Archive for the ‘New’ Category

Ontario Liberalism: Part 2.

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

In choosing a direction for Ontario liberals, we should look backwards only enough to ensure that the freedom of the individual is still the core concern. Conservatism, neoconservatism and neoliberalism give business too much power over the individual and socialism gives the collective too much power over the individual. Liberalism is based on the inherent power of one.

It means the power in the party needs to devolve to the individuals in the electoral district associations. It means there should be no interference from the party hierarchy or the party leader. (Advice yes, direction no.) It means no new policy direction can be taken by the leader without the support of the policy committee of the party. It means regular policy meetings by the party to discuss and agree on policy direction.

There has to be a small but necessary membership fee in the party to hold someone’s place in the party and the right to attend regional and national meetings. The person must also sign a testimonial that s/he believes in the basic tenets of liberalism.

It is recognized that the party’s legislative wing requires a level of discipline to carry out the party’s objectives. It should be the majority of the caucus that decides when an individual member is not cooperating in the party objectives. This can be appealed to the party executive in an open hearing if the individual member so desires.

The political parties in the provinces should be funded by the public on a voting ratio in the previous election for each electoral district. This public funding should be audited and reported to the public as a public trust. Funds used by persons seeking a party nomination must be subject to audit and reporting.

The only other comment on this subject is to the name of the party. It seems that provincial liberal parties vary across Canada. Some are more right-wing than others. Some are more progressive than others.

If we want a progressive and liberal party in Ontario, we could consider changing the name. We could call ourselves Social Democratic, Liberal Democrats or the Opportunity Party. Let’s argue about that later.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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

The entitlement of being Alberta.

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Have you ever felt the cold of Calgary in the loneliness of two AM walking about six city blocks from the Calgary Herald offices to your hotel? They said it was minus 35 Fahrenheit. I was wearing a Toronto top coat and low-cut shoes and was determined to step in front of the first taxi I saw. There were none.

Why I was walking that night is irrelevant to the fact that the experience did little to undermine my love for Alberta. I had been stationed at Cold Lake in the Air Force, I have friends in Calgary and Edmonton and have been there on business and to visit hundreds of times. Alberta is a vital part of our Canada.

And I really get annoyed with those jerks who whine about taking Alberta out of Confederation. You will get as much sympathy for that dumb idea as I give the péquiste in Quebec, none. All you prove is that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are a lot smarter than you.

There is a lot wrong today with our constitution that was conceived over 150 years ago. It is a difficult plan to change but not impossible.

The important thing to remember is that Canada owes you nothing. You owe Canada. This is a land of opportunity. It is a land of great beauty. It is a peaceful land where you can raise and educate your children. Where the kids can play street hockey and have the best of medical care.

Nothing is more churlish than complaining because the federal government does not jump to meet unreasonable demands. And why bitch at the rest of Canada because the bottom has fallen out of the price of bitumen. If you want all the benefits of the country’s natural resources, you have to accept the risks.

You have known all along that bitumen is a desperation solution for when the world runs out of crude oil. Fracking scares me but I lack the geological training to understand its impacts. It has made the U.S. self sufficient in oil but it will probably run dry at some stage and maybe there will still be a role for some bitumen.

“Maybe” is the operative word. The Alberta government needs to stop running those ridiculous television commercials calling bitumen “oil” and saying that a pipeline for bitumen benefits Canada. They need to talk seriously with the environmentalists about the risks, and who really benefits.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to? chơi đánh bạc onlinepeter@lowry.me

Ontario Liberalism: Part 1.

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

In the travel business, it is always best to choose where you are going first and then you choose the person to serve as guide. It just makes sense. It is the same in politics. Is it really practical to choose a leader for your party before you know where the party is headed?

Former Ontario liberal premier Dalton McGinty enforcer, Greg Sorbara, tells reporters that the Ontario liberals should have a leadership contest this year. That is Greg for you. He always was more interested in the fight than the ‘why’ of it. This is the guy who cancelled two gas fired electrical plants in Mississauga and Oakville rather than taking a chance on losing two legislative seats. And who cares if it cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions and dogged the liberal government for the next six years?

What Ontario liberals have to come to grips with is the degree of neoliberalism to which the party has succumbed. Admittedly, neoliberalism was necessary to bring the Canadian economy to the level that could support high immigration and rapid growth after World War II. Back then, business cooperated with government and government knew where it was going

Today though, we have to recognize that the excesses caused by the unnecessary freedom of business and capital is causing serious damage to our Canadian society. When they can no longer trust business, people look to government. And when they no longer trust their politicians, all bets are off.

We saw this growing distrust in business and in politicians during the late 1900s. Promises were hollow from both. Business, large and small, failed us. General Motors is a good example. The huge auto company was rescued by our governments only to then disrespect the very people who built and bought their products. The orderly structure of thousands of lives was turned and twisted. Their future was insecure.

People have been acting out their frustrations with various efforts since the Occupy movement. People have found that the financial markets dance only for the One Per Cent. We learned that the millennium threat to computers was false news. Social media is now the political Pablum. New political parties offer simplistic solutions and voters move to them. Stand-fast governments are turfed. Their neoliberalism approach has much to answer for!

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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

Saluting Salutin.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Maybe you have never wasted much time on reading Toronto Star writer Rick Salutin. I have never considered his opinions of importance or particularly well founded. I have had the impression, that the Star editors just keep him on standby to fill empty spaces in the next edition. His recent effort discussing the B.C. referendum on proportional voting is probably a good example.

Here is Salutin, a week after the results were announced, panning the referendum and claiming that B.C. voters rejected a more democratic voting option and stayed instead with what he refers to as the odious first-past-the-post. You have to admit, this guy knows where he stands.

In a country where even six-year olds are encouraged to send a letter to Santa Claus, Salutin thinks using the services of the post office are too much for our young voters. This is why he objects to the mail-in voting used for the referendum. He thinks it was mainly those risk-adverse seniors who turned thumbs down on change.

He uses the example of the Swiss, who hold more referenda than Canadians and use the mails as well. He notes that most Swiss referenda lose, though it is not clear what point he is making. When visiting Switzerland, I have found progressive to be a somewhat rare human condition.

I lost track of where Salutin was going when he started talking Chartism (a mid 19th century human rights movement) and he then got into railing against neoliberalism. He also seemed to be concerned that the referendum was brought on by the sense of entitlement among the Green and NDP parties to gain them a larger representation in a proportionate legislature.

But he does not seem to want them to have expanded representation because they are not left-wing enough for him. Too bad.

And then he goes on to discuss non-parties such as the Yellow Vests in France. I like to think of them as more like the Occupy Movement in North America—but with flame throwers.

Luckily, I read the entire piece by Salutin. He had thrown in an ‘OTOH’ that I did not understand and something similar. At the end, he had an “IMHO’ which I believe means ‘in my humble opinion.’ I can really appreciate that he is humble about it.

But it would help if the Toronto Star gave Mr. Salutin some copy editing assistance.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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

“We’re off to see the Wizard”

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Canadians will face many adventures as they whistle their way down the Yellow Brick Road in 2019. They can travel hand in paw with Dorothy, Toto and their companions. It will not be the predictable adventures with witches and wizards as in L Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The first problem is that not all Canadians are pleased with the choice between Scarecrow – Jagmeet Singh, Tin Woodman – Andrew Scheer and Cowardly Lion – Justin Trudeau. Many voters want change for the sake of change. They might not relish the turmoil that attitude can bring but they will take their chances.

After all, Jagmeet Singh is a leader without a united party or any real policies or commitments behind him. He took the leadership by the swamping of his party’s memberships in Ontario and B.C. ?with his co-religionists. His risk is that few Canadians understand his religion and it makes him different. He is the scarecrow who scares birds and voters.

Conservative voters might feel a tin woodsman such as Andrew Scheer will bore more voters than he can win over. And a cowardly lion, despite his supposed liberalism, will likely have less appeal than in 2015. Both are conflicted on the environment and on pipelines. There are no more sunny days.

Maybe this is the year for one of the new parties. It happened in Quebec in 2018. And Doug Ford went from former city councillor to premier in Ontario in less than six months last year. Can we expect some similar surprises are in store for us in 2019?

Who knows? Jason Kenny might not be able to oust Rachel Notley in Alberta and might try for a triumphant return to Ottawa.

But what about all those social conservative diehards who supported Quebec MP Maxime Bernier in the last conservative leadership? Is his new People’s Party of Canada to be ignored?

And what about everyone’s perennial favourite with her caucus of one, Elizabeth May? Could she gather four or five Green MPs to help her?

Canadians will have to wait until October this year for the answers.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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

Would a gold piano sound tinny?

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Most commentators write a recap about the preceding year on New Year’s Eve but I only thought back a week to an ‘oops.’ I realized that this Canadian missed the Monarch’s message to the Commonwealth. It is with fond memories I note that mother used to always insist that her brood gather round the radio for it on Christmas morning.

My first recollections of this go back to King George VI struggling with his stammer. You could hear his consort, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), in the background helping him.

Googling Queen Elizabeth II and her speech this year was a bit of a disappointment. It seems that many of the ungrateful in the United Kingdom complained about the opulence of the gold piano behind her. They thought it was incongruent with a speech about the struggles of the poor and despondent around the world.

But I am sure there were some positive parts to the speech. Queen Elizabeth has had a good deal of time to perfect the genre over the years. She records the speech weeks ahead though as she has other duties on Christmas and Boxing Day. On Christmas there was the traditional sighting of royals as the young ones traipsed down the road to the local church while the 92-year old Queen came in one of the royal limousines.

It seems as though the young ones have already taken over the public interest in the Brit royals. Kate and William, along with Meghan and Harry have become the Brit version of the American Kardashians. Would you believe there is an entire industry built around the royal gossip produced for people who really need to get a life.

But all this silly gossip passes and becomes of less interest in Canada and other Commonwealth countries. It is of dying interest in Canada particularly as more and more we have to pay attention to what is happening to the south.

When Pierre Trudeau compared Canada’s position as sleeping with an elephant, he had obviously never met someone such as Donald Trump. We are beset today in trying to sleep with an insomniac who is the Twitter King and who plays at his own fantasy Game of Thrones.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to? chơi đánh bạc onlinepeter@lowry.me

Mr. and Mrs. Trump go to war.

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

In the last half of the 20th Century, Hollywood star Bob Hope was famous for his Christmas shows for American military. These shows took place in areas of conflict where Americans where deployed around the world. Hope’s compensation was that he could edit the recordings of the shows and run them as television specials.

His formula was a variety type show of musicians, dancers, comics and always a particularly voluptuous Hollywood star. My favourite was when he took Rachel Welch, a lady who could just stand there and you could appreciate her. It was Hope’s contribution to the American service men’s morale.

It was obvious the other day that Donald Trump was also aware of Hope’s formula. He took his wife Melania to Iraq to meet the troops. It guaranteed him a positive response from the men. He might be on the outs with his generals but he was appreciated by the rank and file who got selfies with Melania.

Trump might have got a mixed reaction to his speech though when he told the troops that he intended to bring them all home. His line was that “We’re no longer the suckers, folks.” And he told them that he is committed to bringing them all home despite the advice of the experts.

To placate the service people he was talking with, he told them he had no plans to leave Iraq. He told them Iraq was a good staging point if at some later date, America went to war with Syria or Iran.

He told the troops that the United States cannot continue to be “the policemen of the world.” Trump said, “It is not fair when the burden is all on us.”

You have to figure that Mr. Trump’s words were annoying to the Arab countries as well as allies who have backed up the United States over the years.

The Trumps’ visit to the Iraq airbase was kept secret until Air Force One returned to the relative safety of Washington.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Down the Yellow Brick Road in 2019.

Friday, December 28th, 2018

We have a long journey before we arrive at the Land of Oz. We have much to ask of just one small wizard. When L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (published in 1900), he had no idea how appropriate it is to the Canadian election slated for October 2019.

Canadians will have Dorothy and Toto to lead the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion in their journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the Land of Oz. You might know them by other names but the Scarecrow is new democratic leader Jagmeet Singh, the Tin Woodman is conservative leader Andrew Scheer and the Cowardly Lion is liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau.

At the Land of Oz, they hope to ask the Wizard to send Dorothy and Toto back home to Kansas, to provide Jagmeet Singh with ‘bran-new’ brains, Andrew Scheer with a ’heart’ and the prime minister with a potion of ‘courage.’

There is no question but Jagmeet Singh needs additional brains to reconsider his foolish way of winning the leadership of his party. He has proved that the Sikh community in Canada will support him but he has a long way to go to convince the rest of Canada to follow him.

Andrew Scheer needs to understand that conservatism can have a ‘heart.’ He tries so hard to show conservatives that he is on their side that he fails to lead and to show them that conservatism can also have the empathy that makes for effective leadership.

And then there is the prime minister who only needs the courage to do the job even better than the way his father did it. Justin Trudeau has to have the courage to stand up to world leaders and represent Canada as its people deserve to be represented. Visits to foreign lands are not a dress-up event but an important opportunity to carry Canada’s messages of world peace, of environmental concern and of acceptance of all peoples.

In a country yearning for leadership, all political parties are failing us if they do not see where we want them to lead. We are not a country of ideologues but a country of caring. We have family ties around the world and we fail those peoples if we do not show the world leadership of which our country is capable.

We will see how our politicians handle themselves in the coming year as we travel with them down the Yellow Brick Road.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

All are visitors at Stornoway.

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Welcome to Stornoway. May your visit here be brief. Think of it as a stopover on the road to success or on the road to oblivion. It is a 34-room house built in the colonial revival style in 1913/14 in Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Park area. Stornoway is owned by the Crown and is designated as the official residence of the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in the House of Commons.

It is considered second prize.

The current occupants of Stornoway are Andrew Scheer M.P. from Saskatchewan, his wife and family. He won the right to live there when he won a strangely orchestrated conservative party leadership contest against 13 opponents. The voting was by a preferential ballot that, in effect, worked down to the lowest common denominator. Scheer won on the 13th counting of the ballots by 50.95 per cent. And that is only one of the reasons that we call him ‘Chuckles.’

The only thing that ‘Chuckles’ is noted for is that he was Stephen Harper’s Speaker of the House of Commons for the last term of the Harper conservatives. His campaign slogan in the leadership contest was “Real Conservative, Real Leader.” He has yet to prove that second part. He is not an inspiring orator. He does not suggest creative solutions. He is a boring, western conservative.

But one thing Chuckles has proved as leader of the opposition is that he can be a nag. Many Canadians see him on television clips from question period in the House of Commons. All he is doing is nagging the government. There are also many Canadians who would not know him if they tripped over him.

But they will come to know him in the coming year. This will be the time that he leads his conservatives into the breach. He will make politician’s promises, smile for the videographers and photographers, kiss babies and promise Canadians a conservative nirvana.

Chuckles will not be chuckling too much about playing second fiddle next year to two provincial politicians in Ontario and Alberta. At best, Chuckles is expected the retain his lease on Stornoway.

We encourage readers to stay tuned.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

To Brampton Town with Brown.

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

Barrie’s sorry excuse for a newspaper, the weekly Advance, has announced that Brampton mayor Patrick Brown is its newsmaker of the year. Coincidently the Barrie library had a copy of Brown’s tell-all book Take Down: The attempted political assassination of Patrick Brown—by none other than Patrick Brown himself. It was my intent to spend some time this week reading it.

It is with some regret that I report that Mr. Brown appears to have had no ghost writer, nor helpful editor beyond the spell check of his computer. You can only stomach so much of a politician’s self pity and whining. I gave up after about 150 pages and skimmed the rest.

The best part of the book is the cover—credited to a Mathew Flute. They should have ripped up the inside story. If Patrick Brown thinks this book is going to inform, convince, proselytize or draw any sympathy, he is deluding himself.

What is deeply concerning is that in 50 years of writing about politics, I would never refer to a politician as “bat-shit crazy.” If Mr. Brown holds anything back in the book, it is modesty and self-control.

One reason to read the book was to see if there were any clues as to the perpetrators of the CTV Television Network’s allegations. All it seems to indicate is how far that once esteemed network has gone down hill with Bell Canada in control. Patrick might have thought he had liberal enemies but he has far more vicious enemies in the conservative party. And a word of advice to him from a liberal is that there are much stronger connections between CTV News and certain well-known conservatives than any liberals.

The most serious errors in this entire fiasco were those by Brown himself. He is a politician who flies in the directions the wind takes him. He is considered a good retail politician because he knows and understand what needs to be done and has the determination to do it. God forbid he should ever have to work for a living.

But watching him at that news conference during the evening of January 25, 2018, I felt sorry for him. Sure, I disliked him as a person and as a politician, but he did not deserve this.

On bad advice, badly prepared, an emotional Patrick Brown read a bad speech and committed political suicide.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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