Six notes from the Six, waiting for Raptors parade : Hillier vs French, Senate reform, Federal Liberals, Citizenship oath, 2011 voter fraud, BoJo in UK

Jun 16th, 2019 | By | Category: In Brief
Ontario Premier Doug Ford (l) and his Chief of Staff Dean French, in happier times.

(1) Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, is going ahead with “a defamation lawsuit over posts made on social media by Randy Hillier, the maverick MPP ejected from the governing Progressive Conservative caucus.” And “Maverick MPP Randy Hillier says lawsuit by top Doug Ford aide is meant to silence him.”

All this quietly puts one revealing finger, I think, on the growing unpopularity of the Ford nation so-called “For the People” government at the end of its first year in office. It is stumbling over its own inexperienced and unseasoned contempt for successful traditions of Ontario government and politics largely bequeathed by its own “PC dynasty” precursors, many long years ago.

(2) Meanwhile, back in Canada’s federal capital on the banks of the Ottawa River Justin Trudeau’s Senate Reform lite gestures of the past few years are receiving what also strike me as undeserved support from some surprising places.

“Senate Liberal Lillian Dyck (left) and Government Representative in the Senate Peter Harder (right) welcome Manitoba’s newest Independent Senator, Mary Jane McCallum, to the Red Chamber on December 13, 2017. PHOTO: Greg Kolz.”

See Emmett Macfarlane on “The Renewed Canadian Senate: Organizational Challenges and Relations with the Government,” and (especially surprising?) John Ibbitson on “Trudeau’s reforms to Senate worked – and Scheer should follow suit.”

(3) I personally agree with the editors of this site that the Trudeau Liberals “have altogether lacked courage and depth (and common sense) on real Senate reform and democratizing our head of state.” But I also agree (and quite unlike Mr. Ibbitson I’m guessing) that “in the very end this time we’re outright supporting the Justin Trudeau Liberals for Oct 21, 2019.”

So I have been pleased by such recent reports as “Liberal bleeding after SNC-Lavalin affair seems to have stopped: Poll,” and “Liberals and Conservatives neck and neck as Greens rise to 12%.” I can’t resist adding my own recent Ontario News Watch column : “Ontario in the 2019 Federal Election: Is 1972 a Model?

(4) I have recently been pleased as well by a column from the beautiful northwestern BC wilderness that does show some serious courage and depth (and common sense) on such overdue Canadian constitutional issues as real Senate reform and democratizing our head of state.

Smithers, BC.

See Thom Barker on “Citizenship oath an unacceptable double-standard … Thom argues it’s time to stop making new citizens swear (or affirm) pledge to Queen,” in the Smithers Interior News.

(5) Meanwhile, back on Twitter I was recently equally struck by certain at least vaguely related provocative thoughts from pollster and Canadian political philosopher Frank Graves.

The thoughts were perhaps so provocative that @VoiceOfFranky has now taken them down. There is, however, still some evidence for : “This is arguably the greatest travesty in modern Canadian democracy.” It was in any case all about the robocalls issue in the 2011 Canadian federal election. And for more on this front (from back in 2013) see : “Federal Court won’t remove MPs over election robocalls … Judge finds that fraud occurred, linked to the Conservative Party’s CIMS database.”

(6) These political thoughts while waiting for the Raptors’ great Toronto parade tomorrow end with a glance back across the Atlantic Ocean, at the latest strange permutations of what earlier Canadian generations called the Mother of Parliaments.

Hugh Laurie (r) as Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry (l) as Jeeves, long before it looked like Boris Johnson might actually become UK prime minister!

My text here is Sam Knight’s June 13, 2019 New Yorker piece on “The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson … The man expected to be Britain’s next Prime Minister makes people in power, including himself, appear ridiculous.”

I especially liked : “To the British public, Johnson is an immediately recognizable figure in the culture. He is Bertie Wooster. His hair is a mess. He falls into ponds …. You can find yourself feeling sympathetic toward him, because of … vulnerability and a sense that he is fundamentally unserious. ‘Boris has the capacity to lose his way in a sentence …’ Michael Gove … has said.”

For my own always-try-to-say-something-positive concluding thoughts here : It may at least be better to have Bertie Wooster trying to run your government than, eg, Donald Trump. And who knows? Contrary to everything he has said up to this point, Bertie might even stumble into keeping the United Kingdom in the European Union by accident or mistake? The big remaining question is just : who is the sensible companion Jeeves?

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