Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party’

Damaged Democracy.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

It is catching on. This writer is delighted that more and more Canadians are starting to question our commitment to democracy. Many point to the United States and say, ‘Boy, isn’t that democracy a mess. The bad news is that our mess is no better than theirs. It is just not as divisive.

What Donald Trump did to democracy in the United States over the past four years was in plain sight. It was because he had little understanding of political processes and the use of the levers of politics or where they are located. That weakness was key to the Biden-Harris victory last November.

The difference in Canada is that people who do understand the levers of politics are undermining the political parties themselves and destroying them from within. Who are these malefactors? You know them. Their names are Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair.

Stephen Harper never seemed to like the political party that Peter Mackay brought to him when they combined it with alliance-reform to create their new conservative party of Canada. Even without a majority at first, Harper created a fortress prime minister’s office (PMO) that treated the party membership with a fair amount of scorn.

When Justin Trudeau ended the Harper era, he did Harper one better. He abolished the senate liberals and the membership structure of the liberal party. He did not like either. There are those who refer to the current enrolment of what is left of the party as Trudeau’s ATM. They are just a source of funds. He fails to understand that these people are the core of party workers, listening posts in the electoral districts, sources of ideas and future MPs.

And then there was Tom Mulcair of the NDP who might have done better as a liberal. He left a hollowed-out and dispirited party for Jagmeet Singh to swamp with Sikh memberships and walk away with the leadership. He leads a party that time and Canadians have forgotten.

Susan Delacourt wrote a book recently about Shopping for Votes that tries to explain the new consumer approach and treatment of voters. I think it is more complex than that, but that would make another book on it a tough sell.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Did you know the campaign was on?

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Jagmeet Singh has been heard from. He did not exactly come down from the mountain with tablets of stone. The new democratic party leader has decided that the low-hanging fruit of for-profit, long-term care homes was as good an issue as his party needs in the looming federal election.

It is likely that he figured that is all he needs if Canadians are to be presented with a campaign fought over the handling of the pandemic. The NDP might not be aware that there are no heroes while the battle still rages. Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau is hardly looking like a leader popping in and out the front door of Rideau Cottage like a cuckoo to repeat the advice of medical personnel. And conservative leader Erin O’Toole has hardly won kudos from the voters complaining about how Trudeau does, or does not, do the job.

O’Toole might not remember that it was conservative Brian Mulroney who sold off the Connaught Laboratories that might have helped Canadians get vaccinated as fast as citizens in other countries. Nor does it help Justin Trudeau if the liberals did give out more money per capita than any other advanced country during the pandemic.

It might come as a surprise for those who pay attention to politics that Justin Trudeau is doing as well in the polls as he is. You would think that some of his record as prime minister would work against him.

But his real secret weapon is the opposition. The reason Justin Trudeau and the liberals are likely to win any election called this year is the sad condition of his party’s opposition. There really is none. Erin O’Toole is a mistake. He is a conservative who thought the military taught him leadership. He is no leader. Jagmeet Singh has already proved that he is incapable of leading the new democrats anywhere. His leadership of that party is being endured.

There are only a few Canadians who would bet on the new leader of the Green Party. Annamie Paul, leader of the Greens, is an unknown to the majority of Canadians.

That leaves us with Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc Québécois. That is hardly an alternative for anyone who cares about our country.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Is it cruel to fool O’Toole?

Friday, January 29th, 2021

Is finance minister Chrystia Freeland deliberately fooling conservative leader Erin O’Toole? It seems like she has more important tasks ahead of her. Maybe she is forging ahead with her plans and ignoring what O’Toole has to say. He accuses her of ideological and a reckless budgeting. She might be one of the first liberal finance ministers to ever do that.

Her problem is that she has far too many claimants wanting a piece of the finance action. First, she has to budget for ending the pandemic with foreign-made vaccines and then she has to build a better country for the survivors.

The main difference between Freeland and O’Toole is that he thinks we should rebuild the country to where it was before the pandemic. Freeland believes we should build better.

We all seem to have our own idea of what this means. I am sure many of us would put the emphasis on raising our peoples to greater heights of achievement. We need to ensure each and every one of us of sufficient funds and opportunity to learn and to work at what brings us fulfilment.

But I also believe that if we have a few billions left over in this budget, we need high-speed trains to reach from sea to sea. High-speed electric trains are an ecological solution to the heavy pollution of planes and road transport. It means building new track beds and overpasses in every province of Canada.

And finance minister Freeland should make a point of talking about this to president Biden’s treasury secretary Janet Yellen. The U.S. is currently on the brink of building more high-speed electrified train service—if Biden can stop the political interference by those who want to continue the use of fossil fuels.

It looks like the use of fossil fuels is the main challenge to both Biden and Trudeau. They have strong and well-funded opposition. Alberta remains Trudeau’s nemesis and it will take a while for the average Albertan to realize that the future is in thermal energy from the earth not in tar sands that pollute so much. Biden made a good start by cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline. All Trudeau has to do is cancel the twinning of the TransMountain pipeline.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Our failing democracy.

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

We are all responsible. We are failing to support democracy. We are making bad choices in leaders, bad choices in who represents us and failing to demand that they protect our democratic institutions and customs. And we can only blame ourselves.

We need to face the facts: our political parties are failing us. Bad leaders speak volumes about the parties they are chosen to lead. Do you think the Ontario conservatives are pleased with their choice of a blowhard such as Doug Ford as leader? Do you think rank and file new democrats across Canada are pleased with the leadership of Jagmeet Singh? He has no idea where that party needs to go. And I would say harsh words for the federal conservative leader but sometimes the parties do not get much of a choice.

But the real challenge is in the court of the federal liberals. We laughed with Justin Trudeau in 2015. We were so pleased to be rid of the Harper conservatives at the time that we did not pay enough attention. Trudeau lied to the liberal party and we let him get away with it. He promised us a new era of party resurgence. The only problem was the party could only go where he wanted it to go. And today, the liberal party is powerless to bring him to heel.

Trudeau has proved himself an elitist. He only lets the party go where he wants it to go. He and his circle rule from the prime minister’s office and never a negative word is heard.

We wondered when he holidayed with the Aga Khan. We cringed when a trip to India was a family dress-up occasion. He seemed forgetful with the We charity. He saw no problem in trying to corrupt his justice minister. He demoted and fired ministers who said ‘no,’ Gender equality seemed difficult.

And when he told us that 2015 was the last time Canadians would use first-past-the-post voting to choose a parliament, many believed him. He failed to democratize the Senate. He chose the selections of elitist committees. He burnt himself in his selection of a governor general.

Canadians want and have the right to demand truth, honesty and integrity in their prime ministers. We need to get back to that.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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It’s not your father’s liberal party.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

When Pierre Trudeau resigned his leadership of the liberal party in 1984, it was a robust organization with supporters across Canada. The president of the party was B.C. liberal Iona Campagnolo. She was the party president that when the new leader John Turner was caught by the media patting her backside—made a joke of it by turning it around and patting his.

It is regrettable to think that there will not be much left of the party whenever Justin Trudeau decides his time is done. Rather than work with a strong and independent party, Justin Trudeau prefers it be subservient and totally under his direction. Nobody runs for office in the party without his approval. And nobody runs to be a liberal candidate for parliament without his approval.

Trudeau had told the party he would not interfere in the choice of the party in the electoral districts before the party made him leader. It became clear in his first election as leader in 2015, that he would choose who he wanted as candidates. His inner circle people are always a mirror image of the forty-something prime minister, reflecting his attitudes, his direction and his ignoring the party’s wishes.

He told the party and his supporters in the 2015 election campaign that it would be the last time that they voted under the first-past-the-post style of voting. That promise bombed under a democratic institutions minister who was chosen more for her gender than her knowledge of democratic institutions.

Even his gender-balanced cabinet soon lost its gender balance when he found that changes where inevitable with time. Luckily the best performer in his cabinet over their first term in government was Chrystia Freeland, the foreign affaires minister who became deputy prime minister and the first female minister of finance in Trudeau’s minority cabinet in 2020.

Justin Trudeau is maturing in the job but he still has a way to go before he learns the importance of having a strong, independent party behind him as prime minister. He also has a long way to go to becoming the kind of prime minister as was his father.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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In praise of liberalism.

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Being a liberal is not just some fuzzy feeling. It is a commitment to life. It matters not the color of your skin. It matters not whether you are rich or poor. It matters not the extent of your education. It depends on your caring. It depends on your ability to grasp the needs of your fellow humans. The need is to be progressive. To keep an open mind.

Liberals ignore the false news of the ill-informed. They reject the foolishness of unthinkingly believing in social media posts of those with personal agendas. Liberals do not rush to judgement.

Also, a liberal allows no one to put themselves above others. A liberal looks down on no one. There is no upper class. There is no middle class. There is no lower class. Nobody need be labelled.

You might hear someone claim they are a social liberal and an economic conservative. That person is not a liberal. Their statement is a conflict.

An economic or any kind of conservative can be a basically selfish person. While we have known many a conservative who is not selfish and is a warm and caring person, it is not the type you usually meet in politics. Too many conservatives preach a cant of small government, balanced budgets, an open economy and the devil take those who fall behind. They come across as mean and uncaring.

They will tell their constituents to stay home during the pandemic and then take off on a foreign holiday. They will leave behind social media postings to make people think they are at home. They know that they are doing wrong but they consider themselves to be privileged.

But privilege can also be the problem with liberal politicians. People ask why some liberals are fed up with Justin Trudeau. Sure, he looks good popping out of the Rideau Cottage to speak about the pandemic. That hardly lets him off the hook about the TransMountain pipeline that is just designed to send the pollution of that oil sands bitumen to other countries which can be blamed for the world-wide pollution.

And it is hard to forget his elitist approach to the Senate and court appointments, his failure to keep two key women in his cabinet and his dress-up trip to India. Nobody’s perfect.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Political leaders get lots of advice.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

It is part of the job. Leaders of all political parties get lots of advice—most of it ignored. Maybe the Toronto Star is not aware of this phenomenon. That must be why they run advice columns for different leaders every Sunday opposite the editorials. One of these, that ran last Sunday, was intended for conservative leader Erin O’Toole.

As befits the conservative party, the advice was far from progressive and you could picture the writer yawning as he wrote it.

The first idea was to show off the excessive amounts of money the Tories are reaping from their pleas to their base. The suggestion was that they give all the money they dredge from their supporters in December to charity. I wish they would—and then good luck in January trying to get more. If conservatives wanted that money given to charity, they could have got the refund from Revenue Canada directly.

And talk about double-dipping. Would they get a political donation credit and then further credit on their taxes for the charitable donation?

But the conservative supporter goes on to suggest that the second wave of covid-19 might be an opportunity of benefit to Mr. O’Toole. First of all, there also might be many Canadians appalled at a politician thinking they can benefit from sickness and death.

The fact that Justin Trudeau had an uptick in the polls for his cuckoo-clock type appearances was more the fact of the exposure, the warmth of the home setting and his manner in handling the non-political information he was providing for the public. For the opposition leader to try to mimic the presentations to criticize the prime minister would hardly get the cooperation of the news media for long.

Doug Ford has fared badly with his attempt to do group presentations at Queen’s Park. Some of the media’s questions lately have been answered with tirades from the intemperate, inexperienced premier.

And we were under the impression that this conservative writer was experienced. For him to suggest that O’Toole attack the liberals for the generosity of the support for Canadians caught in a pandemic is a bad idea. Sure, there will be some ill-considered payments when you are ‘rushing funds out the door’ but so far, they appear to be catching most of the errors and getting them fixed.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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To listen and to learn in Ottawa.

Sunday, November 8th, 2020

Yesterday it was noted how quiet the Ottawa scene has been while history is made in America.

But we ignore Ottawa at our peril. You have to listen to buzz in the quiet. There is the testiness of the conservative caucus—planning for the partisan attacks to come. There is the disquiet of the new democrats hoping to build a new future. There is the hope for new leadership and new challenges among the greens. And the bloc MPs share their hopes for a future, no sitting bloc member can expect to see.

It is the nervous energy of the liberal caucus that spins Canada’s immediate future. Do they sit quietly in the balcony watching the high jinks of the country below or is there serious thought of the road ahead for their party, their leadership and their country??

Do they realize the crossroads where their country is at? Do they see the changes that move like the world’s tectonic plates?

Do they see the damage that Justin Trudeau has done to the once-strong liberal party? Is the liberal list of registered liberals just Trudeau’s handy ATM? And whose electoral district do you represent? Is it your riding, or Justin’s?

As a member of parliament, who do you represent? Is it the riding or the liberal party? Who do you speak for in parliament? Your political masters in the PMO? Or Canadians? And are you financially independent for the next election? Are you allowed to think or are you just a rubber stamp for the PMO?

And speaking of the PMO, is that collection of sycophants capable of keeping the prime minister out of trouble? Do you realize the naiveté of your leader? He learned so little at his father’s knee.

So, let’s give a passing thought to our MP’s. We will soon be seeing them at the hustings.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Don’t blame Singh.

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

If there was ever a guy on the wrong side of the parliamentary ledger, it is Jagmeet Singh of the new democrats. While the rest of the opposition thought they were driving more nails into liberal coffins, this week, there was Jagmeet and the NDP caucus keeping their word and supporting the liberals.

Singh and his losers in the NDP knew what this support was costing them. They stopped an election that Canadians did not want at this time but there is no reward for their keeping their word or their honesty.

And when the election does take place, it will likely be Jagmeet’s last as leader of the new democrats. There will be no reward from the voters for keeping his word. Whether the next election is next week or next year, Jagmeet’s tenure in office is on a short string.

The only time that the NDP improved their position in trashing a minority government was under Jack Layton in 2006. They might have gained a few seats in parliament at the time because of the liberal sponsorship scandal. The new democrats’ lack of support, at that time, for the Paul Martin government, also helped open the door to Stephen Harper’s ten years as prime minister of Canada.

It might be a very different situation for Singh and the liberals if tomorrow or a few months from now he and his caucus support another motion of non-confidence. The reality is that the public does not see the WE scandal in the same way as the Quebec-based sponsorship scandal.

Also, a lot of Canadians admired Justin Trudeau for his cuckoo-like popping in and out of the Rideau Cottage throughout the pandemic ups and downs of 2020. They felt a kinship with him that could transcend the usual political relationships. He and his party could see an edge there that the opposition were not recognizing. The liberals were willing to bet on it.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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“I double dare you.”

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

The kids are bruising for a fight but unsure of the outcome. The Ottawa liberals are tantalizing the conservatives with the prospect of an election. The only problem is that it could all be for nothing. If nobody can win, what is the point?

And that is the real problem. No matter how you read the polls, there is no other likely outcome to an election than what already exists today. The only logical outcome is a few seats this way or a few seats that way. If you cannot win, why do it?

And that is the question. The conservatives are trying to corner the liberals with corruption charges which have little real support from the voters. It is an attempt to oversize the We scandal.

What the conservatives do not realize is that the We charity is a dead issue. The voters have much more serious questions to think about. The covid-19 figures keep growing and all the voters want is a vaccine. They want a Halloween to enjoy for their kids. They want us all to have a Merry Christmas. They want life in Canada to get back to normal. Then they will have time to listen to politicians who might or might not know what they are doing.

But, at this time, the conservatives only have their new leader in the crosshairs. Erin O’Toole can ill-afford an election. His problems are the attack dogs such as conservative Pierre Poilievre from Ottawa. They are undermining O’Toole’s ideas for a kinder, gentler conservative party and dragging him into a fight that he does not need.

But never fear folks, Jagmeet Singh and his sorry new democrats will come to the rescue. They can hardly afford an election either.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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