Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth May’

And a sneer from Scheer.

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

It was difficult to assess all sides of the discussion last week to the finance minister’s snapshot of Canada’s financial position. To be fair, minister Morneau is not a dynamic speaker. You needed time as he droned on to grasp the dimension of the how far this pandemic has taken Canada into debt. And it is not even over!

What is to be appreciated though is that Canada is doing the job that has to be done. Canada is working to save lives. Canada is working to save jobs and businesses that can assure us a strong recovery.

But instead of recognizing the efforts from the government benches of parliament, acting opposition leader Andrew Scheer sneers. He nit picks the programs. He tells us that the government is just wrong. He tells us that the government is slow to fix gaps. Mr. Scheer and his conservatives carp a lot.

Conversely, Jagmeet Singh and his NDP want more. When a bit helps, they want more. He claimed that much of the help being delivered to Canadians was at the bequest of the NDP. He is concerned about the negativism of the conservatives. He is concerned that the liberals will start to back down.

Singh and other NDP spokespeople believe the weakness in the liberal efforts has been in the lack of special programs for the handicapped in our society. It is no surprise that liberals agree with them. These programs were created in haste and they are still being adjusted to ensure all segments of society are helped.

I thought the best comments were by former green party leader Elizabeth May. She agreed with the weakness pointed out by the NDP but made a fulsome defence of the government efforts. She also agrees with this writer that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) makes an excellent start towards a basic guaranteed income for all Canadians. It is amazing how much such a program can really save us.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Ms. May must be mishegus.

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Did you hear former green leader Elizabeth May’s latest? After giving up the leadership of her green party, she wants the greens to join up with other losers in the new democratic party. She tops this by then suggesting that the person to lead this gong show is former liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould, the independent MP for Vancouver-Granville.

While it is somewhat cavalier of Ms. May to give the back of her hand to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in this manner, you have to admit, he was taking the party nowhere anyway. Our poor socialists have been wandering in the wilderness for a long time now.

You have to consider the LEAP manifesto that Ari Lewis and Naomi Klein initiated to fill the gap in NDP direction was a better document than anything the greens have produced recently.

But neither party has a good grasp of Canada’s non-environmental needs. And previous NDP leader Tom Mulcair often seemed to be moving to the right of Trudeau’s liberals. May’s problem with her environmental party was that they could never seem to agree on a direction in other areas such as Canada’s foreign affairs.

And Elizabeth May wants Jody Wilson-Raybould to lead this new green-NDP to the barricades? She must have seen something in Wilson-Raybould that others of us have missed. Wilson-Raybould had a responsibility as a cabinet minister to take her problems with the SNC Lavalin affair to cabinet or directly to the prime minister. If she could not carry out her responsibilities as justice minister and attorney general, how would she fare in running a political party?

The other concern I see in this scheme is that Elizabeth May would have to commit to be being part of this green-NDP arrangement to help keep it from falling apart. It would be a sad ending to an otherwise exemplary career.

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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

It costs less than a house and you feel welcome.

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Huh? Sorry, I might have dozed off there. I was dreaming of running to be the leader of the Green Party of Canada. I will just have to run a “Go Fund Me” page for the $50,000. entry fee. It sure is a lot cheaper than the conservatives. They want $300,000 up front in that race.

But cheapness is not the only enticement. This vehicle has only been driven by a single elected leader. Elizabeth May drove it with great skill and determination. She took it from the ranting and roaring on training wheels stage into the hallowed halls of parliament.

But she had a hell of a time getting the party into lock step behind her. These people have to learn some discipline. They have to learn about the realities of power. And they have to realize that actual actions outweigh fuzzy objectives. They also need to learn to synchronize their social media postings.

My first problem might be the party’s vetting committee. Getting by these worthies (no matter whom they might be!) could be a challenge. Their secret is they are secret and their deliberations are secret and their decisions are secret. And, frankly, they should stay secret and go away. These people have never realized that the public want politicos who are open, transparent, honest and never beat their spouse.

The idea of having these exorbitant entry fees is to discourage charlatans and thrill seekers from running for the publicity or just the heck of it. It is also necessary for you to show off your skills as a person who knows how to separate the wealthy from their ill-gained loonies. Just why the leader should also be the chief fund-raiser is left unsaid.

What does not seem to worry any of the possible candidates is party policy. They all seem to be in tune with Green is good. As for the rest of it, they are all over the map.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

All federal parties need new leaders.

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Canadians are going to be seeing a number of national political party leadership contests in the coming year. The conservatives are blowing smoke and fire as they warm up to their winner-takes-all contest in June. The greens are having another cup of green tea and considering who might replace the wonderful Elizabeth May. Jagmeet Singh is foolishly waiting for the 2020 meeting of the NDP that will fire him. Meanwhile the federal liberals are drinking Mr. Trudeau’s Kool-Ade while he tells them how great it is going to be.

I was laughing at an editorial cartoon in the Toronto Star the other day that suggested that the conservatives were debating whether to go with a social conservative or a progressive conservative leader. Our Canadian conservatives obviously consider progressives passé. They are looking for a populist like Doug Ford but with the management style of Stephen Harper.

I think the greens have the toughest problem in they might have to clone Elizabeth May.

The new democrats have an entirely different problem in that their form of socialism really is dead. All they are sure of is that Jagmeet Singh is not going to lead them anywhere. The NDP have to make the move to be seen as social democrats and that could be awkward with so many liberals already occupying that ground.

Mind you, I would never include Justin Trudeau among the social democrats. He is an elitist and is barely a liberal. He lied to liberals when he ran for the leadership saying that he was going to restore the party’s roll in policy and candidate choice. Instead, he has interfered in riding’s candidate choices and ignores policy input.

Trudeau has treated the lists of party faithful as a piggy bank that he inundates with e-mails asking for money. He has no understanding of the role of the party between elections and ignores the need for party development in the electoral districts. He fails to understand that you govern from Ottawa; you win elections in the ridings.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

How much is too much, Mr. Trudeau?

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

Justin Trudeau has obviously not had a really wonderful 2019. As far back as September 2018, the prime minister asked his justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould to reconsider her position on not interfering in the upcoming prosecution of SNC-Lavalin for corrupt practices. Trudeau insisted that the intent was to save jobs in Quebec. Wilson-Raybould appeared to have no idea how tight large corporations are with politicians in Quebec.

It was mid January, 2019 that Wilson-Raybould was replaced as justice minister by former law professor David Lametti, an MP from Montreal. She was demoted to veterans-affaires. And the prime minister’s year went side-ways. It brought his support for feminism into question.

He was already in enough trouble for his dress-up antics on his trip to India the previous year. He hardly needed to have someone dig up old pictures of him in black-face at a party in Vancouver back when he was teaching there.

And it was in Vancouver where he was facing the most objections to his support for the Trans-Mountain pipeline. It was a red flag to environmentalists from coast to coast.

Throughout the year, the prime minister was under constant direct attack by conservative provincial premiers. The only one that laid back was Ontario conservative premier Doug Ford. It was the federal conservatives who asked him to hold back his criticism as it was hurting the federal conservatives more than the liberals.

But despite all the good vibes, Elizabeth May did not capitalize on her best chance to grow the greens in parliament. She only grew her caucus by 50 per cent and she gracefully resigned.

Conservative Chuckles Scheer grew his caucus, won the popular vote and then succumbed to the savagery of his caucus. He resigned.

We are waiting for the guy who lost a third of his caucus, Jagmeet Singh, to do the honourable thing and resign.

But the guy who really blew it and should have resigned back before the election is sitting in the prime minister’s office in Ottawa. It is a temporary position. He is the one who really should resign.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Justin Trudeau lacks the political smarts.

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

An old friend is mounting an e-mail campaign to get prime minister Justin Trudeau to add some key members to his new cabinet. I have argued with him that it is not going to happen and frankly the problem is not so much the idea but the fact that the prime minister lacks the skills to manage such a situation. It is all based on adding Elizabeth May of the green party and a couple friendly new democratic MPs to the federal cabinet.

It is not unheard of. The argument against it happening is the problem of cabinet confidentiality. While making an argument for an open and transparent cabinet would be interesting, the reality is that it is not going to happen. There are just too many national security matters that have to be considered. There are also the confidential matters that involve business and industry. There are the budget matters that have to be announced to everybody at once and not pre-released to a select few. There are far too many considerations for someone such as Justin Trudeau to handle on a day-to-day basis. Look how he did with the SNC-Lavalin affair in the past year.

Still, there is much to like about the idea. My friend, of course, wants Elizabeth May in the cabinet portfolio of the environment. That might be a great idea but expertise in the portfolio is not the first criteria for selection. The first is regional representation. There is also seniority. Knowing some of the specifics of the job might encourage the prime minister to appoint an economist in finance or a senior lawyer in justice but if you add some feminist idea that you have to have half boys and half girls, you could make cabinet-making a high-risk job.

Frankly, it would be easier for the prime minister to get the green party and new democratic party members to sign on as liberals. All a liberal is these days is a person who gets constant e-mails asking for donations to the liberal party.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Now do the decent thing.

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Green leader Elizabeth May did the right thing. The other major party leaders, Scheer, Singh and Trudeau should follow. None completed the recent election with honour. Scheer won the popular vote and lost the election. Singh lost ground for the new democrats. Trudeau lost the West but won Ontario and Quebec and held on with a minority.

May improved her party’s membership in the commons by 50 per cent (one member) and then she resigned. In comparison, Singh lost a third of the new democratic party seats and thinks he is a hero. That supposed surge for Singh in the latter part of the campaign was reluctant NDPers admitting that there was not much choice and coming home to their party.

What is particularly odious about the crushing of Singh was the loss of former NDP seats in Quebec to the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc also took over the third-party status of the new democrats.

It will be at the first opportunity for his party to have a secret vote on his leadership that will end Jagmeet Singh’s career in federal politics. The same end is likely to be in store for Andrew Scheer.

The most amusing aspect of Mr. Scheer’s dilemma is that he could have been prime minister today, trying to win the approval of other parties to support him. What it would have taken was a change in the position taken by members of his party on the special commons committee on electoral reform. This was the committee that studied proportional representation and the conservative members of the committee insisted on holding a referendum. Nobody anticipated that a referendum would approve such a change and Justin Trudeau was forced to renege on his promise.

Despite his many short-comings, Justin Trudeau might be the only party leader able to survive a leadership vote at the next meeting of his political party. The problem is that Trudeau has been busy attempting to turn the liberal party into more of a cult than a traditional Canadian political party.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

A failure in leadership.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

If conservative leader Andrew Scheer is looking for compassion, he is looking in the wrong places. There is no succor for losers in Toronto’s Albany club. Long the King Street hangout of the rich and famous of Canadian conservatism, there is no compassion there for someone rejected by the voters of Toronto and the GTA.

And, no matter how you look at it, Chuckles’ days of power and privilege and free accommodation, in the opposition leader’s residence at Stornoway, are sliding away from him. He came, he saw what he wanted, and he lost. The story is that simple.

The only person who owes Andrew Scheer anything is Justin Trudeau. Chuckles kept Trudeau in power.

Most conservatives complicit in the selection of Andrew Sheer as leader of their party in 2017 considered him to be nothing more than a place-holder. His job was to hold the fort while Justin Trudeau went through the typical two terms as a young, fresh-faced prime minister. Nobody considered the liberal leader to be particularly vulnerable. The wheels only fell off the liberal bus early in 2019.

Liberals were cringing and conservatives were jubilant when the SNC-Lavalin affair hit the news media. It was the kind of affair that had legs. It dominated the media for months. It remains unresolved.

There were also broken promises and Trudeau’s use of his party lists for constant fund-raising that was tearing at the fabric of liberalism across Canada. The liberal party machine went into the fixed-date election in September, unprepared and in disarray.

It was an election to see who could sling the most mud. It lacked ethics, urgency and coherency. The liberals and conservatives (and, to their bias, the Parti Québécois) chose this election to divide the country. There were few answers for those of us concerned about climate change. People became tired of endless, meaningless promises as to how to spend their money.

It was a campaign that left every man and woman to look to their own needs and wants. There was no unifying theme. There was only ‘get mad, get even.’ It was a campaign to remember with sorrow. We were all losers. So far, the only party leader to do the honourable thing is Elizabeth May of the Greens. The other leaders should follow.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Really, Ms. May?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

There was a last shot fired in the federal election on Sunday that really disappointed me. I thought more highly of Elizabeth May of the green party. After all, where have you heard this line before? “Elect (this party) and this will be the last federal government in Canada chosen by the first-past-the-post system.”

Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed it was said by liberal Justin Trudeau in 2015. He was also wrong. This time, it was said by the green’s Elizabeth May

But what really annoyed me was that Ms. May was there, on the special committee of parliament, that blew smoke on Justin Trudeau’s promise. I watched one very long summer to every live-streaming meeting of that special committee, that I could, read all the transcripts and noted Ms. May’s usually thoughtful and succinct comments.

What those committee hearings showed us was that there were few academics or elections experts in Canada or around the world who really understood the different strategies on voting—their weaknesses and their strengths.

The teaching moment was lost though when the various parties represented on the committee came to the voting on what to do. It was the hardened intransigence of the conservatives that forced the committee report that the liberals could not accept. Justin Trudeau might have thrown his hands up in surrender but he did not change his mind. He was determined that his government was not going to agree to a referendum that would prove nothing.

Canadians had already demonstrated in three provinces, that included Ontario and British Columbia, that they would be quite unlikely to approve any recommendation on voting other than first-past-the-post.

There is still a faction who believe that some change is necessary. As we come to accept Internet voting as the safe, inexpensive and fast way to vote, we can look at the French system of run-off elections. This might be the compromise that is needed.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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