Posts Tagged ‘Premier Wynne’

The Morning Line: Ontario’s dilemma.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

This is probably the most difficult Morning Line Babel-on-the-Bay has produced in ten years. It might just be the one that besmirches our reputation. The question in this election are the polls following the voters or are the voters following the polls?

But I am convinced that the pollsters are busy drinking their own bath water. They have no clue as to what is really happening in Ontario.

My only defence is  that a morning line is produced to provide a starting point for the totalizator that computes payouts for pari-mutuel betting at racetracks. It is the horses themselves that make a horse race.

Conservative Party: 1 to 1

I have always had this secret belief that Canadians had to be much smarter than Americans. They have to survive and thrive through our cold-cold winters. I was almost convinced of our superiority when the Americans (accidently) elected Donald Trump president. I was proud to say at the time, that Canadians would never do anything that dumb. Now, I am not so sure.

But I figure the voters of Ontario have three weeks left to come to their senses and keep a blow-hard, Trump wannabe like Doug Ford from becoming premier.

Liberal Party: 3 to 1

What really upsets me about this possible outcome is that I wrote over a year ago that Kathleen Wynne was the problem for the liberals. She did not have to prove it. Yet, much can happen over the next three weeks and if you want to bet anything on this election, you will be best to settle for even money.

Premier Wynne has one more chance to deliver the killing blow to Doug Ford in a debate format. She had better make the most of it. Now that Ford is out in the open and vulnerable to political challenge, his inexperience and bluster will show. She has to stop letting him set the agenda.

New Democratic Party: 9 to 1

This is Andrea Horwath’s third strike. The news media play up her long-shot status but nobody reasonable expects much from her and her team. The only thing she has going for her at the moment is that she is not as disliked as much as her opponents and might have to referee in a minority government situation. With the similarity between the NDP and liberal policies, she would have little problem in supporting the liberals. You have to figure that an NDP-conservative coalition would not last two weeks.

Summary

It might seem a bit rude to leave Mike Schreiner and his greens out of these figures but it is really out of respect for his feelings. You would not believe the odds against getting even one green party member elected at this time.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Three-ring circus versus horse race.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Whatever you want to say about the Ontario election that is going on now, it could never have been a three-ring circus production by P.T. Barnum or his partner James Bailey. The simplest explanation is that if you consider the performer who keeps multiple plates spinning atop long sticks, you realize that the act requires close concentration in the ring. You can hardly concentrate on your plates in ring two if the elephants in ring three decide to charge across and stomp the tigers in ring one. You are going to have a lot of smashed plates.

That is why in politics, the race track analogy is much better. It does not matter how many horses are in the race, there are only one or two favourites. Most times, you get just one winner. A racing form can tell you about the breeding, training, work outs, performance and the jockey.

The trouble is many a maverick considers politics an invitation to easy fame and fortune. There are also those who think they can buy their way. They use bluster instead of eloquence. They play fast and loose with the truth and the facts. They run on ego.

In the current situation in Ontario, there seems to be nothing achieved by pointing out how morally corrupt a person such as Doug Ford can be. His supporters know that. They do not care.

What they do not understand is that what they are doing is bear baiting. This has been illegal in Canada since before Canada was a country. They have turned the conservative dogs loose on the liberals for no reason more than they do not like progress. They despise the idea of a tax on carbon to protect the environment. They do not believe women can manage their own bodies. They do not understand what a fair minimum wage means. They consider the mess at Ontario Hydro as a liberal problem—yet it has taken all three parties and many years to really screw things up with Hydro.

But do not expect that pompous Mr. Ford to save you. His only instinct is self-aggrandizement. His experience with elected office is one term as a Toronto councillor where he spent his time trying to keep his brother, the mayor, sober and off crack cocaine. He is a braggart with an ego and a wannabe with no credentials. Four years would be far too long to tolerate him as premier of this key province of Canada.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Opera ain’t over.

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

First off today, we want to apologize. We have been thoroughly castigated by family and readers for being rude to Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath the other day. I sincerely apologize to her for my comments on her weight. That was inappropriate. At the same time, I stand by my comments on her outfit. She was definitely not respecting the viewers nor dressed to go to the same event as Mr. Ford and Ms. Wynne.

But after that disquieting kickoff of the campaign by CITY-TV, I had to go out and do more serious investigation of what is going on with the Ontario election.

One of my shorter excursions was to the local liberal campaign office where Premier Wynne was scheduled to stop by. It was not old home week. A friend drove and he had us at the campaign office a full 15 minutes before the scheduled event.

But this event was on liberal time and it was an hour and 20 minutes before Kathleen Wynne arrived. The event got full coverage from the television networks and print media. There were lots of serious young apparatchiks going around fussing and re-arranging during the wait. It gave me a chance to say ‘hi’ to some local liberals and to meet the liberal candidate. He seems like a bright and articulate young man. Readers in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte should get to know Jeff Kerk.

Premier Wynne was the star today and I was quite re-assured by her presentation. She was relaxed, personable, enthusiastic and warm—and why should she not be when talking to a friendly, enthusiastic group of liberals?

I think what this excursion reminded me of was some of the basic realities of this campaign. Whether I agree with all the changes in Ontario brought about by the Wynne government, it accomplished a great deal of good for us. This government has been instrumental in addressing environmental problems, it has introduced a liberalisation of alcohol sales in large grocery stores and we have fewer unemployed than we had during the previous 20 years. And only the mean-spirited would disagree with raising the minimum wage in Ontario to $15 per hour.

One of the ways, this government has helped create jobs is in the building of new hospitals, schools, transit ways, subways and highways. It did its job.

And why would we change to someone as inexperienced as Doug Ford? There is more of this campaign to come.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Which half will vote?

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

There is a supposition that following the low turnouts of voters in Ontario elections in 2011 and 2014, there will be a similar low turnout in June of 2018. The question that confounds politicians and pollsters is which half of the voters will come to the polls. And if you are waiting for the 18 to 24 age group to rise up and vote, we better find an issue to cause them to rise up.

You hardly need an issue for seniors. These people are the equalizers in any election. They feel it is their duty to vote. And they do. When you talk to them at their door or in seniors’ residences, they are mostly quite certain of the intention to vote and they have usually made up their minds earlier on how they will vote. The few of this group who are truly floaters between parties, take delight in confounding pollsters and political party workers. Usually, it comes down to which party is promising more for seniors.

(I will never forget the time I was taking a senior home after voting and she told me she had voted for the New Democratic Party candidate. I, politely as possible, asked her why she had called the liberal campaign office for a ride to vote? She explained, as we arrived at her house, that liberals are always on time, polite and drive nicer automobiles.)

While Babel-on-the-Bay’s Morning Line on the provincial election will be published next week, I can tell you now that what we are hearing across the province is disconcerting. There is a palpable anger and an “I don’t give a damn attitude” about this coming election.

The good news is that more and more, women are going to make the difference. Many of them have come to dislike Doug Ford. It is more of a lack of trust than anything else. They do not trust him on women’s rights and they are becoming convinced that he could not even run a household budget. They think he is too vague in what he is going to do for the province and these business efficiencies he is talking about sound like pie in the sky.

And as much as they are not sure they want Kathleen Wynne to continue as premier, they do not think she is a crook. They figure Doug Ford would be much more likely to fudge on his expense account. When it comes to competence, they are much more likely to trust Kathleen Wynne.

And these are the people more likely to vote.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Prepping politicians.

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Whatever happened to the time-honoured prepping of politicians for Monday’s debate in Toronto? That opening debate was a disaster for all concerned. It is CITY-TV that should be embarrassed. The candidates’ handlers failed to convince their debaters of anything. And the moment is gone, never to be recovered.

It was amateur night at CITY-TV’s Toronto studios. I can remember when Moses Znaimer and his partner launched the casual style of CITY-TV back in 1972 but even that opening was more professional than Monday night. From the inept polling they were doing on social media, to the obviously partisan audience and the confusion of questioners, it was badly done.

Of special note was the moderator who seemed to just be an amused spectator. The event appeared to be taking place in a tiny studio, forcing the three debaters to stand practically shoulder to hairline. The smallest, Ontario premier Wynne, was overshadowed by much larger Doug Ford and the NDP’s Horwath on the other side was a blimp bookend.

And who dressed ‘Bubbles’ Horwath for the event? What could they have been thinking? I have been recommending a personal trainer and a diet for that woman for years. We might as well give up. No amount of haute couture could cover that much flesh. She can waste time going after Wynne if she wants but she needs to stop giggling in the process.

Wynne at least looked like a premier. She was using too premier-like language and was coming in second to the less articulate Ford. She has to talk on his level if she wants his followers to listen to her. She started out being too polite. In the first three-minute free-for-all, Horwath grabbed the lead and would have gone on automatic motor-mouth if Wynne had not finally taken it away from her. Later when Wynne had the impetus, she actually invited Ford to answer. He could not but was quite willing to take over the microphone.

While there might have been some time spent by Wynne’s team, there was no common theme emerging that the audience would remember and pass on to non-viewers. It hardly matters what is said in a debate such as this, it is what is memorable about the event.

And that is what was missed on Monday, there was nothing memorable—except that dreadful outfit on ‘Bubbles’ Horwath.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Lesson for today: Silk purses, sows’ ears.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Listen up children; Our lesson for today is that you still cannot make silk purses out of sows’ ears. Excellent examples of this aphorism are the conservative leaders in both Ontario and Alberta. Having observed both gentlemen over their time in Canadian politics, I can assure you that the description of them as sows’ ears is about as polite a description as possible.

Mind you, there is a distinct difference between them. Jason Kenney of Alberta is a highly experienced politician and you can expect every sleazy political manipulation in the book. Doug Ford in Ontario is a neophyte and he will keep on blundering his way through the Ontario election.

A case in point: the handling of abortion questions. Jason Kenney has developed strategies over the years to avoid dialogues that will expose his extreme ‘right to life’ position. He even had his entire opposition caucus walk out of the legislature recently rather than allow them to debate the distance protestors must stay from legal abortion clinics. He did not want his views exposed to the public.

But for Doug Ford, extremism on this issue is just another blunder. Here he was encouraging Tanya Granic Allen, whom he knew was an anti-abortion extremist, as the conservative candidate in Mississauga Centre. It was when the liberals exposed her extremist homophobic views that he finally had to dump her as a conservative candidate. Yet he welcomes her continuing involvement in the conservative campaign. He can be forced to correct his mistakes but never seems to learn from them.

What is interesting about their campaigns in their respective provinces is that they are both running hard against strong female premiers. Jason Kenney is counting on his united right wing to swamp the one-term New Democrats in Alberta. It is not as though Rachel Notley has not been working hard to sell Alberta’s tar sands production and fighting for the Trans Mountain pipeline. She is just not a conservative.

Doug Ford has even less to commend him. He actually seems afraid of premier Kathleen Wynne. In a debate in Toronto last night, Ford was wooden and awkward. He was out of his element. (More on the debate tomorrow.)

The only solution we can come to about both leaders is that they would be disasters for both provinces. There will obviously be a lot of assessment of that possibility over the coming weeks.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A vote Granic Allen won’t get.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Checking out Mississauga Centre electoral district for the coming provincial election, I see I have an old friend voting there. She is 97-year old former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion. Hazel claims no political affiliation but conservative Tanya Granic Allen is just not likely Hazel’s cup of tea.

Hazel is the only politician I have ever met who was more interested in what she could do for me than what I could do for her. I never voted for her, though she wanted to change that. Hazel was mayor of Streetsville when we first met and soon afterwards, she was mayor of Mississauga for the next 36 years.

Hazel’s objective in those early years was to show me a home for my family in Mississauga that we could not resist. She was not even in the real estate business. She was just the best booster for the city, it has ever had. She also thought it was terrible that I had a long commute across a clogged Highway 401 coming to work in Mississauga.

Mississauga Centre Conservative candidate Tanya Granic Allen could not be more different from Hazel. This wannabe is a social conservative. She is an extremist. She is against abortion. Her views on sex education are something from the distant past. Her support for the LGBT community seems nonexistent. She is going to have to eat some of her comments on Islamists when she finds that 16 per cent of people in the electoral district are Muslims. She is not fit to run for a member of the legislature. She is not interested in constituents. She only wants the platform for her archaic views.

Some people might think that Doug Ford deserves Granic Allen. Neither of them has any experience or training that could possibly help them to do a responsible job at Queen’s Park.

What gives Granic Allen a chance in Mississauga Centre are the changes in demographics in that part of Mississauga over the years. Only about a third of the population today are described by Statistics Canada as ‘white.’ The next largest group is described as ‘South Asian’ and the third as ‘Chinese.’

Both the conservative and liberal candidates are from outside the riding and they are both female. Premier Wynne appointed Bobbie Daid, the liberal, who is from the Bolton area, and if hard work pays off, she might have a good chance at beating Granic Allen.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

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