My latest: a Prime Minister to all, not a few

The bar isn’t much to look at. 

It’s on the tougher side of downtown, in a place where you cross the street when you see a couple guys coming your way. 

There’s a big marquee out front, announcing its name, and a pair of weathered wooden doors that are open to all, but not all dare step inside. 

No liquor licence. Envelopes stuffed with bills, handed over to the cops, are all that keep it open. 

Whenever there’s a raid, the bar’s owners will sometimes get tipped off. Not always, but sometimes. The raids happen, ostensibly, because people gather there – people who dare not speak their name out loud. 

Their sin? Dancing. The city doesn’t want them to dance together. 

In the early morning hours of June 28, the cops raid the place again. There are uniformed officers outside, and some plainclothes officers inside, posing as patrons. 

The cops go after one of the women in the bar, a regular. They push her and strike her. She gets mad and pushes back. They assault her some more. 

A crowd has gathered out on the sidewalk, watching what the cops are doing to the woman. A cop brings his baton down on her head and she starts to bleed, a lot. 

She’s mad, but not just at the cops, who are punching and kicking the bar’s patrons. As she’s being pushed into the back of a police van, the woman yells at the crowd: “Why don’t you guys do something?”

And they do. Just like that, just like a light being switched on, they do. Remembering, perhaps, all the years of bullying and beatings and actual murders, they erupt. They hit back. 

By the end, they’ve trapped the cops inside the bar. And, later on, it’ll take dozens more cops to rescue them. 

The bar isn’t in your town, but it could be. The raid, or something like it, doesn’t really happen in your town anymore – but it used to. 

And the kind of people who would go there? They’re found in your town. Lots of them. 

The bar really existed. Stonewall’s, in Lower Manhattan in New York City. Anyone could go there to dance and have a drink, but only one of kind person generally did so. 

Homosexuals. Gays, lesbians. The ones who – in those days, and in these days, too – weren’t allowed to dance together. Or come together. Or even, you know, be. 

The ones who would be denied jobs, or hotel rooms, because of the way they were. The ones who would be often beaten and sometimes killed for being who they were. 

Their uprising that June night – that’s what that lesbian who the cops were beating called it, an uprising and not a riot – would later bear the name of the bar: Stonewall. Every year, bit by bit, in cities and towns all over, there would be a commemoration of what happened at Stonewall’s bar that night. Remembering. 

In time, the remembrances bore another name. A name that described what they were really about. 

Pride. Pride in being, at long last, in being who they are. Being how God made them. 

Now, I don’t know Andrew Scheer all that well. He’s a family man, he goes to church. If he stayed that way, nobody would really care what he thinks about the various Pride events that happen across Canada every Summer. He’d just be another guy. 

But he’s not just another guy. He’s not a nobody. He’s the leader of the Conservative Party, and he’s running to be Prime Minister. 

When you’re a Prime Minister, you don’t get to pick and choose which Canadians you represent. You represent all of us, or you represent none of us. 

So, I ask Andrew Scheer: are you going to be one of the guys on the sidewalk, watching and not doing anything about what you see? Or, are you going to step forward, and say: “I support you. I will help you. I will protect you. You are no better or no worse than me.”

That’s what the Pride stuff is about, really: equality. Support. Humanity. 

Get off the damn sidewalk, Andrew. 

People are starting to notice. 


Hate rag editor gets a year in jail

Finally.

James Sears, the editor of the so-called newspaper called Your Ward News, was finally sentenced this afternoon in a Toronto courtroom to one year in jail. He’d been convicted in January of promoting hatred against Jews and women.

I just did an interview with some Toronto media, and noted that the case was important for two reasons.

One, the viciousness of the hate found in Your Ward News – against Jews, against women, against gays and lesbians, against nonwhites – was some of the worst hate I have ever seen.

Two, the conviction for promoting hatred against women has never happened before in Canadian history. That was a first, and – as I told reporters – it will mean that this judgement is studied for many years to come.

We are grateful to the Crown and to Justice Blouin – who is retiring this week – for their wisdom and hard work.

Now, onto the next battle.


The Age of Unreason!

Look what I got from Dundurn Press when in Boston yesterday for the Red Sox game: the new cover design to the last instalment in the X Gang series, Age of Unreason!

If you’re interested in reading the books published so far – Recipe for Hate and New Dark Ages – they’re here!

And here’s what people have said about the series, below. Hope you can check ’em out!

Quill and Quire: “Kinsella skillfully blends convincing depictions of both the punk scene and the racist underground with the hoary trope of a band of kids setting out to solve a mystery. The novel is a suspenseful page-turner that also gives considerable food for thought, anchored in realistically drawn characters and an eye for significant detail.”

Publisher’s Weekly: “Adult author Kinsella (Fight the Right) sets this riveting murder mystery in Portland, Maine, in the late 1970s…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.”

Globe and Mail: “Portrayals of rebellious and non-conforming teens can feel reductive or contrived but Kinsella nails it without any stereotyping or embellishment. Though this authenticity will have big teen appeal, the novel is also part police procedural, part detailed history on the emergence of punk and part gritty murder mystery, all elements that skew more adult. Classification aside, it’s absorbing, jarring and raw.”

Toronto Star: “Warren Kinsella is known mostly as a political operative and pundit, but he also has estimable punk-rock credentials (as punk historian and as bass player in SFH, which bills itself as Canada’s best-loved geriatric punk band). This YA novel is loosely based on real-life events, and concerns the murder of two teenagers in 1979 in Portland, Ore., then the epicentre of the punk scene. It will be of interest to anyone interested in punk culture — not just the music, but the fanzines, art and writing of the period.”

Booklist: “Kinsella’s book explodes off the page from the start…a dark and engrossing tale of punk-rock heroes fighting for justice.”


My latest: what #LavScam now means for Scheer, JWR, PMO, the RCMP and the media

Joseph Nye Welch: remember that name.

He was an American lawyer, and chief counsel to the US Army. He died long ago. But even from the grave, even after so many years have gone by, Welch has something to important to say about the sordid, seamy scandal known as LavScam.

The Ethics Commissioner had something to say, too, as it turned out. And this week, he said it: “The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. [Jody] Wilson-Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”

That sentence – and the commissioner’s finding that Justin Trudeau and his thugs did, indeed, conspire to stop the criminal prosecution of a Québec-based donor to his party, SNC-Lavalin – has myriad implications for many people. Here are just a few.

Andrew Scheer: When the LavScam story broke in the Globe and Mail, the Conservative Party leader was criticized by some in his own party for demanding Justin Trudeau’s resignation. It is clear, now, he was right to do so. It’s also equally clear that Scheer need not worry himself about Trudeau’s puerile threat to sue him for defamation. Truth, after all, is an absolute defence to a libel claim.

Jody Wilson-Raybould: Everything that the former Attorney-General said – and Trudeau petulantly refused to let her say all she had to say – was also true. All of it. She was, in fact, pressured by Trudeau and ten of his minions (including his Minister of Finance) to cut a sweetheart deal for SNC-Lavalin on 22 separate occasions over a four-month period. She spoke the truth. And, in so doing, Wilson-Raybould revealed more integrity and courage than Trudeau could ever hope to possess in ten lifetimes.

Trudeau’s Office: His most-powerful aide, Gerald Butts, resigned at the height of the LavScam scandal. At the time, it was unclear why. Not now. Butts should tender his resignation again – as should Katie Telford, Ben Chin, Mathieu Bouchard, Elder Marques and others in PMO. Bouchard and Marques, both lawyers, additionally deserve the scrutiny of the relevant law societies for their role in LavScam.

The Mounties: It is known that the RCMP seized Butts’ government-issue laptop and cell phone when he first resigned. It is also known that Butts, Telford and the others “lawyered up,” and retained counsel for an anticipated criminal probe. And then…nothing. While Scheer and others demanded a criminal investigation, the RCMP gave every indication they were having an extended, collective nap. The Ethics Commissioner’s extraordinary report will force them awake. Or should.

The Media: For various sycophantic media voices – most notably the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt and HuffPo’s Althing Raj – the SNC-Lavalin affair has been a trifling matter, and Wilson-Raybould deserved to be exiled by Trudeau and his lackeys. The damning Ethic Commissioner’s report should oblige Delacourt, Raj and other Trudeau-flatterers to radically revise that assessment.

But what, one might ask, of Joseph Nye Welch? How is LavScam relevant to him, and vice-versa?

Watching Justin Trudeau simultaneously accept the Ethics Commissioner’s report – and then condemn it, all dewy-eyed sincerity – Welch might have said what he famously said to Joseph McCarthy, during the Democratic Senator’s hunt for communists and subversives.

“Until this moment, I think I have never really gauged your recklessness,” Welch might’ve said to Trudeau. “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Justin Trudeau, at long last, does not.


My friend Jim

My friend of 40 years, Jim. He’s gay.

In all of those 40 years, we never once discussed it. I didn’t know and I didn’t care. Now I know, and I still don’t care.

He’s one of my best and oldest friends. I love him like you love a brother.

I want him to be happy, and I want him to be loved.

He is.

And his story is here.