Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

Is there any hope for Horwath?

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Every once in a while, we are reminded that there are three parties at play for the right to hold the lease on the Pink Palace looking down University Avenue from Queen’s Park. We know lots about the Liberals that currently hold the lease. We know more than we want to know about the Conservatives and their corrupt leadership. What has us stumped is the lack of direction of Ontario’s New Democratic Party.

It is easy to blame NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. After eight years of her desultory leadership, you really wonder about the death wish of her and her party. If she ever had a good idea, the Liberals have stolen it. And she spends most of her time trying to explain why the Liberals are not going far enough or fast enough. Even when she is right, she does not have the political smarts to take advantage of being right.

Earlier this year, Horwath received a letter signed by 34-longtime party supporters in the Toronto area questioning her leadership. Frankly, they could have asked ‘What leadership?’ The very fact that one of those signatures was that of long-time NDP supporter Michele Landsberg, wife of former party leader Stephen Lewis, was serious enough.

You would think that Horwath would take some of this criticism to heart. She seems to have no understanding of the art of leadership. She almost seems to be apologizing for her concerns. Her policies appear to be borrowed from the right wing rather than developed on the left. She seems to lack any understanding at all for social democratic politics and where those politics could take us.

Given the chance to reprise her almost absent-minded campaign of 2014, Horwath will find herself well behind the political sentiment of the province. People are uneasy about the stability of the recently improved economy. The number of jobs might be growing but how many are part-time, lacking benefits and insecure? They see the political situation in the United States as dangling us over a precipice. They are worried about the chances of bringing the continued turmoil of the Middle East to North America.

What all Ontario parties lack is leadership. There is no trust for any of the three leaders or their parties. Leadership polls at this stage are meaningless. The election is scheduled for next June and somebody has to get serious.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Chuckles’ leads from the rear.

Friday, July 14th, 2017

It is embarrassing. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer showed up on television last week from the Calgary Stampede to blast the federal government for its generosity to Omar Kadr. It was a classic illustration of a political brain fart. It was bigoted, it was inaccurate, it was mean-spirited and it was knee-jerk Conservatism from the newly chosen Conservative leader.

But what was really wrong was that he was feeding the growing sentiment of anti-Muslim bigotry in Canada. It is getting out of hand.

We have to understand that Omar Kadr was born in Canada and is a Canadian citizen. He has the same rights as any Canadian under the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

When the Canadian government refused to intervene in his illegal confinement, torture and kangaroo court justice under the Americans, it denied him his rights as a Canadian citizen. We should all worry about that. The Canadian courts ruled in favour of Kadr when his lawyers sued the government. The Supreme Court ruled on it three times. He deserved an apology. He had to be paid. It was a modest amount for 15 years of injustice.

And yet, the narrow-minded bigots among us resent the size of the settlement. They resent it because he is a Muslim. They resent that it is being paid to him (and his lawyers). It is hoped that it will finally buy Omar Kadr some peace and anonymity.

But when the Official Opposition uses the settlement as a stick to flail at the government (and Muslims), they are failing us as Canadians. They are promoting bigotry. Their attacks on Kadr are creating further attacks on the Muslim religion and the Canadians who follow that religion. They are promoting hatred.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer should not be proud of his performance to-date as Conservative leader. So far, he has been taking his lead from the red necks.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

 

On being nice to Premier Wynne.

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

It could be hard to get used to doing this. The problem basically is that as a liberal all my life, it is very difficult to accept Kathleen Wynne as a liberal. She is not a liberal and I do not like the way she has been running Ontario.

But…(life is full of ‘Buts’ isn’t it?) what is the alternative? Our provincial New Democrats cannot find their way across Yonge Street. The NDP in this province has no future and appears to have no plans for one.

And the Ontario Conservatives are something mothers use to frighten disobedient children. The current leader of the Tories stole the leadership a couple years ago and since then has been searching for conservatives.

And Ontario’s Greens have never been in contention for anything.

Which brings us back to Granny Wynne. That woman has a death grip on the door to the Premier’s office. What she is really doing is threatening to take us back to the awful days of Mike Harris as Premier. Only this time, the choice is a political manipulator named Patrick Brown.

Kathleen Wynne tells everyone that she got into politics because of Mike Harris. The only reason she joined the Liberal Party was because Mike Harris was a Conservative. She thought the Liberals had a chance of unseating Harris.

But politically, Wynne is a reactionary. There is nothing progressive about her. She jumped into politics to fight against Harris’ move to amalgamate Metropolitan Toronto into a single city. It was probably the only progressive move he ever made. What Harris did not know to do was to give the politicians at Toronto City Hall the power to do their jobs. Anyone who thinks that city is well run needs to give their head a shake.

And how do you like the way Wynne sells off hydro distribution but leaves the liquor board wallowing in excess profits. If she had sold off the LCBO, the province could have made billions and still kept the revenue.

Not to mention the water torture she is putting us through in gradually introducing grocery store distribution of beer and wines. And have we seen any improvement in our Canada Pension Plan recently?

Yes, the bad news folks is that Granny Wynne might be your only choice in the election next year.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Granny Wynne knows best.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The current argument between Ontario’s New Democrats and the Ontario Liberals is like a school yard spat over who did what. It is not only childish but it makes both sides of the argument look foolish. They are arguing over who thought of having a mediocre pharmacare plan first. Neither side has much of which to be very proud.

The point is that not having a universal pharmacare program works at cross purposes to the intent of Canada’s Medicare program. It means that those of us who take our meds are paying more for them and those who cannot afford them, fail to take them and drive up the cost of Medicare.

It is good to see that the NDP are thinking about real needs. Just why they would suggest that only the 125 most commonly prescribed drugs be free to the public is something that only they can explain. It is like saying ‘Tough beans’ to those with an uncommon problem. Since the Liberals are offering to fund the full 4000 or so listed drugs up until age 25, that must be saying ‘Tough beans’ to those between 25 and 65—which does not make really good sense either.

But you have to give this round to Granny Wynne and her Liberals. A small step in the right direction is better than no progress at all. Even the Ontario health minister, Eric Hoskins, has been pitching pharmacare to anyone who would listen for years.

Mind you we started calling the Ontario premier Granny because anything she was going to do took a long time to happen. It is similar to when she finally admitted that the Ontario minimum wage should be $15 per hour. Did she launch it in reasonable time? No. She is taking two years and staging the increase over that time.

The one strong benefit of this pharmacare plan is that of the intense pressure on a Liberal or New Democrat government (should one or the other get elected next year) will be to complete the universality of the plan. The likelihood of any Conservative government doing anything other than finding ways of cutting back the plan would be extremely unlikely.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Tory Odd Couple Challenge Wynne.

Monday, June 5th, 2017

A pair of losers could be Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s nemesis. Meet ‘The Kid’ and the ‘Big Guy.’ They just got back from the Soo were they took a solid Liberal seat in a bye-election by 40 per cent of the votes. These cowpokes are riding high in the saddle.

But they are an unlikely couple. The Kid looks like a nerd, sounds like a nerd and is a nerd. He is leader of the Ontario Conservatives. He is Patrick Brown from Barrie, Ontario. He is a backroom political manipulator who got carried away with his own ego. He stole his party’s leadership with the age-old trick of signing up ethnics en masse. Nobody called him for cheating. Who knows how many paid their own membership? (And why do you think the federal party changed the rules for its leadership contest and required individual credit card number or personal cheque with each membership?)

The Big Guy is more interesting. He is the late Rob Ford’s older brother. He is what is referred to in show business as a Second Banana. He is the side kick who does not get the girl. He is brunt of the jokes. He always comes second, never first. Doug Ford’s management of the family business must have cost so much that the family want him to run in politics instead. It was his younger brother sweeping into the Toronto mayoralty in 2010 that allowed him to win the council seat Rob vacated. He lost to fellow Conservative John Tory when he tried to replace his brother in the mayoralty race in 2014.

What is amusing about the relationship of Patrick Brown and Doug Ford is that each needs the other. Brown needs the key to Ford Nation—the collection of malcontents across Toronto who bought into the populist promise of Rob Ford to “end the gravy train at Toronto city hall.” To defeat the Wynne Liberals, Brown has to win seats in Toronto. Brown does not understand Toronto and does not appeal to Toronto voters.

Ford, in turn, has to know by now that he cannot count on Ford Nation alone to carry him. He needs the party support that Brown can give him. These guys need each other. They deserve each other.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Choosing a Conservative caretaker.

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

The Conservative Party hierarchy could not have the better fall guy for the next federal election. Whomever came up with the convoluted voting system that was used to choose this poor guy last weekend might have saved the party years in the wilderness.

It will likely be 2023 before the Conservative Party comes roaring out of the west again. Caretaker Andrew Scheer will be expected to fall on his sword after the 2019 election and make room for a more dynamic leader.

The party’s real leader, to be chosen in 2021, could be young enough today to just be completing a dissertation at the right school. There is still much planning to be done to define the challenges and words of this new leader.

In the meantime, caretaker Scheer has his job defined. He has a caucus to cull. Lacking the tools that the job of Prime Minister offers, he has to make sure that the right MPs get the right opportunities to speak for the party. You need to watch and see who the key shadow ministers are that he selects. He has the experience as speaker and in caucus since the loss in 2015 to make the right selections.

In the background, he has to help build the team that will take the party through the cleansing cauldron of the next election in 2019. Knowing how unlikely it is to squeak through a win, it is the selection and placement of candidates that will create the strong base for the next leader. One of these new candidates is likely to be the pre-selected next leader. This leader will need a stronger, more determined and directed caucus.

The only danger for the backroom politicos pulling the strings on this scenario is that caretaker ‘Chuckles’ Scheer gets the bit in his teeth and goes for the long-shot win in 2019. It is unlikely because it is not his style nor is he ready to defy the odds or the party.

And, when you think about it, the only reason Scheer won the Conservative Party leadership was the strength of the social conservative members of the party combined with the anger Maxime Bernier earned from his province’s dairy farmers. Those farmers came close to defeating Bernier in his own riding. It was only Kevin O’Leary’s unwelcome interference in the race that gave Bernier the early impetuous in the voting.

In the meantime, Justin Trudeau can look forward to the 2019 election as a free pass. We should only hope that he makes good use of the time.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

“Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

That hackneyed expression is used to describe politicians who stupidly work to defeat themselves. A good example today is the desperation we are seeing at Queen’s Park as the Liberal’s Premier Kathleen Wynne continues to destroy the Liberal legacy in Ontario. She has so many irons in so many fires that the voters are completely confused.

Good government for Ontario does not seem to be Ms. Wynne’s operating theory. Instead, she dabbles. She is a reactionary dabbler. You show her a problem and she will question what is the smallest effort needed to say she is doing something about it.

Today she is mired in the argument as to whether we or our children should pay for the expense of government incompetence at managing electric power for this province. And before Patrick Brown smirks at this statement, it should be noted that all flavours of politicians are equally inept.

It was to Ms. Wynne’s credit though that she saw through the hypocrisy of the other parties and made a move to introduce beer and better wines in grocery stores. She destroyed herself and her party by turning the introduction into a form of water torture. It will be years before we will just assume that any large grocery store will have a booze section. And there is not a single damn grocery store in Barrie carrying beer or wine yet. That is not only obvious and petty just because it is where that schmuck Conservative leader Patrick Brown is running next year.

Mind you, the beer and wine fiasco is nowhere near the colossal stupidity of suggesting that the first high-speed trains in Ontario should be from Toronto’s Union Station to cabinet colleague Deb Matthews’ electoral district in London, Ontario. How dumb do you think the voters are in this province?

And even as late as yesterday, Wynne announced that it will take her government two more years to get the minimum wage up to $15 per hour. Our kids have action dolls that provide more action than Premier Wynne.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The parade of the Conservative losers.

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

A political movement died out near the Toronto airport yesterday. It was the once powerful Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The new Conservative Party of Canada, heir to the Reform Party, struggles on. It was a time of bad television and bad politics as the surviving party chose a new leader. By a margin of less than two per cent, in complex voting, the social conservatives beat out the libertarians for the leadership.

The convention hall had seen better times. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp tried desperately to make a television event of a fiasco. The presentation of the ballots was stretched past credibility for a computerized count. Political pundits were perplexed and pollsters were puzzled.

As a television personality, Kevin O’Leary again proved that he has no knowledge of politics to pass on to future generations. His choice for leader, Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, led in voting until the final count. The perpetually smiling Andrew Scheer MP is the new leader of the Conservative Party, heir to the lost legacy of Stephen Harper.

Bernier and Scheer were Babel-on-the-Bay Morning Line’s fourth and fifth likely possibilities as leader—which is not bad considering the complexity of the strange voting method and the field of 13. Lisa Raitt and Michael Chong would have been far better choices politically but they could not produce as many new party members as the social conservative candidates. Michael Chong was the only candidate for leader who could have given Justin Trudeau a hard race in 2019. He was the only candidate who actually thought about where the party is headed.

Instead, the Conservatives now have Andrew Scheer to lead them. At least he has more of his own hair than Stephen Harper.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

With thanks to Rona Ambrose.

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Rona Ambrose M.P. is cleaning out her desk. With a new leader to be chosen this weekend, Ms. Ambrose is packing it in and going home to Alberta. It is a smart move for her at the right time.

And Canadians owe her special thanks for the job she did as interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. She took on a dispirited and unruly caucus in Ottawa after the last election. Rona created some order and made sure the job of official opposition was fulfilled. She did it well. She did it with style. She had us almost forgetting the arrogance of Stephen Harper.

Rona Ambrose brought humanity and decency to the job. She did it by giving no quarter to the Liberal government. She was tough when she needed to be tough. She was understanding when she needed to be understanding. She was not there to obstruct but to give thoughtful opposition.

It hardly helped that Rona had to do the job while the Conservative Party was running a 14-ring circus of a leadership contest across the country. That was tough competition for public attention. And the race was opening new and sometimes unintended pathways to impoverished policies.

The confusion caused by the structured voting method chosen by the party, left Rona and the caucus with no idea as to who will wear the leadership ring next week. She will have no ownership of the outcome.

But Rona Ambrose will be missed. Somehow, we sense with her that once a politician, always a politician. Maybe this new amalgamated Conservative party in Alberta will need her. Maybe the Prime Minister has a worthy appointment in mind. Rona Ambrose is an outstanding Canadian.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

On the road to mediocrity.

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Do you know who will be the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada on May 27? With a third of the votes already in and more trickling in every day, it is a very frustrating guessing game to determine who will win. The problem you are facing is that the people who preferred the losers are choosing the winner. It seems as though the party contest is designed to choose the mediocre.

If you are a CPC member you can vote for one of 14 candidates—even for one who has already withdrawn from the race. Never fear though, on the second series of voting, withdrawn candidates as well as the one with the fewest votes will have their second choices credited with the vote.

There are a number of candidates who will also have their votes quickly lost and their second choices will earn the support. If a voter’s second choice is dropped, their third choice will be credited with the vote. It is something like the spiral that develops around a drain. This system will continue until we have someone with more votes than everyone else combined.

But, hold fast, there is another factor to consider. Not all votes in this system are created equal. The simple way to explain this is that if there are 300 members voting in an electoral district, each membership will be worth 33.3 per cent of a vote. If there are only 50 members, each vote will be worth 200 percent of a vote. It is mind boggling. The weakest electoral districts will have more say per member than the strongest. Does that seem backward to you?

But this is how our Conservatives are choosing their new leader. If you know a Conservative Party member, you might send them a sympathy card.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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