Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

The NDP want voting reform.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

In a letter to Justin Trudeau last week, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal new democrats, laid out his plan for the minority government. It seems to be the best time to try to manipulate the liberals into changing the way Canadians vote. All the liberals have to do is go along with a change to proportional voting and it would likely change Canadian parliaments for all time.

Singh uses the argument in his letter that our first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system produces parliaments that do not reflect Canadian voters’ wishes. What he also should have mentioned is that alternative methods of voting can deny the winning political party the ability to enact some of its election promises.

And who wants to go to political rallies in an election where politicians say they will try to do this, or try to do that—if only one or more of the other parties allows them to make the change.

What Singh and his NDP caucus want is proportional representation in voting. This might give the NDP as many as 20 per cent of the seats of the members of parliament. That would mean, under proportional representation, almost 70 seats. What it would probably also mean is that we might never again have a majority government.

With FPTP voting, our conservative and liberal parties have been what are called ‘big tent’ parties. That means that they accommodate a broad range of voters wishes though maybe not all of them. What would happen over time with proportional voting is that these large parties would tend to split into smaller voting blocks. The negotiations and compromises people made before the election under FPTP will now have to be negotiated after the election. You not only get more parties but they spend much of their time arguing about which party gets this or that promise delivered to the voters.

In Mr. Singh’s letter, he tells the prime minister that 80 per cent of Canadians want this change. That might surprise Justin Trudeau but I hardly think Canadians would want to make such a change if they stopped and thought about it.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

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.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

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.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

“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.

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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

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

Pick your battles better Mr. Singh.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

As leader of a political party, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh needs to learn to pick his battles with more care. When he says that the person who broke through the gates to Rideau Hall with his truck early this month was treated differently because he is white, Singh is making a racist statement. He is indiscriminately condemning all RCMP personnel as racist without justification.

Canadians would be quite surprised if the Mounties sent rookies just out of school to protect the prime minister and the governor general. The mounted police on this detail would be well aware that you are not allowed to shoot somebody who surrenders. And they know how to deal respectfully with citizens who want to visit the grounds of Rideau Hall.

I think I am more annoyed today with the Toronto Star. The newspaper seems to have a thing for hiring writers of colour who appear to disapprove of anybody white or in authority. An op-ed today by a writer named Kelly Roche was supposed to be about police chiefs and the NDP leader. It was, instead, a racist rant against all Canadian police and their (white) chiefs of police.

Ms. Roche seems to have a thing for cops. She thinks she can say with impunity that “Cops aren’t listening.” She tells us that “They (the police) want a scapegoat and it is the dude with the turban.”

And what kind of editing is the Star doing these days. The writer uses an arcane journalism term ‘nut graf’ to show she is some sort of journalist. That term would likely be understood by less than five per cent of the Star readers. (The term ‘nut graf’ refers to the paragraph—usually the first—that explains what the article is about.)

The thumbnail picture that comes with the opinion piece tells us nothing about Ms. Roche but the copy tells us that she teaches journalism part time. Based on this one sample, I would not be inclined to recommend her course.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

And a sneer from Scheer.

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

It was difficult to assess all sides of the discussion last week to the finance minister’s snapshot of Canada’s financial position. To be fair, minister Morneau is not a dynamic speaker. You needed time as he droned on to grasp the dimension of the how far this pandemic has taken Canada into debt. And it is not even over!

What is to be appreciated though is that Canada is doing the job that has to be done. Canada is working to save lives. Canada is working to save jobs and businesses that can assure us a strong recovery.

But instead of recognizing the efforts from the government benches of parliament, acting opposition leader Andrew Scheer sneers. He nit picks the programs. He tells us that the government is just wrong. He tells us that the government is slow to fix gaps. Mr. Scheer and his conservatives carp a lot.

Conversely, Jagmeet Singh and his NDP want more. When a bit helps, they want more. He claimed that much of the help being delivered to Canadians was at the bequest of the NDP. He is concerned about the negativism of the conservatives. He is concerned that the liberals will start to back down.

Singh and other NDP spokespeople believe the weakness in the liberal efforts has been in the lack of special programs for the handicapped in our society. It is no surprise that liberals agree with them. These programs were created in haste and they are still being adjusted to ensure all segments of society are helped.

I thought the best comments were by former green party leader Elizabeth May. She agreed with the weakness pointed out by the NDP but made a fulsome defence of the government efforts. She also agrees with this writer that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) makes an excellent start towards a basic guaranteed income for all Canadians. It is amazing how much such a program can really save us.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Ms. May must be mishegus.

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Did you hear former green leader Elizabeth May’s latest? After giving up the leadership of her green party, she wants the greens to join up with other losers in the new democratic party. She tops this by then suggesting that the person to lead this gong show is former liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould, the independent MP for Vancouver-Granville.

While it is somewhat cavalier of Ms. May to give the back of her hand to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in this manner, you have to admit, he was taking the party nowhere anyway. Our poor socialists have been wandering in the wilderness for a long time now.

You have to consider the LEAP manifesto that Ari Lewis and Naomi Klein initiated to fill the gap in NDP direction was a better document than anything the greens have produced recently.

But neither party has a good grasp of Canada’s non-environmental needs. And previous NDP leader Tom Mulcair often seemed to be moving to the right of Trudeau’s liberals. May’s problem with her environmental party was that they could never seem to agree on a direction in other areas such as Canada’s foreign affairs.

And Elizabeth May wants Jody Wilson-Raybould to lead this new green-NDP to the barricades? She must have seen something in Wilson-Raybould that others of us have missed. Wilson-Raybould had a responsibility as a cabinet minister to take her problems with the SNC Lavalin affair to cabinet or directly to the prime minister. If she could not carry out her responsibilities as justice minister and attorney general, how would she fare in running a political party?

The other concern I see in this scheme is that Elizabeth May would have to commit to be being part of this green-NDP arrangement to help keep it from falling apart. It would be a sad ending to an otherwise exemplary career.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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