Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Leadership’

Running in place.

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

The serious jogger does it when blocked by traffic or a stoplight. It is called running in place because your legs keep moving but you are not moving forward. By keeping up the motion, the jogger is not cooling down or loosing that high of a good run.

This is mentioned, because until today, the candidates for the liberal party leadership seem to have been running in place. Fund raising and team building might have absorbed most of their time but the average liberal was not seeing much action.

This lack of build up about the coming delegated convention might be the problem but I got comments from some Ontario readers that they had no idea what I was writing about the other day.

Let me explain: The Ontario Liberal Party is planning to hold a delegated convention at the Mississauga International Centre on March 7, 2020. At time of writing, there are at least five, if not six, approved contenders for the job of leader. Contender number six has yet to be approved by the party. Why the party might reject her is between her and the liberals who run the party—which is just number one of the reasons that I believe this contest is badly run.

What I was commenting on the other day was the ease with which people can manipulate this form of delegated convention. It starts in the electoral districts. There are quite a few ridings across Ontario that have less than seven members. Those are easy pickings if you need a bunch more delegates. Some ridings are also easy for a small group to take over. The only bad news is that the membership in the party closes today, if you wish to vote for delegates to the March 7 event.

What is considered particularly corrupt is the demand by the party hierarchy that all candidates to be a delegate indicate who they are supporting. In effect, the person is no longer a representative from that part of the province but a representative for that leadership candidate. It defeats the purpose of a delegated convention.

Before the delegate elections in February, I hope to provide some handicapping on the leadership race and some observations on the candidates’ credentials.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Objectives other than winning.

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Some people scratch their head and ask why someone will enter a political leadership race when there is little chance of winning? The truth is that there are different reasons and we have seen many of them over the years. Just the positioning of the person within the particular party can be sufficient reason. If you cannot be king or queen, be the king or queen maker.

And never forget that the person who makes you king or queen, becomes a key person in your inner circle.

But first of all, these contests to become the leader of a political party are expensive. If you can prove that you can raise sufficient funds for the task, you have won the party’s confidence of being able to raise the funds for elections.

There are also policy positions to consider. Remember Tanya Granic Allen in the last Ontario conservative leadership contest. She was supported by the anti-abortion, social conservatives. She came last on the first ballot and was dropped from the race. If she had done better, Ford would have been forced to put her voice in the cabinet.

Even in opposition, the leader of a political party has power. The leader makes shadow cabinet, house and committee appointments.

If the party wins, it is those contenders who brought their supporters over to the ultimate winner first, who get first consideration in the formation of the winner’s cabinet.

And you should never assume anything in politics. Looking at the current contest for the liberal leadership, you will never know who is going to win until you can examine the results of the delegate elections in the electoral districts. Here you will find the first whiff of the corruption of delegated conventions. Making the prospective delegates tell who they are supporting means that the delegates are chosen not to represent their electoral districts but the candidate—who might be paying for their membership, their convention expenses and their vote.

But it is at the convention itself that you find the deals between candidates, the manipulation of riding delegates and the fun of the all-night hospitality suites. We will discuss that at another time.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Never trust a guy with a pipeline.

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

The prime minister can joke about it if he wishes but there are lots of people who will not vote for a guy with a pipeline. If it was just the old Kinder Morgan line that spanned the Rockies, we would not be as worried. It is all that pipe and equipment poised to twin the line and add heaters and higher pressure that are of serious concern.

The current plan for the Trans Mountain pipeline is to twin it, add those heaters to the line and increase the pressure in it. It only adds up to Burrard Inlet being crowded with ocean-going tankers taking on diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. It is a plan based entirely on greed, stupidity and climate change denial. The question is not just when will a couple of those ocean-going tankers play at being bumper cars but how many ways can we help destroy the habitats of the Orcas?

And the question of increasing the pressure in a pipeline commissioned in 1951 to enable it to push through diluted bitumen begs the question: ‘For how long?’

This is not a question that the prime minister would ever be expected to answer. Nor could he. And that is why there seems to be some delays in the decision-making process in Ottawa.

My guess, for what that is worth, is that the liberals will sell the Kinder Morgan property to the aboriginal tribes who have shown an interest. Since no Canadian banker, in his or her right mind, would put up the billions needed to complete the twinning of the line, that might just be the end of that foolishness.

While the people who care about the future of our earth will be working at reducing our requirements for carbon-based products, we know that for the next few decades we will still need some refined oil products. These can easily be shipped into B.C. and the Pacific coast states of the U.S. by pipeline. This will give the aboriginals a return on their investment. It will allow Justin Trudeau to be a bit more credible in promising to save the world.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Slicing and dicing Justin Trudeau.

Friday, August 9th, 2019

You should always remember the plaint of the writer that what you write in haste, you might regret for the rest of your life. It might not be fair to say that John Ivison of Postmedia erred in all of what he wrote about the prime minister in his new book. He just might not have had the time to consider it.

If anyone could understand the dilemma facing Ivison, you would expect it to be fellow author/columnist Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star. She writes in the Star as though she more than skimmed the book. She seems to accept most of what Ivison says but you do not feel that she is standing shoulder to shoulder with him.

The book, entitled Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister was supposed to be in book stores on Tuesday. I would normally wait until the book was remaindered to buy a copy but, in this case, might not bother. I hardly agree that Trudeau is at his best when he goes off script. I only wish he could stick to a script.

Bear in mind that what I am saying about Justin Trudeau comes from a liberal who cares. I doubt that Ivison has any understanding of Justin’s childhood and his relationships with his father. And whatever suggested to him that Trudeau’s script to become prime minister was a blueprint drawn up by the “anointed” is only in Ivison’s dreams. It was definitely an ‘Improv’ event.

I was in touch with the Ottawa scene at the time and well aware of who from the old guard were rooting for him. I think we were all desperate to get rid of Stephen Harper and we did our bit.

My worst discovery with Justin was his ‘on/off’ switch. And he takes some hard-nosed positions that are not liberal in their origin. When he and the family did their dress-up schtick in India, it showed the world how politically naïve he could be.

I would be more interested in Ivison’s book if he just told us what lessons Justin had actually learned in the last four years.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Butts is back.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Gerald Butts and company are back to drive the liberal campaign bus. One can only hope that a few lessons were learned from their past four years in Ottawa. After all, it has to be tough to remain arrogant when you have screwed up as often as the crew in the prime minister’s office.

But the real concern is: Have they learned anything?

The most serious question is the Trans Mountain pipeline. It must drive the David Suzuki’s of the environmental movement wild that Elizabeth May wants Justin Trudeau to get some return on his ill-considered investment. Trudeau’s one hope is that he can sell the pipeline to the aboriginal group who want it. Hell, let them pay for it on the never-never plan. What the prime minister has to do is get himself off the hook for twinning that damn pipeline. And do not encourage the aboriginals to twin it. That is incitement to riot!

The first challenge for Gerald Butts should be for him to make nice with Jody Wilson-Raybould. Having the lady sitting out there alone on the left coast is costing the liberal party too much. The party can hardly afford, nor does it deserve, to lose its parliamentary majority over the SNC-Lavalin affair. The time for hurt feelings and repercussions is past. Everyone involved has to grow up and admit they need each other.

And us liberals want to hope that all the economic signs continue to point onward and upward this fall. Nor would it hurt to have our prime minister speak loudly and clearly to that nincompoop in Washington to stop his idiocy with the Chinese, ‘Buy America’ and, while he is at it, do something about his racism.

We can only hope that those whiz kids around the prime minister do not put the campaign bus into the ditch along the way to the election. They need to realize that all is not lost, yet.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

When you are ready, Justin Trudeau.

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Facing facts is not a favourite pastime for our prime minister. No doubt there were many old-time liberals who have told him he is heading for trouble. He has made a mess of a one-time strong party.

He said you did not have to pay a membership to be a liberal. You just had to be part of the list. Party members thought it was great to have more worker bees. The more the better.

But then our leader told us we were no longer members of the party we had supported in good times and bad. We were contributing what we could on a monthly basis to the party and yet the party cancelled our memberships. What kind of treatment is that?

Our electoral district associations, where we did not have a sitting MP after 2015, fell into disrepair. Party meetings at the local level were rare and poorly attended. Everyone forgot what it was like to have a quorum at executive meetings. Local party debts were not getting paid. Nobody was shoring us up in these ridings. We became orphans. Nobody cared about us.

All we were to the liberal party hierarchy was a long list to e-mail—as often as three times a day—for money. All their creative energy went to the task of creating new ways every day to say ‘Send Money.’

But what Justin forgot was that, along with the Canadian population, we liberals were aging. Try putting up with all those damn pleas for money when you are a senior on a fixed income? Justin was so busy rebuilding the middle class that he forgot all about the seniors and their daily battle with inflation. Our neoliberal finance minister, Bill Morneau, already has his retirement fund. Maybe he thinks we can inherit our own.

Justin, we gave you the right to lead this liberal party and you get a mixed report card on your effort to date. We had no right to expect perfection and we certainly did not get it.

But we do have the right to ask that you do not repeat your mistakes. Nor do you need to apologize. This job of prime minister is a wonderful opportunity to advance the human experience. You cannot fix the past. You can only fix the future.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau should listen to McCallum.

Monday, July 15th, 2019

John McCallum was building a very solid career as a professor and as an economist when he took a misstep into politics in 2000. While it took him a while to learn the ropes, his greatest political success was in Justin Trudeau’s government as immigration, refugees and citizenship minister. He brought in large numbers of Syrian refugees with help from Canadians from coast to coast. He made his mark.

But what amount of ego encouraged him to take the post of ambassador to China, we might never understand? He could hardly be so foolish as to think his ethnic Chinese wife gave him a leg up. This man, who throughout his career had been paid for his opinions, was now supposed to be a noviciate to Chrystia Freeland in Canada’s foreign affairs. That was a bad position for a free thinker.

John McCallum would have been introduced in Beijing as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary (meaning he had the right to speak for the Queen in the right of Canada). He barely opened his mouth for the next two years but that was learning the job time. When he did speak his mind, he was fired.

And that firing did no good for John McCallum and it did no good for Justin Trudeau. What John said was his opinion that Canada would be better off to release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhuo. Donald Trump had indicated that the request for extradition was political. Canada has an obligation to comply with legal requests for extradition to the U.S. for legal reasons but not for political.

The prime minister ignored the door that the American president had opened. What it said to the Chinese was that Trudeau was so firm in his desire to support the Trump position that he would fire a man who told the truth.

To make matters worse, John McCallum was fired at the end of January and no replacement has been announced six months later. That is an insult to the Chinese. They have recalled the Chinese ambassador in retaliation.

And just to rub salt, the conservatives are now complaining about some recent McCallum remarks. He told the Chinese that further retaliation would just help the conservatives in the coming election in Canada. The conservatives told the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about it. What exactly CSIS can do about a private citizen expressing an opinion, we are not sure.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Singh scans the Six.

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Canada’s new democratic party leader has been seen in Ontario. Party leader Jagmeet Singh is engaged in a desperate rear-guard action this summer for some Toronto area ridings. Faced with the possible loss of their party standing in the house of commons, the NDP have realized that the Toronto area is where they will take their last stand.

The only problem Jagmeet faces is that most of those ridings that traditionally vote NDP deserted and went to the liberals in 2015. There is little chance of getting any of them back this time. With very few exceptions, the distaste for the Ford conservative government at Queen’s Park is driving many previously conservative votes to the liberal party. Jagmeet can’t catch a break.

It is similar confusion across Canada. While the opinion polls are coming into line with forecasting a minority government situation in Ottawa, it is different parties benefitting in different provinces.

While Jagmeet has hopes for holding his own Vancouver area riding, Elizabeth May’s Green Party looks like it will have its breakthrough in that province. Nobody is assuming anything but the ‘same-old/same-old’ across the prairies. All we know about Quebec is that that the NDP Orange Wave created by the late Jack Layton in 2011 is dead, the Bloc is moribund and Maxime Bernier is going to knock the conservatives out of the Quebec City area (and probably leave those ridings to the liberals). And that leaves the Atlantic playing some musical chairs but not causing much change. It all comes back to Ontario.

My best guess is that if Justin Trudeau spends all of September and October, up until the 21st, in central Ontario, he has a chance. There is a band of red-necked farmers stretching across the province, from Ottawa to Windsor, who think God is a conservative.

But I am sure, those farmers would all like a selfie with Justin. That is his only chance.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The inscrutable ‘Chuckles’ Scheer.

Monday, July 8th, 2019

Conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer sent a letter to prime minister Justin Trudeau the other day. He has come to the conclusion that Justin needs help in foreign affaires. He is particularly concerned that Canada is being bullied by the Chinese. “Chuckles’ is full of helpful tips—he seems to think he knows so much about the subject.

One can only hope that Justin ignores all advice from this source. You have to wonder if Chuckles has ever spent more than a few minutes in conversation with a person who grew up in Beijing, or anywhere else in Asia. Does he have any idea of the Chinese mindset?

He would be better off advising Trudeau on how to deal with his friend Donald Trump. Chuckle’s conservatives are always saying they are the business-oriented party and Donald Trump claims to be a businessman. And speaking about bullies! I would agree with Trudeau getting tough with Trump. Tough talk is the only thing that bastard Trump seems to respect.

But the Chinese do not tolerate tough talk as well. It is not their style. North American business people often used to talk about Chinese business people as being inscrutable. It was their way of admitting that they did not understand them.

And yet, it is so simple. The Chinese like to deal with relationships first. The product is secondary. If we could just let them save a little face out of this fiasco, it would go a long way to correcting the current problems. Canada can hardly win a tit-for-tat pissing match with a huge trading partner who really just wants to be friends.

And what kind of a relationship does the Canadian government think it is maintaining with the Chinese when it will not even replace the Canadian ambassador after firing him in January for being frank about the Huawei extradition claim by the Americans. Mr. Trudeau has insulted the Chinese in his ignorance. He hardly needs help to make things worse by following the ignorance of Chuckles.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

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