Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Running in place.

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

The serious jogger does it when blocked by traffic or a stoplight. It is called running in place because your legs keep moving but you are not moving forward. By keeping up the motion, the jogger is not cooling down or loosing that high of a good run.

This is mentioned, because until today, the candidates for the liberal party leadership seem to have been running in place. Fund raising and team building might have absorbed most of their time but the average liberal was not seeing much action.

This lack of build up about the coming delegated convention might be the problem but I got comments from some Ontario readers that they had no idea what I was writing about the other day.

Let me explain: The Ontario Liberal Party is planning to hold a delegated convention at the Mississauga International Centre on March 7, 2020. At time of writing, there are at least five, if not six, approved contenders for the job of leader. Contender number six has yet to be approved by the party. Why the party might reject her is between her and the liberals who run the party—which is just number one of the reasons that I believe this contest is badly run.

What I was commenting on the other day was the ease with which people can manipulate this form of delegated convention. It starts in the electoral districts. There are quite a few ridings across Ontario that have less than seven members. Those are easy pickings if you need a bunch more delegates. Some ridings are also easy for a small group to take over. The only bad news is that the membership in the party closes today, if you wish to vote for delegates to the March 7 event.

What is considered particularly corrupt is the demand by the party hierarchy that all candidates to be a delegate indicate who they are supporting. In effect, the person is no longer a representative from that part of the province but a representative for that leadership candidate. It defeats the purpose of a delegated convention.

Before the delegate elections in February, I hope to provide some handicapping on the leadership race and some observations on the candidates’ credentials.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario liberals are down but not out.

Saturday, November 30th, 2019

There are entirely too many media people who think that the Ontario liberals have been shut down. What they do not seem to understand is that a political party is like a very large animal when it has lost a fight. It does not surrender. It might go into a cave somewhere and lick its wounds and think. And some day soon, it is going come out of that cave, ready to fight again.

But before it gets into that fight again, it needs to decide what it wants to be. A political party is not a fixed target. It is made up of an ever-changing mass of people, many with ideas. Some of those ideas are good and some are probably stupid. It is why the party needs to assess its objectives and how it might achieve some of the good ones.

One thing you can be absolutely sure of is that the liberal party cannot win as a top-down organization. It needs a leader who can lead the party where the party wants to go. We certainly do not need another leader who thinks he or she is omnipotent. We need a party that can discuss what liberalism can be in the 21st Century. It needs a leader who can reflect the ambitions of the membership.

And if none of the six current candidates for the leadership can understand the kind of leadership needed, we better shut down this upcoming convention to choose a new leader. Why would anyone want to repeat the errors of the past that chose Kathleen Wynne?

I am not saying the lady did not try hard. She just did not know what she was doing. She never was a liberal. A liberal is a progressive in a hurry. A liberal is a social democrat with compassion.

What do we do here in Ontario? The job of the provincial government is to look after our people. We look after their education and health. We build a safe, caring environment for them with good food from our well-run farms. We build the infrastructure they need to move easily around our cities and province. We do our best to bring them jobs and opportunity. We are a tourism destination for millions from around the world. Always remember: Ontario is liberal.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Objectives other than winning.

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Some people scratch their head and ask why someone will enter a political leadership race when there is little chance of winning? The truth is that there are different reasons and we have seen many of them over the years. Just the positioning of the person within the particular party can be sufficient reason. If you cannot be king or queen, be the king or queen maker.

And never forget that the person who makes you king or queen, becomes a key person in your inner circle.

But first of all, these contests to become the leader of a political party are expensive. If you can prove that you can raise sufficient funds for the task, you have won the party’s confidence of being able to raise the funds for elections.

There are also policy positions to consider. Remember Tanya Granic Allen in the last Ontario conservative leadership contest. She was supported by the anti-abortion, social conservatives. She came last on the first ballot and was dropped from the race. If she had done better, Ford would have been forced to put her voice in the cabinet.

Even in opposition, the leader of a political party has power. The leader makes shadow cabinet, house and committee appointments.

If the party wins, it is those contenders who brought their supporters over to the ultimate winner first, who get first consideration in the formation of the winner’s cabinet.

And you should never assume anything in politics. Looking at the current contest for the liberal leadership, you will never know who is going to win until you can examine the results of the delegate elections in the electoral districts. Here you will find the first whiff of the corruption of delegated conventions. Making the prospective delegates tell who they are supporting means that the delegates are chosen not to represent their electoral districts but the candidate—who might be paying for their membership, their convention expenses and their vote.

But it is at the convention itself that you find the deals between candidates, the manipulation of riding delegates and the fun of the all-night hospitality suites. We will discuss that at another time.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

When you don’t trust your MPP.

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

To get this straight, you can be sure I never voted for this guy. Doug Downey MPP does not live in our Barrie riding. He has been the go-to guy for Ontario conservatives up in Severn Township in north Simcoe County. I expect, his appointment as candidate in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte in the last provincial election was a reward for his loyalty. As Doug Ford’s attorney general, he seems more of a disaster than his predecessor, Caroline Mulroney.

This embarrassing subject came up earlier today when a friend called me to check on any update I might have on funding of legal aid in Ontario. This was one of the stupider cuts attempted earlier this year by the Ford government. The last I had noted on the subject was a lecture Dave Lametti, the federal attorney general, gave Downey in June about the formula used to assess the federal and provincial sharing of legal aid costs.

But if you are really curious about the failings of Ontario’s attorney general, you should note the current hue and cry for his head by senior lawyers. It seems Ford and Downey are displeased with the non-partisan method of appointing competent judges in Ontario. This province has one of the most respected systems in Canada for vetting and recommending prospective judges.

But Ford and Downey seem bent on replacing this proven system with their own patronage-based system for worthy conservatives. The non-partisan system that they were dishonouring in this manner was the legacy of the late Ian Scott, the liberal attorney general for the former Peterson government. The difference between Downey and Scott is that Downey is a small-town lawyer and Scott was a highly regarded law professor.

It appears that since Ford was unsuccessful in putting a crony in charge of the provincial police that they are still looking for patronage opportunities.

What is even more discouraging about the Ford government in Ontario is its bumbling, ill-considered cost cutting that ends up costing far more in penalties, catch-up and reparation. They should take the time to think things through. They should be willing to listen to complaints about delayed action instead of taking precipitous action.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Let’s get this show on the road.

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

As an Ontario liberal (a paid-up member), I am aware that there is a contest afoot to select a new Ontario party leader. And I hear that only those paid up by December 2, 2019 will be eligible to be elected to go to that easily corrupted delegated-convention in Toronto at the beginning of March 2020 to choose the new leader.

But what kind of a race is this if the four Toronto area candidates and the London area candidate (so far) do not take their shows on the road? Those of us in central and northern Ontario are not just window dressing. And we like to influence where the party is going. It is hard to have an opinion when you have never met any of the candidates.

I must admit that Michael Coteau from Don Valley East in Toronto is running the most aggressive campaign so far. He has bought that NationBuilder software and makes a very credible presentation. He keeps supporters and possible supporters informed and is more sensitive than the federal liberals in how often and how aggressively he asks for financial support.

Coteau also stays away from the trite political language and asks people to think. He is running an idea-based campaign. The problem is the web sites, FaceBook pages, Twitter and the others, do not make a campaign. Politically-active people need face time.

This is something that Mitzi Hunter, the other sitting MPP understands. Yet the media assume that former MPP and cabinet minister Steven Del Duca is in the lead because of the low-hanging fruit in support that he features in his web site.

I think Kate Graham from London will add something to the race. I have often wondered how a political science academic would do in a real leadership contest? Alvin Tedjo is the other inexperienced candidate and yet, he works from his strengths with some excellent podcast material on his web site.

But it is expensive for the candidates as it is for the people attending the March convention. With only five candidates, it would be a shame to lose any of them at this stage.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

 

“Regrets, I’ve had a few…

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

That is not contrition. When Frank Sinatra sang Paul Anka’s song My Way, he said those regrets were too few to mention. The listener is left wondering what is left untold that he does not mention. It is the same as Ontario premier Doug Ford’s crushing changes to the province’s welfare system. This cruel exercise in false populism has led to restoring one aspect after another of social welfare payments to desperate people. And yet we are left wondering, what cuts are yet to be mentioned? How do we restore faith in the government?

And what has this government proved by its actions?

We know that this is an ideological government. It is a vindictive government. It is a government that is led by an incompetent.

It has been very interesting watching Education minister Stephen Lecce try to clean up the mess in education left behind by Lisa Thompson. Thompson, as minister, did what the ideologues in the Ford cabinet demanded in terms of class sizes, in hopes of savings in teachers’ salaries. Nobody had considered the fact that teachers and school staff across Ontario were ready to negotiate new contracts this fall. Lecce made sure there was some very quick footwork in the ministry to restore jobs and improve student/teacher ratios. He and the government still face tough bargaining.

There is also little question that the back tracking on amalgamating municipalities is saving Ford’s government from further confrontations. It is still hard for the premier himself to find an audience that will not boo him in Toronto. There is little question but that Doug Ford kept the federal conservatives from any inroads into the Greater Toronto Area in the recent federal election. He gave conservatism a bad name.

It comes as no surprise that he is now making vague promises to be a little more careful. Most school yard bullies will make that promise. We will just need to wait and see.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Democracy costs $500?

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

For the past 60 years, we have watched Canadian politics spiral into a quagmire of failed ideologies and failed leadership. We continue the pattern by choosing leaders by old methods that are easily corrupted, that fail the voting public and fail our political parties. The planned contest for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party is an example of the problem.

Scheduled for March 6 and 7, 2020, the provincial liberal hierarchy is running an outmoded delegated convention in Toronto. It is a convention to supposedly decide on a new leader. In some electoral districts, massive signing of ethnic groups will take votes away from local liberals and send controlled delegates to an easily rigged convention.

Costs to delegates at the convention (if they pay by February 21) is $499 and just $249 for seniors and youths. You may rest assured that any and all deficits that the party still faces from the last election will be covered by these punitive fees.

Once the delegates, who can afford it, get to the convention, they will find it is not their event. It is the party elite of past and present—MPs, MPPs and party officials—who control the convention. At the last convention, that chose Kathleen Wynne, the question was already locked in as fellow candidate Glen Murray had passed all his delegates to her when it was too late to change the delegate voting ballots. Wynne went into that convention in just second place but it was the losers who chose her. They were the third and fourth place candidates who took their voters with them to support Wynne. It reinforced the idea that the losers are the choosers.

Some political parties have tried to overcome this problem by using preferential voting. This is where the voter is asked to number all the candidates in order of preference on the first (and only) ballot. That was the way the federal conservatives voted for their last leader. And look what they got!

The liberals will only have democracy in their party when all members can vote. And continue to vote until one candidate has a majority. Democracy should not cost $500 per voter.

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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

Jason Kenney: Doug Ford’s understudy.

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Every actor needs an understudy. It just seems appropriate for the much-detested premier Doug Ford in Ontario to have a truly obnoxious stand-in during the federal election. It is conservative leader Andrew Sheer’s good buddy, Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta, who was standing in for premier Ford this past weekend.

It seems that nobody trusts Ford to behave. What makes them think Jason Kenney is housebroken is open to question?

But real conservatives love Kenney. He is a misogynist, selfish, mean-spirited and a global warming denier. Since he was at a Catholic college in San Francisco, he has shown his dislike for women. He is a social conservative but insists on calling his upcoming budget slashing in his province by the more diplomatic words: fiscal restraint.

To put it simply, Kenney thinks he can hide the fact he is a weasel by telling people he is really a loveable koala. He has the majority of Alberta voters convinced he is the second coming of Peter Lougheed. They think he is going to get the Trans Mountain pipeline twinned so that the province can ship diluted bitumen to Pacific nations and carry on the free ride for Alberta taxpayers while the foreign owners of their tar sands companies get rich.

It was reported that when Kenney was in Toronto, he was busy campaigning at Buddhist temples and checking out the dim sum at local restaurants.

But while campaigning for the conservative candidate in Doug Ford’s federal riding, Doug Ford was nowhere to be seen. In helping that conservative candidate in Ford’s riding, Kenney was campaigning against Ford’s late brother Rob’s widow, who is running for the People’s party. It is assumed that not everything has been patched up between Ford and his sister-in-law.

Jason Kenney also visited Ottawa while he was in Ontario. This might just have been nostalgia for the time Kenney was playing a role in the Harper government—a much bigger pond than the Alberta legislature.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Death by a thousand tax cuts.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Canadian voters are being nickel-dimed and conned by their politicians. Even Elizabeth May and her greenies have joined into the game of making promises, with funds, from where, they do not really know. It is a game that voters should not buy. Let’s face facts: Sheer is no savior, Trudeau is untrained in being a trustee, Singh will be lucky if there is a party with him after the election And Ms. May and her rag-tag army would not last a day in a real battle for the environment.

It is time for everyone to take a dose of reality before they vote. You are deemed to be adults, you know! You are supposed to have some idea about what you are doing.

Those wonderful people out on the Wet coast are fighting a desperate action to protect their Orcas, their pristine mountains and the best ski hills in the Americas.

Our people in Alberta, who blew all the money from their first oil bonanza, are lying to themselves that bitumen will make their foreign investors and themselves rich again. And Saskatchewan and Manitoba want to be part of that rodeo?

Ontario is facing its own disaster with the guy running the circus at Queen’s Park. If they can survive that fiasco, Ontario voters are ready to take on the world.

Quebec is still cloistered with its own demons as the anger of the past passes into a confused history. And God bless the Atlantic provinces as they provide Canadians with an anchor.

Everybody should pay attention to the upcoming televised leaders’ debates. Make your own decision. And if you cannot believe any of those people, check out your riding candidates. Try to pick the smartest liberal or conservative. You need someone in a position to do something. They will need to know what they are getting into. We need people who can make a difference.

And do not worry about all the promises. Few of them will be kept.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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