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Kinsellacast: Lisa Hate Tweets and the Spin Twins™!

Boring weekend, eh?

Just kidding.

So: Doug Ford – Ford Nation – has won the leadership of the political party most likely to form government in just 87 days. Amazing, huh?

All over Deepest Annex, soy lattés are being spit up, hybrids are being driven into the sides of tofu bars, and Birkenstocked-New Agers are playing the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan to drown out the sounds of their sobs.

Me?  I think it’s all kind of amusing.  I grew up in Ralph Klein’s Alberta, after all. And I think everyone needs to take a great big gluten-free Valium.

Herewith, then, is the latest Kinsellacast – containing my ten tweeted reasons why everyone needs to chill; Lisa’s fave hate tweets from her time at CTV, punditizing about the PC leadership schmozzle; and the Spin Twins™, offering up juicy commentary about what went down, and what will go down.

Download! Listen in!

Doug Ford in ten tweets

I hate Twitter threads, but I got started and kept going. Here it is.

Ten reasons why Doug Ford can win (and did)

When I quit the Olivia Chow Toronto mayoral campaign in 2014 – because she’d not told the truth to the media, among other things – guess who was the first person to call me?

Doug Ford.

“Warren, old buddy,” said Doug Ford, brother of former Toronto mayor, the late Rob Ford. “We’ve had our differences but I want you to chin up. Rob and I like you and respect you. Let’s get together when you get home.”

When you’re a political chew toy, you tend to remember calls like that one: you remember who called and who didn’t. So we stayed in touch after that. We did TV political panels together and we talked pretty regularly. I told him he shouldn’t run for mayor again because John Tory was doing a great job and would cream him. He should run instead to be Ontario premier, I told him.

There’s clearly a market these days for populist conservatives who defy the conventional wisdom and say what they think, I told him. And there were lots of reasons why he’d be a formidable Progressive Conservative leadership candidate.

Here are 10:

  • Ford’s working hard: Every plugged-in PC told me the same thing: “Doug’s working the phones. Doug’s reaching out. Doug’s doing all the right things.” He did what a party leadership candidate has to do in any contest: he worked his tail off.
  • Fords disciplined: I think his musings about scrapping a carbon tax were a mistake – we need it (as a province) and his party needs it (because it finances their entire platform). But apart from that, he didn’t blow any feet off and he said the kind of stuff card-carrying Conservatives love.
  • Ford has early support: Planning a rally early in a campaign is a big risk: it takes a lot of time and hard work to get hundreds of people to come out to an event. Well, Ford got thousands out for a Toronto rally at the start of his campaign and in a very short time frame, too. It gave him momentum and the visuals were pretty stunning – not everyone there was an old white guy. At all.
  • Ford’s evolved: A few weeks ago, I watched TVO’s fun Political Blind Date show, because Doug and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh were on, and because I like both of them. Singh was engaging, warm and likable, as you’d expect. But so was Ford – big time. I was shocked at how he had evolved as a politician. Gone is the shouty city councillor, always being forced to defend his brother’s bad behaviour. In its place was a HOAG – a hell of a guy.
  • Ford’s better at retail: The TVO show also revealed something else. You could tell that the participants in the broadcast – the NDP members who agreed to the matchup and perhaps the TVO producers who came up with the idea – expected Ford to be what he had always been: a bit of circus act, a trained bear riding a tiny bike in the centre ring. Someone to be laughed at. Well, guess what? He was way better in the mano-a-mano segments than Singh was. Way.
  • Ford has a USP: A unique selling proposition, that is. It’s easy to see how some disengaged voters – that is, 99 percent of voters – would see Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, and fellow PC leadership candidates Caroline Mulroney and Christine Elliott as all kind of the same thing. You know: female, centrist, careful, establishment. Ford is none of those. He offers the only clear alternative for the voters who are after one (and voters are always after one).
  • Ford gives quotes: The guy is a quote machine. The microphone loves him. He never uses a $20 word when a $2 word would suffice. He never uses jargon and acronyms and Newspeak. He talks about values. He knows facts tell, but stories sell. Ford is a one-man media machine.
  • Ford dominates the vote-rich Greater Toronto Area: An important Mainstreet Research poll – little-noticed in the Patrick Brown madness – showed that only one PC leadership candidate was very strong in the part of the province that decides who gets to be government: Toronto. In that area, Ford dominates. That matters. Remember: his brother crushed George Smitherman and Doug Ford himself came within 60,000 votes in his mayoral run against Tory in 2014. Ford Nation knows how to win in GTA.
  • Ford ain’t dumb: I worked for a populist-type politician who everyone – from the Martinites to the media – always dismissed. They always put him down. They always said Jean Chretien was dumb when he was way (way) smarter than all of them. Ford, so far, is running a very smart campaign. If he can keep his mouth under control, he’s got a real shot at winning the election.
  • Ford is reaching out: He did with me. And I know he’s reached out to many others who have criticized him in the past: “The door is open,” he’s telling them. “Just walk through it.” In a leadership race – and in an election – it’s all about connection. Ford is connecting. He’s reaching out.

Can Doug Ford win? Damn right he can.

Underestimate him at your peril.

I got tired of waiting for PCPO leadership results

So I tweeted stuff.

Pro tips, PC friends:

  • If voters see that you can’t run your own house, they won’t let you run the province
  • If you need media coverage, and all opposition parties do, messing up your leadership convention’s media coverage is a really bad idea
  • If you think the networks won’t pull the plug on you, you are dreaming in Technicolour

In which I praise Trudeau and Trump

Cartoon by the amazing de Adder.


I have been critical of Justin Trudeau for (a) sucking up to Donald Trump and (b) getting nothing in return.

But credit where credit’s due: yesterday, Trudeau got a temporary exemption from Trump’s insane steel and aluminum tariffs.


The key word there is “temporary.” As I say to my pal Charles in our weekly chat, below, it looks very much like Trump did what he did to wring concessions from Canada and Mexico at the NAFTA tables.  He did it to get the U.S. what it wants at the NAFTA tables – which is something, but it ain’t free trade anymore.  It’s giving America all the marbles.

Anyway, here’s me and Charles.  These days, Justin Trudeau needed a win – any win.  Donald Trump, of all people, gave him one.

I, feminist

Am I a feminist?

Definitions first:

adjective, Sometimes, feministic
advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.
an advocate of such rights.

By that definition, am I a feminist? As I often tell my truly feminist wife: I aspire to be a feminist, but I’m not there yet.  Just as I practice law – just as I see myself as a writer/musician/painter-in-progress, one who has yet to produce anything truly worthwhile – I am incomplete.  I have much to learn, and many miles to go.  Perhaps on the day I die, I will be closer to being a feminist.  For now, I remain highly imperfect.

When I was younger, during my undergrad years, I was an idiot.  I hung out with a bunch of residence guys who were similarly idiotic.  We got involved in student politics and got taught a few painful lessons we richly deserved, principally by and about Carleton’s Women’s Centre.

In the same era, on a personal level, I was cruel and reckless with the hearts of many (many) women.  When I came home to Calgary for law school, my Dad looked at me one night in September 1984 and said, in that way he had: “I disapprove of how you were when you were student council president.  And I am very disappointed by how you have been in your relationships.  You have not been a gentleman.”

If you knew my Dad, you would know why those words cut me like a knife, and why I never forgot them.  They affect me to this day.

So began a period where I commenced (in typical guilt-stricken-Warren Irish Catholic fashion) a quest for absolution.  Lisa would perhaps tell you that (again, typically) I have gone to the opposite extreme – and that, like all converts, I have been desperately trying to make up for lost time.

As such, on many days, I actually despise men.  I do.  I regard men as the principal source of all evil in the world.  I tell Lisa – who listens, patiently, but never agrees – that wars, crimes and most misdeeds are committed (overwhelmingly) by men.  That men are the ones who (overwhelmingly) do evil, to women and children.  That men are (to me, at least) dispensable, biologically and otherwise.

She listens, and then she reminds me that we are the parents to four amazing young men.  She tells me that our obligation, as parents, is to equip them with an unshakeable commitment to equality, and an unwavering desire to render a better world for all the varying shades of gender.  She’s right, of course.

There are those days when I look down South – and I see the piece of human garbage who occupies the highest office – and I rage.  But, eventually, she calms me down.  (She’s not stopping me from my next book being about male self-loathing, however.)

Anyway, anyhow. I should conclude this little confessional by saying that I am not on my odyssey of feminist self-discovery for Lisa, or our two daughters, or my Mom, or some other woman.  I am not doing it for them.  I am on this quest, for me, to be a better man.

So, what is a feminist?  Not me, not yet.  I am trying to get to that distant shore, but I still have a long way to go, and I still have many sins for which I must atone.

Kevin J. Johnston’s hate tour – let’s cancel it

Late yesterday, I was sent this:

The piece of human garbage pictured, on the right, is Kevin J. Johnson. (That’s a swastika on his poster, to the left.)  Lately, he’s been showing up at Doug Ford events. Johnston was charged in July with wilful promotion of hatred, mostly against Muslims.  A condition of his bail was that he stay away from any Muslim mosque or community centre.

That bail condition is why I was suspicious by Johnston’s apparent intention to speak at the Brampton Islamic Centre on March 21.

But better safe than sorry.  So, we got word out to our contacts nationally in the Muslim, Jewish, LGBT and other communities.  We needed those centres/locations contacted, as soon as possible, to shut this bastard down.

So my online friends got to work.  Here’s the latest:

  • Simcoe County District School Board investigated and said no way.  Thank you to them.
  • Sudbury – the good folks there have told us no such event is taking place at a Greater Sudbury library or City facility.  Here.
  • Cornwall Collegiate – likewise.  The advertised hate fest “will not take place,” they told us.
  • Barrie’s Mayor, the terrific Jeff Lehman, also made clear this racist thug wouldn’t be welcome in his town, as seen here.

The Sleeping Giants approach works, folks.  Contact the people in charge at the locations listed on the poster.  Be factual, polite and make the direct request: that (a) they confirm no such event is taking place under his or some other name and (b) that, if it is, they shut it down.  That’s it.

Need your help, folks.  Please get involved.  Thanks.

Column: Justin – enough, already

Dear Justin:

You don’t mind if we call you Justin, do you? In other circumstances, we’d call you “Prime Minister,” but – to be perfectly candid – your Indian family vacation wasn’t terribly Prime Ministerial.

The complications arising from that trip continue to be felt, too. On Wednesday morning of last week – on what is, generally speaking, the most important full day of the selling of any federal budget – the government of India formally responded to the conspiracy theory that you and your senior officials have been attempting to peddle back home: namely, that the presence of Jaspar Atwal in your entourage was the fault of the Indian government. Not yours.

Atwal, as everyone in Canada and India know by now, attempted to murder an Indian cabinet minister in 1986, and was convicted for that, and jailed for that. Anyone with access to Google knew all about it. But you – with your access to the RCMP and CSIS and whatnot – somehow didn’t.

Equally, everyone here and over in India knows, by now, that Atwal was an active member of the benign-sounding Sikh Youth Federation, which has been classified as “a terrorist organization” since at least 2003. By the Canadian government. By the government that, you know, you ostensibly lead.

Anyway, Justin, you brought along Atwal on your National Lampoon’s Indian Family Vacation, and permitted him to be photographed alongside your wife and your cabinet ministers. And then, when the media found out who he really was, and the proverbial hit the fan, here’s who you said was to blame:

India’s government. And, um, one of your own backbench MPs.

Seriously, that’s what you said. You frantically put together one of those clichéd “anonymous senior official” briefings, and blamed India. And you, personally, blamed the backbencher. (Unbeknownst to the rest of us, this backbench MP wielded tremendous power. More, possibly, than even you.)

Now, at this point, Justin, it is worth pointing out two things. One, India is the world’s largest democracy, a co-member of the Commonwealth, and – until last week, perhaps – a close ally of Canada. Two, we’ve been trying to generate more trade with India since the “election” of the Mango Mussolini to the South.

But India is angry with you, Justin. They are livid. Last Wednesday morning, in fact, they took the extraordinary step of issuing a formal statement about your Atwal grassy knoll theory, and said:

“[We] categorically state that the Government of India, including the security agencies, had nothing to do with the presence of Jaspal Atwal at the event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in Mumbai or the invitation issued to him for the Canadian High Commissioner’s reception in New Delhi. Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable.”

Categorically, Justin. In diplomatic terms, that is the adjectival equivalent of “you’re a damn liar.”

And: “baseless and unacceptable.” That, too, is the Government of India saying – in the nicest possible way – that your government is deceitful, dishonest and insincere.

Now, as you are possibly aware, the Griswold-like excursion to the vast subcontinent was not without other shameful moments. There was that clip of you, now a GIF seen by untold millions, prancing about like a deranged extra in a bad Bollywood music video.

There was that photo of you and your family, dressed up in the finest Indian finery, eyes pressed shut, hands raised in in prayer. (With the exception of a possibly-mortified Xavier who, like any good pre-teen, looked very much like he wished he was back home, playing Call of Duty and Snapchatting with his friends about how his parents are dorks.)

Nobody was impressed, Justin. Nobody. Canadians were deeply embarrassed, in a way that they haven’t been since Joe Clark famously lost his luggage and walked into a bayonet. No less than the Washington Post, even, advised you and yours to “stop trying so hard.” And: “The Canadian first family’s posey, soap-opera style namastes…Vanity Fair compared the Trudeaus’ garb to Donald Trump’s taste in interior decorating. India’s Outlook magazine said it ‘was too Indian even for an Indian’.”


In other words, Justin, your Indian imbroglio was not just a diplomatic disaster – it was a Twitter train-wreck, too.

(And you know what we are all starting to suspect? We’re all wondering if, for you, the latter is a far bigger deal than the former. That, you know, you regard governance as a series of Instagram moments, interrupted only by bedtime and meals.)

Time to grow up, Justin. Quite a few of us have had it with this bullshit.


Pretty Much Everyone, Including People Who Voted For You Like Me