Posts Tagged ‘Jagmeet Singh’

Where’s Jagmeet Singh?

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

Somebody needs to check the potholes on the Yellow Brick Road. Could NPP leader Jagmeet Singh have fallen into one of them? If it was not the daily feed of twits on his Twitter account from the NDPer’s office, we could assume he might be on holiday somewhere.

Mind you, he and the wife do need a holiday. To spend your honeymoon getting your husband elected to parliament is a challenge to any new wife. Day in, day out political campaigning does little for a marriage.

And it is not as though the NDP leader is having much impact on the pollsters or the public or the news media or his caucus in Ottawa. Basically, Jagmeet Singh is nowhere. As they say, he has been tried in the balance, and found wanting. He is basically a very wanting guy.

It is kind of like his twits from his office on Twitter. The past three days, we have seen standard NDP boiler-plate smoke on housing, (inadequate), workers’ rights (serious) and climate change (this is bad). Buried in this material was a note that he might currently be in Nanaimo, on beautiful Vancouver Island.

With close to six months remaining before the October 21 poll date set for this year, you hardly need pollsters to tell you that not all Canadians are pleased with the performance of the liberal government.

But the problem is not so much that the voters are pissed with the present government as where those votes might go. The liberals have to hope that those votes they have lost are scattered around the various parties. If too many of those votes go to the conservatives, Justin Trudeau could be a one term prime minister. Seeing that the Green party is up about three points over their usual inflated vote at this stage, that might be part of the answer to a weak NDP.

And the conservatives, under ‘Chuckles’ Scheer, are not necessarily polling in majority territory. There is a lot of shaking out to do before what ever happens in October happens.  The only prediction I might make at this stage is that Green leader Elizabeth May might have a small caucus to brag about come October. At this stage, we could be headed for a minority government—the same thing that happened to Justin’s father in 1972.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

If Harper is a bully, what is Trudeau?

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

The last two prime ministers tell us much about this country of Canada. In June 2015, I wrote a comment on PM Stephen Harper, accusing him of being a bully. It seemed to be his way of making up for his deficiencies as a human. A reader reminded me of that comment the other day when I forecast that Jody Wilson-Raybould would soon be a non-liberal MP. He wanted to know if that meant Justin Trudeau was also a bully?

The answer was ‘No.’ If Stephen Harper was still prime minister and Jody Wilson-Raybould his justice minister, she would have been out of the cabinet last December. Nor would his chief of staff or clerk of the privy council need resign. In Stephen Harper’s Canada, the divine right of kings and prime ministers still prevails. And he is very much a hands-on type of guy.

But we now have Justin Trudeau at the helm of this ship of state. He watched as his hand-picked chief of staff and his obsequious clerk of the privy council each (figuratively) took a bullet for him. He did not have the guts to tell a woman what he wanted and he paid the price.

The late Pierre Trudeau was a great guy who stood up for Canada and he stood up for his own legacy. His son, Justin, is a wimp. Some legacy!

But there is a rub folks. Who wants a Jagmeet Singh government? Who could tolerate a ‘Chuckles’ Scheer government? There is a country at stake here, smarten up!

Liberals across Canada have six months to do better. First, we tell Justin Trudeau to resign. Then we have a leadership race to replace him and have a fair fight down to the wire in October.

And remember that you do not have to have a sitting liberal MP as leader of the party. Let me just throw the name of Elizabeth May into the mix. We have choices.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Scheer’ Foolishness.

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

It is to be hoped that someone in the Scheer family is keeping a scrapbook of the positive commentaries on Chuckles’ prospects in the federal election in October? It is a shame to get the poor guy’s hopes up. The scrapbook will help prove to his grandchildren that he really thought he was a contender.

But is it really fair? Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer was the thirteenth choice out of thirteen contenders in the last confused conservative leadership contest. The second-place loser, Maxime Bernier, lost by so few percentage points, that he went off to form his own Peoples’ Party.

Not that the choice of Chuckles was all that popular. All his previous reign as Speaker of the Commons proved is that he is a conservative. He is dull, predictable and will lead the party nowhere. In a recent speech to a conservative audience, he hit all the hot buttons such as deficit reduction, building more pipelines and more free trade deals.

But, when it is time for leadership, Chuckles clocks out. We are not getting any sense of where he might be headed—besides some conservative Valhalla. In that speech, he also talked about dumping a couple of the liberals’ investment programs. These are the Canada infrastructure bank and the Asian development bank. Both of these programs are more conservative than liberal in origin and both have been slow at getting off the ground. Why Chuckles would want to dump them is not clear.

The one thing that is clear for Chuckles is that he cannot wing it in the election campaign in the same was as Doug Ford did in Ontario last year. While there is some disquiet about Trudeau and the liberals, there are not enough people mad at them to affect a change of government. For every pissed off liberal who thinks supporting Chuckles is the answer, two more new democrats will switch from Jagmeet Singh to Justin Trudeau. The pollsters can speculate as much as they like, but when push comes to shove in October, Trudeau will still be prime minister.

And even if it is a minority, do you really think a corporal’s guard of new democrats or greens would be crazy enough to support Chuckles?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Did they forget to tell Jagmeet?

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

It seems strange that the NDP apparatchiks around their leader Jagmeet Singh have forgotten to tell him something important. He certainly has enough French to understand that Québec Solidaire is a separatist party based in Quebec. It might share the orange party color and the left of centre politics of the NDP but from that point they go their separate ways.

The confusion with this started when newly elected MP and party leader Jagmeet Singh announced that Alexandre Boulerice would be the party’s deputy leader for Quebec. Boulerice is the MP for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie and was first elected in the Orange Wave of 2011.

Boulerice followed up on Wednesday by announcing that Nima Machouf will be the NDP standard bearer in the riding of Laurier—Saint-Marie in October. The riding is currently represented by NDP MP Hélène Lavadière, who is stepping down after holding the riding since 2011.

The only problem with this is that Nima Machouf is also a member of Québec Solidaire. She is not only a member but her husband, Amir Kadir, was a member of the National Assembly for Québec Solidaire from 2008 to 2018.

My guess is that the rest of Canada would be caught off guard if it had to deal with a group as left of centre politically as Québec Solidaire—if they were ever in a position to call the shots in Quebec. As unlikely as it might be that they might win, I see an appeal to their proposal of calling for a constitutional assembly to plan the future of the province. I believe they would have to agree if the rest of the country asked to join with them in planning an improved country—conditional on a national referendum afterward to approve of the proposed plan.

Just think of what could be done!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The storms on the Yellow Brick Road.

Sunday, March 10th, 2019

As we battle our way to the Land of OZ and the looming federal election, what we are hearing across the land is becoming more and more concerning. When normally respectful and erudite people vent with expletives, they are angry. When the prime minister of our country calls a public news conference and offers bafflegab instead of contrition, you know he is out of touch.

We have not heard the last of the Jody Wilson-Raybould affair. A woman scorned, she has friends. Some of the answers are simmering in the liberal caucus in Ottawa. Why did Jane Philpott step out? The liberals are not listening to the call to arms. And why should they?

But where does that leave us? Did we ignore the lesson learned last year in Ontario? Can we Ontario voters so easily afford the cost of the incompetence of the conservatives under Doug Ford?

Could the country afford the incompetence of a Harper-lite conservative such as ‘Chuckles’ Scheer? This guy cannot even tell the difference between a pratfall by the government and a criminal act. Why should he be calling for an RCMP investigation of confusion in the federal cabinet? The RCMP does not oversee the cabinet.

All Scheer seems to be is a spokesman for the Alberta and Saskatchewan conservatives. He offers nothing other than Harper-redux. He just is not as wily. Scheer has little to offer Canadian voters.

And then you have the new democrats. Here you have a party with no policies, no program and no real leadership. It is a party that is failing to live up to its billing.

But there is hope boys and girls: There are new parties on the horizon. I think that Elizabeth May is one tough leader. Her only problem is she has no party behind her and no reason for you to vote for them. The liberals and the NDP will tell you that they care about the environment. Some of us really do.

And to Chuckles’ consternation, there is the People’s Party of Canada that is going to try to take right-wing votes from the tired Tories in October. Party leader MP Maxime Bernier is out to show those conservatives that they really should have picked him as leader at their last leadership contest.

One thing that I discovered many years ago is that you cannot change any political party by carping at it from the outside. The changes must be made from within. It is why I have been a liberal for many years. I just wish there was more help available to bring the liberal party back to a position of respect.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Yes, I have stopped beating my wife.

Friday, March 8th, 2019

We took a mid-winter break in Toronto recently and unfortunately the wife slipped on some ice at one point and she came home sporting a rather colourful black eye. After a while, you get tired of telling people the real story and you just tell them you will not do it again.

The reason for mentioning this was an e-mail from a reader the other day accusing me of being a white, male racist. While people who know me well would laugh at the suggestion, I am in the same boat as those who are accused of various shortcomings. How do you prove you are not what they say?

For example, the e-mail sender suggested that I was racist in my ‘snide’ remarks about North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, such as referring to him as a troglodyte (caveman). As, in the same breath, I called Donald Trump much worse, what does that make me?

What really must have annoyed the reader was what he called my “barely disguised snips at Jagmeet Singh.” You can be very sure that I checked all references to Singh’s religion within the Sikh community.

I do not have a degree awarded by a university for studies in ethnicity but I earned my knowledge and respect for our multicultural country growing up on the streets of Toronto after the Second World War.

I disapprove of Singh being leader of the new democrats on the same basis as that of a priest in clerical collar and cassock or an observant Hassidic with dreadlocks being the leader of a major party. Ours is secular society and I think any person who can potentially be prime minister should honour that secular nature.

I certainly respect the right of Jagmeet to wear the five-Ks of an observant Sikh as ordered by the Tenth Guru. I am also well aware of the respect for him in the Sikh communities in British Columbia and in Ontario. Canada has been welcoming Sikh immigrants from the sub-continent (other than the disgusting Komagata Maru incident in Vancouver in 1914) since the 1800s.

But I have always found it disquieting for politicians to use blocs of ethnic support to gain political victories. The way that Brampton’s Patrick Brown panders to immigrants from the sub-continent for political advantage disgusts me. I am also firmly of the opinion that Jagmeet Singh should not have used the Sikh communities in B.C. and Ontario to swamp the membership of the national NDP and win the leadership based on Sikh support. His real test will be in October.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

An unscientific method.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

On Global’s West Block public affairs show on Sunday, two of the Toronto Star’s remuda of political pundits voiced their opinions on the Monday by-election in Vancouver’s Burnaby South. They both picked new democrat leader Jagmeet Singh. If you were only going to guess at the outcome, that was a good guess. Even if I was still handicapping politics, I would likely have come to the same conclusion.

But I would not have been guessing. The key to political handicapping is to not believe what others report on the workouts. When needing to know, I often grabbed some literature from the committee rooms and went out to explore the riding. I have been told it is very unscientific to select neighbourhoods, knock on random doors and talk to the homeowners. Yet, I cannot find a simpler way to find out why people are likely to vote or not, support one candidate over others and how deeply they feel about the issues.

In a by-election, motivating the voters to go to the polls is your major challenge. You can have many voters telling you that you have their support but if you have no ground game to get them to the polls, you have wasted your time.

And that challenge can be doubly hard in a general election. The pressure is on the average voter to get out to the polls and if they do not know who to vote for, your efforts can be wasted. A good ground game can come to the rescue.

The only problem is that a good ground game takes extensive organization, hard work, long hours, careful planning and always with backups for your back-up plans.

It was a bit of a shock to the system when I moved from Toronto up to Barrie in central Ontario. There are a band of rural electoral districts stretching from Ottawa all the way to Windsor, that are dominated by conservatives. And they have also mastered the ground game.

It is too bad that liberal leader Justin Trudeau does not understand the importance of giving people involvement in their party.  It enables the party to mount a strong ground game in many electoral districts.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Jagmeet’s winning honeymoon.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

Burnaby South electoral district is not your typical first choice for honeymooners. It is no resort. The electoral district is not even middle class, includes migrants from many countries and probably more like many of the heavily ethnic areas of Toronto than of any other Canadian city. Yet it is where Jagmeet Singh and his princess have spent the last couple months to win the federal by-election called by prime minister Trudeau.

With a turn-out of 29 per cent of voters, it was a classic by-election situation. The NDP worked hard and brought out their vote.

For British Columbia, it was a confused and concerning race. With both conservatives and liberals supporting the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline, many of their supporters sat on their hands. Where the protest was serious was the ability of Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party to garner just over ten per cent of the vote with what was denounced as a racist campaign.

Married last year in a colorful Sikh ceremony in Mexico, Jagmeet Singh and Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu have been meeting the voters in Burnaby since he decided this is the electoral district he wanted to send him to Ottawa. The attractive Gurkiran is a fashion designer and seems to be not far from her husband’s side since they set up housekeeping in Burnaby.

But Jagmeet is heading for a brief stint in Ottawa as leader of the new democrats. And then, the entire exercise begins again for the October general election. Whether he can duplicate the win again in October is very much the question.

In the east, we went to bed last night having little awareness of how the B.C. by-election was going. The by-elections in Outremont in Montreal and York Simcoe were open and shut, easy to predict. No surprises there. As precursors of the federal election to come, the three by-elections told us little. It was a loss of one seat for the NDP and the gain of one seat for the liberals. And Maxime Bernier’s new party was just an also-ran.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Potholes on the Yellow Brick Road.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

It’s the time of year in Canada. The roller-coaster of ice and snow, melting and freezing, leaves even a yellow brick road a minefield of broken and missing bricks. Dorothy and Toto and their three friends have to watch where they step.

With the Cowardly Lion (Justin Trudeau) more familiar with riding on elephants in costume, being transported in the helicopters of rich family friends and the convenience of government jets, he seems more prone to falling into the larger potholes. One of the first to be tripped up, he has fallen into one that could require Quebec’s giant engineering firm of SNC-Lavalin to repair.

It really makes us all wonder at the seeming inability of the prime minister and his wunderkinds of the PMO to handle this current tempest with his former justice minister and, more recently, former veterans’ minister. To stretch the problem this long and to keep feeding us piecemeal snippets of information about the debacle does not seem appropriate to 2019.

The good news/bad news yesterday was the resignation of the prime minister’s principal secretary Gerald Butts. He and the prime minister think alike. They both lack some basic political instincts. Neither understood that the win in 2015 was not theirs. It was a gift from an used up Stephen Harper. Measure Butts’ replacement by his or her political smarts. That is what is needed.

But where is the Scarecrow (Jagmeet Singh)? The poor chap is in the midst of a life and death struggle to take a seat in the House of Commons. He is far from his home grounds of Brampton and at a complete loss to tell you how he is doing. The liberals might as well give him the bum’s rush because the NDP caucus in Ottawa will demand his resignation as leader if he loses in Burnaby South. Oh well, February 25 will tell the tale.

But it is the Tin Woodman (Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer) who is the enigma, who can benefit the most from the confusion of the others. He is but a buffer for the parochial concerns of his friends, Doug Ford in Ontario and Jason Kenney in Alberta. Provided, of course, Jason can defeat ‘Rachel Notley’s party’ in the spring elections in Alberta.

What we are sensing in these early stages is anger and annoyance with all political parties. The Cowardly Lion needs more than to be brave. He needs to learn to be a leader. The Tin Woodman needs more than a heart. He needs to learn to connect with people and offer positive directions.  And the Scarecrow needs more than brains. He needs to realize that his politics have to stand apart from his religion.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Potholes on the Yellow Brick Road.

Monday, January 28th, 2019

While the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion are still planning their trip with Dorothy to the Emerald City and the October election in Canada, it is best to check for potholes. Peering into one of these potholes the other day, I saw Canada’s former ambassador to China sitting in it and wondering how he got there.

This is a serious hazard for the Cowardly Lion. It took Justin Trudeau almost a week to fire our politico-cum-ambassador. The arguments must have raged at the Prime Minister’s Office but it took a second attempt to put foot in mouth that got McCallum bounced. And nobody ever said McCallum was wrong—wrong to tell the truth, maybe.

It is against this news background that author Jonathan Manthorpe is making hay selling his new book on China, Claws of the Panda. I have not read it yet but I am still waiting for Jon to autograph my copy of his first book, The Power and the Tories about the Bill Davis government in Ontario.

Interestingly, while Jon was in China trying to fathom the depth of the country’s communist government, I was watching Beijing extend its influence into Canadian-Chinese news media. I had the impression that those people understood more about the future of newspaper publishing than Conrad Black, Paul Godfrey and Torstar’s John Honderich, combined.

My best source of information at the time were the many delegations from Beijing that I took on tours and entertained for a computer company. They usually assumed I was a fellow technologist and they always enjoyed their visit. It earned me many invitations from other high level visits from Beijing.

But it is Hauwei’s inscrutable technologies and the extradition of Hauwei executive Meng Wanzhou affair that has the Canadian public wondering. First of all, explaining 5G networks is a tough job and how this technology can give Hauwei access to state secrets is not an easy subject for politicians to digest.

But then you also need to understand Canada’s relationship in the Five Eyes which allows us to listen in on everybody else. Which begs the question, how the hell is any of this explained to a dolt such as Donald Trump? And that clown has someone with all the nuclear codes sitting outside his door?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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