Posts Tagged ‘Provincial election’

Would you buy a used Ford from Ford?

Friday, March 30th, 2018

We have a good thing going in Ontario. Our economy is healthy. Unemployment is down. We have a government in place that is doing the right things about the environment, raising our standard of living without undue pressure on inflation and is looking at people’s needs in a relatively progressive manner. This needs to be taken into account before considering the possibilities in the coming Ontario election.

A gentleman named Doug Ford has pushed himself forward and proposed that we elect him and a conservative government. Some people think this is a good idea because they think we need a change.

A change to what?

If Mr. Ford was a job applicant, do you think you would give him much consideration? His work experience involves a stint with his late father’s company printing labels and a single term as a Toronto city councillor in the council seat his brother had vacated to become mayor. Much of his time in that position was spent trying to keep his brother sober and off crack cocaine.

He lost his subsequent effort to win the mayoralty when his brother became too ill to run. Always eager for opportunities, he saw a chance to be leader of the opposition party and he grabbed at the brass ring.

Ford broke all the rules of the leadership race. He signed a promise to accept the carefully constructed party policy program—the People’s Guarantee—and spent the campaign time dumping on it. He ridiculed the party’s support for a carbon tax to replace the Liberal’s confusing Cap and Trade. He has no respect for our environment.

Under the confused rules of the leadership race, Ford won with fewer individual party votes and the support of fewer electoral districts. In a truly democratic (one-person, one-vote) contest, Christine Elliott would have won.

But it was the angry and the bitter and the anti-women’s rights crowd who turned to Ford. It was the shallowness of what remains of Rob Ford’s Ford Nation that contributed the numbers. It was the gun advocates of the Ontario Landowners. It was the anti-wind turbine cranks. It was greed and avarice that won for Doug Ford.

If you want Doug Ford in control in Ontario, God help you.

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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

See what preferential voting gets you?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Will they ever learn? The Ontario conservatives used preferential voting in their recent leadership race. Yes, they were rushed and used the same foolish system that gave them Patrick Brown as leader two years before. They used a system that fails to produce a leader. They end up with the lowest common denominator. And those people think they should form a government?

Political parties have been using computers to manage membership lists for more than 30 years. Elections Canada and provincial counterparts have become proficient in producing voters lists for electoral districts and for candidates. Political parties have embraced this capability and have little trouble using these extensive lists for distributing information to electoral districts and asking their members and supporters for money.

It was typical that the first e-mail sent to Ontario Tories by the party after the Saturday fiasco was, in effect, “Doug Ford won, send money.”

Like their federal counterparts last year, the provincial conservatives major mistake was to use preferential balloting. In both cases, the party let the losers be the choosers and regretted the result.

The problem with preferential voting is that the voters are concentrating on voting for their preferred candidate. Asking them to make a second and even third and fourth choice at this time is a serious mistake. They have probably given little thought to their second choice and this becomes a quick and not well thought through decision. The greater the number of candidates to select from, the less the thought given. (Only 21 per cent of federal conservative voters made Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer their first choice in last year’s federal leadership race.)

And then the vote counting system only counts the next choice available on the ballot cast originally for losing candidates. Unlike a run-off election, voters are not given the opportunity to re-evaluate their first ballot. (Candidates who receive the most votes in the first round of a run-off election do not always win the final vote.)

The Ontario conservatives added to the confusion in their counting when they tried to make each electoral district equal. The truth is that they are not all equal. To penalize the districts with the largest and most aggressive party memberships is not only a serious mistake but provides inadequate leadership and little opportunity to those members elected by these successful electoral districts. And it is not even democratic.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump Lite and the Ontario PCs.

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

After spending Saturday afternoon watching Rosemary Barton and CBC News struggling with the Ontario Conservative fiasco, I was not sure whether the party or the news media did the worst job. It was embarrassing. I actually paid the CBC $6.85 plus GST for the right to watch that screw-up on streaming video. And I want my money back.

I spent a career working on news conferences, conventions, political rallies, candidate selections and leadership contests across Canada. I always worked to the rule that whatever happens is supposed to happen and you live with it.

But I never considered that you could have a disaster such as the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership announcement.

The worst of it was that nobody seemed to be in charge. There seemed to be nobody willing to deal with the news media. There was no information shared with the attendees. They waited for hours without anyone coming to the microphone to apologize for the delays and then they were sent home without answers. Like wayward children, they were sent to bed without their supper.

What really amazes me is that when you are using computer collection of data (such as voting) that you would not write the simple program needed to count those votes. The only time I complained about the weighting of the ridings is when I tried to simulate a program to do that in preparing Babel-on-the-Bay’s Morning Line.

I estimated that there would be less than 70,000 votes cast. It was also clear that Tanya Granic Allen was the fringe candidate. She did better than expected but still came fourth.

It was the collapse of the Caroline Mulroney campaign that surprised us. Like her father, her campaign was just hot air. She blew it.

But it was the attempt to make all electoral districts equal that left the Tories in a mess. Like the electoral college in the U.S., the Tories had an undemocratic system. In the end, Christine Elliott won the most votes and Doug Ford won the election.

All I could think of last night was that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne had a chance to resign last year. We can only hope that she takes a look at what Hillary Clinton did wrong in the last U.S. election. She has to remember that there are lots of angry conservatives in Ontario. Her and her party have to win the rest.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Which Tory Witch is dead?

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

The other evening, the wife and I gathered in the den to enjoy a streaming video of the Ontario Tory leadership debate from Ottawa. It was only when the hijinks started to encroach on our dinner hour that the wife started questioning the entertainment value of the program. Amazingly, the wife started watching the debate disliking Kathleen Wynne and by the time it ended, she was definitely voting Liberal.

She doubted that any of those four candidates was capable of leading the Ontario Conservatives anywhere. Personally, I wanted to vote for the moderator, I never did catch her name but she was the only one on the show with a sense of humour.

But it was hard for anyone but a died-in-the-wool conservative to listen to all that mindless conservative cant. These people really need to listen to themselves sometimes. It is that over-reaching conservative condescension that permeates the dialogue.

And the best job of condescension was done by Granic Allen. The wicked witch of the north actually said she was going to rip Ontario wind turbines out of the ground. This was a sure sign that she was trying to add Ontario Landowners to her fringe candidacy for the religious right.

Poor Christine Elliott walked right into that one. The senior Conservative and the only past MPP at the leadership table did not seem to realize that the Landowners hardly care about their legal position on turbines. Contracts be damned is their attitude.

Ford in his stilted manner got some of the arrows out of his quiver. He hammered at the Green Energy Act and Wynne’s carbon cap and trade. There was little question that all four candidates are now trapped in some kind of mind-set that says carbon is not the problem: liberalism is the problem.

But, to our surprise, it was Brian Mulroney’s kid who blotted her copybook through the evening. I would have thought she had taken some public speaking training. She flunked if she did take it. Her voice was thin and reedy. It lacked conviction. She was not as good on her feet as we thought. She had no good power words in her memory bank. She pulled together for the closing quotes but too little, too late.

Who won? Who cares? None of these four losers is a problem for Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

In search of a Red Tory in Ontario.

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

There are two former Conservative Members of Parliament whom I could vouch for as Red Tories. They are both very fine and principled gentlemen. They are Patrick Boyer and David Crombie. If you told me that you believed Patrick Brown MPP was a Red Tory, I might wet my pants laughing.

Patrick Brown is whatever you want him to be to get your vote for the conservative leadership.

There might be about ten per cent of conservative party members in Ontario who could be what are considered social conservatives. These people are not likely to cast a vote for Patrick, as they consider him to be a back-slider. He was raised Catholic and anti-abortion and is only allowed to fool them once. They are voting for that lovely Ms. Granic Allen. Brown is a pariah to them even as second choice.

There is another sizeable group of conservatives, you can think of as “Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” They are not all that sure of what they are as mad as hell about but Doug Ford will tell them when he gets around to it. And their anger will be muted as they tend to be concentrated in about 20 per cent of Ontario’s provincial constituencies. They also share those electoral districts with less vociferous conservatives.

One of the demographic characteristics of conservatives in Ontario is that they tend to be older than the average of other parties. They would include many who remember the halcyon days of Bill Davis’ Ontario. These people, with their faulty memories tend to be the ones who might vote for an older, more soft-spoken candidate such as Christine Elliott. And I will bet you a penny or two that if ballot figures are released, Christine will have the highest number of votes on the first ballot count.

But Christine’s luck might not hold. The voting system works against her. It depends on Brian Mulroney’s kid. Brian might have been hated by many Canadians at the end of his reign in Ottawa but the ones who still loved him were Conservative Party members. These people tend to see Caroline Mulroney as heir apparent to a saviour. They see her as successful, solidly conservative and the successor to the Tory tradition in Ontario.

If Caroline would only stop dissing Patrick Brown, she would be the natural second choice for all those people picking losers on the first ballot. She also needs those second-choice votes from people foolishly voting for Patrick.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t count the Liberals out in Ontario.

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

It has been a bit disquieting lately to see the progressive bloggers’ web site infiltrated by conservatives. In checking to see what people are saying these days, I came across a conservative who was telling readers why he was voting for Patrick Brown in the Ontario PC leadership fiasco. Rather than just write him off as an idiot, I actually read all of his 2500 ill-chosen words.

First of all, this guy seems to have bought into the assumption that the Ontario Liberals are going to lose the June election. If I knew him, I would offer to make a substantial bet on those Liberals.

The polls favouring the Tories should have crested last month but the Brown fiasco sucked all the media oxygen out of the air. It was a good time for the Liberals to go low key, do town halls and mend constituency fences.

Think back over the past four weeks and ask yourself what did you learn that was positive about the Ontario PCs? Is Tanya Granic Allen with her anti-abortion bigots a good choice for a leader? How about Doug Ford as a pale imitation of Donald Trump? There is former MPP Christine Elliott who took off rather than stay at Queen’s Park with Patrick Brown as PC leader. Lucky us, we are being honoured by the candidacy of Brian Mulroney’s little girl—she has never held public office but obviously learned a lot from “Lyin Brian.” And then, there is Patrick Brown.

Patrick Brown proved his mettle on January 24. The putz refused to listen to his staff. He went into a news conference—that he called—with all the emotion showing and made an ass of himself. And then he did a perp walk down the stairs and out to his car. There certainly are not too many people in Ontario who would consider that scene as appropriate for someone who thinks they should be premier.

When the people who really run the PC party in Ontario said—by a 3 to 2 vote—that Patrick could run for leader, they did it with the knowledge that he could not win. They had no legal ground by which to refuse him as a candidate anyway. So, they are letting him make a fool of himself and letting him make a bigger fool of anyone who wastes a vote on him.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Terminating the Tory Turmoil.

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Has peace been restored? Has the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario come back to its senses?

There was a wonderful shot on Global Television last night of a lone television reporter standing vigil on King Street in front of the Albany Club in Toronto. The sheen of that heavy wooden door has guarded the club and conservative secrets for some 125 years. It is from this club that all decisions of the Ontario Conservatives are believed to be made.

And it was from the Albany Club that we found out that Patrick Brown could run to replace himself as conservative leader. Mind you, why not? It is obvious to any savvy politico that Patrick Brown cannot win.

The situation was out of control. Temporary caucus leader Vic Fedeli had willfully ejected Patrick Brown from the conservative caucus at Queen’s Park on the flimsiest of grounds. He did not want Brown to run in Barrie–Springwater—Oro-Medonte. He said he had not been vetted!

The gal who might be the wicked witch of the north who is running for leader on behalf of the religious conservatives: nobody bothered to vet her!

And did anyone think to vet Doug Ford? That guy never read the rules for candidates for the leadership and says he is running against those Albany Club elites.

But the Tory caucus’ loose cannon, Randy Hillier, has jumped into the various arguments with his irrational charges. Many thought Randy was going to run for the Ontario Landowners’ new political party.

And who is surprised that Patrick Brown has bought himself a little get-away place in Shanty Bay (where Barrie’s rich live) for just $2.3 million? (It might cost $8 million in Toronto.)

Brown can come up with a $600,000 down payment on that shanty but it takes him four weeks to find a woman who will tell the media she is his girl friend and that he is a swell guy. Those of us in Barrie who know Brown by sight have never seen him with the same woman for more than ten minutes. They leave.

You do have to wonder at the reputed price offered for Brown’s share of Hooligans bar. That $375,000 offer seems a little excessive but then I have no idea what 200,000 Aeroplan miles are worth. All I know is that after close to a decade going back and forth to Ottawa and all those trips the taxpayers paid to India, he probably has lots of Aeroplan miles to redeem.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ontario PCs: The Morning Line.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

It’s a muddy, cold day at the track but thankfully this race is not too long. The candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party will be At Post before you know it.

Tanya Granic Allen: 20 to 1 Why anyone would want to put up a $125,000 entry fee to include this person in the race is hard to believe. Maybe the point is that social conservatives really are a force in the party and they want to be heard. They should have picked someone who is less shrill and more credible. She does not seem to understand that with a preferential ballot, you really need to make friends of the other candidates. She needs to tone it down, deal rationally with the non-social conservative issues and act less aggressively. Until then she is wasting the party’s time and Tory voters can ignore her.

Patrick Brown: 10 to 1  A late entry, Patrick is well known to Conservative voters. His problem in this vote is that people either love him or hate him. He earns few second-choice votes. There is little sympathy for him. The larger problem is trying to figure out where his second-choice votes go?

Christine Elliott: 4 to 1  This is the former Oshawa-Whitby MPP’s third try at the leadership. In a one person-one vote election she could win, but in the conservative’s equal weighting of electoral districts, she loses much of her advantage in the GTA ridings. Maybe Premier Wynne will give her back that patronage job she dumped to run this time.

Doug Ford: 8 to 1 If you saw him struggle with the moderator’s questions at the TVO debate, you would know how ill-equipped Doug Ford is to vie for the leader’s job. He will get a reasonably good showing in the GTA but has little chance in the rest of the province. He might as well head back to the stables.

Caroline Mulroney: 3 to 1  Brian Mulroney’s kid is about as slippery as he was as prime minister. She lacks experience but shows the instincts of both a piranha and a politician. Her trainers need to teach her to hang on to that rail position by moving out from the rest of the pack. As long as she shows that originality of thought, she is the forerunner. She has to continue to build her brand.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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