Archive for the ‘Federal Politics’ Category

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

Hold your bets on the 2019 election.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Got a call from a call centre the other day looking for funds for prime minister Trudeau’s liberals. It is likely that they have to push harder these days. It is also unlikely that the conservatives are having it all that easy to get money to support ‘Chuckles’ Scheer’s conservatives. At a time when we are all supposed to have warm and fuzzy feelings for our fellow Canadians, these are not giving times. And while the consensus might be that Trudeau will win, nobody wants to put much money on his liberals.

The question of Justin Trudeau’s worth as prime minister is serious. Watching Trudeau with his bad speaking habits of a school teacher hemming and hawing his way through another lesson for a raucous opposition does not build your confidence. And for him to lecture the Chinese that Canada is a country that is ruled by law just shows us that he does not understand the Chinese. And we gave up with him sometime ago waiting for him to tell Donald Trump to get stuffed.

Oh well, maybe his feminine side does not allow him to be blunt with the American president. You can call the new NAFTA ‘breakfast’ for all anybody cares—just make sure it is a fair deal and Trump stops screwing us with tariffs.

At this point, we really need to say something about Andrew Scheer. ‘Chuckles’ has been doing his thing in Ottawa for a long time now and nobody really cares. People give money to the conservatives because they believe they should. The only problem is that more of that money is going to start going to Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. By the election time next year, the frustration with ‘Chuckles’ is going to eat away 10 to 15 per cent of the conservative vote and the Tories are going to lose some ridings to other parties. Oh well, their next leader will be tougher!

The new democrats were saved for last, only because they will be. Jagmeet Singh probably has the support of enough South Asian immigrants in the Burnaby South by-election to beat the Green Party candidate. The only problem is that if the liberals can get out their vote, Singh is in trouble and many new democrats will be pleased. If Singh wins the by-election, the NDP is in trouble. It’s a ‘Catch-22.’

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Singing a sad song for Singh.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

What is the world coming to? Here we have a die-hard conservative such as Jaime Watt in Toronto commiserating with the new democrats over the bad choices of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Watt was telling us in a Toronto Star opinion piece that he was expecting liberal MP Rag Grewal to actually resign when he said he would last week and thought that might be a better seat for Singh to swing. Which only goes to show us that Watt might not understand liberals or new democrats.

First of all, Mr. Grewal tells us he is a gambler. And obviously, he is not a very lucky one. Almost a year more of drawing an MP’s salary could be a practical consideration for him. He might decide not to resign.

And despite Mr. Watt’s cavalier dismissal of Jagmeet’s commitment to the Burnaby South electoral district out in British Columbia, he might not want to appear fickle. Plus, scurrying back to Brampton would be a sign of weakness.

And, frankly, Jagmeet’s strongest opponent in Burnaby might be the Green Party candidate. The conservatives and the liberals are both committed to the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline and Burnaby voters might have some suggestions as to where they can stuff their pipeline and the diluted bitumen it is planned to carry.

Mind you, it is not quite clear why Mr. Watt would be so concerned about the collapse of the new democrat leadership as the 2019 election looms. It would almost seem that he is concerned that without a strong NDP presence next fall, that the liberals will gather to themselves much more of the progressive vote.

Maybe Mr. Watt should be more concerned about the inroads into the far-right vote of the conservatives by Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party of Canada.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Complacency is Justin Trudeau’s enemy.

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

With a federal election ten months away, we can ignore all polls. They tell us little. It reminds me of the first party campaign in which I was involved. It was in 1964. My friend Charles Templeton was working for the Toronto Star and agreed when I and others asked him to make the jump into provincial politics to enter the contest to choose a new leader for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Along with the work we were doing at the time on the province-wide leadership campaign, we were advised to show some electoral strength by running in a by-election in Toronto-Broadview. It had been liberal but the main opponent was the new democrat. To this day, I remember the statement an old hand made to the candidate early on election day: “Chuck, you have run a strong, traditional campaign. Now it is up to the voters.” We lost and I made a vow to never again take part in a traditional campaign.

Campaigns are about the images created by candidates and leaders. They are about the concerns and hopes of the voters. The winning campaign in that by-election matched the concerns and hopes of the voters with their party’s direction.

And I think that will be Justin Trudeau’s failure next fall. In 2015, the liberals offered the change that the voters wanted. They can hardly offer the same change in 2019.

What Trudeau desperately needs to run on is a coherent vision of Canada’s future. His feminism has become annoying. His dress-up trip to India was an embarrassment. He has not stood up to Donald Trump. What are the benefits to Canadians of all these meetings with world leaders? And why is an environmentalist buying an old pipeline to move that stuff from the Alberta tar sands to ocean tankers?

Justin Trudeau can hardly count on the weakness of his opposition. Both the conservative’s Andrew Scheer and the new democrat’s Jagmeet Singh might be hard to visualize in the prime minister’s office but we have been surprised before.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Biting the hand with the handouts.

Monday, November 26th, 2018

We have warned Justin Trudeau repeatedly that those so-called independent senators are going to bite him on the bum. Blame him for all those Christmas presents that Canada Post cannot deliver by Christmas this year. Every day of further delay is thousands of ?packages undelivered.

But elitism cannot be rushed. Justin Trudeau made it clear back when he became the elite leader of Canada’s liberals that henceforth, the senators would not be liberals. And the slaves were freed.

And of course, they have minds of their own and they are always eager to emphasize their freedom. They were nominated by the elite committee that chose them as elite enough. They were then selected from the list of acceptable elites by the prime minister. They were welcomed to the senate by other elites.

And to sweeten the deal, they are paid the same salary and perks as an elected member of parliament. They even get a generous pension when they have to retire at 75.

But as an elite they answer to nobody. The government leader in the senate is not their boss. He has to be nice to them to get their cooperation. They might be considered nobodies by the conservative senators but they can outvote them.

They know that they can take an extra day to consider sending the postal workers back to work if they feel like it. It shows Canadians that they are independent and do not like being pushed around.

And so what, if Justin Trudeau is turning purple over there in the prime minister’s office? He is one of those elected people and therefore not as much an elite as the senators who do not have to get elected.

Here is an idea for you people who like the idea of proportional elections. Why do you not fight for the senate to be a house representing the proportion for each political party in each province in the general election voting. I would agree if these senators were nominated by the political parties and selected by registered voters for the individual parties so that they could be appointed senators for the term of the parliament. Think about it. There might be the germ of an idea there. It might work, as long as Canada’s elected parliamentarians always have the final word.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Doppelgangers don’t do it.

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

There is a tendency among political leaders to have someone very much like themselves to serve as their chief of staff. It gives them confidence that the person will react as they do and carry out solutions much the same as their principal. It is a lazy person’s solution. And how smart is it, to pay two salaries for the same opinion?

The notion of this person being something of a doppelganger is based on a person and their pet, over time, coming to look like each other.

In fact, in Ontario, premier Doug Ford and his chief of staff, Dean French, are two arrogant white men in suits. They are too much alike. It is just that Doug Ford lets French do the dirty jobs. French phoning the head of Ontario Power Generation to tell him to fire former conservative leader Patrick Brown’s former chief of staff might have been the ultimate in irony.

The claim that French might have directed the police to make raids on illegal pot shops was far more serious. The idea of any politico directly directing the police in carrying out their policing duties is anathema to how Canadians see their police doing their duty. It carries the risk of being interpreted as something that happens in a police state.

There seems to be no such problems for prime minister Justin Trudeau. In this age of feminism, it would be fascinating to learn if his chief of staff, Katie Telford, makes as much as his principle secretary, Gerald Butts. It is obvious that both make over $200,000 and that is quite a bit more than the much-touted middle-class job.

But the doppelganger danger still pertains. The charmed circle with which Justin Trudeau surrounds himself is isolating him from argument and reality. We now have elite selections of senators, elite selections of judges, elite selections for boards and commissions. It would never hurt to have a modicum of political common sense included in making some of these appointments.

But both Ontario’s Doug Ford and Ottawa’s Justin Trudeau have too much ego for that. Both need to have some better exposure to contrary thinking. There does not seem to be much danger of that.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Competing with Donald Trump?

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

It is unlikely that Canadians had any idea just how much American president Donald Trump would cost them. Our great-great grand children will be paying off Canada’s national debt. And if anyone could explain what good it will do, we would be rushing out to ring all the church bells across the land.

Not being one to worry too much about billions of dollars of sustainable debt, I would let it all fly by me. The only problem is the latest salvo from Mr. Trudeau’s elitist finance minister Bill Morneau added another $18 billion of debt when what he was really doing was stuffing the turkey at the wrong end. He was ignoring the fact that the front end of a turkey has limited capacity for stuffing.

The last thing that Morneau’s fall statement did was invest in middle-class jobs, so that was what they called the document.

After many years in the business of public relations, I can assure you that calling something by a positive name does not make it so. Simply stated, the Good News Bible is not all good news. All those ancients in that book are dead and no longer responsible for the misguided screw-up they made of our world.

What our finance guru Morneau was doing was catering to his pals in industry. He was competing with the business tax cuts of that ass they have for president in the United States. They want to see who can have the lowest taxes for industry. It was all in aid of better quarterly reports for shareholders. That is a suckers’ game. Who wants to have a contest to see who can give away the most to people who will always be whining for more?

If I wanted to win an election next year, I would go for a little more balance. Sure, give industry some tax saving so they know you care and then balance it by giving them more customers. Companies are always happiest when they have lots of customers wanting to give them money. That is how you stuff both ends of the turkey.

And you do it because companies do not vote. Keep companies happy and keep them creating jobs but it is the consumer who votes. Seniors like to vote. If Mr. Morneau was nicer to them, some might vote liberal.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Chuckles’ confusion of conservatives.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Federal conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer knows that a bunch of whales is a ‘pod,’ and a group of geese a ‘gaggle.’ We are guessing that he has also found out that a collection of conservatives might be a ‘confusion.’ He was at a celebration with an Ontario confusion of conservatives the other day and he would have been smarter to have stayed at Stornoway.

It is not as though Doug Ford’s black conservative heart is not in the right place but his lack of experience and political reasoning and seasoning is showing. The other day Dougie’s finance guy Fideli dumped all over Ontario francophones as though they did not matter. He took away the proposed French language university that the liberals had proposed. He abolished the French language commissioner who made sure that Ontario francophones are treated fairly.

It is not as though Chuckles is that concerned about Ontario francophones—they rarely vote conservative anyway. It is just that Quebeckers are very patronizing of their Ontario amis (that is French for friends, Dougie). Chuckles Scheer simply cannot afford to have Quebecers annoyed with all conservatives just because of Ontario premier Ford being such a klutz.

Mind you Dougie is not continuing to do so well with the anglophones in Ontario either. Chuckles might be worried needlessly. Next fall will be Ontario voters’ first chance to comment on their conservative regime at Queen’s Park.

And it is not as though Chuckles could complain to Brian Mulroney that his kid is not doing her job. We thought it was a joke when Dougie made Caroline Mulroney responsible for francophone affairs as well as attorney general. She is doing exactly the job that Dougie expected: absolutely nothing. After all she has probably not spoken French except as a tourist since she was 7-years old. She got her education and legal training in the United States.

The bad news is that Quebec premier Fran?ois Legault came to Toronto yesterday expecting some answers from Dougie about what the hell he thinks he is doing? ?Legault has more than enough to be annoyed with Dougie about. Fideli’s fiasco last week was just icing on the cake.

Reports are that in their two-hour meeting yesterday, Ford and Legault agreed to disagree about Ford’s treatment of francophones in Ontario. The next meeting between the two business-man premiers might not be as friendly.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Get your social media on.

Friday, November 16th, 2018

Despite the sage advice from aging sages, social media will continue to be a useful addition to political campaigning. It is not going to go away. And do not think of it as cheap coverage. It needs careful attention and scarce resources. You do not want to miss out and you do not want to waste them.

The first audience you want to consider is the 18 to 25-year olds. You can easily track them down at your local community college or university. Do not settle for the opinions of just a few. Remember though that the pre-meds are serious grunts. It is the soc-and-phil guys and gals who are there for the social life. And if you line up the gals first as volunteers, the guys are sure to follow.

Every campaign needs all the person power it can get. It helps if you budget generously for pizza.

And let the young people run the social media campaign. You need a small team with a leader and back-up. Stream the younger volunteers by them so they can get updates on what’s trending.

Be sure you understand the differences between the popular social media apps—it is really not all that complicated. Facebook is still king at the moment but there is new competition coming. Twitter is being hurt by the abuse of Donald Trump but you cannot argue with that many million followers. And I strongly believe that any candidate who thinks he or she could use a chatbot, should be replaced with a chatbot. And I would suggest the unless you have someone very good at creating videos, you do not waste time on YouTube

But the intent of getting candidates involved with social media is to make sure that they are reaching the audiences that we see everywhere with their noses stuck to that smart phone screen. They need to get the messages—the same as seniors who might never have seen a Facebook page.

The different generations out there are just a complication to modern campaigning. They all need convincing communications. Social media has not replaced the printing press. You need strong printed images and signs to pull together your different audiences. Communication constantly changes, but basics are slow to evolve.

Nor have the principles of the ground game changed that much.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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