Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Leadership’

Stapling, spindling and folding Ford.

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Millennials might not be as familiar with the admonition we used to read on our household bills. Before the Internet, our bills were often delivered to us as data processing punch cards. We dutifully mailed these cards back to the supplier, along with our cheques. It was considered a no-no to mangle the punch card and cause it to clog the mechanical reader.

But in this case, we are thinking of conservative leader Doug Ford as something of a punch card. And we are not all that pleased with how Premier Wynne is handling him. Sure, we started out suggesting that he was Trump-lite but by no stretch is he much like the real Donald Trump.

And the way, Kathleen Wynne is referring to him as Trump-like, it is coming across as a compliment. She cannot afford to forget she is premier. She cannot afford to get down in the mud to wrestle with a pig.

It is alright for her campaign guy David Herle to refer to Ford as a “bit of a dick.” Many of us have called Ford much worse.

As premier, she has to handle Ford smarter. When he accusingly suggests there should be an audit of the books while she has been premier, she has to say: Sure, that is done every year anyway and while that is going on, we could also audit of his company’s books when he was selling labels.

Nobody doubts that Kathleen Wynne is tough. She also needs to prove she is smarter. She has to ridicule him with faint praise. She has to paint a picture of him in short pants. She has to show that he fails to understand the job he is applying for. She has to kindly show that he is nowhere ready for the job.

There was a clip of former mayor Hazel McCallion of Mississauga on the news the other day. Hazel was lacing up her hockey skates. This woman is in her mid-90s and she is still tough as a whip. She should give lessons to much younger Kathleen Wynne.

The premier needs to raise her game for this election. The strongest argument the opposition parties are making is that the liberals have been in power for 15 years. So, what? The liberals have done a hell of a lot of good for this province over that time. Does anyone really think Doug Ford would bring anything other than troubles?

The only people Doug Ford would help are millionaires such as the medical specialists who run the OMA. The bad news for the people on lower incomes, who might think of voting conservative is that Ford would not know what to do to help them. Wynne has to show that Ford only wants the job to feed his own ego.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Premier Wynne’s nemesis.

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

If Premier Wynne really wants to keep her job in Ontario, I would suggest that she should make amends by first firing Ed Clark as chair of the Liquor Control Board and of the Ontario Cannabis stores. Even at the price of one dollar per year, he is not worth it. She has given a guy with absolutely no political smarts the ammunition to destroy her.

This is not a question of loyalty. Bad advice and bad advice followed are the problems. Ed Clark has absolutely no political smarts and would ask his doctor if there is a pill for it, if he did. Ed Clark is a banker. Bankers are the people who want you to borrow money, when you do not need it, and demand you pay it back when you lack the funds. They give you a nice shiny new credit card but cluck their tongue when you over use it, in their estimation.

Bankers are never your friend. To suggest that Clark’s experience running TD Bank was a consumer success is to suggest that he failed as a banker. If bankers were honest with you, they would admit that they do not like dealing with the hoi polio. Consumers with their grubby little deposits are not the stuff of bankers’ dreams.

You need to remember that the one blunder that really caused Premier Wynne to fall off her high horse was following Ed Clark’s advice to sell off Hydro One. That was the turning point. Against all political instincts, she started to sell Hydro One without realizing that the voters did not even know what she was attempting to sell. Given the history of Ontario Hydro, it goes down in political history books as a really dumb move.

Somebody should have told Wynne that Hydro One—the transmission network—was hived off from Ontario Hydro 15 years earlier by the Harris government with the intent to sell it. Everybody thought Kathleen Wynne was smarter than Mike Harris. Even he was convinced not to do it.

The other suggestion that Ed Clark made to the Wynne government was that they start selling beer and wine through the grocery stores. That is probably the worst implementation of a government program we have ever seen. The grocery stores do not make money on it. The rules are inconsiderate of the grocers. And they want the same guy to sell marijuana in Ontario?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau has to dump Morneau.

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

We have been waiting. We have been patient but it has not happened. Prime minister Justin Trudeau still has that millstone Bill Morneau dragging him down to the depths of neoliberalism. It is not 2018 for this government until finance minister Bill Morneau is gone.

It is the story of Jean Chrétien’s government revisited. It was not the prime minister, at that time, who laid the table for Stephen Harper; it was the ego of his finance minister Paul Martin that did the liberals in. Paul loved to tell people that you could run to the left but you had to rule to the right. Canadians saw a neo-conservative in Martin and finally chose the real thing with Harper.

These liberals who consider themselves economic conservatives and social liberals are fooling nobody but themselves. Various studies have shown that Canada can save in excess of $4 billion a year with a national Pharmacare system. Morneau cannot salve his economic meanness with some kind of a patchwork system.

Frankly, Morneau seems to know less about the need than the man-on-the-street. He does not seem to understand that what we have now is a system that fails the sick and the dying. Are we going to remain the only major country with a Medicare program that does not have an equally accessible Pharmacare program included?

Morneau represents the same area in Toronto that would have been part of Mitchell Sharp’s riding back in 1966. As a young liberal from the area I happened to be seated next to Mitch at the plenary of the Liberal convention in Ottawa that year. We were arguing about Medicare. Mitch—as Mr. Pearson’s finance minister at the time—was using all his wiles to stop or at least slow Medicare happening in Canada.

When it came to the final vote on Mitch’s motion to delay implementation to July 1, 1968, I stood to vote for implementation in Centennial Year 1967. Mitch gave me an annoyed look. You could see him wondering what this communist was doing in his riding?

It continues to amaze me to this day what people such as the late Mitch Sharp and then Paul Martin and now Bill Morneau consider their duty. Their fiscal responsibility is nothing more than a mean-spirited, father-knows-best attitude. They throw barriers in the way of implementing services for people instead of finding creative solutions. They prefer the accolades of their peers at their club to the applause from the hoi-polloi for a job well done.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ageism and Justin Trudeau.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

There was an opinion piece in the paper the other day by a favourite commentator. She was writing about the Liberal government not trusting anyone older than the prime minister. That leaves a very large number of Canadians to be disposed of on the ice floes by this uncaring government.

I had always been under the impression that Justin Trudeau thought seniors would all be happy to have a selfie with him and he has been working hard on that project. It seems he thinks that will satisfy the old buggers.

Well it will not satisfy this one. As a long-time party member (before Justin was born) this Liberal expects more of him. I do not brush off easy.

I quickly learned what this government thinks of old Liberal apparatchiks when I offered some help to newly-appointed democratic reform minister Maryam Monsef. As something of an expert on voting systems—from pencil and paper to computers—and a Liberal who knows the ropes in Ottawa, I was pleased to offer her some help. She did not just turn me down, she ignored me. Watching how she handled the special committee on voting reform, I was not the least surprised when she was bounced from the portfolio to minister of status of women, where she is getting in less trouble.

The most direct problem Justin Trudeau has with seniors are the ones in the senate. He has disowned and antagonized the former liberal senators who are now supposed to consider themselves independent. They are cut off from the Liberal caucus and they really do not feel much love. Newly appointed senators are selected by an elitist committee and are thrust into a disorganized and confused senate. And when they just try to do their job, everyone complains about them holding up legislation.

But the Liberal cabinet member most responsible for the growing alienation of seniors is finance minister Bill Morneau. This minister has been salting away millions from selling off the company he inherited from his father. He is well looked after for his ‘golden years’ but the inflation he is encouraging is eating the heart out of current senior’s pensions.

The finance minister has to direct his department to come up with a better deal for pensioners with old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. They are also voters and they do not miss an opportunity to show you what they think.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Elitism bites Trudeau’s ass.

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

It is hard to say what embarrasses Canadians more. Seeing pictures of Trudeau and his family dressing up Bollywood-style to the amusement of the Indian Sub-continent is bad enough.

As often as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been warned though about his elitist approach, those chickens have come home to roost. It looks like the most serious problem he has created for himself is the Senate of Canada. By installing an elite committee to independently recommend elite appointments, he now has a senate that is setting its own timetables and holding up legislation.

It seems to be justice though that the current major piece of legislation being delayed by the independent senate is Trudeau’s signature legalization of marijuana. The prime minister promised that Canadians could all be toking up on Canada Day this year. That is turning out to be as good a promise as his saying that the 2015 election was the last time we would use first-past-the-post voting.

It is Justin Trudeau’s own fault that so many tons of cannabis will be stale by the time Canadians get to buy some legally. He gave the file to an ex-cop to manage. Bill Blair must have stopped at Timmies often for donuts.

It took Blair a long time to get his mind around the bureaucracy needed to manage the pot industry. He must have been surprised by the higher profit margins when the industry only had to pay taxes instead of bribes.

The delay will make the provinces happy. No doubt Ontario will be able to have two stores ready to open when cannabis is finally declared legal in the Canada Gazette.

I have not checked with Quebec lately but that province should have made a deal with the Mafia. Nothing need change. The Mafia could do the growing, distribution and accounting and they could have the bikers to do their home delivery. Customers would pay promptly, or else.

But what really worries me about this fiasco with the senate is that some legislation that the elite senators really dislike—such as taxing the one per cent fairly—is going to be held up by Trudeau’s elite senate. This is going to start anti-senate riots on Wellington Street in Ottawa.

And what is Trudeau going to do when these elite senators find out they can also originate some legislation. Can you just imagine the type of legislation they will start to develop? They are likely to move the senate to Florida for the winter each year. They will at least get it away from that awful weather in Ottawa.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

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