Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party’

The trial of Kathleen Wynne.

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

The trial is set to begin in Sudbury, Ontario on September 7. We would ignore the trial and its political implications if it did not involve the present Premier of Ontario. Mind you Kathleen Wynne will spend most of the trial on the sidelines. She is not charged with a crime. She has lackeys for that.

Standing in for the Premier is a long-time staff member, Patricia Sorbara. Pat has been in and around the Ontario Liberal Party at Queen’s Park since the mid 1980s. She has risen slowly from minor roles with junior ministers to the premier’s office. Choosing her to tell a former candidate to back off from a byelection was not exactly the vote of confidence that any political apparatchik wants to hear. It means you can be disavowed if things go wrong.

Sorbara and her local contact, a prominent Sudbury undertaker and Liberal fundraiser, Gerry Lougheed were just that. If anything were to go wrong with the Premier’s plan, those two (as they say in politics) were there to be thrown under the bus. And Sorbara and Lougheed were.

There does not seem to be any denial of the facts of the conversations with former candidate, Andrew Olivier—who, as a quadriplegic, records important chats rather than taking notes. There seems to be no way though to lay a charge against the Premier for what she might have told them to say.

Another unindicted defendant in this trial will be Ontario’s minister of energy, Glen Thibault, the winning Liberal candidate in that Sudbury by-election. While there were some carefully worded criticisms of his role from his former friends in the New Democratic caucus at Queen’s Park, he records nothing and remembers nothing improper being offered to him to encourage him to run for the Liberals in the by-election.

But it will be the news media and the public who will make that connection after the trial is over. And if there is even the hint of a criticism of the Premier in the judge’s ruling, it will be embellished and shouted louder by the opposition in next June’s provincial election.

And then the election itself will be the severest test of all. Because no matter who wins next year’s provincial election, the losers will be the Ontario voters.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Murray dumps Wynne.

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

“Don’t let the door handle hit you in the ass on the way out, Glen!” The good news is that Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray is leaving the Wynne cabinet in Ontario. The bad news is that his new job is as executive director of Alberta’s namby-pamby Pembina Institute. It should suit him.

It was not as though he was doing anything useful in Toronto. From the time in the Ontario Liberal leadership when he dumped his supporters in the gay community a week before voting on delegates, Murray’s self interest has been apparent. He was assuring himself a cabinet position while fouling the voting for convention delegates.

Some people are describing his departure as a rat leaving a sinking ship but there is a long way to go before the Ontario election scheduled for June 7, 2018. If Wynne and her Liberals had any competition, they would worry.

At 50, Montreal-born Glen Murray has been trying to decide where he is headed. He was elected three times as a Winnipeg councillor and served six years as mayor of Winnipeg before coming to Toronto. The one political loss he suffered over the years was a stab at a federal seat in 2004 in Manitoba. It was not a good election for Liberals in the west.

He won a seat in the Ontario Legislature in a by-election in February 2010.

As a politician, you can see his appeal for the Pembina Institute. You would think that a Calgary-based environmentalist organization would do very poorly among the local tar sands exploiters but that is not the case. The institute seems almost apologetic when it explains the harm bitumen can do. It must also be the only environmentalist organization to refer to bitumen as ‘crude oil.’

(Bitumen is the tarry substance in the tar sands that can be refined into ersatz crude oil at a substantial carbon footprint. It has to be diluted with a carrier and heated to send it through a pipeline at high pressure.)

Glen Murray’s seat in the Ontario Legislature will remain vacant until after the June election next year. It should not make too much difference.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Who’s congratulating Trudeau?

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Stephen Harper’s PMO had a revolving door for communications people, so it is not too surprising if we do not remember one of them. This is in reference to an op-ed in the Toronto Star last week by someone named ‘MacDougall.’ What was noticeable about the article was that he claims to be a Tory and was congratulating the Liberal prime minister. How rare is that?

This Conservative communications expert was congratulating Justin Trudeau for the smart way he is handling Donald Trump. What else can our prime minister do? Donald Trump is a 70-year old dirty old man who has landed in the White House. He acts like an uncontrollable 12-year old. And since he is president, you are not allowed to spank him.

Of course, Trudeau is trying to do a work-around. He had appointed David MacNaughton as ambassador to Washington before Trump rose to a level of concern on the horizon. The job was MacNaughton’s pay-off for the slip-shod effort he did in running Ontario for the Liberals in the last election. Trudeau might still have to replace him with someone with more diplomatic skills and knowledge of American politics and politicians.

Canadian diplomacy has come a long way since the quintessential diplomat Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was dressed down by President Lyndon Johnson for “pissing on his rug.”

And only a conservative would think it was a win for Trump to approve the Keystone XL pipeline for Justin Trudeau. Pipelines for bitumen are the noose that will eventually hang our ’ecology-minded’ Trudeau.

And the writer might have thought we handled the milk production charges with derision but anyone knowledgeable knew that the NAFTA milk concerns sit entirely on the U.S. side of the border. Overproduction is a U.S. problem when you consider that Wisconsin has more dairy cows than all of Canada.

Usually in politics when someone pats you on the back as effusively as Mr. MacDougall, you expect he is checking for the best place to thrust the (rhetorical) knife. We better keep an eye on him.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Is there any hope for Horwath?

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Every once in a while, we are reminded that there are three parties at play for the right to hold the lease on the Pink Palace looking down University Avenue from Queen’s Park. We know lots about the Liberals that currently hold the lease. We know more than we want to know about the Conservatives and their corrupt leadership. What has us stumped is the lack of direction of Ontario’s New Democratic Party.

It is easy to blame NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. After eight years of her desultory leadership, you really wonder about the death wish of her and her party. If she ever had a good idea, the Liberals have stolen it. And she spends most of her time trying to explain why the Liberals are not going far enough or fast enough. Even when she is right, she does not have the political smarts to take advantage of being right.

Earlier this year, Horwath received a letter signed by 34-longtime party supporters in the Toronto area questioning her leadership. Frankly, they could have asked ‘What leadership?’ The very fact that one of those signatures was that of long-time NDP supporter Michele Landsberg, wife of former party leader Stephen Lewis, was serious enough.

You would think that Horwath would take some of this criticism to heart. She seems to have no understanding of the art of leadership. She almost seems to be apologizing for her concerns. Her policies appear to be borrowed from the right wing rather than developed on the left. She seems to lack any understanding at all for social democratic politics and where those politics could take us.

Given the chance to reprise her almost absent-minded campaign of 2014, Horwath will find herself well behind the political sentiment of the province. People are uneasy about the stability of the recently improved economy. The number of jobs might be growing but how many are part-time, lacking benefits and insecure? They see the political situation in the United States as dangling us over a precipice. They are worried about the chances of bringing the continued turmoil of the Middle East to North America.

What all Ontario parties lack is leadership. There is no trust for any of the three leaders or their parties. Leadership polls at this stage are meaningless. The election is scheduled for next June and somebody has to get serious.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

On being nice to Premier Wynne.

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

It could be hard to get used to doing this. The problem basically is that as a liberal all my life, it is very difficult to accept Kathleen Wynne as a liberal. She is not a liberal and I do not like the way she has been running Ontario.

But…(life is full of ‘Buts’ isn’t it?) what is the alternative? Our provincial New Democrats cannot find their way across Yonge Street. The NDP in this province has no future and appears to have no plans for one.

And the Ontario Conservatives are something mothers use to frighten disobedient children. The current leader of the Tories stole the leadership a couple years ago and since then has been searching for conservatives.

And Ontario’s Greens have never been in contention for anything.

Which brings us back to Granny Wynne. That woman has a death grip on the door to the Premier’s office. What she is really doing is threatening to take us back to the awful days of Mike Harris as Premier. Only this time, the choice is a political manipulator named Patrick Brown.

Kathleen Wynne tells everyone that she got into politics because of Mike Harris. The only reason she joined the Liberal Party was because Mike Harris was a Conservative. She thought the Liberals had a chance of unseating Harris.

But politically, Wynne is a reactionary. There is nothing progressive about her. She jumped into politics to fight against Harris’ move to amalgamate Metropolitan Toronto into a single city. It was probably the only progressive move he ever made. What Harris did not know to do was to give the politicians at Toronto City Hall the power to do their jobs. Anyone who thinks that city is well run needs to give their head a shake.

And how do you like the way Wynne sells off hydro distribution but leaves the liquor board wallowing in excess profits. If she had sold off the LCBO, the province could have made billions and still kept the revenue.

Not to mention the water torture she is putting us through in gradually introducing grocery store distribution of beer and wines. And have we seen any improvement in our Canada Pension Plan recently?

Yes, the bad news folks is that Granny Wynne might be your only choice in the election next year.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Granny Wynne knows best.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The current argument between Ontario’s New Democrats and the Ontario Liberals is like a school yard spat over who did what. It is not only childish but it makes both sides of the argument look foolish. They are arguing over who thought of having a mediocre pharmacare plan first. Neither side has much of which to be very proud.

The point is that not having a universal pharmacare program works at cross purposes to the intent of Canada’s Medicare program. It means that those of us who take our meds are paying more for them and those who cannot afford them, fail to take them and drive up the cost of Medicare.

It is good to see that the NDP are thinking about real needs. Just why they would suggest that only the 125 most commonly prescribed drugs be free to the public is something that only they can explain. It is like saying ‘Tough beans’ to those with an uncommon problem. Since the Liberals are offering to fund the full 4000 or so listed drugs up until age 25, that must be saying ‘Tough beans’ to those between 25 and 65—which does not make really good sense either.

But you have to give this round to Granny Wynne and her Liberals. A small step in the right direction is better than no progress at all. Even the Ontario health minister, Eric Hoskins, has been pitching pharmacare to anyone who would listen for years.

Mind you we started calling the Ontario premier Granny because anything she was going to do took a long time to happen. It is similar to when she finally admitted that the Ontario minimum wage should be $15 per hour. Did she launch it in reasonable time? No. She is taking two years and staging the increase over that time.

The one strong benefit of this pharmacare plan is that of the intense pressure on a Liberal or New Democrat government (should one or the other get elected next year) will be to complete the universality of the plan. The likelihood of any Conservative government doing anything other than finding ways of cutting back the plan would be extremely unlikely.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau: Poster Boy or Action Figure?

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Goodness! Is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being criticized for not living up to his promises? Is he just a poster boy? Why is he not living up to his billing? He will have two years as prime minister in his pocket this October and some people are starting to have doubts.

What is the problem? Is he marching to a different drummer than what he promised Canadians? The transparency in parliament and the collegial atmosphere he promised there seem to be forgotten. His purported feminist support—because it is 2015—seems more like using neophytes as cannon fodder. He seems to have no urge to solve his cabinet problems.

What ties this liberal in knots is the why of his continued abuse of the Liberal Party. Today’s Liberals are not his father’s party. All the party is allowed to be is a mailing list for pleas for money. It is a propaganda mechanism and a source of suckers for fund-raising. The party that was has been gutted. The party executive are just yes-men and women. There is no policy discussion. The Leader is in control.

Justin Trudeau seems to live in some elite world of a monied aristocracy that only communicates with other elites. The only problem is that they seem to be running out of elites and nothing is happening on some serious appointments. He can hardly promise impartiality and then throw a Liberal hack on the table for an impartial position. Nobody tries hard to keep their word.

It is not like a promise that the 2015 election would be the last under first-past-the-post voting. That was a foolish promise that was proved impractical by parliamentarians giving up their summer last year to study it.

And, sorry Justin, you are not allowed to change the rules in parliament to suit your own wishes. Parliament belongs to the people. It has to be open and be fair to all parties.

Justin also needs to understand that he cannot suck and blow at the same time. If you are going to be the poster boy for the environment, you cannot send three times the amount of diluted bitumen over the Rockies on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. It makes you look like a hypocrite.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The omens are in the ridings Ms. Wynne.

Friday, June 9th, 2017

The true politico pays attention to what is happening in the electoral districts. Those readings mean far more than the public opinion polls that are such a waste of time in the year before the election. If you do not grasp what is happening in the field, you are not even in the race.

The late Keith Davey was the Yoda of all Liberal politicos. His daily routine included calls across Canada. When he called, you quickly briefed him on the ridings you had heard from. You knew the detail he wanted. He kept his daily notes in tiny cramped handwriting on a single sheet of foolscap. Any time the prime minister wanted a party briefing, those were Keith’s notes.

Ontario is now in a one year countdown to an election on June 7, 2018. The heavy action is in the Conservative electoral district associations. Being conservative, they rarely get into fist-fights at their nomination meetings. It is the number of complaints coming into Tory headquarters that indicate the heated contests at nomination meetings. It seems that if the party leader can steal his leadership, why should not aspiring MPPs steal their nomination.

The best example of how the Tory nominations are being conducted have been the claims of ballot-box stuffing in both Ottawa and Hamilton. You should not have to count more ballots than there were distributed to voters. Chicanery, deceit, intimidation and signing up the local cemetery are all practiced ways of ensuring your candidate the nomination.

What the current action tells us is that electoral districts that used to always vote Liberal are now in play. No Liberal seat is safe. And Patrick Brown has got his tame party executive to ignore the shenanigans in the ridings.

But the problem in all of this is that there is no corresponding activity in the Liberal electoral district associations. The quiet there is deafening. The Liberal Party in Ontario has become a top-down organization. The provincial Liberals are never asked about policy directions. They do not expect to choose their own candidates. The party will tell them eventually who will be their sacrificial lamb.

Premier Wynne is running out the clock.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

“Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

That hackneyed expression is used to describe politicians who stupidly work to defeat themselves. A good example today is the desperation we are seeing at Queen’s Park as the Liberal’s Premier Kathleen Wynne continues to destroy the Liberal legacy in Ontario. She has so many irons in so many fires that the voters are completely confused.

Good government for Ontario does not seem to be Ms. Wynne’s operating theory. Instead, she dabbles. She is a reactionary dabbler. You show her a problem and she will question what is the smallest effort needed to say she is doing something about it.

Today she is mired in the argument as to whether we or our children should pay for the expense of government incompetence at managing electric power for this province. And before Patrick Brown smirks at this statement, it should be noted that all flavours of politicians are equally inept.

It was to Ms. Wynne’s credit though that she saw through the hypocrisy of the other parties and made a move to introduce beer and better wines in grocery stores. She destroyed herself and her party by turning the introduction into a form of water torture. It will be years before we will just assume that any large grocery store will have a booze section. And there is not a single damn grocery store in Barrie carrying beer or wine yet. That is not only obvious and petty just because it is where that schmuck Conservative leader Patrick Brown is running next year.

Mind you, the beer and wine fiasco is nowhere near the colossal stupidity of suggesting that the first high-speed trains in Ontario should be from Toronto’s Union Station to cabinet colleague Deb Matthews’ electoral district in London, Ontario. How dumb do you think the voters are in this province?

And even as late as yesterday, Wynne announced that it will take her government two more years to get the minimum wage up to $15 per hour. Our kids have action dolls that provide more action than Premier Wynne.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

We can blame Cousin Oliver.

Friday, May 26th, 2017

It is all Oliver Mowat’s fault. The myopic Father of Confederation had a mainly rural and agrarian Ontario to oversee in the early years of confederation. His picture hangs over our desk today, not as a distant relation but in the form of a preserved and framed, full front-page of a Saturday Globe published in 1893.  The lead story recognizes Sir Oliver’s then 21-year tenure as Ontario’s premier.

But Ontario is a very different place today than the Province of Upper Canada that came into the Canadian confederation 150 years ago this July 1. Cousin Oliver would probably have something snarky to say about the picture of his one-time colleague Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald on the same wall. The two of them had very different views of confederation. Our preference is the country as foreseen by Sir John.

Yet, it was Sir Oliver who won those early battles taken to London that defined this country. He saw Canada as an outrider to the British ship of state. He saw us as a supplier of raw materials to English industry. He wanted strong provinces that could dictate to a national government of convenience. The British adjudicators of the time agreed with Sir Oliver.

But Sir John had his revenge. He built the national links of steel that drew Canada into one. His Canada was from sea to sea.

Give Oliver the credit he deserves in building Ontario into the powerhouse of confederation. It was his short-sightedness that left us with a constricting constitution that is so unsuited to the needs of our modern Canada.

Who knew in 1867 that Canada would outgrow the concept of the Commonwealth? Who knew in those early years of confederation that Canada could become a production powerhouse to help change the course of European and World Wars?

Let’s give Oliver the credit he deserves. He was a wily politician. He took George Brown and Edward Blake’s early Liberals and led them for 24 years as Premier of Ontario. He put together a voting coalition that included Catholics and working class voters. It was said about him that he was supported strongly by both the liquor interests and the prohibitionists. Cousin Oliver was a Liberal.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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