In which I praise Trudeau and Trump

Cartoon by the amazing de Adder.


I have been critical of Justin Trudeau for (a) sucking up to Donald Trump and (b) getting nothing in return.

But credit where credit’s due: yesterday, Trudeau got a temporary exemption from Trump’s insane steel and aluminum tariffs.


The key word there is “temporary.” As I say to my pal Charles in our weekly chat, below, it looks very much like Trump did what he did to wring concessions from Canada and Mexico at the NAFTA tables.  He did it to get the U.S. what it wants at the NAFTA tables – which is something, but it ain’t free trade anymore.  It’s giving America all the marbles.

Anyway, here’s me and Charles.  These days, Justin Trudeau needed a win – any win.  Donald Trump, of all people, gave him one.

All this talk of delaying the PC leadership vote reminds me of something

Oh, wait.  I know what it is.

Arguing that computer errors have disenfranchised huge numbers of Conservatives, Belinda Stronach’s campaign chief said Wednesday that the party’s leadership vote should be postponed until the membership list mess is sorted out.

“These list problems will deprive up to tens of thousands of members of their votes for the first leader of our new party,” said John Laschinger, Ms. Stronach’s national campaign director.

The leadership vote is scheduled for March 20, but on Wednesday Mr. Laschinger urged the executive director of the Conservative Party to delay the vote until it can be assured that all legitimate members have the chance to vote.

“It is clear that the number of disenfranchised members reaches into the tens of thousands,” he writes. “We have no option but to ask that voting be delayed until these list problems are resolved. It is undemocratic to continue with an unfair process in which so many legitimate, paid-up members are denied their democratic rights.”

Oh, and Laschinger lost that one, too, of course. He’s good at losing.

Angus Reid Poll: PCs would win (big) with Elliott

These results are consistent with what John Wright’s DART came up with yesterday, as seen here.

Useful chart:

Key findings summarized:

The chaos and scandal that have rocked the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario over the last six weeks appears to have done little damage to the party’s electoral fortunes, but a new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute shows that could change, depending on the outcome of this weekend’s PC leadership vote.

Two of the people running to replace former leader Patrick Brown – Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney – seem well-positioned to maintain the party’s lead before the scheduled June election, but a third – Doug Ford – could send would-be Tory voters running for another party, or keep them on their couches come election day.

Ford is a polarizing figure, beloved by many in the party’s base, but strongly disliked by many outside it. While Ontarians overall are more likely to have a favourable than unfavourable view of Elliott and Mulroney, nearly twice as many have an unfavourable view of Ford (51%) as have a favourable one (27%).

This dynamic could extend to vote intention as well. Both Elliott and Mulroney would inspire more Ontarians to vote for the party than they would drive away, while Ford would discourage double the number he would encourage to support the Progressive Conservatives if he became leader (42% versus 19%, respectively).

Full release is here.

The Wynne Liberals have two shots at survival: the big-spending budget that is coming at month’s end, or the campaign that comes very quickly after that.

Chad Walsh, Rebecca Mackenzie, Alexis Levine and a few other Ontario Liberals have the skills to craft a winning campaign.  The Wizard and the Board, meanwhile, are the same group who destroyed the federal Liberal Party and consigned us to a decade in the wilderness.  And they still have Wynne’s ear.

The budget, meanwhile, needs to be simply extraordinary.  Pharmacare, Hydro price rollbacks, the minimum wage hike, etc. have all been popular – but Wynne hasn’t become more popular as a result.  So what can she do in that budget that will make enough of a difference?  It is going to be her campaign document – but I’m not sure enough voters are listening to her anymore.

Kathleen Wynne is a formidable politician, but she has a formidable problem: Ontarians like the message, but not the messenger.

Comments are open.

I, feminist

Am I a feminist?

Definitions first:

adjective, Sometimes, feministic
advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.
an advocate of such rights.

By that definition, am I a feminist? As I often tell my truly feminist wife: I aspire to be a feminist, but I’m not there yet.  Just as I practice law – just as I see myself as a writer/musician/painter-in-progress, one who has yet to produce anything truly worthwhile – I am incomplete.  I have much to learn, and many miles to go.  Perhaps on the day I die, I will be closer to being a feminist.  For now, I remain highly imperfect.

When I was younger, during my undergrad years, I was an idiot.  I hung out with a bunch of residence guys who were similarly idiotic.  We got involved in student politics and got taught a few painful lessons we richly deserved, principally by and about Carleton’s Women’s Centre.

In the same era, on a personal level, I was cruel and reckless with the hearts of many (many) women.  When I came home to Calgary for law school, my Dad looked at me one night in September 1984 and said, in that way he had: “I disapprove of how you were when you were student council president.  And I am very disappointed by how you have been in your relationships.  You have not been a gentleman.”

If you knew my Dad, you would know why those words cut me like a knife, and why I never forgot them.  They affect me to this day.

So began a period where I commenced (in typical guilt-stricken-Warren Irish Catholic fashion) a quest for absolution.  Lisa would perhaps tell you that (again, typically) I have gone to the opposite extreme – and that, like all converts, I have been desperately trying to make up for lost time.

As such, on many days, I actually despise men.  I do.  I regard men as the principal source of all evil in the world.  I tell Lisa – who listens, patiently, but never agrees – that wars, crimes and most misdeeds are committed (overwhelmingly) by men.  That men are the ones who (overwhelmingly) do evil, to women and children.  That men are (to me, at least) dispensable, biologically and otherwise.

She listens, and then she reminds me that we are the parents to four amazing young men.  She tells me that our obligation, as parents, is to equip them with an unshakeable commitment to equality, and an unwavering desire to render a better world for all the varying shades of gender.  She’s right, of course.

There are those days when I look down South – and I see the piece of human garbage who occupies the highest office – and I rage.  But, eventually, she calms me down.  (She’s not stopping me from my next book being about male self-loathing, however.)

Anyway, anyhow. I should conclude this little confessional by saying that I am not on my odyssey of feminist self-discovery for Lisa, or our two daughters, or my Mom, or some other woman.  I am not doing it for them.  I am on this quest, for me, to be a better man.

So, what is a feminist?  Not me, not yet.  I am trying to get to that distant shore, but I still have a long way to go, and I still have many sins for which I must atone.

Dart and Newstalk 1010 Ontario politics shocker poll: it had better be one Hell of a March 28 budget

…because they are seriously running out of runway.  Wow.

This poll is a shocker, from respected pollster John Wright and the good folks at 1010:

Despite Leadership Contest Tumult,
Preference is for Ontario PC’s (44%) to Govern,
NDP (24%), Liberal Party (19%), “Other” (13%)

 Eight in 10 (81%) Ontarians believe it’s time for another provincial party to take over and run the province compared to just two in 10 (19%) who say the Liberal government under Premier Kathleen Wynne has done a good job and deserves to be re-elected

 Toronto—As the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario gets down to choosing a new leader on Saturday, March 10, 2018, a new poll conducted by DART Insight for NewsTalk 1010 suggests that despite the tumultuous month of leadership campaigning, Ontarians still prefer the PC’s to govern the province versus all others.

 The results were gathered during the meltdown of former PC leader Patrick Brown’s attempt to regain his post and suggest that even in the midst of the campaign cacophony, when given a choice as to who should govern Ontario, voters still preferred the Ontario PC’s (44%) to do so versus the Ontario New Democratic Party (24%), the Ontario Liberal Party (19%) or another party of their choice (“Other” 13%). Ontario voters go to the polls on June 7, 2018.

 These preferences are against a backdrop where eight in 10 (81%) Ontarians believe it’s time for another Party to take over and run the Province compared to just two in 10 (19%) who say the Liberal government under Premier Kathleen Wynne has done a good job and deserves to be re-elected.

The DART Insight Online scientific poll was conducted between February 19 – 27, 2018, among almost 1000 Ontario adults (962 aged 18+), was weighted to the latest general population census and is considered accurate within +/- 3.6% using a Bayesian Credibility Interval measurement. Note that totals may be +/- 100% due to rounding.

Boy, the Wizard and the Board sure have done a good job!

Kevin J. Johnston’s hate tour – let’s cancel it

Late yesterday, I was sent this:

The piece of human garbage pictured, on the right, is Kevin J. Johnson. (That’s a swastika on his poster, to the left.)  Lately, he’s been showing up at Doug Ford events. Johnston was charged in July with wilful promotion of hatred, mostly against Muslims.  A condition of his bail was that he stay away from any Muslim mosque or community centre.

That bail condition is why I was suspicious by Johnston’s apparent intention to speak at the Brampton Islamic Centre on March 21.

But better safe than sorry.  So, we got word out to our contacts nationally in the Muslim, Jewish, LGBT and other communities.  We needed those centres/locations contacted, as soon as possible, to shut this bastard down.

So my online friends got to work.  Here’s the latest:

  • Simcoe County District School Board investigated and said no way.  Thank you to them.
  • Sudbury – the good folks there have told us no such event is taking place at a Greater Sudbury library or City facility.  Here.
  • Cornwall Collegiate – likewise.  The advertised hate fest “will not take place,” they told us.
  • Barrie’s Mayor, the terrific Jeff Lehman, also made clear this racist thug wouldn’t be welcome in his town, as seen here.

The Sleeping Giants approach works, folks.  Contact the people in charge at the locations listed on the poster.  Be factual, polite and make the direct request: that (a) they confirm no such event is taking place under his or some other name and (b) that, if it is, they shut it down.  That’s it.

Need your help, folks.  Please get involved.  Thanks.