Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

Harper’s henchmen halted.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Calamitous cost of change.

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

Talking, the other day, about how lawyers are the only ones happy with the Ford government in Ontario, you have to admit that is our own fault. Did we really have a clue as to what it would cost the voters to throw out the McGinty/Wynne government? This might be the only reason I might consider proportional representation.

We simply cannot afford to have alternative governments throwing out the baby, the bath water and our tax money every time some of us get mad and change governments. If each government is going to spend much of its first year in office throwing out the programs of the previous government, we are in a great deal of trouble—and wasting large amounts of money.

Look at the monies being spend in America today as Trump tries to kill Obamacare. Trump is a child at a fair who wants every prize on the midway. He sure is making America great again—great at spending money that it has to borrow from China.

Doug Ford in Ontario has already proved that he is an idiot. He promised the voters that it would cost them nothing to get rid of the president of Hydro One. I wish he would fire me for a $9 million settlement. And we would only be guessing to estimate the final settlement with the rest of the board.

The most serious cost with Dougie is that he is a global warming denier. He does not give a damn about the environment. In a world of wind turbines, Dougie would rip them all out of the ground in Ontario. He has scrapped the support for electric cars. He is fighting the federal carbon tax in court.

I hate to admit that the best answer to this type of government upset is to move to proportional representation. Under a proportional voting system Dougie and his party would probably be to-day’s official opposition in Ontario. The conservatives might have had 40 per cent of the votes but it would have likely been Andrea Horwath and her new democrats who would have formed the government with the support of the liberals. Neither of these parties would have made a deal with Dougie!

Admittedly, under a proportional system of government, it takes longer to get things done. It can also stop someone like Dougie from screwing things up.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

 

It’s ‘Scheer’ Madness.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Checking reports from last week’s conservative conclave in Halifax has not indicated any serious policy directions for the party in next year’s election. It was Maxime Bernier who sucked all the air out of the beginning of the event and it became just a footnote to Bernier’s farewell.

But what else did the conservatives really decide? What are they presenting to Canadians next year? Do they have any answers to global warming? Unless they think denying global warming is a political strategy in itself?

All that the public is hearing in most provinces is that the conservatives do not want a carbon tax and they support pipelines. And the Ontario and Saskatchewan conservative governments are taking the federal government to court over the issue of a carbon tax.

It sounds to this Ontario voter like the conservatives will continue to elect their Neanderthal MPs in the three Prairie provinces and will be decimated everywhere else.

Looking across the country, it looks like the Atlantic provinces voters will mostly ignore the conservative issues, Quebec is ambivalent, as its provincial cap and trade system seems to be working. Ontario will be the only fighting ground but Scheer is no Doug Ford and he is not offering much to Ontario. (And when you have a Ford for premier why would you need another fool defending Fortress Ottawa.)

Where Scheer will hit a wall is when it comes to B.C. He will be playing second fiddle to Trudeau on the pipeline and the NDP will be making hay as the natural successor to both parties.

It is when you do the analysis across the country is when you realize that the sunny days are over for the liberal’s Justin Trudeau. He is headed for a minority. He cannot have his pipeline and save the environment and his job at the same time. He is going to have to stay home and learn to manage parliament. He is failing on too many files. His only advantage is Scheer.

Scheer’s conservatives are marching in many different directions today and it is obvious that they have no idea where they are going. If they could find out where the country wants to go, they could become more effective.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Beauce’s Bernier bugs-out.

Monday, August 27th, 2018

‘Bug-out’ is an American military term for the rapid advance to the rear of troops or an installation about to be over-run by enemy combatants. It is also an appropriate term for political people deserting their political party in the face of sure and certain defeat. And that is the most likely scenario for Canada’s conservatives next year as we head into a general election.

And it is the party’s fault. The foolish drill down to the least competent of the conservative candidates in last year’s leadership contest practically guaranteed that outcome. The objective of the leadership vote was to be the first to have a majority in a countdown of voting outcomes on a preferential ballot. All it proved was that Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer of Saskatchewan was the least offensive of the 14 candidates and that Maxime Bernier of Quebec was the second least offensive. Neither was first choice and nobody seemed to to be impressed with their relative ability to lead.

As many have noted for the past year, conservative MPs in the Commons seemed to be doing their own thing anyway. It was hardly just a libertarian such as Bernier that was out there pitching for himself. Quite a few of the likely replacements for Scheer have been out building their own brand. The smartest of these is former federal minister of everything Jason Kenney who returned to Alberta to unite the right and hopefully return his province to the conservative fold.

Bernier was more than convinced that Scheer was leading the conservatives nowhere. At a time when Justin Trudeau’s liberals were proving themselves incompetent on many fronts, Scheer was failing to mount a meaningful opposition. Bernier complained that, under Scheer, the party lacked conservative principles and was morally corrupt.

Bernier’s announcement last week that he was leaving the conservative party came as little surprise to political observers. Whether he will entertain an opportunity to take over the already existing Libertarian Party or launch a completely new party will depend on his fund-raising prospects. The extremes of libertarian principles that Bernier espouses seem very similar to the far right-wing conservatism of people such as Doug Ford.

In the long run, it should serve to bring Jason Kenney back to federal politics. He will have to come back to Ottawa to unite the right across the country.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Dougie doesn’t define Ontario.

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Watching the first session of the new Ford government at Queen’s Park was a letdown. It was regressive, loud, uncivil, sexually repressed and barely disguised in its bigotry. The sea of white faces on the government side is barely broken by any ethnicity. Dougie does not do diversity.

And this is definitely not a government for the people. It is a government for the red-necked farmers of the Ontario Landowners. The association hates wind turbines, gun controls, carbon taxes and liberals.

It is also a government of the gated communities around the Greater Toronto Area. “I’ve got mine,” they will tell you. Go get your own!”

It is a government that resents the concerns and warnings of the concerned and the environmentalists. It scoffs at global warming. They only open the windows in their SUVs to throw out the used Tim’s cups.

It is a government that stages news for the gullible. It uses its underlings to smother the legitimate questions of the news media. It has foisted an incompetent leader on the public, to defeat a government worn by weariness of governance.

It is a government that panders to the sexually repressed of the religious right. “Don’t teach our kids about sex,” they snarl. “Let them learn about it with all the vulgarities of the streets like we did.”

Some in Ontario thought they were voting for the progressive conservatives of Premier Bill Davis’ era. They are learning the difference.

This is a government that will shut down safe injection sites, “Unproved,” they tell us. They are not in the business of saving those lives.

This is a government that saves money for tax cuts by cutting a proposed increase of 3 per cent to 1.5 per cent in the already inadequate funds for the Ontario disabled (ODSP).

This is a government that is suing the federal government for proposing a carbon tax in provinces that are without one. They do not believe in it.

This is a government led by a homophobe. Enough said.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Dougie’s dummies don’t do doubts.

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

This summer session of the Ontario legislature showed that Dougie and the dummies do not do deep thinking. It is not their style. As the government of Ontario, we can expect scatterbrained legislation, shallow thinking, ignorance and precipitous actions. And that will be on the good days.

After all, he told us that this government is for the people. Now if you can just figure out who the hell those people might be, you will have a leg up on the rest of us.

Dougie is an old-fashioned salesman. He is all bluster. He has no idea what anything should cost. Lucky for the gang back at Deco Labels, he is too busy being premier to help them run the company. They could not be happier,

But he knows what he does not like as well. He does not believe that gun controls work. He does not believe in global warming. He does not believe a carbon tax can do any good. He does not believe that kids should know anything about sex. He thinks a test of guaranteed income is worthless.

Dougie told us he was going to save us money by trimming the fat at Queen’s park. He started by trimming the fatuous at Toronto city hall.

And yet, Dougie does know city hall. He spent four years there trying to help his brother who spent his time drunk and smoking crack. Dougie tried to get the mayoral job when his brother died but a fellow conservative beat him.

He was going to take another run at Toronto city hall this year but the job of premier opened up and he thought that might be more fun. And he can run Toronto from Queen’s park even easier than from city hall.

I liked his thinking—or whatever he does instead of thinking—on this one. He knows how long city hall meetings can go on when you have more than 40 people arguing the issues. He decided that arguments would not take as long if you had less people arguing. All he did was cut the number of councillors in half. It might have saved a bit on salaries but he probably saved far more in air conditioning costs with the reduction of the hot air in the building.

But that is about as deep as Dougie can get. He does not seem interested in dialogue or musings. He certainly has no doubts about himself. He does not care about the doubts of others either. There are lots of people wondering if when Dougie takes a break, can we get a break at the same time?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Musing on Maxime’s Maxims.

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Maxime Bernier MP does not endear himself. It is not so much his conservatism as his libertarianism. I have met some pretty far right Quebec politicians before but Bernier likes to use his ideas for shock and awe. It gets him lots of media coverage—not all good.

Bernier rides the razor’s edge of racism. He is definitely tribal but he sees no future in being tied to the Parti Québécois. The left-wing péquistes have little appeal. Even the conservative comers in the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) are not far enough to the right for him. He has national ambitions anyway.

If it were not for the foolish system of voting in that last federal conservative party race, he might be leader of the conservative party of Canada today. Instead the system drilled the party down to mediocrity in multiple ballots and they got ‘Chuckles’ Scheer of Saskatchewan instead.

It is that mediocrity in leadership that has saved Bernier from being bounced from the party. Instead of sending the loudmouth to Coventry, Scheer just freed him to spread discontent among the party. Just one more wrong step for Scheer at a time when Justin Trudeau is becoming more vulnerable.

Bernier’s latest faux pas is to accuse prime minister Trudeau of “radical multiculturalism”—whatever the hell that is? It seems Bernier is concerned that the PM is encouraging a lot of smaller tribes instead of the more traditional English-French tribes. Since Bernier and Trudeau are on equal footing with the English-French tribes, it looks like Bernier does not want anyone else in the running.

Bernier complained the other day about these “little tribes” created by Trudeau are causing division. He seems to see them as failing to accept North American values. He complains that they do not immediately appreciate our freedoms and are less eager to accept our openness and tolerance.

I do not know where Bernier grew up but I grew up in Toronto and I watched many of my friends’ immigrant parents struggle with what some saw as the licentious nature of our society. It was tough for them and all we could do for them was to be understanding and recognize why they felt as they did.

To-day, we look at the second and third generation of those families and we see the value that they brought to this country. We are long past Maxime Bernier’s English-French divide. He needs to look around.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A summer of silly slogans.

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

It has to be this hot summer. It is either that or we have some of the stupidest politicians in the world right here in tropical Ontario. Premier Ford and a few of his political cronies took a road trip—with news media in tow—back down the Highway of Heroes to Prince Edward County the other day. It was all in aid of a silly slogan about “A buck a beer.”

The conservative politicians—in their suits and ties—were heading for a beer pub down the highway that had agreed to their doing a political stand-up comedy routine there for “A buck a beer.” In the news clips produced at the small brew pub, Dougie and his buddies looked like idiots handling craft-beer cans back and forth.

Dougie kept spouting this silly suggestion that beer drinkers will be able to pay just a buck for a beer by Labour Day weekend. If they saw it, millions of Ontario beer drinkers must have been wondering what Dougie was drinking.

Nobody in their right mind was going to believe that any brew pub could afford to sell their product to the public for just a buck a beer. Nor was anyone so gullible as to think the foreign owners of the commercial brands in Ontario were about to give away their traditional brews for just a buck a beer. If you can tell me were I can get a two-four of Molson for just $24 plus deposit, I will be in line right behind you.

The point is—for anyone who would like to believe Dougie—the Ontario government does set the minimum price for beer in Ontario. They do that to encourage something called “responsible drinking.” The province also imposes what is sometimes referred to as a “sin’ tax or an alcohol tax. This charge for being booze is in addition to the usual harmonized sales tax that is split between the feds and province—as well as the fed’s ‘sin’ tax.

But, surprise, surprise, our Dougie is not even considering lowering any taxes. No sir. He wants full measure from the sin taxes to allow him to create tax savings for his fellow millionaires.

He obviously thinks the Liquor Control Board of Ontario will strong-arm one or two craft brewers into doing a ‘Buck a Beer’ promotion through the liquor stores for Labour Day weekend. You should not expect stocks of $1 beer (plus deposit) to last through the Saturday of the long weekend.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Folks find Ford far from frugal.

Monday, August 6th, 2018

We are told that Ontario premier Doug Ford is going to sue prime minister Justin Trudeau. And he is going to use our money to do it. I hardly see how that is going to please Ontario residents. Other than our money going to enrich a bunch of lawyers, what is the point? Why is premier Ford using our money to massage his ego?

This does not make sense. Why should this guy use our money? He is supposed to be a millionaire. Why should he not have some skin in the game?

This is the guy who promised us all kinds of savings in the provincial government. The only cuts in spending we have seen so far are the announced cuts by the lady with the sharp pencil from Oshawa in the increase in proposed spending, such as for the mentally ill. That is a less than impressive saving!

Ford promised us that it would cost us nothing to fire the guy running Hydro One. It seems ‘nothing’ is more like $9 million. Bad math Dougie!

That social services minister from Hell, Lisa MacLeod, did her part. She shaved half of a three per cent raise in funds for people on disability payments. Maybe she figures that will hold those shirkers!

It is what Lisa did to the people expecting two more years of the test of guaranteed income that caused the greatest shock. These people were rebuilding their lives under the test program that the conservatives promised would continue. No, it is not. The Ford cabinet changed its mind.

But, do you note that most of these cuts were in proposed increases. Nothing has been saved, it was all future spending. Yet it is alright to spend $30 million to make lawyers richer on a law suit that will go nowhere.

And the laugh in all of this is that the law suit will be under the management of a lawyer who has only practised law in New York State. Attorney General Caroline Mulroney will likely have her application against the federal government’s carbon tax plan thrown out of the Ontario court of appeal by a judge who has much more important matters on his or her calendar. And there are definitely fewer guarantees that the other version of the carbon tax case being sent to the supreme court jointly by Ontario and Saskatchewan will get much further.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ford’s Valkyrie are in flight.

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Cue the Wagnerian music. Ford’s Valkyrie are choosing who lives and dies in Ontario. While Ford makes war on his old colleagues in Toronto city hall, his cabinet Valkyrie are slashing and burning liberal attempts at humanity. Both Christine Elliott as health minister and Lisa MacLeod as social services minister are busy gutting desperately needed programs and program increases for the people.

It seems Doug Ford, in his drive to be the new premier of Ontario, forgot to tell us what “For the People’ meant. It certainly did not include the halt the lame, the mentally ill and the indigent. It certainly did not include either old and tired social assistance programs or new program trials.

Christine Elliott is on the fast track, in her secondary role as deputy premier. She had the first kick at the increase planned for mental health spending in Ontario. At a time when mental health patients are slipping through the cracks in the system, she cancelled an increase in spending. It seems we are leaving the serious problems for the police. And we all know how rarely the police know what to do in dealing with the mentally ill—if they do not shoot them first?

Mind you Lisa MacLeod was surprisingly generous. She found that there was a planned three per cent increase due for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) which can pay up to $1151 per month depending on rent. At a time when a staple such as peanut butter has gone up about 20 per cent, that increase of about $30 per month was going to be welcomed by all recipients, So Lisa MacLeod reduced the increase to 1.5 per cent. Maybe she might think the recipients will be half as pleased. Not that they would be likely to vote conservative anyway.

But it was Lisa MacLeod’s telling the news media of the killing of the basic income program test that caught everyone off guard. We were promised that this test would continue under a conservative government. It seems they lied.

Oh well, it was a foolish test that Kathleen Wynne did not seem to understand and would have proved little. They were not testing the impact of the program against another community of equal size. They cherry-picked individuals within some communities to test. I have no idea what that proves about a guaranteed annual income program?

Obviously, for conservatives, it proves nothing.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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