Posts Tagged ‘Erin O’Toole’

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.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

O’Toole’s Big Tent Dreams.

Friday, November 13th, 2020

Federal conservative leader Erin O’Toole is making his intentions clear and prime minister Justin Trudeau can ignore the intent and lose everything. O’Toole is attempting to mix the Harper base, the Jason Kenney ethnic strategy, the liberal union strategy and the frustrations of Donald Trump’s base.

There is no question but O’Toole is the natural to inherit the Stephen Harper base of Western conservatism. He is working hard at being the nice guy with the nasty friends. Being from Ontario, he can use his blandness to set him apart from the gaucheness of Ontario premier Doug Ford and the stridency and misogyny of Alberta’s Jason Kenney.

Yet it is the ethnic group inroads that Kenney made for the Harper government that O’Toole is trying to work to his party’s advantage. Did you think that all those walls of ethnic groups behind Harper appeared by magic? I thought the funniest one I ever saw was the group of boy scouts that Harper used once for a backdrop.

O’Toole is also taking a direct shot at the union support that the liberals had attracted away from the new democrats. It has long been a wonder why some of our more controlling unions did not recognize their affinity for conservatism. These are unions that will fight for the status quo to their last surviving member. There are many unions that consider ‘Solidarity Forever’ to be a conservative camp song.

The most recent lesson in building a big tent was the supposed aberration of Donald Trump as president of the United States. That should not have been as much of a surprise in 2016 as we made out. Even the most conservative of polling firms are still trying to find out where some of those Trump supporters originated. While the born-again Christians who formed so solidly behind Trump are more prominent in the U.S., they are also a strong element in Canada.

Another item O’Toole has outstanding in his big-tent mix is how to sell some environmentalism to the Prairie provinces?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Looking for the “kinder, gentler Tories”?

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

It seemed like such an interesting idea. Erin O’Toole, the new conservative leader, was going to impress the voters with his reason and patience in handling the liberal minority government. He was going to offer a new, more cooperative form of opposition in Ottawa. It looked like he was going to allow some of his pit bull nasties to attack occasionally but appear to be restraining them.

But it did not seem to work. When you start using words such as ‘corrupt’ about your political opponents, you are pushing the envelope. Next thing you know, we would be into an American style election.

Besides, Justin Trudeau and his boy scout and girl scout caucus are hardly in the ‘corrupt’ category. I have heard the Trudeau family called naïve, Pollyanna, and occasionally stupid, but it would be rude and quite unjustified to refer to them, collectively, as corrupt. I know the liberals quite well and my only complaint with them is their elitism.

And I can enthusiastically assure you that Trudeau and his clique of advisors in the PMO are not God’s gift to Canadian politics. I would question how they think they can walk around some ethical considerations in doing their jobs but I would tend to think of their errors as more careless than venal.

The more serious problem with the Trudeau Class of 2015 is finding out if they are liberals, neoliberals, Red Tories, pseudo environmentalists or helpless do-gooders who have absolutely no idea how to run a government. Thank goodness that they took the professionals’ advice on the pandemic. I used to respect Justin’s father because whether I agreed with him or not, he always enjoyed arguing his case. Justin just does not have the intellect.

But we have needed a more civilized form of politics in this country for quite a few years now. There are some serious differences between doing the political thing and doing the right thing. And knowing those differences counts for something with the voters.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

“I double dare you.”

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

The kids are bruising for a fight but unsure of the outcome. The Ottawa liberals are tantalizing the conservatives with the prospect of an election. The only problem is that it could all be for nothing. If nobody can win, what is the point?

And that is the real problem. No matter how you read the polls, there is no other likely outcome to an election than what already exists today. The only logical outcome is a few seats this way or a few seats that way. If you cannot win, why do it?

And that is the question. The conservatives are trying to corner the liberals with corruption charges which have little real support from the voters. It is an attempt to oversize the We scandal.

What the conservatives do not realize is that the We charity is a dead issue. The voters have much more serious questions to think about. The covid-19 figures keep growing and all the voters want is a vaccine. They want a Halloween to enjoy for their kids. They want us all to have a Merry Christmas. They want life in Canada to get back to normal. Then they will have time to listen to politicians who might or might not know what they are doing.

But, at this time, the conservatives only have their new leader in the crosshairs. Erin O’Toole can ill-afford an election. His problems are the attack dogs such as conservative Pierre Poilievre from Ottawa. They are undermining O’Toole’s ideas for a kinder, gentler conservative party and dragging him into a fight that he does not need.

But never fear folks, Jagmeet Singh and his sorry new democrats will come to the rescue. They can hardly afford an election either.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

O’Toole’s new hue of blue.

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Erin O’Toole, the new conservative party leader brought a new hue of blue to parliament on his late arrival. Delayed by covid-19, the conservative leader brought a new approach to the minority parliament. Where catcalls and rudeness have prevailed for so long, the new leader brought reason, conciliation and understanding. It was an approach to politics readily understood by most Ontario politicos over 50. It was the politics of former Ontario premier William Davis.

Bill Davis turned 91 this year and while his health might not be the best, his legacy in Ontario continues to be honoured. It all boiled down to one word: decency. He was conservative premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985 and he made sure Queen’s Park during that time was a friendly place. In those years, I worked closely with the liberal caucus under Bob Nixon and, when at Queen’s Park, I often had a friendly word with people on Bill Davis’ or NDP leader Stephen Lewis’ staff.

But I think for Erin O’Toole, sincere or not, this approach will be a hard sell to his caucus, his supporters and his provincial conservative backers. Today’s political divide is too broad, the acrimony too deep and the distrust ingrained.

Too many of the conservative caucus are former Steven Harper MPs who went through the hard-fought years of his partisan governments which dealt more with conservative ideology than the needs of Canadians. O’Toole was there for the last and in cabinet in that final four years.

It is hard to imagine that he would not realize the difference in style he is trying to utilize from that of the provincial conservatives where they are in power. This is with some of the provincial conservative governments routinely condemning the federal liberals for their efforts on climate change, bringing lawsuits to the supreme court and even putting advertising stickers on all provincial gas pumps condemning the carbon tax—until the practice was stopped by the courts.

Mind you, this kinder, gentler conservatism might be just to impress the voters. Time will tell.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

So, who wants an election?

Monday, September 7th, 2020

Americans do it every four years. Canadians sometimes do it more often. We are talking about federal elections here. Americans have never seen one like this one: the vote seems all locked down two months before the actual election. Given that intention and the determination of the voters, Donald Trump should be out on his ass in just two months.

There is a ‘maybe’ in that statement. It takes almost three months for the transition from one president to the next anyway. And what if Trump baulks? He likes being president. What happens if all his supporters do vote twice?

And what happens in Canada if the liberals and conservatives have a tie? Do we have to settle for the prime minister the Bloc, the NDP and the greens choose?

Maybe in Canada we have to wait and see what Justin Trudeau’s liberals have in mind on which to spend money. One thing for sure, the conservatives have never saved us much, as they seem to like giving all the tax breaks to their rich friends.

The rule of thumb is that you never worry about how much a government wants to spend until they scare the bond rating services. The opposition are just fear-mongering.

Many people are looking forward to just how green this new liberal program will be. It will hardly matter though if Trudeau does not dump the TransMountain pipeline that is being twinned to carry three times the amount of oil sands bitumen over the Rockies.

The one thing for sure is that there will be much sabre rattling about an election on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border until we hear this new liberal plan.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Tooling along with O’Toole.

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

It is ‘go easy’ time on the new leader of Canada’s conservatives. Erin O’Toole is getting the easy ride ahead of any election. The media are throwing him the soft lobs to try to give them some of the thought processes he will be using for tougher questions during a campaign.

It is an amusing thought that the media are crediting him with the supposedly brilliant strategy that propelled him past Peter MacKay to win. What is brilliant about a strategy that says you need to come second to everyone else? That was his strategy and he stuck to it.

It is damn lucky for Canada’s conservatives that Canada does not use a foolish multiple-choice voting system for our national elections. We would end up with a new democrat or green government if we did that.

You would think that our conservatives would stop using multiple choice systems now that they have experienced the same type of result each time. First time, they got ‘Chuckles’ Scheer. Now they get a Tool,

This is just what Canada’s social conservatives wanted to hear—just how liberal O’Toole is about abortions and same sex marriage. This guy is going to get strung up by his own supporters. These social conservatives are the people who put him in their party’s driver’s seat.

This guy is going to have to think long and heard before pushing Justin Trudeau into a fall election. In fact, he might even have to think some more about what would happen in an election next year.

O’Toole is going to have to use more than just the occasional gaff by the liberal leader as his springboard to an election.

Trudeau won a lot of kudos for his handling of the pandemic with those cuckoo clock presentations out of Rideau Cottage. He has a lot of electoral muscle left with women, youth and urban voters. If he can get rid of the TransMountain pipeline albatross, he has clear sailing.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

That Tool, O’Toole.

Friday, August 28th, 2020

Hypocrite, thy name is conservative. If you did not know where all that bullshit about equal rights at the new conservative leader’s first news conference came from, you have not been paying attention. Erin O’Toole had all the tricks lined up for him to make him conservative leader and leader of the opposition in parliament.

The Durham, Ontario MP had no sooner declared his intent to run for the federal conservative leadership, than he headed west to check with his mentor, premier Jason Kenney of Alberta. Kenney promised him solid support from the vote-rich conservative party membership across western Canada.

The party organization did its usual careless job on the voting system. They not only found themselves in a six-hour time delay—that brought out the new leader after midnight—but it was a system guaranteed to select the least controversial leader. It was the same weighted-constituency (each riding allocated 100 points). It was the same foolish preferential voting system that gave them Andrew Scheer as leader last time. You would hope that people who think they know everything would learn from their mistakes.

It was concerning, at first, that there were only four people in the race. Former playboy cabinet member, Peter MacKay was the obvious front-runner—if only for bring the best known of the candidates. As long as the two social conservatives stayed in the race, O’Toole had the chance to come through as the compromise. And they did the job required.

If you do not agree with me as to how this leadership was won, you will have to reread what O’Toole told prime minister Trudeau when they talked as leader to leader. O’Toole stressed his concern about western alienation and Jason Kenney’s need for pipelines to get his tar sands gunk to market.

Sorry, I am not impressed with the conservative choice of leader. Maybe he reminds me too much of the Porky Pig character who ended the Looney Tunes cartoons with “That’s all folks!”

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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