Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party’

It is the door on the left that is open wide.

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

We keep waiting for signs that there is some life left in the Ontario liberals. It has been a while now and we can hardly wait for Doug Ford to stumble more than he already has. It is already obvious that the Ford government is going nowhere at his usual furious clip. A strong, viable and able liberal party must be at the ready.

The good news is that there is considerable opportunity to the political left of the Ford government. People are already being turned off by Ford’s raging right-wing politics and looking for people they can trust on the left. The need for trust obviously eliminates Andrea Horwath and her new democrats.

If there was ever a constant disappointment in Ontario, it has been Horwath and the NDP. They are like the country mice who were never told that this is the 21st Century. They lack policy, direction and hope. Andrea Horwath has now led the party through three general elections. She made it to being official opposition only because Kathleen Wynne decided that she should declare the last election over before election day.

Kathleen Wynne was a disaster as liberal leader. She embarrassed herself by getting re-elected in her Toronto electoral district. The only time she ever did anything as premier that might be considered progressive was when elections came around. Her last election was loaded with good progressive ideas but it was too late and voters had had enough.

But Wynne’s greatest failing was to take basically good ideas and spoil the delivery. Beer and wine in grocery stores was a good idea that was long overdue but she drew out the implementation until people were sick of the subject and her stream of announcements. There are still only a few grocery stores carrying beer and wine and the regulations remain oppressive.

What Ontario wants and desperately needs is a minimum wage that people can live on, support programs for the less fortunate that can do the job they are assigned to do, free prescription drugs have to be added to a truly free Medicare, education has to become free for all who will work at it, affordable housing has to come before mansions and luxury condominiums and the list needs to be kept open as we build a better life for everybody.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Complacency is Justin Trudeau’s enemy.

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

With a federal election ten months away, we can ignore all polls. They tell us little. It reminds me of the first party campaign in which I was involved. It was in 1964. My friend Charles Templeton was working for the Toronto Star and agreed when I and others asked him to make the jump into provincial politics to enter the contest to choose a new leader for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Along with the work we were doing at the time on the province-wide leadership campaign, we were advised to show some electoral strength by running in a by-election in Toronto-Broadview. It had been liberal but the main opponent was the new democrat. To this day, I remember the statement an old hand made to the candidate early on election day: “Chuck, you have run a strong, traditional campaign. Now it is up to the voters.” We lost and I made a vow to never again take part in a traditional campaign.

Campaigns are about the images created by candidates and leaders. They are about the concerns and hopes of the voters. The winning campaign in that by-election matched the concerns and hopes of the voters with their party’s direction.

And I think that will be Justin Trudeau’s failure next fall. In 2015, the liberals offered the change that the voters wanted. They can hardly offer the same change in 2019.

What Trudeau desperately needs to run on is a coherent vision of Canada’s future. His feminism has become annoying. His dress-up trip to India was an embarrassment. He has not stood up to Donald Trump. What are the benefits to Canadians of all these meetings with world leaders? And why is an environmentalist buying an old pipeline to move that stuff from the Alberta tar sands to ocean tankers?

Justin Trudeau can hardly count on the weakness of his opposition. Both the conservative’s Andrew Scheer and the new democrat’s Jagmeet Singh might be hard to visualize in the prime minister’s office but we have been surprised before.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Biting the hand with the handouts.

Monday, November 26th, 2018

We have warned Justin Trudeau repeatedly that those so-called independent senators are going to bite him on the bum. Blame him for all those Christmas presents that Canada Post cannot deliver by Christmas this year. Every day of further delay is thousands of  packages undelivered.

But elitism cannot be rushed. Justin Trudeau made it clear back when he became the elite leader of Canada’s liberals that henceforth, the senators would not be liberals. And the slaves were freed.

And of course, they have minds of their own and they are always eager to emphasize their freedom. They were nominated by the elite committee that chose them as elite enough. They were then selected from the list of acceptable elites by the prime minister. They were welcomed to the senate by other elites.

And to sweeten the deal, they are paid the same salary and perks as an elected member of parliament. They even get a generous pension when they have to retire at 75.

But as an elite they answer to nobody. The government leader in the senate is not their boss. He has to be nice to them to get their cooperation. They might be considered nobodies by the conservative senators but they can outvote them.

They know that they can take an extra day to consider sending the postal workers back to work if they feel like it. It shows Canadians that they are independent and do not like being pushed around.

And so what, if Justin Trudeau is turning purple over there in the prime minister’s office? He is one of those elected people and therefore not as much an elite as the senators who do not have to get elected.

Here is an idea for you people who like the idea of proportional elections. Why do you not fight for the senate to be a house representing the proportion for each political party in each province in the general election voting. I would agree if these senators were nominated by the political parties and selected by registered voters for the individual parties so that they could be appointed senators for the term of the parliament. Think about it. There might be the germ of an idea there. It might work, as long as Canada’s elected parliamentarians always have the final word.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Competing with Donald Trump?

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

It is unlikely that Canadians had any idea just how much American president Donald Trump would cost them. Our great-great grand children will be paying off Canada’s national debt. And if anyone could explain what good it will do, we would be rushing out to ring all the church bells across the land.

Not being one to worry too much about billions of dollars of sustainable debt, I would let it all fly by me. The only problem is the latest salvo from Mr. Trudeau’s elitist finance minister Bill Morneau added another $18 billion of debt when what he was really doing was stuffing the turkey at the wrong end. He was ignoring the fact that the front end of a turkey has limited capacity for stuffing.

The last thing that Morneau’s fall statement did was invest in middle-class jobs, so that was what they called the document.

After many years in the business of public relations, I can assure you that calling something by a positive name does not make it so. Simply stated, the Good News Bible is not all good news. All those ancients in that book are dead and no longer responsible for the misguided screw-up they made of our world.

What our finance guru Morneau was doing was catering to his pals in industry. He was competing with the business tax cuts of that ass they have for president in the United States. They want to see who can have the lowest taxes for industry. It was all in aid of better quarterly reports for shareholders. That is a suckers’ game. Who wants to have a contest to see who can give away the most to people who will always be whining for more?

If I wanted to win an election next year, I would go for a little more balance. Sure, give industry some tax saving so they know you care and then balance it by giving them more customers. Companies are always happiest when they have lots of customers wanting to give them money. That is how you stuff both ends of the turkey.

And you do it because companies do not vote. Keep companies happy and keep them creating jobs but it is the consumer who votes. Seniors like to vote. If Mr. Morneau was nicer to them, some might vote liberal.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Doug Ford’s mean streak.

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

It seems that Douglas Ford Jr.’s mother never told him that what goes around comes around. That is not just a homily. It is a warning. The Ontario premier is asking for trouble with his ham-fisted nastiness.

This guy thinks he can use the premier’s office to get even for real or imagined slights over the years. He has much to learn methinks.

Most of the survivors at city hall are keeping a wary eye open for low-flying turds from the Ontario government. After cutting the number of wards in half mid-election, earlier this year, nobody would be surprised by Dougie’s next salvo.

This all dates back to Dougie’s dying brother who still wanted one more kick at the mayoral can. It was not to be and they shamed Dougie when he tried to stand in for his crack-smoking brother.

We are all aware that the Queen’s Park terrorists will be coming to wrest the subways of Toronto away from what Dougie considers the city hall incompetents. How all that will play out will keep the games interesting for a few more years.

But Doug Ford has more enemies than just the downtown Toronto councillors. He has a special hatred for liberals. With the Queen’s Park contingent of the liberals holding only seven seats in the legislature, they are not entitled to the staffing and accoutrements of a political party. The rules were that they needed eight warm bodies in caucus to be privileged to be recognized. That is not good enough for Dougie. He is changing the rules. He did not want a dismissed conservative or a disgruntled NDPer crossing the floor and turning the liberals into a party. He is upping the ante to having to have 12 members. That is a streak of meanness to be remembered.

With the ongoing firings and turmoil in the premier’s office, what was once a well-oiled machine at Queen’s Park is becoming a spectator sport for the news media.

And Dougie’s vendetta with Brampton Brown is getting far warmer with Brown’s tell-all book getting its 15-minutes of fame.

There is one quote from Brown’s book that can be considered accurate. It was Brown’s comment that Ford did not win the election from Kathleen Wynne. It was Wynne that lost it.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“Wasn’t That a Party?”

Monday, November 12th, 2018

The Rovers got it wrong when they wrote a song about the party. It was certainly not the whiskey or the gin that is doing in the liberal party. It was the desperation for leadership. And Trudeau is a magic name to Canadian liberals. At a time when people are questioning the viability of political parties, they reached back into the party’s past.

But Justin Trudeau is not his father and he marches to a different drummer. He was playing the right tunes on his flute to impress the party’s urges for reform. He promised to restore the party’s right to selecting its candidates—and then, inconveniently, forgot.

And he thinks it should be a BYOB party. He got the party to give up the standard $10 memberships. He wanted lots more than that. He added people to the party lists for free, called them liberals and inundates the old and the new with e-mails for funds.

Justin Trudeau does not understand the functioning of a political party. What he failed to do was build the party in the electoral districts. He failed to understand the superior strength of the conservatives in the ground game. My district liberal association is meeting for the first time in two years later today and he expects them to mount a strong campaign next year?

But they have been left with nothing to do for the past two years. The national conventions have been for the party elite and its apparatchiks. The policy discussion has been cursory and carefully controlled. After conventions, policy is filed and forgotten, despite the right intentions. Nobody seems to be complaining about what Justin Trudeau is doing to their party. It is no longer the party it used to be.

We used to have regular meetings and events in the districts, in provincial regions and in the provinces. We used to meet to discuss policy, party structure and constitution. And we used to send experts out to the districts to inform them of the latest thinking on party communications and campaigning techniques. And more than 90 per cent of the work was done by volunteers.

As Pierre Trudeau found out in his second election campaign, the voters are fickle. In the general election of 1972, Pierre Trudeau won a slim majority of only two seats in the House of Commons. We shall see how Justin does next year.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Why should I apologize to Justin Trudeau?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

It was disconcerting the other day to have some readers complain about my insulting prime minister Trudeau. I casually ended a commentary by saying that nobody complains about our prime minister being too smart. Hell, neither one of us is riding that high on the IQ bell curve. And I can honestly state that, to my knowledge, nobody complains about him being too smart.

But what worries me is that I do not think he even likes people who are politically smart. Frankly, I find him elitist. He grew up to wealth and privilege and tends to choose that type of friends. If his father were here, he would be mortified.

He might use some politically savvy people in his cabinet but the smartest politician in the cabinet is Ralph Goodale, the right-wing minister of public safety from Regina. There are no real reformers.

But my criticism of our prime minister does not mean that I might not vote for the liberal candidate in my electoral district. Providing the person is selected by the liberals in the district, I might even see how I can help him or her get elected. I would not give you two cents for the current conservative dolt and I am not very likely to vote for a new democrat or green candidate unless it was a truly exceptional individual.

The problem is that I have been a liberal for the past 60 years and while the party has wandered away from my ideals occasionally, I support the liberal principles of individual rights and social reform.

But there is always hope. I had hopes for Stéphane Dion, but Stéphane was not his father either. His awkward English kept his intelligence from getting through to anglophone voters. Maybe the reverse was true for Michael Ignatief as liberal leader but I think he really had been out of the country much too long.

It was the growing frustration with the Harper years in Ottawa that led us to turn to the young Trudeau. Liberals were ready to forgive a lot to rid us of what Harper was doing to the country.

But it is still frustrating and I am tiring of listing Trudeau’s acts of bad judgement. His leadership is questionable. His liberalism is weak. And I resent his casual destruction of the liberal party.

But Trudeau is still ten times better than the other choices.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A government built on falsehoods.

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Martin Regg Cohn of the Toronto Star described the Ontario conservatives as ageist the other day. He believes that Doug Ford’s Tories are the party of only the old people. He comes to this conclusion apparently because the inordinate number of dumb moves the Ford government is making that are having a serious impact on young people.

Regg Cohn should be more patient. Dougie and the gang will get around to his age group soon enough.

Because “Government for the people” is just a meaningless slogan. Ford obviously felt that a slogan such as “Make Ontario Great Again” would be too easily recognized as copied from Donald Trump’s campaign in the United States.

But, the same as Donald Trump found out south of the border, lies work today. All you have to do is tell lies that fit the bias of the target group. You have to find people who are fed up with politics anyway. With fewer and fewer people voting these days, those people are not hard to find. They will vote if you just give them a cause—the nastier the cause, the better.

The favourite cause of the ignorant today is anti-environmentalism. They see the greenies and tree-huggers as being against job creation and adding more taxes for gas for your pickup. They hate newcomers for taking jobs nobody really wants anyway. They resent automation because they do not understand it. And they resent people who find computers easy to use.

One of Dougie’s problems is that he thinks the only people working for a minimum wage are high school-aged kids at Tims or McDonalds. They are not. We could show you the problem in a half-block walk on Spadina Avenue in Toronto were immigrant women with families are working for minimum wage in sweat shops above the restaurants and grocery stores. And they only wish the employer did not steal some of that minimum pay back from them.

The only age problem Dougie and his ‘Deplorables’ have is that they are mostly middle-aged men who think all university students live in their parents’ basements.

Just think of all the fun next year when Dougie lines up with Larry (Alberta conservative leader Jason Kenney), Curly (federal conservative leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer) and Moe (premier of Saskatchewan). That comedy trio are going to take on Justin Trudeau. And Canadians can sit on the sidelines and cheer on our favourite team.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

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