“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!”
Remembered it’s been a year – time flies, eh? As you may recall, I wrote the open letter thing below, and it attracted about 300 comments. Sun News attracted strong reactions.
Looking at it, there was thing I was right about: media – print and otherwise – continue to die off at a rapid pace. Whether a media voice is right wing or left wing, they’re all in trouble.
Dear Sun News folks:
I was on Twitter, past midnight, reading some of the things people were saying about the network’s demise. There was a lot of gloating and awful stuff being said.
I slept for four hours, then got up to watch the network disappear. They showed a promo for Pat Bolland’s show, and then that was it. The screen in my bedroom went black at exactly 5 a.m. I stared at it for a while, and tried to formulate what I wanted to say.
It’s not you who I want to say it to, former Sun News Network folks. It’s to those people on Twitter, last night and this morning, the ones who were gleefully celebrating the end of Sun News.
They’re celebrating, I guess, because they disagreed with the opinions that were found on Sun News. They didn’t like conservative opinions being broadcast, so they think it’s funny that 200 people have lost their jobs. I find that completely insane, for two reasons.
Firstly, folks, I disagreed with those conservatives, too. Plenty. On sex ed, on CBC, on abortion, on niqabs, on social programs, on climate change, on Islam, on gay marriage, on Liberals and liberals, on just about anything you can imagine: I would regularly appear on Sun News Network to argue with those conservatives, face-to-face, on-camera. I would argue, aggressively, against the conservative point of view.
And, over almost four years, a funny thing happened: they kept inviting me back. They asked me to come on much more than my day job would permit, in fact. And they were professional and courteous and fair to me. Only once did they try and shut me down – here – but multiple Sun folks called me afterwards to apologize, and to say that it would never happen again. It didn’t.
That’s the first thing: if you disagree with someone’s opinion, debate them. Present evidence. Argue with facts. Be passionate. Because that’s what Sun News Network gave me an opportunity to do, over and over, for four years.
Here’s the second thing: in case you haven’t noticed, our traditional news media are dying.
There are all kinds of reasons for that: the Internet, Google and Facebook and Craigslist, bad business decisions, whatever. We can debate the causes ad nauseum. But the fact is that the media, as we knew it, is disappearing.
Bloggers and social media mavens will celebrate the mainstream media’s demise, too. But they shouldn’t. Because bloggers and tweeters don’t generate actual news – they just comment on it. They offer opinions on someone else’s work. Someone else’s journalism.
When that journalism disappears, mark my words: our democracy will be diminished, and possibly even in peril. I’m not exaggerating. There is nothing that keeps the powerful in check – not Question Period, not a public opinion poll, not even the police – as effectively as journalists do. I’ve worked on both sides, and I know, I’ve seen it: every time a newspaper dies – every time a TV network dies – the powerful grow more so. You may think that’s okay, but I sure don’t. They are not always benign in the way they exercise power.
Anyway. Those are the two things I wanted to say, this bitterly-cold Friday the Thirteenth: if you disagree with someone, debate them. Don’t let out a cheer when they lose their job, and their ability to pay the rent and feed their kids. Because one day, in this economy, you’re probably going to lose your job, too. And it would be pretty shitty for someone to find that funny, on that day, wouldn’t it?
Remember this, too: every news reporter – every news editor, every news producer, every news technician – is a crucial part of a flourishing democracy. And when we lose them, our democracy loses. The Sun News Network ones, too.
And I guess there’s a third thing I wanted to say: Kory – and Matt and Dennis and others – put together an actual national news network, and they had some good folks there. I may have vociferously disagreed with the opinions they expressed – and you may have, too – but I am so, so sorry that they have lost their jobs, at 5 a.m. this morning. I will miss many of them.
So, don’t celebrate them losing their jobs. Don’t be indifferent to the effect it will have on our democracy. Because if you do, you’re just being an asshole.
Anyway. Back to work. I’m lucky to still have a job – and if you’ve got one, you should be, too.
- See more at: http://warrenkinsella.com/2015/02/dear-sun-news-network-folks/#sthash.ATpWmMvY.71bFH0sk.dpuf
Oh, sure, there are still some good people there to put it out, for however long. But make no mistake: the marquee newspaper in our nation’s capital – the equivalent of our Washington Post – is dead.
Late yesterday, we got word that the following folks (and more) had taken a buyout, and/or were pushed out by the guild of vampires who are Postmedia:
Peter Robb: editor, arts, sports
Mark Kennedy: Parliamentary bureau chief, National Newspaper Award winner
Rob Bostelaar: longtime reporter and editor (and who edited my stuff, full disclosure)
Karen Turner: longtime reporter, editor
Glen McGregor: national affairs reporter, Michener Award winner
Anita Murray: homes editor
Robert Sibley: senior writer, author
Carl Neustadter: managing editor
Andrew Potter: editor in chief
Joanne Chianello: city affairs columnist
Peter Simpson: arts editor (and another one of my former editors)
Hugh Adami: columnist, longtime reporter
Chris Cobb: senior writer
Drew Gragg: deputy editor
Stephanie Murphy: editor
(If you are on that list, but shouldn’t be, let me know at email@example.com. If you aren’t, but should be, let me know, too. If you want, that is.)
What does it mean? Well, it means Paul Godfrey doesn’t give a sweet shit about Canadian journalism, for starters. That much should be clear to everyone, by now. All that he cares about, seems, is fattening the accounts of U.S. hedge funds, and giving himself big bonuses as amazing people like the ones above are shown the door.
It also means that – for politicians and political staff – best wishes trying to get voters to know what you do, now, for good or ill. There’s increasingly no one around to take note, and write about it. Good luck with that re-election – you’ll need it. (Guess you should have spoken up when the Competition Bureau looked the other way, eh?)
For you? What does the slaughter at the Citizen mean for citizens? Other than you not being informed, or entertained, or moved? Other than you lacking the basic information you need to make important choices – be they political or consumer or just plain old life-related? Other than a dwindling number of writers and editors left to tell you what happens in Parliament? Other than not knowing when someone in power is hurting someone who is powerless, or when they’re stealing your money?
Other than those things, you might not notice at all.
Growing up in Calgary, as I did, there were certain things you just didn’t do. If you didn’t you were just asking for trouble.
You didn’t, for instance, ever offer or accept two dollar bills (because those were bad luck, and sometimes even called “whore notes”). You didn’t ever try and raise a rat as a pet (because rats were illegal in Alberta). And you didn’t ever say, out loud, you were a Liberal (even if you were one, like I was).
Circa 1979-1980, being a Liberal in Alberta was worse than being a rat, actually. The reason for this was Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy program, or the NEP.
The NEP was part of the Liberal Party’s first budget, after it won back power from poor old Joe Clark. On paper, it didn’t seem too bad. The NEP professed to be about three main things. One, it was preoccupied with security of the oil supply, and independence from the vagaries of the world oil market. Fine. No problem.
Two, it wanted to boost Canadian ownership and participation in the oil and gas business. In those days, when every single oil company CEO was an American, that one wasn’t so bad, either.
And, three, the NEP wanted to do something about “fairness,” said Finance Minister Allan J. MacEachen in the House of Commons, “with a pricing and revenue-sharing regime which recognizes the needs of rights of all Canadians.”
Hmmm. That last one was a big problem, turns out. In response, oil companies stopped investing in Canada, and they started closing up shop, too. In Alberta, the bankruptcy rate went up by about 150 per cent from the year before. The real estate market crashed, and food banks started to open up in places like Edmonton and Red Deer.
In my Calgary high school, kids I had hung out with would be there one day, and gone the next. Where’d they go, I asked my friends. “Their parents lost their jobs and they had to sell their house and move away,” I was told. Heard that a lot.
That was what happened to Albertans, pretty much: misery, ruin, disaster. For Liberals, the NEP eventually led to misery, ruin and disaster, too. By the time the 1984 election took place, the NEP helped to wipe out the Liberal Party of Canada in the West, reducing it to a rump. Thirty-five years would go by before any Liberal would be elected to the House of Commons out of Calgary.
Ironically enough, it would be Pierre Trudeau’s son, Justin, who would lead that Liberal renaissance in Calgary and other parts of Alberta. He did so, in large measure, by avoiding his father’s mistakes.
Over and over, he said the NEP had been the wrong thing to do. Over and over, he said Alberta’s energy industry was an important part of Canada’s economy. Over and over, he’d travelled to Calgary – like he did right after declaring his candidacy for the Liberal Party leadership in 2012 – to pledge allegiance.
Well, 35 years after the NEP, and – per the muse, Yogi Berra – it’s déjà vu, all over again.
Alberta is in big economic trouble, just as it was in 1980. Oil prices are down. Investments are way down. Bankruptcies are way up. Joblessness, up.
Justin Trudeau’s political enemies, consequently, giddily see opportunity. In yesterday walks tomorrow, to them. There’s another tin-eared Trudeau in the Prime Minister’s chair, and he doesn’t give the aforementioned rat’s ass about Alberta. We in the West propped up the economy of Central Canada for years, they say. Now, when we need help, all we get is rhetoric and re-announcements of infrastructure monies.
There is great, great peril in all of this for Justin Trudeau. There’s a trap. But this Alberta Liberal, for one, doesn’t believe he will fall into it.
Justin Trudeau may represent a Quebec riding, but he spent much of his pre-politics years in the West. He seems to understand the West in a way that his father never, ever did. And, in particular, he knows that NEP-style politics will only assist the Conservative Party, which is now busily banging away at the drum of Western alienation, looking for an audience.
In 2016, unlike in 1980, rats are making an occasional appearance in Alberta. Two dollar bills are cherished as collector items, because two dollar bills aren’t being made anymore. And saying you are a Liberal from Alberta – well, that isn’t such a big deal anymore. My hunch is that Justin Trudeau aims to keep it that way.
Like the Akram Vignan’s Dada Baghwan once said: you are only worthy as a son when you remove all your father’s troubles.
Funny story: this morning I woke up, and Joan of Arc was gone.
You’ve got to understand: I have worn a (blessed) Joan of Arc medal around my neck every day, every minute, for just about 35 years. It was 1982 or so, and my roommate and great friend Chris Benner and I were out one night at our Bank Street watering hole, the Eldorado. The door opened.
This guy walks in and straight up to us. He hands me this Joan of Arc medal, then turns around and walks out into the night. Never saw him again.
I’ve accordingly worn her around my neck ever since. Until this morning, that is, when she disappeared. Lisa can tell you: I was pretty unhappy.
Tonight, she reappeared – in a place I had already scoured two, three times. Just like that.
Being a superstitious Irish Catholic, I naturally take that as a sign. On this day – on this awful, terrible day, when that creep looks almost certain to get away with it – here’s why I wear St. Joan, and what I want our two daughters to always remember:
If a man lays a hand on you, even once, cut him down where he stands. Make it so he can’t get up to do it again.