Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Dougie’s second stupidest stunt.

Friday, December 14th, 2018

In many years of running major political events, one of the automatic considerations is always security. There is no question that well publicized events of that nature can attract the less mentally stable of society with their real or imagined complaints. And because you never know what can happen, you are happy to leave the security to the professionals.

And when a politician interferes with the professionals, he does so at his peril. Ontario premier Doug Ford is putting himself at risk.

A number of security issues have come forward since Dougie is reported to have made sure his friend Ron Taverner was chosen as the new head of the Ontario Provincial Police. Present and former commissioners have labelled it a travesty but it is not the most egregious act of a vain and ignorant person.

Wanting his friends on his security detail tells you a number of things about this man that he might not want everyone to know. It can be either a problem with booze or keeping his penis in his pants. It is also very foolish. Guards such as this tend to pay too much attention to the person they are guarding and not enough to the situation through which they are moving.

The problem seems more likely to be womanizing when he also asked for a large camper-type vehicle—“off the books.” I have had to book day rooms in hotels for candidates over the years and have often considered a mobile home as an even better solution—though I never figured out where to find drive-in maid service to get the sheets changed regularly. It sure does not come under the job description of the security detail.

But if you have ever wondered who the security people might be at an event, just check around for the people looking out towards the crowd and not at the subject needing security.

I always had a rule that once a function was under way, whatever happened was supposed to happen. My job was done. I most often had a spot picked ahead of time where I could see well and count the crowd for the news media and it was not unusual to find one of those people with a ‘hearing aid’ and a mic in their sleeve already there. All they got was a nod. They were at work.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

It is the door on the left that is open wide.

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

We keep waiting for signs that there is some life left in the Ontario liberals. It has been a while now and we can hardly wait for Doug Ford to stumble more than he already has. It is already obvious that the Ford government is going nowhere at his usual furious clip. A strong, viable and able liberal party must be at the ready.

The good news is that there is considerable opportunity to the political left of the Ford government. People are already being turned off by Ford’s raging right-wing politics and looking for people they can trust on the left. The need for trust obviously eliminates Andrea Horwath and her new democrats.

If there was ever a constant disappointment in Ontario, it has been Horwath and the NDP. They are like the country mice who were never told that this is the 21st Century. They lack policy, direction and hope. Andrea Horwath has now led the party through three general elections. She made it to being official opposition only because Kathleen Wynne decided that she should declare the last election over before election day.

Kathleen Wynne was a disaster as liberal leader. She embarrassed herself by getting re-elected in her Toronto electoral district. The only time she ever did anything as premier that might be considered progressive was when elections came around. Her last election was loaded with good progressive ideas but it was too late and voters had had enough.

But Wynne’s greatest failing was to take basically good ideas and spoil the delivery. Beer and wine in grocery stores was a good idea that was long overdue but she drew out the implementation until people were sick of the subject and her stream of announcements. There are still only a few grocery stores carrying beer and wine and the regulations remain oppressive.

What Ontario wants and desperately needs is a minimum wage that people can live on, support programs for the less fortunate that can do the job they are assigned to do, free prescription drugs have to be added to a truly free Medicare, education has to become free for all who will work at it, affordable housing has to come before mansions and luxury condominiums and the list needs to be kept open as we build a better life for everybody.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Our 400 MPP.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

There is no point in complaining that our Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte member of the legislature is never in the electoral district.  He obviously drives through it every time he goes to or from the legislature in Toronto and his home. When you live where MPP Doug Downey lives you still have a way to go past Barrie before you are home in Severn.

Whether it is fair to the people of his electoral district is another matter.

Downey was a parachute candidate. A former Orillia councillor and the go-to guy up in Severn for the Ontario conservatives, he was appointed by Doug Ford to run in Barrie to keep Patrick Brown out of making a comeback from here. And now that Orillia has its own Costco, he does not need to come to Barrie very often.

But after six months in office, nobody here seems to have heard from our MPP. You would suspect that especially a parachute candidate would want to be noted at special events around town. And while I have not been at all the major events in Barrie in that time, I have been at those where you would expect an MPP to make an appearance.

Mr. Downey is a disappointment.

But then his entire conservative caucus at Queen’s Park have been letting us down. They have a responsibility to temper the ignorance that Doug Ford brings to his job. You would think as a lawyer himself, Mr. Downey would realize the limitations of the advice of New York trained Caroline Mulroney. He and other lawyers in the caucus have to be prepared to caution her on some of her errors. She is obviously not listening to her civil service advisors. Caucus members need to help.

Nor is likely that anyone can temper the right-wing rage of a Lisa MacLeod but with her heading up the new controls on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), the caucus must feel like it is on an out-of-control bus careening down the highway. You really do not want the types of problems that woman is going to create. The proof will be in the levers she pulls. There will obviously be more on this subject.

But it is safe to guess that Mr. Downey is just a one-time MPP for Barrie. Why bother getting to know him?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ford fast-tracks the slippery slope.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

One of the problems with being a bit older is that you have seen it all before. Premier Doug Ford, for example, might be just a reprise of Mike Harris, conservative premier of Ontario from 1995 to 2002. One of the reasons for the longevity of the McGuinty-Wynne liberals after that was the memory of Ontario voters of the mistakes Harris made.

And it looks as though Doug Ford is digging his own grave in the same way as Harris dug his. It is the old story of those who do not learn from the past making the same mistakes. Harris’ mantra was something called ‘the common-sense revolution.’ It was your basic slash and burn conservatism, ‘open for business’ and cutting of taxes.

It would appear that Mike Harris and his provincial ministers gave their changes more consideration than Ford’s people have given their legislation, so far.

Mike Harris gave people lots of time to blow smoke about consolidating Toronto into a supercity. While he had no idea how to fix Toronto’s political problems, Harris let the naysayers vent and then went ahead and put the city into one. It did not save the city any money either.

There were two incidents caused by Harris’ dogmatism that helped speed his downfall. These were at Walkerton and Ipperwash Provincial Park.

In Walkerton, the province—instead of cutting the regulations—cut out the people who oversaw the regulations. These experts, for example, gave technical assistance to people running municipal water treatment plants. It left a lot of people guessing at what to do and, in Walkerton in south-western Ontario, they were about five days to late in finding out that their water supply was contaminated with E. coli bacteria. In an area of 5000 population, more than 2000 people suffered through illness brought on by the contamination and five, six or seven were reported to have died, depending on your source of information.

In the Ipperwash park situation, the local aboriginal population had been displaced from their lands in the area during the Second World War and were still trying to get compensation from the federal government 50 years later. The military had stopped using the federal government area and nobody paid attention to the aboriginals. Since the Ipperwash Provincial Park was popular, the aboriginals occupied that part of the land. It got the wrong attention and a provincial police sharpshooter ended up killing an un-armed protestor.

Since nobody in Ontario expects the provincial police to be told what to do by the premier’s office, premier Harris, so-to-speak, missed a bullet on that one!

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Persons who help themselves get most.

Monday, December 10th, 2018

The headline was supposed to be ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ It did not seem right though to invoke a Deity. Considering how many Deities are promoted around Toronto these days, it could have ended up a three-line headline.

This started out to be about Ontario premier Doug Ford. When the premier reduced the number of councillors in the city of Toronto earlier this year, he promised Torontonians millions in savings. He lied you know. It is becoming more apparent every day that the only people who will profit from having Doug Ford in the premier’s office are lawyers. And what you know for sure is that it will be the province that pays.

And the city has not yet felt the full force of its newly-elected 25 councillors. That gravy train is only now chugging into city hall. Within two days of being sworn into office, the councillors doubled their staffing money, increased their office budgets and told the clerk that they want a raise in pay. These people are not pikers.

But at the same time, it was strange to look down on the council in seating space that used to hold twice as many councillors. The Toronto council chamber needs some redesign. It was as though they wanted to emphasize the change wrought by the vindictive Doug Ford by clustering to one side.

It was obvious that they would claim the need for more staff. They are going to need the help to deal with the concerns of almost twice the constituents. The personal salary increase will be the icing on the cake.

Considering the average number of constituents, the staff to be managed and the hours of dedicated service required, the job is now worth more than $200,000 per year plus expenses. And as that is more than the dilettantes at Queen’s Park are getting, the Toronto politicians can expect a nasty draft from the direction of the Ontario legislature.

It might surprise you to know that in examining the workload of municipal, provincial and federal politicians over the years, the heaviest is municipal, the second heaviest is federal and our provincial guys and gals get the easy end of things. If the provincials are diligent, they are out promoting themselves.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

When the Kingfish rules.

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

While many see him as a Trump-lite, Ontario’s premier Doug Ford is more of a politician in the tradition of Louisiana’s governor Huey P. Long (Born 1893 – Assassinated 1935). Long liked being called “The Kingfish.”

This is unlike American president Donald Trump’s evident nihilism which is mainly a rejection of any moral or religious principles. Huey Long’s populist struggle to political power was more of a contest between the corrupt establishment and the corrupt populist interloper. Long took on powerful interests on behalf of the people of his state while also fulfilling his own objectives, and filling his pockets.

Long was the subject of more than a few books and two movies have been made of “All the King’s Men” by author Robert Penn Warren. I have not seen the 2006 film but the way it was panned by the critics, I would not be likely to see it. It was the 1949 version of the film, starring Broderick Crawford, that won three Oscars.

Though it is quite doubtful that Doug Ford would win any rewards for his performance as premier of Ontario to-date. Ford is to busy preening for his fans and taking his bows for a political win where his opponents (Ontario’s liberals) defeated themselves.

But for him to show his vindictive streak against his former opponents shows no class at all. He is seriously ruling that an increase in members in the legislature is required to recognize the liberals as an official party. Maybe we should have hopes for more of his conservatives deserting the Ford party. His personal vendettas are embarrassing many progressive conservatives. He spent billions as soon as he was in office to end Ontario’s participation in a ‘Cap and Trade’ deal with California and Quebec and then set aside millions to try to stop a federal carbon tax.

And we are still computing the costs for his surprise attack on Toronto city hall councillors—reducing the number of wards—in the middle of the election campaign.

But it is his latest faux pas that is enraging anyone who understands the relationship between our Canadian governments and their police forces. He is reported to have changed the rules to accommodate a personal friend as commissioner of Ontario’s provincial police. His friend Ron Taverner did not have the experience as a deputy chief or a chief, so they changed the rules. Mr. Taverner is now commissioner.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

If you cannot confront, confuse.

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

It is a desperation strategy. As one of the three programs fighting greenhouse gases in Canada, Ontario’s ‘Carbon Trust’ is certainly the zaniest. Where ‘Cap and Trade’ lets industries buy extra carbon emissions from each other and a ‘Carbon Tax’ lets the polluters pay (with a rebate to consumers), this newest strategy from the Ford government just announced by environment minister Rod Phillips will have everybody puzzled.

By all standards this could be considered the cheapest plan. Which is lucky as it is the taxpayers who are paying for it. The plan is to be funded with an initial four hundred million of taxpayers’ money to bribe industry not to pollute. Since we are paying back billions to get out of the previous ‘Cap and Trade’ plan, we are very lucky the new plan is so cheap. Mind you, it is hardly enough to make much of an impression on large industries such as the petrochemical industry, that causes so much pollution.

As the former CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming, Phillips seems to have set the entire plan up in the form of the huckster’s game of three card monte. That is the one where the sucker tries to find the higher value card after it has been mixed with two lesser value cards.

But the major problem with the plan is it raises more questions than Minister Phillips is prepared to answer. The thinking seems to be that each industry will negotiate its own standards. It is similar to the tar sands industry in Alberta setting their own standards for the Harper conservatives. Canadians waited for nine years for the standards that were never set.

This ridiculous approach will never satisfy the federal government’s demand for a plan and leaves the province open to having the feds impose a carbon tax on Ontario. It should please many taxpayers as the money charged to polluters will be returned to taxpayers with their income tax refunds.

In the meantime, the Ontario government and the Saskatchewan government are asking the supreme court to rule that the carbon tax by the federal government is unconstitutional. It is too bad that we do not have a court that could rule that the Ford government’s provincial plan is just silly.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Where bullies wear blue.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Welcome to Queen’s Park. This is that island in the centre of Toronto that carries the weight of Ontario’s provincial government. The uniform of the day on this island of pecker heads is a blue suit. A white shirt or blouse is appropriate and a tie is obligatory for the boys, only when doing house duty. These are our rulers? These are Ontario’s elite? They are the product of voting against instead of voting for.

We had nobody to vote for and we scraped the bottom of the barrel. The voters voted against the status quo and soiled themselves. They voted for a party that said it was for the people and forgot to ask who these people were. They elected bullies in blue.

Our premier bully, Doug Ford, seems to get great delight out of going after some of his old enemies in Toronto city hall. It was the same time as he stopped former conservative leader, the disgraced Patrick Brown, from running to chair Peel Region. That was when Brown neatly flipped over to the Brampton mayoralty—winning Brampton by a Sikh’s whisker. Mind you, they are still trying to figure out what it cost winners, challengers and wannabes in Toronto to end up in just half the number of wards.

Toronto is still quaking, waiting for the other shoe to drop on their Toronto subways. Dougie has his heart set on playing with real trains. He has promised that he will take over the Toronto subways and create a regional system that will have just one stop for each line.

But Dougie’s major problem as Ontario’s “Kingfish’ is that he keeps telling people that Ontario is open for business and it shuts down behind him. Will Oshawa be the same without General Motors? Will a provincial government have any leverage to attract business under the new U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement that replaces NAFTA?

Do you remember the time years ago when the commercials sang out that you should “See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet.” Now we can put it to music to “See Canada in your Camry.” Or how about “Forging a new relationship with your Ford 150”?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Chuckles’ confusion of conservatives.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Federal conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer knows that a bunch of whales is a ‘pod,’ and a group of geese a ‘gaggle.’ We are guessing that he has also found out that a collection of conservatives might be a ‘confusion.’ He was at a celebration with an Ontario confusion of conservatives the other day and he would have been smarter to have stayed at Stornoway.

It is not as though Doug Ford’s black conservative heart is not in the right place but his lack of experience and political reasoning and seasoning is showing. The other day Dougie’s finance guy Fideli dumped all over Ontario francophones as though they did not matter. He took away the proposed French language university that the liberals had proposed. He abolished the French language commissioner who made sure that Ontario francophones are treated fairly.

It is not as though Chuckles is that concerned about Ontario francophones—they rarely vote conservative anyway. It is just that Quebeckers are very patronizing of their Ontario amis (that is French for friends, Dougie). Chuckles Scheer simply cannot afford to have Quebecers annoyed with all conservatives just because of Ontario premier Ford being such a klutz.

Mind you Dougie is not continuing to do so well with the anglophones in Ontario either. Chuckles might be worried needlessly. Next fall will be Ontario voters’ first chance to comment on their conservative regime at Queen’s Park.

And it is not as though Chuckles could complain to Brian Mulroney that his kid is not doing her job. We thought it was a joke when Dougie made Caroline Mulroney responsible for francophone affairs as well as attorney general. She is doing exactly the job that Dougie expected: absolutely nothing. After all she has probably not spoken French except as a tourist since she was 7-years old. She got her education and legal training in the United States.

The bad news is that Quebec premier François Legault came to Toronto yesterday expecting some answers from Dougie about what the hell he thinks he is doing?  Legault has more than enough to be annoyed with Dougie about. Fideli’s fiasco last week was just icing on the cake.

Reports are that in their two-hour meeting yesterday, Ford and Legault agreed to disagree about Ford’s treatment of francophones in Ontario. The next meeting between the two business-man premiers might not be as friendly.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A government built on falsehoods.

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Martin Regg Cohn of the Toronto Star described the Ontario conservatives as ageist the other day. He believes that Doug Ford’s Tories are the party of only the old people. He comes to this conclusion apparently because the inordinate number of dumb moves the Ford government is making that are having a serious impact on young people.

Regg Cohn should be more patient. Dougie and the gang will get around to his age group soon enough.

Because “Government for the people” is just a meaningless slogan. Ford obviously felt that a slogan such as “Make Ontario Great Again” would be too easily recognized as copied from Donald Trump’s campaign in the United States.

But, the same as Donald Trump found out south of the border, lies work today. All you have to do is tell lies that fit the bias of the target group. You have to find people who are fed up with politics anyway. With fewer and fewer people voting these days, those people are not hard to find. They will vote if you just give them a cause—the nastier the cause, the better.

The favourite cause of the ignorant today is anti-environmentalism. They see the greenies and tree-huggers as being against job creation and adding more taxes for gas for your pickup. They hate newcomers for taking jobs nobody really wants anyway. They resent automation because they do not understand it. And they resent people who find computers easy to use.

One of Dougie’s problems is that he thinks the only people working for a minimum wage are high school-aged kids at Tims or McDonalds. They are not. We could show you the problem in a half-block walk on Spadina Avenue in Toronto were immigrant women with families are working for minimum wage in sweat shops above the restaurants and grocery stores. And they only wish the employer did not steal some of that minimum pay back from them.

The only age problem Dougie and his ‘Deplorables’ have is that they are mostly middle-aged men who think all university students live in their parents’ basements.

Just think of all the fun next year when Dougie lines up with Larry (Alberta conservative leader Jason Kenney), Curly (federal conservative leader ‘Chuckles’ Scheer) and Moe (premier of Saskatchewan). That comedy trio are going to take on Justin Trudeau. And Canadians can sit on the sidelines and cheer on our favourite team.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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