Posts Tagged ‘Trudeau’

Kudos to Vancouver’s Kennedy Stewart.

Friday, October 26th, 2018

It took guts. That was no walk in the park for a new democrat to give up his seat in parliament and challenge for the Vancouver mayoralty, as an independent. It was a tough fight with no guarantees. And the remaining problem is that there is now a progressive in the mayoralty with an equally split right and left-wing council.

Stewart might be the first independent mayor in Vancouver in more than 30 years but, if he plays his cards carefully, the right-wingers on council will be reluctant to vote against him. The five are all from the highly partisan ‘non-partisan Association, known as the NPA. With only ten councillors in total, the others are three Greens and one each from two left-leaning parties. (And you thought premier John Horgan had a tenuous situation.)

Stewart defeated the NPA mayoralty candidate by close to 1000 votes. He is definitely the mayor the city needs for the problems ahead. Few will be neutral as the Trudeau government tries to force the expansion of the Trans-Mountain pipeline to Burnaby.

Mind you, Trudeau seems happy to let tempers cool on the pipeline while the judicial demand for reconsideration is taking place. The earliest there will be any construction activity is expected in March or April of 2019. One of Trudeau’s major problems is that there are growing elements from within his own liberal party that are resisting the expansion.

When the pipeline is twinned, equipped with heaters and higher-pressure pumps, it will be capable of bringing close to 900,000 barrels per day across the Rockies to Burrard Inlet. This will be barrels per day, mainly of diluted tar sands bitumen, the most polluting of all oil sources.

Mining bitumen requires heating vast quantities of water and forcing it down to the layers of bitumen strata and bringing it up to the surface. This creates vast settling ponds of greasy water that can kill wild life. Bitumen contains about three times the carbon of normal crude oil and this creates huge piles of what is called bitumen slag in the refining process. This is why the oil companies prefer to send it to third world refineries where nobody cares about the pollution.

With more spokespeople such as Kennedy Stewart, we will be heard.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Can Canadians live with this?

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

It is more important than we knew. We are talking about the environment. Our environmental poster boy Justin Trudeau has made too many promises that he has no way of keeping. Our Pollyanna environment minister Catherine McKenna makes promises she cannot keep and quotes government policy that will never happen.

And you saw what happened in Ontario. That pig, Doug Ford is busy tearing down the work of the provincial liberals of the last decade and a half. Ontario went off coal, invested in clean energy and established a strong cap and trade relationship with California and Quebec. Nobody said the plan was perfect but it was starting to pay off. Doug Ford is putting an end to that.

And to make matters worse, Ford is allying himself with Western climate change deniers such as premier Scott Moe in Saskatchewan and conservative trouble maker Jason Kenney in Alberta. These conservative leaders put profit ahead of our children’s future and are fighting against federal program attempts to try to curb pollution such as a proposed carbon tax.

But the most serious problem is that Trudeau’s liberal government seems to think it is not responsible when it ships pollution to other parts of our world.

This government wants to construct a doubled pipeline to Burnaby, B.C. to ship Alberta’s tar sands bitumen to other countries. The highly polluting process to make synthetic crude oil out of bitumen is destroying our world whether it is processed in India or in Alberta.

And the pollution of creating ersatz crude oil is just one of the problems in tar sands exploitation. The rapidly growing areas of settling ponds (that can kill wildlife) in northern Alberta are a testament to the process of sending heated water into to tar sands deposits to bring the bitumen to the surface.

And to make it even worse, bitumen has to be mixed with lighter oils and be heated to be forced at high pressure through pipelines. The diluted bitumen is abrasive and far more likely to cause leaks and spills. It can get in streams and rivers and cause endless destruction of the environment and the further killing of wildlife.

If Justin Trudeau and his cabinet do not know how exploitation of the tar sands is speeding global warming, they are either ignorant, do not care or are hypocrites. Take your pick.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump’s Win?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

We might as well let Donald Trump think he won. You hate to give a bully the victory but he would just go away and pout if we did not. What he really got was the right to rename the deal. That way, he can tell his claque that he got rid of NAFTA. It is now called the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA). It sounds like a branch of the United States Marine Corp, but what the heck—as long as it works for everybody involved.

It might be that Canada let the U.S. in on a bit of its milk market but the farmers can easily be compensated for that small encroachment. It leaves the fresh milk market to Canada’s farmers and that is the important part for consumers.

I would say it is a win for Justin Trudeau and his foreign affairs minister. They held the course throughout the negotiations. They did not let Trump’s irresponsible twits rattle them and they held the course to the end when the Americans had to agree to the deal or look terribly stupid.

The best part of the win was Canada sticking to its guns on bringing Mexican auto-worker wages into line. The $16 minimum wage for the Mexicans making autos and trucks is a huge jump and the impact it will have in Mexico will change that country a great deal. It will help drive up the costs of a holiday in Mexico for Americans and Canadians but that is fair too!

The other part of the deal that was vital to Canada was the continuation of the dispute settlement clause as it was in the original deal. The idea of submitting disputes to America’s highly politicized judicial system was a guarantee of constant harassment.

It also looks like Canada came out ahead on the automobile part of the deal. It looks like we have strengthened our position on auto parts and there are fewer concerns about the bleeding off of final assembly.

All in all, we can have the pleasure of looking south and giving Mr. Trump what Americans often refer to as the Canadian salute. Middle finger at the ready…go!

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Perchance, a prophet’s pipeline pays profits?

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

If there is bad news among the brochures delivered in the post this day, is the bad news to be blamed on Canada Post? And should a government encourage the building of a pipeline for the transmission of natural gas to replace more seriously polluting coal-fired plants to produce electricity? Do the politicians get plaudits? Or are we, as a caring society, conflicted by these moves?

Listening to Ontario environmental commissioner Dianne Saxe the other day, did not help. It was, without direct accusation, a serious indictment of Ontario’s current conservative government.

But was it, at the same time, an indictment of the Trudeau government in Ottawa? Was it an indirect challenge to the climate change potential of the government’s recently purchased Kinder Morgan pipeline across the Canadian Rockies? Could it be that the expanded pipeline is to be just a blameless delivery mechanism such as Canada Post? Or is it political one-upmanship?

The conservatives and liberals in Ottawa these days are arguing about who is the biggest friend of the pipeline business. Conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer and liberal leader Justin Trudeau are arguing about who has created the most pipelines to take the pollution of Canada’s tar sands to tidewater. These are not just pipelines for crude oil but pipelines for diluted bitumen—that creates more than three times the carbon pollution in being processed to synthetic crude oil products.

And besides, Trudeau must be a prophet—as he can so easily brush aside all the concerns about a high-pressure, dual pipeline spilling bitumen into the ecosystem of the Rockies and the fragile fisheries of the west coast.

Does the liberal government in Ottawa have the right to say “We won” because of the use of taxpayer billions to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline? Does it make Justin Trudeau the prophet, loved of Alberta admirers? Or does it make him the dupe of Albertan greed? And is Alberta premier Rachel Notely but a stalking horse for the greed and ambitions of united conservative party leader Jason Kenney?

And can the prophetic Justin Trudeau profit not from his perfidy? Is there not a federal election in 2019?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Dragging down the dialogue.

Friday, September 28th, 2018

That Donald Trump is at it again. The diplomats laughed at him in the United Nations in New York the other day. Prime minister Justin Trudeau of Canada was walking by in the U.N. building the next day and did not want add to the American president’s discomfort and stopped to commiserate. Trump brushed him off.

It could have been left at that. It is just that Donald Trump never knows when it is best to shut up. In a no-holds-barred bear baiting with the news media the next day, where the media was the bear, Trump insulted the chief Canadian negotiator on the NAFTA file, lied about and maligned Canada’s prime minister and made it almost impossible for America’s chief negotiator to bring anything positive to the NAFTA table in future negotiations.

It begs the question as to whether there is any point to further discussion of the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States?

The point of this is that Mr. Trump knows that the Canadians are not going to tell him to ‘Get Stuffed.’ They, of course, know they have a right to tell him to but they are also being diplomatic and it is inappropriate for prime ministers and foreign ministers to tell the head of another nation to ‘Get Stuffed.’ No nation has gone to war over the head of the nation being told to ‘Get Stuffed,’ though there could always be a first time.

In all my years in politics and communications, this is the first time I have seriously felt that it is time to break with the diplomatic protocols and call a spade a spade.

There is no question but that Donald Trump is enjoying spewing all this garbage because he knows he can get away with it.

It is to Canada’s credit that our negotiators and prime minister have put up with this crap from Trump without responding in kind. Never let it be said that Canada walked away from NAFTA because of that disgusting Donald Trump.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“Once more unto the breach, my friends…”

Friday, September 21st, 2018

The Hordes are at the gates of Castle Liberal on the Rideau and William Shakespeare, once more has appropriate words at the ready. With a year left of his tattered mandate, prime minister Justin Trudeau had best take the advice of Henry V and plug the breach with his dead and soldier on.

And speaking of soldering, you might be wondering how soon we will be dusting-off the Highway of Heroes for the casualties of his ill-considered and ill-fated peace-keeping expedition to the Sahara Desert?

Like most of his political problems, Justin creates them for himself. A good example was his promise in 2015 hat it would be the last time voters would use first-past-the-post voting. He disappointed a few people with that one.

He did the same with assisted dying. The bill was so watered down by the time it passed, that not even many of the dying were pleased.

And while he might have helped some families and the theoretical middle class over his term, he has ignored seniors. They vote too.

And while some people think he has stood firm with U.S. president Trump, his stance is really something more like petrified. He has absolutely no understanding of how to handle that child-man. Judging by their relative ages, he might hope to outlast him.

There are two things that really griped this commentator: In Trudeau’s desperate attempt to feel some love from Alberta, he has spent $4.7 billion of public money on a pipeline to serve the greed of one province.

And by completing the planned twinning of the line, he will be making a farce of all his promises and all our hopes for the world environment.

At the same time, Trudeau has been destroying the federal liberal party. There are no memberships in to-day’s liberal party. He has turned the party lists into an unequivocal sucker list. This list is held above the law and nobody has any guarantee of its privacy. Can you believe that you get better protection on Facebook?

But, it should be pointed out that Justin Trudeau has help going into next year’s trials. They are Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer and Jagmeet Singh. They are the leaders of Canada’s conservative and new democratic parties respectively. They have both shown themselves inadequate to the task before them. Their parties need leadership.

Justin Trudeau needs to be challenged.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Is ‘Lyin Brian’ Trump’s Judas goat?

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

We saw how former prime minister Brian Mulroney negotiated the original NAFTA. When the public service negotiators hit an impasse, Mulroney sent in finance minister Michael Wilson to replace the professionals and close the deal. Canadians ended up with free trade with the United States of America. Whether it was fair trade was a subject for debates.

But there was no debate until now that both countries did well by the agreement. With the inclusion of Mexico, the three countries economies became closely intertwined. And they shared the benefits of being a highly successful trading group.

Enter Trump. Donald Trump decided to run to be president of the United States of America on a whim. He campaigned on hollow slogans and obvious falsehoods. One of those many falsehoods was the claim that Canada was given unfair advantage under NAFTA. He said it so often to his claque and to his mirror that he came to believe it.

But Donald Trump has been given a lot of static from his political allies and supporters that he should not end the deal with the Canadians. He has determined that he needs some sort of a win over the Canadians to show his claque that he is a good negotiator. His problem is that he is a bully and a bad negotiator. He thinks he can threaten the Canadians on social media and get his way. He wants to negotiate in public. All he is doing is turning Canadians against him.

Mind you, he has the odd friend. And speaking of odd friends, one of Trump’s friends is Brian Mulroney. The former prime minister has been advising prime minister Trudeau on how to handle Trump. His advice, we are told, is to give up on some part of the supply management Canadians have with its dairy industry. If Donald Trump can take some win on dairy products to his supporters, he can claim it is a win for America and spare NAFTA.

This proposal is about the worst advice that Mulroney can give to Trudeau. First of all it would cost the prime minister seats in parliament from both Quebec and Ontario. It would make his government a single term event.

Trudeau would be far better off to tell Mulroney and Trump to stick their suggestion where the sun does not shine. Win or lose on NAFTA, Trudeau would still be in better shape for the election next year.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Left is the lonely lane.

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

I have never felt so alone in politics. The left, the progressive, the social democrat is a dying breed. Even the federal New Democratic Party is struggling with fund raising and direction as it sluggishly moves to the right. All political parties have felt the shifting of the sands.

But, when you have no idea where you are going, what is the price of a ticket?

Where is Justin Trudeau taking Canadian liberalism? He has traded in his father’s progressivism for a cult of elitism and personality. The younger Trudeau’s worshipful followers allow him carte blanche to turn a party of the ideas and idealism of his patrimony into a willing parade of sycophants.

Where does Trudeau think he is going with his pipeline of pollution from the tar sands? He wants to be the poster boy for environmentalism and yet he betrays all that he has proclaimed.

And why can he not stand up to a person such as Donald Trump? There is no admiration in Canada for Trump Quislings. Trump is but a nascent dictator in a battle to the death with an inept Congress.

Yet, leadership is also in limited supply across Canada these days. The natural alternative party boasts a caretaker leader, struggling with a caustic caucus. ‘Chuckles’ Scheer spells nothing other than missed chances for the country’s real conservatives.

At the same time, the party of Tommy Douglas is crumbling. They dumped a leader whose only fault was he was older than Justin Trudeau. With the help of an influx of Sikh members, they opted for an observant Sikh to lead them. He chose not to enter parliament on the tails of the publicity, and he was soon forgotten. With a leader unable to be noticed and a party unable to raise needed funds, the federal new democrats have failed themselves and failed Canadians.

But nature hates a vacuum of any kind and it is in the provinces we are seeing the real leadership struggles. B.C. teeters with a precarious minority government that is fighting a fellow NDP regime in Alberta and the federal government. Saskatchewan and Ontario have joined to defy a federal carbon tax. And Quebec oddsmakers are touting a provincial regime further to the right than before.

They leave no home or hope for those who deny the corporatism of fascism as vast companies defy the incoherence of mere nations. There is little hope for those of us who put the needs of people ahead of the right-wing populists who say they are “For the People.”

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Harper’s henchmen halted.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

The earth is still shaking in Alberta from the Federal Court of Appeal finally corralling the Calgary-based National Energy Board (NEB). The court was asking the logical questions about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. The industry is angry and the politicians all a-twitter. It was high time that someone questioned that industry’s dominance of its regulator and their cozy relations at the Calgary Petroleum Club.

But it was Trudeau coming to power three years ago and allowing the relationship to continue that was worrisome. When Brian Mulroney’s conservative government moved the NEB to Calgary in 1991, the idea was to have the board more directly involved with the energy sector based there. It was under the Harper government that it appeared obvious that only the industry was the beneficiary. Many liberals considered the NEB to be just another squadron of prime minister Harper’s henchmen.

The lack of depth and concern over environmental issues has been obvious to many. During the examination of the Line 9 Enbridge pipeline reversal and increase in capacity was my worst experience in trying to meet with NEB board members. The staff in Calgary are polite and interested but the chances of getting any hearing from the board were slim.

The fact that Line 9 crosses the top of the Yonge Street subway line in Toronto was a safety concern, the NEB chose to ignore. Considering the cavern of condos running downhill from that location with tens of thousands of residents, the willingness to ignore concerns was cavalier and worrying.

But luckily the judges at the federal appeal court disagreed with their laissez-faire attitude about the environment with the Kinder Morgan expansion. The judges considered the consultation with the first nations to be flawed and the lack of environmental concern for the ocean tankers coming into the Burrard Inlet terminus to be an unjustified failure.

The guy with the egg on his face from this fiasco is Canada’s environmental poster boy, Justin Trudeau. His government is now the proud owner of a $4.7 billion pipeline, along with plans and equipment to twin the line and no credibility.

The prime minister might have the power to overrule the court and simply say the pipeline is in the national interest—or even just in Alberta’s interest—but it would hardly help him get re-elected next year.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Poker playing politicos.

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

It has been a while since playing poker at the local casino. The people who work the tables as a team, at that place, play a rough game. I stick to blackjack and craps at the casino and play poker monthly with a group of friends who have played together for years. The more interesting games when I was younger were the late-night games with politicos at party conferences.

This comes up because someone asked me the other day if I would want to play poker with Donald Trump. Expletive deleted, I said ‘No.’ The simple reason was that I would have no reason to not expect him to cheat. This is a man whose entire business career was a constantly cascading house of cards.

With Mr. Trump, you can always tell when he is lying. He opens his mouth. That is something of a cliché but he exemplifies the branding.

The same person then asked me if I would like to play poker with Justin Trudeau. I thought about that. I finally said ‘yes’ because I would certainly like to add some of the Trudeau wealth to my bank account.

But I would feel guilty. The Canadian prime minister is an easy read. I have been fascinated watching that man turn his public persona on and off. And as that gal from Timmins sings, “That don’t impress me much.”

And it makes Trudeau a ‘patsy’ for Trump. The American is holding up our prime minister to ridicule. He is holding Canada in contempt. He needs to be told in no uncertain terms to ‘Get stuffed.’

That is not a diplomatic term but its use would do him a favour. He has no understanding of diplomatic. “Get stuffed,” the jerk is likely to understand.

To be honest, we would be doing the dummy a favour. As the best friends America has ever had, Canada has the right to use plain American English. We have no need to pussy-foot with Trump. Why would you ever want to?

This game of his with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a deep insult to Canada and, win or lose, Canadians are not going to be forgiving. If Trudeau caves in on even one of Trump’s stupid demands, Trudeau will be out on his ass in next year’s elections.

Canada could be facing a few tough years without NAFTA, but in the long run, we might be better off without it. And no tin-pot dictator is going to hold our country up for ransom.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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