Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Leadership’

Now pinch hitting for Canada: Donald Trump.

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

We really need that. Can you think of anyone less able to speak for Canada to the Chinese? Donald Trump was grandstanding with Canada’s prime minister in the Oval Office in Washington the other day. The media had been allowed in for some quick questions and to get their pictures and quotes. Trump told the media that he would be going to bat with China on behalf of the Canadians.

Mr. Trump was telling the media that he was meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan next week. He said he would take the opportunity to ask for the release of the two Canadians who are being held hostage by the Chinese in retaliation for Canada’s detaining of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for possible deportation to the face the courts in the United States.

What is surprising about this is that Canada is also a member of the G20. Obviously, Mr. Trudeau could meet with Xi Jinping and ask for himself. It is hard to believe that the Chinese president would listen to Donald Trump before he would listen to Justin Trudeau. It is hardly likely that Donald Trump would make a more cogent argument for the release of the Canadians.

And if there was any horse trading involved, the Huawei executive is presently vacationing in her luxurious Vancouver mansion awaiting an extradition hearing. We have something China wants. China has something we want. Is that not the essence of a horse trade?

And Justin Trudeau should stop giving us all the lip service about Canada being a country of laws. He has recently proved that is all B.S. Especially when you consider his actions with Jodi Wilson-Raybould, who was a fair to middling justice minister for Canada, until the prime minister wanted to play patty-cake with SNC-Lavalin, to save them the embarrassment of being found guilty of bribery.

It would certainly be appreciated by Canadians if Justin Trudeau would have his own discussion with the Chinese.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends…”

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

And once more Ontario liberals found that they were not masters of their own destiny. Ontario liberalism is a fiefdom and the serfs were told once more last weekend what will be. Whatever you might wish to call it, it is not democratic. It is not run by or for the people.

The call for a one-member-one-vote leadership convention by these provincial liberals drew 57 per cent support and so was denied as it did not have a super-majority of 66 per cent. The hands of past manipulators denied freedom to the present.

The federal liberal party had broken down the old feudal system of ministers being in charge of their fiefs in the 1960s under Lester Pearson. It was why the Ontario provincial party broke away—to return to the old ways with a party run from the board rooms of the larger law firms.

It worked well enough, producing the subsequent governments of Dalton McGuinty and then Kathleen Wynne. Whether they were particularly liberal was always a question.

But now the challenge is to find a progressive liberal who can capture the imagination of the liberal party and then the voters. Whomever the new party leader will be, he or she will need to overcome the conservatism of the rulers of the provincial liberal fiefs.

I think the smartest candidate for leader of the party, so far, has been Michael Coteau, MPP for Don Valley East. He worked hard to get the change to one-member-one-vote while I understand another possible candidate, Steven Del Duca, kept out of the discussion and did not even vote. That tells us volumes about Del Duca.

What I admire most about Michael Coteau’s campaign is that it is built on what he has been hearing from liberal party members across Ontario. I find it is a bit of a novelty to find someone who really wants to listen. The campaign will not get intense until January next year when the delegated convention is slated for March 7.

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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.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Together, we can.

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

Prime minister Trudeau asked for party unity last week. He was at the Ontario liberal gathering in Mississauga. It was a friendly crowd. He told them that liberals fighting each other only helps the conservatives. I cannot argue that but before agreeing with him, Justin needs to learn to listen to his party.

This was the first time, to my knowledge, that he even admitted that liberals cross Canada have been concerned and disturbed by the SNC-Lavalin affair. Many of us listened with growing dismay to the presentations before the parliamentary justice committee by former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, principal secretary Gerald Butts and privy council clerk Michael Wernick.

What liberals did not see during the months absorbed by this case, was leadership from the leader of the liberal party. “Where’s the wimp?” was the concern.

Our liberal party was being trampled. The opposition were having a field day of scorn. The news media were bugling ‘Boots and Saddles’ as they smelled blood.

And where was Justin Trudeau? He was telling (or sending instructions to) the liberal members of the parliamentary committee to stonewall the other parties. He never really answered any questions in the House. He demoted justice minister Wilson-Raybould.

To add to his problems, he usurped the role of caucus in determining who can be a member of caucus and the role of the party in choosing its representatives. If nothing else, he could have listened to the party. These people are his friends. They had questions. They were in the dark. They had the right to know what the hell was going on.

And was MP Jane Philpott just collateral damage? Or was she supposedly the Wicked Witch of the East who was under Dorothy’s house when it landed in Oz?

During this fiasco, all the concerned liberals across Canada got were urgent pleas for money from the party. What we needed was to see some contrition from the leader.

If Andrew Scheer is prime minister of Canada at the end of October, it is on your head Justin.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Tip-toe through these tulips (Part 2).

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

Was it spite? The story of Jody Wilson-Raybould and her side-kick Jane Philpott has yet to be fathomed. What benefits them? They both had so much to offer. Wilson-Raybould was the first woman of aboriginal ancestry to serve in the cabinet. Her people needed her wisdom in that role. They deserve action, dignity, justice, recognition and reconciliation. It takes someone who has spent years in aboriginal councils to truly understand their needs.

In Ontario, we all watched last year as the irresponsible rage of the voters decimated the liberal caucus at Queen’s Park. Instead of good government, we elected an incompetent blowhard and his mealy-mouthed conservative followers. Why? We could certainly see it coming. It was like the voters in the United States who elected Donald Trump. “Take that you fools!” The voters burnt their bridges. They enjoyed a pyrrhic victory. May they enjoy their hell.

And here we are, watching the federal liberals bleed the votes they need in October. Does Justin Trudeau think all will be forgiven by then? The bleeding started even before he went to do his dress-up routine in Bollywood. He embarrassed Canadians.

Trudeau proved a poor leader. Many men interpret his self-declared feminism as weakness. Too many promises proved hollow. He had promised election reform without any background information. He introduced a weak and unsatisfactory assisted-suicide bill. He aided Canada’s nuclear families and forgot the seniors. He talked about an undefined middle class for whom he cared.

He preached environmentalism and then bought a pipeline to ship highly polluting tar sands bitumen to foreign parts, who are free to pollute as they wish.

Trudeau has seriously damaged the liberal brand. This was at a time when he needed the strength of the brand in the Atlantic provinces. He needed depth in Quebec. He can only split vote-rich Ontario. And the trip across the west is a downhill run for liberals all the way. He stands in the bottom of the hole he has dug for himself and his party, looking at a small piece of blue sky.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Tip-toe through these tulips.

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

This is a story about women of a certain age and how a man has to tip-toe carefully to explain or be maligned and castigated as sexist. It is just, by now, we should all be tired of the sexist claptrap surrounding the ongoing one-act play of Jody Wilson-Raybould. Yes, the prime minister was wrong. He dropped the ball.

But Justin Trudeau is a wimp. Do you really believe that Wilson-Raybould did not know that when she set out on her mission to destroy him? The problem between the prime minister and his justice minister needed to be settled in the confidentiality of cabinet, not out on the street like common drunken brawlers.

And it was hardly a fair fight. I think the prime minister was blind-sided. Gerry Butts and the clerk of the privy council tried to protect him and got caught in the threshing machine of the Ottawa media.

The only thing we really want to know is ‘Why?’ I have carefully brought up the subject with a number of women of similar age. They have raised their children. They might perceive their earlier sexuality as slipping away. Similar to Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, they are successful in their profession and they are seeking that further elusive something else. They do not know what it is.

Is it a legacy, the notoriety, another mountain climbed, or the thrill of the kill by the huntress?

All I know is that it is a bad example for those young people who were in parliament to hear from the PM the other day. Who the hell told them they can turn their backs on the prime minister of Canada? Those young women need to understand that nobody demands your respect for the person but you should never ever disrespect the office.

In retrospect, in years to come, Wilson-Raybould will likely rue her legacy as the one who brought down a prime minister. So much more of likely benefit to her and her peoples was possible.

To be continued…

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario liberals need a leader.

Friday, April 5th, 2019

It is good to see that there are a number of worthy contenders already at the starting line for the upcoming leadership contest for the Ontario liberals. More important than the names of those individuals, at this point in time, are the rules for the race.

And the simpler the rules, the better. Over the years, we have seen too many of all parties’ leadership races twisted to unfair advantage by leadership contenders. Surprisingly, it is the more complex the rules, the easier it is to bend them. The simpler the rules, the harder it is for the unscrupulous to twist them to advantage.

First of all, it should always be one member-one vote. Delegated conventions have been corrupted for too many years. And all electoral districts are not equal, nor should they be counted as such. There is no way a riding with 500 members should be counted the same as one with just 100 members. You do not want to honour mediocrity. Nor should anyone pay their basic membership with anything other than their personal credit card. The occasional person with no credit card needs witnesses.

Nothing other than a single mark or the single click of a mouse should be the process for voting. Please do not try to speed the voting process with preferential voting. You are seeking the best not mediocrity.

To come to a majority decision is the democratic choice of the party and each ballot should be called without dropped candidates trying to influence the subsequent voting. They can only dignify the subsequent ballot with their silence.

And the party has to realize that fund-raising by candidates cannot be a yardstick for quality of leadership. Less is more in leadership. Ideas stand tall. Communications are in the content, not the gloss. Can this candidate walk in your shoes?

We have an opportunity in this leadership contest to be proud of our choice of leader. Let him or her really reflect the liberalism people need in to-day’s Ontario.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Scheer’ Foolishness.

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

First pick a direction.

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

It is ridiculous that people are speculating about the possible leaders of the Ontario liberal party so soon. We do have a choice. And the old adage says, we can decide now and repent at leisure. As we have mentioned before, we first want to figure out where the party is going.

Looking back at the provincial scene, it is hard to say what direction the party was choosing when it chose the leader first. Kathleen Wynne’s background was touted as left wing but quickly proved that, if she had any direction in mind at all, it was liberal socially and conservative economically. The exception was in her last campaign when she opened the left-wing floodgates and confused the voters.

Her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty was an old-time middle-of-the-road liberal who did a good job on schools and protecting the environment but he was very bad in managing people—particularly those in his government’s cabinet.

The only recent liberal premier before that was David Peterson—basically a nice guy who proved to be a neoliberal. While the province was ready for what he offered, he failed to build any rapport with Ontario voters.

What Ontario voters are really looking for in Queen’s Park is a to have a party in power that really is there for the people. This is a government responsible for the delivery of effective Medicare in the province, as well as ensuring that we have schools, colleges and universities that meet our needs for today and tomorrow. It is the level of government that deals with our daily living, our municipalities, our infrastructure (roads and bridges and public transit), our environment and a myriad of services that contribute to our quality of life.

These services require a government that understands that we are individuals with individual needs. We are not a collective. Nor are we necessarily competitive. We are not satisfied with minimal cost services. We want the best services at a reasonable cost. We want to be respected in the delivery of the services in a friendly society.

Real liberals believe in that type of society.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Parsing the political petulance.

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

Had an opportunity the other day to measure the mood of local liberals after the humiliation of last June’s provincial election. It was the annual meeting of the provincial party for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte in central Ontario. All you had to do was mention premier Doug Ford and eyes rolled and teeth gnashed.

This electoral district was a rollercoaster of possibilities from the confused conservative events of January 2018 through to a very disappointing election day. We started with Ontario conservative leader Patrick Brown as the known candidate to tackle and ended up losing the electoral district to a parachute candidate, a carpetbagger appointed by Doug Ford.

It was not the largest turnout I had seen at an annual meeting for the liberal party in the area. It was a predominantly male group and the average age had to be close to 50. There was a definite lack of younger liberals. This group has its work cut out for it.

But the numbers were better than expected. The demographics were of concern but it was an unfamiliar location for the meeting and the wind chill outside was down to about -16 C.

And, we lost all three of our invited speakers. They were three of our seven MPPs from Queen’s Park who are testing their possibilities for a run at the party leadership—and all from Toronto. Two begged off with colds and the third was a no-show. (More about them another time.)

Once the business of electoral district elections was out of the way, the chair (a former MPP himself) asked for an open discussion of why the liberals lost so badly last June. He introduced the theme himself: anger.

There was general agreement on the anger. Where the disagreement emerged was the nature of that anger. Some thought it was just that the liberal government had run out of gas. Some thought it was Premier Wynne herself—she certainly came across as arrogant.

What worried me was those who thought the liberals had veered too far to the left and needed to come back to a more middle ground.

Personally, I think it is the reverse. Wynne is really one of those liberal socially and financially conservative liberals who tend to confuse the voters. And she made her own mistakes. The Sudbury candidate fixing fiasco was never forgiven. And the selling off of part of Hydro One was seen as bad advice, badly executed. The rest was just chatter.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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