Posts Tagged ‘Trudeau’

Where’s Justin?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Oh, we know where on this earth Prime Minister Trudeau might be located. We just wonder where his mind might be at? This country is going downhill morally and politically and our leader was recently down in New York giving a trite commencement address to graduates at New York University. He then headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston where he took part in a Solve Conference to address world problems.

We can hardly be caring about our prime minister being a feminist, in touch with the LGBTW communities, and a world-wide poster boy, when he should be here pulling this country in sensible directions. He has a mess of his own making now in B.C. and Alberta and his finance minister has just locked him into a catch-22 situation indemnifying a foreign-owned pipeline company against the legitimate right of Canadians to protest.

And what good is all his simpering diplomacy with Donald Trump when he has a Trump-wannabe trying to take over as premier in his backyard of Ontario? Is he afraid of Doug Ford? We remember how Premier Wynne helped Trudeau in the 2015 election. Is the PM just a fair-weather friend?

It also would not hurt if our prime minister learned a little more about the House of Commons. While Trudeau is busy out posing for selfies, the tory opposition is eating his lunch in parliament.

And if he knew a damn thing about the politics of the Middle East he would help not confuse matters by whining about one Canadian being shot in the midst of a blood bath. He should ask Israeli leader Netanyahu, “We all know President Trump’s an idiot to start this. What the hell is your excuse?”

And speaking of Trump, why are we sending our foreign affairs minister on these NAFTA pilgrimages? Does she not have anything more important to do? As long as Trump does nothing precipitous, we still have a working North American Free Trade Agreement. We have shown we are quite willing to negotiate but surely we have people smart enough to take notes working at the Washington and Mexico City embassies. Politicians are the ones who do the signing and take the credit or the blame as required.

And judging from the foreign minister’s reports from the front lines of the NAFTA negotiations, she does nothing to clarify the situation. She seems to be getting nowhere.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Different directions for divided liberals.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Prime minister Justin Trudeau needs to check the direction in which his mob is headed. It is very hard to get out front to lead them when you are headed in opposite directions. Seeing the directions and concerns of the Liberal Party of Canada at the Halifax gathering last weekend, Trudeau needs to reassess the makeup and direction and priorities of himself and his cabinet.

The truth is today that Liberal Party supporters are predominantly to the left of the political spectrum. They are also to the left of Justin Trudeau and his cabinet. While Trudeau has changed the party to try to prevent it from showing much organization and discipline, he has also made it harder to control. Environment minister Catherine McKenna and natural resources minister Jim Carr can talk the talk of their portfolios but the party knows them to be hypocrites when they support the twinning of the Texas owned Trans Mountain pipeline.

Trudeau needs to realize that next year it is not the elites around his office but the people in the electoral districts who will knock on doors with literature in hand. They are the people who made the breakthrough for Trudeau in 2015 and are needed to defend his less than perfect record in the 2019 federal election.

The prime minister might think that all he needs to do for the party is stand for a few selfies and talk sunny days but the party has shown its concern for where this country is going. The ones who came to Halifax want Pharmacare to match with Medicare. They want to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs to show the user that helping them is more important than penalizing them for addiction.

And it was the young liberals who brought forward reforms for those in sex work. Liberal forums have been hearing for more than fifty years of the need to decriminalize prostitution and to recognize the work of sex surrogates and sex workers as a critical outlet for societal needs.

But it is not the prime minister and his cabinet that should act as the naysayers to these proposals. They have to recognize that the need is to study and consider by a progressive and understanding society. Being conscious of the needs is the beginning.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A Confrontation of Confederation.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Even on a government VIP  Airbus, a flight from Lima, Peru to Ottawa is over 11 hours. I did that type of flight more than once and they were always an awful experience. I was able to reset my watch and I knew what time it was. My problem was that for a week, I kept asking what day it was.

When on a holiday, the jet lag is a minor problem but when you have serious meetings when you arrive, it is a very different matter. That is just one reason there were no great expectations for prime minister Justin Trudeau in his hastily called meeting in Ottawa the other day.

The meeting was the one with premiers Rachel Notley of Alberta and John Horgan of British Columbia. Our prime minister was going to use his super political powers to resolve a dispute they have been having. It was about a pipeline. It was no surprise that nothing was resolved.

Maybe we were not expecting much would come of the meeting but it is still a concern that nothing could be accomplished. If Canadians are lucky, the matter might get tied up at the supreme court. The justices are probably of a mind to throw it out but could do us all a favour by considering it for a year or two. The desperation at this stage is that it does not become a series of serious confrontations. If the army has to be called in to restore ‘order,’ the entire country could react badly.

Even the American Kinder Morgan pipeline people have recognized that they cannot restart their expansion efforts without protests. They have built extensive barricades around their Burrard Inlet port facilities to ensure the safety of their employees and their investment.

The very worst thing the company has done is to announce a deadline of May 31, for the federal or Alberta government to show the confidence to the financial community that this pipeline expansion will happen. That is a red flag to both sides of this confrontation of confederation.

There is a strange irony that Pierre Trudeau did so much to help pull Canada’s confederation together. It is his son who has the nerve to call himself an environmentalist who thinks he can ignore the concerns of those who care. The bad economic choices of Alberta politicians are hardly the stuff of a confident and consensual confederation.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Standing with BC’s John Horgan.

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

It is a memory from many years ago that sticks with you. It is this time of year. After being awakened by the sweeps rowers training on the harbour, you walk to downtown Vancouver from the Bayshore Inn, along streets lined with cherry blossoms in full bloom.

You drink in the wonderful freshness of the air off the Straits of Georgia. There is the warming sun on your face. You can still see the snow high atop the North Shore Mountains. Is this not a city to love?

British Columbia premier John Horgan would agree with that. We easterners might laughingly refer to it as Canada’s left coast but B.C. is a province of great beauty, industrious people and makes us proud.

And, somehow, there must be an answer to the current argument with Alberta. I suggested recently that we really need someone without a horse in the race to adjudicate between the premiers of Alberta and B.C. My suggestion was that it was about time for recently elected NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to show us what he can do.

Instead, we are expected to get prime minister Trudeau. He is cutting short his meetings in Lima, Peru to get back to Canada and meet with the two warring premiers.

The problem is that this is just two ganging up on one. Premier Sharon Notley of Alberta and the prime minister are equally committed to getting the pipeline expansion completed. There is nobody at the table capable of determining if there is a middle ground. There is no way to equalize. There is no way to compensate any party.

Advantage is obviously to the prime minister and Ms. Notley. And what does B.C. get but the thrills of the spills? And with three times the giant tankers in Burrard Inlet, you ask when, not if.

This is one problem that Justin Trudeau cannot solve with some selfies. There is nobody to charm.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The environmental crimes of Justin Trudeau.

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Our prime minister might not appreciate the charges but he needs to understand what is involved. Whether he likes it or not, he needs to be reminded of the five basic environmental crimes of the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Number one: While the stock shots of bitumen mining in Alberta show open-pit mining, the reality is that by far the bulk of the extensive bitumen deposits in the Athabasca and Cold Lake tar sands are deep underground. The standard procedure to retrieve these layers of bitumen is to drill and pipe down hot water and force up the bitumen. The only problem is you need vast settling tanks for all that contaminated, greasy water that endangers wildlife. And another problem is that you are never completely sure just where the bitumen and contaminated water might come up.

Number two: The existing 1150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline has operated since 1953 and is capable of transporting 300,000 barrels of crude oil or diluted bitumen per day. The expansion project is to add heaters and a high-pressure capability to the original pipe and build an additional high-pressure pipe with heaters to triple the daily capacity. It is hard to ignore the repeated incidence of spills from bitumen pipelines. When diluted bitumen gets into fresh water eco-systems, it can never be completely cleaned up.

Number three: The increased tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet and in the Straits is a hazard that even the federal government acknowledges but the government’s willingness to take responsibility is a serious potential cost for all Canadians.

Number four: Refining bitumen into ersatz crude oil is a highly polluting process. The bitumen slag produced is almost pure carbon and while it can be burned in high temperature applications, the carbon footprint continues. And there is no free pass on this from Mother Nature because the polluting is carried on in some third world country. Canada owns that carbon.

Number five: The end product of processed bitumen is some form of petroleum product. Whether burned in an internal combustion engine or as heating oil for a home, it adds to the carbon pollution of our world. The fact that bitumen creates more than three times the carbon footprint of natural crude oil is the problem. It is why Alberta does not want the responsibility for converting the bitumen to ersatz crude oil before shipping it out of the province.

It seems pointless for the Trudeau government to have an environment minister when it promotes pollution of this magnitude.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Has anybody seen Jagmeet?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

This is becoming ridiculous. The New Democratic Party of Canada has to have some leadership. Without leadership, it is going to become the forgotten party and the efforts of many fine people over the last 80 years will be wasted. The party can hardly continue as present with no leadership, no direction and no clear vision of the future for Canada.

No, I am not a party member. It is just that as a progressive, I expect the NDP to play a role in helping develop the critically needed social programs for Canadians. And I hardly want the one-person Green Party to be the only focus for protecting our environment.

We need ongoing dialogue in parliament on serving Canadian needs and the NDP is not playing its part. It has to have leadership to do that. And that same leadership should be inspiring and encouraging the NDP to be making a mark in provincial and district legislatures across the country.

If we had an effective leader of the NDP, there would a sit-down somewhere, but soon, with the federal leader, the premier of Alberta and the premier of British Columbia. Jagmeet Singh cannot consider himself leader of anything until he resolves this problem. There can only be one stand for the NDP on the Trans Mountain pipeline issue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already shown where hypocrisy takes us.

And the NDP cannot continue to delay by hoping that Kinder Morgan will simply reach its deadline at the end of May and cancel the expansion. The issue is our environment and the environment cannot be trusted to fools.

Jagmeet Singh has to realize that he will soon be accused of leaving the Ontario legislature before the total collapse of the Ontario NDP. There could be nothing left of the Ontario party but one or two seats in Northern Ontario after the June 7 provincial election.

We always assumed there was an intelligent and competent man in those colorful turbans and bespoke suits. Nobody really cares about Jagmeet being a devout Sikh but Canadians cannot accept his religion overshadowing the job he has undertaken. The job comes first. Maybe his fellow Sikhs should have thought about that before they joined the NDP en mass in both B.C. and Ontario. They decided the leadership for the NDP. Are they ready to accept that responsibility?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau has to dump Morneau.

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

We have been waiting. We have been patient but it has not happened. Prime minister Justin Trudeau still has that millstone Bill Morneau dragging him down to the depths of neoliberalism. It is not 2018 for this government until finance minister Bill Morneau is gone.

It is the story of Jean Chrétien’s government revisited. It was not the prime minister, at that time, who laid the table for Stephen Harper; it was the ego of his finance minister Paul Martin that did the liberals in. Paul loved to tell people that you could run to the left but you had to rule to the right. Canadians saw a neo-conservative in Martin and finally chose the real thing with Harper.

These liberals who consider themselves economic conservatives and social liberals are fooling nobody but themselves. Various studies have shown that Canada can save in excess of $4 billion a year with a national Pharmacare system. Morneau cannot salve his economic meanness with some kind of a patchwork system.

Frankly, Morneau seems to know less about the need than the man-on-the-street. He does not seem to understand that what we have now is a system that fails the sick and the dying. Are we going to remain the only major country with a Medicare program that does not have an equally accessible Pharmacare program included?

Morneau represents the same area in Toronto that would have been part of Mitchell Sharp’s riding back in 1966. As a young liberal from the area I happened to be seated next to Mitch at the plenary of the Liberal convention in Ottawa that year. We were arguing about Medicare. Mitch—as Mr. Pearson’s finance minister at the time—was using all his wiles to stop or at least slow Medicare happening in Canada.

When it came to the final vote on Mitch’s motion to delay implementation to July 1, 1968, I stood to vote for implementation in Centennial Year 1967. Mitch gave me an annoyed look. You could see him wondering what this communist was doing in his riding?

It continues to amaze me to this day what people such as the late Mitch Sharp and then Paul Martin and now Bill Morneau consider their duty. Their fiscal responsibility is nothing more than a mean-spirited, father-knows-best attitude. They throw barriers in the way of implementing services for people instead of finding creative solutions. They prefer the accolades of their peers at their club to the applause from the hoi-polloi for a job well done.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ageism and Justin Trudeau.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

There was an opinion piece in the paper the other day by a favourite commentator. She was writing about the Liberal government not trusting anyone older than the prime minister. That leaves a very large number of Canadians to be disposed of on the ice floes by this uncaring government.

I had always been under the impression that Justin Trudeau thought seniors would all be happy to have a selfie with him and he has been working hard on that project. It seems he thinks that will satisfy the old buggers.

Well it will not satisfy this one. As a long-time party member (before Justin was born) this Liberal expects more of him. I do not brush off easy.

I quickly learned what this government thinks of old Liberal apparatchiks when I offered some help to newly-appointed democratic reform minister Maryam Monsef. As something of an expert on voting systems—from pencil and paper to computers—and a Liberal who knows the ropes in Ottawa, I was pleased to offer her some help. She did not just turn me down, she ignored me. Watching how she handled the special committee on voting reform, I was not the least surprised when she was bounced from the portfolio to minister of status of women, where she is getting in less trouble.

The most direct problem Justin Trudeau has with seniors are the ones in the senate. He has disowned and antagonized the former liberal senators who are now supposed to consider themselves independent. They are cut off from the Liberal caucus and they really do not feel much love. Newly appointed senators are selected by an elitist committee and are thrust into a disorganized and confused senate. And when they just try to do their job, everyone complains about them holding up legislation.

But the Liberal cabinet member most responsible for the growing alienation of seniors is finance minister Bill Morneau. This minister has been salting away millions from selling off the company he inherited from his father. He is well looked after for his ‘golden years’ but the inflation he is encouraging is eating the heart out of current senior’s pensions.

The finance minister has to direct his department to come up with a better deal for pensioners with old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. They are also voters and they do not miss an opportunity to show you what they think.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

There are some real royals.

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

It is too bad that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was too busy to meet with the King and Queen of Belgium when they were in Ottawa the other day. These are a somewhat different type of royal. They are useful. They are not just figureheads and dilettantes. The Belgian royals brought 150 business leaders and others with them to help build stronger ties with Canada.

While trade between Belgium and Canada was $6.5 billion last year, Canada does that much bilateral trade with the United States in three days. The Belgians are hoping to see a substantial increase in their trade with Canada as the new Canada-European Union trade deal comes into effect.

The Belgians were greeted according to protocol by the Governor General and with all the correct ceremonies. It was obvious that they had hoped for a few words with Canada’s Prime Minister.

Belgium, as a sovereign country, is only about six years older than Canada. It is also a constitutional monarchy and has two major language groups. Part of the role of the royalty is to help hold the country together despite ongoing tensions between the Flemish (about 60 per cent of the population) and Walloons (close to 40 per cent).

In the United Kingdom, the Queen has a periodic briefing from her prime minister as to the affairs of the nation. In Belgium, the monarch is much more involved and he maintains direct contact with his cabinet ministers as to the progress of their bills and programs. He supplies the ministers with highly knowledgeable and apolitical advice.

Having visited Belgium and seen first hand the animosity between the Flemish and Walloons, I can only feel admiration for how the Belgian monarch helps to smooth relations between the two groups. Compared to the concern Prince Harry has with the guest list for his upcoming wedding to an American, it does seem to make our royals quite redundant.

But Canada will never be able to ameliorate its borrowed monarchy from England that does this country no favours. It might be a convenience for our politicians who think they know best about our needs but the refusal of our government to address concerns about the un-elected and undemocratic senate, supreme court appointments and the myriad of concerns about our need to update our democracy are not being solved.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The troubled travels of Trudeau.

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Good advice is a treasured commodity in government. Bad advice is plentiful. It seems that our current prime minister has plenty of the latter and not enough of the former. It could also be that Justin Trudeau has lots of good advice but chooses to ignore it. That was how his father behaved in his first term in office. He almost did not have a second term. And watching Trudeau the Younger these days, we are wondering if he even knows in what direction he is headed?

After an easy election despite the obvious weaknesses of his advisors, Justin Trudeau had a good start. He made the point that it was 2015 after all and he was a new broom. We said: Go for it, tiger!

We were not aware that we now had an elitist for prime minister. We were unaware that he wanted to take family vacations with the rich and famous. We had no idea that he would turn appointments over to elitist panels.

He did not seem to know that real men support feminism because they are proud of what women contribute in our society. Their respect and the equality of the sexes is self-evident and accepted. Real men and real women have little to prove.

Justin Trudeau’s devotion to his family is evident and commendable. His family is a truly charming representation of our country.

But when they travel abroad they are representing our country. They are not there just as tourists. They are not there to ape the dress and manners of their hosts. For the children to try native dress is charming. For our prime minister to repeatedly try native dress is distressing.

Stephen Harper would travel to excess to escape what he saw as the boredom of parliament. Justin Trudeau travels to escape what he sees as the nagging of parliament. If he does not find better sources of advice, nagging will be the least of his problems.

Watching ‘Chuckles’ Scheer paraded through the talk shows last weekend, it is obvious the shift in his position in his Conservative party. The move is from an interim fill-in to a possible success. The day they think of Scheer as a possible prime minister, I thought there would be at least three moons in the daylight sky.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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