Posts Tagged ‘Trudeau’

Sales people can be the easiest sale.

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Justin Trudeau blew it the other day. His task was simple. He was to sell Premier Ford of Ontario on helping to save the environment. And while he was at it, he also needed to help Ford understand that Canadians try their best to help refugees. At the same time, Ford needed to help preserve a common front with the feds on the ongoing North American Free Trade (NAFTA) negotiations.

But we are not sure that the third item even made it into the discussion.

Instead of pitching his product, the prime minister set out to lecture the premier. It would be hard to choose a bigger waste of time. Doug Ford was there to prove that he was now the premier and the prime minister had come to him for something. Ford was feeling like top dog in that kennel.

Next time, Trudeau should remember to send for Ford. He should have had the meeting in the more impressive prime minister’s office. Turf is everything to a guy like that.

And what right does Trudeau have to get miffed at the obduracy of Ford? Did he expect instant understanding? Those guys do not speak the same language. And I hardly mean French and English.

Ford is not an environmentally friendly kind of person. He is the type who doesn’t care about plastic straws and probably throws his empty Tim’s cup out the SUV window at a stoplight. He seems to see environmentalism as something for wusses.

And his attitude on refugees is straight out of the Donald Trump Handbook. He sees them all as mad rapists and criminals who want our free medical care and housing who will take the bread from Canadians. Mind you, if Trudeau thinks it is a complex subject, he obviously is not going to enlighten the likes of Ontario’s Doug Ford.

Despite Trudeau’s background as a teacher, Ford is probably a special needs case when it comes to this subject. Ontario’s bombastic new social services minister, Lisa MacLeod has also indicated to her federal counterpart that the province was no longer interested in doing anything for asylum seekers who are shifting their focus from the United States.

Be warned you tired and poor and huddled masses, the signs at the borders of Ontario are no longer going to say ‘welcome’ either.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

You get what you pay for.

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

It comes as a surprise to learn that the new democrats across Canada are a bunch of paupers. We are told that they are not paying Jagmeet Singh for his work as leader of the party. He is unelected and therefore not being paid from the public purse either. It does not seem right.

How long does the party think he can keep going without money? Those bespoke suits and colorful hair coverings are not free. The guy has an image to maintain and the party is not helping.

Members of parliament in Canada are paid about $175,000 in base salary and earn more for committee work outside of regular house attendance. This would have been a nice bump from his previous pay of around $125,00 as deputy leader of the NDP at Queen’s Park

Jagmeet also has a reputation to maintain as the best-dressed NDP in Canada He also has his reputation among Canadian Sikhs to consider. The Sikh community might not like it if everyone started to think that Sikhs do not need to earn money.

Besides he is getting married sometime soon and he is expected to keep his ‘princess’ in the manner to which she would like to be accustomed.

But instead of being tied down with parliamentary duties in Ottawa, Jagmeet is a free agent able to travel back and forth across the country beating the drum for the NDP. I guess his intent is to spread the word for socialism—as practised by the NDP. I am sure he does not need to pass an alms bowl around the union halls to pay for his supper as we hear the party at least pays his expenses.

Frankly, and not to criticize Jagmeet, we are wondering if this is really paying off for the party? It looks like the party vote bottomed at the recent bye-election in Quebec. This might or might not have anything to do with Jagmeet’s leadership or religion. This is a judgement call that can only be made from the midst of the bye-election.

But it will be time to fish or cut bait next year. The upcoming federal election in 2019 will tell us about the success or failure of the Jagmeet experience. The hypocrisy of the Trudeau liberals and their Trans Mountain pipeline is not going to help them in B.C. or even Alberta and the new democrats are the only party that could come out well on both sides of the issue.

There is also opportunity for the NDP across the country. Whether Jagmeet is the leader to take advantage of it, remains the question.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

One Canada: Two men named Trudeau.

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Is Justin Trudeau building on or confusing the legacy of Pierre Trudeau? Thinking back to that Canada Day 50 years ago when Pierre Trudeau was our new prime minister, I think of two very different men. As the wife and I decided the first time we met Justin Trudeau, he is a very different person than his father.

The wife pinned it down by simply stating that Justin Trudeau was probably more like his mother. He is certainly not the aesthetic nor intellectual as was his father. Justin marches to his own drummer. It was only when seeing him speak at his father’s funeral that we saw that there was a nascent politician in the offing.

In his actions as prime minister, Justin Trudeau has built on his father’s legacy of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He has added a strong pro-feminist stance to our governance as well as a clearer understanding of abortion rights. And we at least have a start towards a declaration of the right of the individual to death as well as life.

But somewhere along the way growing up, Justin must have seen the vehemence of the hatred in Alberta for his father’s national energy policy (NEP). It was as though the elder Trudeau was stealing the bread from Albertan mouths rather than grandfathering the rights of Alberta to its natural resources-based economy. The NEP was forever labelled as an affront and as poaching on Albertan rights. It probably did not bother the father as much as the son.

Yet, no amount of pandering to political greed is going to change the perceptions of many Albertans. Justin Trudeau has even betrayed his hard-won image as a poster boy for the environment. By offering to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and make it a federal government project, he has betrayed the Paris environmental agreement with most of the world.

The expanded pipeline is designed to pump Alberta highly polluting tar sands bitumen at high pressure to Burrard Inlet and ocean-going tankers. Ersatz crude oil from the tar sands is produced at three times the usual pollution before it is refined to any of many oil products.

Pierre Trudeau loved the natural beauty of Canada and was an avid canoeist. What is the heritage his son Justin is leaving for his children as he so defiantly increases Canada and the world’s carbon footprint?

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Prince of Pot.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Are you looking forward to the Prince of Pot’s coronation on October 17? That will be the day when you can legally buy and use cannabis in Canada for purely recreational purposes. Maybe. It depends on whether your province has got its proprietary pot shops in place. It has taken a long three years for this particular pot promise to happen.

It was the promise that got a lot of the younger voters out and working to help elect Justin Trudeau and his liberals in 2015.

Unlike Trudeau’s ill-considered promise to make that election the last time we would use first-past-the-post voting, the pot promise will now happen.

Maybe one of the reasons that the pot promise took so long was that Trudeau put a one-time policeman in charge of the file. This was the cop who trashed our civil rights during the ill-fated G-20 in Toronto in 2010. It should go down in history on a par with the federal conservative government reaction to the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.

But there was no smooth sailing for the pot act all the way through parliament. It is reputed by some to be a deeply flawed bill and was rejected when studied by Canada’s elitist senate. Flawed or not, the bill was sent back to the senate by parliament for passing. In as much as most of the senators really like the sinecure of their high-paid jobs, the bill was passed.

There are still some provincial governments concerned about the allowance for some home-grown pot and that argument could become the stuff of which the Supreme Court has to consider. Frankly, the court should throw any complaint out as soon as it shows up on its docket.

But how are the pot partakers to participate in the 2019 election? Their Prince of Pot will need them again. He needs their contributions. He needs their participation. Will they all be so stoned that they will forget all about it?

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Chrystia’s Cassandra Complex?

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, might not be a fortune teller but she had more than a few truths for the Americans last week. Our only concern might be with her timing, discretion and diplomacy. As the expression goes: Rome was not built in a day—and it took a few more centuries to strip it of power. It survived for many years after the unruly rule of Emperor Nero. And, like Nero, Donald Trump will just be another blot on the copybook of history.

But it was not a diplomatic speech Freeland gave to the foreign policy forum in Washington. She was challenging the pre-eminence of America.

Maybe that is a necessary message to which Americans should listen. It would just be treated with more respect if it came from within.

Think of the message that prime minister Lester Pearson delivered to Temple University in Philadelphia in 1965 about the Vietnam war. It led to the famous scene of president Lyndon Johnson grabbing Pearson by the lapels and shouting at him about pissing on the presidential rug. The message is that Canadians can visit Washington but need to be seen, not heard.

While her call for adherence to the rules that the Americans insisted on as part of the North American trade agreement might be logical, it falls on deaf ears on the Trump administration. Nobody in that maladministration cares about her claims.

And giving Americans history lessons is also, in itself, a waste of time. They can write their own self-aggrandizing history books in Hollywood, thank you very much.

Freeland might be pint-sized but she is entitled to walk tall in the corridors of Washington. She represents a country that has always batted above its numbers among the world’s nations. It is not a nation easily gulled.

Canada’s foreign minister would have an easier time of it if her boss was not a pretty boy running around the world posturing with platitudes and posing for selfies. He makes a farce of his promises in Paris when he then ridicules the process of saving the environment by promoting Alberta tar sands pollution for the third world. It makes him a hypocrite and an embarrassment for Canadians.

Freeland’s speech in Washington drew some applause from outside the White House but is unlikely to mean much as NAFTA comes to its inevitable end. It will die as part of  Trump’s efforts to make America great at something again.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Salutations to Samara!

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Somebody else cares! There is help on the horizon. Canada’s political parties have been ground down to unimportant collections of non-entities over the past 40 years. And it seems that the non-partisan Samara Centre for Democracy in Ottawa cares. Welcome to the fray folks.

Samara got into the action because of their excellent work in trying to understand the motivations and concerns of our members of parliament. Despite the forces trying to stuff the members of parliament into sheep pens for their leaders, they do get brave, but only after they leave parliament.

Mind you, whomever told the Samara folks that parliament is just show business for ugly people should be horse whipped. The country’s business is not show business and the last party leader who cared was Pierre Trudeau.

When he was quoted as saying that MPs are non-entities more than 25 feet from parliament hill, the liberal prime minister was referring to most Quebec MPs. He was actually impressed with the strength of the party organization he found supporting strong candidates in other parts of the country.

But after Pierre retired, the Quebec sickness was allowed to spread. The Quebec federal liberal party was a top-down cabal that controlled what riding organization that existed and appointed their candidates. Across the country since then, the shift in all parties has been to party leader control of nominations and policy development. The party has become nothing more than a list of donors that the parties hound for funds and for help in elections. This has to change.

Restoring the individual MP to effectiveness in parliament demands a certain independence from control by the party leader and his whips. It means having a strong and effective party organization in each electoral district across the country. It requires a strong party organization that represents Canada’s regions, provinces and country that stands apart from the elected arm of the party. The party leader runs the elected arm of the party and the party president runs the party.

As it stands today, Canada’s MPs are not doing their job. They are not doing their critical work in committees, they are not effectively representing their electoral district constituents and they are taking a salary from the taxpayers under false pretenses.

There is much to be done and the Samara Centre is helping Canadians to understand the problems.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

From Teddy’s ‘Bully Pulpit.’

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Trust President Donald Trump to get it wrong. He thinks of President Theodore Roosevelt’s White House ‘bully pulpit’ as a place to bully other world leaders. What Roosevelt saw as a great place from which to show strong leadership, Trump seems to think of it as a safe haven from which to insult others.

There was a wonderful picture from the G7 summit in La Malbaie going the rounds on the Internet that had been doctored to show Trump sitting in a high chair with a bowl of spaghetti overturned on his head. He is being confronted in the picture by Angela Merkel of Germany, Shinzō Abe of Japan and the head of the European Union. That picture certainly says volumes about the G7 meeting!

But what a waste Trump makes of the White House as a bully pulpit.

And for Trump and his acolytes in the White House to be ridiculing the prime minister of Canada is both rude and stupid. Trump is creating a rift with the six other most powerful and progressive countries in the world. The G7 has become the G6 plus one outlier. And Trump needed to understand that if he did not like Trudeau’s agenda for the meeting, there was lots of opportunity to add other subjects. In fact, world trade did get an airing.

Maybe Trump was frustrated by being with people he could not bully.

But, also, who would be so stupid as to deliberately insult your next-door neighbours? Canada and the United States of America have been good friends for over 150 years. Even the staunchest of Trump’s followers would have trouble understanding his tweets against Canada. And he would hear about it if half a million Canadian snow-birds stopped going to Florida each winter.

And yet in a meeting with Trudeau, Trump accused Canadians of burning down the White House in 1812. All Trudeau had time to say was “No we did not.” He wanted to correct Trump with the fact that it was the British who burnt Washington, only after the Americans set fire to Fort York—which later became the city of Toronto.

One of the apologists for Donald Trump in the U.S. went on TV on Sunday with the suggestion that Trump needed to look strong for the meeting with Kim Jong Un. If Trump needs to put down the entire G7 to make himself seem more important, the U.S. is in more trouble than we thought.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump’s play date with Kim Jong Un.

Monday, June 11th, 2018

The American president plans to add to his infamy tomorrow as he meets with Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea. It seems incongruous for Donald Trump to be traveling about the world causing consternation and havoc wherever he goes. Will it take the North Korean dictator to show Trump for what he really is?

Trump and his troops are still in a tizzy over his treatment in Charlevoix, Quebec during the G7 meeting. Nobody at the world leaders’ meeting seemed very happy with Mr. Trump. It is unlikely that his host Justin Trudeau was really ‘taking the mickey’ on Trump when he presented him with a framed picture of great grandpa Trump’s 1899 whore house in Bennett, British Columbia. Everyone’s family fortune starts somewhere.

It was just unfortunate that president Trump took the criticisms at the G7 meeting personally. There was no need for all the personal insults on Twitter by Trump afterwards. It looked as though The Donald entertained himself and his claque all the way to Singapore dreaming up more insults for his Canadian host. Does he realize wars have been started for less?

The most amazing suggestion that the Trump Terror came up with at Charlevoix meeting was the threat to stop all trade with countries that do not go along with his ideas. When you think of the daily trade in billions crossing the Canada-U.S. border, the suggestion takes on the dimensions of the preposterous. Just making the suggestion shows that he has absolutely no idea what is involved. We would respectfully suggest that the American Congress needs to impeach this guy before he destroys the North American and maybe the world economy.

But we also need to take a hard look at Trump and his play date with Kim Jong Un. What do you expect to get when put together two of the world’s loose cannons with the biggest egos?

There is a growing awareness that the North Koreans are really using a gullible Trump as a foil to ease the sanctions against them. They probably have absolutely no intention to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula but will promise Trump they will anyway.

Can you not see Donald Trump flying home to Washington, flourishing Kim’s signature and announcing “Peace for our time”? It was 80 years ago that Brit prime minister Neville Chamberlain said that on arrival at London. Mr. Trump is just not a student of history.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

It was not all about Trump.

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

The American president flew out of Canada’s Bagotville air base yesterday a disappointed egotist. He stopped by to impress the other world leaders and got the cold shoulder. Not even the stunning spring beauty of the Charlevois region of Quebec could rescue the frosty atmosphere of the G7 meeting.

But Donald Trump is a bad guest. He arrived late and left early. He had no interest in the meeting agenda. He threw a curve on arrival suggesting that his friend Vladimir Putin of Russia should be there. He contributed nothing but dissention and distrust. He was rude to his host, the world leaders and anyone else who took an interest.

There was no question that host Justin Trudeau’s agenda was important but not the primary concerns of the day. That was no excuse for Trump posting rude tweets about the meeting as soon as he got to the wi-fi on Air Force One.

Why Trump wanted to keep accusing other world leaders of having 300 per cent tariffs on dairy products was not the point of the meeting. If he really wanted to understand the difference between supply management and the American boom or bust free-for-all in the dairy industry, he should talk to Wisconsin dairy farmers first. Canadians have been accommodating under the North American trade agreement but they are not about to allow the destruction of a working system of controls over a volatile industry.

What is more problematic is this egotist is now in Singapore to meet Kim Jong Un. The North Korean leader is already there and the world has absolutely no idea of what this meeting will solve. It has always been the impression of this commentator that Kim Jong Un is a puppet for the military leaders in North Korea and he has absolutely no concern for his Korean people.

President Trump has been bragging that he will get the North Korean leader to completely denuclearize his country. There is no indication that Kim will trade his (possible) nuclear capability for the right to trade with the United States. He would probably like to keep his nuclear threat alive a little longer.

But whatever transpires in Singapore between the two leaders is probably subject to agreement by the cooler cadres in Washington and the militaristic minds in Pyongyang. Who would trust Kim and Donald?

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump to be at Le Manoir Richelieu.

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Despite being in danger from maddened beavers, American president Donald Trump says he is coming to gamble with the rich and famous of the world this weekend. The other six members of the G7 are not his friends and the old Manoir overlooking the St. Lawrence River is not to Mr. Trump’s more spacious standards. It is time for typical Trump bravado.

How will German chancellor Merkel respond when he says the new tariffs are not personal. He will say that he only put the 25 per cent tariff on steel and ten per cent on aluminum to get their attention.

And Mr. Trump thinks he needs the world’s attention?

The American president already has host prime minister Justin Trudeau’s attention. Trump has been demanding more and more concessions on NAFTA to try to force the Canadians to comply with American demands or call quits themselves on the North American trade treaty between Canada, Mexico and the United States. So far, the Canadians have stood their ground, been cool to separate deals and not taken the bait.

But now there will be allies in the room. French president Emmanuel Macron is no friend of Trump. With his is age and interests being more similar to Justin Trudeau, he and the Canadian prime minister are natural allies.

With the United Kingdom heading steadily and foolishly towards Brexit, one wonders what prime minister Elizabeth May’s motivations will be this year? Is the vaunted G7 about to become the G6 as her parliament makes repeated cuts to her travel budget?

Prime minister Shinzō Abe of Japan is also looking hard at those steel tariffs from his formerly close friends in Washington. He will also have much to discuss with his friends in the G6. And why his neighbour from China is not there becomes a more serious error every year.

The new kid on the block this year is Giuseppe Conte, the new prime minister of Italy. A jurist, he might just take in the entire circus and save his judgement for the end.

The good news is that the Casino de Charlevoix is right there and anytime the participants get bored, they can go to that nice little casino and make a contribution to the Quebec economy. There is always more than the magnificent scenery to please tourists at La Malbaie.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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