The Kinsella Kurse

Peter Kent is a nice guy.

There. I said something nice about the newly minted minister of the environment. Accordingly, his political career is now doomed.

Happens every time: As you may recall (but probably don’t), I said some really nice things about the newly minted minister of state for seniors, Julian Fantino, and look what happened to him.

In a column in November, I opined that the former top cop was “very capable” and “extremely effective.” Oh no! Shortly thereafter, Fantino squeaked out a victory in a byelection that should have been a Tory landslide.

Simultaneously, an emotional Fantino actually started comparing his opponents to Hitler and, this week, he seemingly likened criticisms levelled at him in the Vaughan contest to the “unpleasant” period that included the Holocaust.

Accordingly, he is now the minister of state for loose cannons.

It’s all my fault, however. Whenever I go against my nature and I try to say something nice about a Conservative, things go awry for them.

As such, I wish to formally apologize to Peter Kent for the following nice things I am now going to say about him.

About three years ago, you see, a group of us decided that Kent would be the best choice for Toronto mayor. We were worried that the city was being turned into an over-taxed Bolshevik gulag, so we attempted to draft the likes of Dennis Mills (brilliant former Liberal MP), Pinball Clemons (inspiring former CFL great) and John Tory (one-time Ontario Conservative leader, now highly successful radio host). None were interested.

Kent for mayor?

Peter Kent, however, was willing to sit down for a chat over breakfast at the Sunset Grill on Yonge St. Hallelujah!

Kent, we felt, was a pretty impressive guy. He was smart, genial and easygoing.

He’d been an award-winning journalist, a news anchor, and a member of the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. He’d even been a correspondent in dangerous war zones, and almost as dangerously decided to run as a Conservative in the Liberal fortress of Toronto in 2006.

Kent listened politely and made some encouraging sounds. But ultimately he said he was an enthusiastic member of Stephen Harper’s team and he wanted to win a seat in Parliament. In 2008, he did just that, handily winning in Thornhill, a riding that had been held by the Grits since its creation. He’s been a good political soldier and this week was rewarded with a senior cabinet post.

The good news, I suppose, is he got a big promotion. The bad news, however, is he got a big promotion to environment. That’s bad news because nobody in the Harper government likes the environment.

It’s true. Here are just a few of the memorable things others have said about the Harper regime’s environmental record, some of which Peter Kent may be reading in his briefing books at this very moment:

Al Gore, who won a Nobel Prize for his environmental advocacy, dismissed Harper as an “ultra-conservative leader” who was bankrolled by Big Oil to protect their interests in Alberta’s oilsands.

David Suzuki, who was named a companion of the Order of Canada while Harper was prime minister, said the ruling Conservatives “don’t have a f—ing clue” about the environment.

Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, said last year that Harper needed to “strengthen” his commitment to the environment, and live up to the Kyoto treaty targets.


Right about now, Kent may be forgiven for wondering if this minister of the environment stuff is going to end up looking so good on his CV. If he does nothing, like some green Maytag repairman, he’ll certainly please the prime minister but he’ll also be pilloried internationally. He will then lose his seat to the amazing Liberal candidate, Karen Mock.

If, however, Kent actually tries to do something truly radical say, form the opinion that greenhouse gases are, well, sort of unhelpful he’ll be quickly shipped off to political exile, like Helena Guergis was, and never heard from again. And he will then lose his seat to the amazing Liberal candidate, Karen Mock.

Hey, Peter? Remember that line you once heard about drinking from poison chalices? It was true, dude.

Happens every time: If you’re a Tory, and if that Liberal jerk Kinsella says something nice about you, you’re done like dinner. You’re toast.

Next week: Nice things about Stephen Harper!

Kinsella is a lawyer, consultant and Liberal Party spin-doctor. He blogs at

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