CORKERY – It’s a phrase Conservative commentator and well-known voice Lowell Green would use often during our two-hour interview. It’s also the title of the best-selling author’s new book.
West Carleton Online sat down with award-winning broadcaster, best-selling author, ‘Conservative voice’ and long-time Corkery resident Lowell Green Monday (Aug. 24) to talk about his 11th book Common Sense for a Wounded Nation, the current political environment, the diminishing Conservative voice and the modern media in a far-reaching interview held on the back deck of Green’s Corkery-area home.
Green’s new book Common Sense for a Wounded Nation tackles ‘serious issues of the day with humour, wisdom and common sense.’ COVID-19, the long-term care crisis, the environment, political scandal and sports get the spotlight of Green’s attention in 75 short stories which also includes contributions from MP Pierre Poilievre and Rob Snow. He even focuses on local issues such as the Carp Road waste facility centre.
“I just feel like we need to get back to some basics here,” Green told West Carleton Online. “This is a good country, created by good, hardworking, honest people. We have created, not a perfect country by far, but a country we can be proud of and should be proud of.”
Green says it doesn’t take long for a country to lose perspective and lose its way.
“But if we don’t understand the country, we don’t understand the history, we don’t know how we got here, then it’s very difficult to be proud,” Green said. “If all we’re being taught is all the bad things. It’s hard to take pride. And if you don’t take pride in your country, in your community, in your neighbourhood, then things start to deteriorate. It has been said and with great truth, is all it takes to create chaos, is one generation that doesn’t pay attention to civics. You have to pay attention, you have to take care. I remember the Olympics in Sarajevo (1984), Bosnia, beautiful country, beautiful people. I was over there covering the Olympics, I was very impressed with this country. A year later, two years later, they are killing each other, slaughtering each other in the streets. There was a generation there that wasn’t paying attention.”
Green started his radio broadcasting career in Brantford, ON. In 1960 he was hired by CFRA to be the news and farm reporter. In 1966 he began hosting Greenline which helped him become the longest-running open-line talk show host in North America. He retired briefly from radio in the 1980s, but returned in 1990, and eventually made his sway back to CFRA to host The Lowell Green Show until his official retirement in 2016.
Over Green’s career, he has been a great fundraiser for the Ottawa community as co-founder of Big Brothers of Ottawa, the Help Sana Toy Parade, and the founder of the Ottawa Sunday Herald, which is now The Sun.
Stories about common sense
In his new book, Green tackles environmental topics such as polar bears and Canada’s forests. He says the myth often outweighs the truth and that can be dangerous, these days to Canada’s energy sector.
“The story in there about the research being done to extract C02 from the air, and converting it in to something useful,” Green said. “This is something else the media is not dealing with. The idea that we have to shut down energy, rather than experimenting and finding new ideas to utilize it. C02 is a weak acid, Harvard, MIT, which my story talks about, is well on the way to discovering a way to utilize it and convert it in to a fuel. We’re not being told any of that. We’re told we have to shut down one of the great engines to create wealth in this country, our energy sector.”
This thinking leads to more trouble for a country currently racking up a huge debt as it tries to deal with a global pandemic. Green says the Liberal government wants to create a perfect world, but has no idea on how to fund it.
“The idea that somehow or other, apparently this is one of the plans for this brand new Trudeau world that is going to be created for us, poverty is going to be wiped out,” Green said. “Everyone is going to be given an income whether they work or not. This cannot work. You cannot have wealth if you don’t create it. You can’t just continue to give money to people. Every dollar we give to people, somebody has to earn, something has to be made, something has to be sold in order to get that dollar. You can’t just pluck that dollar from the air. That seems to be lost in all of this. We’re all looking to the government to solve our problems.”
Local issues get the Green treatment as well. One hot topic near and dear to those who live in West Carleton’s east end, is the Carp Road Waste Management facility affectionately known as Carp Mountain.
“Here’s where common sense really needs to be followed,” Green said. “Common senses says we should have converted the Carp Mountain to high-efficiency incineration decades ago. I have the story there of the Swedish ambassador that came over and told us exactly how to do it. It would all be paid for by now. This is where political correctness comes in to it. There was a time, this was the NDP in power (1990 to 1995), that they outlawed incineration. That’s just a total lack and failure of common sense in favour of ideology. Out in Vancouver, the most left-wing of all our cities, they have had incineration for decades. This is where ideology trumps common sense and I point it out in two or three different stories. Ideology is starting to trump common sense in the country at every element. To pretend we can support increased social services and programs, while at the same time shut down our number one creator of wealth, our energy sector, which not only includes oil and gas, but mining as well, is absolute folly. It’s dangerous ideology. It has nothing to do with common sense or practicality. Many times common sense is just practicality. What is going to work? Will it work to increase spending on social programs and shut down our oil and gas sector? How will it work? Where are we going to get the money? We’re already over a trillion dollars in debt, where the hell are we going to get the money?”
But the book isn’t all doom-and-gloom, and he hopes people enjoy the read.
“We needed something to uplift us, make us proud of our country, laugh at ourselves, and point out some of the total lack of common sense,” Green said.
Still something to say
At 84, Green feels he still has something to say.
“I still feel I have something to say that’s important,” he said. “Now that I am not on the air every day, I still feel I need a platform. I know my views are fairly widely held. I meet people all the time agreeing with me, but they don’t know where to turn. Despite my age, I don’t think age has anything to do with it, I still feel I have a message that is important and needs to be told. I think that my voice is not a lonely voice. I think my voice is shared by many people, many of whom like me, are very worried about the direction this country is taking.”
Having said that, Green doesn’t think his 11th book will be his 11th best-seller.
“I doubt this is going to be a best seller,” he said. “Selling books today has become very, very difficult. Not many people are reading books today. One of the reasons I have gone to the shorter story format, is sadly the attention span, as we all know, is shortening. The book is still selling well, but it’s hard to get the message out there its available. A lot of people have no means of finding out.”
Being a Conservative voice in Canada, has its own challenges.
“Where are you going to promote these days?” Green said. “That’s what’s difficult. It’s not just me, it’s all local authors. Sadly, unless your name is Atwood of Ondaatje, and you work in that Toronto CBC bubble. If you are a Conservative voice, there are very few avenues for promotion. The media just isn’t interested in you for the most part. And secondly, if you are not part of that Toronto bubble, ditto. As Rob Snow says in the back about me selling all these books, ‘amazingly enough, he’s not in Toronto.’ It’s too bad because there are some great local writers and great writers across the country.”
Green says he doesn’t even feel his book takes a far-right stance.
“There’s really no politics here,” he said. “I deal broadly with some of the questions, they could even be in some cases criticisms of the Conservatives. The understanding of most people is it’s going to be a Conservative voice, and as such, who’s going to promote a Conservative voice? The CBC? No. CTV? No. CFRA today? No, they won’t touch me. There’s no more bookstores so you can’t do a book signing any more. There were times I would sell hundreds of books at a book signing.”
While the book is available online at Green’s website and at some book stores including Indigo at Kanata Centrum, Mill Street Books in Almonte and The White Pine Book Shoppe in Arnprior, it’s other small businesses that come out to help. A book that, from research to printing and distribution, is completely done in Canada, by Canadians with no government financial service.
“You know where I sell most of my books now? The Antrim Truck Stop,” Green said. “The Antrim Truck Stop sold my last book and that sold very well, amazing but true. They sold more than 300 books there. Unbelievable. The people who go to the truck stop are the salt of the earth people. They would be truckers, farmers, local people, and in many ways, that’s who I feel my voice represents. The working people of this country. The only ones left producing wealth.”
The federal scene
Green, who has lived in West Carleton since 1985, knows the political history of the riding. West Carleton, now a part of the Kanata-Carleton Riding, has long been a Conservative stronghold. That changed a bit when Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon won the riding two elections ago and defended her seat easily during the last federal election a year-and-a-half ago. Green isn’t ready to go red yet. He says McCrimmon lost him during the SNC-Lavalin scandal in 2019.
“I lost MP Karen McCrimmon when she did nothing to help Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott,” Green said. “She stood by and did nothing when two strong, competent, well-deserving women, her cohorts, her fellow workers, were stabbed in the back. A slander campaign. Where was she? If a fellow worker of mine who is a friend, is being slandered, I’m going to stand up for them. It’s the right thing to do. Not a peep from her. It’s common sense, and it’s common decency. I told her at the time. I wrote her at the time and she never responded. It’s beyond my comprehension.”
Green says the Conservatives have their own issues these days. Just last Sunday, the party named Erin O’Toole the new federal leader. Green says Conservative supporters will have to go against type to make his leadership a success.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with O’Toole,” Green said. “One of the things that really bugs me about Conservatives, it doesn’t matter who we elect, we always bring the knives out. I’m sure its the same with the Liberals. For some reason, it’s just never quite the right guy. Right now, some of them are turning on Doug Ford, because Ford is praising (Chrystia) Freeland (the deputy prime minister and brand new federal finance minister). I pointed out, ‘c’mon you guys, this province needs billions of dollars for healthcare. You have to get it from the feds. Do you really think going about that is by throwing mud at the person who is going to be signing the cheque?’ Use some common sense. We need the federal government to send this province billions of dollars. Ford said he has to abandon his personal feelings on this one, and if he’s going to get that money, he’s going to have to play nice with this person. She’s the one who’s signing the cheque.”
Green hasn’t given up on common sense yet. He says you can still find it in the real world.
“Common sense is still out there,” he said. “We just have to let it flourish, and that’s one of the things the book does. Common sense is still rampant in the land, we just have to provide a platform which this book does.”
And because of that, Green has hope for the future.
“Yes, you know why?” he said. “Because we’re good people. We’ve been through things before. I understand the country has changed and I support good change. We’ve become more diversified in this country and I think that’s a good thing. But we can’t abandon the basic principles that created this country. That’s what I am worried about. The basic principles are that every dollar you spend, you earn. To me that’s the basic principle, you’ve got to earn it.”
But it’s still going to take work.
“There are so many piggies at the trough that don’t deserve to be at the trough,” Green said. “There’s really not sufficient funds for those that really, really need it. Government is there to keep people safe. There are people that do really need help. Our leaders, sadly, are letting us down. To a degree, I blame the media. We’re turning out, almost exclusively, left wing journalists. That’s something I didn’t deal with in this book that is something of grave concern. With the possible exception of Simon Fraser University, I can’t even think of a single, even middle of the road, or Conservative university in Canada. Journalists are coming out thinking this is the way the world works. They’ve never been confronted with a different point of view about anything.”
And that has transferred to the Ottawa media landscape. Green says Carol Ann Meehan was the last Conservative voice at CTV.
“That’s why they dumped her,” Green said.
CFRA was long known as a home for the Conservative view “because of me and Steve Madeley. I mentored Rob Snow.”
But even that has changed.
“What happened was, get this, in October (2019), Trudeau’s return to power.” Green said. “In November, CFRA dumps the number one show in Ottawa. Of 32 radio stations, Rob Snow’s show was number one. Of 32 private radio stations he was the number one show making tons of money for CFRA. A month after Trudeau was elected, Rob Snow and Lowell Green are gone. Is that just a coincidence? I’ll tell you what happened, and I have some evidence, a Liberal friend picks up the phone and says ‘listen Bell Media. You are going to need government approval for that rate increase or whatever, we’ve got some people that are worried, the radio station is causing us all kinds of problems, maybe you might have a look at that. Bammo, the number one rated show is gone, replaced with a Liberal. That’s where journalism has gone.”
Where to find common sense
If you are interested in purchasing Common Sense for a Wounded Nation, Lowell Green’s 11th book, it is available at book stores including Indigo at Kanata Centrum, Mill Street Books in Almonte and The White Pine Book Shoppe in Arnprior, the Cheddar Stop in Carleton Place and other specialty shops around the Valley. The book is also available online at Green’s website.
“It’s safe and it’s easy,” Green said of ordering online. “You don’t have to worry about wearing a mask, the only people who handle the books are Debbie (Lowell’s wife) and I. You don’t have to worry about the printer. It’s all done by machine. It’s put in a box. I take them out and sign them and dedicate them and then we mail it out to you in a big thick envelope. It’s very safe.”