Posts Tagged ‘Premier Wynne’

Dark days descending on Ontario.

Monday, April 30th, 2018

It is frightening. We have been studying the mood of voters across Ontario and we do not like what we are seeing and hearing. We are not even into the writ period of the coming election. We are hardly ready to prepare our Morning Line this far ahead but some of what we are seeing is disturbing.

It is the same attitude we had trouble with in Mr. Trump’s win in the United States. We could not see how that blustering bastard could pull it off.

No, Doug Ford is not much like Donald Trump. He is a pale imitation. He is a blowhard and incompetent. Most voters already know that

But people who say they are going to vote for him do not care.

That was the factor that we missed with Donald Trump. We thought that rational people would realize that Trump could do irreparable harm to the United States of America.

But people who want retribution do not care. They want to get even.

And there are two fresh factors throwing us a curve in Ontario. The first is the ‘Me Too’ movement. It is driving a serious wedge in the relations between men and women. It is launching a war between the sexes such as we have never seen before. It has gone past justice to just piling on. It is not a swing in attitude to which you have an opportunity to say “Now stop.”

Those of us who have partnered so equally and openly with each other and the LGTB communities over the years are seeing the divisions and the tensions the ‘Me Too’ movement is causing.

The other incident that is horrifying many of us is the van that was driven down Toronto’s Yonge Street on a sunny day in April. We are seeing it as a sick hatred of the other sex by a very disturbed individual. There is a sad feeling that this needs to be addressed. Society has to recognize the problem. There is no pill for it. Doug Ford is not the answer. He is an irrational get even!

You hardly have to love our lesbian premier. She is too cold for the grandmother role.

But she is a politician. She can pull a coalition behind her. She can be trusted. She knows how to handle the job. You do not have to love her.

And for all her weaknesses, she knew what to do after the horror on Yonge Street. She promoted healing. Doug Ford was nowhere to be seen.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Stapling, spindling and folding Ford.

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Millennials might not be as familiar with the admonition we used to read on our household bills. Before the Internet, our bills were often delivered to us as data processing punch cards. We dutifully mailed these cards back to the supplier, along with our cheques. It was considered a no-no to mangle the punch card and cause it to clog the mechanical reader.

But in this case, we are thinking of conservative leader Doug Ford as something of a punch card. And we are not all that pleased with how Premier Wynne is handling him. Sure, we started out suggesting that he was Trump-lite but by no stretch is he much like the real Donald Trump.

And the way, Kathleen Wynne is referring to him as Trump-like, it is coming across as a compliment. She cannot afford to forget she is premier. She cannot afford to get down in the mud to wrestle with a pig.

It is alright for her campaign guy David Herle to refer to Ford as a “bit of a dick.” Many of us have called Ford much worse.

As premier, she has to handle Ford smarter. When he accusingly suggests there should be an audit of the books while she has been premier, she has to say: Sure, that is done every year anyway and while that is going on, we could also audit of his company’s books when he was selling labels.

Nobody doubts that Kathleen Wynne is tough. She also needs to prove she is smarter. She has to ridicule him with faint praise. She has to paint a picture of him in short pants. She has to show that he fails to understand the job he is applying for. She has to kindly show that he is nowhere ready for the job.

There was a clip of former mayor Hazel McCallion of Mississauga on the news the other day. Hazel was lacing up her hockey skates. This woman is in her mid-90s and she is still tough as a whip. She should give lessons to much younger Kathleen Wynne.

The premier needs to raise her game for this election. The strongest argument the opposition parties are making is that the liberals have been in power for 15 years. So, what? The liberals have done a hell of a lot of good for this province over that time. Does anyone really think Doug Ford would bring anything other than troubles?

The only people Doug Ford would help are millionaires such as the medical specialists who run the OMA. The bad news for the people on lower incomes, who might think of voting conservative is that Ford would not know what to do to help them. Wynne has to show that Ford only wants the job to feed his own ego.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ford’s flock is fleeting.

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

In analyzing a political situation, you have to weigh many factors. According to the public pollsters, the upcoming Ontario voting seems to be decided. I hate to poop on the pollsters’ parade but you should always check some very pertinent points before buying into the B.S. The questions start with survey technique, sample size, completed interviews, refused and incomplete interviews, qualifying questions, demographic balance, and the percentage who did not have an answer to the basic questions. Without these answers, the pollster might as well have jotted down those percentages on his or her luncheon napkin while asking mother what she thinks.

What we are seeing in the current circumstances is the steady erosion of the Ford share of attention. It is like the small spike likely today for the NDP. They announced some policies and people who normally ignore them felt that they should pay a bit of attention. Changes such as that will continue through to election day. That is the final poll. It is the one that counts.

Ford’s base is not as large as the pollsters are saying. He brought his late brother’s Ford Nation to the party but most already were conservative voters. These are the angry, lower income conservatives in Toronto spread around the inner city in the suburbs. They can do things in municipal elections but can hardly compete with strong, experienced and organized liberal party organizations in the upcoming provincial contest.

Where Ford is showing strength at the moment is in the more determined conservative strongholds in the Greater Toronto Area, with the rural Ontario Landowners Association and the religious right (social conservatives).

But what is floating the Ford bubble are the unsophisticated, new voters either coming of age to vote or recent immigrants gaining their citizenship. These people are naïve about politics and are only hearing the braggadocio of Ford.  There is a continuing and serious imbalance recently in the Ford funnies versus the weary stuff from Wynne. And until Wynne can change those ratios and pull ahead in the social media as well as the traditional media, she will look like a loser.

And the ratios will change. Wynne is not the sort to remain silent. She will be calling out Ford for his lies and obvious ignorance. She will be armed for bear when she debates Ford—if a debate happens. She is going to show those new voters that Ford is a loser.

And nobody loves a loser.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A Truth Squad for Doug Ford?

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Here is a million-dollar idea for the Ontario liberals. It came to me as I read the news that the party was going to waste a million dollars on television advertisements to tell Ontario voters that Doug Ford tells lies. I suppose I should charge them, but it was not my idea. It belonged to the late Keith Davey, the master political strategist for the Liberal Party in the last half of the 20th Century.

It was Keith’s idea but he had to get the approval of Walter Gordon who was liberal campaign manager in 1963 and party leader Lester Pearson. Nobody was enthused. The toughest arguments against it were by liberal stalwart Judy LaMarsh, whom Keith wanted to head up the truth squad. I was just a young volunteer at the time but I knew that John Diefenbaker would tear into her.

Judy and her troop were welcomed by prime minister Diefenbaker at the first event and there were seats reserved for them at the front of the hall. It was classic Diefenbaker when he tore into them. Judy and team only needed to take Mr. Diefenbaker’s scorn at two more events before Keith said “That is enough.”  He had made his point.

The strategist’s point was that Mr. Diefenbaker was making free with the truth and the news media did the best job of telling the voters. Everyone was laughing but it was at Mr. Diefenbaker’s expense.

And that is the objective with Doug Ford. The difference was that Mr. Diefenbaker was a wily old Prairie lawyer, skilled at talking around the truth. Doug Ford simply does not know what he is talking about.

A good example is his promise to fire the chief executive of Hydro One. Ford cannot imagine anyone earning six million a year and so he will fire him. The only trouble is to do that he would have to start by firing the entire board of Hydro One. And only then could he fire the chief executive officer. By the time the dust settled on the law suits involved, the company could have another $20 million or more to make up from electricity transmission rates.

If the liberals just keep making the point that Doug Ford does not know what he is doing, they can turn around those ridiculous public opinion polls. The 2018 provincial election in Ontario is far from decided.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Premier Wynne’s nemesis.

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

If Premier Wynne really wants to keep her job in Ontario, I would suggest that she should make amends by first firing Ed Clark as chair of the Liquor Control Board and of the Ontario Cannabis stores. Even at the price of one dollar per year, he is not worth it. She has given a guy with absolutely no political smarts the ammunition to destroy her.

This is not a question of loyalty. Bad advice and bad advice followed are the problems. Ed Clark has absolutely no political smarts and would ask his doctor if there is a pill for it, if he did. Ed Clark is a banker. Bankers are the people who want you to borrow money, when you do not need it, and demand you pay it back when you lack the funds. They give you a nice shiny new credit card but cluck their tongue when you over use it, in their estimation.

Bankers are never your friend. To suggest that Clark’s experience running TD Bank was a consumer success is to suggest that he failed as a banker. If bankers were honest with you, they would admit that they do not like dealing with the hoi polio. Consumers with their grubby little deposits are not the stuff of bankers’ dreams.

You need to remember that the one blunder that really caused Premier Wynne to fall off her high horse was following Ed Clark’s advice to sell off Hydro One. That was the turning point. Against all political instincts, she started to sell Hydro One without realizing that the voters did not even know what she was attempting to sell. Given the history of Ontario Hydro, it goes down in political history books as a really dumb move.

Somebody should have told Wynne that Hydro One—the transmission network—was hived off from Ontario Hydro 15 years earlier by the Harris government with the intent to sell it. Everybody thought Kathleen Wynne was smarter than Mike Harris. Even he was convinced not to do it.

The other suggestion that Ed Clark made to the Wynne government was that they start selling beer and wine through the grocery stores. That is probably the worst implementation of a government program we have ever seen. The grocery stores do not make money on it. The rules are inconsiderate of the grocers. And they want the same guy to sell marijuana in Ontario?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Wait until they are ‘At Post.’

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Ontario is in the midst of a ‘phony war.’ People are getting excited about public opinion polls that are meaningless. Babel-on-the-Bay is more than a month away from offering its Morning Line on the coming provincial election. At least wait until then to place your bets on the outcome.

You have to remember that not all horses in this race have passed their drug tests. Hell, the conservatives have been on a high for too long thinking they can walk away with first prize. One of the biggest bumps on the road from here to election day is the conservative leader—such as he is! Does the conservative brain trust really think they can keep him from saying what he wants? Doug Ford is a loose cannon and anything can happen.

And how about friends? There was a radio advertisement the other day by the specialists who run the Ontario Medical Association. The words dripped of greed and confidence that the conservatives will come to power. The only people who will benefit from a conservative win might be the medical specialists and other millionaires.

And then there was an op-ed in the Toronto Star by one-time New Democrat guru Val Sears. He was trying to tell us that all three parties are equal. It was a good try but the only way to resurrect the NDP in Ontario is with a shovel. He should look up the word ‘nebbish’ in his dictionary. It is an excellent description of NDP leader Andrea Horwath. The NDP have no where to go in Ontario and a nobody to lead them.

And in the meantime, the liberals have more leadership than the party needs. I like to think of Wynne as the wicked witch of North Toronto. What I have been seeing lately is some new, fresh, young liberal faces appearing who might start to tell Granny what big teeth she has and suggest that she move along and go into retirement.

But she did win me over with some of her death bed repentance. That recent budget, was offering a pastiche of liberalism and I could only approve. These were all desperate needs in mental health, day care, health care and in looking after the poor and disadvantaged in our society. Only a curmudgeon would disagree with the needs.

But here’s hoping the crick don’t rise and we can have a well doped out Morning Line for you before the middle of May.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ford isn’t fast with his math.

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

It was really very funny last Thursday when conservative leader Doug Ford got pompously to his feet to harangue the liberal government for their election budget. It seems that towards the back of the budget book there is a tax increase for the top 17 per cent of wage earners.

The effect of this tax, on average, means that anyone with taxable earnings of $130,000 per year will pay an additional $200 in tax to Ontario. Doug Ford was horrified. Imagine a tax increase for those who can most afford it! Okay, it is one less dinner at a fancy restaurant for you and the wife. Think of all the good you are doing with the money.

But Doug Ford was horrified. He was outraged at this egregious affront to the wealthy taxpayers he wants to represent at Queen’s Park. Some how, Ford got in his mind that the tax applied to everyone in the household. He thought if it was a family of five, each would pay the government an additional $200. He was wrong. The facts are that if the other four people in the household are all dependents, the taxpayer would not pay the additional until they earned quite a bit more than $130,000.

Ford must have also been confused between the difference in gross income and taxable income. The problem with people such as Ford is that they never do their own taxes. They have an accountant for that.

Yet the money is to help our citizens who most need the assist. It is for day care for the youngest children when they are the most vulnerable. It is for our seniors to stop nickel and diming them for prescription drug co-payments. It is to increase the funding to keep seniors in their homes longer. It is to increase the number of mental health professionals in the province to meet the needs of our young people.

Obviously, Mr. Ford has different priorities. He does not seem worried about our environment. He thinks he can come up with billions by just cutting some fictitious waste. How he will achieve that when the bulk of our provincial expenditures are on education and health needs, he will wait until he is in office to find out. When you bore down on Mr. Ford’s approach, you find out he has no idea how to magically balance budgets or provide funds for tax cuts.

Doug Ford is just blowing smoke.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Can you put it on a hat?

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

We used to use bumper stickers but cars do not have bumpers any more. Now we are running campaigns that you can put on a hat. We are producing hats that say “Ontario drives with Ford” or “Win with Wynne” or “Horwath or horror.” That is the general view of political campaigns these days.

Just look at Doug Ford’s Trump-like rally for the lumpen proletariat the other day at a Toronto area convention centre. It was a disappointing turn out, but then, all the attendees got was candidate Ford.

He had promised that his rival for the leadership, Christine Elliott, would introduce him. The lady must have had one of those political attacks of laryngitis. Ford was introduced by his current campaign manager. Elliott was there but probably not in spirit.

It was a small but easy to please crowd. What is left of Ford Nation came for the free lunch and the conservatives came to commiserate with each other. Nobody expected to learn anything. Nothing was learned. The news media were wondering why they were there? There was nothing for them to report.

A candidate for any office that speaks in words you can put on a hat, does not provide much copy for think pieces. A story that begins and ends with the single thought on a hat, such as ‘Lynch the Liberals,’ is hardly loaded with usable news copy.

This keeps reminding us of North Bay’s favourite golf pro and former Ontario premier Mike Harris. He was the premier who said something like “Will nobody rid me of those meddlesome Indians?” He got his wish when the Ontario Provincial Police went and shot one of them. An unarmed protestor, Dudley George, was dead and premier Mike Harris’ problems at Ipperwash Park went away.

But give Harris the credit for promising more, even if it was just the “Common Sense Revolution” on a hat. Harris, like Ford, stupidly insisted in cutting everything. He even cut the provincial inspectors who made sure we had clean drinking water. In Walkertown, Ontario an E.coli outbreak killed five Ontario citizens and made many more seriously ill. Harris saved us taxpayers a few dollars and ended up costing us many millions. Now there are foolish people in this province who want to give someone like Doug Ford the same opportunity.

The good thing for the Wynne Liberals in all of this is that they do not have to keep promising to spend on a myriad of promises. All they really need is better writers for their hats.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Keep to the left Ms. Wynne.

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Not that she would necessarily listen to this writer but Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne needs advice on dealing with Doug Ford. There is always the hope that someone who reads Babel-on-the-Bay will mention it to her. We, of course, are expecting her and her Liberal government to continue to discuss left-of-centre initiatives in the run-up to the June election. It is just in one of the first salvoes by the new conservative leader Ford across her bow, Kathleen Wynne veered to the right.

And of all subjects, it was regarding the sale of cannabis in Ontario! Kathleen Wynne had to take the grandmother approach. That was not only bad but it took her completely off message.

Wynne ignored all we already know about cannabis. Who does she think really gives a damn about buying weed? Not many of them are grandmothers. Yet in responding, she referred to herself as a grandmother. She can talk grandmother to grandmothers when talking about something grandmothers care about.

Admittedly, it was a set-up. The news media is going to keep feeding questions such as that to Doug Ford and then run to her to ask her for her response. It is to fill the ongoing need of the news media to have something between the advertisements.

The beauty of it is that Ford does not understand many of the questions and he gives little thought to his answers. Premier Wynne does understand it and has to use the opportunities provided to define the political differences between herself and the conservative leader.

She was careless to suggest that Doug Ford was looking to sell cannabis in convenience stores. Nobody suggested that. And to say that Ford was ‘reckless’ by suggesting privatization was silly. It is only pointing out to those who want to be able to buy legal cannabis that the government-run stores will be few and far between. Why push those potential pot purchasers to vote for Ford?

All this particular incident shows is that Wynne does not know why she has to make sure she stays to the left politically. To allow Doug Ford to look more progressive is a tough task, but somehow, Premier Kathleen Wynne managed to make it happen in this instance. She really needs to smarten up.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Doug Ford is just Trump Lite.

Friday, March 16th, 2018

It was made clear when we announced the winner that the new Conservative leader in Ontario was just Trump Lite. There are some interesting similarities between the two men and their many failings but there the similarity ends.

To start with both men came into their wealth the old-fashioned way: they inherited it. They have no rags to riches stories. Nobody doubts that Trump turned his father’s development business into a billion-dollar enterprise but there were many complaints of chicanery and quite a few bankruptcies over the years. Doug Ford kept his company’s presses printing labels.

Trump started out disliking politicians and never really changed his mind. His ego finally drove him into the midst of politics and he wasted no time heading for the top. Doug Ford never did anything political until his younger brother headed for the Toronto mayoralty from his council seat—which he gave to his older brother.

Doug Ford’s entire political career as a one-term city councillor was spent alibiing his brother the mayor and trying to keep him sober, on the job and off crack cocaine.

When Doug Ford jumped into the mayoralty race four years later to replace his sick brother, he got the nod from what was left of the Ford Nation followers but lost to a real politician.

You could argue with Donald Trump as to whether the development business or politics requires the most lying, cheating and stealing but those traits took him to the American presidency. He is at his happiest when addressing a rally of his lumpen proletariat who think his B.S. is the word of God.

The difference with Doug Ford is that he thinks he is a politician. It was his late brother who was the populist who excited his followers with a plain-spoken, campaign that said he would listen. And it was true that Rob Ford listened. He returned telephone calls from voters who called in to complain. The two brothers even had a radio show for a while where they listened to voters who called.

But compared to his brother, Doug Ford is no listener, no politician and no populist. And in that, he and Donald Trump are alike. Both would rather moon the media than deal honestly with it. Many in the U.S. await the time that the American Democratic Party gets its act together. It would foretell the demise of the Trump presidency.

Doug Ford is hardly getting the free ride into office in Ontario that Trump had in the U.S. The difference is that Ford will be facing off against and experienced and wily politician. She is not going to buy into his crap.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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