Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is ‘All In.’

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario NDP: “We the Green”?

Monday, June 17th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The late, unlamented New Democratic Party.

Friday, June 14th, 2019

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

If you paint a pig green?

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘None of the Above’ is not an option.

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Profiling politicians.

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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