Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth May’

They’re At Post!

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Finally. This never-ending scrabbling for political position has a finite finish line. The free-for-all has focus and Elections Canada is in charge. Like with stewards at the track, there are rules to be observed.

It is an election like no other in Canadian history. It is not the politicians who have changed. It is the voters. There is a distrust and unease on all sides. We are seeing olive branches offered by traditional conservatives. Concern is on the face of liberals. Socialists look in wonder at their NDP.  Is Green the color of Canada?

These are not the parties of John A. Macdonald, William Lyon Mackenzie King or Tommy Douglas. No party talks of tradition. And, yet, are they ideologues? And how likely are their promises: “Yes, Mommy, I’ll be good.” Do they have an agenda for Canadians?

Is the bitterness to be directed from Alberta? Are the fools running Ontario? Will the Atlantic provinces hold promise? And who will be the bête noir of Quebec? Will ‘beautiful’ B.C. be bountiful?

There will be no morning line at the track today. What prognosticator has the polls or prescience to prove anything? The sense of this election is deep in the gut and there is many a bellyache. The Trudeau liberals will defend their record—such as it is. The conservatives will be defensive of their woefully inadequate leader. The NDP will try to win with some stalwart old-timers. Elizabeth May will keep looking behind her, in hopes that some partisans will be there.

But there is hope. All politics is local. Here in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, we are still gerrymandered in aid of the rural conservatives. We have another empty suit conservative to consider and the usual suspects from NDP and Greens. The liberal is different, aggressive, daring and honourable. I will bet on him but not his leader.

I am expecting the possibility of a liberal minority. It is as good a bet as any.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Left, Right and In-Between.

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Labelling people is always a mistake. Even in psychiatry, people show tendencies down different pathologies. You hesitate to label them. In politics people are often confused by the parties in an election making promises outside their usual right or left-wing stance. During an election is no time to be doctrinaire.

I think it was Paul Martin Jr. who used the slogan, in private, “Campaign Left, Rule Right.” Whether he did or not, he was the first federal liberal leader I refused to support. I despised the way he could so callously strip Canada of much of the federal support for social programs during the Chrétien years. And I think a large number of Canadians agreed with me. The only problem was that I regretted my anger when we ended up with Stephen Harper as the booby prize. He was even further to the right than Martin.

It is amusing that in John Ivison’s recent book on Trudeau, that the author thinks Canada might be less progressive than Trudeau seems to believe. I really do not think Canadians vote right or left. They vote for leadership. They vote for the leader who appears to be taking the country in the direction necessary. And many just vote for the guy or gal running in their riding who best represents them.

John A, Macdonald and his confreres put this country together with vision and bands of steel. His thing was the railroad linking the country together. And, come hell or high water, he achieved that goal.

I think today, Canadians have too many pressures on them to come to a common understanding of where this country should be headed. All it should take is leadership and, frankly, we are not getting any. There is not one leader of a federal party in Canada worth a damn.

I would make something of an exception for Elizabeth May but her problem is that rag-tag bunch behind her that could not even run a Tim Hortons franchise. And do not ask them if they are right or left. Most would have to ask their leader.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Why listen to Bernier?

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Chantal Hébert made an interesting case the other day. She wrote in the Toronto Star that Maxime Bernier of our new People’s Party of Canada should be allowed to be part of the leader debates for the October 21 election. Despite it being doubtful that Bernier will retain his own parliamentary seat for Beauce in the election, the columnist thinks he has a contribution to make.

Hébert makes her case by complaining that people want to exclude Bernier because of his party’s policies. (The new democrats have complained that the PPC promotes “hateful and intolerant ideas.”) She notes that similar complaints were made about the Bloc Québécois and the Reform Party when they first appeared on the electoral scene.

She argues that the form of populism Bernier espouses has already taken root in the United States and is rampant throughout western Europe. She sees no reason to sweep this truth under the rug. She would prefer to address it head-on.

The only problem with her viewpoint is that time on national television is an expensive commodity and these arguments would be better handled in high school civics classes. Teaching tolerance and open-mindedness is not something you can convince people of in the hard pace of a political debate. And definitely not coming into the wind-up of a national election.

My one serious argument is that reality is there are currently 16 federally registered political parties in Canada and if they all were give access to the debate, it would be cumbersome and a frankly boring affair. It is bad enough that we will have five party leaders representing their respective parties in the two debates. It means that politeness will become more important than spontaneity and there can be little interaction between the leaders.

I think voters learn more about these so-called leaders when the debate is open and honest. They need to address each other and call out their dishonesties. The moderator is not there to referee but to ensure each is heard.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau’s Secret Weapon.

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

You have probably been wondering why prime minister Justin Trudeau is so cheery and ebullient these days. It is probably not just the fact that his pal Gerald Butts is back to back him up in the campaign. Nor is it the pollsters who are saying that the conservatives and liberals are in a statistical tie.

The truth is that he really is facing off in this election against the weakest opposition that any sitting prime minister has ever had to face. And his opposition is split three ways.

The least of his worries is the green party. In the long run, these people would be allies in protecting the environment. With a potential of three or four seats for the greens in parliament, Elizabeth May is probably hoping for a slim minority situation for the liberals. It would give her some bargaining power.

Conversely, the NDP are in a protectionist mode. They have little hope of Jagmeet Singh taking their party anywhere. They need to hang on to a basic 12 seats to be recognized as a party in parliament. The SOS they are sending out is ‘save our seats.’ On election night, they and the Bloc Québécois could become the forgotten in Quebec. It is likely to not be known if they held on to their party status until the counts start coming in from British Columbia.

This leaves Justin Trudeau with just one party to address. The good news is that the conservatives never expected Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer to even be a serious contender in this election. He was supposed to be holding the fort until the next election when the party could elect a more dynamic leader. What you have is Jason Kenney in Alberta and Doug Ford in Ontario calling the shots for the federal party.

Justin Trudeau’s secret weapon is the leader of the conservatives. What we have right now is Chuckles pleading with the two premiers to stay out of his election. Its an even money bet that says they are unable to do that.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Grand Scheme and the Ocean Drift.

Friday, July 26th, 2019

At this time of the phony election that precedes the real election, we are not really concerned about where pollsters think people are at but where they are headed. It is more of an oceanic drift than a positive direction but some of the flotsam will make it and some will not.

My thinking on this was started by someone who was puzzled by what Warren Kinsella was doing. What he asked was “is Warren working for the conservatives or is he working for Elizabeth May’s greens?

I can understand the confusion, but the only answer he got from me was a shrug. The answer is probably hidden somewhere in the Law of the Sea. It is in the difference between Flotsam and Jetsam. ‘Flotsam’ is what fell overboard inadvertently. ‘Jetsam’ is what you threw overboard intentionally. A simple way to think of it is Jane Philpott in Ontario is liberal Flotsam. Jody Wilson-Raybould in B.C. is Jetsam.

Political parties do not make a standard practice of throwing away their supporters. And all parties consider this voter flotsam at this time as fair game. Where it is taken by the ocean drifts can win or lose an election. And, since the liberals have been careless about losing some voters, I would expect that a goodly share of the current voting flotsam are people who would typically vote liberal.

Now, if I was a canny conservative strategist, I would find someone who could capture the attention of disgruntled liberals and I would arrange for this person to work for the greens. The thing is, liberals tend to listen to fellow liberals first. And a lot of this liberal flotsam are wondering for whom they might vote. They mostly hate conservatives and have little use for NDPers.

But many liberal-thinking voters tend to be sympathetic of the greens. They have no reason to hate them and they consider them more useful than NDPers. And the point is that if they vote green, they will not be returning to the liberal fold.

So, if you were a conservative, in a country that still has first-past-the-post voting, you would be quite happy to see that liberal flotsam vote for the greens. It will help elect more conservatives.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Butts is back.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Gerald Butts and company are back to drive the liberal campaign bus. One can only hope that a few lessons were learned from their past four years in Ottawa. After all, it has to be tough to remain arrogant when you have screwed up as often as the crew in the prime minister’s office.

But the real concern is: Have they learned anything?

The most serious question is the Trans Mountain pipeline. It must drive the David Suzuki’s of the environmental movement wild that Elizabeth May wants Justin Trudeau to get some return on his ill-considered investment. Trudeau’s one hope is that he can sell the pipeline to the aboriginal group who want it. Hell, let them pay for it on the never-never plan. What the prime minister has to do is get himself off the hook for twinning that damn pipeline. And do not encourage the aboriginals to twin it. That is incitement to riot!

The first challenge for Gerald Butts should be for him to make nice with Jody Wilson-Raybould. Having the lady sitting out there alone on the left coast is costing the liberal party too much. The party can hardly afford, nor does it deserve, to lose its parliamentary majority over the SNC-Lavalin affair. The time for hurt feelings and repercussions is past. Everyone involved has to grow up and admit they need each other.

And us liberals want to hope that all the economic signs continue to point onward and upward this fall. Nor would it hurt to have our prime minister speak loudly and clearly to that nincompoop in Washington to stop his idiocy with the Chinese, ‘Buy America’ and, while he is at it, do something about his racism.

We can only hope that those whiz kids around the prime minister do not put the campaign bus into the ditch along the way to the election. They need to realize that all is not lost, yet.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Paint yourself Green.

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Green party leader Elizabeth May looks tired. The 65-year old is no stranger to politics or environmentalism. She has been touring in and around Barrie on some of the hottest days of the summer and she is showing the strain.

The wife and I would have loved to invite her up to our place for a tall cooling libation but the local liberals would never have understood. We could also have an interesting conversation about the coming election but that would only be if our guest wished.

And the lady is already having enough trouble with her party’s candidates. I know the local greens and neither could get my vote. The problem is that Ms. May is very liberal and knowledgeable in non-environmental subjects, her local candidates have no other talking points than environmental issues. They are one-trick ponies.

Ms. May’s biggest problem in this election is that her stance on the Trans Mountain pipeline is very close to that of Justin Trudeau. She wants to find a way to alleviate the economic impact of the pipeline’s cancellation. Unlike myself, she does not like to write-off the $4.5 billion Trudeau has already wasted on buying the pipeline.

We do have to face the fact that we will be reliant on refined oil products for quite a few years. The single-pipe, old pipeline can still make money and safely send Alberta’s refined products to the coast for the next dozen or so years. It is tripling the capacity over twin, heated pipes and using high pressure to send diluted bitumen to Burrard Inlet that worries most people. This use of the pipeline is dangerous for the land it is crossing through, the Rockies, the rivers and fish spawning it endangers and the endangerment of the Orca habitat. Just one serious spill of diluted bitumen would be there to haunt us for many, many years.

I expect the greens will have a few more seats in parliament after October 21. We will hope that they are helpful members of the party and not the myopic troublemakers who will make caucus discipline difficult for Elizabeth May.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Yesteryear Politicos’ and ‘Tired Advice.’

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

(This posting has been modified to include some corrections. I apologize for the earlier errors.)

Most people are probably unaware that they can get a good laugh about Canadian politics from the Ottawa digital newsletters, Hill Times or iPolitics, almost every day.

Back when you could get complete samples of the newsletters, I determined that the average ages of their opinion writers might be about those of my grandsons. While I am very proud of them (my grandsons), they do not have the experience needed to contribute much in the way of opinions on Canadian politics. Nor do I find the opinions I have read from both publications show much experience.

Since iPolitics is owned by the Toronto Star, you would think that Susan Delacourt or some of the Star’s old timers would pitch in occasionally to give the kids a hand.

What prompted this comment was the hilarious plaint from Hill Times writers yesterday that the green party had reached into the past. They were engaging “in politics of (a) bygone era” and had hired “a politico from yesteryear” to be in their “war room.”

I can remember in the early 2000s when liberals asked me who was this upstart Kinsella running some ‘war room’ for the liberals? It makes sense to me that green leader Elizabeth May needs even more help to keep her green troops in line.

Before I knew that the Toronto Star had bought iPolitics, I had even offered the newsletter some of my expertise. They did not seem interested and that is their loss.

In any event, the better story than the green party’s desperation is the war room being created out in Calgary. This is Alberta premier Jason Kenney’s answer to people who do not agree with him. That should be a very busy war room.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Singh scans the Six.

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Canada’s new democratic party leader has been seen in Ontario. Party leader Jagmeet Singh is engaged in a desperate rear-guard action this summer for some Toronto area ridings. Faced with the possible loss of their party standing in the house of commons, the NDP have realized that the Toronto area is where they will take their last stand.

The only problem Jagmeet faces is that most of those ridings that traditionally vote NDP deserted and went to the liberals in 2015. There is little chance of getting any of them back this time. With very few exceptions, the distaste for the Ford conservative government at Queen’s Park is driving many previously conservative votes to the liberal party. Jagmeet can’t catch a break.

It is similar confusion across Canada. While the opinion polls are coming into line with forecasting a minority government situation in Ottawa, it is different parties benefitting in different provinces.

While Jagmeet has hopes for holding his own Vancouver area riding, Elizabeth May’s Green Party looks like it will have its breakthrough in that province. Nobody is assuming anything but the ‘same-old/same-old’ across the prairies. All we know about Quebec is that that the NDP Orange Wave created by the late Jack Layton in 2011 is dead, the Bloc is moribund and Maxime Bernier is going to knock the conservatives out of the Quebec City area (and probably leave those ridings to the liberals). And that leaves the Atlantic playing some musical chairs but not causing much change. It all comes back to Ontario.

My best guess is that if Justin Trudeau spends all of September and October, up until the 21st, in central Ontario, he has a chance. There is a band of red-necked farmers stretching across the province, from Ottawa to Windsor, who think God is a conservative.

But I am sure, those farmers would all like a selfie with Justin. That is his only chance.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘None of the Above’ is not an option.

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

There seems to be some disquiet across this fair land over our lack of good choices in the looming federal election. And whose fault is that? Frankly, Canadians have been encouraging mediocrity in politics for far too long. We have been trashing our political parties. We have been lying to ourselves about supposedly lying politicians. We have been buying into some serious bullshit about how nice Canadians can be.

We are not nice. We have turned the beautiful ballet of hockey into a blood sport. We seriously believe that we can beat the Americans at their own games such as baseball and basketball. (All you have to do is hire better American players.) And we buy into the blather that our foreign affairs people know what they are doing, when all they do is whore for the Americans.

But the truth is that this is a country that has lost its way politically. It has succumbed to mediocre politicians who use political parties as their own and use those who support them as their personal automated teller machines.

New democratic party membership has fallen so low that just the Sikh immigrants in British Columbia and Ontario could swamp the membership and give the party leadership to Jagmeet Singh. The same fall-off of party members in the Ontario progressive conservatives allowed a weasel like Patrick Brown to swamp the membership with Indian sub-continent memberships and take over the party.

And it was Justin Trudeau himself, who ended the membership structure of the federal liberals. While he was still popular, Trudeau ended the party’s independence, its ability to choose candidates and he now uses the party lists solely to raise money for his ongoing financial campaign.

And that leaves us with a liberal government run by an elitist, a conservative party headed by a nobody, an NDP party run by an unknown and a nascent green party run as a one-gal band.

All I can suggest is that each of us take the time to pick out the best candidate in our riding who cares the most about us, the voters. It is our only choice.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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