Posts Tagged ‘Trudeau’

Justin’s ‘Turn to Bow’.

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Yesterday’s show from Ottawa reminded me of a small book produced by Maclean’s magazine for the 1972 federal election: Their turn to curtsy – Your turn to bow. It told you all the magazine thought you needed to know to be a knowledgeable voter. Maybe that was the intent of the latest episode of the finance committee hearings.

As usual, the Zoom technology proved its strengths and weaknesses. It is dependent on the individual participant’s Internet service—and that is a mixed bag across the country. Mind you the different ‘sets’ for each of the politicians also told a story. I felt sorry for liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz. We know the cost of real estate in Toronto is horrendous but the poor girl looked like she was in somebody’s closet.

New democrat Charley Angus’ background was the clutter of a mind occupied with other things. Yet, conservative Pierre Poilievre was regally presented with a perfectly lit set (until his back flood failed) and full make-up. Chairman Wayne Easter, MP from Prince Edward Island, had a power failure during a storm and it looked like Pierre Poilievre, deputy chair, would take over. Luckily, the power came back quickly in Malpeque.

Whomever set up the studious office setting for the prime minister should have demanded his subject get a shave and a haircut. Maybe he kept the beard because it aged him but the hair looked like a four-year old who screamed when taken to a barber. And not having a teleprompter for his opening remarks was a mistake.

But some would argue that what was said was most important. You could only wish something new was said. As one of the most experienced politicians, the NDP’s Charlie Angus used the ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ approach and it earned him a lecture from the PM who was probably among the least experienced.

The people who needed better balance were the conservatives. Michael Barrett, the newby from Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes was trying to out-nasty Pierre Poilievre. His angle of attack was whether the PM would fire the civil servants who where supposed to vet the WE charity.

Like the book from Maclean’s, I am not sure I ever read the entire content. You had to be a political person to really stick with the drama yesterday. Will it matter? Not much. Will finance minister Bill Morneau be fired? I think he should be.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Liberal MPs not doing their job.

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

When the mail box notification dinged the other morning with another e-mail from the liberal party, I thought it might be news of finance minister Bill Morneau’s resignation. No such luck, the party just wanted more money. I am not sure why. The MPs in the liberal caucus must be sheep to allow what is happening to continue.

The party caucus has rights, you know. It would be a good time to exercise them. Or not, if they do not care what happens next time Canada elects a government. Their voters will blame them for the shortcomings of their leader and the cabinet. They will lose with Trudeau.

The sheep are allowed to ask questions in caucus. Why are we not hearing about it? They have the power to ask for the resignation of the leader or from members of the cabinet. In a situation as extreme as the current situation, they can even move a vote of non-confidence in the house of commons.

It is not like in Ontario where the leader of the party in power has a large enough majority to silence a malcontent in caucus. Liberal MPs need not worry about being kicked out of caucus. They have a problem and it is their responsibility to solve it.

Hell, they have a leader who does not have the common sense to get a shave and a haircut when he really needs it. The twit does not have the smarts to recuse himself in cabinet when discussing giving money to an organization paying his mother hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This guy puts selfies ahead of easy rules to follow. He does not seem to understand that Canadians so not need his choice of finance minister, his elitism, his self indulgence or his cockiness.

These are serious times in Canada and around the world. The public has awaited his cuckoo clock appearances from Rideau Cottage but often the plans that were announced have needed more thought and long-term consideration. Those briefings at the cottage could have been better served by a media secretary.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Finance Minister Morneau has to go.

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

(Before warming to today’s topic, I would like to thank the readers who sent their comments on yesterday’s topic. I thought at least five per cent of Canadians could name our last five prime ministers. I now think it might be only two per cent who can name Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau—without checking with Google.)

 

But today, we are trying to make the case for prime minister Justin Trudeau to fire his finance minister. Bill Morneau does not seem to realize that, as finance minister, he is in the position of Caesar’s wife. A finance minister is not only required to be above suspicion but an error in judgement cannot be tolerated.

Nor can the credibility of a finance minister be salvaged with an apology. He can hardly forget that one of his daughters works for the We Charity. His other daughter got Craig Kielburger co-founder of the charity to say something nice about her book. The ages of your children hardly matter, you never stop worrying about them or wanting to be proud of them.

But this was a conflict of interest that Morneau took into cabinet and did not recuse himself. How can Canadians ever trust him again? Finance is a game without mulligans.

This does not apply to the prime minister. Justin Trudeau has had more ‘gotcha’s’ than the previous four prime ministers. Between the visit to the Aga Khan, the embarrassing boondoggle in India, the blackface in Vancouver, the SNC Lavalin affair and his mother’s retirement fund from the We Charity, Justin is teetering on the knife edge. While he gets us through the pandemic, that decision remains with the voters.

If any other political party had a half-respectable leader that the voters could get behind, Justin Trudeau and his apologies might be history.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Leadership and legacies.

Friday, July 17th, 2020

This was prodded by a reader. He asked me to search my mind for leaders of Canada’s federal parties and determine what I would consider their legacy to the country.

It was a somewhat disappointing search. While hardly a recent leader, I started with Sir John A. Macdonald. It is a rare person who can believe in a country and then make it happen. Sir John was hardly perfect and he left many problems for future generations. He gave our country a kick start.

The legacy of Sir Wilfrid Laurier is the essential difference between Canada and the United States. Sir Wilfrid was a thinker and he gave us the basis of the liberalism of Canada. He also established Canada as a country in its own right and the working relationship between Quebec and the rest of the country.

It was William Lyon Mackenzie King who established the basics of the country’s social welfare system. He might have been the quirkiest prime minister but he brought us through the Second World War.

I have a special place for Lester B. Pearson. The Auto Agreement that he put together with the United States was the forerunner of the Canada/U.S. free trade. And his two liberal minority governments were the hardest working and passed Canada’s Medicare, the Student Loan program, the Canada Pension Plan, our distinctive maple leaf flag and effectively abolished capital punishment.

I should also note that Mr. Pearson picked the man who followed him: Pierre Trudeau. Pierre’s legacy was his humour, his intellect and his honesty in office, as well as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. His son Justin is not much like him.

The last prime minister on the list was handed his legacy by Pierre Trudeau’s Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Economic Prospects for Canada. It fell on Brian Mulroney to carry out free trade with the United States.

We have had five prime ministers since then. Can you name them all?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Happy Canada Day Mr. Prime Minister.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star hit the nail on the head recently when she ran a commentary saying that “Trudeau doesn’t want advice from his dad’s friends. She ‘s right. When the wife and I first met the adult Justin Trudeau ten years ago, we both agreed that he was more like his mother than his father. He lacks his father’s curiosity, intellect and whimsy. He is not even as liberal.

I often wished when he was running for the liberal party leadership that he had some stronger competition. He seems to have a switch in that mop of hair that he can turn on for an audience. His father would have been appalled at all the selfies and mindless speeches that his son gave in that non-contest.

But, as party leader, Justin started to show his leanings. His attack on the liberals in the senate told where he was headed. He and I had discussed abolishing the senate as one of the priorities for constitutional change in Canada and he made it very clear that would not happen during his watch. I had missed the signals of his elitism.

He simply dumped the existing liberal senators as old baggage. He put his confidence in an elite committee to find him worthy candidates to be ‘independent’ senators and other government appointees who would do what he told them because it was the ‘right’ thing to do.

That attitude has bit him on the ass a few times, but mostly he has been lucky. There are still enough of the old timers in the senate to keep it doing its job.

The most serious mistake he has gotten away with so far was dumping the membership fees for the liberal party. Instead, people who are on the list are inundated with pleas for funds. What Justin Trudeau and his friends do not seem to understand is that these are the people needed to help win their riding. Their financial support is secondary.

The reason we have a minority government today is that Trudeau and friends did not have the grass roots support that was needed in the 2019 election. They gave up on ridings that they could have won.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

American Lemmings.

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

American supporters of Donald Trump only act like lemmings. Lemmings are rodents that live in northern tundra areas, are very stupid and have about a 12-month life cycle—even if  they survive their natural predators. They are not necessarily suicidal creatures but have been known to fall off cliffs and into the sea when on one of their frequent migrations. That might help you understand why some people think of Trump supporters as lemmings.

Take the other night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. How smart do you have to be to camp out in rain storms and oppressive heat during the week to get a good seat to see your hero? How smart do you have to be to really want to risk catching covid-19? Hell, just before the event, they found some of Mr. Trump’s workers had caught the virus getting the place ready for the faithful.

Did it not give the attendees a clue when people were taking their temperature on the way in? How could they avoid knowing that this event was not endorsed by the American Medical Association?

And why did the man who promised to make America great again, seem so pissed with the low attendance? He took every one of those empty seats as a personal insult.

It reminded me of back in the days in Toronto when we would fill Maple Leaf Gardens for real politicians such as Pierre Trudeau. The secret was that we always invited three times the number of people needed to fill the place.

But we were kind, we would always have a flatbed truck with a sound system on-board for the candidate to address the overflow. That always caught the attention of the media. And the Toronto cops were good sports about it when we blocked Carlton and Church Streets with the overflow.

In fact, the more I think about how long ago that was in the past, some one should tell Donald Trump how far he is behind times.

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A small apology: I got complaints yesterday about my poor arithmetic. I was calculating the CERB payments without tax because the student was going back to school as soon as possible. I am embarrassed but any employer who pays minimum wage, that nobody can live on, should be more embarrassed.

Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

CERB opens the door to a new Canada.

Sunday, June 21st, 2020

For all the weaknesses, errors and misunderstanding of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the program is the solution to Canada’s future economy. And when the government extended the program the other day, it put the country on the road to build that new economy.

What the government has done with CERB is set a new base level for a minimum wage and opened up opportunities for a healthier, happier society, with better opportunities for higher education.

As one young man told me recently, he never has been better off. He is making more money from the government than he has ever been paid before. No company is going to hire him at minimum wage while the government is paying the equivalent of $20 per hour. This kid is not lazy. He is enjoying his summer, despite the pandemic, and will be heading back to university in the fall with some money in the bank to keep him going. Are there smart businesses that will offer him more?

And by no means do I believe that the government is paying him too much. Though the impact might be more inflationary than intended.

While I have to admit that I was initially shocked at the potential impact of CERB, I recognize it now as genius. It has broken the barriers to the fiction of the ‘middle class.’ It has created options for all. It has opened doors to true democracy. CERB is the first step to an effective guaranteed minimum wage for Canadians.

That does not deny that it creates problems for seniors. These are the people left in the ‘middle class’ economy. They are still waiting to be paid that placebo for seniors of a one-time covid-19 $300 or $500. It is just a prize that seniors are getting for missing the cull of the pandemic. The government will have to seriously address the need for improved old age security (OAS) payments in the future.

We should all tell Justin Trudeau how smart his government is to have come up with CERB.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

 

The embarrassment of Justin Trudeau.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

You do know, do you not, that in a time of pandemic, prime minister Justin Trudeau is quietly building an abomination of a pipeline across our magnificent Rocky Mountains. There is no excuse for this. It can hardly be to please those climate change-deniers in Alberta. They will hate the name Trudeau, no matter what he does for them.

Justin Trudeau has to quit talking out of both sides of his mouth. You cannot be an environmentalist and do what he is doing with the Trans-Mountain pipeline. The twinning of the old pipeline and the addition of heaters and high-pressure pumps is the abomination. It will triple the capacity of the old line to enable it to ship tar-sands bitumen to foreign ports. It is no gift to British Columbia home owners to have that crap piped through their backyards.

And it is no gift to Vancouverites or to the Orcas of the Salton Sea. The damn pipeline now spells trouble for all to see. Just one burst seam out of thousands will create an unerasable pollution scar that will be with us for many years. Fresh water courses can be fouled, salmon runs could take decades, if ever, to be restored.

The oil tanker traffic alone through Burrard Inlet is of deep concern. A spill of diluted bitumen from a tanker will float for a while and then sink to become part of an ecosystem less supportive of the local creatures of the sea.

I am sure that what concerns most liberals in this is that they are, to some level, concerned environmentalists. I like to think of liberals as forward-thinking Canadians who are worried about the vagaries of climate as more and more carbon is thrown into our air. We are not so foolish as to want to melt the ices caps of our polar regions?

I like to think that being liberal means you care.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

When our world is on hold.

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

Every morning when waking up to this pandemic, I challenge myself to remember what day it is. I never realized how confining a person to their home could be so cruel. I work hard at keeping alert and interested in our world. Some days the newspaper crossword is a challenge and other days, simply frustrating. It is like politics, some days it is so simple and easily understood and some days it can be beyond belief.

Maybe that is why I enjoy writing about politics. While most of the comments from readers are positive lately, my wife cannot understand why I am not a fan of prime minister Justin Trudeau. She meets the guy a few times, gets added to his Christmas card list and she wants to protect him like a lioness with a cub.

What really gets to me is her way of ending arguments regarding Trudeau. She simply says, “Then, who are you going to vote for?”

She knows, she has me cold.

She knows darn well that there would be three moons in the sky before I would vote conservative. Conservatism goes against everything in which I believe. Conservatives, these days, are too often cruel, self-absorbed people. They think a jurisdiction that does anything for its citizens is a ‘nanny state.’ These people, when in power, try to impose their philosophy on others, like a wicked step mother.

The current leadership situation with Canada’s federal conservatives is a joke. The four contestants hoping to replace Andrew Scheer are shallow, unimpressive ideologues—which also explains Scheer.

And as for the new democratic party, it is based on a socialism that reflects the desperation of Canada of the 1930s. It has not had a new idea since Tommy Douglas retired from politics. The party is still dominated by labour unions that are far from progressive and have no interest in the effort to convert it into a modern social democratic party. It is just another ideology, seriously in need of a leader.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

It’s not Christmas in May!

Friday, May 15th, 2020

How many times now have we seen prime minister Justin Trudeau pop out of Rideau Cottage with another package worth billions to offer succor to this group of Canadians or that? When asked about seniors, he just said, “They’re coming.” Well, he brought forward what they are doing for seniors the other day and I think Scrooge could have done better with a ‘Bah humbug!’

Maybe the prime minister does not know many seniors. The ones I know share the same problems. They are faced with constantly increasing costs while the volatile stock market plays havoc with their investments and retirement income funds. As they age, their buying power erodes and they can almost compute when it would be best for them to die. Mind you, I do not want covid-19 to rush that.

But, at this time of self-separation, it is actually difficult for seniors to spend much. If the government gives me any extra money this month, I will probably leave some of it in the bank for a while. My wife likes to cook, so we only order in occasionally. We are hardly going anywhere but our auto insurance rates go up. And we find grocery costs are climbing higher, we are paying more for our drugs and fat cats such as Bell Canada rip us off for Internet services. And where can we turn?

What seniors really need is a government that sticks with you. Seniors would do better with what the liberals promised last year. During the election, we were told that they would support a ten per cent increase in old age security (OAS) at age 75 and a 25 per cent increase in Canada pension plan (CPP) for survivors. That makes sense under current conditions.

We certainly need a realistic cost of living allowance with our CPP or with the OAS or guaranteed income supplement (GIS). Ideally, of course, it could all be combined in a guaranteed annual income system.

So next time Justin Trudeau pops out of the Rideau cottage cuckoo clock, I will just have to report to him that he and his neoliberal finance minister missed a good chance to help Canada’s seniors. This covid-19 might be thinning the ranks these days but they remain a viable force and those who are left will be out to vote next time.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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