Posts Tagged ‘Jagmeet Singh’

The sinking ship Singh.

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Taking a positive stance when your chief of staff quits, can be delaying the inevitable. It happened to federal new democrat leader Jagmeet Singh the other day and all he could do was gain a little time. The truth was that the federal NDP needed to keep his chief-of-staff and dump Singh.

But Singh must first understand the difficulty of his position.

Canada has been welcoming to Sikh immigrants since the 1800s. As Canadians, Sikhs have joined professions, academia and created new businesses. They are industrious and care about how we govern ourselves. They know that ‘raghead’ is not a sobriquet but they hear little of that ignorant racism in a society of so many newcomers.

But it does tend to encourage clustering. Living near others who attend the same temple is a reassurance in a land far from that of your childhood. There is a defiance to be seen among the observant of the second and third generations of Canadian Sikhs. Nobody cares very much if the observant and their 5-Ks want to stand out in our secular society. It is their choice and nobody need criticize.

But—and there is always a ‘but’—there are barriers that it can create. Jagmeet Singh has the same opportunity for election as prime minister as a Muslim woman in a burqa or a Hasidic with his dreadlocks. You can hardly expect the bulk of society to understand the why of these differences. They are seen as barriers to wide acceptance.

And that was what Jagmeet Singh did not understand when he encouraged the Sikh communities in Canada to swamp the membership of the NDP and win him the party leadership. What he did not understand was that he could easily count on his fellow Sikh Canadians to support him but it was his acceptance by Canadians of all backgrounds that was the critical test.

There is much to admire in the character of the man who has worked tirelessly over the past year to lead his party forward. The problem is that he has not been in the commons where he could be seen as a leader. Donations to the party have fallen off in a time when reserves are needed.

Fleeing to British Columbia to find a possibly safe seat for a by-election could be the final mistake.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“Once more unto the breach, my friends…”

Friday, September 21st, 2018

The Hordes are at the gates of Castle Liberal on the Rideau and William Shakespeare, once more has appropriate words at the ready. With a year left of his tattered mandate, prime minister Justin Trudeau had best take the advice of Henry V and plug the breach with his dead and soldier on.

And speaking of soldering, you might be wondering how soon we will be dusting-off the Highway of Heroes for the casualties of his ill-considered and ill-fated peace-keeping expedition to the Sahara Desert?

Like most of his political problems, Justin creates them for himself. A good example was his promise in 2015 hat it would be the last time voters would use first-past-the-post voting. He disappointed a few people with that one.

He did the same with assisted dying. The bill was so watered down by the time it passed, that not even many of the dying were pleased.

And while he might have helped some families and the theoretical middle class over his term, he has ignored seniors. They vote too.

And while some people think he has stood firm with U.S. president Trump, his stance is really something more like petrified. He has absolutely no understanding of how to handle that child-man. Judging by their relative ages, he might hope to outlast him.

There are two things that really griped this commentator: In Trudeau’s desperate attempt to feel some love from Alberta, he has spent $4.7 billion of public money on a pipeline to serve the greed of one province.

And by completing the planned twinning of the line, he will be making a farce of all his promises and all our hopes for the world environment.

At the same time, Trudeau has been destroying the federal liberal party. There are no memberships in to-day’s liberal party. He has turned the party lists into an unequivocal sucker list. This list is held above the law and nobody has any guarantee of its privacy. Can you believe that you get better protection on Facebook?

But, it should be pointed out that Justin Trudeau has help going into next year’s trials. They are Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer and Jagmeet Singh. They are the leaders of Canada’s conservative and new democratic parties respectively. They have both shown themselves inadequate to the task before them. Their parties need leadership.

Justin Trudeau needs to be challenged.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

On second thought Mr. Singh.

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

He has no other to blame than himself. Jagmeet Singh sought to lead the federal new democrats and where has he taken them? Has the party advanced during his tenure of the past year? Are more Canadians offering dues, fealty, funds and support to the party? What new programs, policies, promises has the party proposed? What is nirvana for Singh’s socialists?

And where do you go from here Mr. Singh?

Will a by-election in Burnaby South save Singh? Despite the electoral district being held last by new democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, who has resigned to run for Mayor of Vancouver, it is by no means a safe NDP seat. There are probably many there who thought Singh sat too long on the fence between the Alberta and B.C. NDP parties’ pipeline battles.

One thing for sure, neither the conservatives not liberals are about to give Singh a free pass. It has been a long-established custom for the major parties to not contest a party leader seeking a seat in the Commons. It is a courtesy that has been forgotten in the heat of the arguments about the Kinder Morgan pipeline from Alberta. Only the Green’s have given Singh a pass since his new-found resolve to fight the pipeline.

But that is a single issue and nobody knows where else the NDP stand today. Past leader Tom Mulcair took the party to the right in the last federal election and nobody knows much about Singh’s philosophy. Where Singh wants to take the party is still a mystery.

Part of the problem is that Singh won the NDP leadership vote because of all the Sikhs in B.C. and Ontario who joined the party. Whether the immigrant sign-ups swamped the existing sign ups, we were not told. All we got was the announcement that Singh won on the first ballot.

That win might be a cautionary tale as Ontario leader (briefly) Brown was himself able to swamp the low-tide membership of the Ontario progressive conservatives. With his links to Indian sub-continent immigrants in Ontario, his 40,000 sign-ups were able to swamp the dismal membership of the Tories.

On top of the open rebellion by MPs and MLAs in Saskatchewan over the Weir ouster, there could be a party-wide call for Jagmeet Singh’s scalp if he loses the by-election in Burnaby South. It probably would not help but they might feel better after dumping Singh.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Left is the lonely lane.

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

I have never felt so alone in politics. The left, the progressive, the social democrat is a dying breed. Even the federal New Democratic Party is struggling with fund raising and direction as it sluggishly moves to the right. All political parties have felt the shifting of the sands.

But, when you have no idea where you are going, what is the price of a ticket?

Where is Justin Trudeau taking Canadian liberalism? He has traded in his father’s progressivism for a cult of elitism and personality. The younger Trudeau’s worshipful followers allow him carte blanche to turn a party of the ideas and idealism of his patrimony into a willing parade of sycophants.

Where does Trudeau think he is going with his pipeline of pollution from the tar sands? He wants to be the poster boy for environmentalism and yet he betrays all that he has proclaimed.

And why can he not stand up to a person such as Donald Trump? There is no admiration in Canada for Trump Quislings. Trump is but a nascent dictator in a battle to the death with an inept Congress.

Yet, leadership is also in limited supply across Canada these days. The natural alternative party boasts a caretaker leader, struggling with a caustic caucus. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer spells nothing other than missed chances for the country’s real conservatives.

At the same time, the party of Tommy Douglas is crumbling. They dumped a leader whose only fault was he was older than Justin Trudeau. With the help of an influx of Sikh members, they opted for an observant Sikh to lead them. He chose not to enter parliament on the tails of the publicity, and he was soon forgotten. With a leader unable to be noticed and a party unable to raise needed funds, the federal new democrats have failed themselves and failed Canadians.

But nature hates a vacuum of any kind and it is in the provinces we are seeing the real leadership struggles. B.C. teeters with a precarious minority government that is fighting a fellow NDP regime in Alberta and the federal government. Saskatchewan and Ontario have joined to defy a federal carbon tax. And Quebec oddsmakers are touting a provincial regime further to the right than before.

They leave no home or hope for those who deny the corporatism of fascism as vast companies defy the incoherence of mere nations. There is little hope for those of us who put the needs of people ahead of the right-wing populists who say they are “For the People.”

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Can Singh sing a new song in Burnaby?

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

It is now confirmed that new democratic party leader Jagmeet Singh will try for a seat in the House of Commons this fall. The facts are that the guy has not drawn a salary for over a year now. He has gotten married and he might need a couple new bespoke suits. He could have possibly run in Montreal in Tom Mulcair’s old seat of Outremont or a formerly conservative-held seat in Grenville-Dundas-Thousand Islands in Ontario, but he has decided the safest seat is in South-Burnaby in British Columbia.

But while that might be the safest seat for an NDP, Singh had to finally come out against the Trans Mountain pipeline. It was the end of sitting on the fence between premier John Horgan’s BC NDP and premier Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP.

South-Burnaby voters will likely have a clear choice. No liberal has been selected yet but whoever runs for the government party will be standing on Justin Trudeau’s shoulders. The greens and conservatives might as well stand back and let the liberals and NDP have at it! This will be a referendum on the newly government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline. The $7 to $11 billion enhancement project is designed to bring more of the Alberta tar sands products to Burnaby for loading on ocean tankers.

The only reason Kennedy Stewart is not representing the seat is that he is in the running for mayor of Vancouver. In Vancouver, they do not have party politics in the traditional Canadian manner. The current election pits the progressives against the combined conservatives and right-wing liberals.

My bet is on Stewart for mayor of that wonderful city.

South-Burnaby is considered to be one of the most ethnically diverse electoral districts in Canada, competing with many ridings in Toronto for that distinction. Prime minister Trudeau remains very strong in ethnically diverse areas and that alone could make this by-election a toss-up.

The one thing that Singh might not be prepared for in this situation is to lose. And he could. The ethnic make-up of the electoral district is only listed as 16 per cent south Asian and Sikhs are only a part of that group. It will be an interesting test of Singh’s appeal to other ethnic groups. Singh will also be considered an eastern carpetbagger who will not have any long-term interest in the people there.

Jagmeet Singh might be biting off too much.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

You get what you pay for.

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

It comes as a surprise to learn that the new democrats across Canada are a bunch of paupers. We are told that they are not paying Jagmeet Singh for his work as leader of the party. He is unelected and therefore not being paid from the public purse either. It does not seem right.

How long does the party think he can keep going without money? Those bespoke suits and colorful hair coverings are not free. The guy has an image to maintain and the party is not helping.

Members of parliament in Canada are paid about $175,000 in base salary and earn more for committee work outside of regular house attendance. This would have been a nice bump from his previous pay of around $125,00 as deputy leader of the NDP at Queen’s Park

Jagmeet also has a reputation to maintain as the best-dressed NDP in Canada He also has his reputation among Canadian Sikhs to consider. The Sikh community might not like it if everyone started to think that Sikhs do not need to earn money.

Besides he is getting married sometime soon and he is expected to keep his ‘princess’ in the manner to which she would like to be accustomed.

But instead of being tied down with parliamentary duties in Ottawa, Jagmeet is a free agent able to travel back and forth across the country beating the drum for the NDP. I guess his intent is to spread the word for socialism—as practised by the NDP. I am sure he does not need to pass an alms bowl around the union halls to pay for his supper as we hear the party at least pays his expenses.

Frankly, and not to criticize Jagmeet, we are wondering if this is really paying off for the party? It looks like the party vote bottomed at the recent bye-election in Quebec. This might or might not have anything to do with Jagmeet’s leadership or religion. This is a judgement call that can only be made from the midst of the bye-election.

But it will be time to fish or cut bait next year. The upcoming federal election in 2019 will tell us about the success or failure of the Jagmeet experience. The hypocrisy of the Trudeau liberals and their Trans Mountain pipeline is not going to help them in B.C. or even Alberta and the new democrats are the only party that could come out well on both sides of the issue.

There is also opportunity for the NDP across the country. Whether Jagmeet is the leader to take advantage of it, remains the question.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Some truths for Jagmeet Singh.

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

New democratic party leader Jagmeet Singh learned some truths in a federal bye-election this week. It was in Quebec and political truths can be particularly brutal in that province. It was the truth that the Orange Wave in Quebec in 2011 was a one-time thing. It was the truth that religion does matter. It was the truth that an observent Sikh might not be a popular choice to lead a political party in Canada.

And the most serious truth of all is that Jagmeet Singh misjudged Canadians. In the cultural mosaics of Ontario and British Columbia, in the liberal polyglot of cultures and in the concentrations of a few electoral districts with large numbers of Sikhs, Jagmeet Singh thought he saw acceptance.

He was wrong. There are differences between tolerance and acceptance. It is the tolerance that allows for acceptance. Acceptance is a long-term goal. It sometimes takes generations. It is in the understanding of other’s customs, the melding of ideas, of setting objectives. It is in the promotion of similarities and the gradual fading of differences. There is no fixed Canadian ideal. There are just shared values.

Even in Quebec, which some try to keep different, the shared values are there. All Canadians have a level of pride in the French and English heritage of the dominion. We can all have pride in our particular heritage as well as our collective heritage.

What it comes down to is that Jagmeet Singh was wrong to swamp the NDP provincial organizations in B.C. and Ontario with Sikh sign-ups. As proud as the Sikh communities in Canada are of the accomplishments of fellow Sikh Jagmeet, they were also wrong to assume that their choice would be readily accepted by all party members or by the voters.

Jagmeet’s failure to seek election to the House of Commons and his failure to show strong leadership has left him in limbo. How does he expect voters to accept him?

This is not a country that uses proportional representation to divide people and where Hassidim vote for Hassidim and Baptists vote for Baptists. A member of parliament has to represent all the voters in a given electoral district. An MP’s religion has to be irrelevant to his or her voters. It is the experience, party, ideas, services, loyalty, understanding and leadership that they want. Jagmeet’s Five Ks of Sikhism are little understood and unimportant to his non-Sikh voters.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Standing with BC’s John Horgan.

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

It is a memory from many years ago that sticks with you. It is this time of year. After being awakened by the sweeps rowers training on the harbour, you walk to downtown Vancouver from the Bayshore Inn, along streets lined with cherry blossoms in full bloom.

You drink in the wonderful freshness of the air off the Straits of Georgia. There is the warming sun on your face. You can still see the snow high atop the North Shore Mountains. Is this not a city to love?

British Columbia premier John Horgan would agree with that. We easterners might laughingly refer to it as Canada’s left coast but B.C. is a province of great beauty, industrious people and makes us proud.

And, somehow, there must be an answer to the current argument with Alberta. I suggested recently that we really need someone without a horse in the race to adjudicate between the premiers of Alberta and B.C. My suggestion was that it was about time for recently elected NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to show us what he can do.

Instead, we are expected to get prime minister Trudeau. He is cutting short his meetings in Lima, Peru to get back to Canada and meet with the two warring premiers.

The problem is that this is just two ganging up on one. Premier Sharon Notley of Alberta and the prime minister are equally committed to getting the pipeline expansion completed. There is nobody at the table capable of determining if there is a middle ground. There is no way to equalize. There is no way to compensate any party.

Advantage is obviously to the prime minister and Ms. Notley. And what does B.C. get but the thrills of the spills? And with three times the giant tankers in Burrard Inlet, you ask when, not if.

This is one problem that Justin Trudeau cannot solve with some selfies. There is nobody to charm.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Has anybody seen Jagmeet?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

This is becoming ridiculous. The New Democratic Party of Canada has to have some leadership. Without leadership, it is going to become the forgotten party and the efforts of many fine people over the last 80 years will be wasted. The party can hardly continue as present with no leadership, no direction and no clear vision of the future for Canada.

No, I am not a party member. It is just that as a progressive, I expect the NDP to play a role in helping develop the critically needed social programs for Canadians. And I hardly want the one-person Green Party to be the only focus for protecting our environment.

We need ongoing dialogue in parliament on serving Canadian needs and the NDP is not playing its part. It has to have leadership to do that. And that same leadership should be inspiring and encouraging the NDP to be making a mark in provincial and district legislatures across the country.

If we had an effective leader of the NDP, there would a sit-down somewhere, but soon, with the federal leader, the premier of Alberta and the premier of British Columbia. Jagmeet Singh cannot consider himself leader of anything until he resolves this problem. There can only be one stand for the NDP on the Trans Mountain pipeline issue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already shown where hypocrisy takes us.

And the NDP cannot continue to delay by hoping that Kinder Morgan will simply reach its deadline at the end of May and cancel the expansion. The issue is our environment and the environment cannot be trusted to fools.

Jagmeet Singh has to realize that he will soon be accused of leaving the Ontario legislature before the total collapse of the Ontario NDP. There could be nothing left of the Ontario party but one or two seats in Northern Ontario after the June 7 provincial election.

We always assumed there was an intelligent and competent man in those colorful turbans and bespoke suits. Nobody really cares about Jagmeet being a devout Sikh but Canadians cannot accept his religion overshadowing the job he has undertaken. The job comes first. Maybe his fellow Sikhs should have thought about that before they joined the NDP en mass in both B.C. and Ontario. They decided the leadership for the NDP. Are they ready to accept that responsibility?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The conflicts of Jagmeet Singh.

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

New Democratic leader Jagmeet Singh has a problem. He appears to want to be a separatist in India but a nationalist in Canada. Perhaps it is his devout Sikhism and his seeming lack of understanding of what ties Canada together. It is hardly an enviable position for a national party leader.

It seems to me that Jagmeet Singh did not think through all his loyalties before entering politics through the Ontario legislature and then leaving it for the national scene in Ottawa. As an observant (Khalsa) Sikh, Jagmeet has not really transitioned well into Canadian culture. Wearing a bespoke suit from Harry Rosen with his colorful turbans and his Kirpan knives and the rest of his five Ks, does not, in itself, make him a contemporary Canadian.

It is also annoying to read that he thinks many Canadians are unaware of the events in India in 1984 and are equally in the dark about the Air India bombing in 1985. Those of us who followed those events with considerable concern where horrified with the Indian Army using tanks to subdue radicals at the Sikh’s Golden Temple in Amritsar in June of 1984. The Sikhs could always be critical of the workmanship but they really should have let the Indian government pay for the repairs to the temple.

Sikhs are very proud people but they had a responsibility to restrain retaliation for that affront by the Indian government. The assassination of Prime Minister Indira Ghandi by her Sikh bodyguards was uncivilized and disgraced the entire country. The uncontrolled race riots that ensued left thousands dead and many observers worried about the political maturity of India among the world’s nations.

What particularly angered Canadians was the attack on Air India that originated in Canada. Those 329 people killed on flight 182 were mostly Canadians and they were innocent of any involvement to any repression of the Sikhs. This was an unforgiveable act of terrorism on innocent people.

Jagmeet Singh, as a leader in the Sikh community must realize that Canada has been open to people from troubled lands around the world. All we ask is that each newcomer sets his or her sights on making a successful life among us and leaves the troubles of the old country in the old country. Ours is an open and caring society. What makes our society work is being open with others. Let us always listen and share. For only by working together can we all be Canadians.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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