Archive for the ‘New’ 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

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 though 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? คาสิโนออนไลน์เครดิตฟรี peter@lowry.me

A Christmas Tale for Doug Ford.

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Doug Ford tells us he is something of a Christian and that might mean he has been looking forward to this Christmas. He has been on a roll since January this year when the gates to the premier’s job opened up to him. He was even anointed by the controversial Prayer Palace Church to become leader of Ontario’s progressive conservatives. Until then, he had nothing more exciting to look forward to this year than another attempt to defeat John Tory for the Toronto mayoralty.

But he won the conservative leadership instead. The world was his oyster, so to speak. He was launched into the June election with little time to prepare and less time to think. Mind you, thinking is not something that Doug Ford does well.

Ford is better with salesman’s slogans. No thinking involved there, He was going to ‘Axe the Tax,’ Fire the ‘Six-million Dollar Man,’ have ‘Buck a Beer’ and be ‘For the People.’ It is the populist style of people such as Donald Trump and it also works for Doug Ford.

Maybe there were slogans he forgot. There must have been one about cutting Toronto Council to small town size. He needed to work on that one but he did not forget to do it. Unfortunately, the election campaign had already started for 47 council seats when Dougie arbitrarily cut the number of councillors back to 25. “Damn the expense,” said Dougie.

The consummate populist, Dougie has been full of surprises for the people of Ontario. Like the salesman, he is, he sure knows how to run up the bills. He fired the ‘six-million dollar man’ at Hydro One and costs to-date are estimated at more than $150 million. Much of that cost was in penalties for a failed takeover of an American hydro company in the State of Washington.

And then there is the attempt to compromise the Ontario Provincial Police. That blunder is ongoing and we will have to wait to see the outcome.

But today’s story is special. It has something to do with the ghost of his late brother Rob Ford visiting Dougie on Christmas Eve. It seems there will be three more ghosts coming to visit Dougie. They will be the ghosts of Christmas’ past, present and future. It can only portend something good if Dougie comes running out of his house on Christmas morning looking for a place to buy a goose.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

For want of a wall.

Monday, December 24th, 2018

About a quarter million Americans can now be classified as slaves. They are not being paid for their work. They have to do their jobs anyway. You will understand this better when you realize that they work for an organization that has Donald Trump as its chief executive officer. These people all work for the Trump Administration.

Mind you it takes more than one party to create an impasse. The Senate had a money bill to pass and then for president Trump to sign. Mr. Trump said he would only sign it if it included $5 billion for his wall to keep the Spanish-speaking hordes away from the purity of the United States of America.

The Bigot-in-Chief had promised his ignorant followers that he would build a wall across the south of the country. It was the cornerstone, so to speak, of his campaign for the presidency. At his rallies, he would have them all screaming “Build the wall!”

This type of impasse could not happen in Canada. In Canada the supply of money to the government administration is provided by what are called supply bills. If one of these bills is defeated in parliament, the government that proposed it is considered defeated and the problem of money is handed to the Governor General (representing the Queen). This worthy then makes the payments to the civil servants and either calls on someone else to try to form a government or calls for a general election.

Regrettably, the people who wrote the American constitution did not think of this. Since many of them were slave owners anyway, they did not worry very much about people being paid. And they only allowed the administration to be changed every four years. They did allow for impeachment but they hardly made it easy.

And that is why for want of a wall, a presidency can be lost. The question is though, can those American government employees afford to wait two years for their paycheques? (Translation note: Americans call them ‘paychecks.’)

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Who’s left at the Trump White House?

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

OK, so it is hard to get good help these days. The problem is that the revolving door they put on the employee’s entrance at the White House is getting far more traffic than even president Donald Trump’s detractors expected. The question is, is the atmosphere just getting more toxic or has that ship of state sprung too many leaks. Is that ship sinking?

And it is not just rats that are deboarding. The one group that the Incompetent-in-Chief had shown some respect for was the military. Even these people are going AWOL. When the secretary of defence says something akin to “I’m out of here,” you know that president Trump is in trouble. General Jim Mattis was about the last guy left who gave any touch of class or sanity to the Trump board of directors.

General Mattis had the good grace to resign with time for president Trump to choose a successor and (maybe) have the candidate confirmed by the Senate. He made it clear in his resignation letter that he disagreed with Donald Trump and his version of the truth.

He told the president that America’s strength was based on its relationships with its allies. He said the allies should be treated with respect and the country’s leadership has to be clear-eyed about the threats to America. While he was obviously very concerned about the president over-riding the concerns of his advisors and pulling America’s 2000 troops out of Syria, those concerns could also apply to allies such as Canada and Mexico.

America’s military leaders were very concerned about their troops who were supporting the Kurds in the battles with Daesh in Syria. There was no confirmation whatsoever of Trump’s claim that Daesh was defeated. It also left the Kurds at the mercy of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his friends in Russia. The military analysts and many others believe that al-Assad will retaliate against the Kurds in an outright attempt at genocide. Without the Americans there, it will be without witnesses.

With the departure of General Mattis, it is felt that there will be no adults left in the administration. This will become clearer as Trump tries to find a credible replacement for Mattis.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

And a Very Merry to B.C.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

And here we were worried that our friends out on the Left Coast were being had! They got a really nice pre-Christmas present the other day. They got rid of one of the worst suggestions we had seen for a form of proportional voting. The citizens wisely said “No” in the referendum.

And if you expected more than 42.6 per cent of those eligible to mail in a ballot (on time), you had delusions about the interest in the subject. Admittedly there is a small core group who are agitating for proportional voting but it is very likely that they have not considered all the ramifications.

It would the same as Justin Trudeau in the 2015 election, standing there saying it was the last time we would use first-past-the-post voting. It was not his decision to make and he had obviously not given the promise the thought it needed.

We were also lucky that the elitist parliamentary committee established by the Trudeau government that studied voting did not find an answer either. The committee only listened to political scientists who had never gotten out the vote. They listened to academics who only understood the theories. They did not listen to very many people who understood communicating with the voters.

And that seemed to be the major failing of the people who put together the voting questions on the B.C. referendum. The three proposed voting systems were overly complex. And saying that the questions that went unanswered would be handled later by the politicians was a guaranteed turn-off.

It is obvious that Canadian voters are used to our first-past-the-post voting and while it is not perfect, it works for us. Like any system though, it needs frequent review and updating. We need to develop a secure Internet voting system to speed the voting process and reduce overall costs. We also need to consider the complaint that too often we are electing people by less than a majority and we need to consider some run-off election techniques.

But the obvious answer is that first-past-the-post voting works and Canadians have shown that they prefer it.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Imperial Trump is the problem.

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

The Emperor of Twits was using his Twitter Throne to criticize the Fed last week. It seems that president Trump is unaware that he might just be the problem and certainly not the solution to the turmoil over interest rates and the tumbling of the markets.

The leader of the free world be damned. This guy is just not worth the worth the trouble he causes.

But here he is criticizing the Fed for even thinking of raising short term rates in an unstable situation caused by the U.S. Incompetent-in-Chief. Only an ignorant egomaniac would want to have a trade war with China. Only a nincompoop would slap tariffs on his country’s best customer and friend in the part of Canada—claiming it is to ensure national security.

It was good that the official spokesperson for the Fed only huffed and declared that Fed decisions are based on economic analysis only. In as much as Mr. trump has no clue as to the subject of economics and thinks that analysis is only used for blood tests to check and make sure you have not picked up a social disease.

Trump has been heard to say that the Fed is a bigger problem than China. Neither listen to him anymore. Neither can trust him.

And neither do Canadians. It is extremely difficult for the Bank of Canada to keep on top of the interest rates problems because of the erratic situation in the United States.

But Canada’s problem is also compounded by the wishy-washy handling of Trump by Canada’s prime minister. Mr. Trudeau has absolutely no understanding of how to deal with Mr. Trump.

Emperor Trump certainly does not understand diplomacy. He thinks Justin Trudeau is obsequious and always wanting something. Trudeau does not realize that Trump thinks as a developer, always looking for the advantage. Trump does not want to deal honestly. He bluffs, he lies, he postures and good luck if you do not lock up your daughters when that dirty old man is around.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Toronto’s Tacky-Town Casino.

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Had a weekend of fun with friends in Toronto last weekend. The entertainment was varied, the food ranged from perfectly grilled steaks to the excellent buffet at Woodbine’s Favourites dining room to pizza and beer and just talking. The entertainment ranged from the circus atmosphere of Circ du Soleil to Woodbine’s last thoroughbred racing card of the year to a look at Woodbine’s new casino.

The Woodbine casino was a shock. The operator, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC), based in Burnaby, B.C., does not know Toronto and will long regret this cheap, insulting and foolhardy attempt at satisfying Toronto gamblers.

The one thing that occurred to me when Toronto Council went along with the Woodbine location was that it was the late Ken Thompson’s family that controlled Woodbine Entertainment and I hoped some of the class that man showed in life would pass on to his heirs. It did not.

This casino would be an embarrassment in the worst part of Las Vegas. Admittedly, these are temporary quarters under the old grandstand. They are building the new casino as fast as they can.

I hate multi-storied casinos. Like those in Atlantic City and Montreal, they seem tacky from day one. This temporary one is on three floors. In the basement, there are lots and lots of slots—frankly, a good place for them. Those gross table game machines that replace dealers are very much in evidence on floor two. The live table games—blackjack and all the variables were crowded and showed desperation. It was a mixed crowd ethnically but few looked like they could afford to play at a $25 table. They reminded me of the day-trippers who came to Las Vegas from Los Angeles by bus without hotel reservations.

The equipment on the gaming floor was cheap and the dealers looked exhausted but the surprise was to come. I recognized a floor supervisor formerly at Rama Casino and asked about the high rollers space. It turned out to be the third floor. The sign at the door said ‘No Admittance’ but we just said ‘hello’ to the guy at the door and marched in with the supervisor.

Have you ever seen silent discrimination? If there are a dozen or so tables for games preferred by ethnic Chinese and three for $100 blackjack, who do you think the room is for? And there were no craps tables anywhere. We were told that the operator did not like craps. It seems that craps is considered an American—and mainly black—game. If the wife ever meets the GCGC executive who holds those views she might kick him where it really hurts.

By the way, we only saw five players in the third-floor sanctum. One playing blackjack—badly—and the rest playing dollar slots.

Maybe this new Woodbine Casino only wants bad players who do not understand odds.

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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