Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

It’s going to be a smack-down election.

Monday, June 24th, 2019

The anticipated federal election in October looks like one that nobody can win. All the political parties are going into the election with heavy baggage.  Nobody has the confidence of the nation. It could be the most bitter, hardest fought election in Canada’s history. There is too much at stake for voters to not vote. There is too much to lose in voting for any one party. We need to vote for candidates who will work to reform their political parties.

We cannot have political parties tearing apart our nation.

There was a rare Canadian phenomenon recently, as we saw millions in Toronto come out to celebrate. They clogged the parade route in boisterous cheering. City hall and area were hopelessly crowded, beyond any imagined capacity—a sea of happy celebrants. They gave rapturous cheers for the players and coaches and their mayor. They gave proper applause for the participation of the prime minister. They gave raspberries and one-finger salutes to their premier. That told us more than any opinion poll.

The conservative party in Canada has lost all credibility as it denies the dangers of the detritus cast aside so casually in a scarred and warming world. The liberals lost their credibility the other day when they said they would complete the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline. They want countries that do not care about pollution and global warming to process the horrific output of Canada’s tar sands.

At the same time, the new democrats are offering everything if Canadians will give them a chance to govern. And the Green party brings its one-note band to the event.

The facts are that not one of these parties is fit to govern. Each is found wanting. The conservatives are ideologues, they want small government, tax cuts for the rich and privileged and they paint impossible scenarios of curing climate concerns. At the same time, Canada’s liberal prime minister tells us Canada is a country of law but tries to impose political solutions when our largest engineering firm breaks the law. His cabinet brags of their concern for the environment while approving a pipeline of pollution across British Columbia.

And there are our also-ran parties. They want to save our environment but who would run our country?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is ‘All In.’

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

It is the bet in Texas hold ‘em poker that separates the men from the boys. ‘All in’ is the act of pushing all your chips into the pot on a ‘winner takes all’ basis. In politics it is going all the way with a proposed program rather than taking the half-measures of your opponent. It is the difference between the mealy-mouthed approach to Pharmacare announced by the federal liberals and the full-blown version that complements Medicare and includes drugs, dental care and vision care.

As in poker, it is the player with nothing to lose that makes the best offers. Jagmeet Singh, as leader of the NDP has nothing to lose. The likelihood of his being able to implement such a program is in keeping with his ability to fly by flapping his arms.

Yet it is really too bad that the NDP are going to lose in October. Canada would regain some of its momentum in becoming a really good country in which to live and work and play by implementing the NDP program. The plan is so much better that that sad-sack approach put together by that former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins. I had always considered Hoskins to be a right-wing liberal. He proved it by suggesting to the Trudeau government that they have a phased in program that would cause years of wrangling between the provinces and the federal government.

Not that the NDP would not meet the solid rejection of their plan by the provinces. The conservative provincial legislatures as well as Quebec would dig in their heels in the same way as they fought the original Medicare. There would be road blocks and court challenges. Voters would be confused by the various arguments.

Of course, the most serious opponents are not just the right-wing politicians. They would be funded by the insurance companies that see a large part of their revenue disappearing as Canada goes to a single-payer. The $5 billion plus in savings for Canadians would include the profit insurance companies have been making on their health care plans for industries and unions. We would have to wrest that money from their ‘cold, dead hands!’

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario NDP: “We the Green”?

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Ontario’s lacklustre new democratic party partied in Hamilton last weekend. While most of the province was celebrating the Raptors winning the championship title of America’s National Basketball Association, Ontario’s NDP was celebrating being the official opposition in Ontario. They were also reviewing their leadership and asking where their party was headed.

Since nobody else seemed to want the job, they voted to keep Andrea Horwath on as leader. Only about 15 per cent of those voting thought she should be tossed. She has now held the job of leader of the Ontario NDP since 2009. Her only accomplishment was to be there when Kathleen Wynne tried to take the entire liberal caucus out of politics with her last June. They kept Horwath on despite her weak performance in the legislature as leader of the opposition. There certainly has been ample cause to attack the Ford government’s many errors in judgement, its careless approach to tightening Ontario’s purse strings and its destructive approach to the environment.

Where the Ontario opposition has been missing from action has been in raising awareness in the province about the lack of environmental concern by this government and its fighting with the federal government over environmental issues. The Ford government is even spending taxpayers’ money on false advertising about the federal government carbon tax, when it has no real plan of its own.

And speaking of false advertising, the Ford government has actually printed stickers for gas station pumps complaining about the federal 4.4 cent per litre carbon tax when the basic Ontario tax (before GST) is 29.1 cents per litre.

Ontario’s Green party leader was cheerful about the NDP using the Green party name for their environmental plans. The 28-page booklet released has neither costing nor much in the way of specifics but Mike Schreiner the sole Green party MPP in Ontario gave the ‘green light’ to the NDP wanting to discuss the environment He sees it as a positive that more parties want to address the environmental issues.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The late, unlamented New Democratic Party.

Friday, June 14th, 2019

 

This information has been available for a while but this writer has been reluctant to mention it. The problem I have is with some of my readers who are entrenched supporters of what is left of the federal new democrats. They tend to vilify me for even reporting the failings of their party. Not that it should really bother me. I am a left-wing liberal and am used to abuse from within my own party.

But the problem today is that there are malingering NDPers who do not know what else to say to the pollsters. The party is hardly at the lowest ebb of support since the CCF was founded. It is lower.

It will be October before we get a sense of just how bad it is. I would consider it a win if the party keeps its official standing as a party in the house of commons.

And I do not think it can be blamed just on the lack of leadership. This is a party without a scintilla of direction. The old guard of the NDP  are split between the organized labour supporters, the environmentalists and the old socialists. And with nobody to pull the rabble back together, few of the rank and file have any direction.

It is a shame we have to mention the titular leader but Jagmeet Singh is just not cutting it. His position is like that of a catholic choir boy suddenly being anointed Pope of Rome. There is no honeymoon.

But Jagmeet is lost in the morass of political squabbling over who among them killed their party. The only benefit he has found is that he can announce anything off the party wish list and nobody denies it. Mind you, nobody supports him either.

It is still too early to tell but we can probably expect that of the 41 NDP seats they now hold in parliament, for every three seats they lose, the Green party will gain a seat. And if the greens gain enough for party status, they will do so at the NDP’s expense.

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A NOTE TO READERS: When I went to public school in Ontario, they were still teaching us young Canadians British history.  We learned the difference between Britain and the ancient Celts who lived in what is now England before the Romans came, who were known as Britons. Now please understand that we do make the odd editing error in writing our commentaries. I was trying to give my Green Party friends something to think about yesterday—not start a war. And what about those Raptors!?

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

If you paint a pig green?

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

The question is if you paint a pig green, would it no longer roll in the mud? And if we are concerned about the environment, should we vote for a party called ‘Green’? Is it that simple? Have we solved the problem of global warming, have we protected the environment and will we all live happily ever after?

Maybe life is not so simple. There must be other political parties that care about the environment. Why, just the other day, the prime minister announced that we were going to do something about single-use plastics. He painted a rather gruesome picture for us of whales washing up on shore with their stomachs full of plastics that are drifting through our seas.

Of course, the PM allowed for exceptions. He figures that we will need at least four years to determine what plastics to ban, what to convert from plastic to some more degradable material and what will have to be an exception for later banning. He sees it as an opportunity to create some new industries. He was vague on details.

We could check on the new democrats. They always have good things to say about the environment in their pamphlets. Maybe they will not look like such hypocrites now that former NDP premier Rachel Notley is no longer beating the drum for more tar sands bitumen to add to world pollution. She wanted pipelines and rail cars to get the bitumen to ports where the stuff could be shipped to countries that do not worry so much about pollution.

And you would think that the NDP opposition in Ontario would be making the most of their opportunity to show up premier Ford and his conservative cronies for their appalling ignorance about the environment and the causes of global warming. So much for the NDP!

And as for Mr. Ford and friends: Those ignoramuses are using our taxpayers’ money to say they have a better plan for global warming. I think it includes toasting marshmallows.

And that basically leaves those people painted green. They remind me of the ancient Britons who were druids and worshiped trees and painted their backsides blue.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘None of the Above’ is not an option.

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

There seems to be some disquiet across this fair land over our lack of good choices in the looming federal election. And whose fault is that? Frankly, Canadians have been encouraging mediocrity in politics for far too long. We have been trashing our political parties. We have been lying to ourselves about supposedly lying politicians. We have been buying into some serious bullshit about how nice Canadians can be.

We are not nice. We have turned the beautiful ballet of hockey into a blood sport. We seriously believe that we can beat the Americans at their own games such as baseball and basketball. (All you have to do is hire better American players.) And we buy into the blather that our foreign affairs people know what they are doing, when all they do is whore for the Americans.

But the truth is that this is a country that has lost its way politically. It has succumbed to mediocre politicians who use political parties as their own and use those who support them as their personal automated teller machines.

New democratic party membership has fallen so low that just the Sikh immigrants in British Columbia and Ontario could swamp the membership and give the party leadership to Jagmeet Singh. The same fall-off of party members in the Ontario progressive conservatives allowed a weasel like Patrick Brown to swamp the membership with Indian sub-continent memberships and take over the party.

And it was Justin Trudeau himself, who ended the membership structure of the federal liberals. While he was still popular, Trudeau ended the party’s independence, its ability to choose candidates and he now uses the party lists solely to raise money for his ongoing financial campaign.

And that leaves us with a liberal government run by an elitist, a conservative party headed by a nobody, an NDP party run by an unknown and a nascent green party run as a one-gal band.

All I can suggest is that each of us take the time to pick out the best candidate in our riding who cares the most about us, the voters. It is our only choice.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Profiling politicians.

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

It is often amusing in the popular American TV program Criminal Minds when one of the actors, playing the part of an FBI agent, without much script support, out of the blue, says it is time to deliver the profile. They remind me very much of how our political commentators can profile our politicians based on so little evidence.

In all sincerity, I believe that it takes considerable experience and observation to profile politicians. The reason we all fail when it comes to someone such as Donald Trump in the U.S.A. or Doug Ford in Ontario is that neither gentleman can be truly described as a politician. They are political wannabes and fail so miserably at the task before them.

But it is also easier to profile the run-of-the-mill politician than profiling political leaders. Leaders require a further set of profiling steps. Would you, for example, have profiled a young Reform M.P. named Steve Harper in the 1990s as potential leadership material?

Let’s look at an abbreviated profile of the three federal leaders of the major political parties in Ottawa and maybe we can see how it works:

Let’s start with the new democrats. Jagmeet Singh profiles well as a politician. Where he falls down is that he is an observant Sikh. Canadians, in general, have little knowledge or experience with Sikhism. It will work against his party. Some bigotry is involved though, in most cases, it is the just that people do not like to vote for a person they do not feel they know.

Andrew Scheer of the conservatives, on the other hand, is your typical white Prairie politician in a suit. He lacks personality and is easily forgettable. He has hardly done anything that would cause people to dislike him. Nor has he done anything to cause people to like him. He could get elected simply because he is a known brand of politician.

This counters liberal leader Justin Trudeau. In some parts of the country people love or hate him simply for his name. He is faced with being considered effete, elitist and ineffective. His signature promise in the last election of voting reform was a mistake and it is going to cost him this time.

Now, if the election was tomorrow, for whom would you vote?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Requiem for the New Democratic Party.

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

After a lingering struggle, with the family in attendance, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) of Tommy Douglas and the New Democratic Party of the Broadbent and Lewis families has passed into oblivion. Funeral services will be a come as you are event at summer barbeques in each of the provinces.

The federal party is survived by its provincial parties. In British Columbia, the party is only in power with the assistance from the Green party. The passing of B.C.’s estranged sister NDP organization in Alberta earlier this year, left B.C. as the only stand-alone provincial NDP government. Little can be said for Her Majesty’s loyal NDP opposition in the Legislature of Ontario under the dismal command of Andrea Horwath, MPP.

During its lifetime, the party gave up the stridency of the Regina Manifesto from 1933, softening it with the 1956 Winnipeg Declaration of Principles. The Winnipeg declaration relabelled the party in a more democratic socialist stance. The stance was further softened by the Statement of Principles of the party adopted at its 1983 convention in Regina. Each step away from the Regina Manifesto further confused the voters as to what the NDP really did believe. Attempts such as the LEAP Manifesto fell to earth, ignored.

What the New Democratic and its predecessor party did achieve was a third-party alternative for disgruntled conservatives and liberals. It seems they are passing the torch to the Greens, who do know what they want when it comes to the environment.

The failure of the NDP was its problem of being a class-based political party. It had defined its membership as the classic ‘working man’ and his family. It also attracted many academics who saw the party as the fast track to social justice. Some of the reforms that the CCF fought for over the years became reality as other parties came to agree. Canada’s early ‘Baby Bonus,’ unemployment insurance, old age pensions and Medicare were all CCF initiatives.

It was a desperation move for more power in parliament when the CCF made the deal with the Canadian Labour Congress. The new democratic party that was created in 1961 was too little and to late in the faster pace of social development in Canada in the last half of the 20th Century. Despite a brief populist appeal by leader Jack Layton in 2011, the party failed to capture the confidence of Canadians.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t get too excited Ms. May.

Saturday, May 11th, 2019

If you want an area of Canada where the Green party runs rampant, go to Vancouver Island. In fact, the entire area around the Strait of Georgia seems overrun with Greens, Druids and other pagan religions. Just standing under one of those magnificent, lordly trees on the Island fills you with wonder and a sense of the spirituality.

But—maybe getting one more Green party member into parliament might be a brief, but quickly lost, breeze. I hardly believe that two seats in parliament are the beginning of an avalanche. I think the wise voters of Beautiful British Columbia sent a message to the east. It was a polite wake-up call.

It was a very strong message to the NDP. It said get with the program. Get a leader, get a raison d’etre, get real. The Winnipeg General Strike, the Dirty Thirties and the Great Depression are fading into the mists of time. Join us in the 21st Century.

It was a kick in the ass for the conservatives. Ignore Global Warming at your peril. Your rich friends can fund you but do you belong to them? Are you the menials of foreign owners? What are you doing for Canada today?

I think the strongest condemnation was of prime minister Trudeau and the liberals. The handwriting is on the wall—and they have been found wanting. You cannot walk away from your failures. You own them and you have to stand to account for them. Nobody is happy with the liberal’s careless handling of the SNC-Lavalin debacle. And they owe Canadians some apologies. No person who cares about the environment can allow Justin Trudeau to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline. Is that the best he can do in helping our aboriginal peoples? There is a very big difference between diplomacy and simpering. He needs to learn that sometimes we all need to speak—loud and clear.

All Canadians can hope is that over the summer, our politicians will come to understand the concerns of Canadians. They need to understand what brings us together as well as what divides us. We need a new rationale from all parties. None are exempt. That is not a recess bell that will toll on October 21.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

On being liberal in disquieting times.

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

The word ‘disquieting’ took a while to choose. I have been trying to define the times leading up to the October 21 federal election and it reminds us of flying through clouds. You want to break into the bright sunlight, you know is above you, but that oppressive cotton candy is just a grey mist that continues to embrace and smother you.

In these disquieting times, the clouds are a metaphor for the cocoon of a country’s confusion. The angst of the SNC-Lavalin affair is but a construct from which we draw the prejudices of our times.

There is no question but the voters are disquieted. It is not the anger that produced the Doug Ford victory last year in Ontario or meeting the demands of greed recently in Alberta. Even peaceful little Prince Edward Island showed some spunk by bringing on the Green party to be the official opposition.

But neither of the major opposition parties in Ottawa have adequate leadership to survive the rigors of a general election. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer from Saskatchewan is but a servile retainer serving the aperitifs for the conservative wolves in premiers’ clothing. Jagmeet Singh is but testimony to the hospice condition of the political party that Tommy Douglas built.

But that is certainly no excuse for Justin Trudeau. He has unfulfilled promises from 2015. He is the one that still needs to prove he can save our environment. He has commitments to our aboriginals. And he still has to explain the events that cost him a justice minister and another cabinet member, his principal secretary and the clerk of the privy council. His hypocrisy in declaring himself an environmentalist and then buying the Trans Mountain pipeline has been a very difficult pill for many liberals to swallow.

His story is that he traded it for a guarantee from Alberta’s previous NDP government to put a cap on carbon from the extraction and the upgrading of the bitumen to allow it to be exported.

The incoming premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, has promised an end to all environmental protections in Alberta and threatened court proceedings to get the B.C. and federal governments out of his way. Now if we could just get Mr. Kenney to bend over, we could show Justin Trudeau what to do with his pipeline.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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