Posts Tagged ‘Premier Wynne’

A liberal look at leadership.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Ontario Liberals are finally realizing that there is a problem at Queen’s Park. It appears to be endemic. It affects every political party on the premises. It is the serious lack of leadership. Even the Liberal Party backbenchers are drawing lots to see who will be the Cassius who drives the first (rhetorical) knife in the back of Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Wynne has done what she could. She has been driving a tired and worn-out Liberal horse and buggy for too long. It needs to be refreshed, re-challenged and recharged for the good of the province. It is a party that desperately needs to see a new future.

But the future is not a feature with Wynne. She is a North Toronto right wing reactionary. She won the leadership of the Liberal Party by trickery and manipulation. Her deal with the devil seemed to have been with former Ontario Premier David Peterson and fellow candidate Glen Murray, MPP for the adjoining Toronto electoral district.

Looking at the news media’s selection of possible replacements does not fill our heart with cheer. MPPs such as Eric Hoskins and Charles Sousa could not dump their campaigns fast enough in the last leadership convention to climb aboard the Wynne bandwagon. They were looked after; not the voters.

At the same time, MPPs Steven Del Luca from Vaughan, Yasir Naqvi from Ottawa, Michael Coteau from Toronto (East York) and Mitzie Hunter from Toronto (Scarborough) are all fresher cabinet faces with potential. Each of the them might be able to talk about their vision for Ontario if out from under the oppressive leadership of Kathleen Wynne.

And, do not forget Sandra Pupatello. She is not to be confused with the lacklustre regime of Kathleen Wynne as she was not in the Legislature at the time. She has the experience, the drive and the ideas that could work for us.

In the meantime, Kathleen Wynne is saying that her reduction of costs for electric power will pay political dividends next year. What that remaining time means for this government is more time for the opposition parties to develop their strategies. While few are impressed with the leadership of either party, nobody says Conservative Patrick Brown or New Democrat Andrea Horwath are stupid.

Without concrete and visible action by the Liberals over the next 12 months, they will be going into an election campaign bound and ready for slaughter. The best action might be an entirely new leadership, new direction and new faces on the firing line with the voters.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Where are Ontario politics headed?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

There have been some political polls in Ontario recently that have caused a buzz in the news media. If the media had just checked back to before the last provincial election, they would have seen a similar pattern in the public preferences a year before that election. It certainly supports the claim that the only polls that matter are the ones on election day.

But polls can be useful indicators for politicians. There is no question that the current Conservative figures are inflated. The Tories have a leader who is an unknown quantity and every effort is expected to be made to create an acceptable persona for him before the 2018 provincial election.

The current polls are particularly disquieting for the governing Liberals. It is becoming obvious that Premier Wynne’s poor performance just might have dragged the party down to unrecoverable levels. If she had any respect for her party, she would have called for a leadership convention by May of this year to give her replacement time to gain traction with the voters.

It is hard to ignore the New Democrat leader but until she joins a gym and gets the party interested in a future, it has none.

The leader needing the most scrutiny by the voters is the Conservative leader. After using dishonest tactics to steal the party leadership last year, Patrick Brown is still an unknown quantity even to members of the Conservative Party, let alone the voters. Most of the people his organizers signed up as temporary Conservative Party members never knew him.

Brown is a 38-year old bachelor who has spent his entire adult life in politics. His answer to most questions is to tell you what he thinks you want to hear. He has no small talk. He bores women. They are not interested. He is a social conservative and voted against women’s rights when an MP in Ottawa. He has since earned the enmity of social conservatives in Ontario for not openly supporting them.

For people who do care about this province and its citizens, the provincial election coming on June 7, 2018 is worrisome. There is no category appearing on the ballot for ‘None of the above.’ We have to make choices. We need to send the very best person on our ballot to Queen’s Park. We need people who will speak for their constituents. We need people we can respect and who respect us.

Ontario voters will need to think long and hard on this one.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

For whom the Tolls Toll.

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

The premier’s office at Queen’s Park in Toronto has many roles. One of those is as a woodshed wherein one disciplines recalcitrant municipal minions who fail to realize that the provincial party in power makes all the rules.

There was an awkward bit on a news clip last week of the Premier of Ontario and the Mayor of Toronto both trying to get out the premier’s office door at the same time. It would have been funnier if the mayor had not been so angry. He had not only been woodshedded in the traditional manner but he felt he had been treated as a little boy in short pants. And he did not like it.

The waiting news media observed the mayor and premier doing the ritual handshake before following the mayor down the hall to get the lowdown on the spanking. To put it simply, the mayor felt he had been betrayed.

Mayor John Tory was still in the provincial legislature when he gave the news guys and gals an earful on what he considered the duplicity of the premier. He had obviously wasted a lot of political capital in promoting the idea and getting the support needed on city council. He had been told originally that the premier was on side.

The entire fiasco was about the city wanting to impose road tolls on the two provincial highways that still go to downtown Toronto. The Don Valley Parkway (Highway 404) and the Gardiner Expressway (Queen Elizabeth Way) are maintained by the city. While it might not have been as dumb an idea as the province wanting to charge tolls for less congested highway lanes running around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), it still got heavy static from the surrounding municipalities.

The governing Ontario Liberals are quite concerned about the electoral districts around the GTA being wooed with some success by the desperate Conservatives. With an election looming in the next year, these concerns are being taken seriously. This is not the time to annoy those voters any more than they might already be.

Frankly, Mayor Tory should be pilloried for the entire idea. If the foolish idea caught on with Toronto, the province would be forced to allow tolls on provincial highways running through cities and towns across the province. Thinking of the Queensway (Highway 417) in Ottawa, there would be a strong possibility of causing another Upper Canada Rebellion.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Premier Wynne: Colour her gone.

Monday, January 16th, 2017

It seems more and more likely that Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Ontario Liberals are on the slippery side of the slope. Nothing says it more emphatically than the situation in which we find ourselves here in Babel. (You know Babel as Barrie, Ontario.)

We are less than two years from a tough election situation here in Barrie and there has been no sign of provincial Liberal activity. Normally you would expect some evidence of action. Especially since there needs to be new provincial electoral district associations created by the political parties, you would have expected that to happen by now. You would have expected a candidate search committee to be activated by the Liberals to talk to potential candidates and be sure they are aware of what is required of them.

What makes this doubly important is that this is the riding that PC Leader Patrick Brown has chosen to contest. It is hard to imagine there are many Conservatives with any common sense wanting that nerd representing them at Queen’s Park. He is not a leader. He has nothing to offer the party or the voters. He flip-flops on issues trying to convince people he is on their side—whatever that is. He is incapable of leading the fractious Conservative caucus. He has no direction and would be a serious embarrassment to Ontario if he accidently became Premier.

But the good news is that we can defeat him here in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. And when we defeat him, the Ontario Conservatives would have an opportunity to call a new leadership convention—one where Brown and others would not be allowed to cheat. Just think of it: an honest political leadership convention.

And if the election just produced a Liberal minority government, maybe Kathleen Wynne would also take the opportunity to resign. She has not led the Liberals into anything but trouble.

There is no reason that the New Democrats could not take the opportunity to also dump their inept leader Andrea Horwath. She is not leading them anywhere anyway.

Ontario is in a very unusual political situation. It has three major party leaders who all need to be replaced. And then, after getting a chance to assess the results of some new leadership, we could vote again. We might have a chance to get it right.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Not everyone hates Premier Wynne.

Friday, January 6th, 2017

It is too bad that Ontario Premier Wynne has no politically smart advisors or staff. Here it is the first week of 2017 and the foolish lady is deep in the do-do of her own making.

By selecting the beginning of January to launch her ill-fated cap and trade program, she has been ripped off by the oil companies who multiplied her increases by four to five times. Wynne’s average of 4.4 cents per litre on cap and trade might not have caused a ruckus but 16 to 20 cents per litre was the increase the voters saw at the pumps.

And Ontario residents are complaining about Wynne and her Liberals instead of the rapacious oil companies. How politically astute is that?

Obviously, Wynne’s timing sucks. The oil companies can come up with all kinds of reasons for their increases. Wynne should have dumped the cap and trade deal with Quebec and California and supported the Trudeau government’s carbon tax. That would have let Prime Minister Trudeau take the blame for the increase. He has some goodwill to spare; Wynne does not.

The basic problem is that the voters do not understand cap and trade. To voters a tax is a tax. Most can understand a carbon tax. And even more voters understand global warming. There might be a cause and effect confusion here but most can understand that gasoline and diesel engines pollute our air.

But cap and trade is a system based on industry wide negotiations with politicians to set caps on emissions. If you come under the cap, you might have some emissions to trade with a company that cannot meet its commitments. This trade goes on between companies. The public is not advised of what is going on between companies but pays for it in retail prices.

In simple terms a carbon tax is an open and easy to understand system. Cap and trade is a largely hidden and hard to understand system. And with Ontario and Quebec firms trading with California companies, who knows what is going on?

Quite frankly, it is our opinion that Kathleen Wynne is not suited to politics. Her only reason for winning the 2014 provincial election was that the she had no opposition. Timmy Hudak of the Conservatives and Andrea Horwath of the New Democrats handed her that election on a platter.

And we are heading for a situation where history can repeat itself. The New Democrats cannot find a replacement for loser Horwath. And that putz Patrick Brown who stole the Conservative leadership does not have a clue as to how to get his caucus behind him. People are finally figuring out that he has no direction for the Conservative Party and he is incapable of leading a boy scout troop.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The grandstanding of Patrick Brown.

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

People who prefer to grandstand in politics can be a pain in the ass. There are times when a politician should to take a stand on an issue but that is when you can reason and suggest alternatives to help solve the problem. Our Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in Ontario does not believe in such niceties. He just goes for the jugular.

And to make matters worse, his latest attack is more of an attack on a former leader of his own party than an attack on the Liberal’s Premier Wynne. John Tory who is now a very popular Mayor of Toronto was Conservative leader in Ontario from 2004 until 2009. It is the mayor’s proposal to charge tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway that Brown is dissing. Brown is asking the Premier not to agree with Tory’s proposal.

It is examples such as this that Ontario voters should pay attention to before telling pollsters that they would choose Brown over Wynne in the election less than two years from now.

What people have to realize is that for the mayor’s proposal to work, people need alternatives to those city expressways. As it is you might as well refer to those city-owned highways as stall-ways. They are grossly overcrowded from very early in the morning to late at night.

But what alternatives are people proposing to help alleviate the problems? The province and the federal government have been doing their part to offer infrastructure funds to build light rail or subways as well as fund improved transit connections for commuters. It is the constant confusion as to the city’s  direction that has put Toronto so far behind in meeting infrastructure needs.

And now we have Patrick Brown MPP, a small-town boy from Barrie who is sticking his oar into Toronto’s all too muddied waters. He might have stolen the leadership of his political party last year but he failed to buy any more brains or knowledge to go with the job.

Brown’s predecessor Michael Harris might have thought he was fixing things back in the 1990s when he amalgamated the City of Toronto with its burgeoning suburbs but he failed to give the city, now more than four times the size, effective governance. It seems that no Ontario government wants to have a strong and capable government in Toronto.

But if we had Patrick Brown running the province, we would all be in trouble.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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

Does Wynne cry for liberalism?

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Did you hear that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne got all teary at the Liberal Party gathering this past weekend? Not being there, are we to assume these were crocodile tears or tears of frustration? Or were they just a notation on her script saying ‘tears here’? You never know what her reaction is to being pilloried for the inadequate job she is doing.

But in the spirit of concern for her emotional stability, we will try to be more helpful.

First of all, if you like to have people think of you as a progressive, you have to act like one. This might be difficult for Ms. Wynne but to be a progressive, you have to be an agent for change in our society. And to be a liberal, you have to have concern for the rights of the individual. That means that you have to work at ensuring that the individual has the freedom and opportunity to enjoy the lifestyle that they choose.

We need to take a serious look at this agent for change agenda of yours. When will it start? We agree that the fixes on pensions was overdue and you did a good job of dumping the problem on the federal government. Good show! Now what is next? You have to be more than a one act pony.

How about giving some speed and credibility to your electrifying and speeding up the GO Trains? Or better yet get your friends in Ottawa and Quebec City together for a little brainstorming on high-speed electric trains to give us better and ‘Greener’ travel between our major cities. That just might be the profitable type of infrastructure spending needed to attract that foreign investment.

The point is that there are lots of dramatic and worthwhile opportunities in our society for a progressive government. Nobody other than some of the unions are interested in the self-serving New Democrats. You should start now establishing that the raving Patrick Brown has no better answers on what to do about hydro pricing.

And stop the stupid water torture. If you want grocery stores to sell booze, let them. Stop the damn guessing games about who sells what. You cannot keep trying to be half pregnant. It just looks silly.

And the most important thing for a true liberal today is to make sure that every child in the province has all the education and training readily available to them as their life unfolds. Let the conservatives among us be the repressive bastards if they want that appellation. And we need more universities across the province—not just in Toronto.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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

Protecting public assets.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

What government, municipal, provincial or federal, has not looked longingly to selling off public companies as a fast way to some ready cash? The government can promise to do nothing but good with the money. The only problem is that once the asset is gone, there is no more revenue from it beyond its corporate taxes.

But there are exceptions. There are assets that can be sold off and improve their revenues to the government. It was hoped that the lotteries component of Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) could be one of these assets. The objective of dealing through a service provider, is that the government would gain from the company’s creativity, experience and knowledge of the business. The government would still get most of the revenues generated but would share a reasonable operating profit with the purchaser.

It is obvious that none of the three major companies bidding on the OLG operation was offering enough money to the government to make the deal worthwhile. The government lottery operations might not be as creative and aggressive as private enterprise but the government apparently still likes the return it is getting.

This would not necessarily be the case if the Ontario government sold off the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). It is obvious to any business analyst that the parts of the LCBO are worth far more than the whole. Private sector wine merchants are long overdue in Ontario and the government gets the licensing revenue as well as the alcohol taxes. Selling six packs of beer is a bludgeon to upgrade and improve Ontario convenience stores.

And if the LCBO is really the largest importer of wines in North America, that business could be worth more than all the stores combined. All it has to do is look outward beyond the province, instead of inward. It could become a giant in the business.

And there is a huge recycling business in the province that can be separated and stop interfering with how customers buy their beer.

But instead a smart sell-off the Ontario government wants to sell off some of Hydro One that is already infuriating customers across Ontario because of the electrical distribution operator’s sloppy billing practices. Premier Wynne hardly needs more of Ontario’s rural electricity users hating her.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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

How far Bill Davis’ party has fallen.

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

We can admit it now but could not when he was Premier of Ontario, Bill Davis is a decent guy. As much as he likes to pose as the bastion of the right, Bill has always liked people and is a caring, compassionate person. If he was much younger and leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives today, Kathleen Wynne and her neo-Liberals could pack their bags.

But Bill Davis’ party has fallen on hard times. The triumvirate of leaders, Harris, Hudak and now Brown have not helped. John Tory, who as a young man attended Bill’s breakfasts at the old Park Plaza Hotel, might have been an exception during his brief stint as Conservative Leader but his timing against Premier ‘Dad’ Dalton McGuinty was bad. And he blew it by going against the hard core right of his own party by offering more support for parochial schools.

The present leader Patrick Brown is causing further splits in the party by denying his roots as a religious right conservative. He has managed to get all factions of the Conservative Party angry with him for his constant flip-flops. He can hardly deny his vote against women’s rights and against same -sex marriage when he was a Member of Parliament. Attending Toronto’s Pride Parade this year only showed what a hypocrite he can be.

Current public opinion polls are useless as no Ontario voters outside of Barrie really know anything about Patrick Brown. And those voters do not know much. Bill Davis must be appalled at the thought of a person such as Brown sitting in his old office at Queen’s Park.

But the more serious problem is that Premier Wynne and her caucus are not doing the job. They lack direction, attention, discretion, determination and intention. They only use half measures when bold steps are needed. They use band aids instead of solutions. They have no discernable leadership or philosophy.

It hardly adds up to anything better than Patrick Brown running Bill Davis’ old party or the New Democrats under the hapless Andrea Horwath.

But as much as Ontario voters might think The Wynne Liberals are less than productive, they have absolutely no idea how bad Brown would be.

When Bill Davis was premier, there was a certain trust that he earned. That would not be what Ontario would get with Brown. Brown is a manipulator with the personality of a nerd. Women tend to lose interest in him very quickly. Men just do not like him. He really does not belong in the same party as former Premier Bill Davis.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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

No guts, no glory, no re-election.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Ontario’s Liberals have to stop whistling past the graveyard. That American idiom means that they are ignoring sure destruction. And nothing said it better than the recent rebooting of the Legislature with a joke of a throne speech read by the Lieutenant Governor.

It was no throne speech. It was a stop-gap to oblivion. It put another band aid on electricity rates and solved nothing. The problem quite frankly is that there is no one in the Legislature capable of running this province. There are no leaders. There is no direction.

Does anyone have any idea what Ms. Wynne’s political stance might be? We already know that the Conservative leader will go whatever way he can find some votes. And that silly New Democrat leader is nothing but a nebbish. Welcome to a province where the only option for the voter is to vote for ‘None of the above.’

The only policies we have seen Premier Wynne espouse are the ones she steals from other parties. She takes on the pension problems brought forward by the NDP and then steals their pledge to take the tax off electricity charges. Only—typical of her—she only goes part way. She gets lucky and dumps the pension problem to the Trudeau Liberals and then just gives a tax rebate on run-away electricity charges.

There is nothing any other party can think of that the Premier cannot find a way to handle conservatively. We should not forget the former PC Leader Timmy Hudak took the lead in suggesting liberalizing beer sales until somebody convinced him to turn off that tap.

But what Wynne is doing is ludicrous. She is actually allowing less than ten per cent of the large grocery stores to sell warm six-packs of beer. Not in this town though. The only place to buy beer downtown in this writer’s city of more than 135,000 is the province’s most disgusting beer store.

And the other day, Kathleen Wynne announced her ‘Liberal’ stalwarts to run the 2018 Liberal election effort. If these are the same Pat Sorbara and Vince Borg who wandered the halls at Queen’s Park some 30 years ago, we will not get our hopes up.

One of these days Ontario might finally have a government of grown-ups that will realize that selling off how you distribute electricity is a no-no and selling off the Liquor Control Board stores is the golden goose that can continue to pay off in gold.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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