Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

Diogenes, Leadership and SNC-Lavalin.

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

There is no time left for what might have been. Canadians are going into an election when what we so desperately want to say is ‘None of the above.’ Are we condemned to face a future of failure? Are we helpless? Have we found there is no honest man?

Justin Trudeau embarrasses us. Jagmeet Singh insults us. Andrew Scheer frightens us and there is no other workable solution.

Justin Trudeau has been weighed in the scales and found wanting. He should have resigned six months ago and given the liberal party a chance to regroup. His chief of staff knew to resign. The clerk of the privy council chose to resign. Justin Trudeau believed that he was untouchable. He was aiding his enemies. He was creating a conundrum for Canadian voters.

In a world facing disastrous climate change, we are seeing the frustration of electorates and civilizations around the world. Populists of the right and left are our false prophets. We turn to a Trump or Brexit and wonder at the failures.

In Canada, that so welcomes those seeking freedom from oppression, a single ethnic group swamps the membership of a political party. Singh embarrasses the NDP. This is no solution.

And it has been an extended silly season for the conservatives in the past few years. They had a federal leadership that chose the least of potential leaders in a federal lottery that proved that leadership does not matter. And then they chose right-wing demigods in Alberta and Ontario to claim the conservative brand.

With two months to go before the election, there is much to resolve. Canadians are resourceful. Let us find that solution together.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

When the real campaign begins.

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

They remind me of a bunch of outlaw bikers, warming up their hogs for a race. They have all taken off their mufflers for that extra bit of speed. The full-throated roar of those bikes makes the ground seem to tremble. And the clouds of exhaust fumes obscure the start.

When you think about it, you realize that it was the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh who took the early start. He needed it. When you have to hitch-hike across the country, you need a good head start. (Have you checked the price of air fare or rail tickets across the country lately?) Fund-raising for the NDP has not been what it used to be.

And then the guy who really needs the exposure has been shy about it. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer does not do himself any good exposing himself to the voters. While the conservatives have no problem reaching into the pockets of their rich friends, Scheer is not the best campaigner. He was practicing on Cape Breton last week and there was concern expressed that he was doing serious damage to the local conservative candidates.

What puzzles the voters meeting Chuckles in the campaign will be questions such as: “Why does this guy not believe in climate change?” “Why does this guy want to keep Doug Ford away from his campaign?” and “What qualifies this guy to be prime minister?”

What is even more concerning about Chuckles is that he does not believe in campaigning by any form of Marquess of Queensberry rules. He is claimed to have used the classic ‘roorback’ political tactic against the NDP’s Lorne Nystrom in the 2004 federal election. He claimed (when it was too late for a response) that Nystrom was soft on child pornography to defeat the longest serving NDP MP by close to a thousand votes.

But in what should be a cakewalk of a campaign for Justin Trudeau, the prime minister has created obstacles such as the albatross of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the travesty of the SNC-Lavalin debacle and he will always have the pictures of the family visit to India. All is not that rosy for the liberals either.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Singh sings a survival song.

Monday, August 12th, 2019

You have to admit, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the new democrats, is a hard worker. His main objective in the run-up to the October 21 election is to try to ensure that the new democratic party elects the 12 members of parliament needed to be recognized as a party in the house of commons. He has to convince Canadians that there still is a need for his third party.

Singh’s dilemma is that nobody is listening and the NDP do not have the money for a campaign that would get your attention. With most polls now agreeing that the liberals are trending back to better numbers, October will likely be just a two-party race. And there is still a great deal to be decided in the race in the days remaining.

But it his own party that is doing Singh in. With a quarter of his caucus bowing out of the election, you wonder what Singh said to offend them. Maybe it was Singh signing up of enough Sikhs in British Columbia and Ontario to swamp the NDP membership and win the leadership of the party that annoyed them. It was a foolish move that is causing problems for the party.

Singh is trading off the 15 remaining NDP seats in Quebec that were held over from the Orange Wave of Jack Layton and kept alive by Thomas Mulcair. It is questionable if any of those seats are safe. And with the current political tensions in B.C., it is doubtful that all the current 13 NDP seats there are very safe.

To refer to the NDP brain trust might seem like an oxymoron but they really do have some people who know how campaigns should be run. Whether any of this expertise can help Singh is the question.

It reminds us of the old proverb: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost, etc. In this case, the nail is the money the party needs to mount an effective campaign.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau’s Secret Weapon.

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

You have probably been wondering why prime minister Justin Trudeau is so cheery and ebullient these days. It is probably not just the fact that his pal Gerald Butts is back to back him up in the campaign. Nor is it the pollsters who are saying that the conservatives and liberals are in a statistical tie.

The truth is that he really is facing off in this election against the weakest opposition that any sitting prime minister has ever had to face. And his opposition is split three ways.

The least of his worries is the green party. In the long run, these people would be allies in protecting the environment. With a potential of three or four seats for the greens in parliament, Elizabeth May is probably hoping for a slim minority situation for the liberals. It would give her some bargaining power.

Conversely, the NDP are in a protectionist mode. They have little hope of Jagmeet Singh taking their party anywhere. They need to hang on to a basic 12 seats to be recognized as a party in parliament. The SOS they are sending out is ‘save our seats.’ On election night, they and the Bloc Québécois could become the forgotten in Quebec. It is likely to not be known if they held on to their party status until the counts start coming in from British Columbia.

This leaves Justin Trudeau with just one party to address. The good news is that the conservatives never expected Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer to even be a serious contender in this election. He was supposed to be holding the fort until the next election when the party could elect a more dynamic leader. What you have is Jason Kenney in Alberta and Doug Ford in Ontario calling the shots for the federal party.

Justin Trudeau’s secret weapon is the leader of the conservatives. What we have right now is Chuckles pleading with the two premiers to stay out of his election. Its an even money bet that says they are unable to do that.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Grand Scheme and the Ocean Drift.

Friday, July 26th, 2019

At this time of the phony election that precedes the real election, we are not really concerned about where pollsters think people are at but where they are headed. It is more of an oceanic drift than a positive direction but some of the flotsam will make it and some will not.

My thinking on this was started by someone who was puzzled by what Warren Kinsella was doing. What he asked was “is Warren working for the conservatives or is he working for Elizabeth May’s greens?

I can understand the confusion, but the only answer he got from me was a shrug. The answer is probably hidden somewhere in the Law of the Sea. It is in the difference between Flotsam and Jetsam. ‘Flotsam’ is what fell overboard inadvertently. ‘Jetsam’ is what you threw overboard intentionally. A simple way to think of it is Jane Philpott in Ontario is liberal Flotsam. Jody Wilson-Raybould in B.C. is Jetsam.

Political parties do not make a standard practice of throwing away their supporters. And all parties consider this voter flotsam at this time as fair game. Where it is taken by the ocean drifts can win or lose an election. And, since the liberals have been careless about losing some voters, I would expect that a goodly share of the current voting flotsam are people who would typically vote liberal.

Now, if I was a canny conservative strategist, I would find someone who could capture the attention of disgruntled liberals and I would arrange for this person to work for the greens. The thing is, liberals tend to listen to fellow liberals first. And a lot of this liberal flotsam are wondering for whom they might vote. They mostly hate conservatives and have little use for NDPers.

But many liberal-thinking voters tend to be sympathetic of the greens. They have no reason to hate them and they consider them more useful than NDPers. And the point is that if they vote green, they will not be returning to the liberal fold.

So, if you were a conservative, in a country that still has first-past-the-post voting, you would be quite happy to see that liberal flotsam vote for the greens. It will help elect more conservatives.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Singh scans the Six.

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Canada’s new democratic party leader has been seen in Ontario. Party leader Jagmeet Singh is engaged in a desperate rear-guard action this summer for some Toronto area ridings. Faced with the possible loss of their party standing in the house of commons, the NDP have realized that the Toronto area is where they will take their last stand.

The only problem Jagmeet faces is that most of those ridings that traditionally vote NDP deserted and went to the liberals in 2015. There is little chance of getting any of them back this time. With very few exceptions, the distaste for the Ford conservative government at Queen’s Park is driving many previously conservative votes to the liberal party. Jagmeet can’t catch a break.

It is similar confusion across Canada. While the opinion polls are coming into line with forecasting a minority government situation in Ottawa, it is different parties benefitting in different provinces.

While Jagmeet has hopes for holding his own Vancouver area riding, Elizabeth May’s Green Party looks like it will have its breakthrough in that province. Nobody is assuming anything but the ‘same-old/same-old’ across the prairies. All we know about Quebec is that that the NDP Orange Wave created by the late Jack Layton in 2011 is dead, the Bloc is moribund and Maxime Bernier is going to knock the conservatives out of the Quebec City area (and probably leave those ridings to the liberals). And that leaves the Atlantic playing some musical chairs but not causing much change. It all comes back to Ontario.

My best guess is that if Justin Trudeau spends all of September and October, up until the 21st, in central Ontario, he has a chance. There is a band of red-necked farmers stretching across the province, from Ottawa to Windsor, who think God is a conservative.

But I am sure, those farmers would all like a selfie with Justin. That is his only chance.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

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?

-30-

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!’

-30-

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.

-30-

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.

-30-

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