Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Leadership’

Justin in the pipeline pretzel position.

Friday, February 9th, 2018

It is new to yoga. Among the latest postures for the ancient health and fitness practice is the pipeline pretzel position. It is for those who believe they can make money from the tar sands while reducing the carbon we are spewing into our environment. While we might all look silly in the downward dog posture, the pipeline pretzel is only for the very agile.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau showed us how agile you need to be at a recent town hall event on Vancouver Island. It was not the selfie-king’s finest hour. He lost his cool.

And, let me assure you, politician’s who cannot find their cool, do not have a lengthy career in politics. When Conservative Joe Clark rejected the 66 per cent support for his leadership by his party and called for a new leadership convention, it was the end of a potential career in the top job.

Another good example was when Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown recently refused to be cool about some questionable allegations by unidentified people. Where is Patrick now?

Does yoga meditation not teach people to be cool? When people are out to get you, paranoid or not, it is important to practice your deep breathing exercises.

It made no sense for the prime minister to get into arguments with the protestors on Vancouver Island. Telling police to eject protestors is not the image of Justin we all know and love. He blew it.

It seems to be what happens to people who think they can suck and blow at the same time. Justin is not the Teflon Tiger such as Trump in Washington. Trump has never been or will be a cultured, conservationist, respected, likeable leader. When he ran for the presidency, he posed as a populist, ignorant bastard and he lives up to that promise.

Trudeau, on the other hand, told us he loves liberals, women, the environment, the middle class and babies. He never told us about his rich friends, his lack of interest in fully taxing the one per cent, his elitism and that his government would approve the Kinder-Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. It has left some of us Liberals with the uneasy feeling that we have been had.

And besides, making like a pipeline pretzel is a ridiculous posture.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Political parties are not private.

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

There was an interesting question raised last week by Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt about political parties. She was questioning whether political parties are public or private entities. Before we get legal minds involved in determining this, it is important to stress that a political party is created by and owned by its membership. It is whatever its membership determines it to be.

That being said though, a political party has to constantly redefine itself and undergo change to meet the needs and opportunities offered by its society. It can also be influenced by its leadership as the party leader, elected by the party, is usually a member of the party’s managing body. The last time a party went head to head with its leader was when Progressive Conservative Party President Dalton Camp decided in the late 1960s that former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker had outlasted his usefulness to his party.

It was at about that time that Prime Minister Lester Pearson agreed to a Liberal Party motion for the party leader to submit to a party vote in the year after an election. His successor, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau also agreed. The clause remains in to-day’s Liberal Party constitution.

But the interesting change pushed through by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the party’s biennial meeting in Winnipeg in 2016 is the designation of party members as Registered Liberals with no membership fees involved. In effect, he created a non-paying membership. Instead, over the past few years, these registered Liberals on the party’s computerized lists have been inundated with constant pleas for funds. Justin Trudeau seems to think of the membership as some sort of sucker list.

The fund-raising has been so intense that as something of a break there was an e-mail recently that admitted that the party might be overdoing it. It was asking for policy suggestions for an up-coming party convention in Halifax that is, in itself, a fund-raising opportunity.

What is wrong though is that there is no filtering of these resolutions through a regional or provincial party structure. Only the party hierarchy in Ottawa will see the proposals and decide which ones to put forward. That is a clear indication that Justin Trudeau does not want a democratic Liberal Party. This is just the Justin Trudeau fan club.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Democracy destroyed.

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

The years of Pierre Trudeau’s leadership seem to be backing into the mists of time. It was the strength of a democratic Liberal Party in Canada that back stopped him in those years. He thought of the party at first as similar to the top-down managed situation in Quebec. He almost lost the 1972 election because he considered the party unimportant. He had the grace to acknowledge his error.

Trudeau brought some key party apparatchiks into his office and set out on the rocky road with them that took him into the eighties.

It was in the eighties that the incidence of ethnic swamping of riding associations became a major problem for the political parties. While we had the occasional maverick win in riding nomination contests, we had rarely had the outright public fight by a large ethnic group to take over a riding. We were particularly vulnerable to this in the larger cities across Canada.

The problem was finally straightened out by the combination of parties vetting candidates as suitable to run for the party and the party leader signing off on all candidates for Elections Canada—so they could run under the party banner.

But what happened was that party leaders started putting preferred candidates wherever they wanted and bypassing whatever the party was doing about a proper vetting. The worst offender has been Justin Trudeau—after promising in his campaign for the leadership to never do it. The best examples have been his appointing of key cabinet members Chrystia Freeland and Bill Morneau to key ridings in Toronto.

That in itself was not as serious as his dictating to the Liberal Party on its fund-raising and memberships. As something of an experiment, Trudeau asked that the party forego membership fees from people who wanted to support the party in the coming leadership and election. Since it was already obvious who would win the leadership, nobody raised serious objections. It was also appreciated that this would supply the party with lists of possible workers to help elect Liberal candidates.

It was not until Justin Trudeau asked to abolish membership fees after the election that we realized he was destroying the democracy of the Liberal Party of Canada. The old joke has come true: I am not a member of an organized political party; I am a Liberal.

We will discuss where this is taking us in a later commentary.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

There’s a great job opening here.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

This is not your standard help wanted situation. Into every life there is an opportunity that comes knocking. This is an opportunity beyond your wildest dreams. It is fame and fortune. There are no limits. You just have to seize the opportunity. It is not for the faint of heart.

To start with, you had better like people. That will be a unique experience here. Male or female hardly matters. Likeability is key. Life experience or education matter. You better like hard work. And the harder you work, others will work harder to help you.

This is a political job. There are many good people in politics today but we need more. If you are old enough to vote and young enough to want to build a better future for all, we need you. You have to be a leader among people and a team player with the Liberal Party.

Did we mention Liberal? Nobody goes to Queen’s Park to get things done if they are not connected with a political party. This could be your party. And it needs leadership. It needs a progressive hand at the wheel. There will be an opening in leadership coming soon.

And that leadership needs someone with a clear vision of what Ontario should be. It needs someone who can attract young people and show them that politics can deal in the possible, be the peoples’ problem solver and lead.

Think of the recent events in the Montreal mayoralty race. Valérie Plante was a first term councillor. Few were complaining about the business as usual attitude of incumbent Denis Coderre. Plante won because she excited the Montreal voters.

We want the same type of excitement in Ontario electoral district of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.

The last Liberal to run in that riding lost by just 86 votes. (Federal vote recount, 2015.) In June 2018, the Conservative candidate will be Patrick Brown. The difference will be that these people know Patrick Brown. They know he did nothing in Ottawa. They expect nothing from him in Queen’s Park. They think they are supposed to vote for him because he is the party leader. They would really like to have someone more interesting.

Are you that person? You can apply to the Ontario Liberal Party at 10 St. Mary Street in Toronto, if you wish. I can also supply names of key Liberals in the riding, if that is what you want. What I can promise you is this: Brown can be beaten.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Diminished democracy of Justin’s Liberals.

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

In George Orwell’s 1984, new history was written and old history incinerated. The old think and the new think were not allowed to co-exist. Nowhere is that thinking more obvious today than in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party of Canada. It is not his father’s Liberal Party.

After his overwhelming victory in 1968, Pierre Trudeau felt omnipotent and laughed at the pretentions of the party organization. It was that party and those of us who rose to the cause in 1972, who saved him from inglorious defeat. His deal with David Lewis and the New Democrats kept his minority in power. The senior Trudeau admitted that the party was necessary.

But it could be too late to help Justin Trudeau. We die-hards all had our selfies with him when we handed the leadership to him on a platter. He promised us much and delivered little. The first promise he broke was to respect the democracy of the party and to not interfere in electoral district nominations. He knew that his leadership of the party entitled him to accept or reject nominations. He wielded that power as a blunt instrument.

Like a pig getting the scent of apples in the mud, Trudeau dove into the party fight in the old Toronto-Spadina area. His choice of campaign chief in Ontario had no experience at this type of party tempest and Trudeau less. What the resulting law suit cost to buy off potential candidate Christine Innes and her husband Tony Ianno, we might never learn. You can be sure though that any costs will be borne by the public purse.

That was the mind set that took the party into the 2015 federal election. It was amateur night across Canada. Young Trudeau was surrounded by elites who had little of the hardened experience needed for a hard-fought election.

Luckily for Trudeau and his elites, the 2015 federal election was a walk in the park. It was Stephen Harper’s last hurrah. The Orange Wave in Quebec was proved a one-time phenomenon. The Liberals had some electoral seats gifted to them and they carelessly lost some clearly winnable.

The Liberal Party was supplying money and manpower to the election but none of the direction. The party became irrelevant and after the election Justin Trudeau set about destroying it. He had dispensed with the membership fees and anyone could say they were Liberal and nobody cared. Do not send ideas. Do not develop policy. You will be told whom you will have for your local candidate. And for goodness sake, do not bother to  meet. Your role is only to send money. Send some now!

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The wounded of the wild, wild west.

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Got an e-mail from a fellow blogger on Canada’s Left Coast. This guy is a superb writer and progressive but he is feeling less and less friendly these days to Justin Trudeau and the eastern establishment that tries to run this country. He confirms my thoughts that Quebec separatists are less a problem for Canadian unity than the wild, wild west.

He reminds me that I still think of myself as a Liberal despite the abuse the party has heaped on me for too many years. My heart goes out to those British Columbians who Young Trudeau has betrayed. I would go out there and lie down in the path of the bulldozers seeking to expand the Kinder Morgan Trans-mountain pipeline if I thought that would help.

The hypocrisy of Justin in his ongoing dealings with Canadians across the country amazes me. And is he talking with the left or right fork of his tongue in his dealings with Canada’s aboriginal peoples? Nor do you expect to see the Prime Minister of Canada blubbering over the loss of a music icon. He needs to not only suck it up emotionally but he needs to grow some backbone in his dealings with the American President. If he does not know how to deal with a bully and a bull-shitter, he had better learn in a hurry.

But prime ministers come and go. Even Harper “The Hair” finally went back to Alberta. Our correspondent mentioned Jean Chrétien. He notes that Jean never did anything inspiring. I always thought, we kept Jean around the Liberal Party as some sort of mascot. Paul Martin was even less useful. Paul disgraced every liberal-minded person in Canada with how he condemned the 99 per cent to pay for the unreasoned privileges of the one per cent.

For my correspondent, the tipping point was Michael Ignatieff as leader. I knew Michael from when he was a young man about to leave Canada for what turned out to be too many years. I was conflicted as I saw him as that ‘Let’s save the world’ go-getter from many years ago. I was puzzled during a few conversations I had with him as he seemed detached. It was in the debates with Stephen Harper that I realized my mistake.

Both of us saw Justin Trudeau as the guy who could restore the Liberal Party and take us on a progressive path. I arranged a fund-raising dinner for Justin in my riding and we had an interesting chat. I was surprised at his stand on some issues. It was not until after that dinner that I realized this was not Pierre Trudeau’s son and heir. This was Margaret Trudeau’s son.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Morneau mourns mendacity.

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Having worked with many politicians over the years, you always have to be aware that the higher you climb the political ladder the more prone to attack you become. It is not whether Finance Minister Bill Morneau deserved to be attacked, his position made it likely.

Bear baiting never has been legal in Canada and is never likely to be. We only allow the media and opposition to do it to politicians.

And this current fiasco with Morneau is Justin Trudeau’s fault. He had the professionals available to help his cabinet choices and he disavowed them. They were available to him before the 2015 election and he ignored them. He brought in his friends and sycophants. He bought the gloss but not the substance. He abused and brushed aside the Liberal Party of Canada.

Trudeau promised not to interfere in party nominations and interfered anyway. He wrote off ridings that he could have won. The entire 2015 campaign was ill considered and amateur. Luckily Harper expected to lose, so he lost. Mulcair foolishly expected to win, so he lost also.

The newbies in the Trudeau cabinet needed a support network that could give them strong and knowledgeable staffs. Some of the rookie mistakes by these newbies were an embarrassment to the party. They were rude to party people across the country whom they did not know.

In his determination to have an equal number of men and women in his cabinet, Trudeau made some poor choices. If they had been properly mentored, some would have been saved from foolish errors. Miriam Monsef in democratic reform was an early failure. People are shaking their heads today over Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.

But the most serious problem is Finance Minister Bill Morneau. We all had high hopes for this patrician Torontonian but we had no idea how he would react to the pressures of the opposition and the media. Morneau is letting down the side.

There is no ambassadorial safe haven for Morneau. He needs to be fired. The problem is that Morneau is just digging himself deeper every time he opens his mouth. He has no understanding that his role is that of Caesar’s wife. Trudeau has to stop getting in the way of Morneau’s questions and responsibilities.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

“Nice suits and empty slogans.”

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

That comment about suits and slogans was in the last line of the Toronto Star’s pompous editorial on “The challenge for Singh.” The newspaper editorialists want Singh and Trudeau to square off on progressive policy issues in the 2019 federal election. Lot’s of luck on that!

But the problem is that the Star writers think that Jagmeet Singh was selected by the New Democratic Party. That is a mistaken belief. The Ontario MPP was the choice of the Sikh community across Canada. Canada has been welcoming Sikhs to this country since the earliest government records were kept back in the 1800s. StatsCanada tells us there are more than 275,000 adherents to Sikhism in Canada today and the largest numbers are in British Columbia. For the Brampton MPP to sign up over 40,000 Sikhs in a few months was not a very difficult feat.

But why he would want to win the NDP leadership the same way as that putz Patrick Brown took over the Tory leadership in Ontario makes no sense.

As the new leader of the NDP, Singh’s first job is to make nice with the NDP caucus in Ottawa and then he has to get out to small town Canada and prove to Canadians that he and his party have a vision of this country that can be delivered by a guy in a turban.

And it also might be a good idea for Singh to stop dressing as though he is some sort of playboy. He should change from Harry Rosen bespoke suits to buying his clothes at Mark’s Work Warehouse. He needs to show that he is an NDPer, not a Liberal.

When he gets around to working out a program of NDP policies for the coming election, he can forget wrapping the packages in “love and courage.” Whatever theme his brain trust comes up with, it has got to have a lot more bite to it.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer and his Conservatives are all smiles these days because of the vision of Trudeau and Singh in the coming election beating each other up over the same ridings in the greater Toronto and Vancouver areas.

But I got the impression that the Star’s editorial writers might never have seen Jagmeet Singh MPP in inaction at the legislature in Toronto’s Queen’s Park. He is no Benjamin Disraeli.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

It is time to fire Bill Morneau, Justin.

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Bill Morneau has a straight-forward job. As complex as the Finance Department might appear to the average Canadian, the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre has the credentials that say he should be capable of handling the finance portfolio. He is also considered to be a generally good guy. It is really too bad that Prime Minister Trudeau needs to fire him.

But Mr. Morneau does not appear to be getting the best efforts from his department. He does not appear to be effective in selling his department’s new programs. Maybe the job requires someone more political by nature. And when you are not even effective in communicating with your party’s back bench, all is lost.

This is not to suggest that the tax reforms Morneau is proposing are not complex and need thorough debate. And that was the intent when the reforms were proposed two months ago. All this accomplished is an opportunity for those who fight any reform to go after these reforms with renewed vigor. They have been sewing discord and confusion. They have deliberately misled Canadians with false information.

This time frame has allowed Conservative MPs to rail constantly against the tax reforms. A local Tory MP published an opinion piece in our local Sun rag the other day saying that Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau believe that small business owners “are tax cheats and that they are rich people abusing the system to avoid paying their share of taxes.” Talk about false news!

The Conservative caucus in Ottawa under Leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer is saying that the reforms are going to impact all small business owners and will mean a massive tax hike. This obviously comes as a surprise to Morneau when all he is looking for it to do is close some of the loopholes that have been enabling the wealthy among us to escape paying taxes.

Here Morneau thought he was closing loopholes that benefitted people making over $150,000 a year and the Conservatives are claiming these people are part of the middle class. If he cannot get the justice of his reforms across to Canadians, he is obviously in the wrong cabinet portfolio.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Our Prime Minister grunts.

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Despite teaching public speaking, I occasionally took someone else’s course on public speaking just to make sure I was not slipping into bad speaking habits. We are all guilty of that. And teachers can be the harshest critics. You can include a former school teacher in that: The Prime Minister of Canada.

The first time I saw the newly elected Justin Trudeau MP in action with an audience, it was obvious he would go to the top job with ease. He was relaxed and enjoyed the interaction with his audience. He had a well memorized speech for them and I cannot remember a single word in it. It was personable, socially acceptable, politically somewhat neutral, feminist friendly and not overly critical of other politicians. The person thanking him was more political but for some reason the microphone started to act up for her and the thanks became meaningless and garbled.

But what impressed me the most is that he wanted to be sure that every person in that room had an opportunity to have a picture with him. He did not give much importance to the words being spoken. He was counting on his presence to do the job.

And here I thought only royalty were allowed to think that way.

But today, people are listening to him.

And that is not good because Justin Trudeau grunts. In this case the grunt comes out of his mouth as an “Ah.” This is a quirk of people who are thinking about what they intend to say next and are afraid of dead air. The “Ah” is drawn out to accommodate the thinking time needed. It becomes irritating.

You would have to get him to listen to a recording of his speech for him to realize what he is doing.

Luckily, when he is using a teleprompter, he does not have to grunt. There is no “Ah’ for him to read and he has little need to think ahead.

Where the grunts are most evident is in the House of Commons when he is answering the opposition and when answering media questions. He starts to talk before he has decided how to answer the question. He needs some remedial public speaking training.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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