“Warren Kinsella's book, ‘Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse,’ is of vital importance for American conservatives and other right-leaning individuals to read, learn and understand.”

- The Washington Times

“One of the best books of the year.”

- The Hill Times

“Justin Trudeau’s speech followed Mr. Kinsella’s playbook on beating conservatives chapter and verse...[He followed] the central theme of the Kinsella narrative: “Take back values. That’s what progressives need to do.”

- National Post

“[Kinsella] is a master when it comes to spinning and political planning...”

- George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC TV

“Kinsella pulls no punches in Fight The Right...Fight the Right accomplishes what it sets out to do – provide readers with a glimpse into the kinds of strategies that have made Conservatives successful and lay out a credible roadmap for progressive forces to regain power.”

- Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics

“[Kinsella] deserves credit for writing this book, period... he is absolutely on the money...[Fight The Right] is well worth picking up.”

- Huffington Post

“Run, don't walk, to get this amazing book.”

- Mike Duncan, Classical 96 radio

“Fight the Right is very interesting and - for conservatives - very provocative.”

- Former Ontario Conservative leader John Tory

“His new book is great! All of his books are great!”

- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD

“I absolutely recommend this book.”

- Paul Wells, Maclean’s

“Kinsella puts the Left on the right track with new book!”

- Calgary Herald

Fittingly, it took a small-town radio station to ask The Question.

It came on Dave Glover’s drive-time show on CFWN in Northumberland.

“What,” I was asked, “do you think about Postmedia’s purchase of the Sun Media newspaper chain?”

“Thank you for asking that question,” I told Glover and his co-host. “As someone who used to write for Sun Media, CanWest, QMI and Southam, I’ve been waiting for that question. I think it’s a disaster. It’s deplorable. And I know that most journalists in Canada agree with me, but are too worried about losing their jobs to say so.”

A refresher: last month, Postmedia bought Quebecor’s 175 newspapers and digital publications, including the Sun chain of papers – found in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg and London – as well as the give-away 24 Hours commuter dailies in Toronto and Vancouver, the Canoe online portal, and scads of prime real estate. They got all that for a paltry $316 million.

Oh, and they acquired the services of 2,500 journalists, editors and assorted other folks. That, too.

Postmedia’s boss is Paul Godfrey. He’s a smooth-talking septuagenarian, well-liked – and he’s a card-carrying Conservative who doesn’t hesitate to let his employees know about his politics. So, there he was at a press conference on the lawn at Queen’s Park in early April, publicly throwing his support behind Ontario Conservative leadership candidate (and eventual victor) Patrick Brown.

Isn’t that a bit of a conflict, given that Godfrey runs a bunch of newspapers which are expected to cover all political parties, without fear or favour? (That question was posited, unsurprisingly, by a journalists who don’t work for Godfrey.)

Said Godfrey, radiating innocence: “Conflict for who? This is a race between Tories. The media talks about transparency. I’m the most transparent guy of all because I say the things that I do.”

Gotcha. The problem, of course, is that Godfrey can’t truthfully refer to “the media” as some far-flung, intangible concept: in reality, Paul Godfrey now is the media in Canada. And it isn’t “transparent” to wade into a Conservative leadership race, as Godfrey has done.

It’s wrong – wrong because it sends an unmistakable message to thousands of journalists, ie. go easy on the Conservatives. It’s wrong because it suggests to a dwindling number of readers that their daily paper is, as suspected, neither impartial nor fair. It’s wrong because it creates the potential for abuse, and buttresses the widely-held view that the media are just another special interest group. Proof? The Globe and the Star made mention of the conflict-of-interest question. The National Post? In a terse, almost Orwellian seven-paragraph item, not a word. Zero.

But let’s not be too hard on Paul Godfrey. Because, at day’s end, Paul Godfrey isn’t really the boss.

The boss, truth be told, are a couple of U.S.-based hedge funds – junk bond specialists. Like vulture capitalist Mitt Romney did so often, these outfits buy up companies in trouble, sell off what is profitable, and dump the rest. They call their little Canadian newspaper excursion “Project Canada.”

Wondering how “Project Canada” was approved by the Competition Bureau or Investment Canada? I do, too.

The Investment Canada Act is a law created to review deals in which foreigners seek control of Canadian businesses. Under the Act, newspapers are in a special category – the “cultural” category, for things like magazines and books and music and films. The policy that underlines the Act – it’s right there on the relevant web site – says the government will protect the “creation, production, distribution, marketing and preservation of Canadian cultural products in Canada, through traditional and new media.” So, how the Hell did a couple of foreign company-wreckers get the majority of shares in an important Canadian cultural business?

Good question. And, by the by, when those deals happened, did Canada’s political parties have anything at all to say? Not really.

Same with Postmedia’s just-approved purchase of Sun Media. The Competition Bureau is required, by law, to “maintain and encourage competition in Canada.” But does permitting a cabal of American junk bond types to own every major daily newspaper in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa “maintain and encourage competition in Canada?” Hilariously, the Competition Bureau issued what it actually, truly calls a “no action letter.” As in, no action, no problem.

And from Canada’s political parties? Silence.

Canada’s newspapers are sliding inexorably towards the graveyard, I told my grim Northumberland radio hosts. And it is the faceless bureaucrats overseeing the Competition Act and the Investment Canada Act – and too many gutless politicians – who are letting it happen.

Weep for our media. Times are bad.

Hoo boy do I ever have a bit of news on Canada’s most ridiculous Ombudsman!

Here’s what Senior Statesman Ed Broadbent says:

The polling done by the Broadbent Institute shows Canadians support those ideas.

“Time after time, we find on almost every issue, a majority of Canadians are social democrats,” he says.

“On tax policy, on (the) Canada Pension (Plan), a whole range of issues that are reasonably described as social democratic, there is a significant majority of Canadians that are on that side.”

Broadbent says the long-term trend shows voters are warming to the NDP.

“One of the things that is happening now, and we’ll see if (it) persists in the election, is where some of those (voters) were split in their partisan positions, they’re increasingly coming behind the NDP.”

Leaving aside how ridiculous it is that “polling done by the Broadbent Institute” in a story about Ed Broadbent is considered in any way relevant, let’s reflect on the big question of the moment: is the NDP’s rise permanent?

Personally, I think it isn’t just an NDP thing. There are a number of variables at work, here:

  • Justin Trudeau peaked too soon.  That – plus the serial gaffes, the paucity of policy, the arrogance of an inner circle who have angered legions of Liberals, and the emerging consensus that he “just isn’t ready” – have crystallized at precisely the wrong moment for the Liberal leader.  For two years, his message was: “If you are looking for a progressive alternative to Stephen Harper, I’m the only guy that fits the bill.” After Alberta, after months of slow but steady NDP growth, that is no longer true.
  • The NDP, and their base, ain’t what they used to be. When the trade union movement started to founder and lose relevance, everyone thought that would be a death knell for the NDP.  It wasn’t.  In fact, it helped to de-radicalize the Dippers in the eyes of many voters.  Simultaneously, another thing happened: the Dippers chose to be what Norman Spector once described to me as “mature social democrats” – that is, Romanow-style balance-the-budget types who see government as a force for good, but not the solution to every problem.  The Kooky-York-University-Sid-Ryan-nationalize-everything-hate-Israel types lost out.
  • Angry Tom, Angry Voters.  Plenty of pundits – me among them – thought Mulcair’s genetic predisposition towards anger would kill him, just as it had back when he was a Quebec Liberal.  It didn’t.  In fact, Tom’s anger turned on many more voters than it turned off – because they, as it turned out, were angry too.  Voters were looking for a politician who was angry as they were about the federal Conservatives, and about the direction in which the country was headed.  And along came Prosecutor Tom, all righteous indignation and fury, giving the Tories what-for in Question Period.  Mulcair matched the popular mood.
  • The key attributes of the leaders.  Innumerable focus groups have been conducted about Messrs. Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair, of course.  No news there. Moderators in these groups typically ask participants for one or two words to describe each leader.  Here’s what they’ve gotten back, over and over: Harper is “serious, experienced.” Trudeau is “progressive, new, change.” Mulcair is “serious, progressive.”  See the problem for the Tories and the Grits? Only one leader – Mulcair – embodies positives of each of the other options.  He’s “serious and progressive” at a time when voters seemingly want both.
  • The media have bought into the Harper narrative on Trudeau. Reporters spend almost as much time with Justin Trudeau as his family does, perhaps more.  And they have concluded, with considerable reluctance, that Harper’s shorthand on Trudeau – now contained in multi-million-dollar ad buy coming soon to a television near you – is accurate.  He really isn’t ready yet.  Nice guy, not ready.

There are other variables at work, but I think those are the main ones.  Can New Democrats sustain the resulting dynamic over barbecue season? Hard to do, but not impossible.

As a public service, I offer only four words of caution: 1. Adrian 2. Dix. 3. Olivia 4. Chow.

Both of those people were initially considered inevitable winners, too, weren’t they?  In the latter case, I saw up close what the electorate eventually saw.  Chow was a lousy communicator, she didn’t offer much in the way of ideas, and she didn’t inspire.  Similarly, Dix lacked Christy Clark’s verbal dexterity, he played it too safe, and he had the worst debate performance in modern times.

Nobody can accuse Angry Tom of lacking communication and debate skills.  Nobody can say that he isn’t putting ideas out there, or occasionally taking risks.

But you Dippers out there in the Internet ether know I speak the truth, don’t you? 

Orange Crush, the drink, can go flat in no time at all.

The good news for Liberals: they have a way to make fun of that new CPC ad.

The bad news for Liberals: that old Manitoba campaign ad worked – my very good friend Hugh (sadly) lost.

The NDP ignores Trudeau, the CPC one is mainly about him.  The Dipper spot tries to be positive, the CPC spot is less preoccupied with all that, but isn’t very mean.  The Liberal one, appended at the end? It’s okay.

All three, however, strongly suggest the election campaign is underway.

First, Team Orange:


  • It’s not bad, but it isn’t particularly great, either. You forget about it a minute after you watch it.
  • The visuals are the kind of stuff political backroomers love – working classy, ethnic diverse-ness, slice of life, blah blah blah. Not original.
  • The soundtrack riff is a direct steal from the Menzingers’ ‘The Obituaries,’ which features the “F” word about a million times.
  • At the end, you can see they struggled with what to do with what to do with Angry Tom. Tie? No tie? Tie loosened? Jacket? No jacket, sleeves? No jacket, sleeves rolled up? Hmm.
  • In the end, his look and demeanour and surroundings reminded me of Assistant Principal Vernon in The Breakfast Club. Not good.

The Blue Crew, meanwhile, have leaked their latest offering…but no one has a link except John Ivison. Interesting strategy.

Anyway, what John tells us about the ad reflects what many hacks already know about the research: no one dislikes Justin Trudeau – it’s just that no one thinks he’s ready to be Prime Minister. (In focus groups, anyway.)

The structure of the ad – diverse group of Canadians passing judgment on the Liberal leader – recalls the Muttart-era “Entitled to my entitlements” diner spot, which was seared on our collective consciousness through a gazillion repetitions back in 2005-2006.

The Harper part sounds like what I had figured would always be his 2015 writ narrative: “Hey, look. They said I’d wreck the place, and do all kinds of radical stuff, and I didn’t. We got through some tough times, we’re keeping folks safe. Oh, and Justin? I like him, too. He’s just not ready.”

If anyone gets a link, please send along. I couldn’t find it anywhere (beyond John’s column, that is). But I suspect that, when I see it, my assessment won’t change too much.

UPDATE: And here it is! (Thanks, folks.)

My take:

  • These guys love research! The statements made by the actors in this ad are taken directly from actual statements made by actual Canadians in actual focus groups!
  • Actually, when you are assessing the ad for yourself, keep that in mind – this may not be what you are saying, but it is what your neighbors are saying. Important.
  • I think the ad will work.  Expect to see it in heavy rotation, boys and girls!

UPDATER: Um, oops.

UPDATEST: And here is the Liberal ad. Same sort of diversity/middle class/family stuff we see in the other ones. Not bad, but not great.

Photo (and apparently untouched) by @karltims.

Right here. And it’s real. 

What a genius. 

That’s right, pedophilia. In their April issue, Sears and his fellow neo-Nazis published an article that made light of the sexual abuse of children. By any reasonable standard, that’s a crime. Why isn’t Canada Post – or the government that oversees it – doing something about this?

From the Canadian Jewish News, today:

“Warren Kinsella, a lawyer and author of Web of Hate, a look at the extremist right in Canada, said he and other residents of the east end have started a website called www.Canadiansagainstprejudice.com to oppose the message of the newsletter.

The site lists Your Ward News advertisers and asks if they know what kind of newsletter they are supporting.
Kinsella said he has been in touch with Canada Post, which continues to be paid to distribute the magazine, despite examining its content. “They don’t seem to care at all,” he said.

Canada Post did not respond to a query prior to The CJN’s deadline, but the Toronto Star quoted a Canada Post spokesperson as saying that Your Ward News did not meet the standard for “non-mailable matter.”