Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

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

 

Is there any hope for Horwath?

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Every once in a while, we are reminded that there are three parties at play for the right to hold the lease on the Pink Palace looking down University Avenue from Queen’s Park. We know lots about the Liberals that currently hold the lease. We know more than we want to know about the Conservatives and their corrupt leadership. What has us stumped is the lack of direction of Ontario’s New Democratic Party.

It is easy to blame NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. After eight years of her desultory leadership, you really wonder about the death wish of her and her party. If she ever had a good idea, the Liberals have stolen it. And she spends most of her time trying to explain why the Liberals are not going far enough or fast enough. Even when she is right, she does not have the political smarts to take advantage of being right.

Earlier this year, Horwath received a letter signed by 34-longtime party supporters in the Toronto area questioning her leadership. Frankly, they could have asked ‘What leadership?’ The very fact that one of those signatures was that of long-time NDP supporter Michele Landsberg, wife of former party leader Stephen Lewis, was serious enough.

You would think that Horwath would take some of this criticism to heart. She seems to have no understanding of the art of leadership. She almost seems to be apologizing for her concerns. Her policies appear to be borrowed from the right wing rather than developed on the left. She seems to lack any understanding at all for social democratic politics and where those politics could take us.

Given the chance to reprise her almost absent-minded campaign of 2014, Horwath will find herself well behind the political sentiment of the province. People are uneasy about the stability of the recently improved economy. The number of jobs might be growing but how many are part-time, lacking benefits and insecure? They see the political situation in the United States as dangling us over a precipice. They are worried about the chances of bringing the continued turmoil of the Middle East to North America.

What all Ontario parties lack is leadership. There is no trust for any of the three leaders or their parties. Leadership polls at this stage are meaningless. The election is scheduled for next June and somebody has to get serious.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

On being nice to Premier Wynne.

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

It could be hard to get used to doing this. The problem basically is that as a liberal all my life, it is very difficult to accept Kathleen Wynne as a liberal. She is not a liberal and I do not like the way she has been running Ontario.

But…(life is full of ‘Buts’ isn’t it?) what is the alternative? Our provincial New Democrats cannot find their way across Yonge Street. The NDP in this province has no future and appears to have no plans for one.

And the Ontario Conservatives are something mothers use to frighten disobedient children. The current leader of the Tories stole the leadership a couple years ago and since then has been searching for conservatives.

And Ontario’s Greens have never been in contention for anything.

Which brings us back to Granny Wynne. That woman has a death grip on the door to the Premier’s office. What she is really doing is threatening to take us back to the awful days of Mike Harris as Premier. Only this time, the choice is a political manipulator named Patrick Brown.

Kathleen Wynne tells everyone that she got into politics because of Mike Harris. The only reason she joined the Liberal Party was because Mike Harris was a Conservative. She thought the Liberals had a chance of unseating Harris.

But politically, Wynne is a reactionary. There is nothing progressive about her. She jumped into politics to fight against Harris’ move to amalgamate Metropolitan Toronto into a single city. It was probably the only progressive move he ever made. What Harris did not know to do was to give the politicians at Toronto City Hall the power to do their jobs. Anyone who thinks that city is well run needs to give their head a shake.

And how do you like the way Wynne sells off hydro distribution but leaves the liquor board wallowing in excess profits. If she had sold off the LCBO, the province could have made billions and still kept the revenue.

Not to mention the water torture she is putting us through in gradually introducing grocery store distribution of beer and wines. And have we seen any improvement in our Canada Pension Plan recently?

Yes, the bad news folks is that Granny Wynne might be your only choice in the election next year.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Granny Wynne knows best.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The current argument between Ontario’s New Democrats and the Ontario Liberals is like a school yard spat over who did what. It is not only childish but it makes both sides of the argument look foolish. They are arguing over who thought of having a mediocre pharmacare plan first. Neither side has much of which to be very proud.

The point is that not having a universal pharmacare program works at cross purposes to the intent of Canada’s Medicare program. It means that those of us who take our meds are paying more for them and those who cannot afford them, fail to take them and drive up the cost of Medicare.

It is good to see that the NDP are thinking about real needs. Just why they would suggest that only the 125 most commonly prescribed drugs be free to the public is something that only they can explain. It is like saying ‘Tough beans’ to those with an uncommon problem. Since the Liberals are offering to fund the full 4000 or so listed drugs up until age 25, that must be saying ‘Tough beans’ to those between 25 and 65—which does not make really good sense either.

But you have to give this round to Granny Wynne and her Liberals. A small step in the right direction is better than no progress at all. Even the Ontario health minister, Eric Hoskins, has been pitching pharmacare to anyone who would listen for years.

Mind you we started calling the Ontario premier Granny because anything she was going to do took a long time to happen. It is similar to when she finally admitted that the Ontario minimum wage should be $15 per hour. Did she launch it in reasonable time? No. She is taking two years and staging the increase over that time.

The one strong benefit of this pharmacare plan is that of the intense pressure on a Liberal or New Democrat government (should one or the other get elected next year) will be to complete the universality of the plan. The likelihood of any Conservative government doing anything other than finding ways of cutting back the plan would be extremely unlikely.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Did he say ‘Premier’ Brown?

Monday, June 12th, 2017

It was the kind of chill that our granny used to say was caused by someone walking on her grave. It is the combination of cold and a sad premonition. It was the feeling left the other day when noting Bob Hepburn’s column in the Toronto Star about getting cosy saying ‘Premier Brown.’

There was a problem reading the article after spewing morning coffee all over that page. Bob Hepburn really knows how to upset a guy. We were both there when Mike Harris tramped to victory in Ontario with his ‘Common Sense Revolution.’ Patrick Brown could be a far more serious problem for Ontario than Mike Harris.

First of all, Patrick Brown is smarter than Harris. He studied Harris closely as president of the Conservative youth wing from 1998 to 2002 and as a vice-president of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. This is a guy who eats, sleeps and is totally absorbed in politics.

But his weakness is that he has no public persona nor does he have any particular concern for people. That TV commercial that makes an issue of his speech impediment as a child is a thinly disguised attempt to alibi him. After all, if Ontario could elect a lesbian as premier, how far do you have to go to elect a nerd?

But Brown’s problems run deeper than that. His early religious training would have helped prepare him to be a Catholic priest, not a politician. His flip-flops on abortion, same sex marriage and gay rights might have annoyed social conservatives in Ontario but that is the politician speaking. He has never really taken a stand on anything else.

In his time as an MP in Ottawa, Brown never made a contribution. He said what he was told to say. In his riding, he spent inordinate amounts of taxpayers’ money promoting different charities. The gullible among the voters were heard to say, “Isn’t it marvelous what he does for charity?” It was all in aid of keeping his name in front of the voters. The charities could have done better without him.

But the question unanswered in Bob Hepburn’s op-ed piece is about Brown’s relations with women. We know where the Premier stands. Why is it, over years of seeing this guy in action, do we get the impression that he does not like women? They certainly do not seem to take to him.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The omens are in the ridings Ms. Wynne.

Friday, June 9th, 2017

The true politico pays attention to what is happening in the electoral districts. Those readings mean far more than the public opinion polls that are such a waste of time in the year before the election. If you do not grasp what is happening in the field, you are not even in the race.

The late Keith Davey was the Yoda of all Liberal politicos. His daily routine included calls across Canada. When he called, you quickly briefed him on the ridings you had heard from. You knew the detail he wanted. He kept his daily notes in tiny cramped handwriting on a single sheet of foolscap. Any time the prime minister wanted a party briefing, those were Keith’s notes.

Ontario is now in a one year countdown to an election on June 7, 2018. The heavy action is in the Conservative electoral district associations. Being conservative, they rarely get into fist-fights at their nomination meetings. It is the number of complaints coming into Tory headquarters that indicate the heated contests at nomination meetings. It seems that if the party leader can steal his leadership, why should not aspiring MPPs steal their nomination.

The best example of how the Tory nominations are being conducted have been the claims of ballot-box stuffing in both Ottawa and Hamilton. You should not have to count more ballots than there were distributed to voters. Chicanery, deceit, intimidation and signing up the local cemetery are all practiced ways of ensuring your candidate the nomination.

What the current action tells us is that electoral districts that used to always vote Liberal are now in play. No Liberal seat is safe. And Patrick Brown has got his tame party executive to ignore the shenanigans in the ridings.

But the problem in all of this is that there is no corresponding activity in the Liberal electoral district associations. The quiet there is deafening. The Liberal Party in Ontario has become a top-down organization. The provincial Liberals are never asked about policy directions. They do not expect to choose their own candidates. The party will tell them eventually who will be their sacrificial lamb.

Premier Wynne is running out the clock.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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