Posts Tagged ‘Provincial election’

The pollsters have peaked.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

“O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.”

Obviously, Sir Walter Scott had a better take on pollsters 200 years ago than we do today. Ontario voters have been bamboozled by the pollsters since the beginning of the current provincial campaign. As much as the thought of a Doug Ford led government amuses them, the pollsters have now said Andrea Horwath is also in contention. That thought did it. It is time for the grown ups to step forward.

It is not that Andrea and her new democrats have failed mathematics. Another billion or so in debt is not going to make or break the province and everybody makes mistakes in math. It is just that the new democrats are bringing nothing new to the table. There is less talent in the NDP caucus at Queen’s Park today than Bob Rae had with him when he accidently became premier in 1990. All the NDP proved at that time was that they would turn the government over to the incompetent Mike Harris.

But for a real incompetent, Doug Ford, would be hard to beat.

The smartest thing Doug Ford could do would be struck by some mysterious disease and not show up for the final leadership debate next week. More and more of his candidates have been struck by that mysterious disease and not shown up for debates in their electoral districts. It reminds me of the Quebec NDPer who went to Las Vegas for the 2011 federal election and won election.

I can think of more than a few candidates over the years who would have got more votes if they had gone fishing instead of wandering aimlessly where the voters could see them.

And as for Andrea Horwath, I thought we were done with her. People seem to think it is mean of me to mention her dress, deportment or demeanour. The problem is that she dresses like a refugee from a Russian gulag. She is not leading that bunch of no-goodniks in the NDP caucus anywhere and I defy you to tell me anything she has ever come up with on her own? Did you see her giggling her way through that first debate?

The problem we have is that Horwath is horrible, Ford is a fool and Wynne is supposedly the wicked witch of the north. What is likeable about any of them?

But I am going to vote for the liberal candidate in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte because he seems like a decent guy and is the only acceptable candidate who could represent us. All the other candidates seem to only represent their parties.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Mixing baloney and beer.

Monday, May 21st, 2018

People in Ontario are starting to laugh over the desperate efforts of conservative leader Doug Ford to promise voters anything to vote for him. It took him until halfway through the campaign to come up with something I liked. Doug Ford has promised to have beer in convenience stores.

It is too bad that it would not be worth seeing him elected to make that happen. The last time I believed a promise like that was when liberal David Peterson promised it in 1985. I liked David and it was his minority government that brought in a bill to start the process. The bill was defeated at the time by the combined conservative and new democrat majority. That was as close as Ontario has ever come to doing something decent for its beer drinkers and its convenience stores.

We just laughed when conservative Timmy Hudak promised beer in convenience stores in the 2014 election. We knew at the time that Timmy was going nowhere but back home to Fort Erie.

It was Ed Clark, Kathleen Wynne’s nemesis, who lead her down the path of pandering to the large grocery chains. Once he had the poor premier on the ropes for trying to privatize Hydro One, they started the water torture with beer and wine in the large grocery stores. It was the constant drip of publicity from the politicians that got everyone tired of the possibility before we bought our first six-pack at Loblaws.

What I think is the disgrace of this approach are the oppressive regulations that the grocers have to tolerate to carry some beer, cider and wine on their shelves. And yet the regulations prevent them from making money on the products. They are offering the alcoholic products only to encourage the public to shop at their stores. And they are paying for the privilege.

Knowing the margins that grocery stores operate within, I see this as an onerous imposition on the grocery chains. It would also be impossible for convenience stores to work within the same regulations. We would have to give our convenience stores a boost in income to enable them to pay a living wage to their employees.

The truth is that our grocery chains hardly need alcohol to attract business. And the LCBO is just a cash cow feeding more than $2 billion a year into the treasury at Queen’s Park.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

We are not ready to surrender.

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

What are we coming to? When fair weather warriors are conceding defeat, are we all supposed to lay down our arms? I have been involved in too many comebacks to go along with that.

We should not get mad about the current situation. The smart get to work. What have we failed to do? What more is possible? For me, a campaign never ends. You have to maintain that enthusiasm that got you involved all the way. There is no letting up.

And the one thing you can be sure of is that Kathleen Wynne is not going to give up. There is nothing sadder than to see a politician lose his or her backbone. The situation in Ontario today is really an opportunity. It is an opportunity for the real leaders to step forward. It is an opportunity for politicians to do their primary job in our political system. It is taking the opportunity to win your own election.

If you thought you would get elected on your leader’s coat tails, forget it. If you thought your electoral district always voted for your party, forget about it. This election requires politicians who can win, with or without party endorsement. It is time to represent your voters.

There are many voters in your electoral district who want to see leadership. There are those who think Doug Ford is just a windbag making foolish promises he knows he cannot keep. Kathleen Wynne is no Godzilla but, at times, she has seemed cold and unresponsive. And Andrea Horwath is a not taking her party anywhere.

The candidates are not responsible to any of those leaders—unless you were appointed by one of them to run in a riding where you do not live.

But do not feel you need to hide your party affiliation. If you are a conservative, you need to be careful about what you are supporting. You have to admit that Mr. Ford is not always careful about what he promises people. If you are a NDP candidate, you really need to show how that party’s principles can benefit people in your community. If you are a liberal, you just have to remind people that the core ethic of liberalism is individual freedom.

And it is that freedom that we always have to fight for. It means equality of opportunity for all, an opportunity for a healthy environment, it is taxing people fairly to pay for the infrastructure and services of our society, and it is ensuring better education and health care for everybody.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Mother’s magic money.

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Listening to Ontario conservative leader Doug Ford recently reminded me of my early childhood in Toronto. Doug Ford never seems to worry about where the money for his promises will come from. Neither did I—as a child.

I remember during the Second World War and my mother was sole support for those of her six children she could keep with her. The salary she earned as a bookkeeper at a war plant was meager. It rented two rooms for us in an old house off Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto.

But mother had a secret that few families such as ours had. She had a card that worked like money. Us kids thought of it as mother’s magic money. Maybe we forgot this later in life after Diners’ Club cards (for the rich) appeared in 1950 and the universal VISA (as BankAmeriCard) and American Express cards made their appearance in 1958.

I just remember making a long walk one winter down Yonge Street to Eaton’s wonderland of an emporium. I had mother’s card in my pocket and an extra nickel to buy myself one of those frosted malteds in a cone. There was absolutely no surprise shown by a clerk when I presented my mother’s card and told her what I wanted—while still munching on my cone. I proudly pulled my new two-seater toboggan up Yonge Street and home. I now had the way to take all my newspapers with me as I did my deliveries, despite the deep snow of that winter.

But mother made a point of teaching us children that while it might be magic, briefly, the bill from her T. Eaton Company card had to be paid in full at the end of each month.

That is what Doug Ford seems to forget as he traverses Ontario these days promising simultaneous great expenditures and great tax cuts. All we need do is be foolish enough to vote for him and the magic money will flow. One thing is for sure: he has absolutely no clue as to how a conservative government will pay the bills.

And if we had one more group at Queen’s Park searching for ‘efficiencies,’ we would be spending far more on the people finding efficiencies than the amount of efficiencies found.

Maybe Mr. Ford simply does not care. He has always had others in the family business to worry about paying his bills there. All I know is that somebody might have to care.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

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.

-30-

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.

-30-

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.

-30-

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.

-30-

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.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Picking politicians.

Monday, May 7th, 2018

We now have our main candidates here in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. No, nothing exciting. The local liberals had an acclamation. Only one candidate came forward. The conservatives appointed their candidate when Doug Ford got impatient. So much for democracy in the electoral district!

Ford appointed a loser. He is a former Orillia councillor who ran against Jill Dunlop for the Simcoe North nomination. Since he lost to Dunlop, Doug Ford appointed him to run in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte as a consolation prize. His name is Doug Downey and he tells people that he sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—to lose twice in the same election?

Downey is a lawyer and the go-to guy in Severn Township for the conservative party. He has held several political appointments in the Severn Township area.

Downey almost had a rerun of his contest with Jill Dunlop when former MPP Garfield Dunlop filed for nomination papers in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. The senior Dunlop said his bid for the nomination was ignored by the party hierarchy because of his close relationship with former leader and former candidate Patrick Brown. Dunlop said his application was not turned down, it was just ignored.

Without Patrick Brown and a parachuted candidate from outside the electoral district, this will be a much tighter race than was expected this time around. While the rural townships of Springwater and the western half of Oro-Medonte are predominantly conservative, the north half of Barrie has been known to vote liberal. The final recount in the last federal election in the same area was a conservative win by just 86 votes. A better organized and better run liberal campaign in this election could make all the difference.

When the party headquarters sees an electoral district that is that close, they will make sure the leader’s tour makes several calls in the area. In addition, there will be extra attention given to requests from the local campaign.

Not having heard from the liberal candidate yet, I will reserve judgement.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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