Posts Tagged ‘Trudeau’

They’re At Post!

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Finally. This never-ending scrabbling for political position has a finite finish line. The free-for-all has focus and Elections Canada is in charge. Like with stewards at the track, there are rules to be observed.

It is an election like no other in Canadian history. It is not the politicians who have changed. It is the voters. There is a distrust and unease on all sides. We are seeing olive branches offered by traditional conservatives. Concern is on the face of liberals. Socialists look in wonder at their NDP.  Is Green the color of Canada?

These are not the parties of John A. Macdonald, William Lyon Mackenzie King or Tommy Douglas. No party talks of tradition. And, yet, are they ideologues? And how likely are their promises: “Yes, Mommy, I’ll be good.” Do they have an agenda for Canadians?

Is the bitterness to be directed from Alberta? Are the fools running Ontario? Will the Atlantic provinces hold promise? And who will be the bête noir of Quebec? Will ‘beautiful’ B.C. be bountiful?

There will be no morning line at the track today. What prognosticator has the polls or prescience to prove anything? The sense of this election is deep in the gut and there is many a bellyache. The Trudeau liberals will defend their record—such as it is. The conservatives will be defensive of their woefully inadequate leader. The NDP will try to win with some stalwart old-timers. Elizabeth May will keep looking behind her, in hopes that some partisans will be there.

But there is hope. All politics is local. Here in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, we are still gerrymandered in aid of the rural conservatives. We have another empty suit conservative to consider and the usual suspects from NDP and Greens. The liberal is different, aggressive, daring and honourable. I will bet on him but not his leader.

I am expecting the possibility of a liberal minority. It is as good a bet as any.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Slipping in the Slogan.

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

It might surprise regular readers but this blogger does not believe in slogans. Oh yes, I use them, but more in sarcasm than in concurrence. It is just that I see an election as a sequence of events that can only become a slogan close to the end point: the voting. And the real theme is often something that the voters see before the politicians.

For the prime minister to be running around the country spouting some silly slogan about “choose forward” to anyone who is still listening is insulting to the listener and makes him sound feeble minded. What is the alternative? Walk Backward?

But, speaking of ‘feeble minded,’ have you heard Chuckles Scheer confounding the voters with “It is time for you to get ahead” which sounds rather mean-spirited. I think it works better if you change it to ‘It is time for you to get a head.’ You could consider it something of a public service slogan.

But it is not.

It is not as self-serving though as the NDP slogan that has been introduced as “In it for you.” It is unclear as to why they are in it for ‘you.’

It has potential though when you consider the additional words that could clarify the message. It is like the slogan used on billboards for conservative Barry Goldwater in the 1964 American presidential election. It simply said “You know he is right.” It worked until somebody started buying adjacent billboards saying “Yes, Far Right.”

But that is not as bad as the silly slogans that my city of Barrie uses. Depending if you approach the city from the north or the south on Highway 400, the northbound traffic sees the city as “Well played” and the southbound get the slogan “Well connected.” ‘Well played’ is a British term usually thought of as related to the game of cricket. ‘Well connected’ is more of a business term. Why either is used for a city such as Barrie, is lost on me.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Senator Peter Harder tries harder.

Friday, August 30th, 2019

Former civil servant, Peter Harder really likes his new job in the Senate of Canada. As an independent(?) appointee to this body, he is also the government representative in the senate. Whether he is really an independent seems to be something of a wink-wink-elbow-jab condition open to interpretation.

And as many of his cohorts might concur, if the rest of those supposedly independent senators were really independent, running that place would be akin to the task of herding cats.

But luckily, as most of those habitués would attest, those independents seem to have a curious affection for the political party that appointed them as independents. Would you not have a warm and fuzzy feeling for the person who gave you a cushy job, paid at the same rate as a real member of parliament, guaranteed until you reach age 75 and a generous pension thereafter?

And I do not care how you spell ‘independent,’ Peter Harder was appointed by Justin Trudeau. And Harder knows where his boss’ office is located. It is hardly surprising that Harder thinks this new approach should be enshrined in legislation. He even has the nerve to say “I think Canadians would prefer a Senate that is less partisan, that seeks to improve legislation where appropriate, but doesn’t view itself as a challenging chamber to the political legitimacy of the House of Commons.” (From a Canadian Press interview.)

If Mr. Harder has the nerve to make such assumptions about Canadians, maybe he should be corrected on what he believes is the purpose of the Senate of Canada. It does have the right to challenge the Commons and that was its purpose when created by the founding colonies of Canada in concert with the powers that existed then at the parliament of Westminster.

The Senate exists today as an illegitimate and undemocratic embarrassment. Until it is either abolished or replaced with a properly elected body, Canada gets no value from it.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

On running a national campaign.

Monday, August 26th, 2019

My late friend Senator Keith Davey used to start every day at his office with a ruled pad on which he would make all his notes for the day in amazingly small scribbles. Whether checking on perceptions of a current proposal by Pierre Trudeau’s government or reviewing a day’s progress during a national campaign, it was always just a single page that told the story. And Keith told it well.

I think the Rainmaker (as Keith was sometimes called) would have had to learn something about smart phones and texting to do that same type of research today. When you consider that a national campaign now consists of 338 electoral districts in a faster-paced world, I doubt his system would be as reliable as it was.

If anything worries me about the current campaign, it is that while those wrapped in the Ottawa mystique think it is just a repeat of their successful campaign of 2015, it is not possible.

In 2015, there was a hard core of the old liberals ready to work with whomever Justin Trudeau wanted to lead the parade. The Harper government was burnt out and the time was right for change. Trudeau and the team had an easy romp into office. He thought he had done it with ‘Sunny Days’ but the truth was it was those geriatrics of the old liberal party who had pulled together in hopes of the old glory days of Trudeau’s father. They shared that win proudly.

But Trudeau the Younger dismissed them. There was no rebuilding of the party after the election. It was a time of dismissal. The old liberals became not proud members of a party but a collection of names from which donations were requested almost daily.

The truth is that the old party is dying off and there is no renewal. There is no pride in liberalism. The political edge is being lost to the populists and braggarts of the right.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Why listen to Bernier?

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Chantal Hébert made an interesting case the other day. She wrote in the Toronto Star that Maxime Bernier of our new People’s Party of Canada should be allowed to be part of the leader debates for the October 21 election. Despite it being doubtful that Bernier will retain his own parliamentary seat for Beauce in the election, the columnist thinks he has a contribution to make.

Hébert makes her case by complaining that people want to exclude Bernier because of his party’s policies. (The new democrats have complained that the PPC promotes “hateful and intolerant ideas.”) She notes that similar complaints were made about the Bloc Québécois and the Reform Party when they first appeared on the electoral scene.

She argues that the form of populism Bernier espouses has already taken root in the United States and is rampant throughout western Europe. She sees no reason to sweep this truth under the rug. She would prefer to address it head-on.

The only problem with her viewpoint is that time on national television is an expensive commodity and these arguments would be better handled in high school civics classes. Teaching tolerance and open-mindedness is not something you can convince people of in the hard pace of a political debate. And definitely not coming into the wind-up of a national election.

My one serious argument is that reality is there are currently 16 federally registered political parties in Canada and if they all were give access to the debate, it would be cumbersome and a frankly boring affair. It is bad enough that we will have five party leaders representing their respective parties in the two debates. It means that politeness will become more important than spontaneity and there can be little interaction between the leaders.

I think voters learn more about these so-called leaders when the debate is open and honest. They need to address each other and call out their dishonesties. The moderator is not there to referee but to ensure each is heard.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Diogenes, Leadership and SNC-Lavalin.

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

There is no time left for what might have been. Canadians are going into an election when what we so desperately want to say is ‘None of the above.’ Are we condemned to face a future of failure? Are we helpless? Have we found there is no honest man?

Justin Trudeau embarrasses us. Jagmeet Singh insults us. Andrew Scheer frightens us and there is no other workable solution.

Justin Trudeau has been weighed in the scales and found wanting. He should have resigned six months ago and given the liberal party a chance to regroup. His chief of staff knew to resign. The clerk of the privy council chose to resign. Justin Trudeau believed that he was untouchable. He was aiding his enemies. He was creating a conundrum for Canadian voters.

In a world facing disastrous climate change, we are seeing the frustration of electorates and civilizations around the world. Populists of the right and left are our false prophets. We turn to a Trump or Brexit and wonder at the failures.

In Canada, that so welcomes those seeking freedom from oppression, a single ethnic group swamps the membership of a political party. Singh embarrasses the NDP. This is no solution.

And it has been an extended silly season for the conservatives in the past few years. They had a federal leadership that chose the least of potential leaders in a federal lottery that proved that leadership does not matter. And then they chose right-wing demigods in Alberta and Ontario to claim the conservative brand.

With two months to go before the election, there is much to resolve. Canadians are resourceful. Let us find that solution together.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

When the real campaign begins.

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

They remind me of a bunch of outlaw bikers, warming up their hogs for a race. They have all taken off their mufflers for that extra bit of speed. The full-throated roar of those bikes makes the ground seem to tremble. And the clouds of exhaust fumes obscure the start.

When you think about it, you realize that it was the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh who took the early start. He needed it. When you have to hitch-hike across the country, you need a good head start. (Have you checked the price of air fare or rail tickets across the country lately?) Fund-raising for the NDP has not been what it used to be.

And then the guy who really needs the exposure has been shy about it. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer does not do himself any good exposing himself to the voters. While the conservatives have no problem reaching into the pockets of their rich friends, Scheer is not the best campaigner. He was practicing on Cape Breton last week and there was concern expressed that he was doing serious damage to the local conservative candidates.

What puzzles the voters meeting Chuckles in the campaign will be questions such as: “Why does this guy not believe in climate change?” “Why does this guy want to keep Doug Ford away from his campaign?” and “What qualifies this guy to be prime minister?”

What is even more concerning about Chuckles is that he does not believe in campaigning by any form of Marquess of Queensberry rules. He is claimed to have used the classic ‘roorback’ political tactic against the NDP’s Lorne Nystrom in the 2004 federal election. He claimed (when it was too late for a response) that Nystrom was soft on child pornography to defeat the longest serving NDP MP by close to a thousand votes.

But in what should be a cakewalk of a campaign for Justin Trudeau, the prime minister has created obstacles such as the albatross of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the travesty of the SNC-Lavalin debacle and he will always have the pictures of the family visit to India. All is not that rosy for the liberals either.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Never trust a guy with a pipeline.

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

The prime minister can joke about it if he wishes but there are lots of people who will not vote for a guy with a pipeline. If it was just the old Kinder Morgan line that spanned the Rockies, we would not be as worried. It is all that pipe and equipment poised to twin the line and add heaters and higher pressure that are of serious concern.

The current plan for the Trans Mountain pipeline is to twin it, add those heaters to the line and increase the pressure in it. It only adds up to Burrard Inlet being crowded with ocean-going tankers taking on diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. It is a plan based entirely on greed, stupidity and climate change denial. The question is not just when will a couple of those ocean-going tankers play at being bumper cars but how many ways can we help destroy the habitats of the Orcas?

And the question of increasing the pressure in a pipeline commissioned in 1951 to enable it to push through diluted bitumen begs the question: ‘For how long?’

This is not a question that the prime minister would ever be expected to answer. Nor could he. And that is why there seems to be some delays in the decision-making process in Ottawa.

My guess, for what that is worth, is that the liberals will sell the Kinder Morgan property to the aboriginal tribes who have shown an interest. Since no Canadian banker, in his or her right mind, would put up the billions needed to complete the twinning of the line, that might just be the end of that foolishness.

While the people who care about the future of our earth will be working at reducing our requirements for carbon-based products, we know that for the next few decades we will still need some refined oil products. These can easily be shipped into B.C. and the Pacific coast states of the U.S. by pipeline. This will give the aboriginals a return on their investment. It will allow Justin Trudeau to be a bit more credible in promising to save the world.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Slicing and dicing Justin Trudeau.

Friday, August 9th, 2019

You should always remember the plaint of the writer that what you write in haste, you might regret for the rest of your life. It might not be fair to say that John Ivison of Postmedia erred in all of what he wrote about the prime minister in his new book. He just might not have had the time to consider it.

If anyone could understand the dilemma facing Ivison, you would expect it to be fellow author/columnist Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star. She writes in the Star as though she more than skimmed the book. She seems to accept most of what Ivison says but you do not feel that she is standing shoulder to shoulder with him.

The book, entitled Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister was supposed to be in book stores on Tuesday. I would normally wait until the book was remaindered to buy a copy but, in this case, might not bother. I hardly agree that Trudeau is at his best when he goes off script. I only wish he could stick to a script.

Bear in mind that what I am saying about Justin Trudeau comes from a liberal who cares. I doubt that Ivison has any understanding of Justin’s childhood and his relationships with his father. And whatever suggested to him that Trudeau’s script to become prime minister was a blueprint drawn up by the “anointed” is only in Ivison’s dreams. It was definitely an ‘Improv’ event.

I was in touch with the Ottawa scene at the time and well aware of who from the old guard were rooting for him. I think we were all desperate to get rid of Stephen Harper and we did our bit.

My worst discovery with Justin was his ‘on/off’ switch. And he takes some hard-nosed positions that are not liberal in their origin. When he and the family did their dress-up schtick in India, it showed the world how politically naïve he could be.

I would be more interested in Ivison’s book if he just told us what lessons Justin had actually learned in the last four years.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau’s Secret Weapon.

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

You have probably been wondering why prime minister Justin Trudeau is so cheery and ebullient these days. It is probably not just the fact that his pal Gerald Butts is back to back him up in the campaign. Nor is it the pollsters who are saying that the conservatives and liberals are in a statistical tie.

The truth is that he really is facing off in this election against the weakest opposition that any sitting prime minister has ever had to face. And his opposition is split three ways.

The least of his worries is the green party. In the long run, these people would be allies in protecting the environment. With a potential of three or four seats for the greens in parliament, Elizabeth May is probably hoping for a slim minority situation for the liberals. It would give her some bargaining power.

Conversely, the NDP are in a protectionist mode. They have little hope of Jagmeet Singh taking their party anywhere. They need to hang on to a basic 12 seats to be recognized as a party in parliament. The SOS they are sending out is ‘save our seats.’ On election night, they and the Bloc Québécois could become the forgotten in Quebec. It is likely to not be known if they held on to their party status until the counts start coming in from British Columbia.

This leaves Justin Trudeau with just one party to address. The good news is that the conservatives never expected Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer to even be a serious contender in this election. He was supposed to be holding the fort until the next election when the party could elect a more dynamic leader. What you have is Jason Kenney in Alberta and Doug Ford in Ontario calling the shots for the federal party.

Justin Trudeau’s secret weapon is the leader of the conservatives. What we have right now is Chuckles pleading with the two premiers to stay out of his election. Its an even money bet that says they are unable to do that.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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