But who’ll fix the marijuana mess?

November 21st, 2019 by Peter Lowry

Swearing in the new cabinet at Rideau Hall was a painful process. Maybe it would have worked better if all the retreads with the same portfolios got sworn in together. It was only the cabinet changes that the media and public wanted to examine. And I, for one, think a cabinet member should get one thing right before he (or she) gets a chance to screw up more serious matters.

I’ll bet you think I am going to bitch about Carolyn Bennett being kept in her ineffectual role of looking after aboriginal affairs. Well, I am not. I figure if the various councils and tribes, and pow-wows and reconciliations cannot e to grips with our aboriginal needs and wants, who am I to plain on their behalf.

While I am willing to give the new cabinet an opportunity to show its stuff, I do have one small caveat. I think that people such as Toronto’s Bill Blair should clean up the mess made in his pot-promoting lily pond before he goes on to more serious responsibility in a larger pond.

And what idiot thinks a police background is suitable experience to bee a spy master? I think Bill Blair is the last person who should ever be in charge of intelligence. Admittedly, the Canadian Intelligence Security Service has always been a bit of a tongue in cheek affair but it is hardly a bunch of Keystone Kops! CSIS relies heavily on technology today to give it the leg-up it has among intelligence operations.

Blair has none of the technical background necessary to discuss clandestine surveillance in Five Eyes meetings. He is just not the sort of person you trust to protect our rights and freedoms. He was the person in charge of the police who broke trust with Canadians in June, 2010.

But the latest problem we have with Blair is the crock-up he has made of marijuana sales across Canada. By not understanding basic merchandising and a marketing rollout, he set the provinces up for a marketing disaster. I think it is fair that Blair should wear the dunce cap for the pot problem.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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The Day of the Blacksmith.

November 20th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

We might be just one of many mentators trying to fathom the actions of Alberta’s premier. The other day, the province’s main apologist, Gillian Steward, reported in the Toronto Star that premier Jason Kenney’s threats to take Alberta and run away from home were getting louder every day.

What amuses me about this protest from the West is that Steward refers to Kenney as the alpha male of the conservative party. To suggest that a 51-year old bachelor who is a practicing misogynist is the alpha male, does not say much for men in the conservative party.

Maybe we are just going to have to accept the fact that Andrew Scheer is the best they have to offer. Nobody seems to want Ontario’s Doug Ford sticking his nose into the federal foxhole.

But to explain the blacksmith reference in the headline; It is just that we have heard all this B.S. from Jason Kenney before. I remember the nineteen-sixties in Ottawa when everyone was asking what does Quebec want? Whatever it was hardly mattered because they were never going to get whatever it was.

It was the blacksmith blaming the farrier for the lack of horses to shoe in the time of the automobile.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau mitted the ultimate environmental faux pas when he bought the Trans Mountain pipeline in an attempt to placate Alberta’s greed. If it was just a gesture of conciliation and had been stipulated as only for processed oil products, he might have been able to get a short term laissez passé from the environmentalists. The aboriginals would know that oil clean-ups would bring money but diluted bitumen would bring disaster. And the environmentalists also know that diluted bitumen could spell the death of the world’s remaining Orcas ing to the Strait of Georgia.

It was likely just blacksmiths who turned their talents to tool and die making who survived in the age of the automobile.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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And when they are down, they are down.

November 19th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

Funny, that nursery rhyme has been running through my head. You know the one: The grand old Duke of York, He had ten thousand men. He marched them up to the top of the hill. And marched them down again. It seems the modern Duke of York has gotten himself into a spot of bother, he has!

The second son of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew, is the current Duke of York. This is a title that has gone through many hands throughout English history. It has usually been a title given to the second son of a reigning monarch, more than a few having gone on to bee the monarch—most recently Elizabeth II’s father, George VI.

But Prince Andrew would not likely make that cut today as he is behind his older brother, Prince Charles and Charles’ oldest son and grandchildren in the order of succession. He has also let the side down in his relationship with an American convicted sex offender.

In a rather ill-considered television interview at Buckingham Palace recently, Prince Andrew really bollixed up the Royal scene while trying to tone down the criticism of his actions. In fact, he made things worse.

What was surprising about it is that despite the favouritism, the Queen has always shown for Andrew, she is actually very careful of the royals’ reputation. It is a very valuable modity.

It is going to bee an even more important modity if the silly Brexit argument takes the Brits out of the European Union. It is most unlikely that the United Kingdom will stay the same for very long under those circumstances. Scotland is most likely going to leave England to stay with the EU, as well as Northern Ireland is most likely to join the rest of Ireland.

Oh well, the royals are the Brits’ problem. Oh darn, I just remembered, they are also our royals. Too bad.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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In the job nobody wanted.

November 18th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

Watching the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson trying to interview Yves-Fran?ois Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, on Sunday caused mixed emotions. Here is the guy who took on the job for the Bloc that nobody else wanted and he is running rings around the Global Television interviewer. And he is just as difficult to pin down in English as he is in French.

The other day, in a speech in Calgary, premier Jason Kenney of Alberta said that Blanchet needs to choose a lane. The inference was that Blanchet was trying to drive in two of the freeway lanes at the same time. He wanted to have things both ways.

Blanchet, in turn, ridiculed Kenney for claiming that the Bloc wanted the financial benefits of Alberta’s oil and gas production but was barring the passage of pipelines through Quebec. He pointed out that Line 9 of Enbridge is already approved to be reversed and deliver diluted bitumen to Quebec. His plaint was that the Energy East pipeline, which the péquiste opposed, was designed to run through Quebec to Saint John, New Brunswick. There, the diluted bitumen was to be shipped by the Irving interests to European destinations. Blanchet saw no value to Quebec in that.

Jason Kenney is equally vociferous when it es to getting advice from Quebec. He accuses Quebec of taking equalization payments from Alberta’s oil and gas resources and not giving any support in return. Blanchet, in turn, explains that Quebec has never got any equalization payments from Alberta.

But sitting in the middle of an argument such as this was not a spot Mercedes Stephenson considered fortable. She seemed to be decidedly unfortable throughout the interview.

After all, what could she say, when Blanchet stated that there would never have been an original Alberta oil boom without the early financial support from Quebec? That was not going to be proved one way or the other in a half-hour television news program.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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Let’s get this show on the road.

November 17th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

As an Ontario liberal (a paid-up member), I am aware that there is a contest afoot to select a new Ontario party leader. And I hear that only those paid up by December 2, 2019 will be eligible to be elected to go to that easily corrupted delegated-convention in Toronto at the beginning of March 2020 to choose the new leader.

But what kind of a race is this if the four Toronto area candidates and the London area candidate (so far) do not take their shows on the road? Those of us in central and northern Ontario are not just window dressing. And we like to influence where the party is going. It is hard to have an opinion when you have never met any of the candidates.

I must admit that Michael Coteau from Don Valley East in Toronto is running the most aggressive campaign so far. He has bought that NationBuilder software and makes a very credible presentation. He keeps supporters and possible supporters informed and is more sensitive than the federal liberals in how often and how aggressively he asks for financial support.

Coteau also stays away from the trite political language and asks people to think. He is running an idea-based campaign. The problem is the web sites, FaceBook pages, Twitter and the others, do not make a campaign. Politically-active people need face time.

This is something that Mitzi Hunter, the other sitting MPP understands. Yet the media assume that former MPP and cabinet minister Steven Del Duca is in the lead because of the low-hanging fruit in support that he features in his web site.

I think Kate Graham from London will add something to the race. I have often wondered how a political science academic would do in a real leadership contest? Alvin Tedjo is the other inexperienced candidate and yet, he works from his strengths with some excellent podcast material on his web site.

But it is expensive for the candidates as it is for the people attending the March convention. With only five candidates, it would be a shame to lose any of them at this stage.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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Justin Trudeau lacks the political smarts.

November 16th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

An old friend is mounting an e-mail campaign to get prime minister Justin Trudeau to add some key members to his new cabinet. I have argued with him that it is not going to happen and frankly the problem is not so much the idea but the fact that the prime minister lacks the skills to manage such a situation. It is all based on adding Elizabeth May of the green party and a couple friendly new democratic MPs to the federal cabinet.

It is not unheard of. The argument against it happening is the problem of cabinet confidentiality. While making an argument for an open and transparent cabinet would be interesting, the reality is that it is not going to happen. There are just too many national security matters that have to be considered. There are also the confidential matters that involve business and industry. There are the budget matters that have to be announced to everybody at once and not pre-released to a select few. There are far too many considerations for someone such as Justin Trudeau to handle on a day-to-day basis. Look how he did with the SNC-Lavalin affair in the past year.

Still, there is much to like about the idea. My friend, of course, wants Elizabeth May in the cabinet portfolio of the environment. That might be a great idea but expertise in the portfolio is not the first criteria for selection. The first is regional representation. There is also seniority. Knowing some of the specifics of the job might encourage the prime minister to appoint an economist in finance or a senior lawyer in justice but if you add some feminist idea that you have to have half boys and half girls, you could make cabinet-making a high-risk job.

Frankly, it would be easier for the prime minister to get the green party and new democratic party members to sign on as liberals. All a liberal is these days is a person who gets constant e-mails asking for donations to the liberal party.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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Alberta should say no to own police.

November 15th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

We are hearing a lot of bad ideas from Alberta of late. When premier Kenney gets into a hissy-fit, he rails and rants a lot and he es up with some really dumb suggestions. The dumbest of them is the one where Alberta would create its own pension plan and put all the money into the tar sands. Another is the idea of firing the RCMP as the provincial police in Alberta and creating their own provincial police.

The policing idea has merit but I would suggest that the start-up costs for an Alberta force would be sizeable and there could be unnecessary levels of chaos in the transition. What Kenney and his friends should do is hire the Ontario Provincial Police to do the job. The OPP has the training facilities, the people and the skills to provide a seamless transition. And the good news is that Doug Ford was never allowed to put his people in charge of the OPP. They are untouched by politicians.

It makes them one of the best police forces in North America. pared to the nearby New York State Police, headquartered in Albany, the OPP are paragons of virtue. They always stood a head taller than the Quebec Provincial Police but I am told by Quebecers that the QPP are no longer the bunch of thugs, they used to be.

While my experience with RCMP headquarters in Ottawa was always friendly and interesting, I could not say that for the kids fresh out of training in Regina who travelled the roads of Alberta looking for someone to harass.

But just why the dismissal of the RCMP as provincial guardians of law and order in Alberta would be a blow for freedom by Kenney is beyond me. It is easy enough to imagine that pulling four million people out of the Canada Pension Plan would be a small set back for the larger plan but the entire idea is that the larger the plan’s base the easier it is to ensure growth in its asset base. Small plans are more vulnerable.

Especially if you put the Alberta portion into as polluting an industry as Alberta tar sands.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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Don’t sweat the small stuff.

November 14th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

It seems that we are dealing totally in the small stuff these days. Imagine getting outraged by that blowhard on Coach’s Corner between the first and second period of Hockey Night in Canada. That is the viewer’s opportunity to get a fresh beer or to go to the washroom. I am now sick of that constant repeating on television of what Cherry said in that stupid rant. That was more than I ever wanted to hear from him.

But if the Rogers people need a replacement for Cherry, I think they should talk to Jason Kenney. Kenney might seem to have an interesting perch out there in Alberta, but I think his real love is the federal scene. He might want to e back to the East to get ready for when Scheer gets turfed by the Tories.

And Scott Moe of Saskatchewan would make a good back up for Kenney. He is more of a whiner that Kenney and he might not know much about hockey but get him a couple good writers, teach him how to read a teleprompter and you have the perfect solution.

And I never have figured out the role of Don Maclean on that schtick. He always stands there like a dummy. And I could have sworn he nodded just once during that rant but he was hardly keeping Cherry under control. His apology was too late. Should Rogers not fire him?

Another small problem is the lack of cabinet representation for Alberta and Saskatchewan. I think it is a shame that the five million plus, Canadians in these two provinces are not represented in the federal cabinet. I realize that it is hard to plan these things in advance but just whom do you think is responsible for this state of affairs? If the dislike for liberalism is that overarching in those two provinces, why give them someone else to hate by appointing some western liberals to the senate and then to the cabinet?

Back in the heyday of the Reform Party of Preston Manning, he used the slogan ‘The West wants in.’ Now we are told, ‘The West wants out.’ Alberta belongs to all of us. Where do they think they can take it?

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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Now do the decent thing.

November 13th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

Green leader Elizabeth May did the right thing. The other major party leaders, Scheer, Singh and Trudeau should follow. None pleted the recent election with honour. Scheer won the popular vote and lost the election. Singh lost ground for the new democrats. Trudeau lost the West but won Ontario and Quebec and held on with a minority.

May improved her party’s membership in the mons by 50 per cent (one member) and then she resigned. In parison, Singh lost a third of the new democratic party seats and thinks he is a hero. That supposed surge for Singh in the latter part of the campaign was reluctant NDPers admitting that there was not much choice and ing home to their party.

What is particularly odious about the crushing of Singh was the loss of former NDP seats in Quebec to the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc also took over the third-party status of the new democrats.

It will be at the first opportunity for his party to have a secret vote on his leadership that will end Jagmeet Singh’s career in federal politics. The same end is likely to be in store for Andrew Scheer.

The most amusing aspect of Mr. Scheer’s dilemma is that he could have been prime minister today, trying to win the approval of other parties to support him. What it would have taken was a change in the position taken by members of his party on the special mons mittee on electoral reform. This was the mittee that studied proportional representation and the conservative members of the mittee insisted on holding a referendum. Nobody anticipated that a referendum would approve such a change and Justin Trudeau was forced to renege on his promise.

Despite his many short-ings, Justin Trudeau might be the only party leader able to survive a leadership vote at the next meeting of his political party. The problem is that Trudeau has been busy attempting to turn the liberal party into more of a cult than a traditional Canadian political party.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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Justin Trudeau defends NATO?

November 12th, 2019 by Peter Lowry

There seems to be a difference of opinion between French President Emmanuel Macron and prime minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. Macron says that the 70-year old North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is suffering brain death, while Canada’s PM thinks it is doing ‘just fine, thank you.’

Trudeau insists that NATO is holding its own as a group of countries that e together to share values and an ongoing mitment to shared security.

And if he thinks such defence will earn him any ‘thanks’ in Washington, Trudeau is whistling past the graveyard. Donald Trump will be just as stupid when he gets up tomorrow as he was today.

The Americans who supported NATO in the past deserve much of the credit for creating and holding NATO together as any other country. Yet, to not police Turkish despot Erdogan’s flirting with the Russians is a serious error in leadership. To abandon allies such as the Kurds in Syria is also a disgrace. And yet all Trump plains about is the countries that, he thinks, are not spending enough on defence.

The Canadian government and its citizens have backed NATO since its inception. And Canada has done its part in trying to keep the organization strong and effective.

And it is hard to imagine the Canadian who would be proud of their prime minister kissing the nether parts of that ass in the White House.

As Babel-on-the-Bay reported yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron has taken a bold step forward to build a new reality in a unified Europe. He may not be the reincarnation of Charlemagne and a united Europe would not be the Holy Roman Empire but it would be a financial and military heavy weight. Monsieur le President Macron does not think small.

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