Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth May’

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

Go angry into the night.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Canada went to bed angry last night; a failed decision behind us. We had bought into distrust and grievance and discord. We set aside our normal fairness and caring. Greed seemed to be the only compromise. It was a failure in leadership and trust. The next election is not in four years but anytime that there might be an advantage.

Some of Quebec’s francophones gave the rest of us Canadians the finger last night. They chose to send a group of separatist Bloc Québécois members to parliament—but not to contribute to the common good. Thankfully, they did not win the balance of power.

The harshness of the Prairie choices was a more critical critique of confederation. And the failure of the greens to grow and to take their commitments to parliament spells continued conflict over pipelines.

But Jason Kenney in Alberta has to realize that by failing to address his anger in parliament, he is but a dog barking in the night.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer can take off his clown make-up and let his party stew over his poor leadership. When is the safe time to replace him?

Jagmeet Singh and his NDP took their losses but retained party status and can offer the support the liberals need to govern. Maybe the NDP will end up with a direction after all.

And the liberals suffer from the same dilemma. Justin Trudeau has much to learn about politics, political parties and leadership. The difference might be that he is still teachable.

But he let us down here in the catbird seat in Ontario. Once again, we had a winnable candidate, we had the skills and we had the desire to win and the party let us down. There were important lessons learned in Milton. Political campaigns do not start when the writ comes down. They start the day after the last campaign.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“Mommy, It’s over!”

Monday, October 21st, 2019

The sign-off for the Just for Laughs television show seems quite appropriate for this election. Though it was hardly just for laughs. There are still a lot of tears to be shed over this 43rd Canadian General Election. Having a green monster wailing to his mommy seems the right tone to end it.

There were lies told and vulgar language used. It was just not always comedic. As in any show of this type, you have to rate the actors individually.

The prize for most improved went to the boy born at Sussex Drive. Did you note that he was no longer saying ‘Aahh’ while thinking of the next part of his answer? He had obviously been quietly taking elocution lessons as well as training on the use of teleprompters.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer, on the other hand, is still a work in progress. The high cheek bones that earned him the clown title are most often hidden under make-up and his handlers are trying to expand his current repertoire of two facial expressions (surprise and puzzlement). His wife is often with him on the hustings late in the campaign, in a further attempt to soften his image.

But the growing meanness and cruelty of conservatism in this age still nags at Scheer and his candidates. He can hardly deny premiers Ford and Kenney and their unfeeling cuts, refusal to understand global warming and failure to understand the critical relations with other countries that Canadians have gained around the world.

Jagmeet Singh might have stirred the cold hearts of the news media but the growth he has claimed during the campaign has been among the NDP supporters who had given up on him. He is still facing serious losses of previously held seats in Quebec, no potential for growth in Ontario and lost hopes on the Prairies.

Election-day reality in Quebec is most likely to be conservative and NDP losses to the Bloc and the liberals.

What surprises me is that there seems to be no organized effort in B.C. to move to Elizabeth May and the greens and guarantee the end of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

And then, maybe my sources are wrong!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Another bad night for Canadian democracy.

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

When will we treat these election debates as what they are? When they told us that there would be six leadership hopefuls and five moderators for the one English-language debate, we knew trouble was coming. It would have been much better to drop some of the moderators and pay a competent sound engineer. No viewer needs to listen to the babble of people trying to shout over each other.

And what were all those ’moderators’ running for?

Lisa LaFlamme of CTV got my vote for just acting professional. Maybe she had the easiest job at the beginning and the end. We were certainly glad to see her end the event.

Althia Raj of HuffPost won the award for being the coolest moderator.

You would expect someone with the CBC’s Rosemary Barton’s experience to help ease the confusion about what is going on. Since the audience is expected to make sense of what people are saying, it would help if the rules were explained to the audience—as well as the supposed leaders.

But then, there seem to be too many confusing rules at these events. Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star was the only moderator who seemed to be unsure of why she was there.

The only moderator who seemed to show a bias was the normally stony Dawna Friesen of Global Television. Maybe it is because I have watched her interview Justin Trudeau at various times and I sense that she does not like him.

The best idea of the night was from Elizabeth May when she mentioned a financial transaction tax. Canadians deserve an airing of that idea. This is a logical extension of the GST into banking and financial institutions that is long overdue in Canada. We have too many sacred cows in this country that are not paying their way.

The best line of the night was Jagmeet Singh’s reference to Trudeau and Scheer as “Mr. Delay and Mr. Deny.” It is a common enough perception. Whomever gave him that line did him a favour. It would even be more effective if Singh was not saying one thing to Quebec and something else to English Canada.

All I can add about the torture of that English debate is that we certainly have a long way to go to get it right!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Death by a thousand tax cuts.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Canadian voters are being nickel-dimed and conned by their politicians. Even Elizabeth May and her greenies have joined into the game of making promises, with funds, from where, they do not really know. It is a game that voters should not buy. Let’s face facts: Sheer is no savior, Trudeau is untrained in being a trustee, Singh will be lucky if there is a party with him after the election And Ms. May and her rag-tag army would not last a day in a real battle for the environment.

It is time for everyone to take a dose of reality before they vote. You are deemed to be adults, you know! You are supposed to have some idea about what you are doing.

Those wonderful people out on the Wet coast are fighting a desperate action to protect their Orcas, their pristine mountains and the best ski hills in the Americas.

Our people in Alberta, who blew all the money from their first oil bonanza, are lying to themselves that bitumen will make their foreign investors and themselves rich again. And Saskatchewan and Manitoba want to be part of that rodeo?

Ontario is facing its own disaster with the guy running the circus at Queen’s Park. If they can survive that fiasco, Ontario voters are ready to take on the world.

Quebec is still cloistered with its own demons as the anger of the past passes into a confused history. And God bless the Atlantic provinces as they provide Canadians with an anchor.

Everybody should pay attention to the upcoming televised leaders’ debates. Make your own decision. And if you cannot believe any of those people, check out your riding candidates. Try to pick the smartest liberal or conservative. You need someone in a position to do something. They will need to know what they are getting into. We need people who can make a difference.

And do not worry about all the promises. Few of them will be kept.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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