Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

On being liberal in disquieting times.

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

The word ‘disquieting’ took a while to choose. I have been trying to define the times leading up to the October 21 federal election and it reminds us of flying through clouds. You want to break into the bright sunlight, you know is above you, but that oppressive cotton candy is just a grey mist that continues to embrace and smother you.

In these disquieting times, the clouds are a metaphor for the cocoon of a country’s confusion. The angst of the SNC-Lavalin affair is but a construct from which we draw the prejudices of our times.

There is no question but the voters are disquieted. It is not the anger that produced the Doug Ford victory last year in Ontario or meeting the demands of greed recently in Alberta. Even peaceful little Prince Edward Island showed some spunk by bringing on the Green party to be the official opposition.

But neither of the major opposition parties in Ottawa have adequate leadership to survive the rigors of a general election. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer from Saskatchewan is but a servile retainer serving the aperitifs for the conservative wolves in premiers’ clothing. Jagmeet Singh is but testimony to the hospice condition of the political party that Tommy Douglas built.

But that is certainly no excuse for Justin Trudeau. He has unfulfilled promises from 2015. He is the one that still needs to prove he can save our environment. He has commitments to our aboriginals. And he still has to explain the events that cost him a justice minister and another cabinet member, his principal secretary and the clerk of the privy council. His hypocrisy in declaring himself an environmentalist and then buying the Trans Mountain pipeline has been a very difficult pill for many liberals to swallow.

His story is that he traded it for a guarantee from Alberta’s previous NDP government to put a cap on carbon from the extraction and the upgrading of the bitumen to allow it to be exported.

The incoming premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, has promised an end to all environmental protections in Alberta and threatened court proceedings to get the B.C. and federal governments out of his way. Now if we could just get Mr. Kenney to bend over, we could show Justin Trudeau what to do with his pipeline.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Ford finds friends.

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Politicians always claim that they represent the people. Doug Ford ran a successful campaign in Ontario last year with the slogan: Doug Ford – For the People.

But the truth is that the voters have little say on laws presented for consideration and discussion. Bills take a long and cumbersome route from idea to fruition and most of the discussion is between the civil servants and the lobbyists for those who have a selfish interest in the bill. It is only if the bill is contentious and might be dropped that the premier or a senior minister finds that they have friends who want a word with them.

The interesting thing about that is between this new government and its predecessor, there are different friends. Times have changed.

The previous liberal government had the usual big donors but their friends seemed to be mainly corporate lawyers and bankers. If you needed to influence the premier or certain cabinet ministers, there were people you could call.

The new gang at Queen’s Park present a different situation. For one thing the Ford government is more of a one-man band. It seems that our premier does not trust his cabinet ministers to do their jobs. They do not have years of working together. Ford does not appear to think of them as colleagues. They are a bunch of people who want his job.

You should remember that Doug Ford’s previous political experience were those wacky and fun-filled four years with his late brother at Toronto city hall. In city politics, it is the developers and their lawyers who seek to endear themselves to the right politicos.

Obviously, Doug Ford is also taking their calls as premier. Lawyers throughout Ontario have already been advised who to call at Toronto firms that have invested time and effort with the premier.

Just remember, Doug Ford is open for business.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Bountiful B.S. for the Beer Store.

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

When even the Toronto Star gets in line to support the Beer Store’s battle with Ford and Friends at Queen’s Park, you know the fight is on. Just the other day, the Star proposed on its front page that having beer in corner stores could cost Ontario taxpayers $1 billion. Which you have to realize is just bull shit.

The Ontario government and its Beer Store allies have been mistreating, inconveniencing and stealing from this province’s beer drinkers for most of the last 100 years. And this is not a ‘blue-stockings’ versus ‘progressives’ argument. The people fighting the hardest against convenience stores selling beer and wine are the Beer Store union.

If you think foreign-owned Labatt, Molson and Sleeman are going to sue the Ontario government for redress when the government is opening up millions in new sales for them, you are crazy. You never kill the golden goose that has been feeding fat profits to you.

The Ontario government, the LCBO and the Beer Store have been ripping off Ontario drinkers since the last time we had prohibition in Ontario. Why do you think Ottawa Valley residents mostly go to Quebec to do their serious beer and wine purchasing?

The arguments must be coming down to the short strokes and the more strident, the sillier. First of all, is the story that the Beer Store committed to an agreement(?) to spend $100 million per year building and maintaining its outlets. If it did not budget that much anyway, it would not be serious about doing business. They have just fewer than 450 stand-alone stores now. They have had a free ride on the liquor stores carrying their products in the most expensive packaging and recently the last liberal government in Ontario added some of the larger grocery stores.

But Ford and Friends won the last popularity contest to call the shots at Queen’s Park and they are out to show how populist they can be. They are not only lightening the liquor rules but they are opening up the distribution. If they follow through, Ontario beer drinkers are really going to catch a break.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Together, we can.

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

Prime minister Trudeau asked for party unity last week. He was at the Ontario liberal gathering in Mississauga. It was a friendly crowd. He told them that liberals fighting each other only helps the conservatives. I cannot argue that but before agreeing with him, Justin needs to learn to listen to his party.

This was the first time, to my knowledge, that he even admitted that liberals cross Canada have been concerned and disturbed by the SNC-Lavalin affair. Many of us listened with growing dismay to the presentations before the parliamentary justice committee by former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, principal secretary Gerald Butts and privy council clerk Michael Wernick.

What liberals did not see during the months absorbed by this case, was leadership from the leader of the liberal party. “Where’s the wimp?” was the concern.

Our liberal party was being trampled. The opposition were having a field day of scorn. The news media were bugling ‘Boots and Saddles’ as they smelled blood.

And where was Justin Trudeau? He was telling (or sending instructions to) the liberal members of the parliamentary committee to stonewall the other parties. He never really answered any questions in the House. He demoted justice minister Wilson-Raybould.

To add to his problems, he usurped the role of caucus in determining who can be a member of caucus and the role of the party in choosing its representatives. If nothing else, he could have listened to the party. These people are his friends. They had questions. They were in the dark. They had the right to know what the hell was going on.

And was MP Jane Philpott just collateral damage? Or was she supposedly the Wicked Witch of the East who was under Dorothy’s house when it landed in Oz?

During this fiasco, all the concerned liberals across Canada got were urgent pleas for money from the party. What we needed was to see some contrition from the leader.

If Andrew Scheer is prime minister of Canada at the end of October, it is on your head Justin.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Alberta that God forgot.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

“O outcast land! O leper land!
Let the lone wolf-cry all express
The hate insensate of thy hand,
Thy heart’s abysmal loneliness.”

From the poems of Robert Service.

Jason Kenney won the Alberta election and the embittered battles over bitumen are drawing clearer lines. He joins the blow-hard conservatives of Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in building walls against people and Canada’s future.  Just another climate change denier.

But what incentive does he bring to encourage prime minister Justin Trudeau to build the twinned, high pressure Trans Mountain pipeline? We have certainly not heard honeyed words between them.

Let us remember that the Old Kinder Morgan pipeline has been in use since 1953. Refurbishing it and twinning it to carry diluted bitumen costs about as much as what the Canadian government paid for it originally. To carry the bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby, B.C., the pipeline has to have heaters to keep the bitumen liquid and use high pressure to keep it moving.

Admittedly, the voters of Alberta had little choice presented in the election. Premier Rachel Notley looked worn and tired after the rigours of her job for the past four years. Jason Kenney even lost some of his baby fat to look fit and ready to take the reins.

But with what looked like a record turn-out in the election, Kenney’s slammed together conservatives won the field.

Albertans can repent at their leisure.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Chuckles checks conservative campaigns.

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

You would expect that one of these days, conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer will have to take the training wheels off his federal election campaign. He was out on the hustings with Jason Kenney in Alberta last week and little new came from either conservative.

The signature complaint we have heard from Chuckles and his four most strident provincial conservative leaders—Ford in Ontario, Pallister in Manitoba, Moe in Saskatchewan and Kenney in Alberta—is that federal carbon taxes are bad. And the conservatives always forget to mention that the liberals plan to return this money on Canadians’ income tax each year.

In Alberta, Kenney links the name ‘Trudeau’ with the National Energy Program of almost 40 years ago. He also talks about the Notley-Trudeau team as the one-two punch of failed government in conservative eyes. All this does is create an even stronger conclusion that these provincial and federal conservatives are global-warming deniers and their campaigns are based on ignorance.

As the world’s ice caps and glaziers melt and oceans rise, deniers have less land to stand on. And the growing violence of the weather patterns is just another indication of the need to cut back on spewing of carbon into the atmosphere.

But what might be positive in the conservative platform for this October is not clear at all. Chuckles says he is going to balance the books for the federal government within two years of being elected. That would be an amazing and probably very drastic promise to keep.

The most unusual promise from Chuckles is to give tax credits to people who send their children to private schools. Why anyone who can afford to send their children to private schools needs a tax credit for it is a question that needs to be asked?

It is important to know that Chuckles has always been a social conservative and yet he denies that he would support their more radical positions such as on abortion or LGBT issues. Which just means he is a person who does not stand up for his convictions. Some prime minister he would make!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

In the arrogance of ignorance.

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

You saw the big beaming smiles on their faces. If not in the newspapers or television news clips, you can imagine the smugness that Ontario’s conservative government felt bringing in their first budget accounting for Ontario’s billions in revenues. Despite their promises of efficiencies and despite the braggadocio, they failed to even keep pace with inflation. And they failed those who need the most from their government.

In the armour of their dark suits and bright ties, the conservatives laid their claim to the purse strings of the province. The treasurer was strident in his presentation and the premier laughing. He did not have much to laugh about as more and more the bad news was laid on those who could least afford it.

In the age-old tradition of politics everywhere, the treasurer blamed the former government for the slip-shod accounting that left the mess they inherited. They will let the deficit increase until the promised reform by the next term in office. Yes, we have heard it all before.

But the deepest cuts are in the loutish treatment of those less capable of defending themselves. Social services are slashed by a billion dollars. Legal aid can do with 30 per cent less money. Colleges and universities are set up for funding cuts. If you are poor, you can get by with less is this government’s claim.

But do not think of this government as just mean spirted and cruel. It also has a somewhat weird sense of humour. In the tradition of Hogarth’s Gin Lane painting of the mid 1700s, drink is the answer. Drink more, drink often as hours of sale for booze increase and there are more places coming to meet your need for the demon rum and beer.

And the most incongruous actions are the new Tory-blue licence plates and the adhesive signs for the gas pumps damning the federal liberals for the carbon tax that is part of the plan to fight pollution.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Tories take a try at Toronto transit.

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

You really need to be a Torontonian to recognize the absurdity of the Ontario government’s latest plan for Toronto transit. It seems to be a right of passage for Toronto politicians that they all have to give transit another kick in passing. Premier Doug Ford should be passing out cigars for this baby.

The new scheme has the Ford signature subway to Scarborough. It will probably get the title of the Rob Ford Memorial Ditch if it ever gets dug. Built is yet another problem.

The parsimonious progressive conservatives of Ontario do not have the money. And they really have no intention of finding it.

As frightening as the plan might be, it does provide the odd chuckle. Why do you think the government wants a subway terminus at Ontario Place? It sure is not for the last half of August each year to bring people to the Ex.

And you hardly need to look at that proposed transit map for long to wonder what idiots did this design. Did they even look at bus use, traffic patterns, population demographics or densities?

Mind you, they must have some better vision of what the city should have in high speed transit than the ridiculous maze that cut King Street West off from logical traffic. The city needed to have some adults take control.

This Ford government experiment in transit planning is somewhat whimsical. And if not that, the timelines are mythical and the cost estimates hysterical. And this is so much that Toronto needed—one more damn plan that people will argue over for years instead of getting anything done.

I expect it is an unfair comparison but I have always compared Toronto’s transit solutions with those of Chicago, Illinois. Both cities have the problem of being built upside a lake. Chicago’s Els that are based on the city’s train network, are noisy and smelly and ugly. Chicago city is equally badly run—if not worse.

But Chicago’s Els are people movers and they have done the job over the past century. Toronto just needs to grow up and tell Ford’s phonies to get their hands out of the city’s cookie jar.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

In Alberta, vote, wash hands, wash hands again.

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

With less than a week to another Alberta provincial election I cannot forecast the vote. It is one of those times you can only vote against. There seem to be few positive options. The entire campaign is a disaster and a disappointment.

It is a given that I despise Jason Kenney. It makes it annoying that I have always had more readers in Kenney’s home town of Calgary than in Edmonton. Part of the reason is that I have more friends and relations there than in Edmonton. The only problem is almost everyone in Calgary thinks they are part of Sheriff Kenney’s posse that is going to restore Alberta’s fictional oil supremacy.

What I find hard to believe is that a normally smart and capable Rachel Notley has also bought into this oil B.S. and thinks she can solve Alberta’s economic problems with that ersatz heavy oil that is nothing but bitumen-based sludge.

The other day, premier Notley pledged that the Trudeau liberals would have the Trans Mountain pipeline back on the build by the end of May. Her back-up plan is to spend billions on rail tankers to take the bitumen to China. You would think that Albertans would be tired of hearing about how good it is going to be by now.

Mind you, that sleaze Kenney is a master of the untruth. Why does he remind me so much of Hollywood star Bob Hope singing I’m all yours in buttons and bows to co-star Jane Russell in the politically incorrect movie Paleface? Kenney does not even like women. He is the only politician I know who loses a few kilos of baby fat before an election.

But it all goes down to the wire next week. It hardly matters who the voters choose. There is no future in the tar sands but a few nickels and dimes for the foreign investors.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

If Harper is a bully, what is Trudeau?

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

The last two prime ministers tell us much about this country of Canada. In June 2015, I wrote a comment on PM Stephen Harper, accusing him of being a bully. It seemed to be his way of making up for his deficiencies as a human. A reader reminded me of that comment the other day when I forecast that Jody Wilson-Raybould would soon be a non-liberal MP. He wanted to know if that meant Justin Trudeau was also a bully?

The answer was ‘No.’ If Stephen Harper was still prime minister and Jody Wilson-Raybould his justice minister, she would have been out of the cabinet last December. Nor would his chief of staff or clerk of the privy council need resign. In Stephen Harper’s Canada, the divine right of kings and prime ministers still prevails. And he is very much a hands-on type of guy.

But we now have Justin Trudeau at the helm of this ship of state. He watched as his hand-picked chief of staff and his obsequious clerk of the privy council each (figuratively) took a bullet for him. He did not have the guts to tell a woman what he wanted and he paid the price.

The late Pierre Trudeau was a great guy who stood up for Canada and he stood up for his own legacy. His son, Justin, is a wimp. Some legacy!

But there is a rub folks. Who wants a Jagmeet Singh government? Who could tolerate a ‘Chuckles’ Scheer government? There is a country at stake here, smarten up!

Liberals across Canada have six months to do better. First, we tell Justin Trudeau to resign. Then we have a leadership race to replace him and have a fair fight down to the wire in October.

And remember that you do not have to have a sitting liberal MP as leader of the party. Let me just throw the name of Elizabeth May into the mix. We have choices.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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