Posts Tagged ‘Doug Ford’

Cost of challenging climate change.

Friday, October 19th, 2018

The bills keep rolling in. Dougie and the Deplorables should take their show on tour and give things a rest at Queen’s Park. This provincial government, that ran on promises of saving us taxpayers money, ran up bills over the summer that make the previous liberal regime look like pikers.

And to make matters worse, this new conservative government spent most of the money on cancelling the efforts of the previous liberals. You would at least hope that the liberals did something right?

But Dougie had a very expensive summer. He has added billions to the provincial budget. He could have to tax us another 20 billion or so, just to balance the books. It was as though he was searching for opportunities to add on debt and blame it on those spendthrift liberals. The immediate bill for cancelling the Ontario cap and trade carbon controlling deal with California and Quebec is over three billion.

What Dougie is going to cost us in law suits and failed opportunities in tax revenues keeps mounting. He no sooner launches his own supreme court challenge to the federal government’s suggested carbon tax but he heads out west and offers to also spend money on the climate change primates in their Alberta and Saskatchewan’s court challenges.

Hell, we do not even know what a lot of pending law suits against the new Ontario government are going to cost us. They range from the strange firing-cum-retirement of the guy running Hydro One to the parents tired of being ‘coitused’ around by Dougie over sex education for their children. Everybody seems to want to have a piece of Dougie’s ass.

And I certainly would not recommend to him that he stick his big nose into things at Toronto city hall very soon. Those people are ‘mad as hell, and not going to take it any more.’ Since the premier seems to have a legal right to ‘coitus’ around with the number of councillors on city councils in Ontario, I am not sure it is law suits that he need worry about.

I am not at all sure that the premier is anywhere near done ‘coitusing’ us.

His promise to save us a bit on gasoline prices disappeared into the pockets of the oil companies. Similar to his foolish ‘buck-a-beer’ promise, it was a waste of time and something he could do little to control.

No doubt Dougie has lots of little surprises for us over the next four years. I just hope we can afford them.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Can Canadians live with this?

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

It is more important than we knew. We are talking about the environment. Our environmental poster boy Justin Trudeau has made too many promises that he has no way of keeping. Our Pollyanna environment minister Catherine McKenna makes promises she cannot keep and quotes government policy that will never happen.

And you saw what happened in Ontario. That pig, Doug Ford is busy tearing down the work of the provincial liberals of the last decade and a half. Ontario went off coal, invested in clean energy and established a strong cap and trade relationship with California and Quebec. Nobody said the plan was perfect but it was starting to pay off. Doug Ford is putting an end to that.

And to make matters worse, Ford is allying himself with Western climate change deniers such as premier Scott Moe in Saskatchewan and conservative trouble maker Jason Kenney in Alberta. These conservative leaders put profit ahead of our children’s future and are fighting against federal program attempts to try to curb pollution such as a proposed carbon tax.

But the most serious problem is that Trudeau’s liberal government seems to think it is not responsible when it ships pollution to other parts of our world.

This government wants to construct a doubled pipeline to Burnaby, B.C. to ship Alberta’s tar sands bitumen to other countries. The highly polluting process to make synthetic crude oil out of bitumen is destroying our world whether it is processed in India or in Alberta.

And the pollution of creating ersatz crude oil is just one of the problems in tar sands exploitation. The rapidly growing areas of settling ponds (that can kill wildlife) in northern Alberta are a testament to the process of sending heated water into to tar sands deposits to bring the bitumen to the surface.

And to make it even worse, bitumen has to be mixed with lighter oils and be heated to be forced at high pressure through pipelines. The diluted bitumen is abrasive and far more likely to cause leaks and spills. It can get in streams and rivers and cause endless destruction of the environment and the further killing of wildlife.

If Justin Trudeau and his cabinet do not know how exploitation of the tar sands is speeding global warming, they are either ignorant, do not care or are hypocrites. Take your pick.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

How do you like Premier Ford so far?

Friday, October 5th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Doctors are doubling down.

Monday, October 1st, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“What fools these mortals be…”

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Climate Action hits a wall in Ontario.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

No, Dougie isn’t done.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

One of the Toronto Star’s better political writers wrote last week that Doug Ford’s motive (for interfering in Toronto’s civic election) might not be pique. That could be right. Doug Ford’s vendetta with certain people in Toronto politics goes way beyond ‘pique’ or even annoyed.

And is Dougie done? Not by a long shot. Doug and Rob Ford had plans for Toronto and Dougie is the guy committed to carrying them out. He is in the prefect position to make Toronto kow-tow to him and he is going to enjoy it.

What was that he said during the recent election campaign about the province taking over Toronto’s subways? He might as well take over the streetcars and buses at the same time. He probably wants to privatize the transit commission. He might not understand why the GO trains have to be electrified but it would make privatization an option for that system because of the capital funds needed.

The pundits always said it was a dictatorial bastard like Benito Mussolini who was able to get the trains to run on time in Italy. Maybe Doug Ford wants that distinction in Ontario.

One thing for sure is that the time of the bicycle in downtown Toronto is soon to end. Dougie will return the streets to trucks, SUVs and family automobiles as God must have intended it. He will declare that open season on cyclists who do not even know the rules of the road is over!

And you need to remember that the Ford brothers never made small plans. Dougie will want the biggest ferris wheel in the world down at Ontario Place. That would bring the crowds, he would crow. (I know where he can get a great deal on some of the ferris wheel parts at Staten Island in New York.)

We better also save some space for a casino along the waterfront. Dougie has not got his nose into that subject yet. Despite Woodbine’s weak toe-dipping approach to its casino, Doug will want more casinos—all the more funds for our benevolent conservative government.

But I must admit that the best advice we can give to people today is that you have to remember that Doug Ford is an accidental politician. Do not expect him to act as a normal politician. He will tell you himself that he is just standing in for his dear departed brother Rob. The smart city politician will have already picked out that prominent spot on City Hall Square for that statue honoring Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

…Now, where were we?

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

It seems to me that we left off when premier Ford of Ontario pulled a rabbit out of his hat and told Toronto council hopefuls to stop running for 47 council wards in Toronto and just run for 25. Since people had been campaigning for weeks for the 47 wards, many of them were unhappy with their broader horizons. Regrettably Dougie and his crew at Queen’s Park came into some serious criticism for his sudden and unexpected interference.

And then a superior court judge stuck his oar in on behalf of the somewhat indignant city council. In response to this Dougie threatened to use the “Not Withstanding” clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He also appealed the judge’s ruling. The appeal was successful, so now it is not necessary to “Not Withstand.”

But this commentator does not consider the number of councillors on council as the most serious question. In fact, the number of councillors has very little to do with their ability to get things done.

In fact, let me suggest to you that there are certain councillors in Toronto who are going to have a friend at Queen’s Park. If you think it is nice to have friends, let me also point out that Dougie has a bone to pick with some of the other long-time councillors on Toronto city council. These people were not friends when the Ford brothers tried to rule Toronto council. And Dougie has only begun to get even.

Now, you might suggest that Doug Ford has more important things to do as premier of Ontario than screw around with Toronto council. If you think that, you do not know him.  Dougie is as small-minded and petty as they come.

Whether there are 26 or 48 members of city council, each of them, mayor and councillors alike, have only one vote. The mayor has some other powers available to him or her to enable the mayor to appoint committees that will work with him or her to move things along.

What is needed is some sort of political structure that enables mayoralty candidates and councillors to run on a platform that says what they will do if elected. If elected, then they will have a responsibility to keep their promises and give the citizens responsible city government.  When you realize that Toronto has a larger population than most provinces, you have to admit that these people deserve the chance to have their city run properly.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Not your father’s Tories.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Back in the years when I was a frequent visitor to the legislature at Queen’s Park, the conservatives there were a different breed. There is no way we can compare to-day’s incumbent in the premier’s office to someone such as premier Bill Davis. In relations with Bill and his staff, in those days, the key operating word was mutual respect.

It is absolutely impossible to imagine Bill Davis railing against a superior court judge’s ruling. It is also impossible to imagine him making the errors in fact and in judgement that caused the fiasco.

As expected Monday, Justice Edward Belobaba was critical of the Ford government’s timing. The government had overstepped the rights of citizens in the middle of an election campaign. Changing the number of councillors in mid-campaign was not only arbitrary but made light of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Would the ruling change anything? No. Would it improve city governance? No. Will it save any money. Hard to say.

But Ford has just begun to fight. The entire exercise was a waste of time and public money but Dougie is going to fight on. He has called together the legislature to add the Charter ‘Not Withstanding’ clause to the legislation.

It will be a while until all the expense accounts are recorded but Dougie probably never bothered to ask what it costs to call the legislature together for a special session—and that is the second time since the June election. This is the guy that told us the previous government were spendthrifts.

What this is might be is the perfect example of what happens when the voters decide to get rid of their previous government and fail to look closely at the party for which they are voting. If they had paid any attention during the campaign, they would have realized how ill-equipped Doug Ford and his party were to form a government.

Premier Ford’s reaction to the superior court judge’s ruling was visceral. It was not thought through. Ford made errors in fact that surprised the news media and observers alike. He had decided to utilize the ‘Not Withstanding’ clause in the charter without understanding why it was there. He even had the temerity to threaten to use it again.

That tells us our Ontario premier is both a bully and a fool. His conservative caucus should take heed.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Gobsmacked by sex education.

Friday, September 7th, 2018

There are a lot of people in Ontario angry and frustrated by the idiocy of our politicians trying to satisfy the wrong people with how we are teaching children about sex. What is wrong with honesty? Have we become a society of hypocrites? Or are the politicians just pandering to the ignorant and repressed among us?

I have a special relationship with Thorncliffe Park in Toronto. I was deeply concerned when it became something of a microcosm of the Middle East in the middle of Toronto. Instead of becoming attuned to Canadian openness and acceptance, this area was becoming isolated, insular and easy pickings for those who would organize against the prized Canadian openness. Recent immigrants find comfort from others from their part of the world and do not understand why children need to become familiar with their sexuality.

But like millions of immigrants to this country over the years, the children adapt faster than the parents. It is hard on the parents coming from more repressed societies but they are certainly made aware of the more open attitudes of the country that is taking them in. They should show their appreciation better.

And rather than be angry at these protestors, Canadians have to direct their anger at those who are using these immigrants for their own political purposes. Who gets them on the buses, who paints the signs and who is behind the megaphone?

Arranging for the ‘spontaneous demonstration’ was one of the first lessons I was ever given in politics. The hypocrisy angered me. I never used those tactics in many years in politics.

But it is going to take a long time to straighten out the mess premier Ford has got us into by catering to objectors. He thought it was an easy promise to make. It was. The promise came out of his mouth just like many others. His problem is that he will be a long time getting free of the stupidity. (He should have taken off his shoes before sticking both feet in his mouth.)

Even teachers’ associations are now getting into the act to protect the rights of teachers in this foolishness.

Maybe Dougie is surprised (gobsmacked) by the controversy he has created. The harder you try to dig yourself out of a problem such as this, the deeper is the hole you are in.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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