Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Ford unlocks his lockdown.

Friday, January 15th, 2021

It is not just Ontario residents who are confused. They are in a “lockdown” that nobody understands. The wife and I very much wanted to see an old friend this weekend. We finally figured out that under premier Ford’s lockdown rules, the two of us could not go and visit the other person but the one person could come and see us. Go figure that one?

To be honest with you, I never have been a fan of Mr. Ford. He is a label salesman gone amok. He was the worst councilor ever on Toronto city council for one term. He lost in his attempt at immediately running for mayor and landed in the premier’s job more by accident than design.

As premier of Canada’s most populous province, he immediately proved himself vindictive—disrupting the Toronto elections by reducing the number of councilors. He showed his true colors as an anti-environmentalist—promising developers they would be able to build on Toronto’s natural aquifer.

And while he never really provided us beer drinkers with his promised buck-a-beer, he proved his calling by ordering libelous stickers making false claims about the federal government’s carbon tax—until the courts instructed the province to take them down.

But when the pandemic first swept through Ontario, Ford was unprepared and rarely listened to anybody. It is the second wave that is threatening to decimate our population that has left him confused and angry. He begs and blusters for the news media instead of directing them to scientific sources. He, shamelessly, uses his cabinet colleagues to confuse and cover for him. He uses expert sources as a last resort.

It is his latest lockdown that has left us all in the dark. He tells us what is open and closed and what hours the open can be open. And what makes no sense is who can be dealing out the front door and who can invite you in to shop and why the big box stores are open when the desperate small store can starve.

This must be what happens when a label salesman tries to run a province. Let us hope that Ontario remembers when the opportunity for change comes along.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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Are any conservatives listening?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

It is something of a wonder that Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta, Doug Ford, premier of Ontario, and Erin O’Toole, federal conservative leader, are members of the same political party. The only similarity between the three gentlemen is that they all blame Justin Trudeau for their problems, provincially and across Canada. And that seems like a very heavy load for Canada’s prime minister to carry.

No doubt there are a growing number of Albertans who wish Mr. Kenney spent less of their money on pipelines for diluted bitumen and more on health care. They think he should be paying more attention to the current pandemic than the price of oil—which is obviously not going to suddenly solve all their problems.

At a time when his province is so obviously in need of leadership, Jason Kenney has been reluctant to place any restraints on Albertans. Citizens of Alberta who want to ignore the simple rules that could reduce and prevent the spread of coronavirus are creating the highest incidence of covid-19 in the country.

The news media in Ontario had been giving Doug Ford time to grasp the reins of his job but disillusionment has been growing. Just when you think the guy is doing the job, he reverts to his basic cronyism. Having his majority conservatives approve a bill that includes university status for his friend Charles McVety’s Canada Christian College is a slam at Ontario’s properly run and qualified universities.

Add to that, Ford’s disregard for Ontario’s years of building safeguards for our environment. He is destroying those years of hard work by conservative, liberal and new democratic governments to cater to his developer supporters. It is open season on the environment in Ontario.

And the federal conservative leader is not much help either. He is trying to build a fictitious ‘big tent’ party that more Canadians can support. To do this, he is ignoring the more strident members of his federal caucus such as Pierre Poilievre who thinks we are spending too much helping Canadians through the pandemic and MP Derek Sloan who wants to warn people against vaccines.

It would seem that Canadians would be better off if they had more politicians who put Canadians first and their party second.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The auditor versus the label salesman.

Friday, November 27th, 2020

It might not be a fair fight but Ontario voters are enjoying it. The ups and downs and the tantrums of former label salesman and now premier Doug Ford are generally entertaining but when he and the province’s auditor general cross swords, the province can see the problems with better clarity.

The problem might be that both of the protagonists are out of their depth. The problem is that Doug Ford’s limited education and political experience, ill prepared him to do battle with both a coronavirus and an experienced auditor general.

You can also make the claim that, once again, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk has overstepped the bounds of her job. That does not make her wrong in telling us that Ford and his Tories are doing a lousy job on the pandemic. When the conservative premiers have made it very clear to Ottawa that the federal role is to do nothing but send money, we have to hope they know what they are doing.

And we agree that Bonnie Lysyk continues to exceed her financial accountability role to point out the lousy job the politicians are doing. She has also pointed out that the province’s medical officer of health is also not doing his job.

But why should that matter when the Ford government is not listening to him either.

What this all boils down to is that once again, the auditor general of Ontario has pointed out the deep pile of do-do that the Ontario government is driving us into. That is her job. How she does it is another matter. She did the same things to the liberals when they were in power.

But we know for a fact now that Ford and his Tories are doing a lousy job. And we have also learned that Ford’s minister of health is no better at her job than the premier is at his.

We hear a retired army general will be reporting in at Queen’s Park to take over distribution logistics for coming vaccines. Let’s hope that he does a better job at that than the politicians have done so far.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Back to the Bully Pulpit.

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

It might have been a term coined by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt but our prime minister Justin Trudeau did the bully pulpit one better. It was living in Rideau Cottage while the official residence at 21 Sussex was under repair. Trudeau did a cuckoo clock single out the front door of the cottage to address the latest news of the coronavirus.

Where lesser Luminoso would need support by technical experts or henchmen, our prime minister does it alone.

It actually seems more crowded all the time at the Ontario political updates. Despite the team effort, Doug Ford is losing traction with his voters as he rants on. His problem is that he little understands the experts and leans heavily on his own solutions. People are questioning the science behind some of his answers. The largest puzzle he presented recently is closing virtually all small business in the most populous cities in the province while leaving the schools in operation. And it will not help to look to education minister Stephen Lecce for answers.

But even from his bully pulpit, Justin Trudeau knows better than to challenge how some conservative premiers are handling the pandemic problems. Health care is in the hands of the provinces and the feds would be crazy to intervene. All Trudeau can really do is support the provincial efforts and plead for public cooperation in these serious times.

Even when we have some vaccines in the offing, the rapidly escalating case loads of pandemic sufferers is of growing concern. Hospitals in some provinces are reaching capacity and there are fewer and fewer healthy health care workers to fill the gaps.

But what Trudeau can do is throw more aid money into the maw of the coronavirus. In some provinces we are looking at disaster as more and more of our small businesses are ordered to shut their doors, never able to re-open. We will suffer the sores of this pandemic for years to come.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Doug Ford buys Ontario.

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Listening to premier Doug Ford blow on about his Buy Ontario pitch brings back memories. After all I go back to the days when the province used to promote doing home renovation jobs in winter “When men and materials are available.”

But Doug’s objective is to compete with president-elect Joe Biden’s ‘Buy America’ speech fillers. You have probably noted that American politicians usually include this idea when their speech seems to be lacking substance. It is just a filler, easily said, soon forgotten.

Doug should listen to a very experienced politician he knows by the name of Hazel McCallion, the former mayor of Mississauga. Hazel spent most of her life building her city and she still has words to the wise for political newbie’s such as Ford.

I remember years ago when I was working in Mississauga and one of the division heads wandered into my office. He wanted to know why the City of Mississauga was not buying his product. He wanted me to talk to the mayor and city council about this. Since some of his division’s products were made in the area, he thought they should have more consideration.

I explained that I did not have time for such a presentation myself but it would probably be better if he made the presentation himself. I fed his ego a bit, told him how to arrange to make the presentation and sent him on his way.  I already knew exactly what Hazel would do to him.

She had a stock answer for companies with their local-source product presentations. She would give them a lecture about how Mississauga attracted industry such as his because the city provided excellent services at the lowest tax rate of any city in Ontario. And one of the ways that they could offer the lowest tax rate was that they always bought at the lowest price.

My only addendum to that is that we need to challenge our local companies to innovate, to add value and to be good corporate citizens. It is hard not to want do business with those companies.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Colour coding Doug Ford.

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

A month ago, Ontario premier Doug Ford turned thumbs down on colour coding the severity of the pandemic. Now he tells us the doctors have talked him into doing it. In among the much more interesting American election news the other evening there was an item about the new color coding.

If you are not from Ontario, you might never have seen Dougie in action talking about the pandemic. It really is a treat. It has none of the chutzpah of Justin Trudeau’s cuckoo clock single at Rideau Cottage, but it suits his style. Ford brings three or four cabinet ministers or senior civil servants along to give the session some gravitas. He lets them talk occasionally but it is, without question, the Dougie Ford show and tell.

He has been hard-put to convince the news media to stick to the pandemic when it is about the only chance they get to ask him about other provincial subjects.

It does not appear that the premier gets any briefings on these other subjects but he bravely takes them on. It is fun when some of these questions are prepared to embarrass him. A good example was the recent covid-19 bill that had been introduced in the legislature that had a little gift hidden in it for the premier’s friend Charles McVety. The Whitby-based Canada Christian College that McVety runs was being given university status so that it could grant degrees.

The questions from the news media became interesting after it became known that the bible school had not been approved for granting degrees by any senior educational body.

This leaves the premier with the question if he should stay out of trouble and just send lesser ministers and senior health experts to do these briefings.

But it looks like he loves the limelight too much. There he was, hogging the spotlight, and digging a hole for himself. After shrugging off colour coding the various levels of covid-19 seriousness, here he was really confusing people with his new codes. He missed the mark on that one.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The kid who couldn’t.

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Sam Oosterhoff MPP, is the youngest person, at 19, to be elected to the Ontario legislature. He might also be the MPP with the most to learn. The member for Niagara West received a more dubious first when he was made parliamentary assistant to the minister of education. It must have amused premier Doug Ford to appoint someone with less than a full semester of experience in the Ontario education system to the job.

But boys will be boys and the kid might be determined to embarrass the premier. The other day, he posted pictures on the Internet of himself and more than 35 fellow citizens without masks, crowded together at a Niagara area restaurant.

It is not that the kid was home schooled and was taught religious conservativism. Ford has publicly pleaded with the citizens of Ontario to wear masks and practice social distancing during the current surge in the coronavirus pandemic. And that request is supposedly meant to include the legislature’s enfant terrable.

And it is not as though Doug Ford was not looking after the province’s social conservatives. His government has been trying to slip through an omnibus bill that includes Charles McVety’s Canada Christian College that would give the Whitby-based college the rights of a degree-granting university. Mr. McVety has a well publicized reputation for being anti-gay rights and for his Islamophobia.

It is assumed that Doug Ford has learned from president Donald Trump in the United States that hypocrisy in regard to religion can pay off at the polls for conservative-minded politicians.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Dougie Dumps Ranked Ballots.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

You have to hand it to Ontario premier Doug Ford. He rarely gets much right. He just knows what he hates about municipal politics—anything that the downtown Toronto councillors like. This includes changing the voting from first-past-the-post (FPTP) to ranked ballots.

The change had been allowed under provincial legislation but to-date only Cambridge and London, Ontario had taken the step away from FPTP voting. Some Toronto councillors were hoping the city could make the change to ranked ballots as early as in the upcoming 2022 municipal elections.

The provincial government explained their decision with the curt statement that “Now is not the time for municipalities to experiment with costly changes to how municipal elections are conducted.”

While some of the proponents of the change were claiming this was an anti-democratic move by the Ontario conservatives, nobody other than the legislature had ever voted for it. Ontario voters took a look at what is called mixed member proportional voting in a referendum linked to the provincial election of 2007 and defeated the suggestion by a vote of about two to one.

The problem with changing how we vote is that FPTP is a known and trusted system that has been used for hundreds of years. It would take extensive, and probably expensive, selling of any alternative system before voters would accept it.

In the view of this writer what people seemed to be asking for in discussing the subject of change is that they want to be able to be sure candidates have a majority of their voters supporting them. This can best be achieved with run-off elections. In these circumstances, when no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the vote, the top two vote getters have a run-off and a second vote is held.

With the growing interest in Internet voting, run-off elections would be inexpensive and easily run.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The Temptation to be Tory.

Friday, October 16th, 2020

It appears that the leopard is still unable to change his spots. At least conservatives such as Ontario’s Doug Ford and Alberta’s Jason Kenney fail to stray long from their expected courses. Mean buggers, both of them. They are conservative to the core.

Take Jason Kenney. Since college in San Francisco, Jason Kenney has been a misogynist and an in-it-for-himself politician. This is the Kenney who has devoted his life to manipulative politics. This is a petty politician who blames the federal government for all the ills of the Alberta economy. This is a politician who blames the federal government for the problems of the Alberta health care system. And yet he fights with the doctors over billings and fires hundreds of nurses and healthcare technicians. It appears that he thinks the covid-19 epidemic is just a federal problem.

This is a petty politician who puts Alberta taxpayers’ money into failing pipelines and pipe-dreams about Alaska railroads. Kenney seems to have no understanding of how a better economic future of Alberta needs to be built.

At least Kenney can cater to the greed of some Alberta voters for a resource economy while Doug Ford, in Ontario has the problem of keeping and building on a once robust industrial-financial-resource based economy. Ford sees his role as putting up a fight against those promoting a carbon-free environment and better land-use planning. It is hard for him to say ‘no’ to developers who want to build on the Oak Ridges Moraine. In the meantime, he is squeezing teachers and healthcare staff who take up so much of the attention of the Ontario government.

There is no question but that Ford and Kenney have very different objectives than the federal government. They are conservatives.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Ford cures covid-19 numbers.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

Premier Ford of Ontario has a salesman’s way with numbers. You want fewer people with covid-19 from the coronavirus, he gives you lower figures. He can even flatten the curve.

The secret is in the number of tests. He has it all figured out. He has found that he who controls the number of tests can make the numbers of covid-19 casualties go up or down. He can even tell you if the curve is flattening or not.

It is simple statistics. If you do 100,000 tests of people who have an incidence of one case in every 1000, you will have close to 100 cases. When you complete only half the number of tests, you are more likely to have half the number of cases of covid-19.

And if you want everyone to have a happy Thanksgiving in Ontario, just close those testing centres in high incidence areas of the province. That could be as simple as telling people to book an appointment for a test and when they call, leave them on hold until they give up.

But please do not ask Premier Dougie how many people are celebrating Thanksgiving at the Ford Household this coming weekend. Until the premier has checked with his wife, he has no idea how many Fords will gather at the premier’s household.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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