Babel-on-the-Bay: Justin in the pipeline pretzel position.

It is new to yoga. Among the latest postures for the ancient health and fitness practice is the pipeline pretzel position. It is for those who believe they can make money from the tar sands while reducing the carbon we are spewing into our environment. While we might all look silly in the downward dog ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: And Wynne sits in the catbird seat.

The ‘catbird seat’ is a wonderful American idiom for that perfect position in politics providing the politician with a position to observe the disarray of his or her foes. As you can imagine, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is currently enjoying that position. Her main opposition, the Ontario Conservatives are totally involved in their own problems. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Ontario banks on the LCBO.

That banker is back. Do you remember Ed Clark? He was the guy from TD Bank who advised Premier Kathleen Wynne to sell off Ontario’s Hydro One electricity distribution system. Remember how that got the Wynne government in trouble? This Clark is the same guy who told Wynne that she could distribute beer and wine ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Political parties are not private.

There was an interesting question raised last week by Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt about political parties. She was questioning whether political parties are public or private entities. Before we get legal minds involved in determining this, it is important to stress that a political party is created by and owned by its membership. It ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Ontario votes in June.

While political pundits have obviously thought long and hard on Ontario Premier Wynne’s possible political problems this spring, I doubt her main concern is misogyny. Nobody is mad at her for being a woman and not many voters give a darn about her being in a lesbian relationship. That is not what the provincial vote ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: If there is a wrong way?

The Trudeau government seems to be fated to find the wrong way to do things. Whether it is just a contrariness or a strange quirk is still something we have not figured out. It is probably the reason that we say so little about the coming legalization of marijuana in Canada. Legal or illegal, whatever ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Shilling for the politicos.

Full disclosure requires me to admit that I was a political spin doctor before I knew what a spin doctor was. I am not as proud of it as I should be. Maybe it is because I always felt embarrassed for people who claimed such expertise. Case in point is Barbara and Murray Frum’s son ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: In a land where greed beats need.

The last time Canada took a systematic look into its tax system was at the instigation of a Prairie populist, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. The royal commission headed by Bay Street accountant Kenneth Carter was famous for determining “A buck is a buck.” Here we are more than 50 years later and no finance minister ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: We will call that a Wynne Win.

Did nobody at the Tim Horton’s head office know about the change in minimum wage for Ontario scheduled for the first of January? Did all those franchisees fail to tell them? And would you not wonder about a major franchiser who dominates the product line in Ontario, not being in control of the situation? Somebody ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Democracy destroyed.

The years of Pierre Trudeau’s leadership seem to be backing into the mists of time. It was the strength of a democratic Liberal Party in Canada that back stopped him in those years. He thought of the party at first as similar to the top-down managed situation in Quebec. He almost lost the 1972 election ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Defending Democracy.

You would think in all the many years of human social development that democracy should have gained support and growing wide-spread usage around the world. We certainly agree that it is not perfect but we do agree that it is better than any alternatives. Yet tell it to the Russians and they want the oligarchy ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A New Year rich in political opportunity.

This political junkie is looking forward to 2018. Starting with the Ontario election in June, Quebec scheduled for October 1 and then the American mid-term elections in November, there will be much on which to comment. The only recommendation we can make at this stage is to ignore the pollsters. And one other suggestion at ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Isn’t it supposed to get easier?

With two years in office behind him, you would expect Justin Trudeau to be getting more adept at his job. He is not. This has been a year for criticisms, errors, lectures, let-downs and too many apologies. Were he with us, Justin’s father would not be pleased with his son’s performance. He would likely agree ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Naughty or Nice: Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne.

It is hard to say where Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne would be on Santa Claus’ ‘naughty or nice’ list. I expect Santa to give her a pass into the ‘nice’ category but he should be warned that this person is one tough cookie! If he does not bring her something she asked for, he might ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Denzil decides to do his duty.

Toronto Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong seems to have heard the clarion call of distant trumpets. He tells people that he is challenging for the Progressive Conservative candidacy in York East electoral district. Knowing the voters in that part of Toronto as I do, this is not really exciting news. While Denzil might believe he can leap ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Chuckles needs to change gears.

It is a rare time that we give serious advice to the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. It is that ‘Chuckles’ Scheer is going to have to learn the difference between legitimate political criticism and harassment. Watching Finance Minister Bill Morneau in the House of Commons it seemed to me that the poor ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Does Ontario come with an owner’s manual?

Maybe Patrick Brown forgot to ask. It has been clear that Premier Kathleen Wynne has been playing the job by ear for the past four years. It is just that the former do-nothing back bencher from the Harper government wants Wynne’s job. The Globe and Mail tells us that Brown is a pragmatist on steroids ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Longingly looking for liberalism.

A correspondent from British Columbia recently asked “What is a Liberal party bereft of liberalism?” He was, of course, describing the situation today where the Conservative parties are moving farther and farther to the harshest right, Liberals are the new Conservative-Light and the New Democrats are lost in a confused and undetermined world of the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: There’s a great job opening here.

This is not your standard help wanted situation. Into every life there is an opportunity that comes knocking. This is an opportunity beyond your wildest dreams. It is fame and fortune. There are no limits. You just have to seize the opportunity. It is not for the faint of heart. To start with, you had ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Watt’s ugly leopard doesn’t wash.

We might be mangling some metaphors here but Jaime Watt can never wash the spots off that ugly leopard. The head of Navigator Ltd., Mr. Watt has spent many years advising Conservatives in the fine art of winning votes. He might be taking on too much of a challenge to try to sell us on ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Diminished democracy of Justin’s Liberals.

In George Orwell’s 1984, new history was written and old history incinerated. The old think and the new think were not allowed to co-exist. Nowhere is that thinking more obvious today than in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party of Canada. It is not his father’s Liberal Party. After his overwhelming victory in 1968, Pierre Trudeau felt ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The despotism of First-Past-the-Post?

One of our favourite political bloggers wrote a desperate ‘cri de Coeur’ the other day against what he perceives as the despotism of first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting. He lives on Canada’s Left Coast and writes under the pseudonym ‘The Mound of Sound.’ Rather than simply refuting his assertions, I think it is important to find the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The withering world of Premier Wynne.

Most successful politicians feed on their egos. It is what carries them through the tough times, the questionable times and eases their doubts and concerns. It also blinds then to the disasters of their own creation. For Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, it is her ego that prevents her from realizing that she is head of ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: ‘Chuckles’ chooses chaos.

Have you ever wondered at how Member’s of Parliament can keep on speaking while being constantly heckled? It seems it is all part of the theatre that parliament provides and is a big part of the daily question period. There will always be exceptions but the chaos heckling creates can be easily quieted if just ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Caesar’s wife must be beyond suspicion.

Recently we wrote that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is in the role of Caesar’s wife. The simple point of that is what Julius Caesar said when he divorced his wife Pompeia: “My wife ought not even be under suspicion.” That statement has meant for centuries that those who seek to be leaders can have ...