Posts Tagged ‘Doug Ford’

The existential Doug Ford?

Friday, December 6th, 2019

For today’s philosophy class, we are going to debate whether or not we have seen the real Doug Ford, premier of Ontario, this past week? When we saw him in action at the premiers’ meeting at the Toronto Airport on Monday, are we to assume that all the premiers were acting out for the national audience that would be seeing them on the late day news? And where was the Doug Ford who rarely came out of hiding during the recent national election campaign?

As much as you wished he was in rehab, he must have been in training at a political obedience school. Obviously, somebody got to him. It was like the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Instead of the boorish, brash and boisterous Doug Ford, we have all grown to hate, we saw a civilized version of deceased brother Rob Ford. Rob always was the Ford brother who understood politics. The older brother was just a load of bull in a china shop.

But what have we here? Ford shows up in the Toronto hotel, where the premiers were meeting, with a cheesy load of Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys. It was the old political chestnut of giving the local team’s jersey to the visiting politician. Whoever on Ford’s staff dreamed that one up has been in politics far too long.

And you would think that with all the trouble Dougie has gotten himself into as a climate-change denier, there would have been some gas pump stickers for his fellow premiers. They also need to assure their voters that fighting carbon should not cost money for the major polluters across Canada.

But was any of it real? (That is what we mean by existential.) Seeing as how the communique from this type of meeting is agreed upon well in advance, there was nothing contentious in it. There was no mention of pipe lines that Quebec does not like or dress codes denoting religion that Quebec does not like—and someone else might like. They want you to think the premiers are a harmonious group—not a troublemaker in the bunch!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

When you don’t trust your MPP.

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

To get this straight, you can be sure I never voted for this guy. Doug Downey MPP does not live in our Barrie riding. He has been the go-to guy for Ontario conservatives up in Severn Township in north Simcoe County. I expect, his appointment as candidate in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte in the last provincial election was a reward for his loyalty. As Doug Ford’s attorney general, he seems more of a disaster than his predecessor, Caroline Mulroney.

This embarrassing subject came up earlier today when a friend called me to check on any update I might have on funding of legal aid in Ontario. This was one of the stupider cuts attempted earlier this year by the Ford government. The last I had noted on the subject was a lecture Dave Lametti, the federal attorney general, gave Downey in June about the formula used to assess the federal and provincial sharing of legal aid costs.

But if you are really curious about the failings of Ontario’s attorney general, you should note the current hue and cry for his head by senior lawyers. It seems Ford and Downey are displeased with the non-partisan method of appointing competent judges in Ontario. This province has one of the most respected systems in Canada for vetting and recommending prospective judges.

But Ford and Downey seem bent on replacing this proven system with their own patronage-based system for worthy conservatives. The non-partisan system that they were dishonouring in this manner was the legacy of the late Ian Scott, the liberal attorney general for the former Peterson government. The difference between Downey and Scott is that Downey is a small-town lawyer and Scott was a highly regarded law professor.

It appears that since Ford was unsuccessful in putting a crony in charge of the provincial police that they are still looking for patronage opportunities.

What is even more discouraging about the Ford government in Ontario is its bumbling, ill-considered cost cutting that ends up costing far more in penalties, catch-up and reparation. They should take the time to think things through. They should be willing to listen to complaints about delayed action instead of taking precipitous action.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Day of the Blacksmith.

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

We might be just one of many commentators trying to fathom the actions of Alberta’s premier. The other day, the province’s main apologist, Gillian Steward, reported in the Toronto Star that premier Jason Kenney’s threats to take Alberta and run away from home were getting louder every day.

What amuses me about this protest from the West is that Steward refers to Kenney as the alpha male of the conservative party. To suggest that a 51-year old bachelor who is a practicing misogynist is the alpha male, does not say much for men in the conservative party.

Maybe we are just going to have to accept the fact that Andrew Scheer is the best they have to offer. Nobody seems to want Ontario’s Doug Ford sticking his nose into the federal foxhole.

But to explain the blacksmith reference in the headline; It is just that we have heard all this B.S. from Jason Kenney before. I remember the nineteen-sixties in Ottawa when everyone was asking what does Quebec want? Whatever it was hardly mattered because they were never going to get whatever it was.

It was the blacksmith blaming the farrier for the lack of horses to shoe in the time of the automobile.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau committed the ultimate environmental faux pas when he bought the Trans Mountain pipeline in an attempt to placate Alberta’s greed. If it was just a gesture of conciliation and had been stipulated as only for processed oil products, he might have been able to get a short term laissez passé from the environmentalists. The aboriginals would know that oil clean-ups would bring money but diluted bitumen would bring disaster. And the environmentalists also know that diluted bitumen could spell the death of the world’s remaining Orcas coming to the Strait of Georgia.

It was likely just blacksmiths who turned their talents to tool and die making who survived in the age of the automobile.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“Regrets, I’ve had a few…

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

That is not contrition. When Frank Sinatra sang Paul Anka’s song My Way, he said those regrets were too few to mention. The listener is left wondering what is left untold that he does not mention. It is the same as Ontario premier Doug Ford’s crushing changes to the province’s welfare system. This cruel exercise in false populism has led to restoring one aspect after another of social welfare payments to desperate people. And yet we are left wondering, what cuts are yet to be mentioned? How do we restore faith in the government?

And what has this government proved by its actions?

We know that this is an ideological government. It is a vindictive government. It is a government that is led by an incompetent.

It has been very interesting watching Education minister Stephen Lecce try to clean up the mess in education left behind by Lisa Thompson. Thompson, as minister, did what the ideologues in the Ford cabinet demanded in terms of class sizes, in hopes of savings in teachers’ salaries. Nobody had considered the fact that teachers and school staff across Ontario were ready to negotiate new contracts this fall. Lecce made sure there was some very quick footwork in the ministry to restore jobs and improve student/teacher ratios. He and the government still face tough bargaining.

There is also little question that the back tracking on amalgamating municipalities is saving Ford’s government from further confrontations. It is still hard for the premier himself to find an audience that will not boo him in Toronto. There is little question but that Doug Ford kept the federal conservatives from any inroads into the Greater Toronto Area in the recent federal election. He gave conservatism a bad name.

It comes as no surprise that he is now making vague promises to be a little more careful. Most school yard bullies will make that promise. We will just need to wait and see.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Singh’s sendoff into the sunset.

Friday, October 11th, 2019

New democratic party leader Jagmeet Singh is not going quietly. He caught some wind in his sails from that disgrace of an English debate this past week and is running with it. It was such a bad debate that Singh came out looking better than usual. And yet, it is the cruelest of deceptions to think he is on a level playing field with the two major parties in the election. Reality will return.

And reality is that we can expect the Orange Wave to be washed from the Quebec electoral scene. Few seats in Quebec will hold for the NDP? The NDP are going back to Ottawa with a greatly depleted number of seats. How many less is the question?

There is no future for a third-party leader to go through the election insulting the two leading party leaders. All it does is emphasize the futility of his position. It makes him sound mean and angry. It says to loyal NDPers that a vote for their new democratic candidate is just aiding a less progressive party candidate.

It is admittedly more difficult for a third-party leader to stay above the fray when the two leading contenders are constantly reminding the voters of each other’s weaknesses. In the end, it just turns off the voters to both.

Babel-on-the-Bay is hardly the only progressive commentary that refers to the conservative leader as ‘Chuckles.’ The man looks like a clown and often acts like one.

The biggest laughs in this federal campaign, at least in Ontario, are that the conservative leader can actually campaign in this province without ever mentioning our conservative premier Doug Ford. Wait until you see how fat Ford is getting, sitting in his Queen’s Park office and fuming. He hardly took out a gym membership during the legislature’s extended holiday.

But Doug Ford will recover and Jagmeet Singh might not. My guess is that the NDP will soon be looking for another saviour. I hear there is a former Alberta NDP premier looking for a challenge.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Jason Kenney: Doug Ford’s understudy.

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Every actor needs an understudy. It just seems appropriate for the much-detested premier Doug Ford in Ontario to have a truly obnoxious stand-in during the federal election. It is conservative leader Andrew Sheer’s good buddy, Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta, who was standing in for premier Ford this past weekend.

It seems that nobody trusts Ford to behave. What makes them think Jason Kenney is housebroken is open to question?

But real conservatives love Kenney. He is a misogynist, selfish, mean-spirited and a global warming denier. Since he was at a Catholic college in San Francisco, he has shown his dislike for women. He is a social conservative but insists on calling his upcoming budget slashing in his province by the more diplomatic words: fiscal restraint.

To put it simply, Kenney thinks he can hide the fact he is a weasel by telling people he is really a loveable koala. He has the majority of Alberta voters convinced he is the second coming of Peter Lougheed. They think he is going to get the Trans Mountain pipeline twinned so that the province can ship diluted bitumen to Pacific nations and carry on the free ride for Alberta taxpayers while the foreign owners of their tar sands companies get rich.

It was reported that when Kenney was in Toronto, he was busy campaigning at Buddhist temples and checking out the dim sum at local restaurants.

But while campaigning for the conservative candidate in Doug Ford’s federal riding, Doug Ford was nowhere to be seen. In helping that conservative candidate in Ford’s riding, Kenney was campaigning against Ford’s late brother Rob’s widow, who is running for the People’s party. It is assumed that not everything has been patched up between Ford and his sister-in-law.

Jason Kenney also visited Ottawa while he was in Ontario. This might just have been nostalgia for the time Kenney was playing a role in the Harper government—a much bigger pond than the Alberta legislature.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Doug Ford: The man who isn’t here.

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

We hear that premier Doug Ford is low bridging this federal election. It is at the begging of his friend Andrew Scheer. Conservative leader Scheer did not want to be upstaged by his provincial supporter. Scheer’s handlers have enough trouble convincing voters that ‘Chuckles’ is not just a tool for the premiers.

It is hardly surprising that Scheer’s opponents travel around Ontario always mentioning the conservative leader and his provincial pal in the same breath.

But an education workers strike that will hit Ontario next week will be the convincer. It will be a fine example of what conservative policies will mean. Electing Scheer would mean erratic cuts in critical fields of government responsibility. Just one example will be a disaster for companies that export around the world. The other day Scheer said he would cut the small amount of foreign aid that Canada provides by 25 per cent. Just think of that as creating another 25 per cent decline in foreign purchases.

And Doug Ford does not need to say anything to make that connection. He is not just a blow-hard who recklessly cuts programs needed to help people. He is a man who thinks wealth has its privileges. He lied his way through the last Ontario election, saying he was ‘For the People.’

As soon as he was elected, he showed his vindictive side and proceeded to get even with the people of Toronto by cutting the number of councillors to a minimum that could not do the job for constituents. He downloaded social costs to municipalities stripping them of their ability to budget effectively and he took away municipal control of their mass transit operations. Doug Ford has since turned his sights on the health and education portfolios of the Ontario government. He has cut and has had to restore programs critical for the sick. He has reduced the number of teachers and increased class sizes in our schools.

This is the conservative strategy for all of Canada. It would be bare bones government if we elect Andrew Scheer and the conservatives on October 21.

And if you do not think he is like his friend Doug Ford, you did not pay attention when Scheer was speaker of the house of commons for the last four years of the Harper conservative regime. It was an unruly, disrespectful government and past legislation that shamed Canadians. We do not want to go backward.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Death by a thousand tax cuts.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Canadian voters are being nickel-dimed and conned by their politicians. Even Elizabeth May and her greenies have joined into the game of making promises, with funds, from where, they do not really know. It is a game that voters should not buy. Let’s face facts: Sheer is no savior, Trudeau is untrained in being a trustee, Singh will be lucky if there is a party with him after the election And Ms. May and her rag-tag army would not last a day in a real battle for the environment.

It is time for everyone to take a dose of reality before they vote. You are deemed to be adults, you know! You are supposed to have some idea about what you are doing.

Those wonderful people out on the Wet coast are fighting a desperate action to protect their Orcas, their pristine mountains and the best ski hills in the Americas.

Our people in Alberta, who blew all the money from their first oil bonanza, are lying to themselves that bitumen will make their foreign investors and themselves rich again. And Saskatchewan and Manitoba want to be part of that rodeo?

Ontario is facing its own disaster with the guy running the circus at Queen’s Park. If they can survive that fiasco, Ontario voters are ready to take on the world.

Quebec is still cloistered with its own demons as the anger of the past passes into a confused history. And God bless the Atlantic provinces as they provide Canadians with an anchor.

Everybody should pay attention to the upcoming televised leaders’ debates. Make your own decision. And if you cannot believe any of those people, check out your riding candidates. Try to pick the smartest liberal or conservative. You need someone in a position to do something. They will need to know what they are getting into. We need people who can make a difference.

And do not worry about all the promises. Few of them will be kept.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“How dare you?” Greta Thunberg.

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Somebody must have explained to the 16-year old from Sweden that you have to be brash to get noticed in North America. She would be quite unlikely to say ‘How dare you?’ to her elders back home in Sweden. Yet it worked at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Tuesday.

But the point is that it took that small-sized girl to tell hundreds of climate representatives from around the world that their climate change plans are inadequate to save the planet.

She is coming to Montreal to take part in a climate awareness march on Friday. Many schools are shutting down for the day to encourage their students to take part. And if our politicians also pay attention, it will be worthwhile.

But it is tough in a country that has climate change deniers ruling key provinces and contending in the current election. We have the premier of Alberta fighting to get the Trans Mountain pipeline twinned so that more polluting bitumen from the tar sands can be shipped to other countries to pollute some more. And he is supported by the premier of Ontario, our largest province, the other Prairie premiers and the leader of the national conservatives, Andrew Scheer.

“How dare you,” Mr. Scheer? And, “how dare you,” Mr. Trudeau?

Yes, Canadians also want to know what prime minister Trudeau intends to do with that pipeline.

Canada cannot even meet its reduced carbon emissions by 2030, let alone the proposed new targets for 2050. Maybe our politicians are hoping they will not have to take responsibility for their failures in another 30 years. Will the politicians of 2050 just move the targets to 2100? What will be the point if nothing is left? Do we want a planet, no longer worth saving? Is greed to decide our world’s future? Are we sewing the whirlwind that will destroy our world?

“How dare we?”

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

They’re not your father’s conservatives.

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

What happened to the red Tories? Is the decency of Ontario’s once premier Bill Davis a memory of the past? Whatever happened to the conservatives with whom I could share a joke? I used to like many of these people. They worked hard for charities. They were good neighbours. They would listen to your liberal proposals. They were honourable and respected people.

At all levels of government today, the conservatives are disappointing us. The saddest are on municipal councils, awaiting their opportunity to move up the ladder. In my Ontario riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, we have another empty suit from city council wanting to move up and also do nothing in Ottawa but vote the party line.

I was laughing the other day at his lame offer to voters to restore the Lake Simcoe environmental clean-up program. It seems that he blames the liberals for ending the program. Actually, the program ended when the conservatives said that it would end. The job was as complete as it would get. The only serious phosphate pollution left that is destroying Lake Simcoe is either airborne or washed in from farmers’ fields. I would love to see the first conservative politician in Ontario who tries to do something about that.

Maybe, he should talk to his friend premier Doug Ford about that problem.

But what really gets me about the promises, that Andrew Scheer is running around the country making, are the boutique style cuts that are really only for his rich friends. These are promises such as money for start-up businesses, or if you spend money for your kids’ sports, fitness programs or registered education savings, or travel to work by public transit or commuter trains or want your parental benefits tax free. These are ideas launched by the Harper conservatives that almost require you to have very thorough tax accountants doing your taxes. If these programs ever come into existence again, they will make a lie of the ability of the average Joe and Josephine being able to do their own taxes.

Many people have a hard time separating the Ontario conservatives at Queen’s Park from the Stephen Harper style conservatives in Ottawa. The lack of decency, the mean-spirited approach does not suggest the type of people we want running this country.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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