Posts Tagged ‘Conservative’

Picking politicians.

Monday, May 7th, 2018

We now have our main candidates here in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. No, nothing exciting. The local liberals had an acclamation. Only one candidate came forward. The conservatives appointed their candidate when Doug Ford got impatient. So much for democracy in the electoral district!

Ford appointed a loser. He is a former Orillia councillor who ran against Jill Dunlop for the Simcoe North nomination. Since he lost to Dunlop, Doug Ford appointed him to run in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte as a consolation prize. His name is Doug Downey and he tells people that he sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—to lose twice in the same election?

Downey is a lawyer and the go-to guy in Severn Township for the conservative party. He has held several political appointments in the Severn Township area.

Downey almost had a rerun of his contest with Jill Dunlop when former MPP Garfield Dunlop filed for nomination papers in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. The senior Dunlop said his bid for the nomination was ignored by the party hierarchy because of his close relationship with former leader and former candidate Patrick Brown. Dunlop said his application was not turned down, it was just ignored.

Without Patrick Brown and a parachuted candidate from outside the electoral district, this will be a much tighter race than was expected this time around. While the rural townships of Springwater and the western half of Oro-Medonte are predominantly conservative, the north half of Barrie has been known to vote liberal. The final recount in the last federal election in the same area was a conservative win by just 86 votes. A better organized and better run liberal campaign in this election could make all the difference.

When the party headquarters sees an electoral district that is that close, they will make sure the leader’s tour makes several calls in the area. In addition, there will be extra attention given to requests from the local campaign.

Not having heard from the liberal candidate yet, I will reserve judgement.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Privacy passing.

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Political wannabes never seem to understand the lost privacy of politics. There is less and less every year. Privacy is a passing possibility.

I can remember back in the early 1980s when taking part in a business conference in Calgary. Former finance minister John Turner was the guest speaker one day and he sort of swore everyone to secrecy before launching into a diatribe against Pierre Trudeau’s policies as prime minister. For someone who was expected to step into Trudeau’s role as liberal party leader in a couple years, it was a vitriolic and apolitical speech.

It was obvious that John had not noticed me at the back of the room. He looked a little concerned when I walked up to him afterwards. I opened with asking him what this confidentiality was about? I told him I had gone to a lot of trouble to make careful notes on what he said for a reporter at the Calgary Herald. He realized that he had just been maligning friends of mine.

But at that time, John got away with it. The days of cell phones with cameras were not on us yet.

What got me thinking about this was a supposedly private meeting Doug Ford, leader of the Ontario conservatives, had with some developers a while ago. It seems someone captured Doug’s comments with a cell phone about the greenbelt around Greater Toronto. He actually told the businessmen that after all, the greenbelt was just ‘farmer fields’ and he thought some 800,000 hectares should be developed. He thinks greenbelt is easy to replace.

As you also heard, the plan was short-lived. It was obvious that Doug Ford knew very little about the greenbelt. He obviously did not understand that the Toronto greenbelt includes the Oak Ridges Moraine that is an aquifer drainage region that provides fresh water for more than six million people in the Toronto region. Doug Ford wants to pave it over. What is amazing about this offer from Ford is that the usually more aware developers seemed to consider it a great idea.

Obviously, at least one of the developers thought it through and gave his cell phone video to the liberal environment minister Chris Ballard at Queen’s Park.  Ballard showed the video to the news media.

Smarter people on the Tory team must have prevailed and the plan was quickly cancelled. It makes you wonder though what other private promises Doug Ford is making to people for their financial support. There must be quite a few greedy people across Ontario who do not like restrictions put in place by government to the benefit of citizens both now and in the future.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Dark days descending on Ontario.

Monday, April 30th, 2018

It is frightening. We have been studying the mood of voters across Ontario and we do not like what we are seeing and hearing. We are not even into the writ period of the coming election. We are hardly ready to prepare our Morning Line this far ahead but some of what we are seeing is disturbing.

It is the same attitude we had trouble with in Mr. Trump’s win in the United States. We could not see how that blustering bastard could pull it off.

No, Doug Ford is not much like Donald Trump. He is a pale imitation. He is a blowhard and incompetent. Most voters already know that

But people who say they are going to vote for him do not care.

That was the factor that we missed with Donald Trump. We thought that rational people would realize that Trump could do irreparable harm to the United States of America.

But people who want retribution do not care. They want to get even.

And there are two fresh factors throwing us a curve in Ontario. The first is the ‘Me Too’ movement. It is driving a serious wedge in the relations between men and women. It is launching a war between the sexes such as we have never seen before. It has gone past justice to just piling on. It is not a swing in attitude to which you have an opportunity to say “Now stop.”

Those of us who have partnered so equally and openly with each other and the LGTB communities over the years are seeing the divisions and the tensions the ‘Me Too’ movement is causing.

The other incident that is horrifying many of us is the van that was driven down Toronto’s Yonge Street on a sunny day in April. We are seeing it as a sick hatred of the other sex by a very disturbed individual. There is a sad feeling that this needs to be addressed. Society has to recognize the problem. There is no pill for it. Doug Ford is not the answer. He is an irrational get even!

You hardly have to love our lesbian premier. She is too cold for the grandmother role.

But she is a politician. She can pull a coalition behind her. She can be trusted. She knows how to handle the job. You do not have to love her.

And for all her weaknesses, she knew what to do after the horror on Yonge Street. She promoted healing. Doug Ford was nowhere to be seen.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Chuckles brings home a report card.

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer has spent the better part of a year in Ottawa as leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. A report card is due. Will we like the report on that purportedly placid Prairie politician?

Will he reprise the docile and easy-going speaker of the house role he played for the former prime minister? Do our parliamentarians still refer to him as ‘Harper’s boy’?

You might be surprised to hear that he has now been retrained as an attack dog and he can be ferocious when standing on his hind legs. He stands in place in the House and almost drools as he focusses in on the prime minister. And it is not to praise him.

Chuckles is quite adamant that our prime minister is an empty suit, a wastrel and a waster of public monies, a hypocrite in his policies and is taking the country in entirely the wrong direction. In fact, according to Chuckles, the liberal leader does nothing right.

His only problem is that very few Canadians pay much attention to what Chuckles has to say in the House of Commons. They do not know him and if they did, they might not like him.

Chuckles is more than a bit boring. He and his wife are practicing Catholics and have five children. He is a social conservative. He has been known among the conservative caucus as Stephen Harper with a smile.  He ran for the leadership last year on a slogan of being a real conservative and a real leader. Not all conservatives believed his slogan. He won on the 13th ballot with 50.9 per cent of the vote over second-place Maxime Bernier’s 49. 1 per cent.

If he really brought home a report card for his first year as opposition leader, it would probably report that he does not always play well with the other children. He has been known to complain that the liberal government has not done something and when they do it, he complains that that they did it. He went to England recently to promote himself with the people back home. He got failing grades in diplomatic relations with the U.K. government.

Chuckles is also busy preparing for his first test as conservative leader in next year’s federal election. The consensus is that he will be lucky to survive as party leader.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“The Long Goodbye.”

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Not to give it the suspense of mystery writer Raymond Chandler’s character Philip Marlowe, but Patrick Brown has taken far too long to say goodbye. It has been two months since he called a hasty news conference at Queen’s Park. Within the day, he was gone from being party leader and poster boy for the Conservative “Guarantee” booklet and a renewed leadership race was on.

To put it mildly, Patrick let the dogs out! We soon understood what his fellow MPPs at Queen’s Park thought of him. His seat in the Ontario Legislature was moved to an out-of-the-way corner. He was ejected from caucus. He was ostracized. Interim leader Vic Fideli did not want him running in the coming provincial election.

The only thing the caucus could not do was prevent him from running in the leadership race to succeed himself. He was in and then he was out without any sensible explanation.

What made no sense at all was the statements that CTV News released from the two women complaining about Brown. One told him she did not want to go to bed with him and he drove her home. The other did not like his penis in her mouth, so he did up his fly and drove her home. Luckily, one of them admitted later that she really was old enough at the time.

But what did these young ladies expect when he invited them up to his bedroom: to play with his electric trains? Patrick needs to pick up his casual companions at a better class of bars. He should also just be friends with his staff and play with ladies in his own age group.

What amazes us though is that Patrick never stops holding himself up for ridicule. Last week, he published a four-page, four-color insert in the local newspaper. It reads like a job application. It is a terrible waste of money but I have a suspicion that the taxpayers footed the bill. It is nothing but self-aggrandisement that takes you through his career at city hall, in parliament in Ottawa and at Queen’s Park. And that was just page one. The next three pages are presented as snapshots of his days in office. All I got out of it was that he has had three jobs, did little and accomplished less. And he has absolutely no idea as to what to do next.

We hope you find a new job soon Patrick.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Fraser Institute starts with conclusions.

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

As any experienced writer can tell you, the toughest challenge is to write a report to a predetermined conclusion. This is also why knowledgeable readers are often skeptical of Fraser Institute reports. It seems as though the institute only pays for reports that favour its right-wing stance.

There was therefore new hope the other day to read one of their reports that was purported to be an analysis of why both the Liberals and Tories in Ontario were wrong on their minimum wage stance. The authors were listed as Charles Lamman and Hugh MacIntyre of institute staff.

The report started by zeroing in on the Liberal government’s approach. There were the typical arguments about lost employment and fewer benefits and fewer hours but little recognition of alternatives such as skills upgrading opportunities offered by the government. The dollars and ‘sense’ of this issue goes far beyond the cold mathematics and cruel assumptions.

The reality today in Ontario is what this report seems to ignore. You have to start with what it costs for food, shelter, clothing and transportation. A minimum wage of less than a living wage is not only cruel but it is designed to keep people at that level. A business that has to rely on its employees working at below a living wage is not a business that we should welcome in our communities. We already make exceptions for the teenagers getting some work experience outside of school hours. That is not how we should pay adults with family responsibilities.

The researchers at least admit that Doug Ford’s PC minimum wage platform is wrong-headed and shows a dreadful lack of knowledge about the provincial tax structure and reality. Ford’s proposal that the minimum be left at $14 per hour and then increase with inflation is an attempt to keep Ontario’s minimum wage workers at below the poverty line.

The Fraser Institute writers further confuse the issue of minimum wage by mixing it with a discussion of a guaranteed minimum income program. While a guaranteed minimum is a desirable direction, Canadians need to understand the privacy they would have to forego, if they opted for that approach. People look to their work and their families for fulfillment in life. Money is not always the first priority.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Stapling, spindling and folding Ford.

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Millennials might not be as familiar with the admonition we used to read on our household bills. Before the Internet, our bills were often delivered to us as data processing punch cards. We dutifully mailed these cards back to the supplier, along with our cheques. It was considered a no-no to mangle the punch card and cause it to clog the mechanical reader.

But in this case, we are thinking of conservative leader Doug Ford as something of a punch card. And we are not all that pleased with how Premier Wynne is handling him. Sure, we started out suggesting that he was Trump-lite but by no stretch is he much like the real Donald Trump.

And the way, Kathleen Wynne is referring to him as Trump-like, it is coming across as a compliment. She cannot afford to forget she is premier. She cannot afford to get down in the mud to wrestle with a pig.

It is alright for her campaign guy David Herle to refer to Ford as a “bit of a dick.” Many of us have called Ford much worse.

As premier, she has to handle Ford smarter. When he accusingly suggests there should be an audit of the books while she has been premier, she has to say: Sure, that is done every year anyway and while that is going on, we could also audit of his company’s books when he was selling labels.

Nobody doubts that Kathleen Wynne is tough. She also needs to prove she is smarter. She has to ridicule him with faint praise. She has to paint a picture of him in short pants. She has to show that he fails to understand the job he is applying for. She has to kindly show that he is nowhere ready for the job.

There was a clip of former mayor Hazel McCallion of Mississauga on the news the other day. Hazel was lacing up her hockey skates. This woman is in her mid-90s and she is still tough as a whip. She should give lessons to much younger Kathleen Wynne.

The premier needs to raise her game for this election. The strongest argument the opposition parties are making is that the liberals have been in power for 15 years. So, what? The liberals have done a hell of a lot of good for this province over that time. Does anyone really think Doug Ford would bring anything other than troubles?

The only people Doug Ford would help are millionaires such as the medical specialists who run the OMA. The bad news for the people on lower incomes, who might think of voting conservative is that Ford would not know what to do to help them. Wynne has to show that Ford only wants the job to feed his own ego.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ford’s flock is fleeting.

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

In analyzing a political situation, you have to weigh many factors. According to the public pollsters, the upcoming Ontario voting seems to be decided. I hate to poop on the pollsters’ parade but you should always check some very pertinent points before buying into the B.S. The questions start with survey technique, sample size, completed interviews, refused and incomplete interviews, qualifying questions, demographic balance, and the percentage who did not have an answer to the basic questions. Without these answers, the pollster might as well have jotted down those percentages on his or her luncheon napkin while asking mother what she thinks.

What we are seeing in the current circumstances is the steady erosion of the Ford share of attention. It is like the small spike likely today for the NDP. They announced some policies and people who normally ignore them felt that they should pay a bit of attention. Changes such as that will continue through to election day. That is the final poll. It is the one that counts.

Ford’s base is not as large as the pollsters are saying. He brought his late brother’s Ford Nation to the party but most already were conservative voters. These are the angry, lower income conservatives in Toronto spread around the inner city in the suburbs. They can do things in municipal elections but can hardly compete with strong, experienced and organized liberal party organizations in the upcoming provincial contest.

Where Ford is showing strength at the moment is in the more determined conservative strongholds in the Greater Toronto Area, with the rural Ontario Landowners Association and the religious right (social conservatives).

But what is floating the Ford bubble are the unsophisticated, new voters either coming of age to vote or recent immigrants gaining their citizenship. These people are naïve about politics and are only hearing the braggadocio of Ford.  There is a continuing and serious imbalance recently in the Ford funnies versus the weary stuff from Wynne. And until Wynne can change those ratios and pull ahead in the social media as well as the traditional media, she will look like a loser.

And the ratios will change. Wynne is not the sort to remain silent. She will be calling out Ford for his lies and obvious ignorance. She will be armed for bear when she debates Ford—if a debate happens. She is going to show those new voters that Ford is a loser.

And nobody loves a loser.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Please come back Patrick Brown.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

We will have to take back some of those nasty names we have called Barrie’s Patrick Brown. Sure, he is a sleazebag but he is hardly as ignorant or as frightening as Doug Ford. If we could just have our choice of sleazebag, I guess we would prefer the one we know.

The main difference between the two conservatives is that Brown is a more experienced politician. He would still not know the difference between a good policy idea or a dumb policy idea but he does know some smart people who would. He got those smart people to create a policy booklet for him that was introduced last November as ‘The People’s Guarantee.’ With that booklet in hand, Patrick’s conservatives were running higher in the polls than where Ford is today.

I must have been laughing as hard as other progressives as we watched Doug Ford slag Patrick’s ‘guarantee’ booklet throughout the conservative’s desperation leadership contest. All leadership candidates had signed pledges that they would run on the ‘guarantee’ booklet’s promises but Doug Ford’s word is not very good. In breaking ranks, he forced the other candidates to break their promises. He trashed Patrick’s promise of a having a carbon tax instead of the Wynne government’s Cap and Trade program.

The carbon tax support was an untypically smart move by Brown. He must have been told that Cap and Trade confuses voters and is too secretive, while a carbon tax is very straight forward and transparent. And since the federal government was saying it would impose a carbon tax anyway, why would Brown not support it?

And Brown would have had the political experience to handle Tanya Granic Allen. The social conservatives with their oppressive demands are scaring Doug Ford but Brown would have Tanya toeing the line or out of the contest to be a conservative candidate. As a social conservative himself, Brown learned the lesson the hard way and he would take control.

If I was a really loyal liberal, I guess I would concede that Ford is easier for Wynne to tear apart in a debate. Did he really agree to that one debate? It is my guess that the conservatives will try to keep Doug Ford as far away from Kathleen Wynne as possible.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A Truth Squad for Doug Ford?

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Here is a million-dollar idea for the Ontario liberals. It came to me as I read the news that the party was going to waste a million dollars on television advertisements to tell Ontario voters that Doug Ford tells lies. I suppose I should charge them, but it was not my idea. It belonged to the late Keith Davey, the master political strategist for the Liberal Party in the last half of the 20th Century.

It was Keith’s idea but he had to get the approval of Walter Gordon who was liberal campaign manager in 1963 and party leader Lester Pearson. Nobody was enthused. The toughest arguments against it were by liberal stalwart Judy LaMarsh, whom Keith wanted to head up the truth squad. I was just a young volunteer at the time but I knew that John Diefenbaker would tear into her.

Judy and her troop were welcomed by prime minister Diefenbaker at the first event and there were seats reserved for them at the front of the hall. It was classic Diefenbaker when he tore into them. Judy and team only needed to take Mr. Diefenbaker’s scorn at two more events before Keith said “That is enough.”  He had made his point.

The strategist’s point was that Mr. Diefenbaker was making free with the truth and the news media did the best job of telling the voters. Everyone was laughing but it was at Mr. Diefenbaker’s expense.

And that is the objective with Doug Ford. The difference was that Mr. Diefenbaker was a wily old Prairie lawyer, skilled at talking around the truth. Doug Ford simply does not know what he is talking about.

A good example is his promise to fire the chief executive of Hydro One. Ford cannot imagine anyone earning six million a year and so he will fire him. The only trouble is to do that he would have to start by firing the entire board of Hydro One. And only then could he fire the chief executive officer. By the time the dust settled on the law suits involved, the company could have another $20 million or more to make up from electricity transmission rates.

If the liberals just keep making the point that Doug Ford does not know what he is doing, they can turn around those ridiculous public opinion polls. The 2018 provincial election in Ontario is far from decided.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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