Posts Tagged ‘Erin O’Toole’

Being ‘Just Erin’ won’t cut it.

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

It seems that conservative leader Erin O’Toole is not just an unknown to Canadian taxpayers. His own caucus in Ottawa is just as much in the dark as are the voters. The conservative MPs are puzzled as to where he intends to lead their party.

Some of the more reliable reporters in Ottawa are starting to ask questions. And if the conservative party is going to start running pre-election ads on television saying he is ‘Just Erin,’ they might just dig a deeper hole than they are already in.

The conservative caucus is already in a pandemic slump. And all they are getting, after six months of their new leader, is confused messages. It seems that O’Toole used the extreme right wing of the right-wing party to win the leadership. Since then, he has tried to sell himself as more of a ‘middle of the road’ kind of guy.

A middle-of-the-road kind of guy is someone without a clue where he is headed.

The worst surprise the caucus had to absorb was the demotion of Pierre Poilievre from finance critic. Pierre had proved himself a pit bull in the position. His replacement is more the grandfatherly type. What that is communicating to voters remains to be seen.

But ‘Just Erin’ might reveal all at the upcoming virtual convention of the party on policy. This is scheduled for March and the party’s extremists on the right have been quietly snapping up the invites. Not knowing how the event is to work, or not work, as the case might be, there is no telling what will happen when everybody virtually meets.

When conservative MPs have a chance to get together in Ottawa, there seems to be a lot of quiet conversations about what they can do to save their seats in parliament. Mind you that does not include the boys and girls from Alberta and Saskatchewan who are practically guaranteed to return.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Never upstage your leader.

Saturday, February 13th, 2021

Pierre Poilievre MP appears to have been demoted in the conservative ranks in parliament as it heads toward a possible spring election. Little boy blue might have made the political mistake of upstaging his leader. The member for Carleton, in the Ottawa area, has been having much too much fun as finance critic, attacking the liberal government for its supposedly spendthrift ways.

Poilievre can be nasty, when it comes to critiquing. He seems to be really enjoying himself when he goes in for the metaphoric ‘kill.’ Like a weasel, he might be deceptive in size but still deadly.

And he has taken to the Zoom parliament like a duck to water. He was among the first to appear to have put up the false background filter on Zoom, with professional lighting. This Calgary-born conservative does not miss a trick.

With his hair neatly coifed and wearing an impeccable conservative suit, with a blue tie, Poilievre has been keeping his leader, Erin O’Toole, in the background. It makes the voter wonder just who is the leader here?

It is just too bad that Poilievre comes across to voters as mean and Scrooge-like. It would never do for his leader to take baggage such as that into an election campaign. He needs a potential finance manager such as Ed Fast, MP for Abbotsford in British Columbia. The grandfatherly Fast was a cabinet minister in the last Harper government and would be expected to get a senior portfolio in any future conservative government.

And poor Poilievre has been relegated to carping on the liberal’s failure to produce the industries and jobs that Canadians need for financial recovery after the pandemic—at least in the view of the conservatives. And he will have his work cut out for him as the liberals roll out their multi-billion plan for critically-needed infrastructure roads and bridges and transportation.

What makes his job even tougher is that it seems none of this liberal benevolence will be coming forward until after the election. It leaves Poilievre tilting at windmills.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Did you know the campaign was on?

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Jagmeet Singh has been heard from. He did not exactly come down from the mountain with tablets of stone. The new democratic party leader has decided that the low-hanging fruit of for-profit, long-term care homes was as good an issue as his party needs in the looming federal election.

It is likely that he figured that is all he needs if Canadians are to be presented with a campaign fought over the handling of the pandemic. The NDP might not be aware that there are no heroes while the battle still rages. Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau is hardly looking like a leader popping in and out the front door of Rideau Cottage like a cuckoo to repeat the advice of medical personnel. And conservative leader Erin O’Toole has hardly won kudos from the voters complaining about how Trudeau does, or does not, do the job.

O’Toole might not remember that it was conservative Brian Mulroney who sold off the Connaught Laboratories that might have helped Canadians get vaccinated as fast as citizens in other countries. Nor does it help Justin Trudeau if the liberals did give out more money per capita than any other advanced country during the pandemic.

It might come as a surprise for those who pay attention to politics that Justin Trudeau is doing as well in the polls as he is. You would think that some of his record as prime minister would work against him.

But his real secret weapon is the opposition. The reason Justin Trudeau and the liberals are likely to win any election called this year is the sad condition of his party’s opposition. There really is none. Erin O’Toole is a mistake. He is a conservative who thought the military taught him leadership. He is no leader. Jagmeet Singh has already proved that he is incapable of leading the new democrats anywhere. His leadership of that party is being endured.

There are only a few Canadians who would bet on the new leader of the Green Party. Annamie Paul, leader of the Greens, is an unknown to the majority of Canadians.

That leaves us with Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc Québécois. That is hardly an alternative for anyone who cares about our country.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Don’t believe it can’t happen here.

Friday, February 5th, 2021

There seems to be some arguments these days about whether Canadians have to suffer through the same political mistakes made by Americans. We hardly seem to have to wait long to have our own version of Donald Trump. It is a toss-up whether Doug Ford of Ontario or Jason Kenney in Alberta is the better stand-in for Trump.

I tend to lean towards Ford. Trump proved that he was an incompetent. Ford shows all those same traits. He was still running for office as leader of the conservatives when he was caught negotiating a deal with some developers to let them build on protected aquifer lands that provide the greater Toronto area with fresh water. And Ontario voters were so tired of the liberals that they elected him anyway.

And did you understand why, when once in office, he wanted the Ontario Police to provide him with a roaming bedroom—so he could keep tuned up, so to speak. Like Trump, Ford is always pissed with the news media and tries to give out his own version of events.

Mind you, he is not as bad as fellow conservative Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta. Not satisfied with the efforts of Post Media to please him, Kenney runs his own version of Alberta news from Calgary’s Petroleum Club. The ranting and tantrums that Kenney had about incoming U.S. president Biden cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline were a classic. He even said that he was going to sue the Americans for the taxpayers’ money he had put into that pipeline.

We will have to wait a couple years to see if the pundits are right that enough Alberta voters are ready to turf Kenney.

Both Ford and Kenney are supposed to get in line behind federal conservative leader Erin O’Toole in saying nasty things about Justin Trudeau. We suspect that Canadian voters are not interested in a federal election until the pandemic can be declared to be over. And then all bets will be off until the dust of the federal and provincial elections settles.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Canadians are on to O’Toole.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

Every time I look at conservative leader Erin O’Toole, he reminds me of cartoons of the bloated English capitalist.  What makes me laugh though are his on-going attempts to create a conservative party more acceptable to the mainstream of Canadian voters. And I hardly think tossing Derek Sloan out of the party caucus will achieve much.

But it was obvious that something more than confusion, over the name of a donor to Sloan’s leadership campaign, was behind the attitude of the conservative caucus. The very fact of O’Toole trusting the caucus to oust Sloan, said there was more.

The last time, we looked at O’Toole in Babel-on-the-Bay, our opinion was that he was going nowhere. He will have a hard time convincing people that he is fit to follow Stephen Harper. He has neither the smarts, the experience nor the understanding of his party to pull that mishmash together.

And no, he is not as apolitical as Trump but nor is he as dictatorial as Harper. Harper ran the party with an iron hand. He silenced the social conservatives, dominated the extreme right and held those such as O’Toole up for ridicule.

To be fair, O’Toole is smarter than conservative premiers Ford in Ontario, Kenney in Alberta, Moe in Saskatchewan and Pallister in Manitoba, even if they do set a fairly low bar. The only problem is that those are the four provinces that O’Toole needs to have securely in his pocket to leave him free to work the east and the west to have any hope of defeating Trudeau’s liberals. The day that they can deliver the kind of help that O’Toole is going to need will depend on what they had for breakfast. Ford is the least political, Kenney has his own agenda, Pallister would rather be in Costa Rica and Moe seems to prefer to serve as second banana to Kenney.

If O’Toole wants to consider the conservative party as his own, he should have at it. He will only be disillusioning himself.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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The solidarity of the right.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Is Erin O’Toole a fool? The conservative leader would not be so stupid as to reject the support of the extreme right of the conservative party? Yet we read that he does not think he needs them. It was that kind of thinking that enabled Preston Manning to create the reform party in 1987. It encouraged the breakaway of the wildrose party in Alberta in 2008. It has encouraged Canadians to always watch Alberta for the best fun and games in politics.

But the astute political observer will tell you that Alberta voters have been paying the price ever since. It is more than the conclusion that in the West, the right would rather fight. And it explains why Maxime Bernier’s people’s party has such a large number of supporters in Alberta.

O’Toole needs to talk to Stephen Harper. It was not until Harper suckered Peter MacKay into bringing the right wing of Canadian politics under the conservative party of Canada umbrella that it was able to defeat the liberals and form a government that lasted almost ten years.

And bear in mind that the conservative party is not just there to give Canadians respite from the liberals. There are a lot of mean and selfish people in Canada who want government out of their pockets. There are also the social conservatives who want to deny others an abortion, their right to medically assisted dying or any religion, if that is their choice.

There are also those who have no understanding of debt and rail against those who willingly commit to paying for some amenities over years rather than paying as they go.

Mr. O’Toole has previously told Canadians that he sees the conservative party as a ‘big tent’ party able to accommodate the extremes of conservatism. And yet many of these conservative voters have no idea of the ideology behind this party of their parents.

As voters, each of us has a responsibility to elect the best person to represent all the people in their constituency. If you prefer to elect the person who just represents a party, you can have the next four years to regret it.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Are any conservatives listening?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

It is something of a wonder that Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta, Doug Ford, premier of Ontario, and Erin O’Toole, federal conservative leader, are members of the same political party. The only similarity between the three gentlemen is that they all blame Justin Trudeau for their problems, provincially and across Canada. And that seems like a very heavy load for Canada’s prime minister to carry.

No doubt there are a growing number of Albertans who wish Mr. Kenney spent less of their money on pipelines for diluted bitumen and more on health care. They think he should be paying more attention to the current pandemic than the price of oil—which is obviously not going to suddenly solve all their problems.

At a time when his province is so obviously in need of leadership, Jason Kenney has been reluctant to place any restraints on Albertans. Citizens of Alberta who want to ignore the simple rules that could reduce and prevent the spread of coronavirus are creating the highest incidence of covid-19 in the country.

The news media in Ontario had been giving Doug Ford time to grasp the reins of his job but disillusionment has been growing. Just when you think the guy is doing the job, he reverts to his basic cronyism. Having his majority conservatives approve a bill that includes university status for his friend Charles McVety’s Canada Christian College is a slam at Ontario’s properly run and qualified universities.

Add to that, Ford’s disregard for Ontario’s years of building safeguards for our environment. He is destroying those years of hard work by conservative, liberal and new democratic governments to cater to his developer supporters. It is open season on the environment in Ontario.

And the federal conservative leader is not much help either. He is trying to build a fictitious ‘big tent’ party that more Canadians can support. To do this, he is ignoring the more strident members of his federal caucus such as Pierre Poilievre who thinks we are spending too much helping Canadians through the pandemic and MP Derek Sloan who wants to warn people against vaccines.

It would seem that Canadians would be better off if they had more politicians who put Canadians first and their party second.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Looking mean and meaning it.

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

That was dumb. Watching finance minister Chrystia Freeland deliver her financial update was more of a tribute to my interest in politics than any immediate need to hear her deliver it. What left me annoyed though was the rank stupidity of our opposition parties’ responses.

While the speech itself was boring, poorly structured and self-congratulatory, the conservative response was worse. Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre came out of his seat like a guard dog smelling dinner. If he thinks the liberals are putting Canadians too deeply in debt, he should tell them where to cut. And which voters to leave out in the cold.

He complains a lot about the government not knowing exactly when it will start receiving the vaccines that have not yet even been approved for use. The problem is that the government is in the dark also. They seem confident that some of the more promising vaccines will be arriving in the next couple of months. We have been teased a bit by the good progress reports but Canada has its own logistics problems in making the vaccine available to Canadians from coast to coast. As it is, the government has committed to buy up to 400 million doses of various potentially successful vaccines.

But even before the vaccines are available, O’Toole and his attack dog are harping at the government for not having distribution plans in place. What they do not seem to realize is that if we start vaccinating Canadians in the first quarter of 2021, we will still be vaccinating over the coming summer. The roll-out of vaccines will not be overnight.

And some of the more likely vaccines will require special conditions for shipment and storage. Some require conditions of extreme cold for storage. They are not just boxes of vials.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Political leaders get lots of advice.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

It is part of the job. Leaders of all political parties get lots of advice—most of it ignored. Maybe the Toronto Star is not aware of this phenomenon. That must be why they run advice columns for different leaders every Sunday opposite the editorials. One of these, that ran last Sunday, was intended for conservative leader Erin O’Toole.

As befits the conservative party, the advice was far from progressive and you could picture the writer yawning as he wrote it.

The first idea was to show off the excessive amounts of money the Tories are reaping from their pleas to their base. The suggestion was that they give all the money they dredge from their supporters in December to charity. I wish they would—and then good luck in January trying to get more. If conservatives wanted that money given to charity, they could have got the refund from Revenue Canada directly.

And talk about double-dipping. Would they get a political donation credit and then further credit on their taxes for the charitable donation?

But the conservative supporter goes on to suggest that the second wave of covid-19 might be an opportunity of benefit to Mr. O’Toole. First of all, there also might be many Canadians appalled at a politician thinking they can benefit from sickness and death.

The fact that Justin Trudeau had an uptick in the polls for his cuckoo-clock type appearances was more the fact of the exposure, the warmth of the home setting and his manner in handling the non-political information he was providing for the public. For the opposition leader to try to mimic the presentations to criticize the prime minister would hardly get the cooperation of the news media for long.

Doug Ford has fared badly with his attempt to do group presentations at Queen’s Park. Some of the media’s questions lately have been answered with tirades from the intemperate, inexperienced premier.

And we were under the impression that this conservative writer was experienced. For him to suggest that O’Toole attack the liberals for the generosity of the support for Canadians caught in a pandemic is a bad idea. Sure, there will be some ill-considered payments when you are ‘rushing funds out the door’ but so far, they appear to be catching most of the errors and getting them fixed.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Turkey or turmoil for Christmas.

Monday, November 16th, 2020

Do you ever get a feeling that something is off and you are not entirely sure what it is? It has been bothering me for a while. There is a feeling coming out of Ottawa that does not bode well. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is salivating for an election. Federal cabinet members are going around talking to the news media as though they have something else on their minds.

A part of it might be the situation south of the border. Who trusts Trump? We might be wishing that we had are own border wall. That petulant child-man in the White House is cooking something in his mind that might just interfere with everyone’s wish for a smooth transition of power in Washington on January 20. We keep wondering what part Mr. Trump will play.

But Canadians have their own problems. We have legislation backing up in Ottawa as the pandemic takes precedence. The Trudeau government is starting to baulk at the mounting costs of mitigating the economic disaster we are facing. The prime minister is nowhere near as cocky as he was over the summer. The days are darker. The storm clouds are gathering. And the pandemic numbers are mounting.

What could Erin O’Toole possibly be thinking in wanting to take the government out of Trudeau’s hands? Has he any better idea than the liberals? What possible incentives could he be thinking of to get both the NDP’s Singh and the Bloc’s Blanchet on side? He is wasting his time if he cannot get them to help defeat the government.

An election at this time of year is not unprecedented. The last time Canadians had an election over Christmas, we ended up with what some of us thought of as the Mulroney effect. When Joe Clarke’s conservative government was defeated by the resurgent Pierre Trudeau and the liberals, Clarke was, in turn, defeated two years later by Brian Mulroney for the conservative party leadership.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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