Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Leadership’

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.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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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.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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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.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Please Justin, get a haircut.

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

We hear through the grapevine that Justin Trudeau and his liberals are thinking election. Since I am supposed to have an opinion on this proposal, I will need to reach deep into my conscience to see if I could support such foolishness at this time.

The one thing that is clear to me is that Justin Trudeau needs tonsorial intervention. A decent haircut and the removal of that facial hair would be a good beginning. I was practically sitting on my barber’s stoop yesterday when she re-opened her business. Let me assure you, it felt wonderful. Life is lighter when the pigeons no longer look at your head with thoughts of nesting.

But now to the question at hand. Should there be a snap election during a pandemic?

The answer is an unequivocal: No. I might be a liberal but that does not require me to approve of stupidity.

It hardly makes sense to call an election as the major opposition party (that actually had the largest vote in the last election) wastes its time in a leadership contest to go nowhere. It hardly matters who wins in the conservative race. The contestants are all losers.

The guys who really need a new leader are the new democrats. If they are too slow to recognize their leadership problem, they deserve the lack of respect they get.

The only party that has really gained ground in Ottawa is the Bloc Québécois. Blanchet and his team are having far too much fun with their new found power to want an election.

But you cannot blame the conservatives and new democrats for being annoyed with Trudeau’s popping in and out of the cuckoo clock at Rideau Cottage. Nor can you deny the need for speed in rescuing Canadians from the serious financial impacts of the pandemic. That does not mean that some of these financial rescue programs do not need a serious second look and adjustments. The opposition are entitled to their views and their criticisms. Justin needs to continue playing nice.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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“Do as I say, not as I do.”

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

It is part of being of the political elite. We have no royals like the Brits. And we have little of America’s Hollywood. We have to settle for talking and speculating about our politicians. We put them on pedestals and then complain when they take advantage of their position to do as they wish.

And even a provincial premier can end up falling off their pedestal for doing what we were told specifically not to do. Premier Doug Ford of Ontario got ripped for telling us not to go north to our cottages over the Easter weekend. Yet he made a quick trip up to his family’s Lake Country cottage—to check the plumbing—we were told.

And then for Mothers’ Day, the premier had all four daughters home to honour their mother. He thinks that it is alright as he did not invite the sons-in-law. He apparently does not realize that they might be sleeping with his daughters.

But the elitist el supremo in this country is our prime minister. As the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, Justin has spent a life of privilege. He hobnobs with the rich and famous. He is a long-time friend of the Aga Khan, one of the world’s ten richest royals. You might remember when the prime minister and his family spent Christmas with him on the Khan’s island in the Bahamas. (Last we heard, the RCMP still had not reimbursed the Khan for accommodating the PM’s security detail.)

Justin’s latest display of his elitism was sending his wife and children to Harrington Lake in Quebec last month after she recovered from her bout of covid-19 at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. Travel between residences has been banned in both provinces and unnecessary travel between provinces is also being discouraged. While it is easy to understand the wish to visit with his wife and children, Canadians do not need a reminder that Justin Trudeau considers himself to be exempt from any rules.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Trudeau’s triumph.

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Fess up, guys, prime minister Justin Trudeau has won. The wonder kid has changed his spots and been exactly what Canadians have needed. Santa Claus came early this year. Even Bob Hepburn of the Toronto Star says that the Trudeau haters have been proved wrong.

While I pointed out a while ago that Trudeau lucked into his ideal positioning, I have had to admit that he has handled it well. He might still be an elitist but even an elitist can accept his good luck.

But I must admit that his appearances out of the cuckoo clock at Rideau Cottage have worn thin. There is no need for him to continue in his singles showcase and he can join with the hoi polloi from the cabinet and senior civil servants for briefings. Almost daily briefings make sense as long as the covid-19 scene keeps fulminating.

What Bob Hepburn is ignoring is that those Trudeau haters who blame Justin for everything, including the flooding in Fort McMurray, Alberta, will still hate him after the battle against covid-19 is over.

What I am hoping is what he has learned throughout this experience sticks with him. What has annoyed me about Justin in the past has been his unabashed elitism. You cannot remain elitist though when you are forced to understand the serious neglect our society has shown for those less fortunate. What he has seen so many times now that programs designed in Ottawa to reach these people are very hard to create and very difficult to manage.

What he has to understand is that the one-per cent with whom he has hobnobbed all his life are the ones who are out-of-step with being Canadian. I always got the feeling that the middle class to which he was always referring when campaigning existed only in his own mind.

I keep getting the feeling that this country is going to be very different after we shut the door on covid-19. I think we have learned too much about our short-comings through this first half of 2020, to ever want to be the same country again.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Justin’s magic bag of money.

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

Watching the daily news conference by the prime minister the other morning, I lost track of how much money he was promising. No doubt our news media people are keeping track. I was struck by the similarity to an election campaign without the opposition critics jumping on every announcement—to either better the offer or denounce it. It was as though the prime minister had a magic bag of money from which to draw the funds to solve all our problems.

This particular day was promises for our university students to keep them going through a summer when jobs will be scarce. The amounts were not all that generous, but by the time he had finished, some $9 billion had been lavished on Canada’s students.

As with all the aggressive spending to compensate people for the ravages of the coronavirus, there was the provision that the amounts had to be approved by parliament. Whether the opposition in the house of commons would suggest less than the government offered would be quite unlikely.

As it is, the government is constantly discovering people who have been missed by this program or that. The solution has been to simply add these people to the program and to worry later if the payment was really warranted.

This ‘by guess or by golly’ attitude is particularly applicable to the emergency response benefit package. Run through the Canada revenue agency, this is a very generous package. If you lost your job or even a potential job because of the coronavirus, you can apply for $500 per week for up to 16 weeks. To catch up with the program, this past week, people were receiving cheques for as much as $2000.

This just happens to be the amount that people who support the idea of a guaranteed minimum wage, think should be the starting amount for a national guaranteed minimum income program.

There is lots more money in Justin’s magic bag. At the end of his answering questions he was asked about what he intended to do for seniors. He said that is still to come!


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Lucking into leadership laurels.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

You hardly need to check with pollsters to know that prime minister Justin Trudeau has aced it. He is getting lots of positive votes for his leadership in this time of crisis. You even talk to known conservatives and some of them tell you what a good job he is doing. And would you believe that, in some ways, he has won the kudos by happenstance?

Part of it was Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Her testing positive to covid-19 on returning to Canada after a speaking trip to the United Kingdom, is not something that could be planned. The prime minister’s wife was quarantined at home and the prime minister chose to be in isolation with her and the children. He was just one more Canadian being told to go home and stay there. Mind you, when you are prime minister, you can work from wherever you like.

It also brought the news media to the Rideau Cottage briefings. It might not be 10 Downing Street but only the prime minister is allowed at that mike. The briefing at 11:15 am has been convenient for the government and the news media. And large numbers of Canadians are watching and talking about the words direct from the PM.

Compared to that buffoon in Washington, Mr. Trudeau’s information is precise, understandable and helpful. Mr. Trump seems to run a Gong Show with more-qualified actors trying to correct his misdirection, confusion, pet theories and favoured medications.

While no doubt the opposition leaders in parliament are deeply resentful of the opportunity given to the liberal leader, there is little they can do about it. Mr. Trudeau can easily fall back on the national interest and the non-partisan (well, sort-of) nature of what he has to tell Canadians. What can the opposition do anyway when the largest opposition party (the conservatives) is trying to choose a new leader, the new democrats need a leader, the bloc québécois want to stick around for a while and the greens want a new leader.

The only achievement of the opposition so far is to say no to a very silly suggestion that they give complete control to the liberals for the next two years. That was taken off the table.

But it really could be two years before politics in this country gets back to normal. Until then, we are going to be fed pap such as deputy pm Chrystia Freeland and Ontario premier Doug Ford being the best of buddies. With politics in that bad a shape, we have got to beat this coronavirus as soon as possible!


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Paying for Jobs?

Monday, April 6th, 2020

After careful study over the past few days, listening to the ideas of others and comparing the programs, I have decided that it is all a terrible waste. The federal government’s big billion bailout for Canadian business is money down the drain. We can do much better.

First of all, this emergency wage subsidy idea is not only wasteful but turns its back on a sensible approach to the need. Why not let the banks do what they do best—lend money to business? In this case, the loans can be forgivable—if it is confirmed that the money is directed to salaries and keeping Canadians employed, as promised. That way experts are doing the lending. And the government has their back, as usual. The government can foot the bill and allow the banks a bit of interest—a lot cheaper for the taxpayers.

And the whole system can be in process as soon as the government gives the banks the go-ahead. And, let’s be honest. Government employees make poor loan officers.

You might also want to ponder just how many former employees want the job back with the company that fired them or, euphemistically, laid them off? They should be allowed to go where they want. This is still a democracy, I hope.

But at the same time as this program eventually gets off the ground, will these people really be going back to work? Will airlines need flight staff so soon, will restaurants need wait staff, will fitness clubs need instructors, will schools need teachers? Or will we still be dancing two metres apart?

The only part of the deal to be presented to parliament that makes any sense is the Canada emergency response benefit that will pay individuals $2000 per month. It is really too bad that this program is only slated to be operating for four months. In Ontario where there are more than 360,000 people getting support from the provincial disability support program (ODSP). The maximum ODSP payment is just over $1100 per month. These people stay alive because charities, food banks, churches and families give them some help. There is no help from the uncaring Ford conservatives. They even tried to cut the payments in the program when they came into office.

Maybe the Trudeau liberals also forgot these people!


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Well, that was a waste of time.

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

Ontario liberals have a new leader. It was a fairly decent event. I only caught some parts of it that were streamed on the Internet. It was a good technical effort but I think the party brass scrimped on the lighting and technical equipment.

The numbers there were credible for a party that knew who was going to win. Not many of us want to spend our Saturday morning listening to political speeches but some of it was fun. The robot was a bit silly but I liked some of the things Mr. Tedjo was saying.

He was saying something very important about education in Ontario. I made the mistake of saying the same thing as a candidate 50 years ago. The government has to get out of the religion business in schools. We need a single education system that puts the student first. It might not be a good one-size-fits-all approach at first but it allows the scope needed to accommodate. We are wasting money on religion. (Mind you, French language classes should be mandatory from grade one.)

But back to the results of the liberal leadership: It will not be long until Ontario voters wonder what might be the difference between this leader and the last one. All I can say is that the last one was the one with hair and personality.

What was wrong with this event was that it was that it had no excitement, no surprise—if you discount the robot. It was a bit forced.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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