Archive for the ‘Provincial Politics’ Category

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? 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

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

The conflicts of Kenney’s UCP.

Monday, December 17th, 2018

How any openly lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT) person can have anything to do with the united conservative party of Alberta would come as a surprise. Mind you, I am also surprised that there are women involved with that party run, as it is, by misogynists.

And Alberta is no better for it.

The UCP is a party of conflicts. And in its destructive condition, it is of little use to anyone.

The only reason for the party, as structured, is to be against—in this case, against the new democrats of premier Rachel Notley.

It seems that almost everything the Notley government does, the UCP is opposed. It seems wind farms are a no-no. Coal is good for friends of the UCP. Notley hates coal. The NDP passed a carbon tax. The UCP is against taxes.

It seems that the two parties both want the Trans Mountain pipeline doubled. Notley is not fast enough. Notley costs too much. Notley is friends with that wussy Justin Trudeau. And we all know that many in Alberta dislike the name ‘Trudeau.’

So, they are sitting back in the Petroleum Club in Calgary, firing up their stogies, sipping their single malts and counting on their good friend Jason to do the job.

It shows you that they do not know their good friend Jason.

It is not just in his youth when he wanted to show what a good catholic boy he could be. He was imbued with the teachings of his church and he showed those gays and abortionists that the church had power.

He is all grown now and he is a life-long politician. He was Stephen Harper’s go-to guy to get the job done in Ottawa. He compromised ethnic groups to do his bidding. He did the boss’ bidding.

So, who are his bosses now? It certainly is not the people of Alberta. Why should he care about them? He is out for himself. As a bachelor, he is looking forward to a wealthy retirement, to a lifestyle of freedom and luxury. Jason Kenney only cares about himself.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

 

Finance ministers can also lie.

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Canada’s provincial finance ministers met last weekend for a play date with their federal counterpart. This was a follow-up to the first ministers meeting on the Friday. When Alberta finance minister Joe Ceci found that Quebec premier Fran?ois Legault had left him a lump of coal, he got a bit huffy. It seems the new Quebec premier had made the point that Alberta pushing for an Energy East pipeline had no ‘socially acceptability’ in Quebec.

Mr. Ceci brushed it off as he said that the Quebec premier did not know much abut the energy industry in his province. He claimed (as do the Alberta commercials on television) that the companies have reduced the carbon in bitumen. That is easy enough to do if you have the refinery processes available. The only problem is that nobody has yet to know how to handle the problem of all the bitumen slag (carbon) that is left behind.

Frankly, Mr. Ceci has not got a leg to stand on. Until somebody at one of the universities finds a way to transmogrify carbon into something such as H2O, bitumen remains a very serious pollution problem. It is the polluter that just keeps on polluting.

It starts with the hot water that is pumped down to layers of bitumen to liquify it and bring it to the surface. The greasy water from this process is pumped into settling ponds that can attract and kill wildlife.

Then bitumen needs to be diluted to enable it to be shipped by truck, rail or pipeline. Whichever way it is shipped, it constitutes a hazard as it is flammable and can be extremely difficult to keep from doing long-term damage to the environment and wildlife.

No matter where it is refined, it presents a bitumen slag that just continues to pollute.

And it is only after the refining processes are complete that the synthetic oil products can be used and continue their cycle of pollution. We ignore all this pollution at our peril.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Dougie’s second stupidest stunt.

Friday, December 14th, 2018

In many years of running major political events, one of the automatic considerations is always security. There is no question that well publicized events of that nature can attract the less mentally stable of society with their real or imagined complaints. And because you never know what can happen, you are happy to leave the security to the professionals.

And when a politician interferes with the professionals, he does so at his peril. Ontario premier Doug Ford is putting himself at risk.

A number of security issues have come forward since Dougie is reported to have made sure his friend Ron Taverner was chosen as the new head of the Ontario Provincial Police. Present and former commissioners have labelled it a travesty but it is not the most egregious act of a vain and ignorant person.

Wanting his friends on his security detail tells you a number of things about this man that he might not want everyone to know. It can be either a problem with booze or keeping his penis in his pants. It is also very foolish. Guards such as this tend to pay too much attention to the person they are guarding and not enough to the situation through which they are moving.

The problem seems more likely to be womanizing when he also asked for a large camper-type vehicle—“off the books.” I have had to book day rooms in hotels for candidates over the years and have often considered a mobile home as an even better solution—though I never figured out where to find drive-in maid service to get the sheets changed regularly. It sure does not come under the job description of the security detail.

But if you have ever wondered who the security people might be at an event, just check around for the people looking out towards the crowd and not at the subject needing security.

I always had a rule that once a function was under way, whatever happened was supposed to happen. My job was done. I most often had a spot picked ahead of time where I could see well and count the crowd for the news media and it was not unusual to find one of those people with a ‘hearing aid’ and a mic in their sleeve already there. All they got was a nod. They were at work.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

It is the door on the left that is open wide.

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

We keep waiting for signs that there is some life left in the Ontario liberals. It has been a while now and we can hardly wait for Doug Ford to stumble more than he already has. It is already obvious that the Ford government is going nowhere at his usual furious clip. A strong, viable and able liberal party must be at the ready.

The good news is that there is considerable opportunity to the political left of the Ford government. People are already being turned off by Ford’s raging right-wing politics and looking for people they can trust on the left. The need for trust obviously eliminates Andrea Horwath and her new democrats.

If there was ever a constant disappointment in Ontario, it has been Horwath and the NDP. They are like the country mice who were never told that this is the 21st Century. They lack policy, direction and hope. Andrea Horwath has now led the party through three general elections. She made it to being official opposition only because Kathleen Wynne decided that she should declare the last election over before election day.

Kathleen Wynne was a disaster as liberal leader. She embarrassed herself by getting re-elected in her Toronto electoral district. The only time she ever did anything as premier that might be considered progressive was when elections came around. Her last election was loaded with good progressive ideas but it was too late and voters had had enough.

But Wynne’s greatest failing was to take basically good ideas and spoil the delivery. Beer and wine in grocery stores was a good idea that was long overdue but she drew out the implementation until people were sick of the subject and her stream of announcements. There are still only a few grocery stores carrying beer and wine and the regulations remain oppressive.

What Ontario wants and desperately needs is a minimum wage that people can live on, support programs for the less fortunate that can do the job they are assigned to do, free prescription drugs have to be added to a truly free Medicare, education has to become free for all who will work at it, affordable housing has to come before mansions and luxury condominiums and the list needs to be kept open as we build a better life for everybody.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Our 400 MPP.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

There is no point in complaining that our Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte member of the legislature is never in the electoral district.? He obviously drives through it every time he goes to or from the legislature in Toronto and his home. When you live where MPP Doug Downey lives you still have a way to go past Barrie before you are home in Severn.

Whether it is fair to the people of his electoral district is another matter.

Downey was a parachute candidate. A former Orillia councillor and the go-to guy up in Severn for the Ontario conservatives, he was appointed by Doug Ford to run in Barrie to keep Patrick Brown out of making a comeback from here. And now that Orillia has its own Costco, he does not need to come to Barrie very often.

But after six months in office, nobody here seems to have heard from our MPP. You would suspect that especially a parachute candidate would want to be noted at special events around town. And while I have not been at all the major events in Barrie in that time, I have been at those where you would expect an MPP to make an appearance.

Mr. Downey is a disappointment.

But then his entire conservative caucus at Queen’s Park have been letting us down. They have a responsibility to temper the ignorance that Doug Ford brings to his job. You would think as a lawyer himself, Mr. Downey would realize the limitations of the advice of New York trained Caroline Mulroney. He and other lawyers in the caucus have to be prepared to caution her on some of her errors. She is obviously not listening to her civil service advisors. Caucus members need to help.

Nor is likely that anyone can temper the right-wing rage of a Lisa MacLeod but with her heading up the new controls on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), the caucus must feel like it is on an out-of-control bus careening down the highway. You really do not want the types of problems that woman is going to create. The proof will be in the levers she pulls. There will obviously be more on this subject.

But it is safe to guess that Mr. Downey is just a one-time MPP for Barrie. Why bother getting to know him?

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Ford fast-tracks the slippery slope.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

One of the problems with being a bit older is that you have seen it all before. Premier Doug Ford, for example, might be just a reprise of Mike Harris, conservative premier of Ontario from 1995 to 2002. One of the reasons for the longevity of the McGuinty-Wynne liberals after that was the memory of Ontario voters of the mistakes Harris made.

And it looks as though Doug Ford is digging his own grave in the same way as Harris dug his. It is the old story of those who do not learn from the past making the same mistakes. Harris’ mantra was something called ‘the common-sense revolution.’ It was your basic slash and burn conservatism, ‘open for business’ and cutting of taxes.

It would appear that Mike Harris and his provincial ministers gave their changes more consideration than Ford’s people have given their legislation, so far.

Mike Harris gave people lots of time to blow smoke about consolidating Toronto into a supercity. While he had no idea how to fix Toronto’s political problems, Harris let the naysayers vent and then went ahead and put the city into one. It did not save the city any money either.

There were two incidents caused by Harris’ dogmatism that helped speed his downfall. These were at Walkerton and Ipperwash Provincial Park.

In Walkerton, the province—instead of cutting the regulations—cut out the people who oversaw the regulations. These experts, for example, gave technical assistance to people running municipal water treatment plants. It left a lot of people guessing at what to do and, in Walkerton in south-western Ontario, they were about five days to late in finding out that their water supply was contaminated with E. coli bacteria. In an area of 5000 population, more than 2000 people suffered through illness brought on by the contamination and five, six or seven were reported to have died, depending on your source of information.

In the Ipperwash park situation, the local aboriginal population had been displaced from their lands in the area during the Second World War and were still trying to get compensation from the federal government 50 years later. The military had stopped using the federal government area and nobody paid attention to the aboriginals. Since the Ipperwash Provincial Park was popular, the aboriginals occupied that part of the land. It got the wrong attention and a provincial police sharpshooter ended up killing an un-armed protestor.

Since nobody in Ontario expects the provincial police to be told what to do by the premier’s office, premier Harris, so-to-speak, missed a bullet on that one!

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

When the Kingfish rules.

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

While many see him as a Trump-lite, Ontario’s premier Doug Ford is more of a politician in the tradition of Louisiana’s governor Huey P. Long (Born 1893 – Assassinated 1935). Long liked being called “The Kingfish.”

This is unlike American president Donald Trump’s evident nihilism which is mainly a rejection of any moral or religious principles. Huey Long’s populist struggle to political power was more of a contest between the corrupt establishment and the corrupt populist interloper. Long took on powerful interests on behalf of the people of his state while also fulfilling his own objectives, and filling his pockets.

Long was the subject of more than a few books and two movies have been made of “All the King’s Men” by author Robert Penn Warren. I have not seen the 2006 film but the way it was panned by the critics, I would not be likely to see it. It was the 1949 version of the film, starring Broderick Crawford, that won three Oscars.

Though it is quite doubtful that Doug Ford would win any rewards for his performance as premier of Ontario to-date. Ford is to busy preening for his fans and taking his bows for a political win where his opponents (Ontario’s liberals) defeated themselves.

But for him to show his vindictive streak against his former opponents shows no class at all. He is seriously ruling that an increase in members in the legislature is required to recognize the liberals as an official party. Maybe we should have hopes for more of his conservatives deserting the Ford party. His personal vendettas are embarrassing many progressive conservatives. He spent billions as soon as he was in office to end Ontario’s participation in a ‘Cap and Trade’ deal with California and Quebec and then set aside millions to try to stop a federal carbon tax.

And we are still computing the costs for his surprise attack on Toronto city hall councillors—reducing the number of wards—in the middle of the election campaign.

But it is his latest faux pas that is enraging anyone who understands the relationship between our Canadian governments and their police forces. He is reported to have changed the rules to accommodate a personal friend as commissioner of Ontario’s provincial police. His friend Ron Taverner did not have the experience as a deputy chief or a chief, so they changed the rules. Mr. Taverner is now commissioner.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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