Posts Tagged ‘Doug Ford’

Considering consequences of change.

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Step right up Ontario. If you want change, you can have it. You can get it in spades. The only problem is this change is like a game of snakes and ladders—where both the snakes and the ladders are slippery slides to disaster.

It is time to face the facts. People are mad. And they have every right to be mad. How are Ontario’s citizens supposed to feel when they have been wanting change for the past eight years and we still cannot get it. People are feeling frustrated and their anger is real.

It started with the 2011 general election and a quick reading of the voting that year tells the story. The voters obviously wanted change. What we got was the manipulations of a minority government, a new premier and a chance to have change in 2014.

But the chance for change in 2014 was blocked by a foolish conservative leader promising to fire 100,000 civil servants. To make matters worse, the NDP leader did not appear to know what she was doing. The voters had no option but to give the new liberal leader the reins.

Like in the old Frank Sinatra song: Regrets, we’ve had a few. The news media beat us over the head with the gas plants scandal. It is useless to tell people that all three parties caused the problem. It was easier to just blame the liberals. They were supposed to be good managers.

And when an apolitical banker got the liberals to start selling off Hydro One, the excrement really hit the fan. The liberal government could hardly say, “Oh, you would rather we raise taxes instead?”

If you just stub your toe these days, it is the fault of those damn liberals.

But we are reaping the anger that was sewed by all three parties.

Now we are closer to election day, people are trying to figure out strategic voting. What they will find, to their disgust, is that strategic voting does not work. Feel sorry instead for the two or three per cent of Ontario voters who want to vote for the Green Party. That is a waste of time and effort.

While you can hardly plan for it, if everyone stays the course, we could have a minority government.

The one thing we know for sure is that the pollsters are wrong. They have been reflecting the anger of the voters and think it is only directed against the liberals. Like in the United States, it was the anger against both Democrats and Republicans that gave them Mr. Trump as president.

Ontario voters should be smarter than that.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Confounding a confluence of conservatives.

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

It is all happening Monday at Toronto’s stuffy old Albany Club. As I told my host last time I was invited to the club, this is no place for a left-wing liberal. The 125-year old building on King Street East has been the spiritual home for Canada’s conservatives since the 19th Century. It is truly the perfect place for right-wing plotting and scheming.

The rich and famous of conservatism will be there Monday to hear from the ghost of prime minister’s past, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. Yes, and you thought he had gone to his reward in corporate board room heavens. He has come down from his corporate inner sanctums and business conclaves to preach to the Ontario conservatives with a spare $1,222 in their pocket to support Mike Harris’ kid. The junior Harris, is trying to win the Kitchener-Conestoga electoral district, where he was appointed to run by leader Doug Ford.

Maybe nobody in the Kitchener area wants to or can afford to support the junior Mike Harris. Besides, when you have a drawing card like the former prime minister, would you waste him in the hinterlands?

It is assumed that this is all new money being raised, as $1,222 is the maximum you are allowed to donate to a provincial campaign.

But what will the former prime minister have to say that would be worth that much? We can bet you that it will be nothing nice about the liberals in Ottawa or in Queen’s Park.

The good news for the loyal attendees is that neither leader Doug Ford nor the candidate is allowed to be there for the fund-raiser. Ford has already been told that he is under investigation about being at another fund-raiser. Under the new election laws in Ontario, neither a candidate nor his/her leader is allowed to be there when people are giving them money. If that seems strange to you, raise your hand—which did not do me any good and will probably not do you any good either.

Of course, this liberal would dearly love to be there to hear Stephen Harper say nice things about Doug Ford. Admittedly, Stephen Harper is somewhat self-centered and has a tendency to only talk about himself. I am quite sure that is not worth $1,222.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The pollsters have peaked.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

“O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.”

Obviously, Sir Walter Scott had a better take on pollsters 200 years ago than we do today. Ontario voters have been bamboozled by the pollsters since the beginning of the current provincial campaign. As much as the thought of a Doug Ford led government amuses them, the pollsters have now said Andrea Horwath is also in contention. That thought did it. It is time for the grown ups to step forward.

It is not that Andrea and her new democrats have failed mathematics. Another billion or so in debt is not going to make or break the province and everybody makes mistakes in math. It is just that the new democrats are bringing nothing new to the table. There is less talent in the NDP caucus at Queen’s Park today than Bob Rae had with him when he accidently became premier in 1990. All the NDP proved at that time was that they would turn the government over to the incompetent Mike Harris.

But for a real incompetent, Doug Ford, would be hard to beat.

The smartest thing Doug Ford could do would be struck by some mysterious disease and not show up for the final leadership debate next week. More and more of his candidates have been struck by that mysterious disease and not shown up for debates in their electoral districts. It reminds me of the Quebec NDPer who went to Las Vegas for the 2011 federal election and won election.

I can think of more than a few candidates over the years who would have got more votes if they had gone fishing instead of wandering aimlessly where the voters could see them.

And as for Andrea Horwath, I thought we were done with her. People seem to think it is mean of me to mention her dress, deportment or demeanour. The problem is that she dresses like a refugee from a Russian gulag. She is not leading that bunch of no-goodniks in the NDP caucus anywhere and I defy you to tell me anything she has ever come up with on her own? Did you see her giggling her way through that first debate?

The problem we have is that Horwath is horrible, Ford is a fool and Wynne is supposedly the wicked witch of the north. What is likeable about any of them?

But I am going to vote for the liberal candidate in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte because he seems like a decent guy and is the only acceptable candidate who could represent us. All the other candidates seem to only represent their parties.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Mixing baloney and beer.

Monday, May 21st, 2018

People in Ontario are starting to laugh over the desperate efforts of conservative leader Doug Ford to promise voters anything to vote for him. It took him until halfway through the campaign to come up with something I liked. Doug Ford has promised to have beer in convenience stores.

It is too bad that it would not be worth seeing him elected to make that happen. The last time I believed a promise like that was when liberal David Peterson promised it in 1985. I liked David and it was his minority government that brought in a bill to start the process. The bill was defeated at the time by the combined conservative and new democrat majority. That was as close as Ontario has ever come to doing something decent for its beer drinkers and its convenience stores.

We just laughed when conservative Timmy Hudak promised beer in convenience stores in the 2014 election. We knew at the time that Timmy was going nowhere but back home to Fort Erie.

It was Ed Clark, Kathleen Wynne’s nemesis, who lead her down the path of pandering to the large grocery chains. Once he had the poor premier on the ropes for trying to privatize Hydro One, they started the water torture with beer and wine in the large grocery stores. It was the constant drip of publicity from the politicians that got everyone tired of the possibility before we bought our first six-pack at Loblaws.

What I think is the disgrace of this approach are the oppressive regulations that the grocers have to tolerate to carry some beer, cider and wine on their shelves. And yet the regulations prevent them from making money on the products. They are offering the alcoholic products only to encourage the public to shop at their stores. And they are paying for the privilege.

Knowing the margins that grocery stores operate within, I see this as an onerous imposition on the grocery chains. It would also be impossible for convenience stores to work within the same regulations. We would have to give our convenience stores a boost in income to enable them to pay a living wage to their employees.

The truth is that our grocery chains hardly need alcohol to attract business. And the LCBO is just a cash cow feeding more than $2 billion a year into the treasury at Queen’s Park.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

We are not ready to surrender.

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

What are we coming to? When fair weather warriors are conceding defeat, are we all supposed to lay down our arms? I have been involved in too many comebacks to go along with that.

We should not get mad about the current situation. The smart get to work. What have we failed to do? What more is possible? For me, a campaign never ends. You have to maintain that enthusiasm that got you involved all the way. There is no letting up.

And the one thing you can be sure of is that Kathleen Wynne is not going to give up. There is nothing sadder than to see a politician lose his or her backbone. The situation in Ontario today is really an opportunity. It is an opportunity for the real leaders to step forward. It is an opportunity for politicians to do their primary job in our political system. It is taking the opportunity to win your own election.

If you thought you would get elected on your leader’s coat tails, forget it. If you thought your electoral district always voted for your party, forget about it. This election requires politicians who can win, with or without party endorsement. It is time to represent your voters.

There are many voters in your electoral district who want to see leadership. There are those who think Doug Ford is just a windbag making foolish promises he knows he cannot keep. Kathleen Wynne is no Godzilla but, at times, she has seemed cold and unresponsive. And Andrea Horwath is a not taking her party anywhere.

The candidates are not responsible to any of those leaders—unless you were appointed by one of them to run in a riding where you do not live.

But do not feel you need to hide your party affiliation. If you are a conservative, you need to be careful about what you are supporting. You have to admit that Mr. Ford is not always careful about what he promises people. If you are a NDP candidate, you really need to show how that party’s principles can benefit people in your community. If you are a liberal, you just have to remind people that the core ethic of liberalism is individual freedom.

And it is that freedom that we always have to fight for. It means equality of opportunity for all, an opportunity for a healthy environment, it is taxing people fairly to pay for the infrastructure and services of our society, and it is ensuring better education and health care for everybody.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Mother’s magic money.

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Listening to Ontario conservative leader Doug Ford recently reminded me of my early childhood in Toronto. Doug Ford never seems to worry about where the money for his promises will come from. Neither did I—as a child.

I remember during the Second World War and my mother was sole support for those of her six children she could keep with her. The salary she earned as a bookkeeper at a war plant was meager. It rented two rooms for us in an old house off Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto.

But mother had a secret that few families such as ours had. She had a card that worked like money. Us kids thought of it as mother’s magic money. Maybe we forgot this later in life after Diners’ Club cards (for the rich) appeared in 1950 and the universal VISA (as BankAmeriCard) and American Express cards made their appearance in 1958.

I just remember making a long walk one winter down Yonge Street to Eaton’s wonderland of an emporium. I had mother’s card in my pocket and an extra nickel to buy myself one of those frosted malteds in a cone. There was absolutely no surprise shown by a clerk when I presented my mother’s card and told her what I wanted—while still munching on my cone. I proudly pulled my new two-seater toboggan up Yonge Street and home. I now had the way to take all my newspapers with me as I did my deliveries, despite the deep snow of that winter.

But mother made a point of teaching us children that while it might be magic, briefly, the bill from her T. Eaton Company card had to be paid in full at the end of each month.

That is what Doug Ford seems to forget as he traverses Ontario these days promising simultaneous great expenditures and great tax cuts. All we need do is be foolish enough to vote for him and the magic money will flow. One thing is for sure: he has absolutely no clue as to how a conservative government will pay the bills.

And if we had one more group at Queen’s Park searching for ‘efficiencies,’ we would be spending far more on the people finding efficiencies than the amount of efficiencies found.

Maybe Mr. Ford simply does not care. He has always had others in the family business to worry about paying his bills there. All I know is that somebody might have to care.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Morning Line: Ontario’s dilemma.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

This is probably the most difficult Morning Line Babel-on-the-Bay has produced in ten years. It might just be the one that besmirches our reputation. The question in this election are the polls following the voters or are the voters following the polls?

But I am convinced that the pollsters are busy drinking their own bath water. They have no clue as to what is really happening in Ontario.

My only defence is  that a morning line is produced to provide a starting point for the totalizator that computes payouts for pari-mutuel betting at racetracks. It is the horses themselves that make a horse race.

Conservative Party: 1 to 1

I have always had this secret belief that Canadians had to be much smarter than Americans. They have to survive and thrive through our cold-cold winters. I was almost convinced of our superiority when the Americans (accidently) elected Donald Trump president. I was proud to say at the time, that Canadians would never do anything that dumb. Now, I am not so sure.

But I figure the voters of Ontario have three weeks left to come to their senses and keep a blow-hard, Trump wannabe like Doug Ford from becoming premier.

Liberal Party: 3 to 1

What really upsets me about this possible outcome is that I wrote over a year ago that Kathleen Wynne was the problem for the liberals. She did not have to prove it. Yet, much can happen over the next three weeks and if you want to bet anything on this election, you will be best to settle for even money.

Premier Wynne has one more chance to deliver the killing blow to Doug Ford in a debate format. She had better make the most of it. Now that Ford is out in the open and vulnerable to political challenge, his inexperience and bluster will show. She has to stop letting him set the agenda.

New Democratic Party: 9 to 1

This is Andrea Horwath’s third strike. The news media play up her long-shot status but nobody reasonable expects much from her and her team. The only thing she has going for her at the moment is that she is not as disliked as much as her opponents and might have to referee in a minority government situation. With the similarity between the NDP and liberal policies, she would have little problem in supporting the liberals. You have to figure that an NDP-conservative coalition would not last two weeks.

Summary

It might seem a bit rude to leave Mike Schreiner and his greens out of these figures but it is really out of respect for his feelings. You would not believe the odds against getting even one green party member elected at this time.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Three-ring circus versus horse race.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Whatever you want to say about the Ontario election that is going on now, it could never have been a three-ring circus production by P.T. Barnum or his partner James Bailey. The simplest explanation is that if you consider the performer who keeps multiple plates spinning atop long sticks, you realize that the act requires close concentration in the ring. You can hardly concentrate on your plates in ring two if the elephants in ring three decide to charge across and stomp the tigers in ring one. You are going to have a lot of smashed plates.

That is why in politics, the race track analogy is much better. It does not matter how many horses are in the race, there are only one or two favourites. Most times, you get just one winner. A racing form can tell you about the breeding, training, work outs, performance and the jockey.

The trouble is many a maverick considers politics an invitation to easy fame and fortune. There are also those who think they can buy their way. They use bluster instead of eloquence. They play fast and loose with the truth and the facts. They run on ego.

In the current situation in Ontario, there seems to be nothing achieved by pointing out how morally corrupt a person such as Doug Ford can be. His supporters know that. They do not care.

What they do not understand is that what they are doing is bear baiting. This has been illegal in Canada since before Canada was a country. They have turned the conservative dogs loose on the liberals for no reason more than they do not like progress. They despise the idea of a tax on carbon to protect the environment. They do not believe women can manage their own bodies. They do not understand what a fair minimum wage means. They consider the mess at Ontario Hydro as a liberal problem—yet it has taken all three parties and many years to really screw things up with Hydro.

But do not expect that pompous Mr. Ford to save you. His only instinct is self-aggrandizement. His experience with elected office is one term as a Toronto councillor where he spent his time trying to keep his brother, the mayor, sober and off crack cocaine. He is a braggart with an ego and a wannabe with no credentials. Four years would be far too long to tolerate him as premier of this key province of Canada.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Opera ain’t over.

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

First off today, we want to apologize. We have been thoroughly castigated by family and readers for being rude to Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath the other day. I sincerely apologize to her for my comments on her weight. That was inappropriate. At the same time, I stand by my comments on her outfit. She was definitely not respecting the viewers nor dressed to go to the same event as Mr. Ford and Ms. Wynne.

But after that disquieting kickoff of the campaign by CITY-TV, I had to go out and do more serious investigation of what is going on with the Ontario election.

One of my shorter excursions was to the local liberal campaign office where Premier Wynne was scheduled to stop by. It was not old home week. A friend drove and he had us at the campaign office a full 15 minutes before the scheduled event.

But this event was on liberal time and it was an hour and 20 minutes before Kathleen Wynne arrived. The event got full coverage from the television networks and print media. There were lots of serious young apparatchiks going around fussing and re-arranging during the wait. It gave me a chance to say ‘hi’ to some local liberals and to meet the liberal candidate. He seems like a bright and articulate young man. Readers in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte should get to know Jeff Kerk.

Premier Wynne was the star today and I was quite re-assured by her presentation. She was relaxed, personable, enthusiastic and warm—and why should she not be when talking to a friendly, enthusiastic group of liberals?

I think what this excursion reminded me of was some of the basic realities of this campaign. Whether I agree with all the changes in Ontario brought about by the Wynne government, it accomplished a great deal of good for us. This government has been instrumental in addressing environmental problems, it has introduced a liberalisation of alcohol sales in large grocery stores and we have fewer unemployed than we had during the previous 20 years. And only the mean-spirited would disagree with raising the minimum wage in Ontario to $15 per hour.

One of the ways, this government has helped create jobs is in the building of new hospitals, schools, transit ways, subways and highways. It did its job.

And why would we change to someone as inexperienced as Doug Ford? There is more of this campaign to come.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Which half will vote?

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

There is a supposition that following the low turnouts of voters in Ontario elections in 2011 and 2014, there will be a similar low turnout in June of 2018. The question that confounds politicians and pollsters is which half of the voters will come to the polls. And if you are waiting for the 18 to 24 age group to rise up and vote, we better find an issue to cause them to rise up.

You hardly need an issue for seniors. These people are the equalizers in any election. They feel it is their duty to vote. And they do. When you talk to them at their door or in seniors’ residences, they are mostly quite certain of the intention to vote and they have usually made up their minds earlier on how they will vote. The few of this group who are truly floaters between parties, take delight in confounding pollsters and political party workers. Usually, it comes down to which party is promising more for seniors.

(I will never forget the time I was taking a senior home after voting and she told me she had voted for the New Democratic Party candidate. I, politely as possible, asked her why she had called the liberal campaign office for a ride to vote? She explained, as we arrived at her house, that liberals are always on time, polite and drive nicer automobiles.)

While Babel-on-the-Bay’s Morning Line on the provincial election will be published next week, I can tell you now that what we are hearing across the province is disconcerting. There is a palpable anger and an “I don’t give a damn attitude” about this coming election.

The good news is that more and more, women are going to make the difference. Many of them have come to dislike Doug Ford. It is more of a lack of trust than anything else. They do not trust him on women’s rights and they are becoming convinced that he could not even run a household budget. They think he is too vague in what he is going to do for the province and these business efficiencies he is talking about sound like pie in the sky.

And as much as they are not sure they want Kathleen Wynne to continue as premier, they do not think she is a crook. They figure Doug Ford would be much more likely to fudge on his expense account. When it comes to competence, they are much more likely to trust Kathleen Wynne.

And these are the people more likely to vote.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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