Categories for Feature

Peter MacKay: he’s in

Does this mean Jean Charest is in or out?  Does this mean Team Mulroney is going elsewhere?  Does this mean Stephen Harper will not support anyone in the race, because none of them are him?

Who knows.  But he’s in, he says. Here’s a quickie take on MacKay, pro and con.


  • Was a senior Minister, seen as competent 
  • Helped unify the warring factions of the Right
  • Nice-looking family, nice guy
  • Crown prosecutor, smart lawyer
  • Knows how to raise dough
  • Knows the Atlantic region probably the best


  • Seen as too Red Tory by New Conservatives
  • Seen possibly as yesterday’s man
  • Seen as sometimes enjoying the high life a bit too much
  • Not seen as having a stand-out big achievement as Minister
  • Can be remarkably unremarkable sometimes
  • Why is he running?

Age of Unreason is here!

It’s the third and final book in the X Gang series – and my tenth book in all.  Just got it from Dundurn, my publisher.

You can get Age of Unreason here.  In the meantime, here’s some of the reviews about the series.  Hope you can pick it up!

  • 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.” 

Beam me up

Look who responded to one of my tweets. Look.

I can now die. As per Star Fleet protocol, I request a space burial.

My God, this is so awesome.

“We now consider the matter closed.” Victory!

For us, the result was never really in doubt. Still, it’s wonderful to receive such a clear statement in writing.

And rest assured, we are never going to stop fighting racism and anti-Semitism and homophobia and misogyny. Never.

Thank you, to all of you, for your support in recent months. It won’t be forgotten.

(Here is the Globe story and here is the CBC story.)



Ten reasons why Jean Charest should run

Will he? Won’t he? Postmedia muse John Ivison says he will. I think he will, too.

Here’s ten reasons why I think he should seek the Tory leadership, and why he could win – both the leadership and the country.

  1. The Big One.  The Rest of Canada mostly doesn’t know what’s in the Quebec Referendum Act.  The Act stipulates that referenda are strictly governed by the provincial actors alone – and the leaders of the “No” side have always been provincial federalists.  In the mid-1990s, one was a guy named Jean Charest.  In that too-close contest, my guy Chrétien played a huge role. (Bill Clinton helped, too.)  But the guy who saved the country? It was Jean Charest. Period.
  2. His policy record.  When you’ve literally kept a country together, that should be enough: you don’t need to have much else on your C.V.  But Charest has had other achievements: the first significant Minister of the Environment, winning for Canada at the Rio Summit; before that, he was (appropriately) the youngest cabinet minister in Canadian history, when he was named Minister of State for Youth.  As Premier of Quebec, he opposed withdrawing from the Kyoto Accord, and had myriad other environmental achievements – for which he won an international award.  He facilitated municipal demergers, he won in 2007 on a platform of tax cuts, and he held the separatists at bay for years.
  3. His political record.  When my boss Chrétien wiped out the Conservatives in 1993, only two were left – Elsie Wayne and Jean Charest.  All the others – big names – were defeated.  Not Charest: he was re-elected handily in Sherbrooke. He became party leader and brought the party back from exile, winning 20 per cent of the popular vote in 1997.  That, plus his referendum performance, resulted in folks pressuring him to run as Quebec Liberal leader – effectively, back then, the “conservative” option in Quebec politics. In 2003, he led his federalist party to a massive majority, ending a decade of separatist rule.  He’d be Premier for  decade.
  4. He is nice guy.  He is.  Through family, friends and direct exposure, I can attest: Charest is just an exceptionally decent guy.  Family man, thoughtful, not a bully (but tough when he needs to be – ask the separatists).  You don’t win as many times as Charest has – in the difficult circumstances he’s been in (cf., 1984, 1995, etc.) – by being a dick.  Jean Charest: not a dick.
  5. He’s lacks weaknesses.  All of the previous Conservative leaders had glaring faults.  Kim Campbell was regarded as erratic and ineffective; Stockwell Day was seen as a SoCon loon; Preston Manning was dismissed as remarkably unremarkable; Andrew Scheer was running to be Prime Minister in 1919, not 2019; Stephen Harper was widely believed to dislike people – in a business where you need to like people, and be liked to succeed.  Charest doesn’t have any of that baggage. He’s a normal guy – who knows how to win.
  6. He creates a problem for the Liberal Party.  The Liberal Party of Canada has become the most successful political machine in Western democracy because of three constituencies – women, new Canadians and young people.  Regionally, the Grits have become more attractive to the urban and urbane voters in Quebec and Ontario, too.  Charest, however, has won in both of those provinces – and he has captured support with all of those named demographics. He poses an existential threat to federal Liberals where it counts.
  7. He creates a problem for Justin Trudeau.  Trudeau – despite blackface, despite LavScam, despite Aga Khan, despite Griswolds in India, despite the selfie solipsism – won in 2019.  He won, despite his documented weaknesses, because his main opponent was weaker.  Scheer had never run nationally before – but Charest has.  Scheer didn’t know how to appeal to female voters – but Charest does.  Scheer had no policy achievements to point to – but Charest has plenty.  Having seen Charest debate many times, I think he would present a big, big problem for an increasingly-tired-and-sad-looking Justin Trudeau on the hustings.
  8. He has Mulroney.  As I said to young and smart Conservative friend this week, too many Conservatives (a) think the battle is won and lost on Twitter and (b) don’t understand you win majorities by capturing the swing voters you don’t have – not the committed voters you already do.  Charest wouldn’t be running without Muldoon’s support – which means they already own Montreal and environs, swaths of Quebec, Bay Street money, key parts of the Atlantic, and tons of ex officio types who owe Mulroney (and Charest) plenty.
  9. He has the best advisors.  Nick Kouvalis is one of my best friends, and Michael Diamond is a longtime friend, too.  I am biased about them.  But guys like Nick and Michael know how to win.  They helped get John Tory and Doug Ford elected when plenty of people thought no one could.  Other highly-effective strategic types have already come on board, I am told.  They are people who know how to win leaderships – and, beyond that, elections.
  10. His timing is right.  Senior Conservatives tell me they are simply sick and tired of losing when they should win.  They are fed up with those who choose ideological purity over compromise.  They want a smart, decent, modern leader who knows how to win.

They think that guy may be Jean Charest.  I do, too.

Were 63 Canadians murdered by Iranian armed forces?

That is what the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof is asking this terrible morning:

If that turns out to be the case, Iran has committed an act of war against Canada. The League of Nations, among others, define an act of war as an attack by a state’s land, naval or air forces, with or without a declaration of war, on the territory, vessels or aircraft of another state. So this would appear to qualify, if true.

This morning, the government advised Canadians to “avoid non-essential travel” to Iran. That seems to lack the requisite emphasis, but maybe that is the way Global Affairs expresses itself.

In any event, in the case of the burgeoning Iran-U.S. undeclared war, Canada’s desire to render itself very small hasn’t worked. The families of those murdered Canadians are going to demand answers and action.

We’re involved now, whether we like it or not.

This is the best email ever. Grateful.


Dear Mr. Kinsella

I’m sorry to waste your time on this, but your books (specifically the X Gang series) have helped me through so much. I’m a thirteen-year-old girl, and I have loved punk rock for as long as I can remember. my favorite bands are Bad Religion and Bikini Kill. I have always felt so ignored and cast out by everybody. Recently, I told somebody I thought I could trust that I had feelings towards other girls, and that person told everybody. Even though getting called “fag” and “dyke” is the highlight of my day, dressing like the unborn child of Sid and Nancy didn’t help that case at all. Your books and your characters are like my family. It is so amazing to see how close the punks were back then. I wish I knew people like X, Kurt, and Patti in real life. I can’t even imagine all of the things they had to go through. And to think it was based on a true story. I also love the constant Clash and Pistols references. Your books (along with a lot of great music) helped me realize that it’s okay to dress how I dress and believe in what I want to believe. If you ever happened to see this, thank you so much. punk’s not dead (I hope). I recently figured out that the Hot Nasties were a real band. I don’t know if you played in it, but they rock. My favorite song by them is secret of immortality.


one of your readers


In my head X kinda looks like teenage David bowie, and I tried to change that image cause I don’t really love the image of bowie kissing teenage girls but now that image is forever in my brain. Also, Kurt is my favorite character cause I guess I can relate to him the most and he was like a make-shift best friend to me for a long time. sorry for wasting those few seconds of your life you’ll never get back.”