Babel-on-the-Bay: Bill Morneau’s neoliberalism.

We should make it clear that neoliberalism is something a real liberal abhors. Neoliberalism is like the corporatism of the Italian fascists of Benito Mussolini of the 1920s and 30s. It lets the corporate world manage its own affairs. It is like finance minister Bill Morneau announcing that the government will indemnify Texas-based Kinder Morgan ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: We are not ready to surrender.

What are we coming to? When fair weather warriors are conceding defeat, are we all supposed to lay down our arms? I have been involved in too many comebacks to go along with that. We should not get mad about the current situation. The smart get to work. What have we failed to do? What ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: In defence of local media.

It came as a surprise the other evening to learn that for the past two years, NDP activist Gerry Caplan has also been a resident of Barrie, Ontario. He had been invited to participate on a panel of mourners for the late, and frankly unlamented, Barrie Examiner newspaper. By the time Torstar wrote fini on ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Mother’s magic money.

Listening to Ontario conservative leader Doug Ford recently reminded me of my early childhood in Toronto. Doug Ford never seems to worry about where the money for his promises will come from. Neither did I—as a child. I remember during the Second World War and my mother was sole support for those of her six ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Morning Line: Ontario’s dilemma.

This is probably the most difficult Morning Line Babel-on-the-Bay has produced in ten years. It might just be the one that besmirches our reputation. The question in this election are the polls following the voters or are the voters following the polls? But I am convinced that the pollsters are busy drinking their own bath ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Three-ring circus versus horse race.

Whatever you want to say about the Ontario election that is going on now, it could never have been a three-ring circus production by P.T. Barnum or his partner James Bailey. The simplest explanation is that if you consider the performer who keeps multiple plates spinning atop long sticks, you realize that the act requires ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: TV ads do not get the vote out.

There is a fascination with political advertising. It seems to be more for their entertainment value than their efficacy. I just have yet to see an ad that would get a voter off the lounger and out to the polls to vote. I think the best of the current batch of TV ads running is ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Opera ain’t over.

First off today, we want to apologize. We have been thoroughly castigated by family and readers for being rude to Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath the other day. I sincerely apologize to her for my comments on her weight. That was inappropriate. At the same time, I stand by my comments on her outfit. She ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Which half will vote?

There is a supposition that following the low turnouts of voters in Ontario elections in 2011 and 2014, there will be a similar low turnout in June of 2018. The question that confounds politicians and pollsters is which half of the voters will come to the polls. And if you are waiting for the 18 ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Our ‘Pollyanna’ foreign minister.

You have to be very gullible to believe the statements Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has been making after each of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) sessions. It seems lately that only Mexico is being obdurate over those proposed clauses that will harm that country’s positions. And yet the current deadline was set ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Prepping politicians.

Whatever happened to the time-honoured prepping of politicians for Monday’s debate in Toronto? That opening debate was a disaster for all concerned. It is CITY-TV that should be embarrassed. The candidates’ handlers failed to convince their debaters of anything. And the moment is gone, never to be recovered. It was amateur night at CITY-TV’s Toronto ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Meet the Northern Mockingbird.

While the Northern Mockingbird has a smaller head and a longer tail than others of its specie, it uses the same tricks as other mockingbirds. It can fool you by using the song styling of different birds and even a dog’s bark. It is like Ontario conservative leader Doug Ford who is trying to trumpet ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Lesson for today: Silk purses, sows’ ears.

Listen up children; Our lesson for today is that you still cannot make silk purses out of sows’ ears. Excellent examples of this aphorism are the conservative leaders in both Ontario and Alberta. Having observed both gentlemen over their time in Canadian politics, I can assure you that the description of them as sows’ ears ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Picking politicians.

We now have our main candidates here in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. No, nothing exciting. The local liberals had an acclamation. Only one candidate came forward. The conservatives appointed their candidate when Doug Ford got impatient. So much for democracy in the electoral district! Ford appointed a loser. He is a former Orillia councillor who ran against Jill ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: On the street of broken hearts.

There are questions we need to ask of candidates in the coming provincial election in Ontario. This is not to embarrass anyone. It is to challenge their thinking. It is about what they hope to do for those trapped on the margins of our society? It is a simple question. Through no fault of their ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A legislature of eunuchs.

Listening to voters and to people at Queen’s Park, there seems to be a general opinion that there should be a sign from Dante’s Inferno over the legislature entrance “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” All power and importance are vested in the premier and less and less is shared, even with cabinet members. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The malice that made the megacity.

Toronto as a megacity turns 20 this year. Canada’s largest city has once again opened the nominations for its city council to be elected in October. It will be another lost opportunity. It will produce another council of dilettantes and wannabes to argue over meaningless issues. Former conservative premier Mike Harris can continue to enjoy ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Privacy passing.

Political wannabes never seem to understand the lost privacy of politics. There is less and less every year. Privacy is a passing possibility. I can remember back in the early 1980s when taking part in a business conference in Calgary. Former finance minister John Turner was the guest speaker one day and he sort of ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Sunset for NAFTA?

Are Canada, Mexico and the United States of America even talking about the same thing? Is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) toast anyway? Does it really matter what the American negotiators propose? Lately they have been asking again for a sunset clause to the agreement. They want it to automatically expire in five ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A vote Granic Allen won’t get.

Checking out Mississauga Centre electoral district for the coming provincial election, I see I have an old friend voting there. She is 97-year old former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion. Hazel claims no political affiliation but conservative Tanya Granic Allen is just not likely Hazel’s cup of tea. Hazel is the only politician I have ever ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Dark days descending on Ontario.

It is frightening. We have been studying the mood of voters across Ontario and we do not like what we are seeing and hearing. We are not even into the writ period of the coming election. We are hardly ready to prepare our Morning Line this far ahead but some of what we are seeing ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Arguing ad nauseam with auditors.

Ontario auditor general Bonnie Lysyk looks like an auditor. She also thinks as an auditor. She is one of those people who always cover themselves by saying that they do things according to standard industry practices. The only problem she has is that there are not many jurisdictions comparable to the Province of Ontario. She ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Chuckles brings home a report card.

Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer has spent the better part of a year in Ottawa as leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. A report card is due. Will we like the report on that purportedly placid Prairie politician? Will he reprise the docile and easy-going speaker of the house role he played for the former prime minister? ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: “The Long Goodbye.”

Not to give it the suspense of mystery writer Raymond Chandler’s character Philip Marlowe, but Patrick Brown has taken far too long to say goodbye. It has been two months since he called a hasty news conference at Queen’s Park. Within the day, he was gone from being party leader and poster boy for the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Fraser Institute starts with conclusions.

As any experienced writer can tell you, the toughest challenge is to write a report to a predetermined conclusion. This is also why knowledgeable readers are often skeptical of Fraser Institute reports. It seems as though the institute only pays for reports that favour its right-wing stance. There was therefore new hope the other day ...