Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth May’

‘Yesteryear Politicos’ and ‘Tired Advice.’

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Most people are probably unaware that they can get a good laugh from the Hill Times almost every day, for free. The Ottawa-based political newsletter will send you their headlines everyday in hopes of selling you a subscription. The problem they have with me is all I want from them is their headlines. I can do my own research, thank you.

Back when you could get complete samples of the newsletter, I determined that the average ages of their opinion writers are 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 Hill Times show much experience.

Since the Hill Times 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 about 20 years ago when liberals asked me who was this upstart Kinsella running some ‘war room’ for Jean Chrétien? 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 the Hill Times, I had even offered the Hill Times some of my expertise. They did not seem interested and that is their loss.

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

Poison Ivy is also Green.

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

It has been very difficult to decipher exactly what Green party leader Elizabeth May has in mind. Our Ottawa parliamentarians were in an emergency debate on the climate emergency our scientists had reported. Being head of the Green party, Ms. May came out with a program to save the world—or, at least Vancouver Island.

Ms. May wants to abandon political divisions in the House of Commons and in cabinet. She wants a war cabinet with participants from all parties to face the climate change catastrophe in Canada.

But I am not sure I can do this program justice in explaining it. Please, do not get me wrong. I have always been impressed with Ms. May. She has been doing an impossible job, by herself in recent years. She is an excellent MP. Her real problem is her party. There are some very sincere tree-huggers, a bunch of knowledgeable environmentalists, and more than enough dingbats in that party. For Ms. May to get that party in shape for the coming election, she needs to be expert at herding cats.

She needs to get all 337 of her fellow Green candidates singing from the same songbook. They will all make promises but once they start winging it out in their electoral districts, you have no idea what they are promising.

And the chances of them explaining what Ms. May proposed in parliament the other day are tenuous, at best. In fact, I would wonder if even 25 per cent of the Green candidates could entertain any serious questions about the idea.

She is suggesting that everybody pitch in. We would all work on retrofitting Canadians’ homes. It sounds more like the cultural revolution in China during 1966 and 1967 under the Red Guards of Mao Zedong.

I agree with Ms. May that we all need to do more to cope with climate change. I just hope she has a Plan B that looks after the serious business of being a country while we are saving the world.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t get too excited Ms. May.

Saturday, May 11th, 2019

If you want an area of Canada where the Green party runs rampant, go to Vancouver Island. In fact, the entire area around the Strait of Georgia seems overrun with Greens, Druids and other pagan religions. Just standing under one of those magnificent, lordly trees on the Island fills you with wonder and a sense of the spirituality.

But—maybe getting one more Green party member into parliament might be a brief, but quickly lost, breeze. I hardly believe that two seats in parliament are the beginning of an avalanche. I think the wise voters of Beautiful British Columbia sent a message to the east. It was a polite wake-up call.

It was a very strong message to the NDP. It said get with the program. Get a leader, get a raison d’etre, get real. The Winnipeg General Strike, the Dirty Thirties and the Great Depression are fading into the mists of time. Join us in the 21st Century.

It was a kick in the ass for the conservatives. Ignore Global Warming at your peril. Your rich friends can fund you but do you belong to them? Are you the menials of foreign owners? What are you doing for Canada today?

I think the strongest condemnation was of prime minister Trudeau and the liberals. The handwriting is on the wall—and they have been found wanting. You cannot walk away from your failures. You own them and you have to stand to account for them. Nobody is happy with the liberal’s careless handling of the SNC-Lavalin debacle. And they owe Canadians some apologies. No person who cares about the environment can allow Justin Trudeau to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline. Is that the best he can do in helping our aboriginal peoples? There is a very big difference between diplomacy and simpering. He needs to learn that sometimes we all need to speak—loud and clear.

All Canadians can hope is that over the summer, our politicians will come to understand the concerns of Canadians. They need to understand what brings us together as well as what divides us. We need a new rationale from all parties. None are exempt. That is not a recess bell that will toll on October 21.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

If you’re counting on a Green Wave: Forget it.

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green party, has a damn tough job and she has done it well. She does not always agree with her own troops and her main headaches must come from that quarter.

Talking to a chap at a function where the speaker was Peggy Nash the former Toronto NDP MP, I assumed he was of that party. I was explaining to him why polls showing the Greens winning the election in PEI were inflated.

He agreed that over the years that the NDP vote forecast by pollsters was quite often four to five points higher than the actual vote. It was my opinion that this was because of people who supported other parties, did not want to tell the pollster the truth, and would say they were voting NDP. We referred to this as a ‘parked vote.’ I told him that it was obvious that today voters were also parking with the Greens. It shows Canadians are paying more attention to that party.

While I see it as a compliment to Ms. May, I am still very sceptical of her party getting broad support from Canadians. The simple reason why is that you can get the same line on environmentalism from the NDP. And I am hardly the only liberal who is concerned about our environment and takes a consistent  stand on stopping the exploitation of Canada’s tar sands.

But it is not enough to build an effective political party just around the environment. The country needs much more. Ms. May might be a very knowledgeable and well-rounded person but the local Greenie in my area who has run in multiple elections does not seem to want to talk about anything that is not about the environment. I find him boring.

And it is this same tendency of Green party members to bore people with a pre-occupation in environmentalism that tells me that they cannot convince Canadians to give them a real shot at governing.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“We’re off to see the Wizard”

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Canadians will face many adventures as they whistle their way down the Yellow Brick Road in 2019. They can travel hand in paw with Dorothy, Toto and their companions. It will not be the predictable adventures with witches and wizards as in L Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The first problem is that not all Canadians are pleased with the choice between Scarecrow – Jagmeet Singh, Tin Woodman – Andrew Scheer and Cowardly Lion – Justin Trudeau. Many voters want change for the sake of change. They might not relish the turmoil that attitude can bring but they will take their chances.

After all, Jagmeet Singh is a leader without a united party or any real policies or commitments behind him. He took the leadership by the swamping of his party’s memberships in Ontario and B.C.  with his co-religionists. His risk is that few Canadians understand his religion and it makes him different. He is the scarecrow who scares birds and voters.

Conservative voters might feel a tin woodsman such as Andrew Scheer will bore more voters than he can win over. And a cowardly lion, despite his supposed liberalism, will likely have less appeal than in 2015. Both are conflicted on the environment and on pipelines. There are no more sunny days.

Maybe this is the year for one of the new parties. It happened in Quebec in 2018. And Doug Ford went from former city councillor to premier in Ontario in less than six months last year. Can we expect some similar surprises are in store for us in 2019?

Who knows? Jason Kenny might not be able to oust Rachel Notley in Alberta and might try for a triumphant return to Ottawa.

But what about all those social conservative diehards who supported Quebec MP Maxime Bernier in the last conservative leadership? Is his new People’s Party of Canada to be ignored?

And what about everyone’s perennial favourite with her caucus of one, Elizabeth May? Could she gather four or five Green MPs to help her?

Canadians will have to wait until October this year for the answers.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

LDP 02: What is in a name?

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

One of the responses we received about a proposed new liberal democratic party (LDP) was from a reader who thought we could just join the Green party and be done with it. As much as I have admired green leader Elizabeth May’s hard work and leadership of the Green Party, I see no reason for liberals to join her party.

Just one of the problems is the name of the party. By calling itself the Green Party, it narrows its purpose, if not focus. It tells people that the party is about the environment and tells us nothing else.

The NDP is also very keen on the environment and takes an equally strong stance. Its problem is that much of its rhetoric is still based on the socialism of the 1930s. The party has failed to build an image for the 21st century.

Despite May’s intelligent and well-researched positions on many aspects of governance, she cannot be all-knowing. As a one-person party, May is stretched beyond reason in parliament. Many MPs over the years have admitted to me that it is about all you can do in parliament is keep up to date on one department as well as do your constituency work

Even the liberal party has taken positive stands on protecting the environment—until prime minister Justin Trudeau’s recent offer to buy and ship highly polluting Alberta bitumen through an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline. Not only is government participation in shipping bitumen bad economics but it is enraging a core of environmentally concerned liberals. Justin Trudeau and the liberals will need all of their mobs for re-election next year and will not find all of them.

But the liberal mobs had already felt themselves adrift. For some inexplicable reason, Trudeau had decided much earlier that he did not like his father’s party. As useful as the party had been to him, he wanted a top-down structure that he could manipulate to his choosing. He went from no party membership fee (and no membership) to a large group of e-mail addresses for people to harangue for help in campaigning and to provide the campaign funds. Those of us who think of ourselves as liberals have been cast aside for the gullible and the monied.

After next year, we will need a new federal liberal party as well as provincial.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Elizabeth May, please step forward.

Friday, August 19th, 2016

It has always been our opinion that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is far smarter than anyone else in the Green Party. And she has certainly carried all those folks on her back for far too long. It is time now for Elizabeth to take on a real challenge. Surely it is obvious to her that Justin Trudeau needs help. Elizabeth needs to choke it up and join the Liberal Party of Canada.

It would probably surprise her to learn that there are many environmentally concerned liberals in the Liberal Party. Her environmental concerns would not be set aside.

But if Justin Trudeau wants to have a gender balanced cabinet, he needs more intelligent women. Ms. May would be great in the cabinet. She could do a far better job in justice, foreign affairs or democratic institutions. Instead, she has been wasting this very fine summer asking the only intelligent questions on the special house committee on electoral reform.

We are well aware that there is a quiet campaign on to bring Ms. May into the New Democratic Party to fill that leadership vacuum. We are dismayed at the prospect. Talk about a fish out of water. While she would certainly bring new depth and intelligence to the NDP, what are they going to do for her? Nothing. The only elected NDP government is in Alberta where the Premier is promoting pipelines for bitumen in the face of all environmentalist objections. The NDP has been floundering both federally and provincially for quite some time now. It is a party in need of rebranding and has no idea what that brand should be.

If the party decides to dump the old-fashioned socialists and strike out on a new social democratic future, it has potential. The only problem is the party will spend years in the wilderness establishing its new credentials. A worthy ambition maybe but Ms. May deserves more in the here and now. She is no spring chicken you know.

And frankly, Ms. May is barking up the wrong tree in hopes of getting the Greens more MPs through introducing some form of proportional representation. It is not going to happen in Canada.

Ms. May is a liberal. There is no point in denying it any longer. At this point in her life, her government needs her service to make them better at the job they are trying to do. And she must admit that most of the Liberal Party program is very much in sync with Elizabeth May’s.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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

It’s just not that funny.

Friday, May 15th, 2015

The Ottawa Press Gallery felt that Elizabeth May let them down at their annual dinner. They usually just throw stale dinner rolls at the poor performers. They tend to get too many who try but do not measure up. They think the politicians are going to entertain them by being funny.

Elizabeth was sick with a flu. She was exhausted and so would you be if you tried to match her schedule. She is trying so hard to hold things together as the only sitting member for her party in Ottawa. And she could not think of a Goddamn thing funny about her situation or the dreadful Harper government.

Many of us have stood at a microphone before in the wrong place at the wrong time and wished the floor would open up and help us to disappear. It took a compassionate cabinet minister to drag Elizabeth from the podium. All Elizabeth could do was to apologize.

But the time for apologies is now over. Stephen Harper never even goes to that sophomoric media event. He despises the news media anyway. He never has had a sense of humour. Go throw buns at him, you bums. Leave Elizabeth alone.

The other day at the end of another subject, we suggested that Elizabeth May bring her environmental program to the Liberal Party. There is little doubt that the Liberals should unanimously adopt the Green Party’s environmental agenda. It could not be done overnight but Elizabeth would not expect that even if she was Prime Minister.

But she should be the Minister of the Crown who sees to that environmental plan for a Liberal government. She and her party are not going to get proportional representation in Canada to get her party into any position of influence. Yet all she has to do is bring herself and her party into the Liberal fold and the Greens can have plenty of influence.

What the Green Party has to realize is that there are more Liberals ready and willing to support their environmental objectives than there are Green Party members. There is no competition there. There is no objection to many Green Party objectives because they are already Liberal Party objectives.

We all know that Justin Trudeau is conflicted on the Alberta tar sands exploitation. We need Elizabeth May to join the Liberals and explain things to young Trudeau. He has to understand that if Alberta cannot convert that bitumen to synthetic oil without destroying the environment of Alberta and neighbouring provinces, it should not be shipped anywhere. With a Liberal government in Ottawa and an NDP government in Alberta, we can take some major steps to saving this poor old planet.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

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