Posts Tagged ‘Jason Kenney’

A house divided or a leaderless nation?

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

There was an excellent discussion in Progressive Bloggers the other day by the gentleman who writes under the nom de plume of The Mound of Sound. A very small quibble you might have with the article was there were a couple times that you might be confused as to whether he was writing about the United States or Canada? I would argue with The Mound that the current tensions in Canada might be more serious than America being a world-wide laughing stalk.

To put it to rest, I think the Americans have been living with their corrupt political system for too long not to see their road to redemption.  We can have high hopes for people such as those four young House of Representatives members that Trump brought to prominence in his usual boorish way. Those, and others like them, are the ones who can help lead the fight to unseat emperor Trump next year. Without them, there would be no hope for America.

I feel much more concern for the imbroglio Canadians are heading towards in just three months. This election is becoming unwinnable for any party. It is based on regional greed, regional barriers, angry aboriginals, mistreated veterans, open bribery, serious environmental concerns and a lot of lies and a modicum of stupidity (and don’t ask me which party has the largest share of that).

It is very hard to believe that I live in a riding open to a win by the liberals and the incompetents running the liberal party have no candidate with an election in less than 100 days. I have no idea why these people cannot learn anything. These idiots have known about this coming election for four years yet they have allowed the riding to lose more than two-thirds of the party membership it had four years ago. Explain the genius behind that and you get a gold star.

That hardly could explain why conservative leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer needs to find a way to silence Jason Kenney in Alberta and send him and Doug Ford to Antarctica to check out global warming for the next three months.  Justin Trudeau is going to walk up one side of Chuckles and down the other in this election and it will hardly make any difference in the final result.

All I know is that, whatever happens, Justin will not like it.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

When Premiers come out to play.

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

It was an interesting pack of premiers around the conference table at this year’s Canadian premiers’ meeting. They hardly had Justin Trudeau under their thumb. And they hardly bothered to try.

This was a meeting to plan for October’s federal election. The odd men out were the bookends—John Horgan of British Columbia, NDP, and Dwight Ball of Newfoundland and Labrador, liberal. It was hardly a surprise for the premiers to recognize François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) as an honorary conservative regime.

The conservative cohort were all invited to a preplanning meeting and a flapjack flipping event at the Calgary Stampede the week before. At that meeting, the real chair of the premiers, Jason Kenney held sway. The only notable aspect of that event was when they found out that Doug Ford could not flip a flapjack without burning it.

But then Ford was out of his element at both meetings. The other premiers found him boring, competitive, wrong and rude. He made the opening gaff of the conference in Saskatoon by not attending the opening meeting with some of Canada’s aboriginal leaders on a reserve just outside of town. (God forbid that he ever learn anything or to even respect others.)

What was different at the actual conference was the unanimity of the premiers demanding that more be done to combat Buy America policies in the U.S. that run counter to the new North American trade agreement, that might or might not be approved by Congress in the next year.

There were also the usual promises to do something about trade barriers between provinces that business people have been struggling with for many years. It was just another chance for Ford to do some sloganeering about Ontario being open for business. They knew that.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Chuckles’ challenges consensus.

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

There will be no apology for calling federal conservative leader Andrew Scheer, Chuckles. He practically giggled his way through a ten-minute on-air version of an interview with Mercedes Stephenson on Global’s West Block last Sunday. Mercedes might not have the gravitas of a Tom Clark or a Vassy Kapelos, but he could have answered some of her questions. For Chuckles to blame the model, on which his environmental plan is based, on the parliamentary budget officer was not only silly but irrelevant.

In the same sense, Chuckles and his crew must have been smoking something soothing when they came up with the plan to have industry dream up the environmentally friendly ways of cutting greenhouse gas. Without suggesting costs or the benefits to industry, or who would provide the funding and who would oversee the program, it seemed to be a half-baked idea—whose time has not come.

After his interview we were still left assuming that he will be keeping his commitment to ending the carbon tax for premiers Ford and Kenney. Since the liberal’s carbon tax is basically a revenue neutral plan, it is only being discontinued by the conservatives because it is annoying for those premiers who do not seem to have any plan for the environment of their own.

Where Chuckles really gets himself tied in knots is the conservative proposition that major polluters will pay if they do not cut emissions. Now that promise might sound much like a carbon tax to you and I, but Chuckles said it was not.

But for all of this supposedly tough talk about the environment, Chuckles also wants to assure Canadians that he is really a moderate guy. He figures it worked (for a while) for Stephen Harper, so he should try to sail the same ship.

But he has also learned from watching his friend Doug Ford trying to do everything in the first year. Chuckles will try to take longer before annoying the voters.  We hear that he is even going to take a few years before balancing the budget. Chuckles might as well chuckle. Nobody wants to see him cry.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Circle your wagons; they’re on the warpath.

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

And here we thought war rooms in politics were a thing of the past? Now we see that the Toronto Sun has resurrected the idea with a one-time liberal in command. This must be the companion war room that PostMedia, owners of the Sun, promised Alberta premier Jason Kenney to complement his war room against the ‘lying’ eastern media. This includes those particular media that do not approve of Kenney’s province shipping highly polluting tar sands bitumen in pipelines or any other way.

I checked out what must have been a podcast coming from PostMedia’s Sun war room. I was not impressed. It was a seemingly tired diatribe against prime minister Justin Trudeau. It was, what it was.

But it seems Paul Godfrey and friends are taking an ‘anything goes’ approach to this election campaign. While PostMedia publications are well known for their conservative bias, bias might be too mild a word for their current stance.

Despite Trudeau’s insistence (to this time) that he is intent on finishing twinning the Trans Mountain pipeline, it is not fast enough for Kenney and PostMedia. It is not really ideal for democracy when you consider that PostMedia with both the Herald and Sun newspapers in Calgary and both the Journal and Sun newspapers in Edmonton dominate Alberta media with a combined daily circulation of well over two million copies.

PostMedia is majority owned by American Media Inc. (AMI) which has a stayed indictment by the southern district of New York federal prosecutor office on condition of good behaviour for three years, until September 2021. This possible prosecution was over some improprieties believed to be in support of Donald Trump’s presidency. It was because of this that AMI was forced to sell the National Enquirer and other similar publications.

Canadians have never been too impressed with the National Post or any other PostMedia publications. I tend to think of them as Paul Godfrey and Conrad Black’s legacy.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Opportunity calling Andrew Scheer.

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

For a guy who got his job by surprise, conservative leader Andrew Scheer MP is a happy camper. He can hardly believe it when public opinion polls show him defeating liberal leader Justin Trudeau.  All he could do two years ago when he got the job of leading the party because of a dumb voting system, was put his head down, try to make peace with the unruly losers in the leadership race and concentrate on the rules of parliament. That was what he knew best.

The Saskatchewan MP was Speaker of the House of Commons during the time of Stephen Harper’s majority in parliament. All he had to do was what the prime minister told him to do. No hassle. No trouble. Maybe a bit embarrassing having to contend with the shrill antics of MPs such as Paul Calandra and Pierre Poilievre during that time but the perks of being Speaker soothed his guilt.

But now he is expected to go out on the hustings without a parachute. He has to read speeches about things he is not so sure about. The way his speech writers have him leaning on these people crossing the border to try to get refugee status in Canada has him worried that he might sound like a bigot. It is bad enough that sometimes people wonder if he wants to build a wall along the Canada-U.S. border. There might too many zeroes in that speech for him to count.

He wants to just give friendly ‘Gee-shucks’ speeches to those non-judgemental folks in his riding of Regina—Qu’Appelle. They are hardly about to question any facts or figures that the speech writers have dreamed up.

And he sure as heck wants people to stop calling him ‘Chuckles.’ He can hardly help it if his high cheek bones remind people of the Joker in the Batman comics.

But he sure hopes that people will stop asking him about global warming. He is not as sure as those guys who are helping him, premiers Doug Ford in Ontario and Jason Kenney in Alberta. They know all about that false news promoted by liberals that the world is going to get too hot for humans. Maybe he thinks by then, we will have better air conditioning systems.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Kenney’s Conundrum, Capturing Carbon.

Monday, May 27th, 2019

It was in the business news recently. It was about the success of Shell Oil’s $1.3 billion carbon-capture plant, Quest, near Edmonton. The Quest plant is designed to capture and store carbon from the Scotford upgrader, a refinery that upgrades tar sands bitumen into synthetic crude oil. The Scotford upgrader plant output of about 200,000 barrels per day has provided the carbon-capture facility with 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the past three-and-a-half years.

It is particularly impressive that the Quest plant appears to bypass the bitumen slag by-product of bitumen processing by converting the excessive amounts of carbon in bitumen directly to CO². It also seems to make it obvious that the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has been down-playing the amount of carbon in the tar sands bitumen from day one.

But what do you do with that much carbon dioxide? The Shell people refer to it as being sequestered, hence the name Quest for the plant.

Now if only there was a market for so much CO²? Eventually, we hear, scientists will figure out how to use CO² for fuel. As it is, this CO² is being pumped underground, where it is sequestered.

Canadian and Alberta taxpayers contributed more than $800 million to this project. While I do not know the cost of operating the $1.3 billion Quest plant, I will assume that Shell would save the federal carbon tax that will soon be levied on the ersatz crude oil produced at upgrading plants in Alberta. This will start at the current federal rate of $20 per tonne and raise to $50 per tonne by 2022.

Since the new premier, Jason Kenney of the United Conservative Party of Alberta, is committed to throwing out the provincial carbon tax, the province will be foregoing the money needed to help build more carbon-capture plants, such as Quest and other innovations for Albertans. Whatever premier Jason Kenney might be, he is obviously not much of a mathematician.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Fighting the facts of the future.

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

In a discussion of what is currently happening in politics, the realization emerged that provincial politicians such as Alberta’s Kenney, Saskatchewan’s Moe and Ontario’s Ford are denying our progeny a future.  It was not a question of a planned or malevolent denial of a future but simple ignorance. These men are choosing the direction that conservatism dictates, as they as they slash and cut at anything that they do not understand.

At the four-day Collision Conference, with attendees from around the world, in Toronto last week, premier Doug Ford was booed when he came to promote Ontario as the place to do business. It was the same time as his government announced that it was cutting funds to assist in the development of artificial intelligence. The $24 million might not have produced any breakthroughs in AI but was critical to positioning Ontario as a place to create the future. That one foolish error probably cost Ontario billions in investment down the road.

And look at Alberta. Jason Kenney has already announced that he will end all of Alberta’s green energy programs—as well as ending the carbon tax. He might be too late to stop the opening of Alberta’s pioneering geothermal electricity generation plant. This is something the Italians have had for the past 100 years but the Alberta facility that takes the steam to power it from below the earth’s surface will be a first in Canada.

Why conservatives do not like anything they cannot touch, taste or smell is beyond this writer’s understanding. Does the world have to end with a bang one night to convince them that global warming is a threat to human life? The world is already into the throws of turmoil as the ice caps melt and the oceans rise. Drier weather in our west is feeding wild fires while the heavier snows of winter in the east are flooding the water systems in spring. The world is responding to the carelessness of mankind.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Scheer would do better if he shut up.

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Sure, it is almost five months until the federal election but everyone is out stumping anyway. You would swear that the election was in June and everyone is getting desperate.

But there is no excuse possible for the blather we are getting from the conservatives. Who told conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer that he had to have an economic plan? He is a conservative. What else do you need to know?

The good news for Chuckles is that A) Not too many Canadians know anything about him and B), he is not prime minister Justin Trudeau. Add those two facts together and that, according to the public opinion pollsters, spells “winner.”

But every word Chuckles utters about the economy seems to be reflected back by premier Ford in Ontario. Ford never had an economic plan for his province. Why should Chuckles have one for the country?

The current problem is that premier Ford has fallen from grace. It seems that some of the cuts he has been making in everything for which the province has responsibility, are causing some second thoughts. It means that quite a few Ontario voters might look elsewhere rather than trust another conservative in Ottawa.

This situation might also be exacerbated by that new premier in Alberta. Here again we have a conservative who forgot to tell people that besides being a known misogynist, is also strongly opposed to abortion. His conservative caucus is probably dominated by social conservatives who are likely to try to end abortions in Alberta.

That is unlikely to become a problem in the other provinces except for the fact that Chuckles is also anti abortion and electing him might just get the arguments going again in this country in concert with those anti-abortion Neanderthals south of the border.

Bear in mind that there are certainly more conservative provincial governments now than there were in the last federal election. Chuckles will expect to have cooperation and endorsements from most of them. He also knows that their support of him comes at a cost.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

War Rooms from the political past.

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

It started back in the late 1970s and 80s when Senator Keith Davey, some of us liberal apparatchiks and the marketing communications experts, who volunteered their time, started to look on other parties as enemy combatants. I was even quoting Carl von Clausewitz’ On War when talking about campaigning to groups of party faithful. It was a stretch, but also fun, talking about beating your opponents with a war-like strategy.

The idea became somewhat passé later in the 80s when we were contending with the Mulroney government in Ottawa. It was also when a couple of New York advertising guys, Al Ries and Jack Trout, came out with a book on Marketing Warfare. It was practically Campaigning 101. We had to concede that the opposition could also read.

But the best war rooms in politics or in war are the ones nobody knows about. You can brag afterwards if you really want but in any election campaign I ever ran, the only person allowed in the committee rooms with an ego was the candidate.

This concept of a war room has become so common that PostMedia in Toronto wants to buy in on the action of Alberta premier Jason Kenney’s Energy War Room he is setting up to fight what he considers to be disinformation and lies by special interest groups in the coming election. Just why a newspaper would want to so blatantly support a province and a party in interfering with the federal election, leaves me cold. Mind you, PostMedia gave up all pretentions of neutrality in elections a long time ago.

The only problem is that Jason Kenney is not the type of person with whom you want to share any kind of room, let alone be on the same side in an election. Kenney is misogynistic, a mean-spirited schemer and a generally nasty politician.

He explains his rationale for an Energy War Room is to police the eastern media. He wants to make sure that they never use the word ‘bitumen’ when talking about what Albertans call the highly polluting, high-carbon, ‘heavy oil’ from the tar sands.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Who runs this country?

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Like it or lump it, Canada is a confederation. And that means the parts of the country that created it think they are just as important as the whole. As many wise politicos have noted over the years, it makes the country a bitch to govern. The federal government got the best of the deal though. It appoints the judges of the supreme court and that is where most of the complaints of the provinces go to die.

Scott Moe, the earnest premier of Saskatchewan learned something of this lesson the other day. He took the federal government’s effort to reduce carbon emissions to his province’s court of appeal only to get a 3 to 2 decision that the fed’s really do have the authority to do that.

Now Moe and his friends from Alberta, Ontario and maybe other provinces, will take the case to the supreme court. It might seem like a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money but every once in a while, it is necessary for the supreme court judges to take a look at how this country is, or is not, working.

It also means that the question is unlikely to be answered before some time late next year. What those provinces are really doing is getting behind Andrew “Chuckles’ Scheer, leader of the federal conservatives. They figure with Chuckles running the frat house on the Ottawa River, they can pretty well do anything they want.

It would mean the gutting of Medicare across the country. Our aboriginals would become lesser citizens. And federal transfer payments could become history. It will be like having the stupid members of the Trump family running the farm on the north side of the border.

What would also be history would be the liberal attempts to revitalize Canada’s middle class. Justin Trudeau has never defined the middle class very well but he has done a good job of improving the lot of families with kids in the process.

But we should be thankful that this country is not run by narrow-minded, right-wing schmucks such as Jason Kenney, or Doug Ford. It is bad enough that we are having to listen to them snorting like hogs in the mud in their respective provinces. Canadians can do better.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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