brother Rob. The smart city politician will have already picked out that prominent spot on City Hall Square for that statue honoring Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“Once more unto the breach, my friends…”

Friday, September 21st, 2018

The Hordes are at the gates of Castle Liberal on the Rideau and William Shakespeare, once more has appropriate words at the ready. With a year left of his tattered mandate, prime minister Justin Trudeau had best take the advice of Henry V and plug the breach with his dead and soldier on.

And speaking of soldering, you might be wondering how soon we will be dusting-off the Highway of Heroes for the casualties of his ill-considered and ill-fated peace-keeping expedition to the Sahara Desert?

Like most of his political problems, Justin creates them for himself. A good example was his promise in 2015 hat it would be the last time voters would use first-past-the-post voting. He disappointed a few people with that one.

He did the same with assisted dying. The bill was so watered down by the time it passed, that not even many of the dying were pleased.

And while he might have helped some families and the theoretical middle class over his term, he has ignored seniors. They vote too.

And while some people think he has stood firm with U.S. president Trump, his stance is really something more like petrified. He has absolutely no understanding of how to handle that child-man. Judging by their relative ages, he might hope to outlast him.

There are two things that really griped this commentator: In Trudeau’s desperate attempt to feel some love from Alberta, he has spent $4.7 billion of public money on a pipeline to serve the greed of one province.

And by completing the planned twinning of the line, he will be making a farce of all his promises and all our hopes for the world environment.

At the same time, Trudeau has been destroying the federal liberal party. There are no memberships in to-day’s liberal party. He has turned the party lists into an unequivocal sucker list. This list is held above the law and nobody has any guarantee of its privacy. Can you believe that you get better protection on Facebook?

But, it should be pointed out that Justin Trudeau has help going into next year’s trials. They are Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer and Jagmeet Singh. They are the leaders of Canada’s conservative and new democratic parties respectively. They have both shown themselves inadequate to the task before them. Their parties need leadership.

Justin Trudeau needs to be challenged.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

And confusion for ‘Chuckles.’

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

There must be days when conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer goes home to his taxpayer-provided hideaway at Stornoway and asks the wife why he is doing his duty for the ungrateful. He gets scorn from across the aisle in parliament. He gets static from his loyal(?) caucus. He is ignored by most Canadians. And then he has to go wash out his mouth with soap for what he says about Maxime Bernier.

He thought he had an uptick the other day when a disgruntled liberal crossed the floor. The last thing Chuckles needs is another conservative caucus member who feels entitled.

His concern is that it might not be worth it. He knows the loss of Bernier from caucus is a load off his mind. He just has no idea how many conservatives Bernier might take with him to the newly minted Peoples’ Party of Canada (PPC). Like Doug Ford in Ontario, Bernier could suck up more of the publicity that Chuckles needs.

Chuckles has enough trouble with Justin Trudeau. He hardly needs Bernier to add to his problems. Scheer’s brain trust has impressed on him that he has to be seen as backing Trudeau’s effort to save NAFTA. He has no choice but to back Trudeau on the damn Kinder Morgan pipeline foolishness. How else is Alberta and the conservative ‘enfant terrible’ Kenney going to make Alberta rich again?

It is really a good thing that Chuckles has never had a reputation of thinking for himself before. He is not doing much better now that he is caretaker of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC).

But what burns him is that Trudeau has become vulnerable. And they are just not playing a friendly game of bridge. Trudeau has created a serious sore in the body of the liberal party. There is a very large group of environmentally conscious Canadians who normally vote liberal. These liberals are concerned about this pipeline that is designed solely to spread pollution from Canada’s tar sands around the world.

And next year when the construction of that pipeline gets into full swing, the newspapers will give the environmentalist protestors front page and the television networks will show the mayhem in B.C. What will really stick in Chuckles’ craw will be the NDP and the Greens at the front of the parade. The poor guy cannot get a break.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Bernier bids from the Beauce.

Monday, September 17th, 2018

The beauty and tranquility of La Beauce makes the region a must for tourists seeking the essence of Quebec’s joie de vivre. Each season in La Beauce offers its special attractions. This year, a new season has been added: it is political, it is the ‘silly season.’ It is Maxime Bernier’s introduction of his new political party: The People’s Party of Canada.

The party name tells it all. The name is classic in its hypocrisy. Think of all the contemporary politicians who talk about being for the people—are they really? Do they not just use people?

Is Mr. Bernier a people’s politician? Or is he just a libertarian? He looks down on Canada’s conservatives. He calls them “morally corrupt.” He has always represented the extremist right wing of the conservatives.

Last year Bernier was the second last choice of almost half of Canada’s conservatives voting for a new party leader. That was not an impressive accomplishment. It meant that in a preferential ballot, he was among the 13 candidates in a count of 141,000 ballots cast. To further complicate the counting, all electoral districts were allocated up to 100 votes. Where more than 100 votes were obtained, the vote percentage applied. Who really won hardly matters as the ballots were destroyed after the count.

Preferential voting tends to drill down among the candidates. If you do not have a winner on the first count, you count the losing candidates’ second choice and so on until someone has more than 50 per cent. In this way, the losers get to choose the winners and usually nobody is happy.

Bernier was certainly not happy playing second fiddle to Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer. Their honeymoon only lasted a year while Bernier made plans. It was in this time that he came up with the idea of the peoples’ party. Which only proves that Maxime Bernier only has a vague idea of what it takes to launch a new political party.

He knows it takes money so he proudly announced that he had raised $140,000 to fund his party when he announced its name. Where he will get the $5 to 6 million required in just the coming year, he might not know. You would think if he checked with people such as Preston Manning of the former Reform Party or Lucien Bouchard of the Bloc Québécois, they would have told him the real needs. Bernier needs to get real.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Carpetbagger Brown.

Friday, September 14th, 2018

In politics, the carpetbagger is a figure of derision. The person is considered an unscrupulous opportunist who is seeking to exploit some real or imagined opportunity among local voters. No politician in Ontario better fits this description than Barrie’s Patrick Brown.

Or should we now call him: Brampton Brown?

In the last two years, this fast-moving individual has slipped and slid from being a member of parliament to becoming a provincial party leader, to a member of the legislature, down to provincial pariah, to candidate for Peel County chair and then to candidate for mayor of Brampton. Which is just as well as nobody would expect him to win if he came back and ran against the current mayor of Barrie.

And why should Brampton be so lucky?

But then why would you expect his former conservative friends at Queen’s Park to be so vindictive?

Just the other day, Brown called a news conference in Brampton and told the local media that he has noted that there is a great concern among Brampton voters about a rise in crime. It is not that there has been an overall increase in crime—in fact, there has actually been a decrease. The burghers in Brampton might not have been aware of this concern but Mr. Brown was attuned to this dilemma and had the solution. He was convinced, of course, that the same old solution (Whatever that was?) was not going to work. He was going to have a task force study the problems and report back to him—on the day after the election.

It would have been an appropriate touch for Brown to then close his news conference with a rendition of Meredith Wilson’s song: Seventy-six Trombones Led the Big parade.

Not satisfied with that event, Patrick Brown called another news conference later to announce that he would also promote a multi-use sports complex that would be built around a world-class cricket pitch. This is not surprising when you check Google and find 35 per cent of current Brampton residents come from the Indian Sub-Continent and Brampton already has a rapidly growing roster of more than 30 cricket teams. How he is paying for this new complex was less clear.

Our best advice to the people of Brampton is that they can do better than Patrick Brown.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Not your father’s Tories.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Back in the years when I was a frequent visitor to the legislature at Queen’s Park, the conservatives there were a different breed. There is no way we can compare to-day’s incumbent in the premier’s office to someone such as premier Bill Davis. In relations with Bill and his staff, in those days, the key operating word was mutual respect.

It is absolutely impossible to imagine Bill Davis railing against a superior court judge’s ruling. It is also impossible to imagine him making the errors in fact and in judgement that caused the fiasco.

As expected Monday, Justice Edward Belobaba was critical of the Ford government’s timing. The government had overstepped the rights of citizens in the middle of an election campaign. Changing the number of councillors in mid-campaign was not only arbitrary but made light of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Would the ruling change anything? No. Would it improve city governance? No. Will it save any money. Hard to say.

But Ford has just begun to fight. The entire exercise was a waste of time and public money but Dougie is going to fight on. He has called together the legislature to add the Charter ‘Not Withstanding’ clause to the legislation.

It will be a while until all the expense accounts are recorded but Dougie probably never bothered to ask what it costs to call the legislature together for a special session—and that is the second time since the June election. This is the guy that told us the previous government were spendthrifts.

What this is might be is the perfect example of what happens when the voters decide to get rid of their previous government and fail to look closely at the party for which they are voting. If they had paid any attention during the campaign, they would have realized how ill-equipped Doug Ford and his party were to form a government.

Premier Ford’s reaction to the superior court judge’s ruling was visceral. It was not thought through. Ford made errors in fact that surprised the news media and observers alike. He had decided to utilize the ‘Not Withstanding’ clause in the charter without understanding why it was there. He even had the temerity to threaten to use it again.

That tells us our Ontario premier is both a bully and a fool. His conservative caucus should take heed.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Left is the lonely lane.

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

I have never felt so alone in politics. The left, the progressive, the social democrat is a dying breed. Even the federal New Democratic Party is struggling with fund raising and direction as it sluggishly moves to the right. All political parties have felt the shifting of the sands.

But, when you have no idea where you are going, what is the price of a ticket?

Where is Justin Trudeau taking Canadian liberalism? He has traded in his father’s progressivism for a cult of elitism and personality. The younger Trudeau’s worshipful followers allow him carte blanche to turn a party of the ideas and idealism of his patrimony into a willing parade of sycophants.

Where does Trudeau think he is going with his pipeline of pollution from the tar sands? He wants to be the poster boy for environmentalism and yet he betrays all that he has proclaimed.

And why can he not stand up to a person such as Donald Trump? There is no admiration in Canada for Trump Quislings. Trump is but a nascent dictator in a battle to the death with an inept Congress.

Yet, leadership is also in limited supply across Canada these days. The natural alternative party boasts a caretaker leader, struggling with a caustic caucus. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer spells nothing other than missed chances for the country’s real conservatives.

At the same time, the party of Tommy Douglas is crumbling. They dumped a leader whose only fault was he was older than Justin Trudeau. With the help of an influx of Sikh members, they opted for an observant Sikh to lead them. He chose not to enter parliament on the tails of the publicity, and he was soon forgotten. With a leader unable to be noticed and a party unable to raise needed funds, the federal new democrats have failed themselves and failed Canadians.

But nature hates a vacuum of any kind and it is in the provinces we are seeing the real leadership struggles. B.C. teeters with a precarious minority government that is fighting a fellow NDP regime in Alberta and the federal government. Saskatchewan and Ontario have joined to defy a federal carbon tax. And Quebec oddsmakers are touting a provincial regime further to the right than before.

They leave no home or hope for those who deny the corporatism of fascism as vast companies defy the incoherence of mere nations. There is little hope for those of us who put the needs of people ahead of the right-wing populists who say they are “For the People.”

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Gobsmacked by sex education.

Friday, September 7th, 2018

There are a lot of people in Ontario angry and frustrated by the idiocy of our politicians trying to satisfy the wrong people with how we are teaching children about sex. What is wrong with honesty? Have we become a society of hypocrites? Or are the politicians just pandering to the ignorant and repressed among us?

I have a special relationship with Thorncliffe Park in Toronto. I was deeply concerned when it became something of a microcosm of the Middle East in the middle of Toronto. Instead of becoming attuned to Canadian openness and acceptance, this area was becoming isolated, insular and easy pickings for those who would organize against the prized Canadian openness. Recent immigrants find comfort from others from their part of the world and do not understand why children need to become familiar with their sexuality.

But like millions of immigrants to this country over the years, the children adapt faster than the parents. It is hard on the parents coming from more repressed societies but they are certainly made aware of the more open attitudes of the country that is taking them in. They should show their appreciation better.

And rather than be angry at these protestors, Canadians have to direct their anger at those who are using these immigrants for their own political purposes. Who gets them on the buses, who paints the signs and who is behind the megaphone?

Arranging for the ‘spontaneous demonstration’ was one of the first lessons I was ever given in politics. The hypocrisy angered me. I never used those tactics in many years in politics.

But it is going to take a long time to straighten out the mess premier Ford has got us into by catering to objectors. He thought it was an easy promise to make. It was. The promise came out of his mouth just like many others. His problem is that he will be a long time getting free of the stupidity. (He should have taken off his shoes before sticking both feet in his mouth.)

Even teachers’ associations are now getting into the act to protect the rights of teachers in this foolishness.

Maybe Dougie is surprised (gobsmacked) by the controversy he has created. The harder you try to dig yourself out of a problem such as this, the deeper is the hole you are in.

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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

Harper’s henchmen halted.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

The earth is still shaking in Alberta from the Federal Court of Appeal finally corralling the Calgary-based National Energy Board (NEB). The court was asking the logical questions about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. The industry is angry and the politicians all a-twitter. It was high time that someone questioned that industry’s dominance of its regulator and their cozy relations at the Calgary Petroleum Club.

But it was Trudeau coming to power three years ago and allowing the relationship to continue that was worrisome. When Brian Mulroney’s conservative government moved the NEB to Calgary in 1991, the idea was to have the board more directly involved with the energy sector based there. It was under the Harper government that it appeared obvious that only the industry was the beneficiary. Many liberals considered the NEB to be just another squadron of prime minister Harper’s henchmen.

The lack of depth and concern over environmental issues has been obvious to many. During the examination of the Line 9 Enbridge pipeline reversal and increase in capacity was my worst experience in trying to meet with NEB board members. The staff in Calgary are polite and interested but the chances of getting any hearing from the board were slim.

The fact that Line 9 crosses the top of the Yonge Street subway line in Toronto was a safety concern, the NEB chose to ignore. Considering the cavern of condos running downhill from that location with tens of thousands of residents, the willingness to ignore concerns was cavalier and worrying.

But luckily the judges at the federal appeal court disagreed with their laissez-faire attitude about the environment with the Kinder Morgan expansion. The judges considered the consultation with the first nations to be flawed and the lack of environmental concern for the ocean tankers coming into the Burrard Inlet terminus to be an unjustified failure.

The guy with the egg on his face from this fiasco is Canada’s environmental poster boy, Justin Trudeau. His government is now the proud owner of a $4.7 billion pipeline, along with plans and equipment to twin the line and no credibility.

The prime minister might have the power to overrule the court and simply say the pipeline is in the national interest—or even just in Alberta’s interest—but it would hardly help him get re-elected next year.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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