Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party’

Political Pipe-Dreams.

Sunday, April 21st, 2019

While the rest of North America were out on an Easter egg hunt this morning, Albertans were out beating the bushes looking for the pipeline that their politicians have been foolishly promising them. This could be one of those blue-sky political promises on the same track as a chicken in every pot.

And why should anyone believe it is going to happen? Albertans have already been informed that the federal government has delayed the decisions on this pipeline until June of this year. When you have been stalled for years, what is another month?

This Trans Mountain pipeline has been a good news-bad news story from the beginning. It is an old pipeline that was built long before anyone thought of using a pipeline to send bitumen from the tar sands over the Rockies. The plan was that the previous owners, American-owned Kinder Morgan, would twin the old crude oil pipeline and almost quadruple the capacity of the pipeline for diluted bitumen by adding heaters and high pressure to the two lines.

Obviously, the Kinder Morgan people had studied the possibilities and had made a few stabs at getting the twinning started but quickly found themselves mired in environmental challenges and protests from aboriginal groups. The answer was a quick sale and the federal government became the surprise buyer.

At $4.5 billion, the pipeline was no bargain. Estimates peg the twinning and equipping the pipeline to handle the bitumen will cost anywhere from $7 billion to more than $9 billion.

It might seem odd that a politician such as Justin Trudeau—who persists in claiming he is an environmentalist—would promote a pipeline for the output from the tar sands that is destroying the environment of Northern Alberta and will create three times the carbon pollution of regular crude when converted into an ersatz crude oil. And Albertans will give the liberal prime minister no thanks for it!


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Where’s Jagmeet Singh?

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

Somebody needs to check the potholes on the Yellow Brick Road. Could NPP leader Jagmeet Singh have fallen into one of them? If it was not the daily feed of twits on his Twitter account from the NDPer’s office, we could assume he might be on holiday somewhere.

Mind you, he and the wife do need a holiday. To spend your honeymoon getting your husband elected to parliament is a challenge to any new wife. Day in, day out political campaigning does little for a marriage.

And it is not as though the NDP leader is having much impact on the pollsters or the public or the news media or his caucus in Ottawa. Basically, Jagmeet Singh is nowhere. As they say, he has been tried in the balance, and found wanting. He is basically a very wanting guy.

It is kind of like his twits from his office on Twitter. The past three days, we have seen standard NDP boiler-plate smoke on housing, (inadequate), workers’ rights (serious) and climate change (this is bad). Buried in this material was a note that he might currently be in Nanaimo, on beautiful Vancouver Island.

With close to six months remaining before the October 21 poll date set for this year, you hardly need pollsters to tell you that not all Canadians are pleased with the performance of the liberal government.

But the problem is not so much that the voters are pissed with the present government as where those votes might go. The liberals have to hope that those votes they have lost are scattered around the various parties. If too many of those votes go to the conservatives, Justin Trudeau could be a one term prime minister. Seeing that the Green party is up about three points over their usual inflated vote at this stage, that might be part of the answer to a weak NDP.

And the conservatives, under ‘Chuckles’ Scheer, are not necessarily polling in majority territory. There is a lot of shaking out to do before what ever happens in October happens.  The only prediction I might make at this stage is that Green leader Elizabeth May might have a small caucus to brag about come October. At this stage, we could be headed for a minority government—the same thing that happened to Justin’s father in 1972.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Not just a pocket to be picked.

Friday, April 19th, 2019

The chickens came home to roost faster than expected. While I have been forecasting dire consequences as Justin Trudeau downgraded the liberal party to a fan club, we are starting to see the problems.

Chatting with an active liberal just the other day, he told me that he was annoyed at his local liberal organization. Here it is six months before an election and his party is showing no signs of life. When he contacted his local electoral district president, the chap told him he was not even listed on the party’s computerized lists. As a loyal canvasser for the party and a regular contributor, the chap had every reason to be annoyed. “I’m not just a pocket to be picked,” was his comment.

Justin Trudeau has never recognized that there is a balance needed with fund raising and party activity. This liberal I was talking to was like many of us over the years. We were involved. We were a recognized and valued part of the party. We worked tirelessly at getting our chosen candidate elected. We took a vocal role in the development of party policy. We took responsibility for choosing candidates who could work with our parliamentary caucus

In our thinking, the leader of the party was responsible for the elected members but he reported to the party as a whole. When they changed the rules for all parties back in the 1990s, they said that the leader of the party had to sign off on each candidate. That did not mean that we wanted the leader to choose our candidate.

Since then all parties seem to think they should be run by their leader. Even the supposedly democratic NDP has a leader now who thinks he has the authority to kick an MP out of the party caucus.

Recently, liberals thought it might have been smart for Justin Trudeau to pass that right to his caucus instead of taking the blame for the ejection of MPs Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott. The inexperienced Justin Trudeau piled his errors higher and deeper throughout the entire SNC-Lavalin affair. If he had been paying attention to his caucus during that time, he either lacked good advice or ignored it.

But I am pleased to say that there are probably still many liberals ready and willing to get to work and help make sure our country does not give up on the liberal party in the fall.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Quit bitching and drink your Kool-Aid.

Monday, April 8th, 2019

We hear that there is no federal liberal party. Instead, we are told it is the Trudeau cult. The only thing is that, before we drink our Kool-Aid, we need to check to see whose idea this was anyway.

It was nine years ago that the MP from Papineau electoral district in Montreal started his campaign to win the liberal leadership. It was easier than he expected. After the experience of the party with three lacklustre leaders since the Jean Chrétien era ended, liberals needed hope and the voters were tired of Harper’s conservatives. We revelled in sunny days. Everyone wanted a selfie with the young Trudeau.

He electrified Canada’s youth and encouraged our seniors. We saw vitality and the acceptance of challenge. The opposition in parliament were left leaderless and in a funk. He excited foreign leaders and was welcomed at world councils. He took leadership in environmentalism. He made sure women were in positions of power. He proclaimed his feminism. The 21st Century belonged to Justin Trudeau.

And Trudeau’s mob grew and expanded. The opposition chose housekeepers over action figures for leaders. They saw the coming election as hopeless for their narrow views of Canada’s needs.

Nobody seemed to note this commentary that was vainly signalling its growing concerns for this party and its leadership. It was not all sunny days. Justin Trudeau’s elitism was showing. His lack of depth on the issues concerning. His promises were stumbling to become law.

Where were the believers of true liberalism? It was the Ontario liberals who were vanquished first. They were squashed. Their leader at the time, surrendered before the votes were even cast. And now there are few sunny days forecast for the summer and fall of 2019.

But never ever call the liberal party a lynch mob. You need never malign so many caring Canadians. You can accuse the prime minister and some of his cabinet of having failed us. That is fair.

But the ideal of liberalism does not change. The rational of individual rights and freedoms are the backbone of this country. How many of the peoples of nations around the world envy the freedoms of Canadians? Those are worth fighting for.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Tip-toe through these tulips (Part 2).

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

Was it spite? The story of Jody Wilson-Raybould and her side-kick Jane Philpott has yet to be fathomed. What benefits them? They both had so much to offer. Wilson-Raybould was the first woman of aboriginal ancestry to serve in the cabinet. Her people needed her wisdom in that role. They deserve action, dignity, justice, recognition and reconciliation. It takes someone who has spent years in aboriginal councils to truly understand their needs.

In Ontario, we all watched last year as the irresponsible rage of the voters decimated the liberal caucus at Queen’s Park. Instead of good government, we elected an incompetent blowhard and his mealy-mouthed conservative followers. Why? We could certainly see it coming. It was like the voters in the United States who elected Donald Trump. “Take that you fools!” The voters burnt their bridges. They enjoyed a pyrrhic victory. May they enjoy their hell.

And here we are, watching the federal liberals bleed the votes they need in October. Does Justin Trudeau think all will be forgiven by then? The bleeding started even before he went to do his dress-up routine in Bollywood. He embarrassed Canadians.

Trudeau proved a poor leader. Many men interpret his self-declared feminism as weakness. Too many promises proved hollow. He had promised election reform without any background information. He introduced a weak and unsatisfactory assisted-suicide bill. He aided Canada’s nuclear families and forgot the seniors. He talked about an undefined middle class for whom he cared.

He preached environmentalism and then bought a pipeline to ship highly polluting tar sands bitumen to foreign parts, who are free to pollute as they wish.

Trudeau has seriously damaged the liberal brand. This was at a time when he needed the strength of the brand in the Atlantic provinces. He needed depth in Quebec. He can only split vote-rich Ontario. And the trip across the west is a downhill run for liberals all the way. He stands in the bottom of the hole he has dug for himself and his party, looking at a small piece of blue sky.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Ontario liberals need a leader.

Friday, April 5th, 2019

It is good to see that there are a number of worthy contenders already at the starting line for the upcoming leadership contest for the Ontario liberals. More important than the names of those individuals, at this point in time, are the rules for the race.

And the simpler the rules, the better. Over the years, we have seen too many of all parties’ leadership races twisted to unfair advantage by leadership contenders. Surprisingly, it is the more complex the rules, the easier it is to bend them. The simpler the rules, the harder it is for the unscrupulous to twist them to advantage.

First of all, it should always be one member-one vote. Delegated conventions have been corrupted for too many years. And all electoral districts are not equal, nor should they be counted as such. There is no way a riding with 500 members should be counted the same as one with just 100 members. You do not want to honour mediocrity. Nor should anyone pay their basic membership with anything other than their personal credit card. The occasional person with no credit card needs witnesses.

Nothing other than a single mark or the single click of a mouse should be the process for voting. Please do not try to speed the voting process with preferential voting. You are seeking the best not mediocrity.

To come to a majority decision is the democratic choice of the party and each ballot should be called without dropped candidates trying to influence the subsequent voting. They can only dignify the subsequent ballot with their silence.

And the party has to realize that fund-raising by candidates cannot be a yardstick for quality of leadership. Less is more in leadership. Ideas stand tall. Communications are in the content, not the gloss. Can this candidate walk in your shoes?

We have an opportunity in this leadership contest to be proud of our choice of leader. Let him or her really reflect the liberalism people need in to-day’s Ontario.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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If Harper is a bully, what is Trudeau?

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

The last two prime ministers tell us much about this country of Canada. In June 2015, I wrote a comment on PM Stephen Harper, accusing him of being a bully. It seemed to be his way of making up for his deficiencies as a human. A reader reminded me of that comment the other day when I forecast that Jody Wilson-Raybould would soon be a non-liberal MP. He wanted to know if that meant Justin Trudeau was also a bully?

The answer was ‘No.’ If Stephen Harper was still prime minister and Jody Wilson-Raybould his justice minister, she would have been out of the cabinet last December. Nor would his chief of staff or clerk of the privy council need resign. In Stephen Harper’s Canada, the divine right of kings and prime ministers still prevails. And he is very much a hands-on type of guy.

But we now have Justin Trudeau at the helm of this ship of state. He watched as his hand-picked chief of staff and his obsequious clerk of the privy council each (figuratively) took a bullet for him. He did not have the guts to tell a woman what he wanted and he paid the price.

The late Pierre Trudeau was a great guy who stood up for Canada and he stood up for his own legacy. His son, Justin, is a wimp. Some legacy!

But there is a rub folks. Who wants a Jagmeet Singh government? Who could tolerate a ‘Chuckles’ Scheer government? There is a country at stake here, smarten up!

Liberals across Canada have six months to do better. First, we tell Justin Trudeau to resign. Then we have a leadership race to replace him and have a fair fight down to the wire in October.

And remember that you do not have to have a sitting liberal MP as leader of the party. Let me just throw the name of Elizabeth May into the mix. We have choices.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Team Trudeau tells the tale.

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

An invitation came from the liberal party the other day to sign up for Team Trudeau Campaign College. It is just $25 for the day and you have your choice of attending campaign management, official agent or a single stream covering the three areas of digital management, volunteer management and canvas management. I heartily recommend the three-part stream as better bang for the buck.

And teaching at these efforts can be a great experience in itself. I sometimes offered to talk about dirty tricks to get a bigger turnout to my classes. The time I told people that our text would be from Carl von Clausevitz’ On War, we had to get a larger hall. If you want people to remember, you have to make it memorable.

The only stipulation on these particular classes is that you have to be a registered liberal to even get an invitation. When running the ground game in a municipal campaign a few years back, I found I had the conflict of teaching local conservatives and NDPers as well liberals. In the 2015 federal campaign, the ground game for the conservative in the next riding was being run by one of my keener students. She actually phoned during the campaign to thank me for the training. Oh well, I liked the liberal she helped defeat, but he never listened to me anyway.

But memories in politics are short. I would not be of much help as a trainer today. Yet I miss it. I might be critical. Small things can annoy me.  For example, they say ‘Team Trudeau’ in the logo and do not mention ‘Liberal.’ What is funnier is the stylized pencil the artist has drawn under the name ‘Trudeau.’ The pencil is designed to represent voting. The only problem is that a pencil such as that would never be used in a polling place. It has an eraser on it—which might just turn out to be a metaphor for the coming election.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Trudeau cannot un-fumble this ball.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

A chick does not spring new-born from the egg knowing which worms are the tastiest. Life can be a game of trial and error and nowhere is it more treacherous than in the game of politics. Politicos, the hangers-on of the political scene have much to learn but are a dime a dozen and easily disposable. To survive the years I did, as one of those groupies, took the ability to learn fast, build lasting relationships and be useful. Now that I am no longer considered useful, I guess I might as well tell you which worms will give you a tummy ache.

One of the more serious lessons is about recording someone who might be embarrassing him or herself. Nothing can throw a meeting into a tizzy better than to put a recorder on the table and ask someone to repeat what they last said. Not being a lawyer, I cannot say what the rules are about recording telephone conversations without both parties being aware, but it is not a way to make friends or earn trust.

In the case of Jody Wilson-Raybould, the MP has probably guaranteed her expulsion from the liberal caucus by recording the conversation between the clerk of the privy council and herself. The release of that recording will certainly have serious ramifications for the prime minister but it was also the former justice minister’s swan song.

While her career in politics might be over, her suicide mission could be taking Justin Trudeau out of politics with her.

One of the things you always watch for in arranging media opportunities for politicians is that nothing happens to make your politician look awkward. Like Robert Stanfield showing a lack of skill with a football in 1974, Justin Trudeau’s less than sincere ‘thank you’ to a Grassy Narrows protestor the other day was his fumble for 2019.

But you cannot un-fumble a ball. And Canada’s aboriginal peoples will be haunting Justin Trudeau throughout the coming campaign—for his failure at reconciliation, for his treatment of the first aboriginal woman in the cabinet and for his ignorance in dealing with the Grassy Narrows protestor.

He would hardly listen to this old apparatchik, but if he asked, I would tell him; he still has time to resign.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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Trudeau trashes his flight of fancy.

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

It was nine years ago that I met Justin Trudeau. Working through liberal party friends in Ottawa, I had invited him to a party fund-raising dinner in Barrie. While we raised enough to get the party out of debt in Barrie, the conversation I had at the time with Justin was disquieting. This is a man who can easily turn himself on and off.

And he does not appear to be a guy who likes heavy thinking. He prefers the route of the selfies and the simple keywords. He had a well-practiced warm and fuzzy stock liberal-sounding speech that evening in Barrie. It lacked a single memorable word. It also caused me to miss some of the bad habits he now shows in his extemporaneous speaking.

It seems most pundits agree now that Justin is more like his mother than his father. If he could just live with some wiser advisors in the PMO, he would sail through. His buddy Gerry Butts was too much like him and that was a deadly combination. They created a mutual admiration society that got them nowhere.

There is no question that the PMO needs a couple people over 50 and, preferably, with some experience in crisis management. It is really too bad that Trudeau had so little experience in the House of Commons before he became prime minister. The opposition will eventually stop bringing up a subject if you get everyone laughing at it.

Trudeau needs to turn on his ‘man with a mission’ persona for the coming election and he can hardly do that if the SNC-Lavalin mess keeps sucking the oxygen out of the political air. He needs to get together with the liberals from the justice committee and ask them nicely to stop blocking things at that level. And do not send a flunky to tell them or you can count on it not coming out right.

In a few months, Justin needs to be on the barbeque circuit talking about Canada’s future and not boring subjects like Quebec engineering firms. He needs to define the dialogue, and ignore the opposition.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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