Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party’

Jean Chrétien tells it like it is.

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

One of the advantages of being a former prime minister, Jean Chrétien can now tell people how he sees things. Or, in the case of former prime minister Stephen Harper, he can tell it as he would like to see it. Both former prime ministers have new books out to entertain their respective supporters.

There are probably more laughs per chapter in the Chrétien book. It depends on who did the ghosting. Any book by Harper called Right Here, Right Now has to be much more authoritarian than one by Jean Chrétien. The liberal PM’s book is more anecdotal and titled My Stories, My Times.

You can count on the former liberal prime minister to have a few choice words for the current American president. They include terms such as “Fanatical” and “Unspeakable.”

But even more interesting, Chrétien sees the current president as bringing on the “end of the American Empire.” In his travels, Chrétien has been seeing the growing disbelief and disgust with the current American regime that panders to dictators, makes a mockery of democracy and drowns America’s moral leadership in bigotry. Of course, it should be remembered that Chrétien is friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton and would hardly approve of the man who beat Hillary for the presidency with lies and false accusations.

Not surprisingly, Stephen Harper also seems to be concerned about Trump and obviously thinks that the American president might be misunderstood. He does not think the populist supporters who elected Trump should be referred to as ‘deplorables.’ Harper seems to understand the grievances of the right wing in America—and even some of the left wing—that enabled Trump to win the presidency. And he does not think the pressures of today’s world are going to allow those grievances to be ameliorated. Harper’s advice is more like “get used to it.”

While there is lots of self-congratulatory B.S. in the Harper book, it might need to be read by some of the Pollyanna liberals. There is no question but many of them need a wake-up call.

All I can say about the Chrétien book is that it might bring a smile. Essentially, it is designed to look good on your coffee table—if you still believe in doing that.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Can Ontario liberals renew their party?

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

You can hardly package a new political party along with decaying fish and hope to win plaudits. And that was what it must have felt like last weekend when the Ontario liberals gathered to lick their wounds and look hopefully into the future. The first task was to understand what went wrong. The second was to find out what type of party was needed in the future.

There are as many viewpoints about what went wrong as there are electoral districts in Ontario. The basic problem though is that a party run from the top down cannot survive. The arrogance of the coterie centered around the leader of the party becomes a weight that the party cannot overcome. The arrogance, privilege and entitlement of the party elite vanquishes the ambitions of people seeking to serve in the lower echelons of the party.

And there is no rule that says there has to be an Ontario liberal party. There is a life cycle in politics as there is in human existence on this fragile world. Neither can survive the constant abuse of those benefitting from its largess.

What was hardest for voters to understand this year was the kind of politics liberals were offering. They were constantly confused by the arrogance, corruption and the meager dispersal of the largess of civilized society. Nothing came from them as a whole. The programs were all piecemeal and with confused labelling of right or left.

The liberals led up to the June election constantly throwing goodies at the wall and hoping something would stick. They found the rot had gone too far. Against an opponent that held them aghast, they collapsed.

Now the question is do they resurrect the liberal ethic in the same-old suit or do they build a new party for modern voters.

The basic problem with the ‘same-old’ suit is there is confusion on whether it is of the left or the right or basically a moving target?

But if you weigh the needs of Ontario, you will agree that there is a strong need for a left of centre liberalism. In a liberal society, we need a party that can build on and assure citizens of the open, classless, society of opportunity that it deserves.

At a time when the new democrats are failing, we need to offer a home to the left of politics. Whether we do that as a Liberal Democratic Party or as social democrats, is incidental. What we must be is progressive, environmentally conscious and caring. This is what Ontario, and Canada deserve.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“What fools these mortals be…”

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Just to show how consistent we humans are, we can use the words of William Shakespeare to describe more recent events. What brings this to mind was a recent Ryerson University democracy forum. Chaired by Martin Regg Cohn of the Toronto Star, the debaters were campaign heads for the three major parties in June’s Ontario election. Regg Cohn’s report on the forum struck us as the most political self-aggrandizement, self-pity and foolishness we have heard for a long time.

And the winner was… surprise, surprise, Kory Teneycke of the progressive conservatives. It is just that we do not agree with what he is bragging about. We could have told him he had won before the campaign even started.

But Teneycke (and I still cannot pronounce that name) gives the credit to his supposedly brilliant digital campaign for the conservatives. And, he uses all the current buzz words such as “curating” messages with the right “algorithms” for “target” audiences.

To have a winner, it is also necessary to have a loser and David Herle of the liberal party makes the perfect goat. The only thing I will not criticize him for was the decision by Premier Wynne to forfeit the election before it was over. That was the stupidest act I had seen in an election in more than 50 years of campaigns.

But David was not above reproach for how he handled the campaign. He actually admits that he had no idea how to handle the negatives on social media about Wynne. He said the liberals did not know how to fight it. He also said he was of the impression that digital advertising was “unpersuasive.”

I will quote my favourite campaign slogan for David: If you cannot push, pull. And if you cannot pull, you best get out of the way.

Bringing up the rear, as usual, was the NDP campaign, headed by Michael Balagus. I would not know him, if I tripped over him. He was certainly complimentary about the conservative use of social media and their own news. It is really too bad that his campaign had no focus, no theme and no hope until Ms. Wynne quit and people who hated Ford were conflicted by being told to vote for Ms. Horwath—who ran her own do-nothing campaign.

But what was unimpressive about the report was Teneycke’s insistence that campaigns would soon be 99 per cent digital. That was the attitude of a loser who did not understand people. It sounds more like some of the worried clergy in the middle ages who did not understand that it would take centuries for the anticipated impact of Herr Gutenberg’s invention. We move faster with technology today but not overnight.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Perchance, a prophet’s pipeline pays profits?

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

If there is bad news among the brochures delivered in the post this day, is the bad news to be blamed on Canada Post? And should a government encourage the building of a pipeline for the transmission of natural gas to replace more seriously polluting coal-fired plants to produce electricity? Do the politicians get plaudits? Or are we, as a caring society, conflicted by these moves?

Listening to Ontario environmental commissioner Dianne Saxe the other day, did not help. It was, without direct accusation, a serious indictment of Ontario’s current conservative government.

But was it, at the same time, an indictment of the Trudeau government in Ottawa? Was it an indirect challenge to the climate change potential of the government’s recently purchased Kinder Morgan pipeline across the Canadian Rockies? Could it be that the expanded pipeline is to be just a blameless delivery mechanism such as Canada Post? Or is it political one-upmanship?

The conservatives and liberals in Ottawa these days are arguing about who is the biggest friend of the pipeline business. Conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer and liberal leader Justin Trudeau are arguing about who has created the most pipelines to take the pollution of Canada’s tar sands to tidewater. These are not just pipelines for crude oil but pipelines for diluted bitumen—that creates more than three times the carbon pollution in being processed to synthetic crude oil products.

And besides, Trudeau must be a prophet—as he can so easily brush aside all the concerns about a high-pressure, dual pipeline spilling bitumen into the ecosystem of the Rockies and the fragile fisheries of the west coast.

Does the liberal government in Ottawa have the right to say “We won” because of the use of taxpayer billions to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline? Does it make Justin Trudeau the prophet, loved of Alberta admirers? Or does it make him the dupe of Albertan greed? And is Alberta premier Rachel Notely but a stalking horse for the greed and ambitions of united conservative party leader Jason Kenney?

And can the prophetic Justin Trudeau profit not from his perfidy? Is there not a federal election in 2019?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“Some animals are more equal…”

Monday, September 24th, 2018

George Orwell’s Animal Farm told us more about humans than about animals and why some pigs are more equal than others. This subject came readily to mind the other day when reading about our liberal government’s attitude regarding protecting political party databases. Having worked with some of the earlier and cruder database efforts by the liberals, I find their attitude concerning.

Despite the recommendation of an all-party committee of the house of commons, the liberal government has refused to have any oversight or privacy rules applied to party databases. Their obduracy goes so far as to refuse to advise liberal adherents if their data has been hacked.

For myself, I would prefer that the liberal party’s present version of Liberalist knows less about me until the party’s system security takes a quantum leap forward.

The last time I had easy access to liberal party data, I had offered to do some back-up data entry of canvassing results. An ulterior motive was that it gave me entry to correct my own data. With the unrestricted use of automated calling to ostensively poll the voters, I had taken lying to pollsters to new levels. I always told automated systems that I was voting for a party or candidate at random.

The problem was that since the days when we kept the data about voters on ‘3 by 5’ cards, data collected by supposedly ‘independent’ pollsters was often the parties calling to find out how you would vote. Back when we actually talked to a human pollster, I had always engaged the caller in conversation and, usually, had determined who was behind the poll before answering anything. I could follow the effectiveness of this on voting day when all three major parties would call to remind me to vote.

It was even funnier when voting and seeing all three inside scrutineers check me off as a vote for their party.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“Once more unto the breach, my friends…”

Friday, September 21st, 2018

The Hordes are at the gates of Castle Liberal on the Rideau and William Shakespeare, once more has appropriate words at the ready. With a year left of his tattered mandate, prime minister Justin Trudeau had best take the advice of Henry V and plug the breach with his dead and soldier on.

And speaking of soldering, you might be wondering how soon we will be dusting-off the Highway of Heroes for the casualties of his ill-considered and ill-fated peace-keeping expedition to the Sahara Desert?

Like most of his political problems, Justin creates them for himself. A good example was his promise in 2015 hat it would be the last time voters would use first-past-the-post voting. He disappointed a few people with that one.

He did the same with assisted dying. The bill was so watered down by the time it passed, that not even many of the dying were pleased.

And while he might have helped some families and the theoretical middle class over his term, he has ignored seniors. They vote too.

And while some people think he has stood firm with U.S. president Trump, his stance is really something more like petrified. He has absolutely no understanding of how to handle that child-man. Judging by their relative ages, he might hope to outlast him.

There are two things that really griped this commentator: In Trudeau’s desperate attempt to feel some love from Alberta, he has spent $4.7 billion of public money on a pipeline to serve the greed of one province.

And by completing the planned twinning of the line, he will be making a farce of all his promises and all our hopes for the world environment.

At the same time, Trudeau has been destroying the federal liberal party. There are no memberships in to-day’s liberal party. He has turned the party lists into an unequivocal sucker list. This list is held above the law and nobody has any guarantee of its privacy. Can you believe that you get better protection on Facebook?

But, it should be pointed out that Justin Trudeau has help going into next year’s trials. They are Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer and Jagmeet Singh. They are the leaders of Canada’s conservative and new democratic parties respectively. They have both shown themselves inadequate to the task before them. Their parties need leadership.

Justin Trudeau needs to be challenged.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Left is the lonely lane.

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

I have never felt so alone in politics. The left, the progressive, the social democrat is a dying breed. Even the federal New Democratic Party is struggling with fund raising and direction as it sluggishly moves to the right. All political parties have felt the shifting of the sands.

But, when you have no idea where you are going, what is the price of a ticket?

Where is Justin Trudeau taking Canadian liberalism? He has traded in his father’s progressivism for a cult of elitism and personality. The younger Trudeau’s worshipful followers allow him carte blanche to turn a party of the ideas and idealism of his patrimony into a willing parade of sycophants.

Where does Trudeau think he is going with his pipeline of pollution from the tar sands? He wants to be the poster boy for environmentalism and yet he betrays all that he has proclaimed.

And why can he not stand up to a person such as Donald Trump? There is no admiration in Canada for Trump Quislings. Trump is but a nascent dictator in a battle to the death with an inept Congress.

Yet, leadership is also in limited supply across Canada these days. The natural alternative party boasts a caretaker leader, struggling with a caustic caucus. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer spells nothing other than missed chances for the country’s real conservatives.

At the same time, the party of Tommy Douglas is crumbling. They dumped a leader whose only fault was he was older than Justin Trudeau. With the help of an influx of Sikh members, they opted for an observant Sikh to lead them. He chose not to enter parliament on the tails of the publicity, and he was soon forgotten. With a leader unable to be noticed and a party unable to raise needed funds, the federal new democrats have failed themselves and failed Canadians.

But nature hates a vacuum of any kind and it is in the provinces we are seeing the real leadership struggles. B.C. teeters with a precarious minority government that is fighting a fellow NDP regime in Alberta and the federal government. Saskatchewan and Ontario have joined to defy a federal carbon tax. And Quebec oddsmakers are touting a provincial regime further to the right than before.

They leave no home or hope for those who deny the corporatism of fascism as vast companies defy the incoherence of mere nations. There is little hope for those of us who put the needs of people ahead of the right-wing populists who say they are “For the People.”

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Harper’s henchmen halted.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

The earth is still shaking in Alberta from the Federal Court of Appeal finally corralling the Calgary-based National Energy Board (NEB). The court was asking the logical questions about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. The industry is angry and the politicians all a-twitter. It was high time that someone questioned that industry’s dominance of its regulator and their cozy relations at the Calgary Petroleum Club.

But it was Trudeau coming to power three years ago and allowing the relationship to continue that was worrisome. When Brian Mulroney’s conservative government moved the NEB to Calgary in 1991, the idea was to have the board more directly involved with the energy sector based there. It was under the Harper government that it appeared obvious that only the industry was the beneficiary. Many liberals considered the NEB to be just another squadron of prime minister Harper’s henchmen.

The lack of depth and concern over environmental issues has been obvious to many. During the examination of the Line 9 Enbridge pipeline reversal and increase in capacity was my worst experience in trying to meet with NEB board members. The staff in Calgary are polite and interested but the chances of getting any hearing from the board were slim.

The fact that Line 9 crosses the top of the Yonge Street subway line in Toronto was a safety concern, the NEB chose to ignore. Considering the cavern of condos running downhill from that location with tens of thousands of residents, the willingness to ignore concerns was cavalier and worrying.

But luckily the judges at the federal appeal court disagreed with their laissez-faire attitude about the environment with the Kinder Morgan expansion. The judges considered the consultation with the first nations to be flawed and the lack of environmental concern for the ocean tankers coming into the Burrard Inlet terminus to be an unjustified failure.

The guy with the egg on his face from this fiasco is Canada’s environmental poster boy, Justin Trudeau. His government is now the proud owner of a $4.7 billion pipeline, along with plans and equipment to twin the line and no credibility.

The prime minister might have the power to overrule the court and simply say the pipeline is in the national interest—or even just in Alberta’s interest—but it would hardly help him get re-elected next year.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

It’s ‘Scheer’ Madness.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Checking reports from last week’s conservative conclave in Halifax has not indicated any serious policy directions for the party in next year’s election. It was Maxime Bernier who sucked all the air out of the beginning of the event and it became just a footnote to Bernier’s farewell.

But what else did the conservatives really decide? What are they presenting to Canadians next year? Do they have any answers to global warming? Unless they think denying global warming is a political strategy in itself?

All that the public is hearing in most provinces is that the conservatives do not want a carbon tax and they support pipelines. And the Ontario and Saskatchewan conservative governments are taking the federal government to court over the issue of a carbon tax.

It sounds to this Ontario voter like the conservatives will continue to elect their Neanderthal MPs in the three Prairie provinces and will be decimated everywhere else.

Looking across the country, it looks like the Atlantic provinces voters will mostly ignore the conservative issues, Quebec is ambivalent, as its provincial cap and trade system seems to be working. Ontario will be the only fighting ground but Scheer is no Doug Ford and he is not offering much to Ontario. (And when you have a Ford for premier why would you need another fool defending Fortress Ottawa.)

Where Scheer will hit a wall is when it comes to B.C. He will be playing second fiddle to Trudeau on the pipeline and the NDP will be making hay as the natural successor to both parties.

It is when you do the analysis across the country is when you realize that the sunny days are over for the liberal’s Justin Trudeau. He is headed for a minority. He cannot have his pipeline and save the environment and his job at the same time. He is going to have to stay home and learn to manage parliament. He is failing on too many files. His only advantage is Scheer.

Scheer’s conservatives are marching in many different directions today and it is obvious that they have no idea where they are going. If they could find out where the country wants to go, they could become more effective.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Disciplining the diplomacy of diplomats.

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

She might be a bit smaller in stature but foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland is head-over-heels ahead of a conservative predecessor John Baird. Baird was something of an embarrassment throughout his tenure during the Harper era. And if Freeland knew enough to stay away from Twitter, we could give her even higher marks.

Who does she think she is; Donald Trump?

Freeland recently used Twitter to piss off the Saudis. How stupid could that be? What the hell does she think is the reason for countries having access to diplomatic channels?

Twitter is for children and show-offs. Twitter is for bad jokes. Twitter is for people who need to get a life. It is not a channel for diplomats.

If you really want to tell those Wahhabi Sunnis in Riyadh what you think of them, tell them to their face. A true Wahhabi knows that you are an infidel scorned by Allah and even worse, to them, you are just a woman. Why should those Bedouins give a damn what you think?

Your strength, as a diplomat, is in the country you represent. And you are representing a country that is recognized and respected around the world for its progressiveness in technology, in human rights, in respecting the ecology and its democracy.

And, it is why they will listen to you. If it is Canada speaking to them, they will listen. Their country might be barely out of the 19th century but they do understand our arguments in favour of human rights. Both countries gain by us training many of their medical specialists. And there are other areas of mutual interest.

This does not include our sell-through of American armoured vehicles. The fiction of those vehicles as Canadian is one that neither nation needs.

Admittedly, it is diplomacy that helps keep the world’s economics running smoothly.

And we should never forget that a very important venue for diplomacy is just down the road in New York. It is the United Nations. If you are worried about the Saudis threatening the peace in the middle east, take you concerns to the United Nations. Those diplomats enjoy a good squabble.

But never forget that it was the Brits who brought the Saudis out of the middle ages about 100 years ago. They are still a couple centuries behind. If we keep the proper diplomatic pressure on them, they just might listen.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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