Categories for Feature

Recipe For Hate nominated for prestigious award!

…and I am honoured.  And honoured to be among so many accomplished authors, too.

The White Pine Award “is an annual literature award sponsored by the Ontario Library Association (OLA) that has awarded Canadian young adult books since 2002. Its goals are to

  • promote reading for enjoyment among high school students
  • to make students aware of quality Canadian young adult books
  • to provide opportunities for students to discuss the nominated titles in an authentic manner
  • Every year, award winners are chosen through the votes of students across Ontario.”

You can get Recipe For Hate here – and read some of the reviews of it below.

  • 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.” 


Column: Stephen Harper thinks he can manage the likes of Donald Trump. He can’t.

Can Donald Trump be managed? Can so-called “populists” be persuaded to moderate their so-called populism?

Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to politics, in the past two years, knows the answer. The answer is no.

But the optimists – mainly traditional conservatives, like former Prime Minister Stephen Harper – stubbornly persist in a decidedly Pollyanna-ish outlook. Against all available evidence, they continue to believe that the derangement that is Trump-style populism can be wrestled to the ground.

Harper is a traditional conservative, standing on a shrinking patch of political real estate, and he’s responding to the crisis like traditional conservatives too often do: by suggesting that the likes of Trump can somehow be accommodated. But if the nasty, brutish and short-sighted Trump era has shown us anything, it has shown us how profoundly wrong that view is.

Uncharacteristically, the new Harper is a sunny, cheerful Harper, all pigtails and puppy dogs. In his new book, Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption, Harper acknowledges that Trump’s rise has been both “disruptive” and “dysfunctional.” But, bizarrely, Harper then goes on to call Trump’s dysfunctionality “benign and constructive,” which is nuttier than Trump is.

Here’s a snippet from Harper’s book that has been excerpted in the Globe and Mail:

“From Brexit to Donald Trump and the “populist” parties of Europe, [the populists’] success has hit establishment institutions with successive surprises that are provoking reactions leading from confusion to alarm and to outrage… If [traditional] policy does not seem to be working out for the public, in a democracy, you are supposed to fix the policy, not denounce the public.

But, if you listen to some leaders and much of the media, you would not know it. Their response is wrong, frustrating and dangerous. Wrong, because most of today’s political upheaval has readily identifiable causes. Frustrating, because it stands in the way of credible, pragmatic solutions that do exist. Dangerous, because the current populist upheaval is actually benign and constructive compared with what will follow if it is not addressed.”

Donald Trump is “benign and constructive?” Seriously? The only rational explanation, here, is that the straight-laced former Conservative Prime Minister indulged in the Liberal Party’s cannabis policy that he once denounced. Proffer policy, says Harper, and we will mollify and manage Trump’s lunatics legions.

That, to put it charitably, is highly naïve. You don’t offer sugar cubes to a rampaging bull, folks: you kill it.

Harper’s mistake, however, is not his alone.

The punditocracy and the commentariat made (and still make) the same critical error. They said Trump and Brexit couldn’t win, but they won. They said Trump and Brexit couldn’t do it, but they did it. Donald Trump – the bilious, buffoonish billionaire – is the President of the United States. It really happened, Mr. Harper. You’re not dreaming. And no amount of thoughtful “policy” will now offset that.

Donald Trump, having become famous on TV, knew one thing above all else: the political brain is all emotion. Logic and policy, if it plays any role at all in politics in this Century, play only a supporting one. Trump has therefore always known that if he talks like a regular guy, regular guys like will hear him, and they’ll support him, too.

Similarly, Trump and the Brexiteers know that most people – most normal people, anyway – pay little or no attention to politics. They’re Joe and Jane Frontporch, and they’re busy. They don’t have time for voluminous political party platforms, or sitting through political speeches, or reading campaign press releases. In the digital era, to wit, they’re overwhelmed by too much information, so they just tune it all out. That’s why the guy who attracts the most attention is Donald Trump (or those like him).

Guys (because they are mainly guys) like Trump and the Brexiteers are so outrageous, so brash, so loud, they break through the noise, and capture Joe and Jane’s attention, and dominate every media cycle. Harper’s book notwithstanding, that is why plain-talking Trump captured the White House, and why Hillary Clinton didn’t.

Here’s the reality: Donald Trump didn’t happen despite the traditions of the Republican Party – he happened because of the traditions of the Republican Party. Specifically, its recent traditions – and its willingness to hand over the keys to the car to the Tea Party types a decade or so ago, who promptly piloted the proverbial car into the proverbial ditch. The Harper, Romney and Bush types speak for the people who formerly ran their respective parties – while Trump speaks for the people who lack money and corner offices, but who presently run the show.

The progressive side of the continuum have always dismissed guys like Trump as red-necked, mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers. But now traditional conservatives like Stephen Harper are doing it, too.

That’s a big mistake that helps Trump, the Brexiteers and the conservative populists like them: it plays into their strategy, because it suggests the critics of Trump/Brexit/populism are snobby, latte-sipping elitists who profess kinship with ordinary folks – but who wouldn’t want to actually live next door to any ordinary folks.

Want to reassert control, traditional conservatives?

Destroy the populists. Wipe them out. A polite chit-chat, a la Stephen Harper, will only get you more of the very exile from which you are presently attempting to escape.


John Tory sets the Agenda

For those still making up their minds about who to vote for in the biggest election in Canada, watch this. My guy John Tory goes head-to-head with a real pro, Steve Paikin.

Oh, me and Nick get talked about at the end. I’ll bet 99.9 per cent of voters couldn’t tell you who we are, even if they were offered 500 million bucks (which is what Ms. Keesmaat’s reckless promises will cost you annually, BTW. A seventeen per cent increase in your property taxes.).



The Patrick Clown Show, plus bonus caucus resignation phone call tape!


ABOVE: Brown says he didn’t resign – but here’s the tape proving that he did!

Good people of Brampton, take note.  Let’s recap the events that led to Mr. Brown being dumped at your doorstep.

 

Follow all that?  I don’t either.

Bottom line: this guy is a political train wreck. He shouldn’t be dog-catcher, let alone mayor of something.

 

 


Column: hypocrisy in the form of a cross

Hypocrisy, nailed to a cross.

It is about three feet high, and it is found at the very centre of a massive, baroque throne. It rather resembles something one would find at Versailles, in fact. At a minimum, it is more ornate and more conspicuous than something one would see above the tabernacle, in a church.

And that is what Maurice Duplessis intended, one presumes, when he had it affixed to the blue walls of the National Assembly more than 80 years ago: to resemble a church. Back then, Duplessis – an autocrat and a bigot who ordered Jehovah’s Witnesses arrested for practicing their religion, and who led anti-Semitic campaigns to keep out Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Europe – called his province “the only Catholic government in North America.”

At the time of its installation in 1936, then, the crucifix was regarded as a literal embodiment of the solemn bond that then existed between the Quebec state and the Quebec church, when more than 90 per cent of the province’s population were Roman Catholic. But the crucifix even survived the Quiet Revolution, after which Quebec finally became a secular state.

Over the years, there have been reports written about it, and debates about it. In 2008, academics Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor recommended removing the cross. They said that “it seems preferable for the very place where elected representatives deliberate and legislate not to be identified with a specific religion. The National Assembly is the assembly of all Quebeckers.” All of the politicians in the National Assembly disagreed. They voted unanimously to keep it, in its hallowed spot above the Speaker’s throne.

Aware, perhaps, that they are intensely hypocritical for maintaining the crucifix, some Quebec legislators have argued that the Christian symbol has historical value. But this, too, is a lie. The original crucifix is long gone. The one that is up there, now, is a copy, surreptitiously nailed to the wall in 1982.

During one of the more-recent debates, last Fall – when controversy was raging about “Liberal” government’s bill that would force women to remove veils when getting on a city bus, or going to see their doctor – Francois Legault, the leader of the CAQ, was asked about the decidedly-unsecular symbol hanging above his head in his workplace. Legault shrugged. He said the crucifix should stay. “We have a Christian heritage in Quebec and we cannot decide tomorrow that we can change our past,” said the leader whose very party name is about Quebec’s future. “I don’t see any problem keeping it.”

“A Christian heritage.”

Therein lies the problem, of course. Legault is no longer a mere member of the opposition in the provincial legislature. In a few days’ time, he will be Premier of Quebec, presiding over a massive majority in the National Assembly.

At his very first press conference after the election, then, Legault dispensed with any notion that he would be the Premier of all Quebecois. To the Muslims (with their headscarves), and the Jews (with their kippahs), and the Mennonites and the Amish (with their traditional styles of dress), and the Hindus (with their tilaka markings on their faces), Legault’s message was plain: I don’t represent you. I don’t care about you. You are second-class citizens – or worse.

Here’s what he said, at that first press encounter: “The vast majority of Quebeckers would like to have a framework where people in authority positions must not wear religious signs.” And then, knowing what he wants is wholly contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and every human rights code extant, he went even further: “If we have to use the notwithstanding clause to apply what we want, the majority of Quebeckers will agree.”

From the man who said he would march newcomers to the border who lack the ability to properly conjugate verbs, and expel them – to…where? Cornwall? Vermont? Newfoundland and Labrador? – we shouldn’t be surprised, one supposes. Francois Legault has already revealed himself to be another petty, pitiful aspirant to Maurice Duplessis’ throne. He’s a hypocrite.

Andrew Scheer, however, is seemingly fine with all of that. The Conservative leader was on the phone to Legault mere moments after the polls closed, heaping praise on the Premier-elect, promising future cooperation and all that. Justin Trudeau – looking and sounding like a Prime Minister should – was much more circumspect.

As he has done before, the Prime Minister said “the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is there to protect our rights and freedoms, obviously,” adding that the state should not “tell a woman what she can or cannot wear.”

He went on: “It’s not something that should be done lightly because to remove or avoid defending the fundamental rights of Canadians, I think it’s something [about] which you have to pay careful attention.”

And we are paying attention, now. Before he is even installed, Francois Legault is making national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Jesus, from his lonely, lofty spot above the National Assembly, might remind Monsieur Legault about what he said in Matthew 23:3. You know:

“Do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”


Brampton mayoral candidate Patrick Brown in pictures

The collage is worth a thousand words, as they say.

There’s more of this sort of thing out there, I’m told.

After revelations like that blockbuster Globe and Mail story – which suggested he had schemed to get a big payment from a man who would get a coveted PC nomination shortly thereafter – I don’t know why he persists in running for anything. It makes no sense.

Brampton, I would expect, is about to remind him why.


A new Patrick Brown scandal? The $10,000 payoff

Huge story from Canadaland:

Diana Davison is an internet personality who has described herself as an anti-feminist, a journalist, and a men’s “civil rights activist.” She is a popular YouTuber, currently with over 83,000 subscribers, who previously vlogged under the handle “Feminism LOL.” Each of those old videos began with her making fun of a stat about the frequency of rape in the United States — “Hey everyone, it’s been over two minutes, and I haven’t been raped yet.” Two years ago, she rebranded her channel eponymously and created a non-profit, The Lighthouse Project, raising funds from her supporters through Patreon and PayPal. Many of her videos are “investigations” into women who have accused men of sexual misconduct. Between the end of January and April, she produced a series of seven videos about the allegations against former Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO) leader Patrick Brown. In those videos, the Vancouver-based Davison called the allegations a “hit job,” a “political coup,” and the mainstream media “fucking” with the public.

CANADALAND has learned that in March, Davison received a $10,000 cheque, of which she would keep just under half, from lawyer Joseph Villeneuve, a longtime friend of Brown and member of his inner circle. Both Davison and Villeneuve say the payment was supposed to be in exchange for reading over and analyzing voluminous documents — that never materialized — related to an alleged political coup against Brown. Davison was subcontracted by a political operative named David Wallace, who arranged for her to pick up the $10,000 cheque from Villeneuve that would then be split between the two of them.


Premier Hypocrite

From next week’s Hill Times:

During one of the more-recent debates, last Fall – when controversy was raging about “Liberal” government’s bill that would force women to remove veils when getting on a city bus, or going to see their doctor – Francois Legault, the leader of the CAQ, was asked about the decidedly-unsecular symbol hanging above his head in his workplace.  Legault shrugged.  He said the crucifix should stay. “We have a Christian heritage in Quebec and we cannot decide tomorrow that we can change our past,” said the leader whose very party name is about Quebec’s future.  “I don’t seen any problem keeping it.”

“A Christian heritage.”

Therein lies a problem, of course.  Legault is no longer a mere member of the opposition in the provincial legislature.  In a few days’ time, he will be Premier of Quebec, presiding over a massive majority in the National Assembly.

At his very first press conference after the election, then, Legault dispensed with any notion that he would be the Premier of all Quebecois.  To the Muslims (with their headscarves), and the Jews (with their kippahs), and the Mennonites and the Amish (with their traditional styles of dress), and the Hindus (with their tilaka markings on their faces), Legault’s message was plain: I don’t represent you.  I don’t care about you.  You are second-class citizens – or worse.

Here’s what he said, at that first press encounter: “The vast majority of Quebeckers would like to have a framework where people in authority positions must not wear religious signs.”  And then, knowing what he wants is wholly contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and every human rights code extant, he went even further: “If we have to use the notwithstanding clause to apply what we want, the majority of Quebeckers will agree.”

From the man who said he would march newcomers to the border who lack the ability to properly conjugate verbs, and expel them – to…where? Cornwall? Vermont? Newfoundland and Labrador? – we shouldn’t be surprised, one supposes.  Francois Legault has already revealed himself to be another petty, pitiful aspirant to Maurice Duplessis’ throne. 

He’s a hypocrite.