Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Leadership’

Back to the Bully Pulpit.

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

It might have been a term coined by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt but our prime minister Justin Trudeau did the bully pulpit one better. It was living in Rideau Cottage while the official residence at 21 Sussex was under repair. Trudeau did a cuckoo clock single out the front door of the cottage to address the latest news of the coronavirus.

Where lesser Luminoso would need support by technical experts or henchmen, our prime minister does it alone.

It actually seems more crowded all the time at the Ontario political updates. Despite the team effort, Doug Ford is losing traction with his voters as he rants on. His problem is that he little understands the experts and leans heavily on his own solutions. People are questioning the science behind some of his answers. The largest puzzle he presented recently is closing virtually all small business in the most populous cities in the province while leaving the schools in operation. And it will not help to look to education minister Stephen Lecce for answers.

But even from his bully pulpit, Justin Trudeau knows better than to challenge how some conservative premiers are handling the pandemic problems. Health care is in the hands of the provinces and the feds would be crazy to intervene. All Trudeau can really do is support the provincial efforts and plead for public cooperation in these serious times.

Even when we have some vaccines in the offing, the rapidly escalating case loads of pandemic sufferers is of growing concern. Hospitals in some provinces are reaching capacity and there are fewer and fewer healthy health care workers to fill the gaps.

But what Trudeau can do is throw more aid money into the maw of the coronavirus. In some provinces we are looking at disaster as more and more of our small businesses are ordered to shut their doors, never able to re-open. We will suffer the sores of this pandemic for years to come.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Turkey or turmoil for Christmas.

Monday, November 16th, 2020

Do you ever get a feeling that something is off and you are not entirely sure what it is? It has been bothering me for a while. There is a feeling coming out of Ottawa that does not bode well. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is salivating for an election. Federal cabinet members are going around talking to the news media as though they have something else on their minds.

A part of it might be the situation south of the border. Who trusts Trump? We might be wishing that we had are own border wall. That petulant child-man in the White House is cooking something in his mind that might just interfere with everyone’s wish for a smooth transition of power in Washington on January 20. We keep wondering what part Mr. Trump will play.

But Canadians have their own problems. We have legislation backing up in Ottawa as the pandemic takes precedence. The Trudeau government is starting to baulk at the mounting costs of mitigating the economic disaster we are facing. The prime minister is nowhere near as cocky as he was over the summer. The days are darker. The storm clouds are gathering. And the pandemic numbers are mounting.

What could Erin O’Toole possibly be thinking in wanting to take the government out of Trudeau’s hands? Has he any better idea than the liberals? What possible incentives could he be thinking of to get both the NDP’s Singh and the Bloc’s Blanchet on side? He is wasting his time if he cannot get them to help defeat the government.

An election at this time of year is not unprecedented. The last time Canadians had an election over Christmas, we ended up with what some of us thought of as the Mulroney effect. When Joe Clarke’s conservative government was defeated by the resurgent Pierre Trudeau and the liberals, Clarke was, in turn, defeated two years later by Brian Mulroney for the conservative party leadership.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The NDP want voting reform.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

In a letter to Justin Trudeau last week, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal new democrats, laid out his plan for the minority government. It seems to be the best time to try to manipulate the liberals into changing the way Canadians vote. All the liberals have to do is go along with a change to proportional voting and it would likely change Canadian parliaments for all time.

Singh uses the argument in his letter that our first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system produces parliaments that do not reflect Canadian voters’ wishes. What he also should have mentioned is that alternative methods of voting can deny the winning political party the ability to enact some of its election promises.

And who wants to go to political rallies in an election where politicians say they will try to do this, or try to do that—if only one or more of the other parties allows them to make the change.

What Singh and his NDP caucus want is proportional representation in voting. This might give the NDP as many as 20 per cent of the seats of the members of parliament. That would mean, under proportional representation, almost 70 seats. What it would probably also mean is that we might never again have a majority government.

With FPTP voting, our conservative and liberal parties have been what are called ‘big tent’ parties. That means that they accommodate a broad range of voters wishes though maybe not all of them. What would happen over time with proportional voting is that these large parties would tend to split into smaller voting blocks. The negotiations and compromises people made before the election under FPTP will now have to be negotiated after the election. You not only get more parties but they spend much of their time arguing about which party gets this or that promise delivered to the voters.

In Mr. Singh’s letter, he tells the prime minister that 80 per cent of Canadians want this change. That might surprise Justin Trudeau but I hardly think Canadians would want to make such a change if they stopped and thought about it.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Looking for the “kinder, gentler Tories”?

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

It seemed like such an interesting idea. Erin O’Toole, the new conservative leader, was going to impress the voters with his reason and patience in handling the liberal minority government. He was going to offer a new, more cooperative form of opposition in Ottawa. It looked like he was going to allow some of his pit bull nasties to attack occasionally but appear to be restraining them.

But it did not seem to work. When you start using words such as ‘corrupt’ about your political opponents, you are pushing the envelope. Next thing you know, we would be into an American style election.

Besides, Justin Trudeau and his boy scout and girl scout caucus are hardly in the ‘corrupt’ category. I have heard the Trudeau family called naïve, Pollyanna, and occasionally stupid, but it would be rude and quite unjustified to refer to them, collectively, as corrupt. I know the liberals quite well and my only complaint with them is their elitism.

And I can enthusiastically assure you that Trudeau and his clique of advisors in the PMO are not God’s gift to Canadian politics. I would question how they think they can walk around some ethical considerations in doing their jobs but I would tend to think of their errors as more careless than venal.

The more serious problem with the Trudeau Class of 2015 is finding out if they are liberals, neoliberals, Red Tories, pseudo environmentalists or helpless do-gooders who have absolutely no idea how to run a government. Thank goodness that they took the professionals’ advice on the pandemic. I used to respect Justin’s father because whether I agreed with him or not, he always enjoyed arguing his case. Justin just does not have the intellect.

But we have needed a more civilized form of politics in this country for quite a few years now. There are some serious differences between doing the political thing and doing the right thing. And knowing those differences counts for something with the voters.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Justin Trudeau did it wrong.

Monday, October 19th, 2020

Thinking back to that lame throne speech that took so long and said so little, it is now clear that prime minister Justin Trudeau was wrong. He promised us a look toward the future and all he really gave us was more Covid-19. Instead of a positive look towards tomorrow, he dwelt on the ugliness of the pandemic.

Oh sure, he included the child care for the new democrats to support. We were all aware that nobody really wanted an awkward election so soon. They all talked the talk of political combat but meant so much less.

And we heard some answers for the chilling problems of long-term nursing homes and the financial concerns of a decimated print media.

But it was all wrapped in the context of the pandemic with wage subsidies and another version of employment insurance. It all came with soaring debt and no answers.

It was a sad story without the lift Canadian spirits needed. Our government promised us a rebound after the pandemic but there was nothing there but the rebuilding, the paying down of a large debt.

We were a country in need of jobs, challenges, new horizons and a healthy future and our government let us down. We needed to see our future and the government failed us. We needed confidence that the pandemic had an end. We needed to rebuild our health care. We needed to be part of restoring the primary engines of our economy. We needed to see Canada’s role in a better, healthier, progressive world.

Canadians thrive on challenge. They need a positive future. They can handle the hardships, if they can see ahead into a better tomorrow.

Justin Trudeau presented the challenges. He forgot the rewards. He concentrated on healing and left out the future. He still does not know how to lead.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Democracy Denied.

Saturday, October 10th, 2020

Canadians should stop worrying about the fascist leanings of that guy in the American White House and worry more about the death of democracy in Canada. Every day, we see the continued erosion of democracy in Canada’s political parties as another brick in the wall closing down our democracy.

I make no secret that I am a liberal. It is why I received an e-mail from Suzanne Cowan, president of the liberal party the other day telling me how it is going to be for people to become candidates for the party in the next federal election. I should send her an answer asking when the party agreed to this arrangement? There is nothing democratic about this selection of candidates.

The problem started back in the 1980s when the liberals ended up with some very bad choices for candidates when they were selected by a gang-up of their ethnic or religious group. It was during the 90s that Jean Chrétien’s liberals got parliamentary approval to having party leaders sign off on all candidates for their party.

Instead of the measure being used as a last resort, to block gang-ups in the electoral district associations, it became a way for the leader of each party to decide who would be their candidate. Leaders such as conservative Stephen Harper and liberal Justin Trudeau used this to further their discipline over their parties. It did little to further democracy in Canada.

We have effectively neutered Canada’s political parties. Instead of democracy, Justin Trudeau is ushering in his personal autocracy. He is an elitist, supported by his own cabal in parliament.

The only problem Trudeau has not addressed is what to do about the liberals who might object to being used as his personal piggy bank. There are too many times that more than one e-mail from the party in a day will ask for more money.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Liberal MPs not doing their job.

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

When the mail box notification dinged the other morning with another e-mail from the liberal party, I thought it might be news of finance minister Bill Morneau’s resignation. No such luck, the party just wanted more money. I am not sure why. The MPs in the liberal caucus must be sheep to allow what is happening to continue.

The party caucus has rights, you know. It would be a good time to exercise them. Or not, if they do not care what happens next time Canada elects a government. Their voters will blame them for the shortcomings of their leader and the cabinet. They will lose with Trudeau.

The sheep are allowed to ask questions in caucus. Why are we not hearing about it? They have the power to ask for the resignation of the leader or from members of the cabinet. In a situation as extreme as the current situation, they can even move a vote of non-confidence in the house of commons.

It is not like in Ontario where the leader of the party in power has a large enough majority to silence a malcontent in caucus. Liberal MPs need not worry about being kicked out of caucus. They have a problem and it is their responsibility to solve it.

Hell, they have a leader who does not have the common sense to get a shave and a haircut when he really needs it. The twit does not have the smarts to recuse himself in cabinet when discussing giving money to an organization paying his mother hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This guy puts selfies ahead of easy rules to follow. He does not seem to understand that Canadians so not need his choice of finance minister, his elitism, his self indulgence or his cockiness.

These are serious times in Canada and around the world. The public has awaited his cuckoo clock appearances from Rideau Cottage but often the plans that were announced have needed more thought and long-term consideration. Those briefings at the cottage could have been better served by a media secretary.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Happy Canada Day Mr. Prime Minister.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star hit the nail on the head recently when she ran a commentary saying that “Trudeau doesn’t want advice from his dad’s friends. She ‘s right. When the wife and I first met the adult Justin Trudeau ten years ago, we both agreed that he was more like his mother than his father. He lacks his father’s curiosity, intellect and whimsy. He is not even as liberal.

I often wished when he was running for the liberal party leadership that he had some stronger competition. He seems to have a switch in that mop of hair that he can turn on for an audience. His father would have been appalled at all the selfies and mindless speeches that his son gave in that non-contest.

But, as party leader, Justin started to show his leanings. His attack on the liberals in the senate told where he was headed. He and I had discussed abolishing the senate as one of the priorities for constitutional change in Canada and he made it very clear that would not happen during his watch. I had missed the signals of his elitism.

He simply dumped the existing liberal senators as old baggage. He put his confidence in an elite committee to find him worthy candidates to be ‘independent’ senators and other government appointees who would do what he told them because it was the ‘right’ thing to do.

That attitude has bit him on the ass a few times, but mostly he has been lucky. There are still enough of the old timers in the senate to keep it doing its job.

The most serious mistake he has gotten away with so far was dumping the membership fees for the liberal party. Instead, people who are on the list are inundated with pleas for funds. What Justin Trudeau and his friends do not seem to understand is that these are the people needed to help win their riding. Their financial support is secondary.

The reason we have a minority government today is that Trudeau and friends did not have the grass roots support that was needed in the 2019 election. They gave up on ridings that they could have won.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

CERB opens the door to a new Canada.

Sunday, June 21st, 2020

For all the weaknesses, errors and misunderstanding of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the program is the solution to Canada’s future economy. And when the government extended the program the other day, it put the country on the road to build that new economy.

What the government has done with CERB is set a new base level for a minimum wage and opened up opportunities for a healthier, happier society, with better opportunities for higher education.

As one young man told me recently, he never has been better off. He is making more money from the government than he has ever been paid before. No company is going to hire him at minimum wage while the government is paying the equivalent of $20 per hour. This kid is not lazy. He is enjoying his summer, despite the pandemic, and will be heading back to university in the fall with some money in the bank to keep him going. Are there smart businesses that will offer him more?

And by no means do I believe that the government is paying him too much. Though the impact might be more inflationary than intended.

While I have to admit that I was initially shocked at the potential impact of CERB, I recognize it now as genius. It has broken the barriers to the fiction of the ‘middle class.’ It has created options for all. It has opened doors to true democracy. CERB is the first step to an effective guaranteed minimum wage for Canadians.

That does not deny that it creates problems for seniors. These are the people left in the ‘middle class’ economy. They are still waiting to be paid that placebo for seniors of a one-time covid-19 $300 or $500. It is just a prize that seniors are getting for missing the cull of the pandemic. The government will have to seriously address the need for improved old age security (OAS) payments in the future.

We should all tell Justin Trudeau how smart his government is to have come up with CERB.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

 

The embarrassment of Justin Trudeau.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

You do know, do you not, that in a time of pandemic, prime minister Justin Trudeau is quietly building an abomination of a pipeline across our magnificent Rocky Mountains. There is no excuse for this. It can hardly be to please those climate change-deniers in Alberta. They will hate the name Trudeau, no matter what he does for them.

Justin Trudeau has to quit talking out of both sides of his mouth. You cannot be an environmentalist and do what he is doing with the Trans-Mountain pipeline. The twinning of the old pipeline and the addition of heaters and high-pressure pumps is the abomination. It will triple the capacity of the old line to enable it to ship tar-sands bitumen to foreign ports. It is no gift to British Columbia home owners to have that crap piped through their backyards.

And it is no gift to Vancouverites or to the Orcas of the Salton Sea. The damn pipeline now spells trouble for all to see. Just one burst seam out of thousands will create an unerasable pollution scar that will be with us for many years. Fresh water courses can be fouled, salmon runs could take decades, if ever, to be restored.

The oil tanker traffic alone through Burrard Inlet is of deep concern. A spill of diluted bitumen from a tanker will float for a while and then sink to become part of an ecosystem less supportive of the local creatures of the sea.

I am sure that what concerns most liberals in this is that they are, to some level, concerned environmentalists. I like to think of liberals as forward-thinking Canadians who are worried about the vagaries of climate as more and more carbon is thrown into our air. We are not so foolish as to want to melt the ices caps of our polar regions?

I like to think that being liberal means you care.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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