Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

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

Confidential candidate Caroline.

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

How much do we really know about Caroline Mulroney? She wants to be a member of the Ontario legislature. She wants to be leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. She even wants to be premier of Ontario. This woman wants all of this and we all know so very little about her. And we hear she says: politics is just a matter of opportunity.

What has puzzled us since Caroline Mulroney first appeared on the political horizon is her reluctance to deal with the major news media in Ontario. When her father first got involved in politics, he virtually climbed over the warm (and alive) body of former Prime Minister Joe Clark to get to his buddies in the news media. All the time Brian Mulroney was prime minister, he always made sure that the media gang in the back of the plane were well fed, watered and lied to. Maybe his daughter saw into his final fall from grace and blamed the media for some part of it.

But her weekend get-away estate in Georgina is not a good stepping stone to the premier’s office. It might only be a safe Tory seat for her to get into the legislature. The real action is down in Toronto and her best base for that is her and her husband’s Forest Hill mansion.

That Saccharine campaign launch that Milton MP Lisa Raitt chaired for candidate Caroline Mulroney was an embarrassment. For her to not take questions from the audience or news media made a farce of the entire proceeding and lost her ground in the race to replace Patrick Brown.

Believe it or not, when you are running for the leadership of your political party, the party members want to feel some warmth and a kinship with you. Caroline makes this even more difficult with her American husband, Andrew Lapham, and four children in private schools. What percentage of rank and file members of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party would be able to pay for having four children in private schools? (I’ll bet the answer is less than three per cent.)

This political junky is looking forward to the upcoming debate between, probably, just the three already declared contestants. It will be a shame if Ms. Mulroney’s campaign team report that she has laryngitis that day.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Measuring mediocrity.

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

Having been party to writing political rule books in the past, it took little time to find the loopholes and errors in the 2018 Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership rule book. I did not compare them, side by side, but I figure the major change is the date on each page. It makes the same silly mistakes as the last book that helped Patrick Brown steal the leadership.

The only major difference between the two events is that there are another 17 electoral districts to be included in the count. If an electoral district has 100 or less votes cast, each vote will be counted as one. If there are 500 votes cast in an electoral district, each vote will be worth 20 per cent of a vote. The maximum number of votes that could be tallied is 12,400.

What really complicates matters and makes it almost impossible to forecast the vote is that the party members are encouraged to state their preference by numbering each candidate according to their order of preference. This is the foolish type of voting that helped ‘Chuckles’ Scheer win as what can be perceived as the thirteenth choice in the federal Conservative race.

This means that Doug Ford has to get out of his comfort zone in Toronto and meet our farmers. Caroline Mulroney has to get out and meet real Conservatives. Christine Elliott needs to make peace with more of the caucus and get their help.

What makes this particular contest so daunting is the timeline. There is simply not enough time for candidates to meet and press the flesh of the party. The good news is also that there is no time to organize and co-opt closely knit ethnic groups who are spread across the province.

The election was effectively called for as of January 26. People who want to vote have until February 16 to pay their membership in the party. Voting will be from Friday, March 2 until Thursday March 8. They are arranging a little party event for the membership (and the news media) to announce the winner on Saturday, March 10 (less than three months before the provincial election).

The only problem that might have candidates stumbling is the demand in the candidate rules, Section 5.2.1(b), that says to be eligible to run in this leadership, they must support the party policy as detailed at the November 2017 policy conference—which includes a carbon tax.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

When the music stops.

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

The game is called Musical Chairs. You might have played it as a child. If there are ten players, you start with nine chairs together in line, alternating facing in opposite directions. When the music starts the players are lined up and walk around the line of chairs. When the music stops everyone scrambles for a chair. The person who does not get seated is out and gets to take a chair and themselves out of the game. And then the music starts again.

It is also a game for adults. It can offer interesting variables. A political version has been going on recently in the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Instead of chairs in the line-up you have potential party leaders. The people marching around the line of politicians are political apparatchiks looking for candidates for whom they might work. When the music stops, they can pitch the closest possible candidate. Those who make successful pitches get to carry off a candidate. And then the music starts again.

I remember one time standing in the middle of a crowded ballroom in one of the larger hotels in Toronto, deep in conversation with a key candidate for a party leadership. It dawned on both of us that as long as we continued the conversation, nobody would bother us. We continued discussing—the relative merits of Tahiti for a winter get-away. We had both enjoyed the brief break from the political subject de jour. And then the music starts again.

I mention this political game because one of the factors to which I tend to pay attention in writing a morning line is which apparatchiks are working for which politicians. It is a bit like picking horses based on who trains them. For example, I noted today that Patrick Brown’s key guy is now working for Caroline Mulroney. It was something of a warning sign. It means that Patrick is quite unlikely to seek to succeed himself. He would need his friend Toronto lawyer Walied Soliman to tell him what to do.  And then the music starts again.

If the entire field in this current PC race are these three candidates (See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil), we will still have an interesting race. It would be Ford versus the elites, Mulroney versus the news media and Elliott versus the caucus. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. And then the music starts again.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

And now there are three.

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Even in this shortest of all leadership races, it is too early to produce a morning line on the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party contest. How are you expected to consider workouts and past performance for this mixed bag of candidates? And when you only have three—so far—you have to wait until the official cut off.

Doug Ford was the first out from his mother’s basement. (The media love the inference that the millionaire Ford lives in his mother’s basement.) The former councillor and the guy John Tory beat for the Toronto mayoralty, Ford is probably the richest wannabe in the race.

Ford is busy rallying his late brother’s Ford Nation to his cause but how many will pay up to become short-term Tories is a good question? Here is Ford running a campaign against the Toronto elites when all the time, he is one of those elites.

And speaking of elites, this will be the first chance anyone will have to not vote for Caroline Mulroney. If the name sounds familiar, it is because her daddy was one of the most vilified prime ministers in Canada’s history. It was a quarter century ago but many of us remember ‘Lyin’ Brian.

Caroline Mulroney has a father who is a liability, four children in private schools and an American husband in Toronto. And they recently bought a week-end country estate in Geogina, Ontario. It is so that Caroline can run for a seat at Queen’s Park in the safe Conservative electoral district of York-Simcoe.

So far, it is two wannabes taking on the older pro. None of them have a seat currently at Queen’s Park. Christine Elliott walked away from her Whitby-Oshawa seat when Patrick Brown stole the leadership from her in the last race. She was so angry at the time that she never went back to Queen’s Park. Premier Kathleen Wynne gave her a way out by offering Christine a plum government appointment. She was ideally suited to the job and it is reputed to have paid $220,000 per year.

But there must have been some other offers made to bring Christine back to Queen’s Park. She might have lost twice already in tries for the leadership but she is the widow of Conservative icon Jim Flaherty, Stephen Harper’s finance minister. She likely has a base of at least 15,000 Ontario Tories ready to vote for her.

While most political observers assumed that Brown lied about the 200,000 members of the Conservative Party. Vic Fedeli might not even have the right figure at 125,000. The better guess is that there are between 60,000 to 75,000 votes to go after. We will give you an idea where they might go, after the candidate cut off.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Brought to you by Bollywood?

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

In reviewing the three leaders of the major political parties in Canada, we came up with what we consider the key question for Jagmeet Singh: Why? What is the new leader of the New Democratic Party out to prove? Was his taking the leadership of the National NDP just a Bollywood production?

First of all, he did not win the leadership. He took it. It was there to take and he did. He watched the contest for a while and picked his time to jump in. He won the leadership by simply swamping the existing membership of the New Democrats in British Columbia and Ontario. He did not want to discuss policy with the more knowledgeable leadership hopefuls and did not bother. Jagmeet Singh took the leadership by saying the least.

In a party bereft of leadership, Jagmeet offers none. In a party lacking direction, he has no idea of where it should head. He knows that the LEAP Manifesto is a formula for controversy. And the Regina Manifesto only mirrors the past. The NDP have nowhere to go and, frankly, nobody to take the party there, anyway.

But can a leader, selected by the Sikh communities across Canada, offer Canadians a future? The Sikh community has come late to this party. In the 1980s and 1990s there were many swamped party riding associations that put a steady series of back benchers from various ethnic groups in parliament and provincial legislatures. It not only did not work but it hurt our democracy. The answer to the problem arrived at in Ottawa was to break with democratic practice and have the party leader sign-off on who could be candidates for the party.

But there is no one to sign off on the selection of party leaders. That is why Jagmeet Singh, then a member of the legislature, was able to watch an Ontario Member of Parliament use some of Jagmeet’s fellow Sikhs to win the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership in 2015. Patrick Brown had made many trips at taxpayer expense to the Indian sub-continent to establish connections for the attempt. He found the paths to signing-up thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who have immigrated to Ontario. Who paid the memberships for as many as 40,000 of these people so new to Ontario is still in question?

For Jagmeet to use the same connivance as a putz such as Conservative Patrick Brown should embarrass his party. It does not seem to embarrass Jagmeet Singh.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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