Posts Tagged ‘Trudeau’

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.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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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.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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“Do as I say, not as I do.”

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

It is part of being of the political elite. We have no royals like the Brits. And we have little of America’s Hollywood. We have to settle for talking and speculating about our politicians. We put them on pedestals and then complain when they take advantage of their position to do as they wish.

And even a provincial premier can end up falling off their pedestal for doing what we were told specifically not to do. Premier Doug Ford of Ontario got ripped for telling us not to go north to our cottages over the Easter weekend. Yet he made a quick trip up to his family’s Lake Country cottage—to check the plumbing—we were told.

And then for Mothers’ Day, the premier had all four daughters home to honour their mother. He thinks that it is alright as he did not invite the sons-in-law. He apparently does not realize that they might be sleeping with his daughters.

But the elitist el supremo in this country is our prime minister. As the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, Justin has spent a life of privilege. He hobnobs with the rich and famous. He is a long-time friend of the Aga Khan, one of the world’s ten richest royals. You might remember when the prime minister and his family spent Christmas with him on the Khan’s island in the Bahamas. (Last we heard, the RCMP still had not reimbursed the Khan for accommodating the PM’s security detail.)

Justin’s latest display of his elitism was sending his wife and children to Harrington Lake in Quebec last month after she recovered from her bout of covid-19 at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. Travel between residences has been banned in both provinces and unnecessary travel between provinces is also being discouraged. While it is easy to understand the wish to visit with his wife and children, Canadians do not need a reminder that Justin Trudeau considers himself to be exempt from any rules.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Trudeau’s triumph.

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Fess up, guys, prime minister Justin Trudeau has won. The wonder kid has changed his spots and been exactly what Canadians have needed. Santa Claus came early this year. Even Bob Hepburn of the Toronto Star says that the Trudeau haters have been proved wrong.

While I pointed out a while ago that Trudeau lucked into his ideal positioning, I have had to admit that he has handled it well. He might still be an elitist but even an elitist can accept his good luck.

But I must admit that his appearances out of the cuckoo clock at Rideau Cottage have worn thin. There is no need for him to continue in his singles showcase and he can join with the hoi polloi from the cabinet and senior civil servants for briefings. Almost daily briefings make sense as long as the covid-19 scene keeps fulminating.

What Bob Hepburn is ignoring is that those Trudeau haters who blame Justin for everything, including the flooding in Fort McMurray, Alberta, will still hate him after the battle against covid-19 is over.

What I am hoping is what he has learned throughout this experience sticks with him. What has annoyed me about Justin in the past has been his unabashed elitism. You cannot remain elitist though when you are forced to understand the serious neglect our society has shown for those less fortunate. What he has seen so many times now that programs designed in Ottawa to reach these people are very hard to create and very difficult to manage.

What he has to understand is that the one-per cent with whom he has hobnobbed all his life are the ones who are out-of-step with being Canadian. I always got the feeling that the middle class to which he was always referring when campaigning existed only in his own mind.

I keep getting the feeling that this country is going to be very different after we shut the door on covid-19. I think we have learned too much about our short-comings through this first half of 2020, to ever want to be the same country again.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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It’s all about politics.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

There was a suggestion in the news the other day that few of us are interested in politics at this time. The assumption was that the coronavirus has chased politics out of the driver’s seat of the daily news. In my humble opinion, that is just so much twaddle. The coronavirus was not sent our way by all-powerful gods. We ended up in this mess because somewhere, some politicians screwed up.

The most reliable reports, at this time, are that the politicians in charge in Wuhan City of China were afraid to bother the top dog politicians in Beijing. They became concerned about an unusual flu that was going around. And then things got out of hand, like people dying. You know what happened when the bosses in Beijing found out.

Nobody wanted to hear the news from the world health folks either. When they declared the novel coronavirus to be a pandemic, nobody had any reason to be happy—unless they had a stockpile of personal protective equipment.

Somebody had let the disease dogs out.

To make matters worse, it was all run by the politicians. Some smart politicians listened to the advice of their medical experts and acted accordingly. Some did not like what their medical people told them and twitted their frustrations. That guy in the American white house, told us it was just a passing fancy. It would go away. The mess in the United States today can be laid at the feet of this man who nobody thinks of as a politician.

People such as Captain Canada, in the person of Justin Trudeau, saw a need for leadership. Despite his minority federal government, the prime minister drew the provincial premiers into his magic circle. What the news media see as political unanimity, you should know it for what it is: political opportunity. If our prime minister could just get a haircut, the world would return to normal.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Justin’s magic bag of money.

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

Watching the daily news conference by the prime minister the other morning, I lost track of how much money he was promising. No doubt our news media people are keeping track. I was struck by the similarity to an election campaign without the opposition critics jumping on every announcement—to either better the offer or denounce it. It was as though the prime minister had a magic bag of money from which to draw the funds to solve all our problems.

This particular day was promises for our university students to keep them going through a summer when jobs will be scarce. The amounts were not all that generous, but by the time he had finished, some $9 billion had been lavished on Canada’s students.

As with all the aggressive spending to compensate people for the ravages of the coronavirus, there was the provision that the amounts had to be approved by parliament. Whether the opposition in the house of commons would suggest less than the government offered would be quite unlikely.

As it is, the government is constantly discovering people who have been missed by this program or that. The solution has been to simply add these people to the program and to worry later if the payment was really warranted.

This ‘by guess or by golly’ attitude is particularly applicable to the emergency response benefit package. Run through the Canada revenue agency, this is a very generous package. If you lost your job or even a potential job because of the coronavirus, you can apply for $500 per week for up to 16 weeks. To catch up with the program, this past week, people were receiving cheques for as much as $2000.

This just happens to be the amount that people who support the idea of a guaranteed minimum wage, think should be the starting amount for a national guaranteed minimum income program.

There is lots more money in Justin’s magic bag. At the end of his answering questions he was asked about what he intended to do for seniors. He said that is still to come!


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The populism of the coronavirus.

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

We live in an age of populist political solutions but we never expected to have to deal with a populist pandemic. The problem is that a populism pandemic is blind. It strikes the rich and powerful one per cent as easily as the person in poverty. It can kill the old and infirm and the very young, and, carelessly, many in between. It is a leveler.

But it is how the politicians respond to the concerns and needs of their populations at this time that tells you much about them. Their grades are there for all to see.

For that man-child, Trump, in the American White House, his ditty for the day is. “Pandemic, pandemic go away, little Donald wants to play.”

Did you ever expect to see a subdued prime minister such as Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom? He looked a bit rocky after his harrowing experience with covid-19. We will have to wait to see if he learned anything.

Canada’s prime minister sits in the cat bird seat at Rideau Cottage, the nation’s media at his beck and call. His elitist solutions to a financial fix are still allowing hundreds of thousands of Canadians to slip through the sewer grates—the detritus of Canadian humanity. And it is at a time when Bell Canada and other telecommunications companies are reaping the profits—encouraging others to raise prices and profiteer from the silent death.

And then there are the phonies filling in for premiers in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Their bluster and promises are as hollow as their complaints about reaping the results of inadequate support and control of the long-term care facilities for the old and the frail and the incurable and incompetent in our society. The provinces promote inadequate facilities and pay the caregivers next to nothing—all in the interest of higher profits for their supporters.

Yes, we do measure our society on our treatment of the very young and the very old and those who cannot help themselves. This populist pandemic has found us wanting.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Lucking into leadership laurels.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

You hardly need to check with pollsters to know that prime minister Justin Trudeau has aced it. He is getting lots of positive votes for his leadership in this time of crisis. You even talk to known conservatives and some of them tell you what a good job he is doing. And would you believe that, in some ways, he has won the kudos by happenstance?

Part of it was Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Her testing positive to covid-19 on returning to Canada after a speaking trip to the United Kingdom, is not something that could be planned. The prime minister’s wife was quarantined at home and the prime minister chose to be in isolation with her and the children. He was just one more Canadian being told to go home and stay there. Mind you, when you are prime minister, you can work from wherever you like.

It also brought the news media to the Rideau Cottage briefings. It might not be 10 Downing Street but only the prime minister is allowed at that mike. The briefing at 11:15 am has been convenient for the government and the news media. And large numbers of Canadians are watching and talking about the words direct from the PM.

Compared to that buffoon in Washington, Mr. Trudeau’s information is precise, understandable and helpful. Mr. Trump seems to run a Gong Show with more-qualified actors trying to correct his misdirection, confusion, pet theories and favoured medications.

While no doubt the opposition leaders in parliament are deeply resentful of the opportunity given to the liberal leader, there is little they can do about it. Mr. Trudeau can easily fall back on the national interest and the non-partisan (well, sort-of) nature of what he has to tell Canadians. What can the opposition do anyway when the largest opposition party (the conservatives) is trying to choose a new leader, the new democrats need a leader, the bloc québécois want to stick around for a while and the greens want a new leader.

The only achievement of the opposition so far is to say no to a very silly suggestion that they give complete control to the liberals for the next two years. That was taken off the table.

But it really could be two years before politics in this country gets back to normal. Until then, we are going to be fed pap such as deputy pm Chrystia Freeland and Ontario premier Doug Ford being the best of buddies. With politics in that bad a shape, we have got to beat this coronavirus as soon as possible!


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Paying for Jobs?

Monday, April 6th, 2020

After careful study over the past few days, listening to the ideas of others and comparing the programs, I have decided that it is all a terrible waste. The federal government’s big billion bailout for Canadian business is money down the drain. We can do much better.

First of all, this emergency wage subsidy idea is not only wasteful but turns its back on a sensible approach to the need. Why not let the banks do what they do best—lend money to business? In this case, the loans can be forgivable—if it is confirmed that the money is directed to salaries and keeping Canadians employed, as promised. That way experts are doing the lending. And the government has their back, as usual. The government can foot the bill and allow the banks a bit of interest—a lot cheaper for the taxpayers.

And the whole system can be in process as soon as the government gives the banks the go-ahead. And, let’s be honest. Government employees make poor loan officers.

You might also want to ponder just how many former employees want the job back with the company that fired them or, euphemistically, laid them off? They should be allowed to go where they want. This is still a democracy, I hope.

But at the same time as this program eventually gets off the ground, will these people really be going back to work? Will airlines need flight staff so soon, will restaurants need wait staff, will fitness clubs need instructors, will schools need teachers? Or will we still be dancing two metres apart?

The only part of the deal to be presented to parliament that makes any sense is the Canada emergency response benefit that will pay individuals $2000 per month. It is really too bad that this program is only slated to be operating for four months. In Ontario where there are more than 360,000 people getting support from the provincial disability support program (ODSP). The maximum ODSP payment is just over $1100 per month. These people stay alive because charities, food banks, churches and families give them some help. There is no help from the uncaring Ford conservatives. They even tried to cut the payments in the program when they came into office.

Maybe the Trudeau liberals also forgot these people!


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Checking with the Cuckoo Clock.

Monday, March 30th, 2020

We have a pattern emerging. Every day at 11 am Eastern, we are now tuning into a news channel or live streaming CPAC on the Internet. The opening shot, is of the front door of Rideau Cottage, on the grounds of Rideau Hall in Ottawa. There is often a wait but the news channels are filling the time with related news about covid-19. We are waiting for the prime minister to pop out of the cottage door to provide us with an update on Canada’s war with the coronavirus.

It is somewhat similar to the news media practice in England of setting up at 10 Downing Street in London for announcements from the prime minister of the United Kingdom. I like to think of it as sort of ‘the mother of all cuckoo clocks.’

Mind you, my wife has taken umbrage at what she considers my rude reference to our prime minister. She is quite in agreement if I choose to suggest Boris Johnson is a cuckoo. As all we have is each other in this time of isolation, I think I will acquiesce.

Besides, in discussing the prime minister’s performance over lunch, she asked me to rate his performance on a scale of one to ten. I gave him an eight. He stuck to the script during his prepared remarks and there was far less grunting as he thought about his words in answer to reporters’ questions.

We were particularly impressed when his remarks were directed to Canadian children. Only a caring father would think of that. It reminded me of the times when there were arguments with his father, Pierre Trudeau, about including some remarks about his children when addressing the Canadian public. He kept his children private. A different era, I guess.

Pierre did allow his children to be included on his Christmas card. When she first met Justin, my wife was telling him about her collection of Trudeau family cards that showed him and his brothers growing up. He had his staff add her to his Christmas card list. At least Pierre sent them to both of us.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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