Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Did Brown lay the table for Ford?

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

The only newspaper in Ontario that gave a real damn about the lynching of conservative leader Patrick Brown back in January was his hometown Barrie Advance. It is owned by the Toronto Star and while it is just a poor quality shopper in which to wrap grocery flyers, the publication has editorials just like a real newspaper. It is the only regular print media in a city of close to 150,000 people. This past week (it is a weekly publication), it had an editorial saying that “Brown’s work helped Ford win.”

This bravura assertion is questionable. There is probably a long list of people who helped Doug Ford win the Ontario conservative leadership and then the provincial election. I think we can all agree that the first name on that list should be premier Kathleen Wynne. Her quitting the race a week before election day was the guarantee that Ford would win.

A close second was new democratic leader Andrea Horwath. Her inadequate and incompetent leadership of her party left Ontario voters no choice. Her hidebound position on the York University strike before the election left voters with the clear impression that she could only follow the party line.

I thought the guy who really helped Ford was Patrick Brown’s friend Walied Soliman. He was chair of Brown’s campaign team and “The People’s Guarantee” that Walied’s team put together and had Brown present last November was one of the most brilliant pieces of propaganda that I have seen for a long time. Weak in content, it made up for it in slickness. Ford only loathed it because it had Brown’s picture on the cover.

But the unknown person who orchestrated the charges against Brown by the two young ladies was the real hero of the hour. The timing was perfect. It also showed that the person was not a liberal. It had to be a conservative who recognized that the momentum for whomever became conservative leader could be unstoppable.

And why Walied and his team all told Brown they were resigning and leaving him in the lurch back in January made little sense. As a lawyer, Walied was obviously not thinking as one to leave his friend in such a situation. And any lawyer taking on Brown’s case against CTV might just do very well on a contingency fee.

Brown was a timebomb for the Ontario conservatives. We knew how women felt about him and it was certainly his Achilles’ heel. The only thing he did to help Ford win, was to resign.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

What muted the proportional vote advocates?

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

It must be the shock of the recent Ontario election has not worn off. You would normally expect a hue and cry by this time for proportional representation in the legislature. It is when you hear about the so-called ‘wasted vote’ and the unfairness of first-past-the-post voting. It is certainly a well-aged whine!

According to the proportional representation people, if the last election had been run by their rules, the election would have produced the following result: The conservatives would have won 50 seats, the new democrats 42 seats, the liberals 25 seats and the greens would have had 6. There would be two more seats in a 124-seat legislature and they could be replacement members for the parties who had their members elected as speaker and deputy speaker.

What is wrong with the entire idea is that the only people really being elected are the leaders of the various parties. Everyone else is appointed from a party list according to a chosen formula.

Instead of Mr. Ford being busy with his transition team, choosing a cabinet and preparing to be sworn in as premier, there would still be arguments raging about whether Mr. Ford could get the confidence of the legislature to form a government. Somebody has to go to the lieutenant governor and be able to say, “I can win a vote of confidence.” That argument could take the entire summer.

The ongoing argument would leave the York University students in limbo and do irreparable harm to a fine university. The legislature would be prevented by the new democrats from meeting to interfere with collective bargaining that obviously does not work for the university governors, their staff, or their students.

In countries that have had proportional representation for a long time, there are far more parties involved. Each special interest group forms their own parties to protect their own turf. They do not often have big-tent parties in those countries that use proportion representation.

I think I will continue to support first-past-the-post voting. It might be a little more ‘rough and tumble’ than some people like but it gets things done. I am not sure how much of the Ontario conservatives under Doug Ford we can take. I do know that we seriously need to rethink our liberalism.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Some thoughts on the liberal rout.

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

The hardest thing to digest from the recent election in Ontario was the anger that fueled the liberal downfall. It was similar to a situation with a child who feels wronged and in the midst of a tantrum of tears and frustration. They often will strike out at the adult who tries to help. It seems Kathleen Wynne was the only adult available.

The liberal premier was an accommodating lamb to the slaughter for the hypocrites of the conservative campaign. The Doug Ford team had little interest in truth or fairness or decency. They could hardly believe their luck when they realized that nobody wanted to waste time with fully costed promises and they could get away with foisting bumper-sticker promises on an angry electorate.

The Ontario new democrats were equally amazed as they realized their good luck. It was certainly not their program or leadership that lead them to dramatically increasing their numbers in the legislature. It was progressives in the province who shared the anger at Wynne’s liberals. And what the hell was their choice when Wynne up and quit before the campaign was over? She deserted her party, she deserted the field. She left with no honour.

And what were voters to do? They were trying to get rid of the insipid Dalton dynasty back in 2011 and got a liberal minority instead. Next, they were offered a choice between a lesbian liberal, a confused conservative and a nebulous new democrat. They really had no choice at the time but to vote liberal.

But they became more and more annoyed with themselves for their choice. Maybe some of these talking heads of television can pick out this or that event that caused Wynne’s honeymoon with Ontario to be short-lived. Wynne had a water torture effect on Ontario.

From the beginning, she was hammered with the gas plants mess from the McGinty era. She added to her own problems with the arrogance of her political manoeuvres in Sudbury. Her good friend Ed Clark sabotaged Wynne with the privatizing and selling off part of Hydro One. She announced the beer and wine in large grocery stores so many times that it became a province-wide joke. And, believe me, not everyone understands the economic or just human values of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

As a liberal, I always had strong reservations about Kathleen Wynne. I was annoyed at her from the beginning of her leadership when she and Glen Murray, MPP from her neighbouring electoral district, corrupted the leadership convention that chose her. It is really regrettable that neither the conservatives nor the NDP had a leader suitable to replace her.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Promises, promises!

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Most people are sceptical about political promises. We should certainly be dubious of conservative leader Doug Ford’s recent scattering of promises in the Ontario election. Some, such as paving over the Green Belt around Toronto, had to be withdrawn immediately but he still has a backlog of questionable promises, such as redrawing the sex education in our schools that could best be forgotten.

But among these various promises, there are some even a liberal can like. The promise to have beer and wine in convenience stores is certainly long overdue. It represents an excellent opportunity to upgrade the province’s convenience stores along with ending the long-running blue-stocking era of Ontario politics.

This would also end the long-term milking of all the profits of alcohol sales in the province into the coffers at Queen’s Park. The convenience store operators need to be allowed to make some money to enable them to upgrade their older, dilapidated stores.

It is like the stupid mistake the Harris conservatives made when they amalgamated Toronto. At the same time as they put Toronto together with the suburbs, they started downloading more provincial costs on the municipalities. It left Ontario municipalities without the sources of revenue to pay their bills. Sure, the municipalities are creatures of the province but they should not be kept in poverty.

Maybe that is the same as Dougie’s promise in regard to the minimum wage in Ontario. The silly bugger thinks he can freeze the minimum wage at $14 and give minimum-wage earners a tax credit instead. Too bad Dougie has never had to live on a minimum wage. Any tax accountant can explain to him why a tax credit is likely to be irrelevant if you are only earning $14 per hour.

The major difference I have noted between Dougie and his evil twin Donald Trump is that Dougie has been known to admit that he does not know everything. He proved that conclusively when he was a Toronto councillor.

When somebody explains the present cap-and-trade system that Ontario has with California and Quebec to him, Doug might become a devotee. The secret of cap-and-trade is that the public will never find out what is really happening. Cap-and-trade can be better than bribes.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t blame me, I voted liberal!

Friday, June 8th, 2018

From the catbird seat yesterday: I felt as though I was on the lip of an active volcano watching the devastation of the countryside. It was both a sad and a challenging night. A new day dawns and Kathleen Wynne is gone; that is good. We thought Ontario voters were too smart to elect Trump-lite and we found we were wrong. Ontario voters can be just as stupid as Americans.

But what choice did they really have? Kathleen Wynne gave them license to riot. There are no apologies. Her final act was to cut the party adrift. She has been a target for the last two years. She should have quit when we first saw the problems she was having. Ed Clark of TD Bank was her nemesis.

That was quite an aria we heard from Andrea Horwath yesterday. She was always the problem and never a solution. The new democrats in Ontario are tired and hopelessly out of date. It is a party without a future. Socialism betrays them. The party never had its own agenda.

But speaking of agendas folks (as Mr. Ford calls us) you need to start taking a hard look at the horde Mr. Ford has brought to the gates of Queen’s Park.

It started over a year ago as we looked at the chicanery going on in the conservative party under boy-leader Patrick Brown. Whomever set up that take-down of Brown in January did the party a favour. Though, in time, people will regret the results.

And if you think Mr. Ford will be the problem as premier, it will not be that bad. Ford is just incompetent. It is people in the horde you need to watch. We saw Caroline Mulroney’s father being rude to a Global TV reporter in that safe conservative country club electoral district she had picked last night. Brian is back folks.

The real difference between Ford and Trump is that Ford knows he cannot do it all. He has never been the schemer and dealer as is Trump. Heck, even his sister-in-law knows he is incompetent in business.

(It reminds of the three Peterson boys. Jim, David and Tim were all elected as liberals at one point and the employees of their father’s old firm were allowed to run the company properly.)

We live in interesting times.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

All bets are off.

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

For the first time since I first got involved in politics, I cannot make a guess on the outcome in an Ontario election. Results that used to be so easy to fathom, have gone murky and I will be hanging out by the television tonight hoping beyond hope that common sense will prevail.

The good news, so far, has been that about 200,000 more people have voted in the advance polls. A low turnout in this election would be bad news.

But what cannot be read is the impact of premier Kathleen Wynne saying she cannot win. How many good liberals will go down to defeat because of her foolish and self-centred statement? Her timing stinks.

But was that not the finest political roorback you ever saw when Rob Ford’s widow and her lawyers went after that ass, Doug Ford? Three days before the election, they slammed her brother-in-law on his merry way to maybe becoming premier of Ontario. If the liberals knew anything about that scheme, Kathleen Wynne would never have conceded the election—that being just one more reason, you never, ever quit.

The family squabble over the late Rob Ford’s estate was incidental to the revelations about Doug Ford managing anything. Finally, someone knowledgeable of Doug Ford’s weaknesses has said what many of us could only guess at: they tell us Doug Ford is incapable of running a label printing business. And he wants to run a $150 billion operation such as the Province of Ontario?

And please, please do not assume that the fat lady gets to sing before this absurd opera is over. Andrea Horwath of the new democrats is less competent to run a daycare centre, than she is to run the province. That woman is going to end up getting religion with all the manna that has landed in her lap over the last week.

But looking at the bright side of things, there is an outside chance that we can elect enough liberals to keep both the conservatives and NDP from getting a majority of seats in the legislature. It would force the liberals and the NDP to work together for a couple years before we have another election.

It would enable the liberals to repair the damage to their party and elect a new leader with a one-member-one-vote democratic choice. It would also give the conservatives time to dump Doug Ford and, if the NDP is smart, they could do much better than Andrea Horwath.

As we used to say (jokingly) in politics, it’s election day; vote early and often!

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A real liberal never gives up!

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

Kathleen Wynne betrayed Ontario liberals yesterday. She surrendered, she gave up, she quit and she did the unconscionable. She ended her run as Ontario liberal leader the way she began: breaking the rules. Kathleen Wynne never put the party first and the party is paying the price.

From the time the North Toronto teacher first ran for provincial politics, she has put herself ahead of the party. It is all about Kathleen. In the guise of the lonely runner she held herself apart from liberals. Those of us who questioned her liberalism were sent to Coventry.

What liberal would take the advice of a banker to sell off Hydro One? The electricity distribution system was the core of controlling electricity rates in industrial Ontario. She dragged the party down a conservative path. It was only when an election loomed that she would look at liberal issues.

As a pseudo liberal she tried to tie a decent minimum wage to getting re-elected. The cynicism was obvious. It was the same as promises of free dental care, daycare, pharmacare for seniors and the list rolls on.

She put it all in the past yesterday. She did the unconscionable. She surrendered the field. She had no thought for the liberal party. She thinks it is all about her.

It is not. The liberal party has to carry on. It has to bring principles to politics in Ontario. It is the party of people’s rights. It is the party of progress. It is the party of people who work for the voters and not always for the party’s leader. It is a party of thinkers.

The liberal party can stand apart from the unfeeling failures of conservatism. It rejects putting the state ahead of the people of socialism. (Liberals can order York University people back to work to stop the abuse of students.)

There are harsh times ahead for Ontario and we need some good liberals in the legislature at Queen’s Park. We need a new and democratic leader to pull a caucus together in the interests of the people of Ontario.

And there are some good liberals running across Ontario. We need liberals from the eastern Ontario, northern Ontario and the southwest, as well as Toronto. These are not people to reject because of the failure of Kathleen Wynne. They are people who matter. Take a look. Make sure we have some strong people represent us at Queen’s Park. I am voting liberal in my riding.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The political pivot point of 2018.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

In every election there is a point of pivot that decides the outcome. It has been fascinating listening to people across Ontario in the current campaign, learning of their concerns and frustrations. And they are concerned and conflicted and caring. They have been looking for solutions. Sometimes the solution can be forced on you by an outside source.

The pivot point came Tuesday, May 29. It took the high ground away from the Ontario liberals. It left the party of Wilfrid Laurier in limbo. It was the hypocrisy of the federal liberals that betrayed everything done for the environment by the provincial liberals that did the deed.

It was never easy for Ontario to end the use of coal to generate emergency electricity needs. And do not mention gas plants. It has not been easy for Ontario to promote hybrid autos. The province has had constant criticism of its efforts at cap and trade as an alternative to carbon taxes. The government has been vilified for its efforts to promote clean energy.

And what was the point of creating a greenbelt to protect our environment, our sources of potable water, our recreational areas and our farm lands? Our farmers seem to be unappreciative of the protection. Builders and politicians try to betray us.

We have Doug Ford to fight carbon taxes for the uncaring. Money beats caring about the environment with his rich friends. His voters hardly care about his loudmouth promises of magic money to cut taxes and give away the treasury. Doug Ford is a fool and he will be the fools’ folly.

And to suggest that the new democrats offer more than the liberals is an experiment that led to the disaster of Rae Days and then Harris’ hype.

So, who is the bad guy? Who let the dogs out?

Only our poster boy prime minister, Justin Trudeau, could leave us tumbling down the into the depths. He has forgotten his promises when a newby in Paris. He has forgotten it was once 2015. He no longer cares about the promises of Canada’s environment.

Trudeau and his neoliberal government of misfits have betrayed us all.

Nobody would care if it was just crude oil his pipeline would send to Burrard Inlet. Does he even know of the danger his pipeline threatens the environment? He wants to pipe diluted bitumen under pressure over the Rockies and on ocean-going tankers in the Straits of Georgia. He hardly cares that bitumen is a substance that just keeps on polluting.

Justin Trudeau has certainly polluted the Ontario election.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Yes, but did the fat lady sing?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Listening to and reading analyses of the Sunday night political leaders’ debate in Toronto, you wonder if they were at the same debate. Frankly, the analyses were better than the debate. Kathleen Wynne did less than expected. Andrea Horwath was rude and foolish. Doug Ford made you wonder if they had a cardiologist on stand-by.

Collectively, they were less than coherent, unhelpful and were looking like they were trying to remember what their handlers had told them to do.

Doug Ford’s opening statement was a stream of B.S. that was off the wall and you would have to be an idiot to believe any of it. And not even a moderator is allowed to tell a Ford what to do.

Kathleen Wynne’s opening ‘mia culpa’ was insincere and forced. It was too little and too late and pointless.

And whomever dressed Andrea Horwath for the occasion should have added a stethoscope necklace to the costume. You can dress that woman but where would you want to take her? Can you really think of this person as premier?

I have never seen a debate such as this where you cannot imagine even the incumbent looking like a winner. They were all bad.

And what right has Ford to be arrogant? And that was the least of his problems. If he had called the audience “My friends” one more time, I was ready to throw something at the television.

And why was Andrea Horwath so shrill and rude? She talked over everybody else and at times you thought she would never shut up.

As a wrap to a pollsters’ campaign, it was a dud. Ask yourself this: Did the pollsters ever tell you how many people said they were undecided in their various polls? Did they tell you their formulae for balancing the demographics for the parts of the population their polls failed to reach? Did they tell you who answers the telephone in households they are able to reach with interactive voice response (IVR) calling?

Polling is an inexact science. They are supposed to tell you the computed margin of error but I would challenge the interactive voice response people. They call thousands of households and they say their margin of error is as good as the Internet groups and live calling. Are they all equally bad?

The exchanges between the leaders became tedious and I was never sure if Andrea Horwath can sing. I might never find out.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Considering consequences of change.

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Step right up Ontario. If you want change, you can have it. You can get it in spades. The only problem is this change is like a game of snakes and ladders—where both the snakes and the ladders are slippery slides to disaster.

It is time to face the facts. People are mad. And they have every right to be mad. How are Ontario’s citizens supposed to feel when they have been wanting change for the past eight years and we still cannot get it. People are feeling frustrated and their anger is real.

It started with the 2011 general election and a quick reading of the voting that year tells the story. The voters obviously wanted change. What we got was the manipulations of a minority government, a new premier and a chance to have change in 2014.

But the chance for change in 2014 was blocked by a foolish conservative leader promising to fire 100,000 civil servants. To make matters worse, the NDP leader did not appear to know what she was doing. The voters had no option but to give the new liberal leader the reins.

Like in the old Frank Sinatra song: Regrets, we’ve had a few. The news media beat us over the head with the gas plants scandal. It is useless to tell people that all three parties caused the problem. It was easier to just blame the liberals. They were supposed to be good managers.

And when an apolitical banker got the liberals to start selling off Hydro One, the excrement really hit the fan. The liberal government could hardly say, “Oh, you would rather we raise taxes instead?”

If you just stub your toe these days, it is the fault of those damn liberals.

But we are reaping the anger that was sewed by all three parties.

Now we are closer to election day, people are trying to figure out strategic voting. What they will find, to their disgust, is that strategic voting does not work. Feel sorry instead for the two or three per cent of Ontario voters who want to vote for the Green Party. That is a waste of time and effort.

While you can hardly plan for it, if everyone stays the course, we could have a minority government.

The one thing we know for sure is that the pollsters are wrong. They have been reflecting the anger of the voters and think it is only directed against the liberals. Like in the United States, it was the anger against both Democrats and Republicans that gave them Mr. Trump as president.

Ontario voters should be smarter than that.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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