Posts Tagged ‘Hudak’

There is meaning in the Ontario by-elections

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Nobody is crowing about the results in the Ontario by-elections in Vaughan and Kitchener-Waterloo. This is not even a ‘told you so!’ It is just a simple conclusion for Premier Dalton McGuinty and Tory leader Timmy Hudak. The conclusion of this sample vote is that they both have to go.

Ontario no longer needs or wants a liberal premier who blames doctors and teachers for the province’s deficit. Calling an act to deny teachers their civil rights the Putting Students First Act is an insult to the intelligence of the voters. And expecting Kitchener-Waterloo voters to vote Liberal after buying off their sitting Conservative MPP is something only a political neophyte would seriously consider. Conservative voters in Kitchener-Waterloo did what Conservative voters always do when confronted with a silly Conservative leader and an unknown local Conservative candidate, they voted NDP.

It is hard to say how many times this has happened. And, contrary to some of the pundits, Andrea Horwath had nothing to do with it. It was not her victory. If anything, her low profile in the by-election helped the NDP candidate in Kitchener-Waterloo.

The by-election in Vaughan was also very interesting but in a different way. Running Greg Sorbara’s executive assistant and former labour leader in Vaughan for the Liberals was an easy transition. It must have been the best way for Greg Sorbara to apologize for getting out of the fiasco at Queen’s Park.

But how long Steven De Luca will want to sit quietly in caucus at Queen’s Park and listen to McGuinty’s out-of-touch Whig philosophy is a good question. At least, with his background, he knows what he is getting into.

Both McGuinty and Hudak are a drag on their parties. Tiny Tim Hudak is a sad joke carried over from the moribund Michael Harris Conservatives. Dalton McGuinty is just as sadly out of touch with the real world. There is still some hope for Horwath. The lady needs to lose about 15 kilos and some of her union backers along with gaining a better insight into the needs of Ontario voters. The good news is the Liberal and NDP caucuses are going to have a higher average intelligence quotient after these by-elections.

But the sooner the Liberals get a new leader who understands the needs of 21st Century Ontario the better. The Conservatives are in need an entirely new brain trust. Just because many of your followers are out of touch with reality is no excuse for the leader to be like them.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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The need to play nice in the Ontario legislature.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

After a particularly uninformative and poorly resolved election in Ontario last year, the political parties are not playing well together. With McGuinty’s Liberals just two seats short of a majority, everyone is posturing and giving the other guys the raspberry. It is a fractious and unproductive place.

Tiny Tim Hudak has a tenuous grip on the reins of his second place Conservatives. When the Liberals brought out their budget a few weeks ago, Tiny Tim and his team took their bats and went home to sulk. It was above their intellectual pay grade to come up with any improvement in what was basically a conservative budget anyway.

Andrea Horwath and her bunch had the balls to stay and play. They decided to use the opportunity to embarrass McGuinty’s bumblers and their budget. Horwath used the Chinese torture technique and dribbled out the conditions for cooperation over the interval. McGuinty played into her hands by swinging at the first pitch. He did not understand that she was just warming up.

What hit pay dirt with Ontario’s voters was Horwath’s proposal to tax the rich. That got them. It was simplistic. The public was tuned in to it because of the ‘Occupy’ movement. And McGuinty had stupidly promised that he would not raise taxes. Why he had made such a promise was not clear to anyone. All it does is give legitimacy to the Conservatives and their extremist supporters.

And now all the kids are positioning themselves for an election. An election at this stage would be like the book Hunger Games, only nobody wins. It hardly takes a genius to realize that by destroying McGuinty, Horwath will let Tiny Tim and the horde of the Ontario Landowners through the gates of Ontario’s Capitol.

Not that an election is not needed. Our problem in Ontario is that we have three party leaders who really need to go. Dalton McGuinty is a noose around the neck of the Liberals. He is right wing, unimaginative, dull and hardly what Ontario needs at this time.

Andrea Horwath has never been able to live up to her potential. Every time she shows a bit of smarts, she surprises herself and she pulls her head back into her shell. If she had just paid attention to what Jack Layton did with the federal wing of her party in the last election. He obviously knew he had nothing to lose and he went for the brass ring. The result was not pretty but he did it.

But then you think of how the party of Bill Davis in Ontario has sunk so low. Tiny Tim Hudak is not only an embarrassment to the former Progressive Conservatives but the Ontario Landowners and Harrisites also want him gone. Maybe if they send him on a world cruise during an election he might give his party a chance.

The question is: Which party can get rid of its leader first?


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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Babel hears from the Ontario Legislature.

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Babel has heard from its man at Queen’s Park.  The electoral district sent Mr. Jackson there in early October.  We received mail from him this week and he also signed an article in the Examiner.  There is little to say about the mailing piece; the recycle bin was already filled with copies from our neighbours, so we added ours.  The Examiner article, we read.

The first thing that was obvious about the article was that our new Member of the Provincial Parliament has not spent his time taking a journalism course.  This was written for him.  It was very modest of him to only have his name at the beginning and end of the article.  Usually something like this is written as a news release and the MPP’s name is worked into every second paragraph.

The story was based on Statistics Canada’s release of unemployment figures in October of last year.  It also picked up on Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s mid-December release that linked unemployment to the perceived weaknesses of Ontario’s apprenticeship programs.  Whoever wrote the MPP’s article, failed to include the information on the subject from the mayor’s blog at Babel’s city hall Internet site.

The more timely response by Babel’s mayor to the unemployment figures last October pointed out the problem was that Statscan emphasized the donut hole instead of the donut.  The mayor, justifiably, complained that Statscan made headlines of the unemployment and ignored the similarly high rate of employment.  It is a factor of the average age of people in Babel.  With its younger population, Babel is also near the top of the charts of the percentage of people employed.

Tiny Tim Hudak’s December release was just to blame Premier McGuinty for all of Ontario’s unemployment woes.  This was hardly a surprise.  What was confusing was that he explained that Ontario only allowed one new apprentice for every four journeyman trades persons in the province.  While not a trained economist such as the Leader of the Opposition at Queen’s Park, we must admit that the ratio rule makes absolutely no sense.  Surely there are various trades that need more apprentices and some that need fewer apprentices.  Is nobody doing any forecasting in this?

But our earnest MPP gives a plug to Georgian College for its efforts with apprenticeship programs.  We expect we can all agree with that as we face a new year in Babel with renewed determination.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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The way of the Whigs.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Now that the election is over, we can really say what we think of the Ontario government of Dalton McGuinty: very little.  As the local provincial Whig riding president said about this blog, “You hate them all but you hate Dalton the least.”  She was right.

There is no question that Tim Hudak is a disaster foretelling the end of times.  Andrea Horwath started out as promising but never performed.  Yet, it is poor Dalton and his Whigs who were destined to disappoint us the most.

Mind you, we did give Dalton the credit for all-day kindergarten.  That was something that gained general acceptance.  You just did not want to hang your hat on it.

What scared hell out of us was the ponzi scheme Dalton’s Whigs passed called a Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program for renewable energy production.  By paying various premiums for the electricity produced by sun, wind, bio-mass and water, the program promised at least a doubling of electricity prices in Ontario.  Now that the election is over, the Whigs are starting to look at putting limits on the program.

What the opposition lacked in the election—other than a sense of direction—was a clear understanding of what the emerging issues are that need answers.

And Dalton’s opponents sure missed an opportunity when an otherwise intelligent Health Minister Deb Mathews suggested general practitioners make house calls on seniors.  That would be a really great idea if we could just figure out a way to get everyone in the province a family doctor first.

What never got off the ground during the election is the growing anger over the Condominium Act and other later Acts that are overriding the Condominium Act.  With more than 500,000 Ontario residents living in condos and the number growing every week, somebody is going to have to start to care.  The mess the government is causing might be great for making lawyers rich but all that will do is make condo living affordable for only the very wealthy.

The good news is that most people recognize that Dalton is well past his use-before date.  For the next election, the Whigs will have to find another anachronism to lead them.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts.

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

This writer was wrong.  There, it is admitted.  We are the only blog writer in Ontario who has no excuse.  We actually thought that Premier McGuinty and his Liberals could hold on to a slim majority in the October 6 election.

But what do we know?  Talking to people in different parts of Ontario over the last week, we heard nothing but complaints.  Many people with normally strong views admitted that they had not yet made up their minds.  They would discuss their leanings and then ask for our views. A few who usually voted Liberal were thinking of voting Green as a protest.  They admitted it was a wasted vote but they felt that no party was on their side.

That was the most honest comment we got.  People felt that no party was speaking for them.  They watch costs climb and know that there is nobody to speak out about it.  And they are not concerned about luxuries.  They mention the price of bread, a pound of butter, ground beef, lettuce.  And have you priced celery lately?  People shudder at the price of a litre of gasoline and know that the Harper government will do nothing about the price fixing by the oil companies..

People are mad but have no one they trust.  The Conservative attack ads against McGuinty as the ‘Taxman’ made the point but Tim Hudak’s Conservatives did not benefit.  Hudak’s team played the bigotry and division cards and divided the province—rural against urban.  McGuinty took the north for granted and handed it to Horwath and  her NDP team.  He is premier of a house divided.

How do you predict the outcome when only half the eligible voters bothered to vote?  It came down to who was motivated.   People had plenty of opportunity to vote and yet only 600,000 people bothered to vote on the many available days of advance voting.  These advance voters were knowledgeable voters a well as those working on the election either for returning offices or for parties.

How did we expect people to vote positively when there was no leadership.  McGuinty is a wus and a dull, uninteresting party leader and premier.  The only cause he has every championed successfully is all-day kindergarten.  He is paying for renewable energy with a ponzi scheme.  He is not a liberal but a whig, mired in the 19th Century.

But Tiny Tim Hudak scared nobody.  He pandered to the extremists on the right.  He should keep the speech writer who did his speech on election night.  It was the first honest speech he made.

Andrea Horwath disappointed us.  She could have cashed in on the latent Layton sympathy but never got her act together.  She produced no clear message.  She had pissed off teachers going in to the election, lost the auto workers and then maligned the hospital workers—some unionist!  Only the north bought her.

Our late mother-in-law had many little sayings from her childhood.  She used to say “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.”  And that sums up the Ontario Legislature.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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The belligerent burghers of Babel.

Friday, October 7th, 2011

They did it. They voted. They screwed themselves. Babel voters must be immune to common sense.  They already have a nebbish representing them in Ottawa.  Why send another embarrassment to Queen’s Park?

But they did!  Babel is the lynch pin of central Ontario and they took it out of the loop at Queen’s Park.  It means Babel will have a tough route to get the support needed to fix those constricting and dangerous interchanges on the 400.  It means foot-dragging on funds for Royal Victoria Hospital.  It impedes the building of Babel’s downtown university campus.  Babel will have nobody of any influence with the province.  The city has gone from lynch pin to backwater in one stupid vote.

Not that the Liberal candidate in Babel deserved to win.  Mind you, he certainly spent enough.  He appeared to be working hard.  He was just as right wing as his Conservative opponent.   He walked blindly into an unfortunate situation between the federal and provincial liberals here in Babel.  People worked hard to try to solve the problem but it needed the candidate to pull it off.  He needed to call and sit down with key people in the electoral district to bring the team together.  He lacked the political experience needed to make that happen.  He was also a bit arrogant.  That did not help.

As recently as election day, there was still the hope that enough Babel voters would recognize that the Conservative candidate in Babel was a loser.  He had lied to them about his leader’s position on uploading provincial expenses from the municipality.  He quoted statistics that were ludicrous to support his biases.  And he had nothing to offer.

And if voters thought his leader was any smarter, they were kidding themselves.  Tiny Tim Hudak took a huge lead in the polls at the beginning of the campaign and ran it into the ground.  He wanted a breakthrough in Toronto and started out calling new Canadians ‘foreigners.’  He annoyed Ontario’s municipal leaders.  He ridiculed McGuinty and the Harmonized Sales Tax and then said he would keep it.  He said he would take the former Ontario Hydro’s debt off electrical rates but failed to say how he would pay it off.

Frankly, it was a bad campaign all around.  McGuinty bored us.  Hudak insulted us.  And Horwath never lived up to her potential.  We give them about three years of stalking each other before the next election–depending on how the economy goes.  McGinty would be smart to cash in his chips in two years and let someone with a personality take over.

It will also be amusing to see what the extreme right-wing Ontario Landowners faction does to Tim Hudak.  Andrea Horwath also needs to find out where the Ontario New Democrats want to go.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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Ontario sinks to new lows in debate.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

If you were surfing, trying to find a rerun from the Charlie Sheen Two and a Half Men series around seven last night, you might have come across a new version of the show.  This one features a lady named Andrea Horwath in the Charlie Sheen role.  A prissy chap named Dalton was playing the amiable side-kick role of Allan Harper while an aging adolescent Tiny Tim struggled with the fat, dumb kid persona.  As a political debate, it had little to recommend it.

Ontario deserves better.  Mind you, NDP leader Andrea Horwath looked spiffy—a great hair do, good make-up job, nice dress, discreet jewellery—all spoiled by one of those trade-mark manish suit jackets.

For sartorial yuck, you could hardly beat Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s tie.  It must have been his daughter’s choice.  We now know the kid’s problem is not her parentage.  She is color blind.

It was Premier Dalton McGuinty’s role to look like suitable premier material.  And he did until those other two started to beat the crap out of him.

Horwath surprised everybody with her performance.  That nice lady can also be mean and bitchy.  Her remarks about pumping beer in North Bay sure did not do much for her trying to look like a premier.

It was everyone jumps on Dalton night.  Horwath was snide about his no-show at some Northern debate and Hudak was calling him a liar.

Dalton got in a good one on Tiny Tim about calling new Canadians foreigners but Tim denied it despite anyone who watches television news having heard him.

The three of them proved to be really bad communicators.  The people who prepped them for the show should all be shot.  Shotgun delivery of statistics is meaningless.  They did better with anecdotal stuff but what Andrea’s 18-year old son was doing on a skateboard is a good question.

Dalton actually smiled when he gave an aside to Andrea about her brother or someone getting a job at Honda.  Other than that one human moment, he is still in need of a personality transplant.

Tiny Tim came across as a bobble-head doll with a tape recorder up its rear.  He just bobbled along in his own weird right-wing world, spouting inanities.

By the time the show was over, we decided that it was a form of self-abuse that we did not need.  Anyway, we voted last week.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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The Toronto Star knows.

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Joining a small public relations firm 40 years ago was a turning point for your writer.  Imagine the shock walking around that office one day in quest of a dictionary to check the origins of a word.  There was none.  The managing director defended himself from his office, calling out to us, “In this business, we know.”  Mind you, nobody complained when a new copy of Oxford Concise appeared after lunch that day and was prominent on our secretary’s desk, to be borrowed as needed.

That same smug attitude of ‘knowing’ is evidenced often in Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper, The Toronto Star.  And as parent company, Torstar Corporation, also owns much of the really sad excuses for local newspapers around Ontario, this arrogance is doubly insulting.  Yet, with nothing better to read, The Toronto Star is consumed in Babel by many as routine with the morning coffee.

When it comes to elections, The Toronto Star likes to show its muscle.  Imagine the surprise of the editors when earlier this year they promoted the NDP and Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won the election.  That way, The Star took credit for both the rise of the NDP and the success of Harper’s Tories.  The Star has much to answer for.

In the current provincial election, The Star has constantly tried to promote Andrea Horwath of the NDP.  Not very successfully.  That lady is not ready to sing.

The Star editors needed a new strategy.  They found it in an improbable poll that is only noted for its gross numbers.  This poll is based on some 40,000 times that people answered an automated telephone call.  A recording asked whoever answered—ages three to 100—to select a number representing the party for which they intend to vote.  While the large number of completed calls is meaningless on a province-wide basis, it is considered sufficient for each individual electoral district.  This appears to be the best information the editors have been able to get!

To say that the poll is suspect is an understatement.  Politically knowledgeable people quickly pick out some obvious errors but there are other figures that leave you scratching your head.  The prospect of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party candidates winning in 94 electoral districts (47 each) is so mathematically unlikely as to be amusing.

And while she does not get our vote, we should be embarrassed if Andrea Horwath’s NDP candidates only win 13 seats.  She and her cohorts worked hard.  Her campaign never gained much momentum but she still has the television debate to strut her stuff.

And as for Tiny Tim Hudak and his Conservatives: somebody is smoking something while tallying those figures.  Hudak does not compute.  His campaign is a tissue of half truths and conjectures.  He might have a good candidate here and there who deserves to go to Queen’s Park but not in any numbers to worry McGuinty.

Whether you like Dalton McGuinty or not he deserves to win.  As Premier, he does know what he is doing.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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Dalton McGuinty discovers momentum.

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

While shocked scientists have learned that Einstein’s orthodoxy of the speed of light has been challenged, Tim Hudak and his Conservatives are in trouble with the scientific truths of momentum. They have lost it.  After months of a high flying lead in the polls, they are mired in the doldrums of a disappointed electorate.  The tortoise Liberals are sitting at the October 6 finish line, waiting for the Hudak hares.

Hudak’s handlers are looking to Tuesday’s televised leadership debate for the Hail Mary play.  They are desperate.  They will be twice as desperate after the debate as McGuinty will not disappoint the voters.  They do not expect much from him and that is what he will deliver.

Mind you, Tiny Tim has every reason to be disappointed with Andrea Horwath.  The NDP is not picking up the support from McGuinty that the Tories counted on.  Some of the Liberal vote had to be bled off by the NDP to produce a clear majority for Tiny Tim’s Conservatives.  The Tory brain trust saw how a resurgent NDP gave Stephen Harper’s federal party a majority in May and they counted on it in the fall.  The Andrea band wagon is not happening.

Maybe if the NDP leader gets some intense body shaping and a really sexy dress for Tuesday’s TV event, she could make a difference.  She is already an attractive woman but her picket-line Polly persona is a bit grating.  She not only needs to lighten up but she needs to figure out what the voters really want from her.  She has yet to connect.

Not that Dalton McGuinty has ever really connected but he has the one ingredient with which Hudak cannot compete: trust.  After months of paying for those awful commercials hammering at McGuinty as the ‘Taxman,’ people still trust the premier more than Hudak.  Beside McGuinty, Hudak is but a callow youth.

Mind you, it is not over yet.  The fat lady sings on October 6 as the ballots are counted.  It really does not matter if pollsters make automated telephone calls to four people, 400 people, 4000 or 40,000.  People do not like those calls.  Most do not answer.  They hang up with expletives deleted.  They lie, they ridicule.  They have a high rate of inaccuracy.       The only poll that matters is the report from the electoral offices.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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An Ontario election update.

Friday, September 16th, 2011

The October 6 provincial election might be recorded as the most boring and predictable election in Ontario history.  To-date, there is really nothing interesting to write about.  Premier Dalton McGuinty is doing much better than expected.  Challenger Tim Hudak, the Conservative leader, is stumbling and fumbling and looking less like any kind of leader every day.  The NDP’s secret weapon, Andrea Horwath, is remaining a secret.

There was a clip on the TV news the other day of Premier Dalton McGuinty looking human.  Somebody brought a dog onto where he was doing the daily stand-up scene and he made a comment about dogs and politicians.  Believe it or not, he laughed. He made a comment that came across as honest and relaxed.  It was the first time voters have seen him not looking like he has a broom up his rear.  The Liberals should take the campaign away from the broom-up-their-rear people who have been running McGuinty’s campaign and just run the clip with the dog as a commercial for the rest of the campaign.  That would be an easy win.

At the same time ‘Tiny Tim’ Hudak is taking Ontario’s Tories down a slippery slope.  His campaign has lost focus.  For a guy who stayed so on-script for the previous seven months, it is hard to explain what has happened to him.  His first critical error was to bite on the Liberal’s tax credit for helping new Canadians gain some work experience.  Calling new Canadians ‘foreigners’ is a foolish thing to do when you are trying to win the new Canadian vote.  And then he became mired in technology that he did not understand.  He has no comprehension of the problems related to Global Positioning Systems and computer monitoring but he is touting a provincial monitoring system for sex offenders that would make the problems and costs of eHealth look like small change.

We hear the NDP are rushing out a 30-second commercial that tries to humanize a very human lady.  That will further confuse the message.  As things stand, the NDP brain trust has left a trail of confused voters across the province and some of them had wanted to vote NDP.

What both the Conservatives and NDP have forgotten is that it is not the people who normally vote for your party who you need to win.  You have to win among the truly undecided.  It would help if you even win some of your opponents’ supporters. They need a reason to vote for you.  And attack ads are dangerous when there are more than two parties.

It should always be remembered that in May 2008, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had spend millions trashing Liberal Michael Ignatieff.  In the election, the Conservatives increased their vote by two per cent of Canadian voters.  The NDP spent that campaign on a positive note promoting their leader Jack Layton.  The NDP improved their vote by better than 12 per cent.

But politicians are the last to change.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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