Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

How do you like Premier Ford so far?

Friday, October 5th, 2018

When you throw a question such as that into the general chatter today, you can really stop people cold. Recently, I threw the question to a group of fellow poker players in Toronto with whom I have been playing for more than a quarter century. Back at our game in May, the group, whom you would think would be liberal voters, was split and four of the six at that game intended to vote conservative.

They evidenced a combination of anger, disappointment and frustration with the liberal government of the time. There was also some unstated homophobia directed at premier Wynne. This was a group adept at reading each other’s ‘tells.’

The worst happened to Ontario in June. We soon learned the hard way some of the unstated intentions of premier Doug Ford. Almost immediately, Ontario learned of his bitterness towards Toronto council. His own caucus at Queen’s Park were as surprised as the rest of us when he deliberately interfered with a municipal election already in process. It was assuaged for the conservative caucus by extra pay for an unusual summer sitting of the Ontario legislature.

His attention wandered from the spurious to the serious throughout our surprise summer. All attention was on Queen’s Park. If a spiteful Doug Ford could not have his way, he would attack our rights and freedoms.

Ford cruelly smashed the hopes of the lottery winners in the liberal government’s scattered test of minimum wage. His counterpoint was a foolish promise for a dollar a beer. His so-called reduction in the price of gasoline disappeared in the vagaries of American gasoline pricing. All Ontario knew was that the oil company cartels were paying their executives well.

We all learned that Ford was just an ignorant climate-change denier. He cancelled cap and trade measures to control pollution that had started working for us and joined the forces of the extreme right to try to block the federal government’s proposed carbon taxes.

How can anyone pretend to respect a liar and a poser and a cruel bastard who can so casually deny workers their rights to a living wage, to job protection when sick and to paid vacation? What Wynne’s liberals finally did for workers so greatly in need of help, Ford will so casually take away.

My question to my friends was serious. How could any decent person approve of Doug Ford’s actions as premier?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Doctors are doubling down.

Monday, October 1st, 2018

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the troubles the medical specialists are causing for the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). To make matters worse, there is now a breakaway movement among the specialists. Nobody seems worried about our hard-working general practitioners (GPs). This is a fight between specialists. It seems the radiologists are pissed with the anesthesiologists.

This might seem like an arcane matter but I can assure you it is all about money. And greed. And entitlement. When people in my Ontario town have to wait for two years to get their cataracts looked after in a process taking just a few minutes, you know that something has gone wrong.

And the only people making money off the doctors are the lawyers.

You would think that many doctors would be happy now that their hero Doug Ford is in power and he will give them whatever they want. Fat chance!

Oh, to be living where we used to in Toronto where our neighbour across the street was one of the city’s top ophthalmologists. He used to laugh and say my family kept him in general practice. And the only time a lecture came with it was when I tried to show my son a trick on his skateboard and broke a bone in my foot.

But today, the radiologists are trying to organize other specialists to break away from the OMA and the weight of all the family doctors who are pulling down the pay scales for the specialists. As things stand, the OMA has been without a contract with the Ontario government for four years and nothing is moving forward with the new government. Meetings with the new premier and his key henchmen have been to no avail. The Ford government has other fish to fry.

You can expect premier Dougie to call for a basin of water so that he can wash his hands of the matter. By letting the question of doctors’ fees go to arbitration, the conservatives can blame the expenditure on the liberals and carry on with their supposed cost cutting.

In the meantime, it will be the same old, same old at the OMA, with the specialists fighting over the spoils. And the only thing that could be worse than today’s OMA is two OMAs.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“What fools these mortals be…”

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Just to show how consistent we humans are, we can use the words of William Shakespeare to describe more recent events. What brings this to mind was a recent Ryerson University democracy forum. Chaired by Martin Regg Cohn of the Toronto Star, the debaters were campaign heads for the three major parties in June’s Ontario election. Regg Cohn’s report on the forum struck us as the most political self-aggrandizement, self-pity and foolishness we have heard for a long time.

And the winner was… surprise, surprise, Kory Teneycke of the progressive conservatives. It is just that we do not agree with what he is bragging about. We could have told him he had won before the campaign even started.

But Teneycke (and I still cannot pronounce that name) gives the credit to his supposedly brilliant digital campaign for the conservatives. And, he uses all the current buzz words such as “curating” messages with the right “algorithms” for “target” audiences.

To have a winner, it is also necessary to have a loser and David Herle of the liberal party makes the perfect goat. The only thing I will not criticize him for was the decision by Premier Wynne to forfeit the election before it was over. That was the stupidest act I had seen in an election in more than 50 years of campaigns.

But David was not above reproach for how he handled the campaign. He actually admits that he had no idea how to handle the negatives on social media about Wynne. He said the liberals did not know how to fight it. He also said he was of the impression that digital advertising was “unpersuasive.”

I will quote my favourite campaign slogan for David: If you cannot push, pull. And if you cannot pull, you best get out of the way.

Bringing up the rear, as usual, was the NDP campaign, headed by Michael Balagus. I would not know him, if I tripped over him. He was certainly complimentary about the conservative use of social media and their own news. It is really too bad that his campaign had no focus, no theme and no hope until Ms. Wynne quit and people who hated Ford were conflicted by being told to vote for Ms. Horwath—who ran her own do-nothing campaign.

But what was unimpressive about the report was Teneycke’s insistence that campaigns would soon be 99 per cent digital. That was the attitude of a loser who did not understand people. It sounds more like some of the worried clergy in the middle ages who did not understand that it would take centuries for the anticipated impact of Herr Gutenberg’s invention. We move faster with technology today but not overnight.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Perchance, a prophet’s pipeline pays profits?

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

If there is bad news among the brochures delivered in the post this day, is the bad news to be blamed on Canada Post? And should a government encourage the building of a pipeline for the transmission of natural gas to replace more seriously polluting coal-fired plants to produce electricity? Do the politicians get plaudits? Or are we, as a caring society, conflicted by these moves?

Listening to Ontario environmental commissioner Dianne Saxe the other day, did not help. It was, without direct accusation, a serious indictment of Ontario’s current conservative government.

But was it, at the same time, an indictment of the Trudeau government in Ottawa? Was it an indirect challenge to the climate change potential of the government’s recently purchased Kinder Morgan pipeline across the Canadian Rockies? Could it be that the expanded pipeline is to be just a blameless delivery mechanism such as Canada Post? Or is it political one-upmanship?

The conservatives and liberals in Ottawa these days are arguing about who is the biggest friend of the pipeline business. Conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer and liberal leader Justin Trudeau are arguing about who has created the most pipelines to take the pollution of Canada’s tar sands to tidewater. These are not just pipelines for crude oil but pipelines for diluted bitumen—that creates more than three times the carbon pollution in being processed to synthetic crude oil products.

And besides, Trudeau must be a prophet—as he can so easily brush aside all the concerns about a high-pressure, dual pipeline spilling bitumen into the ecosystem of the Rockies and the fragile fisheries of the west coast.

Does the liberal government in Ottawa have the right to say “We won” because of the use of taxpayer billions to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline? Does it make Justin Trudeau the prophet, loved of Alberta admirers? Or does it make him the dupe of Albertan greed? And is Alberta premier Rachel Notely but a stalking horse for the greed and ambitions of united conservative party leader Jason Kenney?

And can the prophetic Justin Trudeau profit not from his perfidy? Is there not a federal election in 2019?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Climate Action hits a wall in Ontario.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

To our chagrin and horror the Province of Ontario has turned its back on climate action. In a to-the-point report, environmental commissioner Dianne Saxe made her report to the legislature at Queen’s Park on Tuesday morning. We hear that nobody from the conservative caucus attended.

In the afternoon, the environmental commissioner went to Barrie, in the heart of conservative Ontario and gave her report to a full house. Their provincial government might not care but the people do.

In an open plea to the citizens, the commissioner talked of the environmental challenge facing the province and the ability of citizens to take action. “At a time when Ontario has a huge climate challenge, we are no longer able to have a safe, predictable climate.”

Saxe called on citizens to work around the government to meet the challenge. At a time when the government casts aspersions on the climate challenge, it is business, municipalities, citizens groups, universities that can give direction and do more.

The report makes it clear that climate disruption is already affecting Ontario and there is no doubt of its impact. The report states flatly that “what used to be normal weather is gone.”

The report states that when the government will not do its job, business and citizens have to step forward. This is despite the essential roles that government can play.

Saxe was very positive about the role government has played in Ontario over the past 15 years. She feels that Ontario can only achieve emission reductions with a combination of making polluters pay, developing new solutions and regulating polluters.

The commissioner was critical of the lack of clarity in the cap and trade system of the previous government but felt that it was working. She feels that by dispensing with cap and trade, the current government has not given it time to work and laid itself open to expense for the taxpayers.

She feels that the current government needs to make a commitment, a plan and take action that can continue to be improved. At least the Barrie audience was with her.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

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