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: Is this Toronto’s coming of age?

In a scholarly work this past week from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, we learned that the City of Toronto is ready to cut the parental apron strings of the Province of Ontario. If you have never been involved in Toronto politics, you might even believe that is possible. It ...

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: Who’s sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom?

It used to be that if you donated enough to the American President’s political party, you could get an invite to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom at the White House. There is a possibility that is where President Trump is trying to sleep when in Washington. And Honest Abe is now haunting him. Why else ...

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: What would Dr. Goebbels say?

Did you miss the new lie from Donald Trump? He dreamed up a complaint that President Obama had his phones at Trump Tower in New York tapped during the campaign last year. It seems a novel suggestion but nobody can come up with any idea why Obama would bother. If you really want to know ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A liberal look at leadership.

Ontario Liberals are finally realizing that there is a problem at Queen’s Park. It appears to be endemic. It affects every political party on the premises. It is the serious lack of leadership. Even the Liberal Party backbenchers are drawing lots to see who will be the Cassius who drives the first (rhetorical) knife in ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Ontario is billing it forward.

If you have heard of paying it forward, you should have no problem with the concept of billing something forward. It is the reverse of paying it forward. It is when you take a bill, you had put off for tomorrow and you stick it in a drawer to pay next year. It is the ...

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 ...

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: Trump’s Throne Speech.

Americans would not necessarily recognize what President Trump was doing in his speech to Congress the other night. It was easily recognized by any Brit or Canuck as a typical Speech from the Throne. It is a speech read by the Queen or the Queen’s Representative telling the assembled legislators what direction government legislation will ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Brown and Kenney: Contemporary Conservatives.

Conservative Leader Patrick Brown in Ontario and his friend Jason Kenney who is considered the front-runner in the race for the Alberta Conservative party leadership are surprisingly similar. They both lack political scruples, their lives are dedicated to their ambitions and they are not about to let anything stand in their way. Neither of the ...

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: Repeating Ontario’s Train Wreck.

You sometimes wonder about politicians who get in trouble and keep going back to the guru’s who helped get them into trouble in the first place. It is like having a train wreck and continuing to send locomotives down that same track, hoping one of the locomotives will make it. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trumping the News Media.

The other day one of our American relatives asked: “Why are you writing so much about Trump?” The simple answer is that President Donald Trump is an ongoing saga of the worst of things that can happen in politics. There are also the greatly increased readership statistics when writing about the political failures of Donald ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is that Mainstreet or Elm Street?

Having started out as a young man writing scripts for telephone co-incidental research, we are not about to easily buy into Interactive Voice Response (IVR) polling. This is mentioned in that some recent political polls in Alberta and B.C. have the politicos excited. The polls were done with IVR by Mainstreet Research. What we have ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Nobody gives a damn about English.

It is only when you note the time and money devoted to preserving the French language in different parts of the world, that you start to wonder. Is the English language so pervasive that nobody worries about it? Only the dictionary publishers seem to have a vested interest so they can produce new editions periodically. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Does President Trump have an agenda?

It is hard to get your mind around this one. There was an opinion piece in a major Canadian newspaper by a political science professor who posited that President Donald Trump and his henchman Steve Bannon have a plan to split the world with Vladimir Putin. You would have a hard time imagining this plot. ...

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: That political instinct.

One of the key measurements of budding politicians is their political instinct. You measure this in how these people interact with voters, fellow politicians, the news media and with the apparatchiks who work with them. At the same time, it would be an asset if they are articulate, charming, intelligent, personable, rich and have an ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Does anyone trust Trump?

It seems that the only thing we can count on U.S. President Trump to do is the wrong thing. Some people accuse his supporters of believing what he tells them. Yet the only thing they seem to believe is that he will annoy everybody else. It is something like taking an angry rattlesnake to a ...