Babel-on-the-Bay: Kevin O’Leary meets a real reality.

Welcome to Canadian politics, Kevin O’Leary. You have brought a few laughs to an otherwise dismal contest for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. Though you would think someone from reality television would know what to expect? Did you really think leadership races are run within some foolish rules? And that anybody pays for ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Shell bites the bitumen bullet.

This story takes us back to the 1970s and a lengthy discussion with a board member of Royal Dutch Shell. He was a “works committee” member of the board and our discussion was enlightening. He represented the employees of Shell on its board and was a highly-respected university professor. He was in Toronto visiting his ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is Trudeau fighting out of his weight class?

The reason why boxing promoters will not allow a lightweight boxer to take on a heavyweight is that the lightweight might not last two minutes. The lightweight might be fast on his feet but the heavyweight only needs to land one punch. That is why Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs all the help he ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: What happened in Saint-Laurent?

All rebellions have to start somewhere. And it looks like Justin Trudeau miscalculated and let one start in the Quebec electoral district of Saint-Laurent. The riding had been held by Stéphane Dion until Trudeau bounced him from the cabinet and sent him to be ambassador to the European Union and Germany. It looks like the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Morning Line: Canada’s Conservatives (2).

Now you get the possible winners from among the 14 contenders for the Tory leadership. We have checked their blood lines, their daily workouts and their past performances and all we can tell you is that the following is possible. THE POSSIBLES: Kevin O’Leary, 20 to 1. Our only advice to Kevin O’Leary (if he ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Morning Line: Canada’s Conservatives (1).

You can hardly deal with 14 contenders for the Tory leadership in just one commentary. We will divide our Morning Line into two parts: The Losers and the Possibles. THE LOSERS: Rick Peterson, 100 to 1. There seems to be no justification for this gentleman to be leader of the Conservative party of Canada. While ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Where our New Democrats are headed?

Now that Canada’s New Democratic Party has some thinking and articulate players running for the national leadership, we better pay some attention. The hope is that Canadians will find out where the former Co-operative Commonwealth Federation—the party of Tommy Douglas—is headed in the 21st Century. The not so subtle nudging we are seeing today is ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: And we thought Harper was an autocrat?

It was Pierre Trudeau in 1970 who said “Just watch me,” and showed us the real power of the Prime Minister’s Office. Later it was Stephen Harper who showed us how a Prime Minister can abuse that power to use it to his own ends to keep his sheep-like party in power. And yet there ...

Calgary Grit: Phoning to check in

For those curious about what I’m up to these days, I chatted with Susan Delacourt about correspondence in the PMO this week. Also contains some fun stories about what happens when the Prime Minister starts cold calling Canadians who wrote in to him.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Asking the right people.

The report from Ottawa is that the Liberal government wants Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to advise politicians and Elections Canada on computer security. Just why these should be the people to ask is the important question? And since the listening agency is no longer so secret, one can now ask that question. It was ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Canada’s Conservative Conundrum.

It is fascinating studying the 14 aspirants in the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. It is also hard to believe. Just where would any of these people lead the party? There is certainly no John George Diefenbaker in this baker’s dozen. Yes, a baker’s dozen is really 12 plus one ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Ralph Goodale: The Great Obfuscator.

One of the secrets of individual longevity in politics in Saskatchewan is that nobody in the province can tell a Conservative from a Liberal. This came to mind last weekend watching Global Television’s program The West Block. The new program host, Vassy Kapelos, asked Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale a couple questions and virtually turned ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Of politicians and sleeping dogs.

It is hard to believe that anyone would want former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to be brought out of retirement—even just to sing an Irish ballad! And for those of us who have always considered Mulroney the epitome of sleaze in Canadian politics, he should be right at home in the loving arms of his ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is the political middle just one?

Nobody seems to be able to nail down this middle ground in politics. It is like the middle class that Justin Trudeau chased in the last federal election. Did Trudeau even suspect that they would add up to almost 40 per cent of the voters?  And were they all centre-right voters or was there a ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Watch out, the bigots are out.

The problem for the pundits today is the presence of bigots in the Conservative Party. They are not the majority. They are barely a faction. They exist. They hurt the cause. They are something of a wild card. But some of the candidates for the Conservative Party leadership will cater to this faction. It hardly ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: More fallout from voting reform.

This subject would have been ignored if another commentary on it had not run in the Washington Post. The writer accused the Canadian prime minister of looking “both incompetent and cynical in abandoning the promise of (voting) reform.” It would have become an international incident but we have reason to think the writer is Canadian. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Wasted hours in Washington.

Did you think President Trump was going to slice and dice our prime minister for lunch the other day? First of all, Donald Trump seemed to like Justin Trudeau. He would think of Trudeau as a younger version of himself. This young guy was manor born. It is all so easy for him. He was ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A cri de coeur for Canada’s Conservatives.

For the benefit of M.P. Kelly Leitch and that O’Leary person we should translate: a ‘cri de coeur’ is an impassioned plea from the heart. And that is what this is. Sometime in the next month, Babel-on-the-Bay will publish its morning line on the current Conservative Party of Canada leadership contest. This is a public ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: We all need editors.

Wandering through the web site called Progressive Bloggers the other day, we found a writer who inadvertently referred to a clique as a ‘click.’ That is one way to get noticed! It happens to all of us though as we keyboard our frustrations without the aid of that second look. That particular blog needed more ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Waiting for Mr. Trump.

The reporters and pundits are causing unnecessary concerns. Does anyone really believe that Justin Trudeau cannot handle a meeting with Donald Trump? What is to worry about? Trudeau meets Trump; each takes a couple selfies; they ask about the respective families; tell each other, we’ve got to get together for a state dinner sometime and ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A better role for NDP’s Nate Cullen.

Frankly, it has been disappointing. Nate Cullen MP from British Columbia has been so busy bitching and whining, he is missing the real opportunity. He has the right to complain about what seemed like a wasted summer of 2016 studying vote reform. It was no waste of time; it was the best exposure he has ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Weep not for vote reform.

Among each successive generation there are those who seek to change how we elect our representatives to run our cities, our provinces and our country. Good for them. It is important that we think about it. We need to be sure we have the best system possible. And we do. Now that we have completed ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Which truth matters?

Yet another report has been written on the train wreck of Canadian news media. Frankly, the Library of Parliament is already overloaded with such studies. There is always lots of hand-wringing and consoling for each new version but this new one can be guaranteed to gather dust as the many written before. It seems to ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The fix in foreign affairs.

When Stéphane Dion was so unceremoniously dumped from foreign affairs by Prime Minister Trudeau, all most people could say was they hoped it worked. How would you feel if you were the new foreign affairs minister and the PM kept casting about for the advice needed to handle the situation in Washington? And how does ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Orwell Observed.

There must be a dearth of honest work for lawyers these days. It seems more and more of them are devoting billable hours to being published. It must be part of their contract to get their firm noticed and to attract real lawyering work. One such example of this phenomenon is the recent op-ed in ...