Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

NDP closes ranks around Singh.

Friday, January 24th, 2020

‘Better the problem we understand’ seems to be the thinking of the leaders of Canada’s new democratic party. They are closing ranks around the leader who cost them almost half the seats they held in the last parliament. Unlike the conservatives whose leader actually grew their seats by 22, they are not launching a new leadership race.

The NDP obviously rued their impetuous dumping of Thomas Mulcair just because he was run over by the 2015 liberal campaign bus of Justin Trudeau. Mulcair certainly left the NDP in better shape than Jagmeet Singh did, just four years later.

But the truth was that Singh wasted time in finding a safe seat to get into parliament, fell way behind in fund raising for the party and made little impact on voters before a small boost during the election period.

The truth is that Singh would have been far better to have fallen on his sword as soon as the election was over. He had to admit that his efforts were a strategic failure. He was neither an effective leader nor was he articulating a clear and understandable platform. He spent the campaign apologizing for taking the NDP nowhere.

For lack of anyone else to be an apologist for Singh, the news media have been interviewing NDP national director Anne McGrath. She tells them she would have preferred to hold the convention sooner as she is impressed with the personal popularity of Singh after his failures in last fall’s election.  It makes you wonder about the quality of political journalism in this country.

By pushing out the convention to 2021, the urgency of a possible election will be even greater that that of a snap (but probably accidental) election this year. In addition, the new conservative leader with the second largest caucus in parliament, will be much more eager to launch an election before the liberals have a chance to become even better established in office.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Where is the vision?

Friday, January 10th, 2020

In a recent commentary we complained about the lack of leadership of all Canadian political parties. What Canadians want from their leaders is vision. It is like the vision of Sir John A. Macdonald that ribbons of steel could bind this country together. It is our flag and the international role as a peace keeper envisioned by Lester B. Pearson. It is the concept of rights and freedoms of Pierre E. Trudeau. Nobody can lead unless they know where they are going.

And how good do you feel when you consider the current leaders of Canada’s political parties? Who convinces you of the better world we can gain? You do not have to look far ahead. You only vote for your MP every four years or so. What can they accomplish for you in that term of office?  How much do you trust the leader the MP follows?

Maybe you have to start with what you want for you and for your family. In your lifetime, you might only get to help choose your federal government about 20 times. You really need to make each vote count.

And what do you want? Is it the selfish wish for lower taxes without understanding what federal funds do for you, your family, your friends and your fellow Canadians? Is it the pledge of smaller government when you have no idea what those people in federal offices are doing for you and your fellow Canadians?

Are the politicians offering you slogans instead of a more solid future? Are they really capable of fighting global warming? Are our airplanes as safe as they should be? Are our roads safe?

And why do we not have high-speed electric trains riding Sir John A’s bands of steel? It saves the environment. It saves money. It brings our country together.

If we are lucky, we should be seeing leadership contests for all parties over the next couple years. Would that only people with vision apply.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

All federal parties need new leaders.

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Canadians are going to be seeing a number of national political party leadership contests in the coming year. The conservatives are blowing smoke and fire as they warm up to their winner-takes-all contest in June. The greens are having another cup of green tea and considering who might replace the wonderful Elizabeth May. Jagmeet Singh is foolishly waiting for the 2020 meeting of the NDP that will fire him. Meanwhile the federal liberals are drinking Mr. Trudeau’s Kool-Ade while he tells them how great it is going to be.

I was laughing at an editorial cartoon in the Toronto Star the other day that suggested that the conservatives were debating whether to go with a social conservative or a progressive conservative leader. Our Canadian conservatives obviously consider progressives passé. They are looking for a populist like Doug Ford but with the management style of Stephen Harper.

I think the greens have the toughest problem in they might have to clone Elizabeth May.

The new democrats have an entirely different problem in that their form of socialism really is dead. All they are sure of is that Jagmeet Singh is not going to lead them anywhere. The NDP have to make the move to be seen as social democrats and that could be awkward with so many liberals already occupying that ground.

Mind you, I would never include Justin Trudeau among the social democrats. He is an elitist and is barely a liberal. He lied to liberals when he ran for the leadership saying that he was going to restore the party’s roll in policy and candidate choice. Instead, he has interfered in riding’s candidate choices and ignores policy input.

Trudeau has treated the lists of party faithful as a piggy bank that he inundates with e-mails asking for money. He has no understanding of the role of the party between elections and ignores the need for party development in the electoral districts. He fails to understand that you govern from Ottawa; you win elections in the ridings.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

How much is too much, Mr. Trudeau?

Saturday, December 28th, 2019

Justin Trudeau has obviously not had a really wonderful 2019. As far back as September 2018, the prime minister asked his justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould to reconsider her position on not interfering in the upcoming prosecution of SNC-Lavalin for corrupt practices. Trudeau insisted that the intent was to save jobs in Quebec. Wilson-Raybould appeared to have no idea how tight large corporations are with politicians in Quebec.

It was mid January, 2019 that Wilson-Raybould was replaced as justice minister by former law professor David Lametti, an MP from Montreal. She was demoted to veterans-affaires. And the prime minister’s year went side-ways. It brought his support for feminism into question.

He was already in enough trouble for his dress-up antics on his trip to India the previous year. He hardly needed to have someone dig up old pictures of him in black-face at a party in Vancouver back when he was teaching there.

And it was in Vancouver where he was facing the most objections to his support for the Trans-Mountain pipeline. It was a red flag to environmentalists from coast to coast.

Throughout the year, the prime minister was under constant direct attack by conservative provincial premiers. The only one that laid back was Ontario conservative premier Doug Ford. It was the federal conservatives who asked him to hold back his criticism as it was hurting the federal conservatives more than the liberals.

But despite all the good vibes, Elizabeth May did not capitalize on her best chance to grow the greens in parliament. She only grew her caucus by 50 per cent and she gracefully resigned.

Conservative Chuckles Scheer grew his caucus, won the popular vote and then succumbed to the savagery of his caucus. He resigned.

We are waiting for the guy who lost a third of his caucus, Jagmeet Singh, to do the honourable thing and resign.

But the guy who really blew it and should have resigned back before the election is sitting in the prime minister’s office in Ottawa. It is a temporary position. He is the one who really should resign.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

It’s your turn Jagmeet Singh.

Friday, December 27th, 2019

Luckily there was not too much blood spilt when the conservatives divested themselves of the embarrassment of Chuckles Scheer. Surely the leader of the new democrats can now consider what is the honourable thing for him to do.

The point has been made that Chuckles did his best. He won the popular vote across Canada. (Basically because of the overkill of liberalism across the barren Prairies.) He reduced the liberals to a minority. No matter. His job was to win and he failed, Scheer is toast.

Where does that leave Jagmeet? After what that party did to Tom Mulcair, Jagmeet should be lucky to get out of the next party meeting with his pants. He lost a third of his parliamentary caucus and the two thirds he has left do not like him.

Maybe Singh will lobby the party to move its 2020 gathering from Charlottetown to Brampton, Ontario. It might give him a better chance to hang on to his job.

But even if he could win, what future can Singh offer the new democrats? Do they even have a role to play? Does the party have any plans for the future?

The caucus has seen no such plan from Singh but they are not the rank and file. The Leap Manifesto is still being carried as some sort of cross by the party but so far it is only words. The most active aspect is dental and prescription medicine care to be championed by Ottawa but that also requires provincial support. Without a strong and coordinated campaign at both the federal and provincial levels of the party, the NDP initiative is a waste of time.

The NDP would be far better to deregister as a political party and sign up as liberals both federally and in their respective provinces. They would hardly swamp the individual parties but another 10,000 or so left-leaning liberals could pull the liberal party much further to the left than it has been in the past. It would be a party with a sharper edge and more of a ‘let’s do it’ attitude.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Bad government begets bad opposition.

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

They seem to go hand in hand. The more you loath the government of the day, the more you can loath their opposition. You have to admit that the Ontario government of premier Doug Ford is a disaster. So why does his opposition in the legislature have to be so worthless?

It might just be the fault of the voters. They were so pissed with the hypocrisy and perceived errors of the liberals at Queen’s Park that they voted conservative out of spite. I think when the premier of the day, Kathleen Wynne, so amateurishly gave up before the end of the campaign, the voters trooped to the polls to make sure.

Wynne led her disgusted liberals to being less than a rump, not even allowed the designation as a political party.

But this should have been a big day for Andrea Horwath’s new democrats. They had moved up to the role of official opposition. They would get to lead off in question period. They were there to challenge the government. They were there to prevent the excesses of conservatism. They were there to protect the citizens.

And Andrea Horwath and her NDP have blown it.

The problem was that Doug Ford did not like being booed when he went out in public. He could solve this by not taking the blame for every action of his government. He solved the problem we hear by having his cabinet front for him in the legislature. “Your ministry, your problem,” he told his cabinet ministers.

It was also an opportunity for the lesser members of his cabinet to show their stuff. Stephen Lecce, from Vaughan who cut his political teeth doing communications in prime minister Stephen Harper’s office, brought his smooth approach into the troubled education ministry. And Caroline Mulroney once more, showed her incompetence trying to comprehend the transport ministry.

But the NDP have left the teachers’ unions to deal with the government. They will probably do a better job of it.

And we will discuss the Mulroney baloney tomorrow.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Singh sings Scheer’s song.

Monday, December 9th, 2019

One of the questions we have always wanted to ask new democratic leader Jagmeet Singh is what makes him think he is a politician? When you have a question such as that, it is always best to just watch for a while. Now it can be asked. What ever gave this guy the idea that he had a career path in Canadian politics?

Singh has had more than enough time. His years in the Ontario legislature, including two years as deputy leader, was more of a comment on how poor a job provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath was doing rather than anything Singh did to help. And his first two years after swamping the federal NDP with Sikh sign-ups were wasted until he found a safe seat to contest in Burnaby.

It appeared that NDP MPs and benefactors were less than impressed with Singh, until into the 2019 election. It was during the federal election that the news media discovered him. He was colorful, controversial and convenient. He was usually off topic and accommodating, anyway. He could not afford to rent a plane and was more available.

But his response to the throne speech was his least political action to-date. He followed conservative Scheer’s lead and attacked it. He complained that the speech only paid lip service to the needs of Canadians. “What we’re seeing is a lot of pretty words but not concrete actions,” was his complaint.

But what did he expect? A throne speech is about expectations, not action. It is direction, not doing.

The problem in the NDP leader’s reaction to the speech is that he was giving no quarter. He was still in the nagging attitude of the NDP’s approach to electioneering. He wanted more but did not know how to get it. He wanted to show off for his voters but acted as though he was still campaigning.

This was the guy who lost the NDP’s previous gains in Quebec. He saw his caucus whittled down. He wanted to shout louder than the conservative leader. Instead of taking advantage of the liberal’s minority, he stayed in an attack mode instead of making himself useful. He gave what little ground he had left to the Bloc Québécois.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

There has to be a pony in there.

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

You cannot have all that cast-off material from a barnyard without a pony in there somewhere. The speech-from-the-throne writers must have figured that if you have to use weasel words, you might as well use a lot. So, if you could stand one more reading of that speech, that the governor general struggled so gamely through, please tell us where it is taking this country?

The most positive thing that the prime minister has done this past week, was to comment on the American president’s presumptuousness. And here, all this time, I would have assumed there was respect for the sanctity of the pre-dinner cocktail gathering—at Buckingham Palace for God’s sake! Next thing we know, the media will be following the world leaders into the washrooms!

But I doubt that the prime minister did himself any damage making fun of the American president. In fact, I would bet that his overall approval rating by Canadians has gone up a few degrees.

I would certainly not say that for ‘Chuckles’ Scheer. He must think he is on permanent ‘attack dog’ duty, as leader of her majesty’s loyal opposition to the liberal minority. And for Singh of the NDP to make it a duet defaming the throne speech, is just ludicrous.

Why doesn’t somebody tell those two that the election is over and everyone has to catch their breath, beg for more money from their benefactors and plan ahead. To rush pell-mell into an ill-considered election will hardly solve their parties’ leadership problems.

And why would those guys want to make the point to Canadians that the leader of the Bloc Québécois just might be the smartest politician in that troubled house of commons.

Frankly this situation reminds me more of the Joe Clark government in 1979 than anything more recent. The Clark people could not count and it cost them a government. It makes you wonder if school teacher Justin Trudeau ever taught any mathematics?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Justin Trudeau lacks the political smarts.

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

An old friend is mounting an e-mail campaign to get prime minister Justin Trudeau to add some key members to his new cabinet. I have argued with him that it is not going to happen and frankly the problem is not so much the idea but the fact that the prime minister lacks the skills to manage such a situation. It is all based on adding Elizabeth May of the green party and a couple friendly new democratic MPs to the federal cabinet.

It is not unheard of. The argument against it happening is the problem of cabinet confidentiality. While making an argument for an open and transparent cabinet would be interesting, the reality is that it is not going to happen. There are just too many national security matters that have to be considered. There are also the confidential matters that involve business and industry. There are the budget matters that have to be announced to everybody at once and not pre-released to a select few. There are far too many considerations for someone such as Justin Trudeau to handle on a day-to-day basis. Look how he did with the SNC-Lavalin affair in the past year.

Still, there is much to like about the idea. My friend, of course, wants Elizabeth May in the cabinet portfolio of the environment. That might be a great idea but expertise in the portfolio is not the first criteria for selection. The first is regional representation. There is also seniority. Knowing some of the specifics of the job might encourage the prime minister to appoint an economist in finance or a senior lawyer in justice but if you add some feminist idea that you have to have half boys and half girls, you could make cabinet-making a high-risk job.

Frankly, it would be easier for the prime minister to get the green party and new democratic party members to sign on as liberals. All a liberal is these days is a person who gets constant e-mails asking for donations to the liberal party.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Now do the decent thing.

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Green leader Elizabeth May did the right thing. The other major party leaders, Scheer, Singh and Trudeau should follow. None completed the recent election with honour. Scheer won the popular vote and lost the election. Singh lost ground for the new democrats. Trudeau lost the West but won Ontario and Quebec and held on with a minority.

May improved her party’s membership in the commons by 50 per cent (one member) and then she resigned. In comparison, Singh lost a third of the new democratic party seats and thinks he is a hero. That supposed surge for Singh in the latter part of the campaign was reluctant NDPers admitting that there was not much choice and coming home to their party.

What is particularly odious about the crushing of Singh was the loss of former NDP seats in Quebec to the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc also took over the third-party status of the new democrats.

It will be at the first opportunity for his party to have a secret vote on his leadership that will end Jagmeet Singh’s career in federal politics. The same end is likely to be in store for Andrew Scheer.

The most amusing aspect of Mr. Scheer’s dilemma is that he could have been prime minister today, trying to win the approval of other parties to support him. What it would have taken was a change in the position taken by members of his party on the special commons committee on electoral reform. This was the committee that studied proportional representation and the conservative members of the committee insisted on holding a referendum. Nobody anticipated that a referendum would approve such a change and Justin Trudeau was forced to renege on his promise.

Despite his many short-comings, Justin Trudeau might be the only party leader able to survive a leadership vote at the next meeting of his political party. The problem is that Trudeau has been busy attempting to turn the liberal party into more of a cult than a traditional Canadian political party.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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