Featured Post

The Great Sex Robot Debate at Ideacity

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Patrick Brown Shows It’s All About Him, No Matter The Collateral Damage To Ontario PCs

Patrick Brown shows it’s all about him, no matter the collateral damage to Ontario PCs. 
Even on his best days, leading in the polls and raising lots of cash and glad-handing with the best of them, it was never entirely clear why Patrick Brown wanted to be leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. 
He didn’t have a notable interest in the mechanics of the government he was hoping to run after this spring’s election, or any real fundamental differences with the province’s ruling Liberals. He never seemed to have quite grown out of the youth politician he had been, two decades before: the sort with ambition for ambition’s sake, a love of politics as a game with personal advancement the only real objective. 
Now, we have confirmation, courtesy of a bizarre week of flame-throwing that culminated in his announcement that he will run again for the job he vacated three weeks ago amid sexual-misconduct allegations: For Patrick Brown, public life is all about Patrick Brown...

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Peterson Principle: Intellectual Complexity and Journalistic Incompetence

...Peterson is the teacher and clinical psychologist who burst onto the scene after making a video decrying the government’s Bill C-16 which compelled the use of invented gender pronouns (ze and zir, etc) for non-binary and transgender people. Peterson connected the “compelled speech” of the legislation (and the unscientific instantiation of gender as a non-biologically-correlated social construct) to radical leftist ideology and authoritarian governments.

In an admittedly complex and controversial argument, Peterson blamed the spread of postmodernism within the academy for the rise of both identity politics and the emergence of the illiberal left. Many of the stories about him were shallow or missed the point, but several in respected publications like the Globe and Mail and Maclean’s by Tabatha Southey, Ira Wells and most recently by John Semley, were just hatchet jobs, replete with insults, inaccuracies and what appeared to be deliberate misrepresentations. In short, bad journalism you would not expect in good outlets...

Monday, February 12, 2018

At the Manning Conference, Doug Ford demonstrated that he's the best bet the Progressive Conservatives have to defeat Wynne

While it wasn't exactly a lion's den that Doug Ford walked into on Saturday morning, it was in front of a crowd at the Manning Conference in Ottawa more likely to be inimical than friendly.

The Manning Conference is conservative in bent, but those attending the three-day event are mainly the 'elites' in the conservative movement, the very people Ford has said have lost touch with the common person in Ontario. His disfavor among the Conservative patrician class was suggested by the disadvantageous time slot he was allocated. Eight fifteen on a Saturday morning following a Friday night of parties and entertainment at hospitality suites that went into the wee hours seemed a guarantee of a poor turnout. But interest in the populist firebrand was so substantial that Ford drew a much larger crowd than Caroline Mulroney had the day before and was about equal to the size Christine Elliott garnered at the prime time she was given just before lunch.

The interview was conducted by columnist and radio host Anthony Furey, who is one of Canada's most capable, thoughtful, reasonable journalists. He evoked Ford's approach to leadership and the person beyond just the politician. Ford's sharp contrast to  his rivals won over mush of the Manning attendees. More importantly, it is likely to win over Ontarians of all political stripes.

Christine Elliott repeated that she was willing to welcome anyone who shares her "conservative values." Ford however stressed that his movement reaches out to, and and takes in, people who are politically unaffiliated as well as those who identify as NDP or Liberal. Political party membership doesn't mean acceptance of the total fiscal irresponsibility that Kathleen Wynne has brought to the province. Ford discussed the huge numbers of hard-working union members who support him, and are fed up with the incompetence and over-taxation that are key components of the Wynne government.  I can attest to that. I have friends in public service unions who are disgusted with the waste they see of taxpayer dollars at their places of work, and how increases in taxes do little that isn't for the benefit of high-paid insiders.

It was the sort of talk, along with his commitment to lowering taxes and government interference in people's lives, that won the room over for Ford. The other factor that overwhelmingly favors Ford is his sincerity. Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney seem like nice people, but they exude neither  full commitment nor total sincerity. One gets the feeling from Mulroney and Elliott that they tailor their message to whichever room where they're speaking. With Ford, you get the same message, and  know that whether or not you like what you're hearing, he means it. That's something even the Toronto Star begrudgingly recognizes.

To win the general election, the Progressive Conservative leader needs to understand how to reach out to everyone in the province. Ford knows that better than anyone. Ford Nation, which the left-wing Toronto Star enjoys disparaging, is the antithesis of the reality of the establishment who deride it. If you go to a Liberal Party meeting, you could be forgiven for confusing it with a Bay Street Bankers conference from 1972. As for the NDP, one of their their typical gatherings usually is exclusively made up of more bitter, old, upper-middle class white people than a John Birch Society meeting.

But at a Doug Ford rally, you'll find a wide mix of every ethnicity, age, and income status that you can find among the province's citizens. It's that broad-based appeal that is one of the main differences between Ford and his rivals. Beyond that is charisma and the ability to communicate a message. Those are traits that neither Mulroney or Elliott possess to the impressive extent as Ford. In fact, Mulroney's public performance was so weak that rumors are now circulating that she is planning to drop out of the leadership contest soon.

Despite being abysmal at governing, Kathleen Wynne is a formidable election campaigner. Whether Ford wins the Progressive Conservative Party by election or acclimation, one thing most people have come to realize is that he is the one candidate with the determination, the fighting skills, and the credibility to defeat the Wynne government and reverse the dire economic situation the Liberals have brought to Ontario.