Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

Our 400 MPP.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

There is no point in complaining that our Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte member of the legislature is never in the electoral district.  He obviously drives through it every time he goes to or from the legislature in Toronto and his home. When you live where MPP Doug Downey lives you still have a way to go past Barrie before you are home in Severn.

Whether it is fair to the people of his electoral district is another matter.

Downey was a parachute candidate. A former Orillia councillor and the go-to guy up in Severn for the Ontario conservatives, he was appointed by Doug Ford to run in Barrie to keep Patrick Brown out of making a comeback from here. And now that Orillia has its own Costco, he does not need to come to Barrie very often.

But after six months in office, nobody here seems to have heard from our MPP. You would suspect that especially a parachute candidate would want to be noted at special events around town. And while I have not been at all the major events in Barrie in that time, I have been at those where you would expect an MPP to make an appearance.

Mr. Downey is a disappointment.

But then his entire conservative caucus at Queen’s Park have been letting us down. They have a responsibility to temper the ignorance that Doug Ford brings to his job. You would think as a lawyer himself, Mr. Downey would realize the limitations of the advice of New York trained Caroline Mulroney. He and other lawyers in the caucus have to be prepared to caution her on some of her errors. She is obviously not listening to her civil service advisors. Caucus members need to help.

Nor is likely that anyone can temper the right-wing rage of a Lisa MacLeod but with her heading up the new controls on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), the caucus must feel like it is on an out-of-control bus careening down the highway. You really do not want the types of problems that woman is going to create. The proof will be in the levers she pulls. There will obviously be more on this subject.

But it is safe to guess that Mr. Downey is just a one-time MPP for Barrie. Why bother getting to know him?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ford fast-tracks the slippery slope.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

One of the problems with being a bit older is that you have seen it all before. Premier Doug Ford, for example, might be just a reprise of Mike Harris, conservative premier of Ontario from 1995 to 2002. One of the reasons for the longevity of the McGuinty-Wynne liberals after that was the memory of Ontario voters of the mistakes Harris made.

And it looks as though Doug Ford is digging his own grave in the same way as Harris dug his. It is the old story of those who do not learn from the past making the same mistakes. Harris’ mantra was something called ‘the common-sense revolution.’ It was your basic slash and burn conservatism, ‘open for business’ and cutting of taxes.

It would appear that Mike Harris and his provincial ministers gave their changes more consideration than Ford’s people have given their legislation, so far.

Mike Harris gave people lots of time to blow smoke about consolidating Toronto into a supercity. While he had no idea how to fix Toronto’s political problems, Harris let the naysayers vent and then went ahead and put the city into one. It did not save the city any money either.

There were two incidents caused by Harris’ dogmatism that helped speed his downfall. These were at Walkerton and Ipperwash Provincial Park.

In Walkerton, the province—instead of cutting the regulations—cut out the people who oversaw the regulations. These experts, for example, gave technical assistance to people running municipal water treatment plants. It left a lot of people guessing at what to do and, in Walkerton in south-western Ontario, they were about five days to late in finding out that their water supply was contaminated with E. coli bacteria. In an area of 5000 population, more than 2000 people suffered through illness brought on by the contamination and five, six or seven were reported to have died, depending on your source of information.

In the Ipperwash park situation, the local aboriginal population had been displaced from their lands in the area during the Second World War and were still trying to get compensation from the federal government 50 years later. The military had stopped using the federal government area and nobody paid attention to the aboriginals. Since the Ipperwash Provincial Park was popular, the aboriginals occupied that part of the land. It got the wrong attention and a provincial police sharpshooter ended up killing an un-armed protestor.

Since nobody in Ontario expects the provincial police to be told what to do by the premier’s office, premier Harris, so-to-speak, missed a bullet on that one!

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Persons who help themselves get most.

Monday, December 10th, 2018

The headline was supposed to be ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ It did not seem right though to invoke a Deity. Considering how many Deities are promoted around Toronto these days, it could have ended up a three-line headline.

This started out to be about Ontario premier Doug Ford. When the premier reduced the number of councillors in the city of Toronto earlier this year, he promised Torontonians millions in savings. He lied you know. It is becoming more apparent every day that the only people who will profit from having Doug Ford in the premier’s office are lawyers. And what you know for sure is that it will be the province that pays.

And the city has not yet felt the full force of its newly-elected 25 councillors. That gravy train is only now chugging into city hall. Within two days of being sworn into office, the councillors doubled their staffing money, increased their office budgets and told the clerk that they want a raise in pay. These people are not pikers.

But at the same time, it was strange to look down on the council in seating space that used to hold twice as many councillors. The Toronto council chamber needs some redesign. It was as though they wanted to emphasize the change wrought by the vindictive Doug Ford by clustering to one side.

It was obvious that they would claim the need for more staff. They are going to need the help to deal with the concerns of almost twice the constituents. The personal salary increase will be the icing on the cake.

Considering the average number of constituents, the staff to be managed and the hours of dedicated service required, the job is now worth more than $200,000 per year plus expenses. And as that is more than the dilettantes at Queen’s Park are getting, the Toronto politicians can expect a nasty draft from the direction of the Ontario legislature.

It might surprise you to know that in examining the workload of municipal, provincial and federal politicians over the years, the heaviest is municipal, the second heaviest is federal and our provincial guys and gals get the easy end of things. If the provincials are diligent, they are out promoting themselves.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

When the Kingfish rules.

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

While many see him as a Trump-lite, Ontario’s premier Doug Ford is more of a politician in the tradition of Louisiana’s governor Huey P. Long (Born 1893 – Assassinated 1935). Long liked being called “The Kingfish.”

This is unlike American president Donald Trump’s evident nihilism which is mainly a rejection of any moral or religious principles. Huey Long’s populist struggle to political power was more of a contest between the corrupt establishment and the corrupt populist interloper. Long took on powerful interests on behalf of the people of his state while also fulfilling his own objectives, and filling his pockets.

Long was the subject of more than a few books and two movies have been made of “All the King’s Men” by author Robert Penn Warren. I have not seen the 2006 film but the way it was panned by the critics, I would not be likely to see it. It was the 1949 version of the film, starring Broderick Crawford, that won three Oscars.

Though it is quite doubtful that Doug Ford would win any rewards for his performance as premier of Ontario to-date. Ford is to busy preening for his fans and taking his bows for a political win where his opponents (Ontario’s liberals) defeated themselves.

But for him to show his vindictive streak against his former opponents shows no class at all. He is seriously ruling that an increase in members in the legislature is required to recognize the liberals as an official party. Maybe we should have hopes for more of his conservatives deserting the Ford party. His personal vendettas are embarrassing many progressive conservatives. He spent billions as soon as he was in office to end Ontario’s participation in a ‘Cap and Trade’ deal with California and Quebec and then set aside millions to try to stop a federal carbon tax.

And we are still computing the costs for his surprise attack on Toronto city hall councillors—reducing the number of wards—in the middle of the election campaign.

But it is his latest faux pas that is enraging anyone who understands the relationship between our Canadian governments and their police forces. He is reported to have changed the rules to accommodate a personal friend as commissioner of Ontario’s provincial police. His friend Ron Taverner did not have the experience as a deputy chief or a chief, so they changed the rules. Mr. Taverner is now commissioner.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Defectors define democracy.

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

One of the critical strengths of our Canadian democracy is that we elect people in each electoral district to represent us in parliament. While we might choose them because of the party they represent, they have the right to determine at any time whether or not to be a part of that political party. It is a safeguard for us as voters. It is a right that we would lose at our peril.

And yet political commentator Robin V. Sears, writing in the Toronto Star, sees the ability of MPs and MPPs to refute their party allegiance and sit as an independent or to move to another party as hurting our democracy. He knows not of what he writes.

Would Sears have preferred that Sir Winston Churchill remained a liberal throughout his remarkable career in the UK parliament?

It would be a fun game to go down a list of people who have moved to and from Sear’s CCF and NDP parties.

He was complaining about Ontario conservative Amanda Simard leaving her party on principles. He tries to belittle people with principles. He says they betray their voters, when what they are doing is standing up for their voters. Does he really think the largely francophone voters in Simard’s electoral district were standing up cheering what the Ford government is doing? Being one of those rare conservatives with principles, Simard, after thorough discussion and consideration, decided to make a stand. If I was constituent, I would have been cheering.

Frankly, I do not find much in the current Ontario conservative caucus by way of honour, principles or decency. Since taking office, they have been erratic, mean spirited and confused. Doug Ford has proved himself ill-advised and inadequate to the task of governing this province.

We have the advantage in our parliamentary system that if enough of his caucus walked out in disgust, we could have a new election. And now that the voters have had time to think about their June decision, I am sure we could do much better than Mr. Ford.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Complacency is Justin Trudeau’s enemy.

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

With a federal election ten months away, we can ignore all polls. They tell us little. It reminds me of the first party campaign in which I was involved. It was in 1964. My friend Charles Templeton was working for the Toronto Star and agreed when I and others asked him to make the jump into provincial politics to enter the contest to choose a new leader for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Along with the work we were doing at the time on the province-wide leadership campaign, we were advised to show some electoral strength by running in a by-election in Toronto-Broadview. It had been liberal but the main opponent was the new democrat. To this day, I remember the statement an old hand made to the candidate early on election day: “Chuck, you have run a strong, traditional campaign. Now it is up to the voters.” We lost and I made a vow to never again take part in a traditional campaign.

Campaigns are about the images created by candidates and leaders. They are about the concerns and hopes of the voters. The winning campaign in that by-election matched the concerns and hopes of the voters with their party’s direction.

And I think that will be Justin Trudeau’s failure next fall. In 2015, the liberals offered the change that the voters wanted. They can hardly offer the same change in 2019.

What Trudeau desperately needs to run on is a coherent vision of Canada’s future. His feminism has become annoying. His dress-up trip to India was an embarrassment. He has not stood up to Donald Trump. What are the benefits to Canadians of all these meetings with world leaders? And why is an environmentalist buying an old pipeline to move that stuff from the Alberta tar sands to ocean tankers?

Justin Trudeau can hardly count on the weakness of his opposition. Both the conservative’s Andrew Scheer and the new democrat’s Jagmeet Singh might be hard to visualize in the prime minister’s office but we have been surprised before.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Meet Ms. Mulroney and Ms. Simard.

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Coventry can be described as that place in the corner of the Ontario legislature to where politicians are sent to be forever forgotten. They continue to draw their pay from the taxpayers but there are no committee perks and no opportunity to speak on motions. It is a place for non-persons.

There are currently two occupants of this corner. One did something bad, maybe. We are not sure of what. The other chose the corner because of principles. She is MPP Amanda Simard from Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, a largely francophone constituency where Ontario and Quebec meet.

Ms. Simard found it impossible to have principles and remain a conservative. It tells you much about the other members of her former party in the legislature.

Of particular note in the legislature is the daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney. Caroline Mulroney is a politician with ambitions. She had barely selected a safe seat where she would run and bought a summer home in the electoral district on the shores of Lake Simcoe when an opportunity came along to be conservative leader. Ms. Mulroney is certainly her father’s daughter. She sprang quickly into the fray.

But when Ms. Mulroney could not handle fellow candidates such as Tanya Granic Allen, her hopes for early leadership bottomed out. Things did not get better when, as the New York trained Ontario attorney general, she tried to justify the use of the charter of rights’ not-withstanding clause to change Toronto from 47 to 25 wards.

But it was in her additional role as responsible for francophone affaires, that Caroline Mulroney did not support her parliamentary assistant in the portfolio, Amanda Simard. It seems Ms. Mulroney never even gave the younger MPP a heads-up on what was happening. She could, at least, have sent her regrets.

It should be obvious by now that Caroline Mulroney has none of the smarts nor judgement nor caring needed to be in politics. Daddy might be disappointed but daddy be damned.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Where bullies wear blue.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Welcome to Queen’s Park. This is that island in the centre of Toronto that carries the weight of Ontario’s provincial government. The uniform of the day on this island of pecker heads is a blue suit. A white shirt or blouse is appropriate and a tie is obligatory for the boys, only when doing house duty. These are our rulers? These are Ontario’s elite? They are the product of voting against instead of voting for.

We had nobody to vote for and we scraped the bottom of the barrel. The voters voted against the status quo and soiled themselves. They voted for a party that said it was for the people and forgot to ask who these people were. They elected bullies in blue.

Our premier bully, Doug Ford, seems to get great delight out of going after some of his old enemies in Toronto city hall. It was the same time as he stopped former conservative leader, the disgraced Patrick Brown, from running to chair Peel Region. That was when Brown neatly flipped over to the Brampton mayoralty—winning Brampton by a Sikh’s whisker. Mind you, they are still trying to figure out what it cost winners, challengers and wannabes in Toronto to end up in just half the number of wards.

Toronto is still quaking, waiting for the other shoe to drop on their Toronto subways. Dougie has his heart set on playing with real trains. He has promised that he will take over the Toronto subways and create a regional system that will have just one stop for each line.

But Dougie’s major problem as Ontario’s “Kingfish’ is that he keeps telling people that Ontario is open for business and it shuts down behind him. Will Oshawa be the same without General Motors? Will a provincial government have any leverage to attract business under the new U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement that replaces NAFTA?

Do you remember the time years ago when the commercials sang out that you should “See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet.” Now we can put it to music to “See Canada in your Camry.” Or how about “Forging a new relationship with your Ford 150”?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Doppelgangers don’t do it.

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

There is a tendency among political leaders to have someone very much like themselves to serve as their chief of staff. It gives them confidence that the person will react as they do and carry out solutions much the same as their principal. It is a lazy person’s solution. And how smart is it, to pay two salaries for the same opinion?

The notion of this person being something of a doppelganger is based on a person and their pet, over time, coming to look like each other.

In fact, in Ontario, premier Doug Ford and his chief of staff, Dean French, are two arrogant white men in suits. They are too much alike. It is just that Doug Ford lets French do the dirty jobs. French phoning the head of Ontario Power Generation to tell him to fire former conservative leader Patrick Brown’s former chief of staff might have been the ultimate in irony.

The claim that French might have directed the police to make raids on illegal pot shops was far more serious. The idea of any politico directly directing the police in carrying out their policing duties is anathema to how Canadians see their police doing their duty. It carries the risk of being interpreted as something that happens in a police state.

There seems to be no such problems for prime minister Justin Trudeau. In this age of feminism, it would be fascinating to learn if his chief of staff, Katie Telford, makes as much as his principle secretary, Gerald Butts. It is obvious that both make over $200,000 and that is quite a bit more than the much-touted middle-class job.

But the doppelganger danger still pertains. The charmed circle with which Justin Trudeau surrounds himself is isolating him from argument and reality. We now have elite selections of senators, elite selections of judges, elite selections for boards and commissions. It would never hurt to have a modicum of political common sense included in making some of these appointments.

But both Ontario’s Doug Ford and Ottawa’s Justin Trudeau have too much ego for that. Both need to have some better exposure to contrary thinking. There does not seem to be much danger of that.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Chuckles’ confusion of conservatives.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Federal conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer knows that a bunch of whales is a ‘pod,’ and a group of geese a ‘gaggle.’ We are guessing that he has also found out that a collection of conservatives might be a ‘confusion.’ He was at a celebration with an Ontario confusion of conservatives the other day and he would have been smarter to have stayed at Stornoway.

It is not as though Doug Ford’s black conservative heart is not in the right place but his lack of experience and political reasoning and seasoning is showing. The other day Dougie’s finance guy Fideli dumped all over Ontario francophones as though they did not matter. He took away the proposed French language university that the liberals had proposed. He abolished the French language commissioner who made sure that Ontario francophones are treated fairly.

It is not as though Chuckles is that concerned about Ontario francophones—they rarely vote conservative anyway. It is just that Quebeckers are very patronizing of their Ontario amis (that is French for friends, Dougie). Chuckles Scheer simply cannot afford to have Quebecers annoyed with all conservatives just because of Ontario premier Ford being such a klutz.

Mind you Dougie is not continuing to do so well with the anglophones in Ontario either. Chuckles might be worried needlessly. Next fall will be Ontario voters’ first chance to comment on their conservative regime at Queen’s Park.

And it is not as though Chuckles could complain to Brian Mulroney that his kid is not doing her job. We thought it was a joke when Dougie made Caroline Mulroney responsible for francophone affairs as well as attorney general. She is doing exactly the job that Dougie expected: absolutely nothing. After all she has probably not spoken French except as a tourist since she was 7-years old. She got her education and legal training in the United States.

The bad news is that Quebec premier François Legault came to Toronto yesterday expecting some answers from Dougie about what the hell he thinks he is doing?  Legault has more than enough to be annoyed with Dougie about. Fideli’s fiasco last week was just icing on the cake.

Reports are that in their two-hour meeting yesterday, Ford and Legault agreed to disagree about Ford’s treatment of francophones in Ontario. The next meeting between the two business-man premiers might not be as friendly.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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