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“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



As Kory T. and me predicted, months and months ago. My wife lost the bet and owes us a fancy dinner.

Here’s another prediction: he isn’t going to win the presidency. Not even close. And SFH can tell you why!




Eight more points to come!

1. Don’t freak out. You won just about 100 seats despite the Trudeau sweep. You still fundraise better than the governing party. You didn’t lose any of your share of the popular vote – the percentage you got in 2015, in fact, was almost exactly what you got in 2011. Your brand – as evidenced by Saskatchewan and Manitoba, recently – still has value. Resist suggestions, therefore, to radically change everything. Don’t overreact. And, therefore, don’t think salvation lies with loons like Kevin O’Leary. That’s a cure that’s worse than the disease. 


2. Oppose, oppose, oppose. You are Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition: act like it. You were not sent to Ottawa to assist the government, or make creative suggestions about governance. As my boss Jean Chretien used to say to the caucus nervous nellies who always worried about being too negative: “When you’re the opposition, you oppose.” Governments defeat themselves – and your job is to hurry that process along.

 




…that’s the message I take from this little ARG snapshot about Premiers and their popularity. I mean, Newfoundland’s Dwight Bell was elected Premier right around the same time Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister – and the latter still enjoys record levels of support, while the former is the least popular senior politician in the country!  Weird.

Brad Wall, as always, is a political phenomenon.  Brian Pallister is the new guy, and enjoying a honeymoon.  (Cocky progressives, nota bene: the two most popular premiers are conservatives.) Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil remains a solid performer and a good prospect for re-election next year.  Quebec’s Couillard has clearly benefitted from his principal opponent turning into a three-ring circus.  Notley has – and I hear this from all my friends, Conservatives included – done a simply outstanding job following Fort Mac, and is much more competitive than just a few weeks ago (her main opponents, meanwhile, continue to split their vote).  BC’s Christy Clark would probably like to be more popular – but she also benefits from being consistently underestimated by pundits and politicos (me included, once).

Gallant and Wynne surprise me – (a) in Gallant’s case, because his New Brunswick Liberals are about double the provincial Progressive Conservatives in voter support, and (b) in Wynne’s case, because she’s dealt with some recent controversies with considerable dexterity (fundraising, autism, creepy caucus members).  Why they lag, as they do, is odd.  Any theories?

And spare a thought for Premier Ball, along the way.  It’s hard to get that unpopular that fast.  But the plucky Newfoundlander has done it!

UPDATE: And, as a smart reader pointed out, Prince Edward Island is apparently no longer a province.  Who knew?

Premiers


Here I am, touching THE MOST FAMOUS ARM IN CANADIAN POLITICS.

 


Defying all those predictions of a sweep. This guy, right here:


The news about the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie will affect many people, today. It will likely see them thinking about the connections between their lives and the songs that the band performed over thirty-odd years.  (Like the performance above, their historic – for Canadians, anyway – appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1995.)

Music does that, I think, more than a painting or a poem or a movie or a dance or a sculpture or a play. All of things those can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life, of course. But music, because it is so ubiquitous and because it is so indelibly associated with events in a person’s life, surfaces feelings – and recalls feelings – in a way that other art cannot achieve.  The sheer volume of it testifies to this: more music will be created this morning than you will be able to listen to in your lifetime.

As an (aspiring/lousy) musician, I can attest to the fact that music has that effect, and more, on the person trying to produce it, too. I’ve written about music, played it, composed it, organized it, you name it. And I’ve therefore seen, close up, the way in which it is important to people.  So, last month, my teenage punk band, the Hot Nasties, reformed in Calgary after 35 years. I heard from many people who were happy about that.  That day in Calgary brought us a bit of joy, as well.  Politics never brought me the kind of joy music did.

I was never huge Hip fan – they were always a little bit too much rock ‘n’ roll for me – but I do not doubt the power of their music, or what their many fans are feeling today. So, too the deaths of Bowie, Prince and others – so many of them, this year, that Dan Rather is doing a special about it.

Take it from a geriatric punk rocker who recently has been busying himself, for variety of reasons, to making peace with a bunch of people (except two Trudeau people, that is, who refused to even write back, sigh): our time here is fleeting.  It goes by, too quickly. But music can help slow it down, bit.  Like Bowie said: “That’s the shock: All cliches are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is.”

It is, it is.  So, to all you (many) Tragically Hip fans out there, I offer you the very end of the only book I ever wrote that had any value, Fury’s Hour.  It seems to fit, today.

Okay, listen: imagine that you’re sixteen again (just like the Buzzcocks song), and you’re getting beaten up by jocks at school, because you look a little different, or you talk differently, or you’re gay, or you wear funny clothes, or you aren’t very athletic. Or you’re being hassled by your teachers, because you’re not like the other kids, and you’ve got a bit of a rebellious streak. Or you’re being pushed around by some kids because you don’t want to try drugs, or because you like to read books.

Or imagine that your Dad left all of you a long time ago, or that someone at home is pushing you around when they get drunk, or – in the night, when they think no one is looking – someone who is supposed to love you is running their hands all over you. And that you are only sixteen years old.

Or imagine that, like a lot of sixteen year olds, you have yet to develop the capacity to be unaffected, or uncaring, about television footage of thousands of children literally starving to death. Or that you still pay attention, and you still cry, when you hear about someone who is weak and alone being hurt by someone who is rich and powerful. Or that you have a rage – a wordless, black rage – building up inside of you about all of this and none of this, and that you cannot imagine that life could ever have any meaning anywhere, anytime. Or imagine that you cannot conceive that God can exist in a world that is so fucking cruel and bleak and evil.

Just listen, and just imagine living through any of that. Because, for a lot of sixteen year olds, they don’t have to bother imagining a life like that. It’s their life already. That’s why punk was invented, and why it will never die. Punk takes a young person’s anger, and makes them do something, and feel something, and be someone. It makes a kid feel that he or she actually can shape the future – and, sometimes, it helps them to actually do it. It makes those unlivable parts livable again. It gives hope. It sings.

Close your eyes, and slip into that dark, crowded, sweaty, noisy little nightclub and listen to the punk sound, the three-chord sound of fury’s hour. And, as you stand against the wall at the back – or as you dance the bad stuff away, right down in the front – know that this is the sound that punk makes, now and tomorrow and forever:

YES!


On the night in question, I was at an event in Toronto honouring Senator Murray Sinclair. As it was getting underway, I received a text message from one of the Members of Parliament who had been at the very centre of it all.

“He should not have been out of his seat,” the text said. “That was a big error on his part.”

The “error” was an actual physical confrontation on the floor of the House of Commons, just like the ones they have in the Taiwanese Parliament. The “he” was the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

Until former Justice Sinclair spoke, everyone in the room stared at their devices, periodically shaking their heads in wonder. Ten observations, from afar:

1. The law: When the Prime Minister intentionally grabbed and yanked the Conservative whip – much like Donald Trump’s campaign manager recently did to a reporter – it met the Criminal Code definition of assault. When he elbowed an NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau, it didn’t. The elbow in Brosseau’s chest likely met the civil definition of assault, however. If she had later experienced bruising, things could have gotten quite complicated for the Liberal leader. Either way, if the physical stuff had happened off the Hill – in someone else’s workplace, for instance – charges, lawsuits and firings would have been the almost inevitable result.

2. The Internet: Live by social media, die by it. The Prime Minister has assiduously cultivated attention online, and especially internationally. When he took leave of his senses last Wednesday night, his actions became front-page news around the world. You cannot seek attention and then, having gotten it, complain that it is too critical. Many Liberal partisans are still doing just that, and they sound like the Conservative partisans they replaced. They sound pathetic.

3. The optics: The boxing photo ops are over. So, too, the earnest claims to being a feminist. The moment a man applies force in a way that it hurts a woman – inadvertent or not – it changes both, and the man can’t really claim to being much of a feminist anymore. If the country learned anything from the Ghomeshi trial, it is that.

4. The Liberals: This appalling episode has revealed the Liberal House Leader to possess a genial authoritarian streak. It has shown that the Liberal whip is in fully over his head, and wholly incapable of controlling his troops. It does not reflect well on the Speaker, either, because it is now apparent he does not oversee the Commons very well. And the Prime Minister? Well, what was once youthful and fresh now looks too-young and arrogant. In a matter of minutes, he did undid his good reputation with all but the most rabid Liberal partisan.

5. The NDP: As is their wont, they overplayed their hand, calling the elbow to Brosseau a deliberate criminal assault when any of the lawyers in their caucus could have told them it was not. Mulcair looked like the enraged father who was defending a daughter who had been manhandled, however, and it was an understandable response. Trudeau’s return to the scene of the alleged crime – to confront Mulcair, apparently, and toss around a few “F” bombs – wasn’t understandable at all. It was another huge lapse in judgment.

6. The Conservatives: If they’re smart, they will keep their cool, and stay above the (literal) fray. Referring the matter to committee was a shrewd move – it will ensure the controversy will be kept alive for weeks. Stephen Harper being in the House when it all happened? It’s a safe bet that he was smiling, somewhere, on Wednesday night.

7. The cause: Some Liberals will claim there was a need to invoke closure, and radically change the rules of the House, to ensure the right-to-die legislation met the Supreme Court’s deadline. That is spurious and false. One, a matter of conscience should never, ever be rushed. Two, Canadian physicians were given sufficient guidelines in the high court’s ruling, and are applying them. Three, the Bill was always going to be amended and delayed in the Senate. What, therefore, was the damn rush?

8. The footage: It is going to be replayed over and over. It is going to figure in the next election campaign. It is going to be as ubiquitous as the Zapruder footage. When you watch it, you cannot help but lose respect for any number of participants. It is bad.

9. The precedent: I worked for Jean Chretien back in February 1996, on the frosty day of the now-famous Shawinigan Handshake. That incident, and this one, are not analogous. Chretien faced a threat; Trudeau did not. Chretien was not the instigator of the confrontation; Trudeau was. Chretien used force with a man; Trudeau used force in a way that hurt a woman. The Shawinigan Handshake became a positive for Chretien. For Trudeau, this never will.

10. The contrast: Sitting there, listening to the extraordinarily thoughtful, kind, mature and reserved words of Senator Sinclair, I was struck by something else. I turned to my wife, a Liberal and a feminist, and said: “Senator Sinclair sounds like a Prime Minister. Tonight, the Prime Minister doesn’t look like a Prime Minister.”

Something changed rather dramatically, last Wednesday night. Per Buffalo Springfield, something happened, here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.

This much is true, however: for Justin Trudeau, none of it was good.

 


Top two findings:

• While Ottawa politicos and media seemed captivated by the incident, just 14% of our respondents followed it very closely.


• The broad majority of those surveyed (71%) said it had no impact on their view of Mr. Trudeau, 23% said it made them feel worse about him; 6% better.  

I’ll put up a link when I can find one. Comments welcome. 


It can now be revealed: neo-Nazi Paul Fromm (and Your Ward News supporter) was going to use Parliament Hill for a press conference this week. And senior staffers at PMO and Justice stopped it.

In all the manhandling and elbowing of the past week, it was an easy story to miss. But the PMO and Justice folks didn’t. The minute they heard Fromm was trying to use a Hill press conference room to spread his venom, they swung into action and stopped it. A confirming report is found here.

They’ve had a truly shit week up there, and their boss deserves the shit he’s gotten, at home and at work. But his senior staff deserve kudos for their action in the Fromm case.