Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

Can Singh sing a new song in Burnaby?

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

It is now confirmed that new democratic party leader Jagmeet Singh will try for a seat in the House of Commons this fall. The facts are that the guy has not drawn a salary for over a year now. He has gotten married and he might need a couple new bespoke suits. He could have possibly run in Montreal in Tom Mulcair’s old seat of Outremont or a formerly conservative-held seat in Grenville-Dundas-Thousand Islands in Ontario, but he has decided the safest seat is in South-Burnaby in British Columbia.

But while that might be the safest seat for an NDP, Singh had to finally come out against the Trans Mountain pipeline. It was the end of sitting on the fence between premier John Horgan’s BC NDP and premier Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP.

South-Burnaby voters will likely have a clear choice. No liberal has been selected yet but whoever runs for the government party will be standing on Justin Trudeau’s shoulders. The greens and conservatives might as well stand back and let the liberals and NDP have at it! This will be a referendum on the newly government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline. The $7 to $11 billion enhancement project is designed to bring more of the Alberta tar sands products to Burnaby for loading on ocean tankers.

The only reason Kennedy Stewart is not representing the seat is that he is in the running for mayor of Vancouver. In Vancouver, they do not have party politics in the traditional Canadian manner. The current election pits the progressives against the combined conservatives and right-wing liberals.

My bet is on Stewart for mayor of that wonderful city.

South-Burnaby is considered to be one of the most ethnically diverse electoral districts in Canada, competing with many ridings in Toronto for that distinction. Prime minister Trudeau remains very strong in ethnically diverse areas and that alone could make this by-election a toss-up.

The one thing that Singh might not be prepared for in this situation is to lose. And he could. The ethnic make-up of the electoral district is only listed as 16 per cent south Asian and Sikhs are only a part of that group. It will be an interesting test of Singh’s appeal to other ethnic groups. Singh will also be considered an eastern carpetbagger who will not have any long-term interest in the people there.

Jagmeet Singh might be biting off too much.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

What a web we Weaver!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

We have struggled with this for a couple months. What the heck is BC green party leader John Weaver’s problem with the liquified natural gas (LNG) proposal for British Columbia? It not only sounds like a good deal but BC premier John Horgan is right to be moving it along, even though there is really not much need for too much in way of incentives.

Compared to the stuff the modified Trans Mountain pipeline is designed to run down to Burnaby, BC, the LNG proposal is a Sunday afternoon walk in the park. The only concern with a gas pipeline is fire. With the technology involved in pipelines today, you get almost immediate warning and location of the problem. It could be about as dangerous as a backyard barbeque.

With almost immediate shut down of the line, you lose very little gas into the atmosphere. Remember that the gas, at this stage, is lighter than air.

But that density changes when the gas is liquified. When the gas is reduced to minus 160° C, it has a density of 423 grams per litre. Modern LNG tankers can travel around the world on the gas from their tanks that also serves to keep the LNG at a constant cold temperature. In combination with diesel fuel, it is the ideal way to transport gas.

Pipelines are definitely not the best way to transport diluted bitumen. Diluted bitumen has to be heated and forced through a pipeline at increased pressure. It is highly abrasive and with the increased pressure, spills can be inevitable and are not signalled to the line head as immediately. Where a spill is particularly dangerous is around water. With the diluent staying on the surface and the bitumen finally reaching bottom, harming the environment both above and below the surface.

The good news (I guess) is that premier John Horgan is paying his debts. He wanted to be premier and it cost him an accord with the BC greens. One of the conditions is to again offer BC voters an opportunity to vote on changing how they elect their provincial government. John Horgan’s NDP government is calling for this vote later this year. It is a small price to pay for the continued support of the three Green Party members in the B.C. legislature.

But nothing ever runs smoothly. If the NDP government had announced its proportional representation on Facebook, it would probably have received more initial dislikes than likes. The government allows for three alternative plans, each more confusing than the previous proposal. None of the options is truly proportional.

Mind you, the good news is that after two elections trying one of those options, BC voters will have an opportunity to vote to restore First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) voting.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Dougie doesn’t do distress.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

At the end of April this year, a truck was driven down Yonge Street in north Toronto on a quest to murder. The driver succeeded in killing 10 people and injuring 14. Mayor John Tory was there on the scene soonest, Premier Kathleen Wynne came. NDP leader Andrea Horwath came. The prime minister of Canada came. Doug Ford, the man running for premier of Ontario on the slogan ‘For the People,’ was too busy campaigning.

And then we had the random shootings in Greektown on Toronto Danforth. Mayor Tory was there soonest. As premier, Doug Ford read a statement to the legislature. And since the prime minister was coming at the time of the funerals, the premier showed up for a vigil.

This is one of the toughest parts of the politician’s job. It requires that fine balance between showing your concern and appearing to be taking advantage of it for the exposure. Mayor John Tory does it well. Maybe it is because he gets more fires and shootings and other types of disasters in a large city. He also has the constant down-in-the-mouth expression of a St. Bernard. He was born to be a first responder.

But Doug Ford does not do concern well. He lacks empathy. He is too self-centred to feel for others. No doubt he has to let his staff pick the timing, prepare his off-the-cuff remarks and tell him how to dress and how to look. It is not in his DNA.

But nobody wants that brash loud-mouth at quiet moments of contemplation anyway. Doug Ford’s problem is that he only has an on-off switch. There is no volume control.

Ford’s attitude seems to permeate the entire conservative caucus at Queen’s Park. They applaud the brashness of their leader. They appear to revel in their party’s ignorance of climate change. They share the myopia when it comes to the growing demand for gun controls. And at a time of increasingly horrendous criminal attacks on complete strangers, they concur on the throttling back of funds for mental health solutions.

At a time of growing need for better government, Ontario has opted for ignorance. When better solutions should be sought to growing needs in fields of provincial jurisdiction, Ontario voters have chosen comic-book heroes. This is not a time to be proud of what we have done.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

You get what you pay for.

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

It comes as a surprise to learn that the new democrats across Canada are a bunch of paupers. We are told that they are not paying Jagmeet Singh for his work as leader of the party. He is unelected and therefore not being paid from the public purse either. It does not seem right.

How long does the party think he can keep going without money? Those bespoke suits and colorful hair coverings are not free. The guy has an image to maintain and the party is not helping.

Members of parliament in Canada are paid about $175,000 in base salary and earn more for committee work outside of regular house attendance. This would have been a nice bump from his previous pay of around $125,00 as deputy leader of the NDP at Queen’s Park

Jagmeet also has a reputation to maintain as the best-dressed NDP in Canada He also has his reputation among Canadian Sikhs to consider. The Sikh community might not like it if everyone started to think that Sikhs do not need to earn money.

Besides he is getting married sometime soon and he is expected to keep his ‘princess’ in the manner to which she would like to be accustomed.

But instead of being tied down with parliamentary duties in Ottawa, Jagmeet is a free agent able to travel back and forth across the country beating the drum for the NDP. I guess his intent is to spread the word for socialism—as practised by the NDP. I am sure he does not need to pass an alms bowl around the union halls to pay for his supper as we hear the party at least pays his expenses.

Frankly, and not to criticize Jagmeet, we are wondering if this is really paying off for the party? It looks like the party vote bottomed at the recent bye-election in Quebec. This might or might not have anything to do with Jagmeet’s leadership or religion. This is a judgement call that can only be made from the midst of the bye-election.

But it will be time to fish or cut bait next year. The upcoming federal election in 2019 will tell us about the success or failure of the Jagmeet experience. The hypocrisy of the Trudeau liberals and their Trans Mountain pipeline is not going to help them in B.C. or even Alberta and the new democrats are the only party that could come out well on both sides of the issue.

There is also opportunity for the NDP across the country. Whether Jagmeet is the leader to take advantage of it, remains the question.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Some truths for Jagmeet Singh.

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

New democratic party leader Jagmeet Singh learned some truths in a federal bye-election this week. It was in Quebec and political truths can be particularly brutal in that province. It was the truth that the Orange Wave in Quebec in 2011 was a one-time thing. It was the truth that religion does matter. It was the truth that an observent Sikh might not be a popular choice to lead a political party in Canada.

And the most serious truth of all is that Jagmeet Singh misjudged Canadians. In the cultural mosaics of Ontario and British Columbia, in the liberal polyglot of cultures and in the concentrations of a few electoral districts with large numbers of Sikhs, Jagmeet Singh thought he saw acceptance.

He was wrong. There are differences between tolerance and acceptance. It is the tolerance that allows for acceptance. Acceptance is a long-term goal. It sometimes takes generations. It is in the understanding of other’s customs, the melding of ideas, of setting objectives. It is in the promotion of similarities and the gradual fading of differences. There is no fixed Canadian ideal. There are just shared values.

Even in Quebec, which some try to keep different, the shared values are there. All Canadians have a level of pride in the French and English heritage of the dominion. We can all have pride in our particular heritage as well as our collective heritage.

What it comes down to is that Jagmeet Singh was wrong to swamp the NDP provincial organizations in B.C. and Ontario with Sikh sign-ups. As proud as the Sikh communities in Canada are of the accomplishments of fellow Sikh Jagmeet, they were also wrong to assume that their choice would be readily accepted by all party members or by the voters.

Jagmeet’s failure to seek election to the House of Commons and his failure to show strong leadership has left him in limbo. How does he expect voters to accept him?

This is not a country that uses proportional representation to divide people and where Hassidim vote for Hassidim and Baptists vote for Baptists. A member of parliament has to represent all the voters in a given electoral district. An MP’s religion has to be irrelevant to his or her voters. It is the experience, party, ideas, services, loyalty, understanding and leadership that they want. Jagmeet’s Five Ks of Sikhism are little understood and unimportant to his non-Sikh voters.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Some thoughts on the liberal rout.

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

The hardest thing to digest from the recent election in Ontario was the anger that fueled the liberal downfall. It was similar to a situation with a child who feels wronged and in the midst of a tantrum of tears and frustration. They often will strike out at the adult who tries to help. It seems Kathleen Wynne was the only adult available.

The liberal premier was an accommodating lamb to the slaughter for the hypocrites of the conservative campaign. The Doug Ford team had little interest in truth or fairness or decency. They could hardly believe their luck when they realized that nobody wanted to waste time with fully costed promises and they could get away with foisting bumper-sticker promises on an angry electorate.

The Ontario new democrats were equally amazed as they realized their good luck. It was certainly not their program or leadership that lead them to dramatically increasing their numbers in the legislature. It was progressives in the province who shared the anger at Wynne’s liberals. And what the hell was their choice when Wynne up and quit before the campaign was over? She deserted her party, she deserted the field. She left with no honour.

And what were voters to do? They were trying to get rid of the insipid Dalton dynasty back in 2011 and got a liberal minority instead. Next, they were offered a choice between a lesbian liberal, a confused conservative and a nebulous new democrat. They really had no choice at the time but to vote liberal.

But they became more and more annoyed with themselves for their choice. Maybe some of these talking heads of television can pick out this or that event that caused Wynne’s honeymoon with Ontario to be short-lived. Wynne had a water torture effect on Ontario.

From the beginning, she was hammered with the gas plants mess from the McGinty era. She added to her own problems with the arrogance of her political manoeuvres in Sudbury. Her good friend Ed Clark sabotaged Wynne with the privatizing and selling off part of Hydro One. She announced the beer and wine in large grocery stores so many times that it became a province-wide joke. And, believe me, not everyone understands the economic or just human values of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

As a liberal, I always had strong reservations about Kathleen Wynne. I was annoyed at her from the beginning of her leadership when she and Glen Murray, MPP from her neighbouring electoral district, corrupted the leadership convention that chose her. It is really regrettable that neither the conservatives nor the NDP had a leader suitable to replace her.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

All bets are off.

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

For the first time since I first got involved in politics, I cannot make a guess on the outcome in an Ontario election. Results that used to be so easy to fathom, have gone murky and I will be hanging out by the television tonight hoping beyond hope that common sense will prevail.

The good news, so far, has been that about 200,000 more people have voted in the advance polls. A low turnout in this election would be bad news.

But what cannot be read is the impact of premier Kathleen Wynne saying she cannot win. How many good liberals will go down to defeat because of her foolish and self-centred statement? Her timing stinks.

But was that not the finest political roorback you ever saw when Rob Ford’s widow and her lawyers went after that ass, Doug Ford? Three days before the election, they slammed her brother-in-law on his merry way to maybe becoming premier of Ontario. If the liberals knew anything about that scheme, Kathleen Wynne would never have conceded the election—that being just one more reason, you never, ever quit.

The family squabble over the late Rob Ford’s estate was incidental to the revelations about Doug Ford managing anything. Finally, someone knowledgeable of Doug Ford’s weaknesses has said what many of us could only guess at: they tell us Doug Ford is incapable of running a label printing business. And he wants to run a $150 billion operation such as the Province of Ontario?

And please, please do not assume that the fat lady gets to sing before this absurd opera is over. Andrea Horwath of the new democrats is less competent to run a daycare centre, than she is to run the province. That woman is going to end up getting religion with all the manna that has landed in her lap over the last week.

But looking at the bright side of things, there is an outside chance that we can elect enough liberals to keep both the conservatives and NDP from getting a majority of seats in the legislature. It would force the liberals and the NDP to work together for a couple years before we have another election.

It would enable the liberals to repair the damage to their party and elect a new leader with a one-member-one-vote democratic choice. It would also give the conservatives time to dump Doug Ford and, if the NDP is smart, they could do much better than Andrea Horwath.

As we used to say (jokingly) in politics, it’s election day; vote early and often!

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A real liberal never gives up!

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

Kathleen Wynne betrayed Ontario liberals yesterday. She surrendered, she gave up, she quit and she did the unconscionable. She ended her run as Ontario liberal leader the way she began: breaking the rules. Kathleen Wynne never put the party first and the party is paying the price.

From the time the North Toronto teacher first ran for provincial politics, she has put herself ahead of the party. It is all about Kathleen. In the guise of the lonely runner she held herself apart from liberals. Those of us who questioned her liberalism were sent to Coventry.

What liberal would take the advice of a banker to sell off Hydro One? The electricity distribution system was the core of controlling electricity rates in industrial Ontario. She dragged the party down a conservative path. It was only when an election loomed that she would look at liberal issues.

As a pseudo liberal she tried to tie a decent minimum wage to getting re-elected. The cynicism was obvious. It was the same as promises of free dental care, daycare, pharmacare for seniors and the list rolls on.

She put it all in the past yesterday. She did the unconscionable. She surrendered the field. She had no thought for the liberal party. She thinks it is all about her.

It is not. The liberal party has to carry on. It has to bring principles to politics in Ontario. It is the party of people’s rights. It is the party of progress. It is the party of people who work for the voters and not always for the party’s leader. It is a party of thinkers.

The liberal party can stand apart from the unfeeling failures of conservatism. It rejects putting the state ahead of the people of socialism. (Liberals can order York University people back to work to stop the abuse of students.)

There are harsh times ahead for Ontario and we need some good liberals in the legislature at Queen’s Park. We need a new and democratic leader to pull a caucus together in the interests of the people of Ontario.

And there are some good liberals running across Ontario. We need liberals from the eastern Ontario, northern Ontario and the southwest, as well as Toronto. These are not people to reject because of the failure of Kathleen Wynne. They are people who matter. Take a look. Make sure we have some strong people represent us at Queen’s Park. I am voting liberal in my riding.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The political pivot point of 2018.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

In every election there is a point of pivot that decides the outcome. It has been fascinating listening to people across Ontario in the current campaign, learning of their concerns and frustrations. And they are concerned and conflicted and caring. They have been looking for solutions. Sometimes the solution can be forced on you by an outside source.

The pivot point came Tuesday, May 29. It took the high ground away from the Ontario liberals. It left the party of Wilfrid Laurier in limbo. It was the hypocrisy of the federal liberals that betrayed everything done for the environment by the provincial liberals that did the deed.

It was never easy for Ontario to end the use of coal to generate emergency electricity needs. And do not mention gas plants. It has not been easy for Ontario to promote hybrid autos. The province has had constant criticism of its efforts at cap and trade as an alternative to carbon taxes. The government has been vilified for its efforts to promote clean energy.

And what was the point of creating a greenbelt to protect our environment, our sources of potable water, our recreational areas and our farm lands? Our farmers seem to be unappreciative of the protection. Builders and politicians try to betray us.

We have Doug Ford to fight carbon taxes for the uncaring. Money beats caring about the environment with his rich friends. His voters hardly care about his loudmouth promises of magic money to cut taxes and give away the treasury. Doug Ford is a fool and he will be the fools’ folly.

And to suggest that the new democrats offer more than the liberals is an experiment that led to the disaster of Rae Days and then Harris’ hype.

So, who is the bad guy? Who let the dogs out?

Only our poster boy prime minister, Justin Trudeau, could leave us tumbling down the into the depths. He has forgotten his promises when a newby in Paris. He has forgotten it was once 2015. He no longer cares about the promises of Canada’s environment.

Trudeau and his neoliberal government of misfits have betrayed us all.

Nobody would care if it was just crude oil his pipeline would send to Burrard Inlet. Does he even know of the danger his pipeline threatens the environment? He wants to pipe diluted bitumen under pressure over the Rockies and on ocean-going tankers in the Straits of Georgia. He hardly cares that bitumen is a substance that just keeps on polluting.

Justin Trudeau has certainly polluted the Ontario election.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Yes, but did the fat lady sing?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Listening to and reading analyses of the Sunday night political leaders’ debate in Toronto, you wonder if they were at the same debate. Frankly, the analyses were better than the debate. Kathleen Wynne did less than expected. Andrea Horwath was rude and foolish. Doug Ford made you wonder if they had a cardiologist on stand-by.

Collectively, they were less than coherent, unhelpful and were looking like they were trying to remember what their handlers had told them to do.

Doug Ford’s opening statement was a stream of B.S. that was off the wall and you would have to be an idiot to believe any of it. And not even a moderator is allowed to tell a Ford what to do.

Kathleen Wynne’s opening ‘mia culpa’ was insincere and forced. It was too little and too late and pointless.

And whomever dressed Andrea Horwath for the occasion should have added a stethoscope necklace to the costume. You can dress that woman but where would you want to take her? Can you really think of this person as premier?

I have never seen a debate such as this where you cannot imagine even the incumbent looking like a winner. They were all bad.

And what right has Ford to be arrogant? And that was the least of his problems. If he had called the audience “My friends” one more time, I was ready to throw something at the television.

And why was Andrea Horwath so shrill and rude? She talked over everybody else and at times you thought she would never shut up.

As a wrap to a pollsters’ campaign, it was a dud. Ask yourself this: Did the pollsters ever tell you how many people said they were undecided in their various polls? Did they tell you their formulae for balancing the demographics for the parts of the population their polls failed to reach? Did they tell you who answers the telephone in households they are able to reach with interactive voice response (IVR) calling?

Polling is an inexact science. They are supposed to tell you the computed margin of error but I would challenge the interactive voice response people. They call thousands of households and they say their margin of error is as good as the Internet groups and live calling. Are they all equally bad?

The exchanges between the leaders became tedious and I was never sure if Andrea Horwath can sing. I might never find out.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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