Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party’

This fails the smell test.

Friday, September 11th, 2020

It must have been the final political straw for Bill Morneau. After taking some of the heat off the prime minister in the ‘We charity’ imbroglio, the former finance minister is still being criticized for his naiveté. Not only is he being pilloried by the opposition in parliament and ridiculed by the news media, he is being charged with violating the elections act during last year’s election.

This is an inexcusable situation. Bill Morneau was just one more of Justin Trudeau’s elite choices for a key role in his cabinet. As a lamb to the slaughter, he deserved better. Trudeau used him and tossed him away when he was no longer useful.

The Morneau name meant more in the Toronto business community. It was also useful to have the connection with his wife’s family, the Florenceville, New Brunswick McCain’s.

But when you bring someone into politics like Morneau, you can hardly expect him to be flying solo as soon as his new political career is launched. This guy needed ongoing help and guidance and Trudeau and the prime minister’s office let him down. Morneau needed something more than a service dog to keep him out of trouble.

He needed one or two experienced people in that office to help keep him from the gaffs he made because of his lack of political experience.

But if Trudeau did not think he needed that kind of help, why should he expect his underlings to need it?

Looking at his staff working with him in 2015 election, was disquieting. There were actually two people working with him whom I was aware had as much or more political experience as Justin Trudeau. And one of them had to quit because of a conflict.

Trudeau had gotten rid of the old liberal party workhorses in the Senate and ignored the experienced people out in the ridings. He was running his own campaign. And, as luck had it, that was also what the Canadian voters wanted.

But, how often are you that lucky?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Doing what they do best.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

It is time for the conservatives in parliament to return to what they do best: criticize. They are so good at it that they have more people lined up to criticize the liberal cabinet members than there are liberal cabinet members to criticize.

It would be easy to just give you a list but it is important to note that only five of the positions seem important. Obviously, the leader of the opposition gets to criticize the prime minister most of the time. And then you get that nasty Pierre Poilievre taking on the finance minister and deputy prime minister.

The surprise pick was our old nemesis, former conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, who will criticize the liberal infrastructure plan that the liberals promised Canadians.

Because of the importance of health in this time of a pandemic, Alberta MP Michelle Rempel Garner will cover that portfolio.

Another choice that caught us off guard, was Ontario MP Michael Chong as foreign affairs critic. Chong has often been a critic of his own party for its failure to develop policies more in tune with how Canadians are thinking. It will be interesting to see how Chong handles the job.

If there was one standard complaint about Canadian conservatives over the years, is that you always know where they stand. They tend to be knee-jerk reactionaries, with little thinking of benefit to the average Canadian in mind.

What will be uppermost on the conservative mind will be the supposed deficit that Canadians will be faced with for years to come because of the supposedly wanton spending of the liberals. This is basic conservative cant and at to-day’s interest rates, inflation will save us more than we are likely to have to repay.

If the conservatives were really sincere about paying off some of this debt, maybe they would agree to replacing the two-per cent cut that Stephen Harper took from the HST. That would be a good place to find some money in a recovering economy.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

So, who wants an election?

Monday, September 7th, 2020

Americans do it every four years. Canadians sometimes do it more often. We are talking about federal elections here. Americans have never seen one like this one: the vote seems all locked down two months before the actual election. Given that intention and the determination of the voters, Donald Trump should be out on his ass in just two months.

There is a ‘maybe’ in that statement. It takes almost three months for the transition from one president to the next anyway. And what if Trump baulks? He likes being president. What happens if all his supporters do vote twice?

And what happens in Canada if the liberals and conservatives have a tie? Do we have to settle for the prime minister the Bloc, the NDP and the greens choose?

Maybe in Canada we have to wait and see what Justin Trudeau’s liberals have in mind on which to spend money. One thing for sure, the conservatives have never saved us much, as they seem to like giving all the tax breaks to their rich friends.

The rule of thumb is that you never worry about how much a government wants to spend until they scare the bond rating services. The opposition are just fear-mongering.

Many people are looking forward to just how green this new liberal program will be. It will hardly matter though if Trudeau does not dump the TransMountain pipeline that is being twinned to carry three times the amount of oil sands bitumen over the Rockies.

The one thing for sure is that there will be much sabre rattling about an election on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border until we hear this new liberal plan.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Tooling along with O’Toole.

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

It is ‘go easy’ time on the new leader of Canada’s conservatives. Erin O’Toole is getting the easy ride ahead of any election. The media are throwing him the soft lobs to try to give them some of the thought processes he will be using for tougher questions during a campaign.

It is an amusing thought that the media are crediting him with the supposedly brilliant strategy that propelled him past Peter MacKay to win. What is brilliant about a strategy that says you need to come second to everyone else? That was his strategy and he stuck to it.

It is damn lucky for Canada’s conservatives that Canada does not use a foolish multiple-choice voting system for our national elections. We would end up with a new democrat or green government if we did that.

You would think that our conservatives would stop using multiple choice systems now that they have experienced the same type of result each time. First time, they got ‘Chuckles’ Scheer. Now they get a Tool,

This is just what Canada’s social conservatives wanted to hear—just how liberal O’Toole is about abortions and same sex marriage. This guy is going to get strung up by his own supporters. These social conservatives are the people who put him in their party’s driver’s seat.

This guy is going to have to think long and heard before pushing Justin Trudeau into a fall election. In fact, he might even have to think some more about what would happen in an election next year.

O’Toole is going to have to use more than just the occasional gaff by the liberal leader as his springboard to an election.

Trudeau won a lot of kudos for his handling of the pandemic with those cuckoo clock presentations out of Rideau Cottage. He has a lot of electoral muscle left with women, youth and urban voters. If he can get rid of the TransMountain pipeline albatross, he has clear sailing.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

A sharp turn to the left?

Sunday, August 30th, 2020

Bloomberg News must be concerned. The business news people are reporting, that under the new management of Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s economy will take a decisive lurch to the left. The only delaying factor that might have held up that lurch was obviously Bill Morneau, whom Freeland replaced as finance minister.

Bloomberg now considers Ms. Freeland firmly established as the prime minister’s most trusted lieutenant and “Ms. Fix-It.” They are betting that Canada’s economy will be ‘equitable and green’ under the new finance minister.

As much as I hate to rain on Ms. Freeland’s parade, it is not all that simple. The major stumbling point is that Goddamn TransMountain pipeline. Exactly how many billions the prime minister is willing to spend on that abomination has yet to be determined. There is certainly nothing green or equitable about that!

Freeland has to recognize that negotiating with that scuzzball Jason Kenney in Alberta is a no-win situation. That guy would hate Trudeau even if he adopted him and made him his heir.

There will be many challenges flung at Ms. Freeland in her new position. The least of these challenges will be as to her qualifications for the job. The writing of Plutocrats in 2012 might just be considered envy rather than credentials.

Nor should we be so quick to laud her negotiations with the Trump regime in the United States over the new NAFTA rules. You just do what you should always do with a bully: walk around him.

I figure that there are two jobs for Ms. Freeland. Number one is to get us through this pandemic. Number two is to set this nation on a path that pulls our country together and united. Canada has much to accomplish in the years ahead. Let us do it together.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Justin’s ‘Turn to Bow’.

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Yesterday’s show from Ottawa reminded me of a small book produced by Maclean’s magazine for the 1972 federal election: Their turn to curtsy – Your turn to bow. It told you all the magazine thought you needed to know to be a knowledgeable voter. Maybe that was the intent of the latest episode of the finance committee hearings.

As usual, the Zoom technology proved its strengths and weaknesses. It is dependent on the individual participant’s Internet service—and that is a mixed bag across the country. Mind you the different ‘sets’ for each of the politicians also told a story. I felt sorry for liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz. We know the cost of real estate in Toronto is horrendous but the poor girl looked like she was in somebody’s closet.

New democrat Charley Angus’ background was the clutter of a mind occupied with other things. Yet, conservative Pierre Poilievre was regally presented with a perfectly lit set (until his back flood failed) and full make-up. Chairman Wayne Easter, MP from Prince Edward Island, had a power failure during a storm and it looked like Pierre Poilievre, deputy chair, would take over. Luckily, the power came back quickly in Malpeque.

Whomever set up the studious office setting for the prime minister should have demanded his subject get a shave and a haircut. Maybe he kept the beard because it aged him but the hair looked like a four-year old who screamed when taken to a barber. And not having a teleprompter for his opening remarks was a mistake.

But some would argue that what was said was most important. You could only wish something new was said. As one of the most experienced politicians, the NDP’s Charlie Angus used the ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ approach and it earned him a lecture from the PM who was probably among the least experienced.

The people who needed better balance were the conservatives. Michael Barrett, the newby from Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes was trying to out-nasty Pierre Poilievre. His angle of attack was whether the PM would fire the civil servants who where supposed to vet the WE charity.

Like the book from Maclean’s, I am not sure I ever read the entire content. You had to be a political person to really stick with the drama yesterday. Will it matter? Not much. Will finance minister Bill Morneau be fired? I think he should be.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Liberals whistle past the graveyard.

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

While it might be foolish to buy stock in Trudeau and Company in Ottawa, you have to ask who is going to gain in an election? It is a serious question. It would be necessary for the opposition to get together and bring down the minority liberal government in late September. We could be into an election in November.

But I think not.

There is no doubt that Canadians are displeased with the Justin Trudeau’s gaffes and the We Charity fiasco. And the conservatives would see it as the ideal time to strike with a new leader.

The problem is that there is little reason for the Bloc Québécois to go along with them. Without a new leader, the new democrats have even less reason to get on board.

My guess is that, in such election, the liberals might lose, at most, five or six marginal seats. Would the Bloc or the new democrats gain? Not likely. A few more conservatives would be a slap on the wrist for the liberals and life, such as it is in a pandemic, would go on.

But Canadians are concerned. New voters are the ones likely to be most angry at the liberals. Sure, the liberal government was generous in trying to protect them from the coronavirus and its impact on the economy. The prime minister also won Brownie points for his briefings out of Rideau Cottage. The voters just know now that he will never be perfect. Let another national party get a half-decent leader and Justin Trudeau might be history.

We know that neither Peter MacKay nor Erin O’Toole are going to take the conservatives anywhere. The taste of Harper-style economics will keep either from reaching the brass ring. New democrat leader Jagmeet Singh is also last year’s loser. He fails to promote money, loyalty or effective policies for his party.

And one can only wonder at how the greens are doing in their search for new leadership.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Morneau’s meandering memory.

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Fool us once Mr. Morneau, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us.

Finance minister Bill Morneau has the amazing ability to remember between breakfast and lunch more than $40,000 in expenses he should have paid. I am sorry those harpies in the conservative caucus are making his life difficult at the moment but it is one of the few times that they have been known to be right. Morneau’s ‘mea culpa’ is not acceptable. It can only come with his resignation.

As someone who has travelled to many parts of the world on behalf of a charity, I find the finance minister’s expenses are unconscionable. Those times my wife could come with me on some of my trips, her expenses were always separated and the wife and I paid them. That is the way it is done sir; not sometime in the future when you are appearing before a concerned parliamentary committee.

It is to be hoped that Mr. Morneau has a smart accountant. People in his financial category would often file an expense account for their expenses when travelling and working for the charity. What we would issue them in return was a charitable receipt for the donation. That was legal and above board. They got back some of their costs in the form of a tax refund.

While the Kielburgers might think their published salaries of $125,000 each from the WE charity are modest, I would really like to know what they get from the for-profit part of the their organizations and book royalties. As they are purported to be millionaires today, that should not be the purpose of a charity. That is not what the phrase “charity begins at home” means.

As for Bill Morneau, he has proved that he is neither suited nor worthy of the post of finance minister. His apologies are not accepted.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Longing for leadership.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

Sometime, after August 21, the conservative party hopes to announce the winner of the party’s national leadership. The big question though is does anybody care?

What possible difference would it make if Erin O’Toole beat Peter MacKay? It is the same old, same old conservative dogma. It would mean promising Canadians the squeezing of the size of government, tax loopholes for the rich, ignoring global warming and maybe more concessions to the radical Christian right. There are no new ideas coming from this party.

Nor do we have any expectations from the new democrats. If the party fails to get itself a new leader and new ideas, what hope is there for a party that is supposed to be the conscience of parliament?

The NDP did not even respond when outgoing leader of the green party, Elizabeth May, suggested that the NDP join with the greens. Without Ms. May, both parties are currently leaderless.

That leaves us with the liberals. Since the liberal party has been effectively neutered by Justin Trudeau, we have to look to the liberal caucus. Despite the yeoman service of the prime minister popping out of the cuckoo clock at Rideau Cottage on the pandemic file, it is his leadership we really have to question.

We have all seen it now. When things are swinging his way, the Trudeau scion gets cocky. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seems to have no one capable of looking ahead at the prime minister’s proposed actions. Nobody is giving the files the smell test. There is no political prospective being taken. Trudeau is free wheeling it, as though drunk. He is embarrassing liberals across Canada. He has put the Trans Mountain pipeline ahead of the environment. He ignores obvious conflicts of interest. He has no conscience.

And the solution can only be resolved by the liberal caucus. It is up to our liberal members of parliament to stand on their hind legs and bring the prime minister to heel. When the party leader loses the confidence of the caucus, it is time for action.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Finance Minister Morneau has to go.

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

(Before warming to today’s topic, I would like to thank the readers who sent their comments on yesterday’s topic. I thought at least five per cent of Canadians could name our last five prime ministers. I now think it might be only two per cent who can name Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau—without checking with Google.)

 

But today, we are trying to make the case for prime minister Justin Trudeau to fire his finance minister. Bill Morneau does not seem to realize that, as finance minister, he is in the position of Caesar’s wife. A finance minister is not only required to be above suspicion but an error in judgement cannot be tolerated.

Nor can the credibility of a finance minister be salvaged with an apology. He can hardly forget that one of his daughters works for the We Charity. His other daughter got Craig Kielburger co-founder of the charity to say something nice about her book. The ages of your children hardly matter, you never stop worrying about them or wanting to be proud of them.

But this was a conflict of interest that Morneau took into cabinet and did not recuse himself. How can Canadians ever trust him again? Finance is a game without mulligans.

This does not apply to the prime minister. Justin Trudeau has had more ‘gotcha’s’ than the previous four prime ministers. Between the visit to the Aga Khan, the embarrassing boondoggle in India, the blackface in Vancouver, the SNC Lavalin affair and his mother’s retirement fund from the We Charity, Justin is teetering on the knife edge. While he gets us through the pandemic, that decision remains with the voters.

If any other political party had a half-respectable leader that the voters could get behind, Justin Trudeau and his apologies might be history.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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