Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

A failure in leadership.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

If conservative leader Andrew Scheer is looking for compassion, he is looking in the wrong places. There is no succor for losers in Toronto’s Albany club. Long the King Street hangout of the rich and famous of Canadian conservatism, there is no compassion there for someone rejected by the voters of Toronto and the GTA.

And, no matter how you look at it, Chuckles’ days of power and privilege and free accommodation, in the opposition leader’s residence at Stornoway, are sliding away from him. He came, he saw what he wanted, and he lost. The story is that simple.

The only person who owes Andrew Scheer anything is Justin Trudeau. Chuckles kept Trudeau in power.

Most conservatives complicit in the selection of Andrew Sheer as leader of their party in 2017 considered him to be nothing more than a place-holder. His job was to hold the fort while Justin Trudeau went through the typical two terms as a young, fresh-faced prime minister. Nobody considered the liberal leader to be particularly vulnerable. The wheels only fell off the liberal bus early in 2019.

Liberals were cringing and conservatives were jubilant when the SNC-Lavalin affair hit the news media. It was the kind of affair that had legs. It dominated the media for months. It remains unresolved.

There were also broken promises and Trudeau’s use of his party lists for constant fund-raising that was tearing at the fabric of liberalism across Canada. The liberal party machine went into the fixed-date election in September, unprepared and in disarray.

It was an election to see who could sling the most mud. It lacked ethics, urgency and coherency. The liberals and conservatives (and, to their bias, the Parti Québécois) chose this election to divide the country. There were few answers for those of us concerned about climate change. People became tired of endless, meaningless promises as to how to spend their money.

It was a campaign that left every man and woman to look to their own needs and wants. There was no unifying theme. There was only ‘get mad, get even.’ It was a campaign to remember with sorrow. We were all losers. So far, the only party leader to do the honourable thing is Elizabeth May of the Greens. The other leaders should follow.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Go angry into the night.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Canada went to bed angry last night; a failed decision behind us. We had bought into distrust and grievance and discord. We set aside our normal fairness and caring. Greed seemed to be the only compromise. It was a failure in leadership and trust. The next election is not in four years but anytime that there might be an advantage.

Some of Quebec’s francophones gave the rest of us Canadians the finger last night. They chose to send a group of separatist Bloc Québécois members to parliament—but not to contribute to the common good. Thankfully, they did not win the balance of power.

The harshness of the Prairie choices was a more critical critique of confederation. And the failure of the greens to grow and to take their commitments to parliament spells continued conflict over pipelines.

But Jason Kenney in Alberta has to realize that by failing to address his anger in parliament, he is but a dog barking in the night.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer can take off his clown make-up and let his party stew over his poor leadership. When is the safe time to replace him?

Jagmeet Singh and his NDP took their losses but retained party status and can offer the support the liberals need to govern. Maybe the NDP will end up with a direction after all.

And the liberals suffer from the same dilemma. Justin Trudeau has much to learn about politics, political parties and leadership. The difference might be that he is still teachable.

But he let us down here in the catbird seat in Ontario. Once again, we had a winnable candidate, we had the skills and we had the desire to win and the party let us down. There were important lessons learned in Milton. Political campaigns do not start when the writ comes down. They start the day after the last campaign.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“Mommy, It’s over!”

Monday, October 21st, 2019

The sign-off for the Just for Laughs television show seems quite appropriate for this election. Though it was hardly just for laughs. There are still a lot of tears to be shed over this 43rd Canadian General Election. Having a green monster wailing to his mommy seems the right tone to end it.

There were lies told and vulgar language used. It was just not always comedic. As in any show of this type, you have to rate the actors individually.

The prize for most improved went to the boy born at Sussex Drive. Did you note that he was no longer saying ‘Aahh’ while thinking of the next part of his answer? He had obviously been quietly taking elocution lessons as well as training on the use of teleprompters.

‘Chuckles’ Scheer, on the other hand, is still a work in progress. The high cheek bones that earned him the clown title are most often hidden under make-up and his handlers are trying to expand his current repertoire of two facial expressions (surprise and puzzlement). His wife is often with him on the hustings late in the campaign, in a further attempt to soften his image.

But the growing meanness and cruelty of conservatism in this age still nags at Scheer and his candidates. He can hardly deny premiers Ford and Kenney and their unfeeling cuts, refusal to understand global warming and failure to understand the critical relations with other countries that Canadians have gained around the world.

Jagmeet Singh might have stirred the cold hearts of the news media but the growth he has claimed during the campaign has been among the NDP supporters who had given up on him. He is still facing serious losses of previously held seats in Quebec, no potential for growth in Ontario and lost hopes on the Prairies.

Election-day reality in Quebec is most likely to be conservative and NDP losses to the Bloc and the liberals.

What surprises me is that there seems to be no organized effort in B.C. to move to Elizabeth May and the greens and guarantee the end of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

And then, maybe my sources are wrong!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Watch out for the mathematics!

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

It was mentioned the other day that it is impossible to selectively elect a minority government. Before you think you are voting for a minority, you need to check your mathematics and your logic. I would suggest to you that if most people across Canada voted for a second-tier party to keep one of the two main parties from winning, we could be back at the polls within 90 days. And that would certainly cost us.

Take the current suggestion that the Bloc Québécois could win the most seats in Quebec. If that happened, the result might be a conservative minority government that could hold on to power on an issue by issue basis, with Bloc support, for almost a year.

But what if the Bloc won so many seats in Quebec that the result was a conservative majority? The Bloc would be ignored and useless in an antagonistic house of commons for the next four years.

The problem is that you can only control your own vote. Everyone else’s vote is their own business.

Canada’s problem is not how it votes but the lack of leadership. We are so bereft of leadership in this country that an untried and unknown lawyer from Brampton, Ontario has caused a small flurry of hope because he spoke up at a leaders’ debate. He did not say anything important nor did he suggest any path to enlightenment. I can pin down about three seats that are likely to be won by his new democratic party. Anything else is guesswork.

At the same time, I know that the disappointment with Justin Trudeau is palpable across Canada, He might mean well but he has let us down. He is not a leader. He is more like his mother than his father. He is but an actor. He enjoys the role but he does not lead.

But for all our complaints, Trudeau could do a job better than he has. He can certainly do it better than the woefully inadequate Andrew Scheer. Anyone who seriously watched Scheer as speaker of the house of commons during the final four years of the Harper conservative government would be appalled at the thought of that man as prime minister of Canada.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

On the home straight.

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

We are in the final week and nobody really knows how this election will play out. We tend to confuse what we hope will happen with what is really happening. The pollsters seemed locked in secondary races and are ignoring the real one.

Maybe green leader Elizabeth May is the only realist. She admits to the media that she is not running to be prime minister. She does have images of being the balance of power dancing in her head but the pollsters are even pooh-poohing that idea.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is the least likely to achieve. Instead of dealing with the realities of being a third party, he has delusions of the glories of the prime minister’s office. His princess is going to be terribly disappointed with the results. The reality for Singh next week will be the heavy loss of Quebec seats for the socialists. And there is no way those losses can be recovered with a few possible gains in B.C.

But, in the same way, the higher poll figures in Quebec for the Bloc Québécois do not seem realistic. I agree that these voters are telling the pollsters that they are inclined to vote for the Bloc in rejection of the Tories. I also think many Quebecers are up to their usual tricks on the pollsters. There is a possibility that more than a few of those reported Bloc votes are really parked votes that the voters are embarrassed to admit are going to the liberals.

What worries me the most is the deteriorated state of organization in Ontario liberal riding associations that are not running an incumbent. If the effectiveness of the Tory ground game when Doug Ford had his romp to power provincially, is even half as good this year, it will be more than the liberals will be able to match.

And it should be obvious by now that the conservative weakness this year has not been Doug Ford but Andrew Scheer. Chuckles is no leader or debater or politician and he was lame when on the defensive. Even his attacks on Trudeau often come across as hollow and rote. He is not credible as a leader.

I think the forecasts in our Morning Line are still valid. We will be putting it all together next week. We live in interesting times.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Singh’s sendoff into the sunset.

Friday, October 11th, 2019

New democratic party leader Jagmeet Singh is not going quietly. He caught some wind in his sails from that disgrace of an English debate this past week and is running with it. It was such a bad debate that Singh came out looking better than usual. And yet, it is the cruelest of deceptions to think he is on a level playing field with the two major parties in the election. Reality will return.

And reality is that we can expect the Orange Wave to be washed from the Quebec electoral scene. Few seats in Quebec will hold for the NDP? The NDP are going back to Ottawa with a greatly depleted number of seats. How many less is the question?

There is no future for a third-party leader to go through the election insulting the two leading party leaders. All it does is emphasize the futility of his position. It makes him sound mean and angry. It says to loyal NDPers that a vote for their new democratic candidate is just aiding a less progressive party candidate.

It is admittedly more difficult for a third-party leader to stay above the fray when the two leading contenders are constantly reminding the voters of each other’s weaknesses. In the end, it just turns off the voters to both.

Babel-on-the-Bay is hardly the only progressive commentary that refers to the conservative leader as ‘Chuckles.’ The man looks like a clown and often acts like one.

The biggest laughs in this federal campaign, at least in Ontario, are that the conservative leader can actually campaign in this province without ever mentioning our conservative premier Doug Ford. Wait until you see how fat Ford is getting, sitting in his Queen’s Park office and fuming. He hardly took out a gym membership during the legislature’s extended holiday.

But Doug Ford will recover and Jagmeet Singh might not. My guess is that the NDP will soon be looking for another saviour. I hear there is a former Alberta NDP premier looking for a challenge.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Voting and Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

I am voting in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte this weekend. And I am voting for the liberal candidate. My sense of this riding is that the green candidate is taking some votes from both the liberals and new democrats. That combination will give the riding to another do-nothing conservative.

I expect that situation to be duplicated in a few other Eastern electoral districts and is why the liberals are looking at the possibility of a minority government. If the trend continues to grow, it could change that liberal minority to a conservative minority. A minority conservative government might not last long but we can cross that bridge if we have the bad luck to get to it.

Some ridings are talking strategic voting to ward off that situation but when you have never seen strategic voting work, it seems pointless.

The problem is that the country has never been so divided. Voters came out of that English-language debate confused and angry. There is a heavy line drawn down the Ontario/Manitoba border with an arrow pointed east saying ‘liberal’ and an arrow pointed west saying ‘conservative.’ The only problem for the conservatives is that there is another line drawn down the Rockies that says ‘We do not want your bloody bitumen.’

And this is the position that British Columbia voters have always dreamed of: deciding Canadian elections. With 42 seats to be decided, a unified effort in B.C. could not only determine which party forms the government but determine the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Just remember some observations from the east. Not much change is being forecast in the Atlantic provinces. The conservative and new democratic parties are in trouble in Quebec. The main beneficiary there will be the liberals. The conservatives are in play in rural Ontario and the liberals favoured in the cities.

Think of it as a train crossing into Manitoba from Ontario with at least 140 liberals, maybe 70 conservatives and a few NDP. The conservatives pick up some friends while the train crosses the Prairies.

It is B.C. that holds the balance.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Another bad night for Canadian democracy.

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

When will we treat these election debates as what they are? When they told us that there would be six leadership hopefuls and five moderators for the one English-language debate, we knew trouble was coming. It would have been much better to drop some of the moderators and pay a competent sound engineer. No viewer needs to listen to the babble of people trying to shout over each other.

And what were all those ’moderators’ running for?

Lisa LaFlamme of CTV got my vote for just acting professional. Maybe she had the easiest job at the beginning and the end. We were certainly glad to see her end the event.

Althia Raj of HuffPost won the award for being the coolest moderator.

You would expect someone with the CBC’s Rosemary Barton’s experience to help ease the confusion about what is going on. Since the audience is expected to make sense of what people are saying, it would help if the rules were explained to the audience—as well as the supposed leaders.

But then, there seem to be too many confusing rules at these events. Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star was the only moderator who seemed to be unsure of why she was there.

The only moderator who seemed to show a bias was the normally stony Dawna Friesen of Global Television. Maybe it is because I have watched her interview Justin Trudeau at various times and I sense that she does not like him.

The best idea of the night was from Elizabeth May when she mentioned a financial transaction tax. Canadians deserve an airing of that idea. This is a logical extension of the GST into banking and financial institutions that is long overdue in Canada. We have too many sacred cows in this country that are not paying their way.

The best line of the night was Jagmeet Singh’s reference to Trudeau and Scheer as “Mr. Delay and Mr. Deny.” It is a common enough perception. Whomever gave him that line did him a favour. It would even be more effective if Singh was not saying one thing to Quebec and something else to English Canada.

All I can add about the torture of that English debate is that we certainly have a long way to go to get it right!

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Morning Line: 43rd Canadian General Election

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Welcome to Babel-on-the-Bay’s starting point in understanding the coming election. Bear in mind that these are starting odds only. There will likely be changes by election day. Be sure you get full odds on any of your wagers.

And, believe me, this is not a simple calculation. It has never been more difficult. In the past five years there have been far too many surprise elections. It made us question our judgement. It certainly made us question the judgement of the voters. Our guess is that it is most unlikely that any party can win a majority of seats as a result of this election. The odds are for the possibility of any party forming a majority government.

Liberal Party: 2 to 5 – Likely Seats: 152

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has neither justified all his actions nor quieted concerns but he is the best choice for prime minister in a weak field. His Johnny Appleseed scattering of goodies during the campaign did him little good. He needs to stay close to home and learn what leadership means over the next four years.

Conservative Party: 3 to 5 – Likely Seats: 145

This was Andrew Scheer’s race to win until voters got to know him. He is not the choirboy he says he is. As he is unlikely to win, the conservative knives will be out for him on his return to Ottawa.

Green Party: 9 to 5 – Likely Seats: 18

Elizabeth May’s greens are coming on strong and are likely to replace the NDP as the third party after this election. She needs to learn that voters can remember one or two promises but when the promises come by the bushel, the memory no longer functions well.

New Democratic Party: 15 to 1 – Likely Seats: 15

Jagmeet Singh is going to rue the day he swamped Canadian  NDP membership to steal the leadership of a dying party. If only he knew where they wanted to go!

Bloc Québécois: 50 to 1 – Likely Seats: 8

Leader Yves-François Blanchet stepped up to bring the leaderless Quebec party into this election. He will get the troublemaker vote from Quebec’s aging rural separatists for a pointless four years.

People’s Party of Canada: 100 to 1 – Seats: 0

Leader Maxime Bernier came second to Andrew Scheer for the conservative leadership. He is a libertarian and a loser.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

TVA provides a forum for losers.

Friday, October 4th, 2019

Making sense of the political sparring on Pierre Karl Péladeau’s French language television network, TVA, on Wednesday was easy. It was the time for Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc Québécois and the New Democrat’s Jagmeet Singh to come on strong and hard. This was their first major chance to make their case for rural Quebec votes.

Both of these minor party leaders are faced with not being recognized as an official party in the house of commons. You need to elect 12 members to be recognized as a party. And with that recognition comes staffing money and the right to ask questions in the house.

It is no surprise to note that the urge to separate from Canada is a dying proposition in Quebec. It is not the challenge it was to the province’s youth 60 years ago. Blanchet stepped into the leader’s role of the Bloc because no one else was interested in the thankless job. A life-long Péquiste, Blanchet had previously served as a cabinet member in Pauline Marois’ Parti Québécois government.

But times have changed and instead of being the left leaning party of the past, Blanchet promotes the right wing CAQ government of François Legault. He cheerfully promoted the CAQ bigotry in Bill 21 that forbids the wearing of religious symbols by people in authority representing the Quebec government. He even needled Justin Trudeau on the subject but Trudeau stuck by his guns that he wanted to see how the courts treated the various challenges already in play.

I think the best act was by Jagmeet Singh who was fighting desperately to save even one or two of the 14 Quebec seats the NDP had on dissolution. He is fully prepared to give Quebec voters anything they want if he could just keep those seats.

Early in the day, I think Singh did a little street theatre with an old gentleman who told him, in English, to take off his turban and get a haircut. It would have been more credible if the media had not heard the old gentleman say he was going to vote NDP as he strolled away.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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