SFH: come hang out with us and win

Look, none of us are as young as we used to be.

We don’t hang out in noisy, seedy bars like we used to. We go to bed earlier than we used to. We worry about getting stabbed in a booze-fuelled argument.

SFH gets that. We’re old too. As Maximum Rock’n’Roll and others have noted, we’re Canada’s best-loved geriatric punk combo.

None of us hang out in seedy bars as much as we used to. All of us get tired a lot sooner than we’d like. None of us are into being stabbed, to be candid.

But come to this gig. It is going to be (a) early enough for you to get to bed at a reasonable hour (b) fun. Lots of fun.

And get this: the first twenty folks can get SFH’s critically-acclaimed Kinda Sucks LP and my Recipe for Hate book for just ten bucks. Ten bucks! And the band may even buy you a drink.

Come. Us, Mr. Pharmacist. You can’t lose.

And you won’t get stabbed.

Big trouble. Big.

Political parties and data mining: a whodunit

Young Canadian Christopher Wylie has been much in the news lately – among other things, for single-handedly hammering Facebook’s market value, and causing lots of political earthquakes in the U.S.

When Wylie was kicking around the Liberal Party of Canada, I didn’t know him.  “Couldn’t pick him out of a police line-up,” I told an enterprising Canadian Press reporter calling around about Wylie.  “Which may be where he is heading.”

As a result of all the controversy, the Liberal Party is being asked if it went along with Wylie’s apparent plan to illicitly/illegally abscond with the personal information of millions of voters.  The Liberals should be be asked those questions. The people who create the privacy rules should be expected to know and apply those rules.

But – as I just told a Walrus writer – it is ridiculous to think that just the Canadian Liberals and the American Republicans were the only ones doing this seamy data mining.  They weren’t, I assured her.

Here, ipso facto, is a presentation I gave many years ago about what the Harper/Kenney Conservatives were up to – and long before Christopher Wylie showed up in Ottawa. The Tories, I think, were in this space before anyone else in Canada.

Winning the Ethnic Vote Presentation – March 23 2011 by Warren Kinsella on Scribd

Lisa and the Senate in today’s Hill Times

Senate among top lobbied institutions in February

February fillings show Senate lobbying in 2018 is keeping pace with 2017’s record-breaking year, which tripled historic averages for influencers focused on the Red Chamber.

Last month, lobbyists recorded 169 communications compared to 175 in February 2017, putting it third for the month behind the House of Commons (958 reports) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (222 reports). This is the “new normal” for the Upper Chamber, said former Liberal Senate staffer and consultant Lisa Kinsella. During sitting months last year, lobby filings for the Senate ranged between 105 to 215 communications.

Much has changed since Ms. Kinsella, now managing partner of Daisy Consulting Group, worked as Senator Grant Mitchell’s (Alberta) chief of staff from 2007 to 2009, when parties could rely on whipped votes. Sen. Mitchell was a Liberal Senator before being removed from the Liberal caucus along with his all of his colleagues to sit as independents by leader Justin Trudeau in 2014. He is now an unaffiliated Senator, as part of the three-person government representative team.

“The Senate has turned into the Wild West where they have really this newfound independence and they’re willing to exert it,”she said, though as appointees she thinks they’re still “respecting the tradition” where they don’t needlessly hold up government bills. 

Ms. Kinsella [said] the Senate is fulling its role offering sober second thought and are an important part of an advocacy strategy. “You can’t take it for granted anymore,” Ms. Kinsella said.

Fish where there’s fish

…that’s something I say so much about campaigns that my staff have heard it a billion times. Talk about the stuff voters want you to talk about. Manage the dialogue.

Thus, this from Campaign Research:

“The PCs have a significant lead over both the OLP and the ONDP. This is because the policy issues that matter the most to the electorate also happen to be the policy planks that Doug Ford is seen to be performing much better on. If Doug Ford and the PCs remain focused on these policy planks, the PCs could hold onto their lead…Kathleen Wynne and the OLP are outperforming in a significant way on some of the policy planks, but at this point those policy planks are not seen as being as important.”  – said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research Inc.

So, ipso facto, the current situation: Doug Ford is way ahead of Kathleen Wynne because he’s talking about the issues people care about. Wynne, not so much.

That’s also reflected in the latest Angus Reid, seen here.

Which brings to mind an anecdote from a few months back, when various Ontario Liberal folks were getting plenty nervous. A couple meetings were convened, at which the Ontario Liberal leader and her “chief strategist” described how they would win.

Basically, they told the assembled Nervous Nellies that, if they talked a lot about the sex-ed curriculum and stuff like that, they’d do smashingly. But no one, I’m told, asked this question: “But what if the campaign is about affordability and our perceived indifference to regular folks who don’t drive Volvos and listen to CBC and live in the Annex?”

Of such things are victories made. The other guy’s.

When you talk about stuff people don’t care about it…well, you know what happens then.

Publishers Weekly: Recipe for Hate “riveting…an unflinching page-turner”!

Publisher’s Weekly is the book trade publication in the United States.  As Wikipedia notes, it is the “American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents. Published continuously since 1872, it has carried the tagline, “The International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling”.

And I have never had one of my books mentioned in it.  Like, ever.

But here’s what they have said about my new one, Recipe for Hate:

“Riveting…Tension starts high and stays there in this unflinching page-turner, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the early punk scene and a moving testament to the power of friendship.”

Link is here.

Quill and Quire, now Publisher’s Weekly.  If you are so inclined, feel free to order your copy (or copies!) here and here!

Mainstreet: PCs “lead in every region”

Mainstreet – who, full disclosure, is one of the polling firms with which Daisy Group does business – dropped a big poll this morning.

It’s not good news for the governing Ontario Liberals:

The Progressive Conservatives would win a massive majority with new leader Doug Ford at the helm if an election were held today, a new Mainstreet Research poll finds.

The poll finds that the PCs have 47% support among decided and leaning voters. The governing Liberals under Kathleen Wynne are at 26.2%. The NDP led by Andrea Horwath have 18.6% support among Ontario voters, while the Greens currently are at 6.4%.

“While we fielded this survey before yesterday’s Throne Speech, the PCs are in pole position to get an overwhelming win in June”, said Quito Maggi, President and CEO of Mainstreet Research. “This is thanks to the PCs’ large lead in nearly every region in Ontario.”

This graphic is pretty revealing, too:

The PCs are leading in every part of Ontario – Hell, they’re even in play in Metro Toronto seats where, historically, they’ve only been protected by endangered species laws. How could this have been avoided? As written below – here and here – Ontario Liberals needed to:

  • Get rid of the Wizard and the Board.  They didn’t.
  • Get lots of new blood and new ideas.  They didn’t.
  • Get new face(s) at the top.  They didn’t.

Can the PCs still blow it?  Of course.  They’ve done so in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2014 – but they seem highly focussed on not doing that again in 2018, don’t they?  Also: can Andrea Horwath be the main beneficiary of all the Ford-fearmongering the Libs are about to unleash?  Of course.

The conventional wisdom is always that “campaigns matter.”  Sure, they do.  But Lisa and I worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, and we can tell you that Hillary had a much better campaign: more money, more people, more organization, more ads, more policies, more ideas, more everything.

And we still lost.

So, yes, campaigns matter.  But when folks want change – and, in Ontario in 2018, they assuredly do, as they assuredly did in the U.S. in 2016 – I don’t think the campaign matters as much.

Change > campaign.