Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Party’

Caesar’s wife must be beyond suspicion.

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Recently we wrote that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is in the role of Caesar’s wife. The simple point of that is what Julius Caesar said when he divorced his wife Pompeia: “My wife ought not even be under suspicion.” That statement has meant for centuries that those who seek to be leaders can have no blemish of scandal on themselves or those who share in their trust. It is why Prime Minister Trudeau has an ongoing problem with Bill Morneau.

The Liberal finance minister can no longer be retained in that trusted position. He has failed to rise above the criticisms of detractors.  He has failed to allay suspicions of impropriety. He has failed to hear the baying of the media wolf pack seeking his downfall. He has failed to quiet the catcalls of the political opposition in parliament.

And why does Morneau think that donating to charity the earnings of his stocks since coming to parliament are a panacea? Whether the net difference was $5 or more than $5 million, it comes across as an admission of guilt. The flunky in his office who dreamed up that gambit should be wearing the dunce cap of the apolitical.

But then the dunce cap belongs to Morneau. He has proved to be without political understanding or depth. I have been pleased to hear that voters in his riding seem to like him. They see him as a nice guy. Maybe he just needed time to learn something about the political realities. You cannot do that in the action chair of finance minister.

To use a baseball analogy, he needs to be sent to the minors for some conditioning and experience. His earned run average is abysmal. His runs batted in stats are below average.

We should also realize that Morneau has done some good. He was a fresh and friendly face in the largely inexperienced team presented by Justin Trudeau at Rideau Hall two years ago.

Trudeau did not dump John McCallum from cabinet for doing a poor job for the Syrian refugees. He did not dump Stéphane Dion because of inexperience in foreign affairs. We can only speculate on his reasons. We know he cannot go on trying to protect Morneau in the finance portfolio.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Bad bodings for Brown.

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

A large piece of the Ontario provincial Conservative’s election campaign went bye-bye the other day. Brown and his buddies must have been sitting around the party headquarters war room contemplating what might have been. The directed verdict of a Sudbury, Ontario judge cut the campaign off at the knees. The campaign using Donald Trump’s “Corrupt Hillary” theme would not work.

The problem for Brown and buddies is that any claim of corruption had to have a believability factor. You not only needed people who dislike the premier anyway but you needed that “maybe” factor. Without that maybe factor, the voters would know you were blowing smoke.

Consider how unlikely it would have been for Trump to win that election in the United States if there was not a question mark in many voters’ minds that maybe Hillary Clinton really was corrupt. And then, it was the credibility given the claim, in the last few days of the election, by the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that threw the election. Finding out that the information was wrong after the election does not get your vote back.

Donald Trump had the money and the cunning and the lack of scruples and the luck to create the perfect storm. He also had a woman as an opponent who expected him to try to act like a politician and make mistakes. Trump was a political mistake from the get-go. His money made his campaign possible and his naiveté worked for him.

Brown’s problem is that his life is politics. He seems to have no problem doing what is mean, vicious and uncaring but his reflexes are directional and predictably political. He is unlikely to survive a debate with Kathleen Wynne. He does not operate on that plateau. It could be good television if it happens.

Brown’s buddies will have to find a stronger way to link Kathleen Wynne with corruption. We have seen in the test commercials that they are taking a reading on the idea of some mysterious “friends of Kathleen” being the benefactors of corruption but that is unlikely to catch on. The older gas plant kafuffle cannot do the job alone as the premier was never directly involved.

It would be nice to say that we are sorry that Patrick Brown is having these problems: But we are not.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

 

 

The wounded of the wild, wild west.

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Got an e-mail from a fellow blogger on Canada’s Left Coast. This guy is a superb writer and progressive but he is feeling less and less friendly these days to Justin Trudeau and the eastern establishment that tries to run this country. He confirms my thoughts that Quebec separatists are less a problem for Canadian unity than the wild, wild west.

He reminds me that I still think of myself as a Liberal despite the abuse the party has heaped on me for too many years. My heart goes out to those British Columbians who Young Trudeau has betrayed. I would go out there and lie down in the path of the bulldozers seeking to expand the Kinder Morgan Trans-mountain pipeline if I thought that would help.

The hypocrisy of Justin in his ongoing dealings with Canadians across the country amazes me. And is he talking with the left or right fork of his tongue in his dealings with Canada’s aboriginal peoples? Nor do you expect to see the Prime Minister of Canada blubbering over the loss of a music icon. He needs to not only suck it up emotionally but he needs to grow some backbone in his dealings with the American President. If he does not know how to deal with a bully and a bull-shitter, he had better learn in a hurry.

But prime ministers come and go. Even Harper “The Hair” finally went back to Alberta. Our correspondent mentioned Jean Chrétien. He notes that Jean never did anything inspiring. I always thought, we kept Jean around the Liberal Party as some sort of mascot. Paul Martin was even less useful. Paul disgraced every liberal-minded person in Canada with how he condemned the 99 per cent to pay for the unreasoned privileges of the one per cent.

For my correspondent, the tipping point was Michael Ignatieff as leader. I knew Michael from when he was a young man about to leave Canada for what turned out to be too many years. I was conflicted as I saw him as that ‘Let’s save the world’ go-getter from many years ago. I was puzzled during a few conversations I had with him as he seemed detached. It was in the debates with Stephen Harper that I realized my mistake.

Both of us saw Justin Trudeau as the guy who could restore the Liberal Party and take us on a progressive path. I arranged a fund-raising dinner for Justin in my riding and we had an interesting chat. I was surprised at his stand on some issues. It was not until after that dinner that I realized this was not Pierre Trudeau’s son and heir. This was Margaret Trudeau’s son.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Morneau mourns mendacity.

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Having worked with many politicians over the years, you always have to be aware that the higher you climb the political ladder the more prone to attack you become. It is not whether Finance Minister Bill Morneau deserved to be attacked, his position made it likely.

Bear baiting never has been legal in Canada and is never likely to be. We only allow the media and opposition to do it to politicians.

And this current fiasco with Morneau is Justin Trudeau’s fault. He had the professionals available to help his cabinet choices and he disavowed them. They were available to him before the 2015 election and he ignored them. He brought in his friends and sycophants. He bought the gloss but not the substance. He abused and brushed aside the Liberal Party of Canada.

Trudeau promised not to interfere in party nominations and interfered anyway. He wrote off ridings that he could have won. The entire 2015 campaign was ill considered and amateur. Luckily Harper expected to lose, so he lost. Mulcair foolishly expected to win, so he lost also.

The newbies in the Trudeau cabinet needed a support network that could give them strong and knowledgeable staffs. Some of the rookie mistakes by these newbies were an embarrassment to the party. They were rude to party people across the country whom they did not know.

In his determination to have an equal number of men and women in his cabinet, Trudeau made some poor choices. If they had been properly mentored, some would have been saved from foolish errors. Miriam Monsef in democratic reform was an early failure. People are shaking their heads today over Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.

But the most serious problem is Finance Minister Bill Morneau. We all had high hopes for this patrician Torontonian but we had no idea how he would react to the pressures of the opposition and the media. Morneau is letting down the side.

There is no ambassadorial safe haven for Morneau. He needs to be fired. The problem is that Morneau is just digging himself deeper every time he opens his mouth. He has no understanding that his role is that of Caesar’s wife. Trudeau has to stop getting in the way of Morneau’s questions and responsibilities.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Will Singh say something serious?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

With a new party leader established and MP Charlie Angus taking over the New Democratic Party house leadership, and Thomas Mulcair retiring, the new leader, Jagmeet Singh, is free to roam the country. He can meet Canadians everywhere and press the flesh at local labour halls. The only question is what the heck he is going to talk about?

The media will soon tire of repeated pictures of Singh with school children looking wide-eyed at his turban and beard though he would be unlikely to show off those little knives (kirpan) an observant Sikh carries. He is hardly a missionary for Sihkism and his objective is to be accepted as a Canadian politician and to sell his party and its policies.

The NDP has an extensive songbook of declared policies collected over the years but Singh’s audiences will soon tire of those old chestnuts. He is also unlikely to get very far in relating any of his experience in the Ontario Legislature. He never did very much in his role as an MPP nor did he do much in his role as deputy leader of the provincial party.

But he can hardly stand in front of audiences of local NDP supporters in his expensive suits and tell them he will lead them to the promised land.

He has a party that mostly buys clothes at Mark’s Work Warehouse. They thought the party reached Nirvana when Jack Layton’s French hit it off with Quebec voters. (Why the party thought Tom Mulcair in his three-piece suits could do the same job for them still remains a puzzle,)

Singh is trying to emulate Justin Trudeau’s time spent on the road before the 2015 election,  even though the Liberal leader was already a sitting Member of Parliament. As the third party in the Commons, the party leader has a hard time getting face time with the media anyway.

Trudeau had a stock of crowd pleasing speeches about the middle class that carried him as he swung back and forth across Canada. If he is honest with himself, Singh will be flying back and forth from Toronto and Vancouver to invest the most productive time building on those market bases. The only problem is that those are also Justin Trudeau’s key markets. It promises to be a very interesting election in 2019.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

It’s like a long race on turf.

Monday, October 16th, 2017

The next Ontario general election is scheduled to be held June 7, 2018. This race will be like a mile and a half on the turf track and requires horses with great endurance and energy. That makes it the time for the old and tired to retire. And that is what is happening with all parties at Queen’s Park.

As the largest party among the incumbents, the Liberals are expected to have the highest turnover.  The noisiest of the changes are among the contested nominations for the Progressive Conservative Party. The quiet changes are among the New Democratic Party which has already lost its deputy leader because he knew this branch of the party is going nowhere.

There is no question that the Queen’s Park Liberals need turnover. After 14 years in power, the party has promises to keep, legacies to earn. Neither Toronto’s Brad Duguid nor Glen Murray will be missed in cabinet or in Ontario politics. Nor do the Liberals need to keep dragging the anchor of Deb Matthews from London. The older Liz Sandals will be missed though for the calming and knowledge she brought to the education portfolio.

The conflict for Premier Wynne is that she needs to hold on to every MPP in her caucus who looks like he or she can hold their riding. There are no guarantees with the shake up in electoral district boundaries. And there is always lots of time after an election for recriminations.

Sure, Wynne should have resigned in the past year and given a new, younger leader a chance. There is no more time for that speculation. Win or lose, Wynne is what the Liberals have to offer. Hopefully there will be a comer among the younger Liberal MPPs.

But like the last election, Wynne’s strengths are experience, position and the lack of effective opposition. Not that the Conservatives are not going to continue to tear at her like a pack of wild dogs. She is no fool and she is street smart. They have no idea of what will bring her down.

If this were a turf contest at Woodbine Racetrack, none of the party leaders would be leading the pack. None of the three are good for the distance. The voters want better and deserve better.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Who killed Energy East?

Monday, October 9th, 2017

There seems to be a lot of blame going around this weekend. The politicians are roasting each other. The environmentalists are giving heart-felt thanks and the rest of Canadians wonder what the noise is about. There are other pipelines still to fight over.

Killing TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline solves nothing. It was a bad deal from day one. Yes, you can make synthetic crude oil from tar sands’ bitumen. It is economically feasible when crude oil sells for over $100 per barrel. It is not worth it when crude oil is only fetching $50 a barrel. And the environmental harm is outrageous anyway. You can hardly make that omelette without breaking lots of eggs.

When TransCanada put an end to the foolishness last week, it was not just a win for the good guys. It put ‘fini’ to a $15.7 billion project that was surrounded by lies, political pandering and positioning.

TransCanada’s news releases, pamphlets, presentations and submissions referred to shipping crude oil from Hardesty, Alberta to Saint John, New Brunswick. Yes, sending crude was possible but this pipeline was designed with heaters and higher pressures required to force diluted bitumen down the pipe and the entire exercise was to get the bitumen to where it could be shipped to foreign refineries that are without environmental restrictions.

All that changed recently was that the National Energy Board—out from under the thumb of the Harper Conservatives—asked for an assessment of the total green house gas emissions. TransCanada knew that the company would never get approval if they revealed what the true emissions would be: First in retrieving the bitumen from the tar sands; Second in refining the bitumen into synthetic crude oil; and Third in the end products use in automobiles and other carbon emissions-producing uses. Bitumen is a carbon producer like no other.

But MP Lisa Raitt told the Ottawa media that her and the Conservatives want their pound of flesh from the Trudeau Liberals. She claimed that everything Trudeau touches “becomes a nightmare” (for Conservatives).

This is unfair to the Prime Minister when you consider he has approved pipelines to the disgust of many Liberals across Canada. He betrayed his own party and you can see how much love that earned him from the federal Conservatives. And judging by what Premier Notley in Alberta and Premier Wall in Saskatchewan had to say, it sounds like the PM could use some new friends in the provinces.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

“Nice suits and empty slogans.”

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

That comment about suits and slogans was in the last line of the Toronto Star’s pompous editorial on “The challenge for Singh.” The newspaper editorialists want Singh and Trudeau to square off on progressive policy issues in the 2019 federal election. Lot’s of luck on that!

But the problem is that the Star writers think that Jagmeet Singh was selected by the New Democratic Party. That is a mistaken belief. The Ontario MPP was the choice of the Sikh community across Canada. Canada has been welcoming Sikhs to this country since the earliest government records were kept back in the 1800s. StatsCanada tells us there are more than 275,000 adherents to Sikhism in Canada today and the largest numbers are in British Columbia. For the Brampton MPP to sign up over 40,000 Sikhs in a few months was not a very difficult feat.

But why he would want to win the NDP leadership the same way as that putz Patrick Brown took over the Tory leadership in Ontario makes no sense.

As the new leader of the NDP, Singh’s first job is to make nice with the NDP caucus in Ottawa and then he has to get out to small town Canada and prove to Canadians that he and his party have a vision of this country that can be delivered by a guy in a turban.

And it also might be a good idea for Singh to stop dressing as though he is some sort of playboy. He should change from Harry Rosen bespoke suits to buying his clothes at Mark’s Work Warehouse. He needs to show that he is an NDPer, not a Liberal.

When he gets around to working out a program of NDP policies for the coming election, he can forget wrapping the packages in “love and courage.” Whatever theme his brain trust comes up with, it has got to have a lot more bite to it.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer and his Conservatives are all smiles these days because of the vision of Trudeau and Singh in the coming election beating each other up over the same ridings in the greater Toronto and Vancouver areas.

But I got the impression that the Star’s editorial writers might never have seen Jagmeet Singh MPP in inaction at the legislature in Toronto’s Queen’s Park. He is no Benjamin Disraeli.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

“What to my wondering eyes should appear…”

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Christmas was in in October this year. The wife needed some parmesan cheese for our spaghetti dinner and insisted I stop at the local Metro grocery store. I went in with her, mainly because I always enjoy that store. It is expensive but it is well run and I often find a bargain at the meat counters. While the wife went to get her one item (which, as usual, became ten), I checked out the meats and then did a quick circuit of the store. And then I found it. My Metro has beer and wine. Christmas came early this year.

Premier Kathleen Wynne, all is forgiven. You must have known how much I hate those squalid Beer Stores. I thought Barrie was going to be the last municipality in Ontario to be allowed to have beer and wine in the grocery stores. And yet here we have beer and wine in a store in Patrick Brown’s new electoral district. Maybe that political putz will try to take credit for it.

But what can I do for you Madame Premier? I figure I owe you. I could rejoin the local riding association but I have been phoning and texting your party office in Toronto and I cannot get any response. The name I have for the local provincial party president does not exist in the riding area. Liberals in this part of Barrie have no contact, no activity and the current MPP for Barrie ignores this part of her former riding.

But this is meant to be a positive comment. Metro stores know how to merchandise and they have given beer and wine a nice section of the store with good signage and it is hard to miss. It still needs refrigeration for the beer but I am sure a well-run store like my Metro will fix that soon.

And I almost forgot. Metro gives Air Miles. I often use them to get groceries at Metro. I seem to get all my Air Miles today at the LCBO and at Metro. That is something the stupid Beer Store does not do. Those people do not even know how to merchandise. They spend more time with smelly recycling than selling beer properly.

But with Metro selling beer now, all might be forgiven. Mind you, Ms. Wynne could get the $15 minimum wage promise in place a lot faster.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

It is time to fire Bill Morneau, Justin.

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Bill Morneau has a straight-forward job. As complex as the Finance Department might appear to the average Canadian, the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre has the credentials that say he should be capable of handling the finance portfolio. He is also considered to be a generally good guy. It is really too bad that Prime Minister Trudeau needs to fire him.

But Mr. Morneau does not appear to be getting the best efforts from his department. He does not appear to be effective in selling his department’s new programs. Maybe the job requires someone more political by nature. And when you are not even effective in communicating with your party’s back bench, all is lost.

This is not to suggest that the tax reforms Morneau is proposing are not complex and need thorough debate. And that was the intent when the reforms were proposed two months ago. All this accomplished is an opportunity for those who fight any reform to go after these reforms with renewed vigor. They have been sewing discord and confusion. They have deliberately misled Canadians with false information.

This time frame has allowed Conservative MPs to rail constantly against the tax reforms. A local Tory MP published an opinion piece in our local Sun rag the other day saying that Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau believe that small business owners “are tax cheats and that they are rich people abusing the system to avoid paying their share of taxes.” Talk about false news!

The Conservative caucus in Ottawa under Leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer is saying that the reforms are going to impact all small business owners and will mean a massive tax hike. This obviously comes as a surprise to Morneau when all he is looking for it to do is close some of the loopholes that have been enabling the wealthy among us to escape paying taxes.

Here Morneau thought he was closing loopholes that benefitted people making over $150,000 a year and the Conservatives are claiming these people are part of the middle class. If he cannot get the justice of his reforms across to Canadians, he is obviously in the wrong cabinet portfolio.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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