Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

It’s like a long race on turf.

Monday, October 16th, 2017

The next Ontario general election is scheduled to be held June 7, 2018. This race will be like a mile and a half on the turf track and requires horses with great endurance and energy. That makes it the time for the old and tired to retire. And that is what is happening with all parties at Queen’s Park.

As the largest party among the incumbents, the Liberals are expected to have the highest turnover.  The noisiest of the changes are among the contested nominations for the Progressive Conservative Party. The quiet changes are among the New Democratic Party which has already lost its deputy leader because he knew this branch of the party is going nowhere.

There is no question that the Queen’s Park Liberals need turnover. After 14 years in power, the party has promises to keep, legacies to earn. Neither Toronto’s Brad Duguid nor Glen Murray will be missed in cabinet or in Ontario politics. Nor do the Liberals need to keep dragging the anchor of Deb Matthews from London. The older Liz Sandals will be missed though for the calming and knowledge she brought to the education portfolio.

The conflict for Premier Wynne is that she needs to hold on to every MPP in her caucus who looks like he or she can hold their riding. There are no guarantees with the shake up in electoral district boundaries. And there is always lots of time after an election for recriminations.

Sure, Wynne should have resigned in the past year and given a new, younger leader a chance. There is no more time for that speculation. Win or lose, Wynne is what the Liberals have to offer. Hopefully there will be a comer among the younger Liberal MPPs.

But like the last election, Wynne’s strengths are experience, position and the lack of effective opposition. Not that the Conservatives are not going to continue to tear at her like a pack of wild dogs. She is no fool and she is street smart. They have no idea of what will bring her down.

If this were a turf contest at Woodbine Racetrack, none of the party leaders would be leading the pack. None of the three are good for the distance. The voters want better and deserve better.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The myopic Mr. Brown.

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

It reminds us that even a stopped clock can be right twice a day. Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has no policies but we know what he is against. He tells us that he will cancel the Liberal Cap and Trade environmental protection plan. He has no idea what he might replace it with but he might be right to get rid of it.

What Brown does not seem to know is that the combination of a federal carbon tax and a provincial cap-and-trade in Ontario and Quebec creates a complex tax on tax on commodities such as gasoline, natural gas and home heating oil. With the cap-and-trade system being hidden—and further confused by being linked to the California and Quebec systems—consumers have no idea how much tax they are paying, and to whom?

Cap-and-trade is not transparent. It is paid at the producer level in a deal-making process with the various provincial and state governments. The consumer only sees it as a higher price once federal, provincial taxes, sales taxes and retail mark-up have been added. And to make matters worse, exporters are paying the cap-and-trade rate too and are less competitive in world markets.

The last time we saw an industry working on its own to say what the carbon cap should be on their industry was Alberta’s tar sands exploiters. In nine years of the Harper government in Canada, the tar sands people never did set a cap on their carbon.

Between carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system, carbon tax is the more honest and open system. The bill starts out the same for all manufacturers. You put so much carbon into our environment, here is what it is going to cost you. It is simple, open and honest. The challenge is to the manufacturer to reduce the carbon emissions and reduce the tax. If the carbon is reduced, the tax is reduced. It is easy to see what is happening and all figures are there for the consumer to see.

Obviously, this openness would be too much for Patrick Brown should he ever, accidently, get to be premier. He would be unlikely to ever change it as it would suit his deceptive nature.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

 

Money has its privileges.

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

They named the provincial Conservative candidate for York-Simcoe the other day. There will be no sweaty contested nomination meeting for former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s kid. Caroline Mulroney got a free pass. And just to drive the point home, at the announcement, she harangued the provincial Liberals for wanting to raise the minimum wage in Ontario.

Obviously Caroline Mulroney has never walked in shoes where the soles were falling off. Her life of privilege at the Prime Minister’s residence and at university in Boston and New York hardly prepared her for the ardour of representing the rural and the rich in their estates in York-Simcoe.

Or is she still remodeling that estate in Georgina as a weekend home for her family? Her husband works for New York’s Blackstone Investment Group of hedge fund fame and probably will want to spend the work week in Toronto.

But maybe it all depends on the schools their four pre-teens are attending?

It is what Caroline Mulroney can possibly contribute at Queen’s Park that has us stumped. She has absolutely no grounding in provincial matters. Reading what someone else thinks about the raising of the minimum wage in Ontario would take a lot more understanding of what poverty means and the trials of living on less than a minimum wage.

Mind you Caroline Mulroney will make an attractive candidate for Patrick Brown to hide behind. He wants people to forget the sleazy way he swamped the membership of the Ontario Conservatives to take the leadership by default. Nobody had thought of signing up more than 40,000 temporary members of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. They were mainly from the Indian Sub-Continent and nobody questioned whether they had paid their own membership or not. The 20,000 long-time members of the Conservative Party never had a chance.

But that has nothing to do with Caroline Mulroney. She had to listen to people commenting on how sleazy her father was all her life. She probably learned to ignore it.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The Conservative knives are out for Brown.

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Have you figured out why Ontario Premier Wynne is looking so smug lately? It has finally occurred to her that she not only has a chance to hold on to power in next year’s election but she is even getting help from Conservatives. Rather than support some of the extreme right-wing splinter parties that are forming, such as Trillium, these Tories will give Wynne more time to hang herself while making sure they have an honest choice to replace Tory leader Patrick Brown. And believe us, the political knives are out for Brown.

Those of us in Brown’s Barrie area electoral district could almost form a three-party campaign to ensure that Brown is defeated.

From the first time I met the little weasel 13 years ago, I wondered why anyone would ever want to vote for him. It took a short time to find out that he was a user and he used whatever lie was needed to bring people into his web. There are hundreds of people here in Barrie waiting for the opportunity to turn the tables on him. They are a force.

But like most of Brown’s problems, he brought it on himself. His upbringing is as a right-wing Catholic. He has proved to be anti-abortion and anti-same sex marriage. Not that he has any success with the ladies. What we hear in his home town is that women do not like him. Even the ones on the religious right are just not interested.

That enables Brown to concentrate on politics. That seems to be his primary and only love. He never seems to let the truth stand in the way of a good story. He certainly used dishonest tactics to win the Ontario leadership. When confronted on issues, he tends to consider a nimble turn-around to be the best defence.

Brown is a marathon runner and a mediocre hockey player. He has never contributed any thinking to Conservative party policy and has always avoided getting involved in it. He is desperately hoping that the Conservative Party will come up with some ideas for next year’s election. He is a political organizer, not a thinker.

The preliminary website for the Conservatives creating “I’m Out.ca” for Ontario Conservatives is honest and straightforward. They certainly do not like Mr. Brown. It will be fun to see how that movement grows before next spring and the June 7 election.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Fear of Ford.

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Is he, or isn’t he? Is Doug Ford running for the mayoralty in Toronto next year or for the Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election? And who cares anyway? Oddly enough that is a matter that is mainly of concern to provincial politicians. Incumbent Mayor John Tory, who wants another term, could care less. The fact is that nobody expects Doug Ford to discover a magic elixir for winning in politics.

Doug Ford will let us all know where he is headed at Ford Nation’s annual backyard barbeque later this week. The reality is that Doug Ford reminds us of the old story about the erstwhile fisherman who goes to the fishing hole where his brother could always catch fish. He spends a day fishing with no luck. He is giving up when a fish jumps above the water and calls out: Where’s your brother?

Well Rob Ford is dead and Doug Ford in no fisherman. And Ford Nation is just a bunch of freeloaders.

The reality of the story, as any knowledgeable political apparatchik can tell you, is that Doug Ford is appreciated for his money and his name but he is a political liability. If there is fresh dog poop anywhere within range of the political Doug Ford, you can be sure he will step in it.

Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown is running a fragile campaign into next June’s provincial election and he hardly needs a loose cannon like Ford on his team. The younger Ford brother is a guy who thinks of Donald Trump as his hero. Brown wants the kind of candidates who can slide in under the radar. His campaign will be built on vilifying the Liberals and creating a massive vote against them. It is the only way a putz like him can get elected.

Patrick Brown is the type of candidate whom nobody has ever voted for as an individual. He is a wasted vote. He offers nothing other than a vague support for his party and not being the other guy. He is a user. And he is dishonest. He took the leadership of Ontario’s Conservatives by skulduggery—signing up temporary members of the party and paying for most of their memberships. His hero is former Ontario Premier Mike Harris.

But as much as Doug Ford would worry Patrick Brown, John Tory could care less about him. Lord knows, John Tory is not the perfect mayor. It is that Doug Ford is the kind of candidate who makes John Tory look good.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The trial of Kathleen Wynne.

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

The trial is set to begin in Sudbury, Ontario on September 7. We would ignore the trial and its political implications if it did not involve the present Premier of Ontario. Mind you Kathleen Wynne will spend most of the trial on the sidelines. She is not charged with a crime. She has lackeys for that.

Standing in for the Premier is a long-time staff member, Patricia Sorbara. Pat has been in and around the Ontario Liberal Party at Queen’s Park since the mid 1980s. She has risen slowly from minor roles with junior ministers to the premier’s office. Choosing her to tell a former candidate to back off from a byelection was not exactly the vote of confidence that any political apparatchik wants to hear. It means you can be disavowed if things go wrong.

Sorbara and her local contact, a prominent Sudbury undertaker and Liberal fundraiser, Gerry Lougheed were just that. If anything were to go wrong with the Premier’s plan, those two (as they say in politics) were there to be thrown under the bus. And Sorbara and Lougheed were.

There does not seem to be any denial of the facts of the conversations with former candidate, Andrew Olivier—who, as a quadriplegic, records important chats rather than taking notes. There seems to be no way though to lay a charge against the Premier for what she might have told them to say.

Another unindicted defendant in this trial will be Ontario’s minister of energy, Glen Thibault, the winning Liberal candidate in that Sudbury by-election. While there were some carefully worded criticisms of his role from his former friends in the New Democratic caucus at Queen’s Park, he records nothing and remembers nothing improper being offered to him to encourage him to run for the Liberals in the by-election.

But it will be the news media and the public who will make that connection after the trial is over. And if there is even the hint of a criticism of the Premier in the judge’s ruling, it will be embellished and shouted louder by the opposition in next June’s provincial election.

And then the election itself will be the severest test of all. Because no matter who wins next year’s provincial election, the losers will be the Ontario voters.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Barrie’s Bad Boy Brown.

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

There is no reason to worry. The next provincial election is not scheduled until June 7 next year. By then, we should expect that far more Ontario voters are going to realize what a screw-up Brown would be as premier. It is not that he is dishonest, devious and dumb, we have had all those traits in previous premiers. Hell, just look at President Trump in the United States. He beats Brown six ways to Sunday.

But at least everyone knows what Donald Trump wants. You cannot say that for Patrick Brown. Sure, Trump lied all the way to the White House. We know that Brown simply stole the leadership of the Ontario Tories by swamping their membership. He signed up close to 40,000 new immigrants from the Indian Sub-Continent and nobody checked to see if they paid their own memberships.

Recently an interviewer noted that Brown was there in the front row at the Barrie Country Club when former Tory leader Tim Hudak announced his ill-fated pledge to fire 100,000 Ontario civil servants if he won the last provincial election. It was very funny when Brown said how concerned he was about this policy—despite the television people having the shot of him being the first to jump up to congratulate Tim Hudak on his brilliant speech.

But you can hardly deny that Tim Hudak had some ideas—as bad as they were. Brown is not giving us anything other than platitudes.

All we have to go on with Brown is how he voted in the House of Commons on free votes on subjects such as women’s rights—he is against them. Since then he has kept flip-flopping on subjects such as sex education. His remarkable conversion to recognizing gay rights seemed to be based on how many times he could get the news media to get another picture of him in Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade.

Politically, Brown is a user. He uses people. He uses charities. Instead of putting forward proposals to help people live better, he uses their problems to promote himself. Later this month, he will once again be taking the credit for a hockey event in Barrie for charity that we suspect his political staff organizes. He promotes it but seems to have stopped taking the direct responsibility for it. This might be because some people have been wondering what an audit over the years of the of the event might reveal.

But if you think we are being unfair to Mr. Brown, we would certainly like to know about it. My e-mail address is below.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

She could use her married name.

Monday, August 7th, 2017

The question was: What would help Brian Mulroney’s daughter win a seat in the Legislature in the next Ontario provincial election? The obvious answer is to use a different name. It might be a quarter century since Canadian voters turfed Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives (then led by Kim Campbell) and left the party with just two seats in parliament, but the odour lingers.

But Caroline Mulroney has other concerns. She is mother of four pre-teens at her and her husband’s estate in Georgina between Barrie and Toronto. She is a principal in BloombergSen investment firm but seems to lack political savvy. For example, it is not the amount you spend on an announcement but the creativity, competence and thought you put into it.

Her timing is bad because the provincial party is currently mired in claims and counter claims about the problems created by the party’s leader and his team in attracting and nominating candidates. Throwing a name candidate such as Ms. Mulroney into the melee seems unfair to her.

And since not much happens in York-Simcoe riding without the blessing of Conservative MP Peter Van Loan, we wonder what is going on?

What really turns us off in this announcement is that her husband Andrew Lapham is an executive of New York’s Blackstone investment firm that has fully functioning offices around the world but apparently not in Toronto. Maybe Ms. Mulroney intends to keep her husband in the background.

The believable aspect of Ms. Mulroney’s candidacy is her claim that York-Simcoe voters tell her they want change. Since voters in that area both federally and provincially have been represented by Conservative politicians for the past two decades, we can understand that desire for change.

But knowing she grew up as a child of privilege and went to University in Boston and New York does not warm us to her compassion. Her philanthropic efforts show little depth of understanding in societal needs.

What really turns us off is her glowing description of Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown. Her father addressed the Conservative caucus at Queen’s Park a year ago and told them how important he thinks it is for caucuses to support their leader. Brian Mulroney probably knows a thing or two about that problem.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Murray dumps Wynne.

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

“Don’t let the door handle hit you in the ass on the way out, Glen!” The good news is that Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray is leaving the Wynne cabinet in Ontario. The bad news is that his new job is as executive director of Alberta’s namby-pamby Pembina Institute. It should suit him.

It was not as though he was doing anything useful in Toronto. From the time in the Ontario Liberal leadership when he dumped his supporters in the gay community a week before voting on delegates, Murray’s self interest has been apparent. He was assuring himself a cabinet position while fouling the voting for convention delegates.

Some people are describing his departure as a rat leaving a sinking ship but there is a long way to go before the Ontario election scheduled for June 7, 2018. If Wynne and her Liberals had any competition, they would worry.

At 50, Montreal-born Glen Murray has been trying to decide where he is headed. He was elected three times as a Winnipeg councillor and served six years as mayor of Winnipeg before coming to Toronto. The one political loss he suffered over the years was a stab at a federal seat in 2004 in Manitoba. It was not a good election for Liberals in the west.

He won a seat in the Ontario Legislature in a by-election in February 2010.

As a politician, you can see his appeal for the Pembina Institute. You would think that a Calgary-based environmentalist organization would do very poorly among the local tar sands exploiters but that is not the case. The institute seems almost apologetic when it explains the harm bitumen can do. It must also be the only environmentalist organization to refer to bitumen as ‘crude oil.’

(Bitumen is the tarry substance in the tar sands that can be refined into ersatz crude oil at a substantial carbon footprint. It has to be diluted with a carrier and heated to send it through a pipeline at high pressure.)

Glen Murray’s seat in the Ontario Legislature will remain vacant until after the June election next year. It should not make too much difference.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Brown’s battling beginnings.

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

It is getting so bad that even PostMedia writers are wondering when Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown is going to show some maturity. They are starting to question Brown’s ability to run a political party. He is certainly not getting the nomination process right.

Many want to write it off to the vulnerability of the Wynne Liberals. The only problem is that Brown has no leadership skills and he sends the wrong signals to the party. He is the guy who stole the party leadership through signing up thousands of new immigrants from the Indian Sub-Continent. Nobody thought to ask if all those people had paid their own memberships.

And so why should people who want to run as Conservative candidates want to play fair? Conservative Party nomination meetings all over Ontario are turning into fiascos. There have been claims of ballot box stuffing, illegal memberships, party officials’ interference, incompetent meeting management and candidates who might or not be the type of Tory they say they are.

It is such a mess, we are starting to wonder what is going on in Barrie, a town which Brown has always pretended to run. We have it on good authority that Brown will be the candidate in the electoral district of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. The last federal election in this riding had the Conservative winning by 86 votes. They lost the city but won the rural vote. There are lots of us who are laying in wait for Brown. We will roast him.

Brown is so arrogant that he is running his former executive assistant in the new companion riding of Barrie—Innisfil. Shawn Bubel who worked for Brown over the years is running for the nomination in that riding that includes the south half of Barrie. He has the same weakness as Brown as a candidate in that he lacks the life and business experience that makes for a good politician. People who have run businesses, met a payroll, worked daily with people and shown real leadership have a far better understanding of peoples’ needs than people like Brown and Bubel who have devoted themselves to political manipulation and using people.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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