Posts Tagged ‘Doug Ford’

Dougie has “lost the plot.”

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

A chap from ‘Ole Blighty’ was talking the other day about the United Kingdom’s prime minister Boris Johnson. He said “Bo-Jo has lost the plot.” The description fits too many politicians today. Johnson is just one of many. America’s Trump certainly fits the part. The Donald seems to have never read the script. The point is that there are too many pseudo politicians today who think the play is about them. And it is more serious the closer they are to home.

Consider Ontario premier Doug Ford. He has the news media all excited that they are seeing a new Doug Ford because of the job he appears to be doing on the pandemic.

They seem to forget that this is the candidate who was least qualified for the job of premier in Ontario. He came into the job two years ago in total ignorance of what the position entailed. His first serious action was to get even with the Toronto politicians who ridiculed him when he was a Toronto councillor in the seat of his late brother Rob. In a truly destructive act, he cut the number of Toronto city council seats in half when the election process was already underway.

His first cabinet was a collection of prima donnas and blowhards. They were playing their own games and he soon had to start replacing bad actors. Caroline Mulroney quickly proved that her training and experience in New York was of little use in Ontario. But again, legal experience was hardly the consideration when Dougie replaced Mulroney with a small-town ward healer from Severn, up near Orillia. He put a trusted sycophant in finance and replaced a fumbling education minister with a slick operator who had interned with Stephen Harper.

But what really happened was the coronavirus. Both Dougie and his health minister found they had no choice but follow the lead of Ottawa and the health professionals. The only thing that would keep Dougie from getting into serious trouble in the next two years would be if the pandemic lasted that long.

The point is, Dougie does not know how to be a good premier.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The new Ford is still a Model T.

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Not to be confused with products of the Ford Motor Company, today’s comment is about Ontario premier Doug Ford. It harks back a hundred years to that time when you could have any colour of Ford Model T, as long as it was black. And you need to face facts Ontario, the model Ford you bought in the 2018 provincial election is the same ignorant, blowhard you are seeing today.

Just because an incautious news media tells you Doug Ford has changed, why should you believe it? Why do you think he usually appears for those Queen’s Park briefings with two or three of his more credible ministers? This does not display self-confidence. This is a man relishing his time of control but ready to step aside and let someone else take the blame.

His favourite fall-guy is minister of education, Stephen Lecce. While the pandemic takes away the headlines, Lecce has been quietly giving in to teachers’ demands for when classes are returned. And watching him in action, you have to admit, the pandemic has taken much of the wind from Lecce’s sails.

Ford might think he has been smart to keep health minister Christine Elliott in the forefront. If only that lady knew how to dress for her job and control her facial muscles when listening to Ford speak, she would have a future in politics.

Using economic development minister Vic Fedeli for some supposed financial credibility in those one-act TV plays at Queen’s Park is probably Ford’s weakest move. It is more like inviting a viper to a friendly picnic in the park.

But Doug Ford has not changed. He is biding his time. Nobody wants this pandemic over and done with any sooner than the label salesman from Toronto. This nasty man has more mindless conservative extremist measures to inflict on Ontario. Be ready, be watchful.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The future is ours.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

As the song asks, “How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?” That was a song that many believed after the First World War. It is also a lament for those politicians who think they can give the public greater freedoms and then expect to be able to take them back. There is too much blowback.

Take the simplest of changes. Ontario premier Doug Ford slipped one in recently that I did not notice. It is called off-sale of alcohol by bars and restaurants. It means that a customer, ordering a pick-up or delivery order can include a bottle or so of appropriate wines or beers to go with the order. It is what we used to call bootlegging.

I was quite pleased to see this convenience on the web site of one of my favourite restaurants. That is smart marketing. Not that the restaurant had the advantage for long. When one leads, the others will follow. The only mistake I see being made is that the restaurants are trying to get away with their normal doubling of the price of the wine. They can probably get away with a $3 or $4 convenience charge but doubling the price of a decent wine is a bit stiff. You can justify a higher mark-up when it is served at dinner in the restaurant but not when it is an off-sale.

As it is, I am getting used to ordering my weekly box of goodies from the liquor control board. They have the order ready for me when I get to the store—no line-up, no waiting. I would be happier though if the LCBO would fix that damn ordering program. It is clunky, over-sensitive and badly designed.

Over the years in the computer industry, I never wrote a line of code but, at different times I had programmers reporting to me on projects. They would bring me their completed code for this or that part of the project. The objective was to see if I could find fault in how it carried the function. I did, too often!

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

It is part of being of the political elite. We have no royals like the Brits. And we have little of America’s Hollywood. We have to settle for talking and speculating about our politicians. We put them on pedestals and then complain when they take advantage of their position to do as they wish.

And even a provincial premier can end up falling off their pedestal for doing what we were told specifically not to do. Premier Doug Ford of Ontario got ripped for telling us not to go north to our cottages over the Easter weekend. Yet he made a quick trip up to his family’s Lake Country cottage—to check the plumbing—we were told.

And then for Mothers’ Day, the premier had all four daughters home to honour their mother. He thinks that it is alright as he did not invite the sons-in-law. He apparently does not realize that they might be sleeping with his daughters.

But the elitist el supremo in this country is our prime minister. As the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, Justin has spent a life of privilege. He hobnobs with the rich and famous. He is a long-time friend of the Aga Khan, one of the world’s ten richest royals. You might remember when the prime minister and his family spent Christmas with him on the Khan’s island in the Bahamas. (Last we heard, the RCMP still had not reimbursed the Khan for accommodating the PM’s security detail.)

Justin’s latest display of his elitism was sending his wife and children to Harrington Lake in Quebec last month after she recovered from her bout of covid-19 at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. Travel between residences has been banned in both provinces and unnecessary travel between provinces is also being discouraged. While it is easy to understand the wish to visit with his wife and children, Canadians do not need a reminder that Justin Trudeau considers himself to be exempt from any rules.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Who will bell Ford?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Before you bell the cat, you had better learn something of its habits. This is not an animal that has been de-clawed nor rendered toothless. Nor has Ontario premier Doug Ford. You have to remember that Ford is a bully and a braggart and there are no Marquess of Queensbury rules in his erratic approach to politics.

While we have no idea yet on what the conservatives will build their next provincial campaign, we do know something about the party leaders who will be involved. And we have already mentioned the conservative’s Doug Ford. He has gained a bit of credibility during the pandemic but who knows what he will do to rattle voters before the June, 2022 provincial election.

We also have an idea who his opponents might be. The leader of the opposition is Andrea Horwath of the new democratic party. We have all seen her in inaction and if her party is happy with her leading the party, the public obviously is not. The only reason she became leader of the opposition in Ontario is because liberal Kathleen Wynne announced her party’s defeat before the public got a chance to vote. Horwath was the only alternative for those wary of Ford.

Kathleen Wynn’s replacement is Steven Del Duca, the former MPP from Vaughan. He has yet to seek a seat in the legislature. This makes it difficult for him to get much publicity or to ask questions of the conservative government.

From what I know about Del Duca and his key advisors is that they failed to contain or block Ford and his conservatives in 2018. I was not even impressed with how they made Del Duca leader of the party. He is right wing and from a different era of politics.

I am coming to believe that we will be going into a different political era post pandemic. I hardly think of Ford being the answer in the new politics. Nor do I see Horwath or Del Duca as being any improvement.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Facing facts for Ford’s fortunes.

Saturday, May 9th, 2020

So, you think Ontario premier Doug Ford is riding the white charger towards a 2022 election victory? You are probably deluding your self. Much can happen in the next two years. And there is more than enough of the old-Ford poking through the current veneer to convince us that he has hardly traded in his crude, rude and bombastic approach to politics. What Ford has shown too many times is his impatience for political realities.

What he has yet to realize is that if you want to drain the swamp at Queen’s Park, you had better have planned ahead for questions, such as, ‘Where are the alligators going to live?’.

But pre-planning is not Ford’s forte. He is, at best, an uneducated, seat-of-the-pants salesman. When it is your father’s business, you can sometimes get away with bluff and bluster. And his late brother left him with a limited understanding of politics. His first 18 months at Queen’s Park were not so easy.

Ford was rescued by a pandemic. He started out bluffing it, and then looked around and realized that everyone else was just as confused, and as scared as he was. He also saw that the smart politicians were listening to the medical experts and following their instructions. He could do that. With some rough spots and a bit of bluster now and then, he got with the program.

Unlike prime minister Trudeau who does a single at the Rideau Cottage cuckoo clock, Ford uses political and civil service back-up for his briefings. Sometimes, it is worth it to watch health minister Christine Elliott’s limited range of expressions as Ford does his spiel

Ford must have liked it when he started getting kudos on how good a job he is doing. That could go to his head.

And he looked silly as he vacillated on the question of people going to their cottages. The economy of the lake country of Ontario depends on that traffic north that marks holiday times.

In politics, it is win some, lose some. It is still a long way to the next election in Ontario.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Glen’s coat of many colors turns Green.

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

Former mayor of Winnipeg, former member of the Ontario legislature, former Ontario cabinet minister and former executive director of the Calgary-based Pembina Institute, Glen Murray, has a new quest. He wants to replace Elizabeth May as head of the Green Party of Canada. It might not be one of his best ideas.

What best illustrates the problem with Murray is when you google his name and the Pembina Institute. What you get is two announcements. One is his appointment as executive director of the institute and then, a year later, is his resignation. It makes you wonder what happened in between?

The only statement of interest about the resignation was made to a reporter at the time. It was the information that he was returning to Winnipeg, and ‘No, he was no longer interested in politics.’

Murray was the first openly gay mayor of a large Canadian city. When he came to Toronto, he quickly became part of Toronto’s large gay community and when the local MPP stepped down, Murray was acclaimed to run for the liberals. He won in 2009 and served in the liberal cabinet over the next eight years in the portfolios of innovation and research, transportation, and environment and climate change.

Murray even ran for the leadership of the liberal party. He gave this up to make a deal with Kathleen Wynne two weeks before the convention. He virtually gave her the role of premier of Canada’s largest province. And served in her cabinet until his resignation in 2017. It was the next year that the party was decimated in the general election and conservative Doug Ford became premier.

The only accomplishment that Murray took the credit for in the liberal cabinet was the implementation of cap-and-trade to lower carbon emissions. If this is what he has to offer Canada’s green party, they need to understand that cap-and-trade is something that is very hard to explain to the general public. It is carried on out of public view and requires lots of explanation to the voters.

Doug Ford killed cap-and-trade in Ontario as soon as he took over as premier. The voters will probably never know how much it cost them.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Give Ford the credit he deserves.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

Premier Doug Ford of Ontario had two choices. He could continue the bombast and bluff of his usual approach to politics, or he could learn from his mistakes and tone down the rhetoric. His new approach is far from perfect but it shows that unlike his first year as premier, he can learn. It is good to see, but is it a smoke screen or reform?

In the provincial briefings that he learned to do from Justin Trudeau, you get the feeling that he would prefer to do the act as a single. Maybe it was from watching Trudeau that he realized he had neither the glibness nor the experience. He always has some experienced political people at those briefings, to try to keep him out of trouble.

It was like the experience with the teachers. When Lisa Thompson MPP fumbled the 25-plus billion education budget in Ontario, she was just doing what she was told. She was told to save money. Thompson followed her conservative instincts, fired teachers and increased class sizes.

But what neither Thompson nor Ford seemed to understand was that it was the teachers and their unions that had been keeping the liberals in power until the 2018 election. They had awoken a sleeping giant. They reminded the teachers’ unions of their strengths. The unions savaged Thompson. They drew more attention to the Ford government’s ineptness in power.

Ford had to bring in the A-team. He had kept the smooth-talking Stephen Lecce, a young conservative who was trained by auto dealer Al Palladini and impressed Stephen Harper, in reserve.

When Lecce, in his sharp suits and sophisticated tonsorial style, appeared to settle down the teachers, the battle was joined. To Doug Ford’s disappointment, the battle was won by the teachers. Lecce, in a creased suit and badly in need of a barber has signed armistices with the major teachers’ unions.

But it was minor news compared to the pandemic. That is the ongoing battle that consumes us all. Doug Ford has learned some lessons. It will be interesting to see if he remembers them after Ontario gets back to work.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario NDP: A party of survivors.

Sunday, April 26th, 2020

If you came to Ontario recently, you would have a problem figuring out what goes on at the provincial parliament at Queen’s Park. With that big blowhard who seems to be running things, this seems to be a one-party government. And you are even more convinced when you are told that the Pollyanna with the dimples is leader of the opposition.

This is Andrea Horwath’s eleventh year as leader of the Ontario new democratic party and everyone seems to wonder why? It is because she is not a leader. At best, you can say she is a survivor.

It was in the 2018 provincial election that the incumbent premier, liberal Kathleen Wynne, disgraced herself and her party by resigning before the election was over. It not only allowed Doug Ford and the conservatives to win a majority government but it left the new democrats as official opposition.

And it should be clarified that the NDP did not win the right to be the official opposition. They got the position by default. This was an election where nobody won. It was an election where everybody lost. And the voters lost the most. They were not all that sure what they were voting for. They were only sure as to who they were voting against.

It hardly helped the liberals that premier Wynne ran a campaign of seemingly more and more spending while lacking a rational reason for the voters to consider the party. The conservatives ran a consistent attack campaign on the liberals with promises of lower costs for gasoline, hydro and the unusual promise of $1 beer. When they actually carried out those promises, few noticed.

The first year and a half of the conservative government became chaotic as the government tried to lower expenditures on education, for example, by reducing the number of teachers and increasing class sizes. The biggest problem though was that they were picking on people who were willing to fight back. There was turmoil and there was only a small voice from the leader of the opposition. Nobody paid much attention to her.

And now we have a pandemic for the Ontario government to fight. Who needs an opposition at that time?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The populism of the coronavirus.

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

We live in an age of populist political solutions but we never expected to have to deal with a populist pandemic. The problem is that a populism pandemic is blind. It strikes the rich and powerful one per cent as easily as the person in poverty. It can kill the old and infirm and the very young, and, carelessly, many in between. It is a leveler.

But it is how the politicians respond to the concerns and needs of their populations at this time that tells you much about them. Their grades are there for all to see.

For that man-child, Trump, in the American White House, his ditty for the day is. “Pandemic, pandemic go away, little Donald wants to play.”

Did you ever expect to see a subdued prime minister such as Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom? He looked a bit rocky after his harrowing experience with covid-19. We will have to wait to see if he learned anything.

Canada’s prime minister sits in the cat bird seat at Rideau Cottage, the nation’s media at his beck and call. His elitist solutions to a financial fix are still allowing hundreds of thousands of Canadians to slip through the sewer grates—the detritus of Canadian humanity. And it is at a time when Bell Canada and other telecommunications companies are reaping the profits—encouraging others to raise prices and profiteer from the silent death.

And then there are the phonies filling in for premiers in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Their bluster and promises are as hollow as their complaints about reaping the results of inadequate support and control of the long-term care facilities for the old and the frail and the incurable and incompetent in our society. The provinces promote inadequate facilities and pay the caregivers next to nothing—all in the interest of higher profits for their supporters.

Yes, we do measure our society on our treatment of the very young and the very old and those who cannot help themselves. This populist pandemic has found us wanting.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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