Babel-on-the-Bay: When the music stops.

The game is called Musical Chairs. You might have played it as a child. If there are ten players, you start with nine chairs together in line, alternating facing in opposite directions. When the music starts the players are lined up and walk around the line of chairs. When the music stops everyone scrambles for ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: And now there are three.

Even in this shortest of all leadership races, it is too early to produce a morning line on the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party contest. How are you expected to consider workouts and past performance for this mixed bag of candidates? And when you only have three—so far—you have to wait until the official cut off. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The NDP and the LEAP liability.

This is unbelievable. The New Democratic Party is having a convention in mid February and we hear the LEAP Manifesto seems to be the selected song book. Not only is the document two years older but it was out of date when introduced in Edmonton to the consternation of the Alberta NDP. It was not ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trashing Trump.

It is the new cottage industry in North America—and probably the entire world. We just need our daily fix on what is wrong with American President Donald Trump. The best laughs are at the artificial attempts to temper the tragedy by mentioning something nice about him. We were reminded of this the other day when ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Our leaders need to ‘man up.’

It is unlikely that in this era of #MeToo that we can find many men willing to stick their neck out—or any other body part, for that matter. It is just that the we are getting into the realms of ridiculousness with some of today’s witch (or more accurately, warlock) hunts. Our political leaders are ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Justin’s dad had no rule book.

Frankly, I am getting tired of this schmaltzy feminist dialogue from the prime minister. Enough is enough. He needs a new playbook. This business reminds me of the time his father gave a feminist speech to a dinner in Toronto at the Royal York Hotel. I had a table with the key media people and ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Brown’s fans fight for fairness.

How do you petition public opinion? How many signatures on Facebook would impress the hoi polloi? Would you send the results to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook? Just how do you defend against accusations handled entirely within the court of public opinion? Talking to one of the people behind the Facebook petition on behalf of ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trump follows the formula.

That did not need to be the real Donald Trump addressing Americans the other evening. The State of the Nation address is now down to a formula that a trained monkey could handle if you just dubbed in the usual clichés and platitudes. I spent the obligatory hour and 20 minutes wondering if Hillary Clinton ...

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: A house divided.

The Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario is in turmoil. Since last Wednesday, the party has been playing its own Game of Thrones. Slights—real or imagined—are earning retaliation and factions of the party are preparing for the fights to come. The Queen’s Park conservative caucus got behind Vic Fedeli from Nipissing as interim leader but the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Report from the front lines of America.

While Vassy Kapelos of Global Television was interviewing David Frum last Sunday, the wife kept asking me questions. When she asked why a Canadian would write a book about Donald Trump, I explained that he is now an American citizen, a registered Republican and worked in the White House for George W. Bush. She stopped ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: “Who killed Cock Robin?”

“All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing, when they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.”       (English nursery rhyme, author unknown.)   Former Barrie councillor, former MP and former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, Patrick Brown is not an object of sympathy.  It would be difficult to feel sorry for ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The travels and trials of Trump.

President Donald Trump of the U.S.A. went to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland the other day. Few of the attendees at the world convention of capitalism cared. The reigning head of the most powerful nation on earth had nothing to contribute. He did not even ski. It was the younger world leaders who ...

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: Brown’s political days are done.

When your entire life is politics, the end of your run can be a tragedy. Like the marathon runner, he is, he felt the eagerness for the starter’s gun and the highs of the final stretch. For the rest of his life, Barrie’s Patrick Brown can only say, ‘If only…” No, there are no regrets ...

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: Alberta commits to pollute.

It is hard to think of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley as an oil baron but she must be at least an honorary member of the Petroleum Club. Her government has committed to shipping 50,000 barrels a day of what must be diluted bitumen through TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline over the next 20 years. Bitumen, the ...

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: The Walls of NAFTA.

There is more than one wall to consider when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiators meet in Montreal this week. The wall that the negotiations is creating between Canada and the United States of America is just as serious as the wall of ignorance President Trump wants to build against Mexico. The difference ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Lion proposes to his Princess.

We read that it was the Tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, who determined that Sikh men could identify as Singh (lion) and Sikh women as Kaur (princess). This happened more than 300 years ago and was all in aid of getting rid of the caste system for Sikhs and asserting the equality of women. It ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Democracy, behind closed doors?

There is some puzzlement here with Canada’s democratic institutions minister. She asks for public input on political leaders’ debates for the next federal election but meets with those her department chooses to talk with behind closed doors. For all the problems we experienced with Maryam Monsef, the first minister of democratic institutions, she was at ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Politics is a numbers racket.

It is time to admit it: I used to be a numbers runner. Different from the numbers racket in the United States, in Canada, it is a political game. I used to announce numbers provided by my political party to see if we could draw out numbers from the other parties. It was usually a ...

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: You can vote if you want.

There is nothing more annoying in politics than listening to some chowder-head radio disc jockey on election day admonishing people to get out and vote. I always want to append that with the qualifier ‘If you know what you are doing, get out and vote.” And add to that, ‘If you do not know what ...