Posts Tagged ‘Provincial election’

Food for ‘enquiring minds.’

Monday, February 19th, 2018

If this writer told you that Ontario Progressive Conservatives might not all be on the up and up, you would likely brush it off as fake news from a raving liberal. Okay, I will give you that. Brush me off as you wish. (Which is why I rarely bother to try to tell you what crooks and thieves they are.)

But what if the reporter saying it is Bob Hepburn of the Toronto Star? Does the Toronto Star often feed you fake news?

After all, you believed CTV news when they told you the nasty news about Patrick Brown. This was hearsay at best and slander at the worst, yet many of you wanted to believe it. It cost the poor putz his job as leader. There was no judge, no jury and no due process. It was a summary trial and death by news media. (The fact that I stood cheering on the sidelines was irrelevant.)

But when it comes to unveiling the inveterate corruption of the Conservatives, the Toronto Star editors afford themselves some protection. They move the story to the op-ed page and label it as opinion. I often agree with Bob Hepburn’s opinions. I also often agree with Chantal Hébert, Martin Regg Cohn and Linda McQuaig but this takes someone of Hepburn’s gravitas to carry it off.

He was hardly the first to note the consistent lying of the Conservatives at all levels about membership numbers. It is part of being a conservative. The only nomination fights more venial than Conservative ones are some Liberal and NDP fights. Heh, nobody is perfect!

It has always amazed me that we can elect people we did not know where under indictment for fraud to senior party office and then let them vet our candidates. The vetting of candidates by parties today is more corrupt than the time when we were practically inviting organized crime to run for office.

Telling Toronto police, with a straight face, that the wholesale destruction of lawn signs is just high school hijinks is just minor criminality. What did the Conservative hierarchy do when Patrick Brown’s team paid the memberships for almost 40,000 immigrants from the Indian Sub-continent? Everybody in the Queen’s Park caucus knew that Brown had broken the rules to become their leader. It was to Christine Elliott’s credit that she would not serve as a Conservative MPP with him as leader.

Getting rid of Brown, party president Rick Dykstra and a few of the riding nomination problems is a long way short of cleaning up the mess of the Ontario Tories. And if you think that it is the Tories’ turn to take over at Queen’s Park, first ask if the Ontario taxpayers can afford it.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Righting policy on the right.

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Former Tory Leader Patrick Brown thought he had it made last November. He had the policy for the 2018 provincial election nailed down. He had what he thought was a wonderful book that could grace the coffee tables of the province with a great picture of him on the cover. Patrick’s provincial Progressive Conservatives were going to destroy the Liberal dynasty in Ontario.

But some dirty dog destroyed Patrick’s dream. It might not have been Ford that came up with the scheme to wreck the ‘unsinkable’ Patrick Brown but somebody pulled the plug on him. Maybe it was Caroline Mulroney. Her kid brother Ben works for CTV. Did he feed the gossip about Brown to the CTV news department? It depends on whether you like conspiracy theories.

Whatever. The problem is that Brown is out and somebody has to replace him. You would think that whomever the new leader of the party might be, they would be smart to put a new cover on the old policy book. It would save a lot of time, money and grief.

But millionaire Doug Ford would never worry about that. It was the Ford father who made the millions. The problem is that even while smoking crack cocaine, Toronto’s late Mayor Rob Ford was always twice the politician than his brother.

Four candidates are out on the campaign trail these days playing havoc with Patrick Brown’s carefully crafted, supposedly middle-of-the-road policies. If you are a social conservative, you might even have your own candidate—ditzy enough to pay $125,000 to lose. This fourth candidate is no D’Artagnan. Mind you Porthos, Athos and Aramis (otherwise known as Doug, Caroline and Christine) have been mining that social Conservative vein for the past week with their various ‘accommodations for sex education.’

It is the same with a carbon tax. Even an arch conservative such as Preston Manning says that a carbon tax is probably the only effective way we will ever find to start reducing the amount of carbon spewing into our environment. Again, Doug said he would fight against any carbon tax. Despite the rule book for this leadership saying candidates have to toe the line on policy, it is Doug Ford’s lead that other candidates are following.

The Ontario Conservatives have a situation where Doug Ford is turning out to be the de facto leader.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Out of the limelight for Patrick Brown.

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Have you heard that old politicos just fade away? Younger ones are noisier. For example, take Barrie’s favourite son, Patrick Brown. If you hitch your horse in front of any of the many saloons on Barrie’s main street, you are welcome inside but you best not say too loudly that Patrick Brown is a putz. There is some of misplaced loyalty here about.

But, Patrick Brown needs to look for a new way to make a living. You have to realize that a guy like Brown has nowhere near the savior faire of TV anchor Steve Paikin. There are venturesome ladies who might like to cut a notch in their bedpost for a TV personality such as Paikin. And if he really did invite (in a gentlemanly manner, no doubt) publicity-hungry Sarah Thomson to enjoy some casual sex with him, she should have been flattered. All she needed to say was a polite ’yes, please’ or ‘no, thank you.’

Brown is an entirely different matter. This is a guy who appears to be awkward and immature with women. He is no ‘playboy.’ No doubt he could possibly achieve some success with understanding women in their 30s. Yet, he goes after the much younger who are initially attracted to his political position but then find he has nothing of interest to talk about.

There is certainly nothing for those young ladies to complain about to CTV. If they were invited to Brown’s home after drinking too much and accepted, did they think he was looking forward to a spritely game of Monopoly? In both cases, they said they lost interest and asked to be taken home. He did. What is the problem? Is CTV complaining about his bad judgement or bad politics?

Brown ended up with three problems. First he was too upset to listen to his staff. He was paying them for advice and he was stupid not to listen to them. Being upset on camera is not a sympathetic position. It is too much like regretting being caught.

The second problem for Brown was that in his absence from Queen’s Park, the knives came out. Conservative MPPs could now say what they really thought of Brown.  They do not like him.

The third problem is that he will never get elected in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, unless the Liberals run someone as immature against him.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Confidential candidate Caroline.

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

How much do we really know about Caroline Mulroney? She wants to be a member of the Ontario legislature. She wants to be leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. She even wants to be premier of Ontario. This woman wants all of this and we all know so very little about her. And we hear she says: politics is just a matter of opportunity.

What has puzzled us since Caroline Mulroney first appeared on the political horizon is her reluctance to deal with the major news media in Ontario. When her father first got involved in politics, he virtually climbed over the warm (and alive) body of former Prime Minister Joe Clark to get to his buddies in the news media. All the time Brian Mulroney was prime minister, he always made sure that the media gang in the back of the plane were well fed, watered and lied to. Maybe his daughter saw into his final fall from grace and blamed the media for some part of it.

But her weekend get-away estate in Georgina is not a good stepping stone to the premier’s office. It might only be a safe Tory seat for her to get into the legislature. The real action is down in Toronto and her best base for that is her and her husband’s Forest Hill mansion.

That Saccharine campaign launch that Milton MP Lisa Raitt chaired for candidate Caroline Mulroney was an embarrassment. For her to not take questions from the audience or news media made a farce of the entire proceeding and lost her ground in the race to replace Patrick Brown.

Believe it or not, when you are running for the leadership of your political party, the party members want to feel some warmth and a kinship with you. Caroline makes this even more difficult with her American husband, Andrew Lapham, and four children in private schools. What percentage of rank and file members of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party would be able to pay for having four children in private schools? (I’ll bet the answer is less than three per cent.)

This political junky is looking forward to the upcoming debate between, probably, just the three already declared contestants. It will be a shame if Ms. Mulroney’s campaign team report that she has laryngitis that day.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Measuring mediocrity.

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

Having been party to writing political rule books in the past, it took little time to find the loopholes and errors in the 2018 Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership rule book. I did not compare them, side by side, but I figure the major change is the date on each page. It makes the same silly mistakes as the last book that helped Patrick Brown steal the leadership.

The only major difference between the two events is that there are another 17 electoral districts to be included in the count. If an electoral district has 100 or less votes cast, each vote will be counted as one. If there are 500 votes cast in an electoral district, each vote will be worth 20 per cent of a vote. The maximum number of votes that could be tallied is 12,400.

What really complicates matters and makes it almost impossible to forecast the vote is that the party members are encouraged to state their preference by numbering each candidate according to their order of preference. This is the foolish type of voting that helped ‘Chuckles’ Scheer win as what can be perceived as the thirteenth choice in the federal Conservative race.

This means that Doug Ford has to get out of his comfort zone in Toronto and meet our farmers. Caroline Mulroney has to get out and meet real Conservatives. Christine Elliott needs to make peace with more of the caucus and get their help.

What makes this particular contest so daunting is the timeline. There is simply not enough time for candidates to meet and press the flesh of the party. The good news is also that there is no time to organize and co-opt closely knit ethnic groups who are spread across the province.

The election was effectively called for as of January 26. People who want to vote have until February 16 to pay their membership in the party. Voting will be from Friday, March 2 until Thursday March 8. They are arranging a little party event for the membership (and the news media) to announce the winner on Saturday, March 10 (less than three months before the provincial election).

The only problem that might have candidates stumbling is the demand in the candidate rules, Section 5.2.1(b), that says to be eligible to run in this leadership, they must support the party policy as detailed at the November 2017 policy conference—which includes a carbon tax.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

And now there are three.

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Even in this shortest of all leadership races, it is too early to produce a morning line on the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party contest. How are you expected to consider workouts and past performance for this mixed bag of candidates? And when you only have three—so far—you have to wait until the official cut off.

Doug Ford was the first out from his mother’s basement. (The media love the inference that the millionaire Ford lives in his mother’s basement.) The former councillor and the guy John Tory beat for the Toronto mayoralty, Ford is probably the richest wannabe in the race.

Ford is busy rallying his late brother’s Ford Nation to his cause but how many will pay up to become short-term Tories is a good question? Here is Ford running a campaign against the Toronto elites when all the time, he is one of those elites.

And speaking of elites, this will be the first chance anyone will have to not vote for Caroline Mulroney. If the name sounds familiar, it is because her daddy was one of the most vilified prime ministers in Canada’s history. It was a quarter century ago but many of us remember ‘Lyin’ Brian.

Caroline Mulroney has a father who is a liability, four children in private schools and an American husband in Toronto. And they recently bought a week-end country estate in Geogina, Ontario. It is so that Caroline can run for a seat at Queen’s Park in the safe Conservative electoral district of York-Simcoe.

So far, it is two wannabes taking on the older pro. None of them have a seat currently at Queen’s Park. Christine Elliott walked away from her Whitby-Oshawa seat when Patrick Brown stole the leadership from her in the last race. She was so angry at the time that she never went back to Queen’s Park. Premier Kathleen Wynne gave her a way out by offering Christine a plum government appointment. She was ideally suited to the job and it is reputed to have paid $220,000 per year.

But there must have been some other offers made to bring Christine back to Queen’s Park. She might have lost twice already in tries for the leadership but she is the widow of Conservative icon Jim Flaherty, Stephen Harper’s finance minister. She likely has a base of at least 15,000 Ontario Tories ready to vote for her.

While most political observers assumed that Brown lied about the 200,000 members of the Conservative Party. Vic Fedeli might not even have the right figure at 125,000. The better guess is that there are between 60,000 to 75,000 votes to go after. We will give you an idea where they might go, after the candidate cut off.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Politics is a numbers racket.

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

It is time to admit it: I used to be a numbers runner. Different from the numbers racket in the United States, in Canada, it is a political game. I used to announce numbers provided by my political party to see if we could draw out numbers from the other parties. It was usually a fun game where nobody got hurt or really won.

This subject occurred to me the other day when reading about the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party having (maybe) 200,000 members. The Tory’s were so proud of that figure that they let that silly ass Patrick Brown announce it. There is absolutely nothing surprising about that figure.

When you consider what has happened since its last leader Timmy Hudak embarrassed the provincial Conservatives back in 2014, the party was at its lowest membership. Nobody will provide precise figures but the paid-up membership ($10 per year, please) was likely to have been less than 20,000 die-hard Tories.

And you should note that just because you have not paid for the current year, you are not immediately removed from the lists. It is easy for you to come out to some party event and pay to bring your membership current. In the 2015 leadership there were candidates for leader signing up new members in wholesale numbers and probably increased the membership to more than 80,000. Since about half of those new sign-ups were newcomers to Ontario from the Indian Sub-Continent signed-up by organizers for Patrick Brown, it really was no contest. (Who paid for those memberships is a good question?)

What causes the real boost to the party’s numbers is the upcoming election in June of this year. With questionable polls showing a supposed walk in the park for the Tories to win, there is a lot of interest in the new, redrawn or existing 124 electoral districts. This has sent out an army of people supporting this or that Conservative candidate to sign up people who might support their candidate. A candidate signing up 3000 to 4000 new members in an electoral district is not an unknown occurrence. These contests leading up to the 2018 election have also produced more than the average number of claims of fraud, malfeasance, chicanery and even some serious lawsuits.

Mind you as more and more people find out more about Tory Leader Patrick Brown, his chances of winning are diminishing. We will supply you with a Morning Line on the contest at the end of April.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A New Year rich in political opportunity.

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

This political junkie is looking forward to 2018. Starting with the Ontario election in June, Quebec scheduled for October 1 and then the American mid-term elections in November, there will be much on which to comment. The only recommendation we can make at this stage is to ignore the pollsters.

And one other suggestion at this stage is that you should be cautious about what you wish for. Much can happen over the year. Our moods and our priorities can easily change. Even our well-read Morning Line, issued five to six weeks before the vote, can see sea change.

While pollsters gain accuracy as the final polls get closer, it is their lack of people on the ground feeling the changes that jeopardize their accuracy. You have to be able to feel what voters are thinking.

The ups and downs of the Trudeau Liberal government in Ottawa is impacting the positions of both the Wynne Liberals in Ontario and the Couillard Liberals in Quebec. Both provincial parties are philosophically to the right of the federal party and yet each is being challenged by a more right wing party.

The mistake the Ontario Tories are making is that they are trying to prove they are at the political middle. Frankly, Ontario voters would be more inclined to vote for them if they were honest about being right wing.

But my neighbours and I in the riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte would dearly love to have a good Liberal candidate to support and defeat a puffed-up Patrick Brown who needs to be beaten—and can be beaten.

The situation in Quebec is quite different. Quebec Francophone voters tend to park their vote when asked by pollsters and the Coalition Avenir Québec seems to be the current parking choice. The thought of this right-wing bunch of separatists making it to the top spot next October is a sad comment on the condition of Quebec politics. It would be ideal if the threat gets Premier Couillard off his butt and into action.

The fun stuff south of the border will be in full swing after the Quebec election and U.S. politics will get most of our attention until the November vote. Change in the House in Washington is possible but just three additional Democrats in the Senate will do wonders in controlling Trump for the last two years of his Reign of Terror.

We are all looking forward to that!

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Brown plays bad with the big kids.

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

The first time I met Barrie, Ontario politician Patrick Brown, I wondered what this miserable person was doing in politics? He has no personality. He has little grasp of election issues. What I soon learned was that he is a gamer. And his game is politics. He plays the game of politics as a video gamer would use a PlayStation 2. It is his strength and it is his weakness. The true test of his skills will be on June 7, 2018—the coming provincial general election.

In watching Brown through five election situations over the years, I can report that he tends to push the envelope on what is legal. He obeys the rules—when he has to. I do not think some of his financial reports to the Returning Officer would bear up well under the scrutiny of a forensic accountant. He is a more effective campaign manager than candidate.

Most of Brown’s opponents admit that he is a good retail politician: he knows how to work the riding. His only problem is that he is not good with people. He is a poor public speaker. He does not have a good grasp of many issues. He has little humour and no empathy.

Since taking a seat in the Legislature of Ontario, he has been a weak Leader of the Opposition. He is no hero to his caucus. Neither the centrists nor the social Conservatives in the caucus trust him. He is telling everyone that he is a pragmatic centrist but nobody knows where he would be if in power.

His most serious problem has been a careless comment to the media that he thought was going to get him coverage. He failed to think through what he was saying. It was a play on words that was the same as saying the Premier was “on trial” in the Sudbury trial of two Liberal apparatchiks. That trial was dismissed by the judge and Brown has failed to apologize for the insult to the premier. He is being sued.

The point is that Patrick Brown is out of his league. I am sure that his family was in despair of him ever passing the Bar Admission for Ontario. He looks like a hick and he is definitely small town. The reason he works so hard at this game of politics is because he is always behind. He has neither the smarts nor the skills.

He broke the rules to become leader of his political party and the party people should have called him on it. It is easy enough to prove. For him to find his way to the Premier’s office would be a disgrace.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Denzil decides to do his duty.

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Toronto Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong seems to have heard the clarion call of distant trumpets. He tells people that he is challenging for the Progressive Conservative candidacy in York East electoral district. Knowing the voters in that part of Toronto as I do, this is not really exciting news.

While Denzil might believe he can leap small buildings at a bound, he has never proved to be a super guy in the political scheme of things. He is a social conservative and an avowed penny-pincher to extremes but his experience with the city will take him nowhere at Queen’s Park. They are different venues and require a different understanding of human needs.

It is this difference that is why Denzil’s blanket approval of the conservative platform is meaningless.   Fixing potholes is not a learning platform for the provincial concerns for health care and education needs. These are the two largest attention consuming and spending needs in the Ontario legislature. To bring an anti-spending attitude alone to that picnic is a disservice to the voters. Understanding the issues comes first.

The biggest trap in the conservative platform is the decision by the people preparing it to support a carbon tax over the present cap and trade approach. I, for one, agree with that decision but not how they are using it. They think ‘revenue neutral’ means that they give the carbon tax money back to the taxpayers through efforts such as tax cuts. If you are just going to churn the carbon tax money into other revenue needs, why bother? It would be less trouble if you left the carbon tax in the taxpayers’ pockets in the first place.

Tax cuts are only designed to impress the greedy. (The greedy are voters too, you know.) Tax cuts do not belong at the head of the agenda. And if the people who sign those guarantees of performance were honest, they would never sign them.

Denzil is counting on the current distaste for Kathleen Wynne as premier to influence East York voters and to dump a good M.P.P. Michael Coteau who has been serving as minister of children and youth services. Coteau has won the last two elections in the electoral district by more than 50 per cent of the vote. He is a good M.P.P. and could be a keeper.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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