Red Herring Headlines

Following Julie Payette’s resignation, the “non-partisan” CBC had hosts, pundits and Opposition Party guests heap scorn on Justin Trudeau’s initial ad hoc selection of her as Governor General. In print media. Fraser, Fife, et al. went all Opinion Piece proselytizing on how none of this would have happened under Harper.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole intoned:  “Considering the problems with his last appointment … the Prime Minister should consult opposition parties.” The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh bemoaned the Liberal’s lack of good judgement: “This is all sad, but it’s so Justin Trudeau’s style,” he said. “He thinks that he knows better than anybody else, than the special committee created by the Conservatives. But we were right at that time. We made the right decision, he did the wrong decision and unfortunately, today we paid a price for this mess.”

Hindsight is a wonderful gift, Mr. Singh, but so is history. Back in 2017 when Julie Payette was nominated to the position of Governor General by Justin Trudeau, then NDP leader Thomas Mulcair announced: “On behalf of the New Democratic Party and Canadians across this country, I applaud the appointment of Julie Payette as the next Governor General of Canada. Ms. Payette is a superb choice as she embodies some of the very best qualities of Canada.” Nothing but the best for the NDP, Jagmeet,

Similarly, then Conservative leader Andrew Scheer proclaimed, “As a scientist, a former chief astronaut for the (Canadian Space Agency), and a leading advocate for Canadian ingenuity around the world, Ms. Payette will be well-suited to play a leadership role in Canada as the next Governor General,”  adding that his party has full confidence in her.

The Canadian Space Agency declared: “Ms. Payette has served the Canadian Space Agency and her country exceptionally well, both on the ground and in space for over two decades. Throughout her career as an astronaut, she was a tireless ambassador for science and technology. Ms. Payette visited schools across the country, encouraging young Canadians to view science as a means to contribute to society and to our planet. As a lifelong defender of the arts, she will be in a unique position to communicate her passion for music and science to the next generation of Canadians.”

 Well, well, well. Turns out that at the time the Conservative and NDP Opposition Parties gave their full confidence for Trudeau’s superb choice of Julie Payette as Canada’s Governor General with nary a whisper of the need to invoke the Harper regime’s Advisory Committee on Vice-Regal Appointments to assist the  Liberal minority government in its selection process.

O’Toole and Singh have clearly established themselves as opportunistic hypocrites. Perhaps a Liberal appointed non-partisan Committee for the Opposition Party Leadership Appointments would create a more robust selection process for the future. You know, to ensure that we have full confidence in the superb choices made for future NDP and Conservative leaders. The current batch have been weighed, have been measured, and have been found wanting.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

*images from enwikepedia.com and istockpohoto.com

Ford and Phillips: hypocrisy loves company

Canada has clear coronavirus health guidelines. Ontario has clear coronavirus health guidelines. All we need is for people to follow them in order to get this pandemic under control for a healthier 2021 and beyond.  We often look to our leaders for inspiration. In Canada’s case, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has walked the talk from day one. Alas, we cannot say the same for Ontario.

At a time when front line health care staff are taxed to the maximum, it would seem that the least we could do would be to follow the basic guidelines; no non-essential travel, stay in your bubble, avoid indoor crowds, mask, stay 2 m apart and wash our hands.

Alas, neither our Premier, Doug Ford, nor some of his Conservative cabal, like Finance Minister Rod Phillips, seem capable of following those simple rules. Now, wet-behind-the political-ears rookie Sam Oosterhoff may have an excuse for his rules violating crowded evangelical restaurant party, but there is NO EXCUSE for seasoned politicians like Ford and Phillips. These were clear cases of arrogant entitlement.

At least Phillips, still on a rules violating non-essential travel vacation to St, Barts with his wife, can say he was “just following the leader.” Ford has twice violated Ontario’s travel and bubble restrictions by his May visit to his cottage to “check on the water pipes” and his family dinner get-together for Easter.

After the Ford Government shut down Queen’s Park for an extended December to February break in the middle of a global pandemic, Phillips thought it was a good time to skip the country for a little non-essential travel. For the second time.

And the icing on the Christmas cake was the pre-recorded fireside message that Phillip’s arranged to have Tweeted to his constituents making it appear that he was still home for the holidays. The message should have said, “As you all make sacrifices this #Christmas, remember that some of our fellow citizens won’t even be home for Christmas dinner over Zoom. Like me. I’ll be soaking up the sun in St. Barts while thousands of front-line heroes will be looking out for you. Ho, Ho, Ho!” Gee Rod, turns out you’re a Dick.

Also turns out that Mr. Phillips let Mr. Ford know about his trip “about two weeks ago” which would have meant that the Premier knew about Rod’s illicit vacation at the time that parliament was dissolved on December10th for a two month break in the middle of a pandemic. And Doug kept it quiet until the proverbial excrement hit the fan. So, dear readers, who wins first place?

Yeppers, two peas in a hypocritical pod in the middle of their “do as I say, not as I do” sycophantic conservative goober patch. 2022 can’t come soon enough.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

* image from cp24.com

Something is Rotten in Dufferin-Caledon

WARNING: This editorial is long, but worth the read before the next federal election.

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Politics has been a blood sport since its inception, most notably captured in the phrase, “Et tu, Brute?” Yep, Julius didn’t see the dagger in the hand of his buddy Brutus and suddenly lost a lot more than his power.

In Canada, we have many examples in recent history. The long knives were out for leaders Kim Campbell, Stephane Dion, and Thomas Mulcair when the party “insiders” decided it was time for a leadership change.

In Ontario over the past two years we have seen the chaos that ensued when the provincial Progressive Conservative Party pulled the rug out from under its elected leader, Patrick Brown, went through a farce of a leadership convention with accusations of impropriety on all sides, and finally anointed a new “leader” who had won neither the popular vote from convention candidates, nor the majority of votes.

Locally, the Conservative chaos continued the past month at the federal level with the nomination process to replace long standing MP David Tilson in the riding of Dufferin-Caledon. Ever since Liberal Murray Calder lost the seat to Tilson in 2004, this district has been in Conservative hands.

*Backgrounder:

In 2004 our former electoral districts of Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey were rearranged as Dufferin-Caledon. Tilson had been the Conservative provincial representative for Dufferin-Peel under Mike Harris. When it became apparent that the Ontario populace had turned their backs on Harris, he retired to take a victory tour of Europe. The Conservatives selected Ernie Eves as their new leader. Eves had no elected seat in parliament. Tilson gave up his provincial seat for Mr. Eves so that he could slide into parliament as Ontario’s new Premier. Tilson switched from provincial to federal politics. A confused electorate voted, and Tilson won his seat in federal politics.

Back to the future and the confusion now rocking the federal Conservative nomination process in Dufferin-Caledon. On a local level, this is bigger than SNC Lavalin. Consider that if a provincial party, established in 1854 or a federal party established in 1867 can’t have an honest and transparent candidate selection process, they shouldn’t be given the reins of power. Here’s how it should work.

Potential candidates who submit their names for MP positions are put through background checks and financial audits by the National Candidate Selection Committee (NCSC), NOT the local riding association. Approved names are passed on to the local riding association for assistance in vetting. Party membership lists are controlled by the Conservative Party Executive, not the local riding committee.

Now, in order to win a nomination, candidates encourage their supporters to sign up as party members. All candidates for all parties do this. The more supporters you have at a nomination convention, the greater your likelihood of winning. For the Conservative Party of Canada, a $15 entry fee gets you in the door, provided you meet the following criteria:

“In order to join a political party, there are certain requirements to join:

  • You must agree with the general principles of the party (they will often get you to sign or tick a box online stating that you agree)
  • Most parties will not allow you to join if you are a member in another party (there is no way for them to police this, they rely on the honour system)
  • You must be a resident of Canada (no, you don’t even need to be a citizen, just a permanent resident in Canada)
  • You must be a minimum age (this differs between political parties, but it is usually as low as 14 or 16; so if you’re in high school, you can be a member of a political party with all the rights that come with it – which includes voting in a nomination race).
  • You must have been a registered member for 21 days prior to the candidates’ convention.”

This should be easy. The federal Conservative Party was founded in 1867, switched to Progressive Conservatives in 1942, united the right to become the Conservative Reform Alliance Party (CRAP) and when the acronym didn’t quite work, became the Conservative Party of Canada in 2003. Confused? Yes, and that’s the purpose of changing your name every few years. On the other hand, the Liberal Party of Canada has been the Liberal Party since 1861.

On March 15, 2019, Harzadan Singh Khattra, buoyed by an enthusiastic crowd of his community supporters, won an easy victory. It was immediately appealed by the third place finisher, Barb Shaughnessy, apparently out of fear that his nomination would lead to a Liberal victory in Dufferin-Caledon. She did not give any reasons for those fears. When she lost the local riding association appeal, she sent it to the National Council. On April 25, 2019, the removal of Mr. Khattra as the victor was announced by the NCSC and confirmed by the National Council.

Now normally, the second place finisher from March 15, Mr. Kevin Weatherbee, would be declared the candidate. However, remember that politics is a blood sport. Sounding a lot like a squeaky wheel desperately trying to get some grease, third place finisher Shaughnessy quickly declared that she felt she would have the majority of support.

At the same time, she began to circulate email rumours that Jennifer Innis, the local party President, would be jumping ship from her municipal position as Regional Councillor to enter federal politics. In response, Ms. Innis clearly stated that she had made a commitment to remain in municipal politics for this term. Known to be a respectful and ethical local politician, Innis made it absolutely clear that the Shaughnessy rumours were “categorically false.”

Now the party is left with few choices: either the second place finisher wins, or there will be a new nomination process. Or, as happens when time is short and there is a candidate controversy, the Party Leader can bypass democracy and anoint whoever he or she considers to be a winner for that riding.

Dear Conservatives, you’ve had over one hundred and sixty years to practice. Try to get it right this time.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

*image 1 from redmolotov.com

*image 2 from independentsentinel.com