Posts Tagged ‘Trudeau’

Trudeau’s terrific travels!

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Canadians sure get full measure when they send their prime minister on a personal appearance tour. He did more in two days in New York than most rock stars can do in a week.  The British prime minister and that New Yorker who currently occupies the Washington White House were also in town but the young guy from Canada got the star treatment.

Trudeau must have planned to arrive after Trump’s speech which was smart. Nobody could have matched the hyperbole and B.S. of that Donald Trump classic. It was over the top, overdone, over dramatic and dreadful diplomacy. Trump took the U.S. to depths of dishonour not seen in the United Nations forum since Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoe and banged it on his desk to show his displeasure.

But after a day of special appearances and being lionized, Trudeau showed up at the United Nations. This is the world’s forum. He had this golden opportunity to tell the world of his thoughts and dreams. He could have followed the American president and the British prime minister with a balance of logic and reason, peace and temperance, love and understanding.

Instead, our nit-wit PM blew it!

What egotistical brain fart led him to devote his speech to Canadians’ historical crapping on their own indigenous peoples? What made our rock-star prime minister think these world diplomats give a damn? Most of them have a rooms in their palaces for their own shames. They hardly need to hear chapter and verse on our failings.

What you do, Mr. Prime Minister, is admit your failings and move on. Nor do you try to hide those failings and let them be used against you.

But there are problems in the world that need to be addressed in this world forum. Are we to leave the North Korean problem to a sabre-rattling incompetent in Washington? Cannot Canada take a role in helping the people in the Caribbean who have had the ground washed out from under them? Where is the promised plan for Canada to help with world peacekeeping? World trade is being endangered by a nincompoop in the White House and someone has to take a stand for reason.

Are you not afraid Mr. Prime Minister that those screaming kids at the We Meeting the day before will find out you are a coward?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The water of life.

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

A handful of snow melting on a peak in the Rockies can become part of a torrent by the time it reaches the ocean. It is the water of life for the creatures of both land and sea. It is a place for salmon to spawn, the creatures of the forest to drink and humans to take their waters. It feeds the green of our forests, the growth of our cash crops and the needs of our towns, cities and farms.

And it is so fragile. The disgrace is if we spill the contents of a pipeline loaded with diluted bitumen into those waters. From the tiny babbling brooks to the mightiest of rivers, diluted bitumen is the threat of death. It floats down river to when its diluent is washed away and then it sinks, there on the bottom to conflict with the ecosystem.

Diluted bitumen is not crude oil. It is enabled to go through a pipeline by heating that pipeline and forcing it through the pipeline at greater pressure. It is not a question as to will the pipeline fail but when?

Ask the 70,000 people who live along the North Saskatchewan River. The Husky spill of bitumen on that river travelled 370 kilometres before it was just an oil slick that continued to contaminate. The bitumen had settled along the river bottom. And that was less than 250,000 litres of diluted bitumen that denied potable water to humans and animals alike.

Ask the people of Michigan along the Kalamazoo River and its tributaries. The Enbridge bitumen spill in Michigan cost more than US$2 billion and will never really be cleaned up. That bitumen that settled in the rivers has just become part of Michigan’s ecosystem.

And when Prime Minister Trudeau broke faith with the ecology and allowed the expansion of the Kinder-Morgan Trans-mountain pipeline, he was not just saying “go ahead and double the pipeline.” He was changing the old pipeline (built in the 1950s) to heat it and to increase the pressure. Along with the new pipeline being added, Kinder-Morgan will be able to triple the amount of diluted bitumen, it can send to the ocean port. This will greatly increase the tanker traffic around the B.C. coast.

As the aboriginal tribes of our west coast remind us, we are endangering the water of life. Is it worth it?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

How’s the kitchen coming Chrystia?

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Though not sure if the analogy of NAFTA negotiations being like renovating a kitchen comes from Canada’s foreign minister, by now she would disown the quote anyway. After meetings in Washington and in Mexico City, it is obvious that the discussions of North America’s trade agreements are going nowhere. By the time the three amigo countries get together in Ottawa there is likely to be a fist fight.

It seems that nobody is in a position to save this screw-up. History is going to have to remember Donald Trump as a master of disaster. He has sent American negotiators on an impossible task. They really cannot win agreement from people by constantly abusing them. The Mexicans are certainly mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore.

Canada is hardly going to allow our dairy farmers to be screwed the same way American dairy farmers are routinely bankrupted. And that fixed smirk on the face of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when people mention Trump is starting to look like a death mask. The Mexicans are already pissed by Trump’s racist insults and his stupid wall.

But the Mexicans are also becoming annoyed with Canada. While the U.S. delegates simply scoff at Freeland’s environmental protection and balanced labour suggestions, the Mexican’s saw it as an attack on their labour-cost advantage. This is a three-way, two against one negotiation, when both Canada and Mexico could use an ally. Instead, they are all talking and nobody is listening.

There is no rule that says we have to resolve these questions this year or even three years from now. It would certainly be nice to find a faster solution to the softwood lumber dispute and Canada might have to apply some tit-for-tat tariffs if Trump thinks he can just ignore the existing treaties.

But an angry American Congress might have something to say if Trump tries to end NAFTA. Congress is confident that only it has the authority to accept or reject country to country treaties when the U.S. is one of the parties.

The one thing the three countries might agree on is that NAFTA needs some adjustments after a quarter century. It just cannot be as one-sided as Mr. Trump thinks it should be.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Justin Trudeau doesn’t have the chops.

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

It is often amusing when Canadian writers try to compare Prime Minister Trudeau with American President Trump. They seem to think that Justin Trudeau has been understudying for his current role all his life, while Donald Trump is an accidental politician and is only now learning that the job requires some serious time and attention.

What most observers do not see is that Trudeau is the dilettante. He is not as adept as Trump would be if the American ever exercised some discipline.

Trudeau is the bugle boy without the chops. Trump is the bully boy, angered at his own clumsiness. And it hardly helps that Trump is almost twice Trudeau’s age.

They are both products of their families. Trump honoured his father by taking over the family development business and carrying on in his sire’s tradition. Only at his father’s funeral did we realize that Justin had political ambitions. And only when we first saw him working political gatherings did we see the future of those ambitions.

There is no suggestion that Justin is like his father. He is not. He is definitely his mother’s son. Trump’s father must have been a mean son-of-a-bitch because his son so easily earns that sobriquet.

The Trudeau-Trump relationship is another matter. It is unlikely that either of them likes the other. Trudeau is probably very wary of Trump and inclined to stay away from him. Trump would see the Canadian as a pretty boy and an easy mark. If he had a building to sell, he would offer Trudeau an option.

But Trump’s assumptions about Trudeau and his government are wrong when it comes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). His bullying tactics hardly fit negotiations such as are required in international trade agreements. This is not a contest to see who can negotiate the best deal for their country. It is to see if they can negotiate a deal that can be sold to the citizens of the countries involved. Trade negotiations have to be win-win. Trump does not understand that.

And what Trump hardly understands is that he cannot threaten to dump NAFTA, like he did again the other evening in Phoenix, and then expect his negotiating team to do their job properly.

Trump shows his lack of self-confidence with his repeated campaign-type rallies. He just keeps on making Trudeau look good by comparison.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Diminishing Democracy.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Around the world, from Venezuela to Poland, from Turkey to America, we are watching the destruction of democracy. Those who believe in democracy are routinely arrested, beaten, detained or killed on the streets of once-safe cities. It is a challenge everywhere. There is no safe haven.

And Canada is no bastion of democracy. Former Prime Minister Harper routinely showed us his distain for parliament and democratic principles. Prime Minister Trudeau is no saviour of democracy either as he disrespects and destroys the Liberal Party. Like Harper before him, Trudeau uses his party as a political ATM. He only comes calling for funds.

The political corruption and destruction of democracy has moved fast and furious in the United States where Donald Trump measures his supporters in their gullibility. He calls them together regularly to rally and reassure him of their fealty. They feed his narcissism and eat up his lies.

The political parties of the United Stares of America are on the downside of favour with the people. The two main parties are hopelessly committed to their monied masters. They replace concern for the people with ideology and argue that everything that goes wrong is the ‘other guys’ fault. And only the very rich in America have influence. They are the ones who collect politicians like they used to collect stuffed trophies of the hunt.

And nobody cares. Their attention is to their royalty; their entertainers. The youth would rather devote themselves to social media on the ever more intrusive Internet—allowing Big Brother to catalogue their lives in the electronic prisons of the uninformed.

And what happened to the friendly police who used to help the elderly across the street? The politicians arm the police like storm troopers to protect us from what?

And not even the tyrant sleeps soundly. Political and corporate oligarchies are unstable at best as they keep to ideologies of the past. Even the oligarchs of Russia reap early harvests as they show lack of faith in the coming dawn. Will there be democracy tomorrow?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Our poster-boy PM is the answer?

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Despite the wild ravings of Rolling Stone Magazine, our Prime Minister has to whip Canada into shape before taking on the added burden of the American presidency. Donald Trump’s job is safe, for now.

In corporate terms, Justin Trudeau might be able to pull off a reverse takeover, (That is where the smaller business buys the larger company because of better tax advantages.) It would also get around the problem of Justin not being born in the United States. If it all became part of Canada, who would care?

And by combining the best parts of being the American President and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin could issue an edict making himself Chief High Potentate of North America for life. Before anyone jumps on a horse and runs around the combined countries shouting about “one by land, two by sea,” both countries can finally end the rampant corporatism that is destroying their democracies anyway.

After a couple years of confusion with President Trump, Americans will be even more willing to welcome Justin as their saviour. All we have to do is spread the word among America’s born-again that Justin was born on Christmas Day for a reason.

And if the South does not rise to the occasion with hearty huzzahs, we can threaten that we will also welcome the Mexicans into the One Big North America. We could make Spanish the lingua franca south of the Mason-Dixon line, English north from there to the former Canadian border and then French across the North.

The problem of where the new nation’s capital will be can be quickly solved by building a new one in Nevada. Government is nothing but a gamble anyway. Potomac Mosquitoes cannot survive there and if you have ever been in Ottawa in January, you would wonder why nobody thought to do this a long time ago.

Another piece of good news for the Americans; Trudeau is used to appointing Senators—that will break the deadlock there!

But full disclosure forces me to admit that Justin is not perfect. The guy tends to shoot from the lip. He is not great in keeping promises. He loves travelling around the world being lionized like a pop star.

P.S. They call this part of the summer the silly season. I wonder why?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Chuckles’ challenges Canadian compassion.

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer will not let it go. He is raising troops among the bigoted to fight against the compensation to Omar Khadr. He must intend to keep scratching at that wound until the pus from it corrupts or repulses all responsible Canadians.

What sickens us the most in this disgusting argument is the impact and discord it is sewing in various communities. Visiting a friend in Peter Kent’s Thornhill riding recently I was taken back by the vehemence that erupted when the Khadr subject came up. Listening to one Jewish individual castigating another for his lack of understanding was disquieting.

But to hear people repeat the Conservative’s ugly suggestion that Prime Minister Trudeau wants to make Omar Khadr a rich man is ludicrous. Nor is the award about to make Khadr’s lawyers rich. The Supreme Court told the government to apologize for what government agents did and compensate the victim. And how would you compensate someone for 15 years of pain, suffering, torture and false imprisonment?

It is obvious that Chuckles did not write the op-ed that was run over his name by some newspapers. It was a crafted piece that used inflammatory words, innuendo and careful half truths.

But since when is it a heinous crime to be recruited as a child soldier and sent into a firefight against well armed, equipped and trained soldiers? What happens is that you get shot!

Chuckles needs perspective.

And he needs to explain to us what enjoying the benefits of the Canadian justice system means. Does it mean you are not going to be water-boarded, sleep deprived and suffering extremes of heat?

The Opposition Leader in the House of Commons failed to make it clear to his writers that as an official of the Canadian Parliament, he has responsibilities. He is not there to promote hatred. He is not there to twist the truth. It speaks badly of him to bluntly say the Prime Minister is arrogant. The Opposition in parliament is there to criticize the government, not to demean it.

Saving the best for last, Chuckles asks a rhetorical question about Mr. Trudeau’s ‘secret’ payout to Omar Khadr. Gee! Who leaked it?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Our Prime Minister grunts.

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Despite teaching public speaking, I occasionally took someone else’s course on public speaking just to make sure I was not slipping into bad speaking habits. We are all guilty of that. And teachers can be the harshest critics. You can include a former school teacher in that: The Prime Minister of Canada.

The first time I saw the newly elected Justin Trudeau MP in action with an audience, it was obvious he would go to the top job with ease. He was relaxed and enjoyed the interaction with his audience. He had a well memorized speech for them and I cannot remember a single word in it. It was personable, socially acceptable, politically somewhat neutral, feminist friendly and not overly critical of other politicians. The person thanking him was more political but for some reason the microphone started to act up for her and the thanks became meaningless and garbled.

But what impressed me the most is that he wanted to be sure that every person in that room had an opportunity to have a picture with him. He did not give much importance to the words being spoken. He was counting on his presence to do the job.

And here I thought only royalty were allowed to think that way.

But today, people are listening to him.

And that is not good because Justin Trudeau grunts. In this case the grunt comes out of his mouth as an “Ah.” This is a quirk of people who are thinking about what they intend to say next and are afraid of dead air. The “Ah” is drawn out to accommodate the thinking time needed. It becomes irritating.

You would have to get him to listen to a recording of his speech for him to realize what he is doing.

Luckily, when he is using a teleprompter, he does not have to grunt. There is no “Ah’ for him to read and he has little need to think ahead.

Where the grunts are most evident is in the House of Commons when he is answering the opposition and when answering media questions. He starts to talk before he has decided how to answer the question. He needs some remedial public speaking training.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Who’s congratulating Trudeau?

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Stephen Harper’s PMO had a revolving door for communications people, so it is not too surprising if we do not remember one of them. This is in reference to an op-ed in the Toronto Star last week by someone named ‘MacDougall.’ What was noticeable about the article was that he claims to be a Tory and was congratulating the Liberal prime minister. How rare is that?

This Conservative communications expert was congratulating Justin Trudeau for the smart way he is handling Donald Trump. What else can our prime minister do? Donald Trump is a 70-year old dirty old man who has landed in the White House. He acts like an uncontrollable 12-year old. And since he is president, you are not allowed to spank him.

Of course, Trudeau is trying to do a work-around. He had appointed David MacNaughton as ambassador to Washington before Trump rose to a level of concern on the horizon. The job was MacNaughton’s pay-off for the slip-shod effort he did in running Ontario for the Liberals in the last election. Trudeau might still have to replace him with someone with more diplomatic skills and knowledge of American politics and politicians.

Canadian diplomacy has come a long way since the quintessential diplomat Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was dressed down by President Lyndon Johnson for “pissing on his rug.”

And only a conservative would think it was a win for Trump to approve the Keystone XL pipeline for Justin Trudeau. Pipelines for bitumen are the noose that will eventually hang our ’ecology-minded’ Trudeau.

And the writer might have thought we handled the milk production charges with derision but anyone knowledgeable knew that the NAFTA milk concerns sit entirely on the U.S. side of the border. Overproduction is a U.S. problem when you consider that Wisconsin has more dairy cows than all of Canada.

Usually in politics when someone pats you on the back as effusively as Mr. MacDougall, you expect he is checking for the best place to thrust the (rhetorical) knife. We better keep an eye on him.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

 

The tremors of Trump.

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Each year at this time, we do a little introspection. While Canada Day 2017 is as joyous as ever, we feel it is the impact of the American President that causes those ground tremors we are feeling. The man seems to stomp a lot.

At first, we were under the impression that he might just ignore Canada. Oh well, so much for that hope! We sent our Prime Minister down to the White House with a welcoming casserole but President Trump was not that interested. It did not seem to matter that Justin thought he had made another friend.

And maybe not. That ignorant man in the White House soon brought up the old chestnut about softwood lumber and threw in milk for good measure. Mr. Trump has never learned how to be a good neighbour. All he accomplished was to drive up the price of new homes on the American west coast and embarrass Wisconsin dairy farmers. The happy lumber kings of Oregon and Washington are making a killing. It was President Trump’s way of saying he wants to renegotiate the North-American trade deal between The U.S., Mexico and Canada.

The only problem is that Mr. Trump’s version of negotiating is to bully, cheat, lie and steal. There is no honour in a Trump style deal. That is how he made his billions whereby he could buy his way to the American presidency.

But deals between sovereign nations are based on good faith. That is an essential component of trade agreements. The objective to be negotiated has to be fair to all parties. And fairness is not just a word on paper, it has to be the perception of all parties.

No doubt both Canadian and Mexican negotiators will also bring their lists of trade irritants to the treaty meetings. Mr. Trump will soon learn that he cannot bully his way to creating advantage from a deal entered in good faith.

While most Canadians appear to consider President Trump to be something of a horse’s ass, we can expect him to be around for a while. He will continue to be stomping on things he should not. He is our neighbour and we might as well get used to him.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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