Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

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

In defence of populism.

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

From the first time I met John George Diefenbaker, I have admired populist politicians. For the benefit of our younger folk, John Diefenbaker was a Prairie populist politician who served as prime minister of Canada from 1957 to 1963. As a young liberal, I did not agree with much of ‘Dief the Chief’s politics but some of what he did changed this country forever.

Conservatives considered John Diefenbaker a radical. He did crazy things like appointing the first Canadian woman to the federal cabinet. His government passed the first Canadian Bill of Rights. He gave Canada’s aboriginal peoples the vote. He appointed the first aboriginal person to the senate. These were not the actions of your typical conservative.

Mind you, as a former member of Canada’s air force, I was royally pissed with Dief when he cancelled the spectacularly advanced Avro Arrow. He caved in to the Americans and left Canada as perpetual water boy to the Yankees.

I got to thinking about populism recently when reading a very misleading column by Chantal Hébert in the Toronto Star. She was saying that one-member-one-vote selection in political party leadership benefits populists. That is B.S. from an usually more knowledgeable reporter.

Her problem was that the examples she used were hardly populists. Doug Ford is not a populist. His late brother Rob was a populist and the difference could not have been more obvious. Rob Ford believed in Ford Nation, he was part of it. Doug Ford wants to use Ford Nation but he is hardly part of it. He is a dilettante. He talks the talk but hardly walks the walk. I will put money on him crashing and burning before the Ontario election. He is just another embarrassing Premier Mike Harris in waiting.

And Hébert mentioning Patrick Brown as an example of populism is a sad joke. Patrick Brown is a sleazy political manipulator and user who finally got his comeuppance.

Brown and Jagmeet Singh both swamped their party memberships with ethnic sign-ups from the Indian sub-continent. The only difference was that the Sikhs have been proud of Jagmeet Singh and would have insisted in paying for their own memberships.

Populism is a rare feature of Canadian politics and we need more of it. It is that ability to be part of the masses, articulate their needs, motivate them and rise to lead those masses. It is a combination of empathy and vision and communication. When you see it; you will recognize it.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump Lite and the Ontario PCs.

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

After spending Saturday afternoon watching Rosemary Barton and CBC News struggling with the Ontario Conservative fiasco, I was not sure whether the party or the news media did the worst job. It was embarrassing. I actually paid the CBC $6.85 plus GST for the right to watch that screw-up on streaming video. And I want my money back.

I spent a career working on news conferences, conventions, political rallies, candidate selections and leadership contests across Canada. I always worked to the rule that whatever happens is supposed to happen and you live with it.

But I never considered that you could have a disaster such as the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership announcement.

The worst of it was that nobody seemed to be in charge. There seemed to be nobody willing to deal with the news media. There was no information shared with the attendees. They waited for hours without anyone coming to the microphone to apologize for the delays and then they were sent home without answers. Like wayward children, they were sent to bed without their supper.

What really amazes me is that when you are using computer collection of data (such as voting) that you would not write the simple program needed to count those votes. The only time I complained about the weighting of the ridings is when I tried to simulate a program to do that in preparing Babel-on-the-Bay’s Morning Line.

I estimated that there would be less than 70,000 votes cast. It was also clear that Tanya Granic Allen was the fringe candidate. She did better than expected but still came fourth.

It was the collapse of the Caroline Mulroney campaign that surprised us. Like her father, her campaign was just hot air. She blew it.

But it was the attempt to make all electoral districts equal that left the Tories in a mess. Like the electoral college in the U.S., the Tories had an undemocratic system. In the end, Christine Elliott won the most votes and Doug Ford won the election.

All I could think of last night was that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne had a chance to resign last year. We can only hope that she takes a look at what Hillary Clinton did wrong in the last U.S. election. She has to remember that there are lots of angry conservatives in Ontario. Her and her party have to win the rest.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Ontario PCs in Wonderland.

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Vic Fedeli is hardly the Alice in Wonderland who foolishly headed down the rabbit hole. Yet it was Interim conservative leader Fedeli who first let on that Patrick Brown might not have been telling the whole truth about party memberships. And with three of the four candidates still in the running asking about “tainted” memberships, it sounds like they are laying the groundwork for potential challenges to the outcome of the leadership contest on Saturday.

We would never question why Doug Ford and the Mulroney camp would know how to create false memberships. It is when both camps demand that memberships paid by prepaid credit cards be rejected they seem to know what they are doing. They certainly do not want all those cards voting.

Vic Fedeli seemed even less forthcoming when he told the news media that he could not find 67,000 of the supposed 200,000 memberships that former leader Patrick Brown claimed were signed up by last November. In as much as Patrick Brown signed up about 40,000 from the Indian Sub-continent in 2015 to swamp the PC Party membership, it is highly unlikely that any of those temporary memberships have been renewed.

(It absolutely amazes this old politico that the news media keep buying into the idea that the social conservatives won the leadership for Brown in 2015. It is unlikely that Tanya Granic Allen’s vote will be announced on Saturday but she will likely be the first candidate dropped from the count. She might get as much as 10 to 15 per cent of votes cast but that could take every possible “Right to Life” vote in the party.)

The reality of voting in the party’s confused voting system is that the winning candidate has to not only win the most votes but to have them distributed proportionally across enough electoral districts. The voting system is designed to work against the candidate who has his or her vote concentrated in just one area of the province. It is why in the last all candidate appearance in Ottawa, Doug Ford must have mentioned being in every area of the province except Toronto. Ford Nation cannot help him without strong support from outside Toronto.

The heavy betting seems to be on Christine Elliott. The only question is that if she does not win on the first ballot count—where would she get the second-choice votes to go on to win? There might be further twists and turns before this race is decided.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t count the Liberals out in Ontario.

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

It has been a bit disquieting lately to see the progressive bloggers’ web site infiltrated by conservatives. In checking to see what people are saying these days, I came across a conservative who was telling readers why he was voting for Patrick Brown in the Ontario PC leadership fiasco. Rather than just write him off as an idiot, I actually read all of his 2500 ill-chosen words.

First of all, this guy seems to have bought into the assumption that the Ontario Liberals are going to lose the June election. If I knew him, I would offer to make a substantial bet on those Liberals.

The polls favouring the Tories should have crested last month but the Brown fiasco sucked all the media oxygen out of the air. It was a good time for the Liberals to go low key, do town halls and mend constituency fences.

Think back over the past four weeks and ask yourself what did you learn that was positive about the Ontario PCs? Is Tanya Granic Allen with her anti-abortion bigots a good choice for a leader? How about Doug Ford as a pale imitation of Donald Trump? There is former MPP Christine Elliott who took off rather than stay at Queen’s Park with Patrick Brown as PC leader. Lucky us, we are being honoured by the candidacy of Brian Mulroney’s little girl—she has never held public office but obviously learned a lot from “Lyin Brian.” And then, there is Patrick Brown.

Patrick Brown proved his mettle on January 24. The putz refused to listen to his staff. He went into a news conference—that he called—with all the emotion showing and made an ass of himself. And then he did a perp walk down the stairs and out to his car. There certainly are not too many people in Ontario who would consider that scene as appropriate for someone who thinks they should be premier.

When the people who really run the PC party in Ontario said—by a 3 to 2 vote—that Patrick could run for leader, they did it with the knowledge that he could not win. They had no legal ground by which to refuse him as a candidate anyway. So, they are letting him make a fool of himself and letting him make a bigger fool of anyone who wastes a vote on him.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Did the Lion roar or snore?

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Since the name ‘Singh’ for Sikhs means ‘lion,’ it makes you wonder about New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh. Is he just a cowardly lion, looking for a political Wizard of Oz to give him the courage to address the real needs of his party? He certainly failed to deal with any of the real issues this past weekend.

And you can hardly replace action and direction with humour. Even with better than 90 per cent approval for his leadership, Singh let the party down. All the 90 per cent vote meant was that the party had nobody in mind to replace Singh at this time.

Singh addressed a party in turmoil and told them jokes.

The party is facing a general election across Canada in less than two years and has no clear direction. The party lacks purpose, policies and potential. It has no future and so Singh is obviously the best person to lead them into it.

The leap of the LEAP Manifesto turned into a hop. Singh’s attitude was that if you forget about it, it just might go away.

Is there anywhere for the party to go in today’s Quebec?

Was Andrea Horwath of the large Ontario delegation really there or was that just another NDP apparition heading to sure oblivion in just a few months?

And if there were any delegates there from B.C. or Alberta, why were there no good fist fights?

When you think of the number of Sikhs who bought memberships in the party to elect Singh, you would at least expect Singh to thank them.

It was nice that Singh brought his fiancé along to introduce her. Maybe that was why he did not have his mind on party problems.

But as for the rest of the weekend, it was a typical NDP convention. There were lots of airy-fairy resolutions that will go nowhere. This is now a party where you take the high road and stay out of the mud of battle.

The old joke about Canada’s political parties continues to hold true: Conservatives come to a convention to drink; Liberals come to a convention to get laid; and NDPers come to a convention to get pamphlets.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario PCs: The Morning Line.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

It’s a muddy, cold day at the track but thankfully this race is not too long. The candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party will be At Post before you know it.

Tanya Granic Allen: 20 to 1 Why anyone would want to put up a $125,000 entry fee to include this person in the race is hard to believe. Maybe the point is that social conservatives really are a force in the party and they want to be heard. They should have picked someone who is less shrill and more credible. She does not seem to understand that with a preferential ballot, you really need to make friends of the other candidates. She needs to tone it down, deal rationally with the non-social conservative issues and act less aggressively. Until then she is wasting the party’s time and Tory voters can ignore her.

Patrick Brown: 10 to 1  A late entry, Patrick is well known to Conservative voters. His problem in this vote is that people either love him or hate him. He earns few second-choice votes. There is little sympathy for him. The larger problem is trying to figure out where his second-choice votes go?

Christine Elliott: 4 to 1  This is the former Oshawa-Whitby MPP’s third try at the leadership. In a one person-one vote election she could win, but in the conservative’s equal weighting of electoral districts, she loses much of her advantage in the GTA ridings. Maybe Premier Wynne will give her back that patronage job she dumped to run this time.

Doug Ford: 8 to 1 If you saw him struggle with the moderator’s questions at the TVO debate, you would know how ill-equipped Doug Ford is to vie for the leader’s job. He will get a reasonably good showing in the GTA but has little chance in the rest of the province. He might as well head back to the stables.

Caroline Mulroney: 3 to 1  Brian Mulroney’s kid is about as slippery as he was as prime minister. She lacks experience but shows the instincts of both a piranha and a politician. Her trainers need to teach her to hang on to that rail position by moving out from the rest of the pack. As long as she shows that originality of thought, she is the forerunner. She has to continue to build her brand.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Food for ‘enquiring minds.’

Monday, February 19th, 2018

If this writer told you that Ontario Progressive Conservatives might not all be on the up and up, you would likely brush it off as fake news from a raving liberal. Okay, I will give you that. Brush me off as you wish. (Which is why I rarely bother to try to tell you what crooks and thieves they are.)

But what if the reporter saying it is Bob Hepburn of the Toronto Star? Does the Toronto Star often feed you fake news?

After all, you believed CTV news when they told you the nasty news about Patrick Brown. This was hearsay at best and slander at the worst, yet many of you wanted to believe it. It cost the poor putz his job as leader. There was no judge, no jury and no due process. It was a summary trial and death by news media. (The fact that I stood cheering on the sidelines was irrelevant.)

But when it comes to unveiling the inveterate corruption of the Conservatives, the Toronto Star editors afford themselves some protection. They move the story to the op-ed page and label it as opinion. I often agree with Bob Hepburn’s opinions. I also often agree with Chantal Hébert, Martin Regg Cohn and Linda McQuaig but this takes someone of Hepburn’s gravitas to carry it off.

He was hardly the first to note the consistent lying of the Conservatives at all levels about membership numbers. It is part of being a conservative. The only nomination fights more venial than Conservative ones are some Liberal and NDP fights. Heh, nobody is perfect!

It has always amazed me that we can elect people we did not know where under indictment for fraud to senior party office and then let them vet our candidates. The vetting of candidates by parties today is more corrupt than the time when we were practically inviting organized crime to run for office.

Telling Toronto police, with a straight face, that the wholesale destruction of lawn signs is just high school hijinks is just minor criminality. What did the Conservative hierarchy do when Patrick Brown’s team paid the memberships for almost 40,000 immigrants from the Indian Sub-continent? Everybody in the Queen’s Park caucus knew that Brown had broken the rules to become their leader. It was to Christine Elliott’s credit that she would not serve as a Conservative MPP with him as leader.

Getting rid of Brown, party president Rick Dykstra and a few of the riding nomination problems is a long way short of cleaning up the mess of the Ontario Tories. And if you think that it is the Tories’ turn to take over at Queen’s Park, first ask if the Ontario taxpayers can afford it.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“Patrick! Come back!”

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

In the iconic western, Shane, the gunfighter rides off into the prairie night and the movie ends. I had no idea that Ontario Conservative MPP Patrick Brown would come back. I have written about the reality that running to replace himself is his only road to redemption but why would the damn fool listen to me? I was as stunned as everyone else when he jumped into the leadership race at the last minute.

What is Patrick Brown coming back to? By joining the race to replace himself, Brown faces further humiliation and sure defeat. His Sub-Continent temporary members of the Ontario PCs are gone. There is no time to sign them up again. When temporary leader Vic Fideli went through the supposed 200,000 members of the party, he would at least have scrubbed most of the obvious Indian and Sikh names Brown signed up from two years ago. Why would they renew their membership? They can no longer vote for him.

But how can anyone who watched that perp-walk with the media out of the Ontario Legislature on January 24 welcome Patrick Brown back? The caucus have now made it very clear that they never wanted Patrick Brown as leader. They certainly do not want him back.

And this situation has very little to do with the supposed indiscretions of Brown. The claims of CTV as to his impropriety with young women are scurrilous at best. They were just a good excuse to get rid of the wrong leader. He is hardly going to be successful in suing the television network.

What it is about was the stupidity of how Brown handled the charges. It showed him as immature, emotional and unable to deal with crisis. His appearance before the news media that cold January night was an embarrassment for the Conservative caucus and the Conservative Party. They had to get rid of this jerk and they got lucky. He resigned in an emotional state. He could not control himself. Those are characteristics we can never have in a party leader or premier.

What annoys me about this is that I have been working on putting together the Morning Line for the Ontario Tory leadership race. Now I have to tear up all my figures and recompute. Brown has created a wild card. He has always been a bother.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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