Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party’

The smart ones fight on.

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne could learn something from MPP Michael Coteau. He is no quitter. Wynne did irreparable harm to Ontario liberals in the 2018 election when she conceded the election before the voters made their decision known. All her mistakes as premier could not top that one amateur act.

Before she made that gaff, the liberals looked like they were down to 15 or 20 seats in the legislature. She ended up as part of a rump group that were not even recognized as a party. It makes the challenge for the next leader all that more difficult.

But I made the mistake yesterday of saying that Steven Del Duca had effectively won the leadership with his 14,000 membership sales. Michael Coteau, very wisely, challenges that assumption. We will not have the basis for these assumptions until after the ridings elect their delegates. It will be the number of first-vote commitments that will tell the tale. We will not have the detailed analysis before mid February.

The wild cards in this game are the ex officio voters such a federal MPs, provincial candidates and party office holders. Over 400 potential votes fall into this category. With a likely turnout of 1600 to 1800 voting delegates at the convention, Coteau and his supporters are hoping for a second ballot. Del Duca and his people will be hoping for a first ballot win. It all seems to come down to who can give a real barn-burner of a speech to the crowd that morning.

The one thing that is obvious about this campaign is that Steven Del Duca represents the past of the Ontario party and Michael Coteau represents the future. He is aggressive, welcoming to change and recognizes that the future offers a new type of politics.

A lot of what we have heard so far in this leadership contest has to do with getting rid of Doug Ford. I think we need to hear more about the type of politics that would end the possibilities for electing people like Doug Ford.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Being a liberal is tough.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

Maybe I am not the only liberal who wonders where my party went. I got a copy of a rather angry e-mail the other day from a liberal in my riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. The e-mail was to the provincial party president. I know that this letter-writing liberal is a hard-working supporter of both the federal and provincial party and, over the years, has been generous in supporting the party and its candidates, as well as a reliable canvasser during elections.

But he is worried. He is disappointed that his provincial riding association has not held a meeting in the last year and a half. He is worried that the provincial party in our riding is moribund. He is annoyed that he has not had an opportunity to meet or talk to any of the candidates for the job of provincial leader. He does not think that liberal party members are getting a proper opportunity to evaluate the candidates. He complains that the party only seems to want him for his wallet. He wants to be respected by the party for more than the money he contributes.

And would you believe that the federal party is worse than the provincial. In Ontario, the federal and provincial parties share the same electoral district boundaries except in the extreme north. If there was ever a time when the federal and provincial liberals could benefit from working together, it is now. We need the synergy. We need the shared experience. We need to build momentum.

I could add a few things to that liberal’s e-mail. I am outraged that when by a vote of 57 per cent, at its last annual meeting, the party called for a leadership vote for every member of the party, it was refused. This is supposed to be a democratic party and anything other than 50 per cent plus one is an affront to democracy. The party wanted a democratic selection and it cannot be denied. Anything else was to declare any choice undemocratic and subject to corrupt practices.

And I would hardly charge $250 to $600 per delegate to attend the event. That is the most undemocratic aspect of a possibly corrupted convention. The liberal party needs to get with the times.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Where is the vision?

Friday, January 10th, 2020

In a recent commentary we complained about the lack of leadership of all Canadian political parties. What Canadians want from their leaders is vision. It is like the vision of Sir John A. Macdonald that ribbons of steel could bind this country together. It is our flag and the international role as a peace keeper envisioned by Lester B. Pearson. It is the concept of rights and freedoms of Pierre E. Trudeau. Nobody can lead unless they know where they are going.

And how good do you feel when you consider the current leaders of Canada’s political parties? Who convinces you of the better world we can gain? You do not have to look far ahead. You only vote for your MP every four years or so. What can they accomplish for you in that term of office?  How much do you trust the leader the MP follows?

Maybe you have to start with what you want for you and for your family. In your lifetime, you might only get to help choose your federal government about 20 times. You really need to make each vote count.

And what do you want? Is it the selfish wish for lower taxes without understanding what federal funds do for you, your family, your friends and your fellow Canadians? Is it the pledge of smaller government when you have no idea what those people in federal offices are doing for you and your fellow Canadians?

Are the politicians offering you slogans instead of a more solid future? Are they really capable of fighting global warming? Are our airplanes as safe as they should be? Are our roads safe?

And why do we not have high-speed electric trains riding Sir John A’s bands of steel? It saves the environment. It saves money. It brings our country together.

If we are lucky, we should be seeing leadership contests for all parties over the next couple years. Would that only people with vision apply.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

All federal parties need new leaders.

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Canadians are going to be seeing a number of national political party leadership contests in the coming year. The conservatives are blowing smoke and fire as they warm up to their winner-takes-all contest in June. The greens are having another cup of green tea and considering who might replace the wonderful Elizabeth May. Jagmeet Singh is foolishly waiting for the 2020 meeting of the NDP that will fire him. Meanwhile the federal liberals are drinking Mr. Trudeau’s Kool-Ade while he tells them how great it is going to be.

I was laughing at an editorial cartoon in the Toronto Star the other day that suggested that the conservatives were debating whether to go with a social conservative or a progressive conservative leader. Our Canadian conservatives obviously consider progressives passé. They are looking for a populist like Doug Ford but with the management style of Stephen Harper.

I think the greens have the toughest problem in they might have to clone Elizabeth May.

The new democrats have an entirely different problem in that their form of socialism really is dead. All they are sure of is that Jagmeet Singh is not going to lead them anywhere. The NDP have to make the move to be seen as social democrats and that could be awkward with so many liberals already occupying that ground.

Mind you, I would never include Justin Trudeau among the social democrats. He is an elitist and is barely a liberal. He lied to liberals when he ran for the leadership saying that he was going to restore the party’s roll in policy and candidate choice. Instead, he has interfered in riding’s candidate choices and ignores policy input.

Trudeau has treated the lists of party faithful as a piggy bank that he inundates with e-mails asking for money. He has no understanding of the role of the party between elections and ignores the need for party development in the electoral districts. He fails to understand that you govern from Ottawa; you win elections in the ridings.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Liberals are not dead in Ontario.

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

It seems we do have a contest for the leadership of the Ontario liberals. While overshadowed by the Trudeau party in Ottawa, this Ontario group is starting to come together. They do not seem to know much about making good videos but I sat through a streaming video of the candidate’s presentations to learn more about some of them.

I might have recently mentioned that I wanted to hear what motivates Kate Graham, a political science teacher at the University of Western Ontario. She seems very smart but she needs a political speech writer. And after hearing her speak, I am still not sure why she is buying her way into this race.

In comparison, Michael Coteau MPP is aggressively going down the road talking the talk. I like his approach and I have followed his campaign closely. Some smart ass at party headquarters must have moved my name and e-mail address to Don Valley East riding that Michael represents in the legislature. As I am a former candidate from that area, he must wonder that we have never met.

They must have released the party lists to all the candidates now and Steven Del Duca was the next to send me his solicitation for support. Steven is an old-style liberal and, despite his losing his riding in the 2018 election, he reeks of back room support and confidence. The assumption is that he has the contest in the bag but we can always root for the good guys.

Mitzie Hunter MPP also spoke. She said nothing new.

But I really enjoyed hearing from Alvin Tedjo. He was obviously new to politics. He did not know that it is not liberal policy to do away with religious schools–as much as the public would support such a move. Dumping the costs of supporting separate school boards is just not on the liberal agenda, yet.

Maybe the sixth candidate for leader needs another look. All I can say about Brenda Hollingsworth at this stage is that if I ever have to appear in court in Ottawa, I would want this lady working for me. Queen’s Park just might have enough lawyers.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau hears from Harder.

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Former government leader of the senate, Peter Harder had some advice for Justin Trudeau as he retired from the senate. He expressed the hope that the prime minister might consider more people with political experience be appointed to the senate. That is the point I have been making for the past five years.

But I would hardly have included someone such as Frances Lankin from Ontario, who was in the cabinet of NDP premier Bob Rae in the 1990s. In my experience, she ran the most politicized and worst ministries in the Rae government. Her presence in Canada’s senate might not be a plus.

And for an elitist such as Justin Trudeau, her appointment might not be the smartest thing he has ever done.

What Harder was complaining about in his farewell to the senate was that there were already too many senators with their own agendas. He thinks the PM should consider adding more people with some political experience. The former senator thinks they would better understand just why the senate exists and what they are expected to do there.

Of course, there are millions of Canadians who also wonder why the senate exists and why we should be wasting tax money on it. After all, why did we elect all those people to the house of commons if an elitist senate is going to pass judgement on what they do?

Even if Justin Trudeau might agree with that, he has absolutely no intention of opening up the Canadian constitution to make any changes. He is hardly his father’s son. He has neither the wisdom nor the intestinal fortitude to tackle the task of updating our constitution.

The younger Trudeau has seemed to be more of a political dilettante and an elitist. His elitist committee that chooses people from which Trudeau can choose independent senators probably does not know of any particularly deserving politicians.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

How much is too much, Mr. Trudeau?

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

Justin Trudeau has obviously not had a really wonderful 2019. As far back as September 2018, the prime minister asked his justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould to reconsider her position on not interfering in the upcoming prosecution of SNC-Lavalin for corrupt practices. Trudeau insisted that the intent was to save jobs in Quebec. Wilson-Raybould appeared to have no idea how tight large corporations are with politicians in Quebec.

It was mid January, 2019 that Wilson-Raybould was replaced as justice minister by former law professor David Lametti, an MP from Montreal. She was demoted to veterans-affaires. And the prime minister’s year went side-ways. It brought his support for feminism into question.

He was already in enough trouble for his dress-up antics on his trip to India the previous year. He hardly needed to have someone dig up old pictures of him in black-face at a party in Vancouver back when he was teaching there.

And it was in Vancouver where he was facing the most objections to his support for the Trans-Mountain pipeline. It was a red flag to environmentalists from coast to coast.

Throughout the year, the prime minister was under constant direct attack by conservative provincial premiers. The only one that laid back was Ontario conservative premier Doug Ford. It was the federal conservatives who asked him to hold back his criticism as it was hurting the federal conservatives more than the liberals.

But despite all the good vibes, Elizabeth May did not capitalize on her best chance to grow the greens in parliament. She only grew her caucus by 50 per cent and she gracefully resigned.

Conservative Chuckles Scheer grew his caucus, won the popular vote and then succumbed to the savagery of his caucus. He resigned.

We are waiting for the guy who lost a third of his caucus, Jagmeet Singh, to do the honourable thing and resign.

But the guy who really blew it and should have resigned back before the election is sitting in the prime minister’s office in Ottawa. It is a temporary position. He is the one who really should resign.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

It’s your turn Jagmeet Singh.

Friday, December 27th, 2019

Luckily there was not too much blood spilt when the conservatives divested themselves of the embarrassment of Chuckles Scheer. Surely the leader of the new democrats can now consider what is the honourable thing for him to do.

The point has been made that Chuckles did his best. He won the popular vote across Canada. (Basically because of the overkill of liberalism across the barren Prairies.) He reduced the liberals to a minority. No matter. His job was to win and he failed, Scheer is toast.

Where does that leave Jagmeet? After what that party did to Tom Mulcair, Jagmeet should be lucky to get out of the next party meeting with his pants. He lost a third of his parliamentary caucus and the two thirds he has left do not like him.

Maybe Singh will lobby the party to move its 2020 gathering from Charlottetown to Brampton, Ontario. It might give him a better chance to hang on to his job.

But even if he could win, what future can Singh offer the new democrats? Do they even have a role to play? Does the party have any plans for the future?

The caucus has seen no such plan from Singh but they are not the rank and file. The Leap Manifesto is still being carried as some sort of cross by the party but so far it is only words. The most active aspect is dental and prescription medicine care to be championed by Ottawa but that also requires provincial support. Without a strong and coordinated campaign at both the federal and provincial levels of the party, the NDP initiative is a waste of time.

The NDP would be far better to deregister as a political party and sign up as liberals both federally and in their respective provinces. They would hardly swamp the individual parties but another 10,000 or so left-leaning liberals could pull the liberal party much further to the left than it has been in the past. It would be a party with a sharper edge and more of a ‘let’s do it’ attitude.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Building bridges west?

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

I am not a fan of Toronto member of parliament Chrystia Freeland. While properly impressed by both her CV as a journalist and her books, I do not see her as a politician or deputy prime minister. I do not think she understands Donald Trump, Jason Kenney or Justin Trudeau. She might not be working to her strengths.

Maybe the answer to her is the answer to the question, ‘Why is she in politics?’ The answer could also shed some light on her appointment to be some sort of a go-between for the West. Her bridges seem tenuous.

Jason Kenney has his political agenda and it is fair to ask if Ms. Freeland understands it? If she does, good on her! What is she going to do about it? Kenney is looking for a political answer and neither the prime minister nor his deputy has that political answer. Does Kenney think they would be foolish enough to give in to all he demands? Those demands could destroy Alberta as a liveable part of this country.

And please do not suggest that Ms. Freeland got NAFTA(2) up and ready to run by understanding Donald Trump. She got that job done by working around Trump. Could he even pick her out of a line-up?

And will somebody please tell us where Chrystia Freeland was hiding during that SNC-Lavalin fiasco early this year? She might not have seen it as her place to intervene, but she was a senior cabinet member back then. You cannot tell us that nobody in that cabinet last winter could see where the Wilson-Raybould fiasco was taking them.

And that leaves us with the relationship of Ms. Freeland and her boss. Her appointment was hardly to add a female to his cabinet, we hope. He promised a gender-balanced cabinet and the word is that someone counted and said, ‘Yep, it’s half women.’ And now we know where some of those creative portfolio titles came from.

Anyone who puts gender ahead of competence is headed for trouble. And, there is the rub: Justin Trudeau’s lack of political smarts also spells trouble. It is hard to imagine his government lasting a year before we are into a new election.

We live in interesting times.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario liberals are down but not out.

Saturday, November 30th, 2019

There are entirely too many media people who think that the Ontario liberals have been shut down. What they do not seem to understand is that a political party is like a very large animal when it has lost a fight. It does not surrender. It might go into a cave somewhere and lick its wounds and think. And some day soon, it is going come out of that cave, ready to fight again.

But before it gets into that fight again, it needs to decide what it wants to be. A political party is not a fixed target. It is made up of an ever-changing mass of people, many with ideas. Some of those ideas are good and some are probably stupid. It is why the party needs to assess its objectives and how it might achieve some of the good ones.

One thing you can be absolutely sure of is that the liberal party cannot win as a top-down organization. It needs a leader who can lead the party where the party wants to go. We certainly do not need another leader who thinks he or she is omnipotent. We need a party that can discuss what liberalism can be in the 21st Century. It needs a leader who can reflect the ambitions of the membership.

And if none of the six current candidates for the leadership can understand the kind of leadership needed, we better shut down this upcoming convention to choose a new leader. Why would anyone want to repeat the errors of the past that chose Kathleen Wynne?

I am not saying the lady did not try hard. She just did not know what she was doing. She never was a liberal. A liberal is a progressive in a hurry. A liberal is a social democrat with compassion.

What do we do here in Ontario? The job of the provincial government is to look after our people. We look after their education and health. We build a safe, caring environment for them with good food from our well-run farms. We build the infrastructure they need to move easily around our cities and province. We do our best to bring them jobs and opportunity. We are a tourism destination for millions from around the world. Always remember: Ontario is liberal.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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