Posts Tagged ‘Green Party’

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

Voting and Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

I am voting in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte this weekend. And I am voting for the liberal candidate. My sense of this riding is that the green candidate is taking some votes from both the liberals and new democrats. That combination will give the riding to another do-nothing conservative.

I expect that situation to be duplicated in a few other Eastern electoral districts and is why the liberals are looking at the possibility of a minority government. If the trend continues to grow, it could change that liberal minority to a conservative minority. A minority conservative government might not last long but we can cross that bridge if we have the bad luck to get to it.

Some ridings are talking strategic voting to ward off that situation but when you have never seen strategic voting work, it seems pointless.

The problem is that the country has never been so divided. Voters came out of that English-language debate confused and angry. There is a heavy line drawn down the Ontario/Manitoba border with an arrow pointed east saying ‘liberal’ and an arrow pointed west saying ‘conservative.’ The only problem for the conservatives is that there is another line drawn down the Rockies that says ‘We do not want your bloody bitumen.’

And this is the position that British Columbia voters have always dreamed of: deciding Canadian elections. With 42 seats to be decided, a unified effort in B.C. could not only determine which party forms the government but determine the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Just remember some observations from the east. Not much change is being forecast in the Atlantic provinces. The conservative and new democratic parties are in trouble in Quebec. The main beneficiary there will be the liberals. The conservatives are in play in rural Ontario and the liberals favoured in the cities.

Think of it as a train crossing into Manitoba from Ontario with at least 140 liberals, maybe 70 conservatives and a few NDP. The conservatives pick up some friends while the train crosses the Prairies.

It is B.C. that holds the balance.

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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

The Over-Analyzed Election.

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

It’s a circus on the hustings. It is like somebody tossed a cherry bomb into the outhouse. Everybody has an opinion to lay on you as to what is happening but not what will happen. There is more coverage every day from radio, television and daily newspapers. They tell you what is going on and yet cannot tell you what it all means. And besides you can read magazines, follow blogs and subscribe to newsletters. The Internet, with its Twits and Facebooks and fake news is ramping up. Everywhere you go, people want to talk about what will happen, but nobody knows what to say.

In a lifetime of knocking on doors for politicians, I have never been more reluctant to be telling people how to vote. The pollsters have never been more wary of their own forecasts. The talking heads of television are hedging. The columnists of our newspapers are telling us of everything except what might happen on election day. All they know is that they do not know.

We have reached the point where there is too damn much reporting and of where we are at. We read gleeful reports, ad nauseum, of the missteps of the politicians, their culpability and the nuances. They are all prone to error.

The greenies cannot add two plus two. It is increasingly embarrassing for them to keep making promises everybody knows they cannot keep.

The NDP are promising you the moon as it is more and more obvious that the party is really fighting for its very existence. Jagmeet Singh is working on a shorter and shorter lease.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer must have a death wish as he makes himself ever more at odds over the environment. He is making himself a laughing stock as a denier of global warming. Greta Thunberg warned the deniers she was coming!

And then there is Justin Trudeau. He might be the best we have but he still needs to grow into the job. And the job of prime minister is not just another opportunity for a selfie!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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