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O lucky man

Justin Trudeau is the luckiest guy alive. Consider the evidence.

  • He starts slipping in the polls. Along comes Donald Trump to the G7 and insults him and Canada and makes Trudeau the most popular politician on Earth. Not just Canada. Earth.
  • He and his rookie government make rookie mistakes. Along comes Jagmeet Singh and Andrew Scheer, who proceed to make even more mistakes and underwhelm Canadians from coast to coast.
  • He gets in trouble with India and other stuff that makes him look unserious. Along comes Trump, again, who makes Trudeau seem positively Churchillian on any given day.
  • He doesn’t have big legislative wins, and he hasn’t won a new NAFTA, either. Along comes a broad-based voter consensus that the government that does less, not more, is the government that angers them the least.
  • He’s in trouble on his Left flank (pipelines, electoral reform). Along comes Doug Ford, who (irrationally) freaks out Lefties and will drive them back into Trudeau’s waiting arms.
  • He’s in trouble on his Right flank (deficits, taxes). Along comes John Horgan’s ilk, who (appropriately) anger Righties and who thereby make Trudeau look not so bad after all.
  • He gets into difficulty on any number of fronts (#MeToo, abortion, etc.). And along comes any number of politicians (see Scheer, Singh, above) who adopt positions that make Trudeau look exceedingly moderate and sensible.

It goes on and on. The guy just can’t lose for winning.

Comments are open.

Column: Kathleen put Kathleen first

Kathleen Wynne’s former cabinet colleague doesn’t mince words.

“Kathleen is all about Kathleen,” the former colleague says.  “That’s always her focus.”

One of her former fundraisers and advisors is similarly candid with this writer.  “I appreciate all the nice things you’ve been saying about me, but thought I should let you know I haven’t been involved with [Wynne] for months,” he says.  And he’s very happy to have nothing more to do with her, the former advisor says.

A former Liberal candidate, Jim Curran, is willing to let his name be used.  He is livid about Wynne’s ahistorical decision to concede defeat days before the vote, thereby consigning her candidates and caucus to political oblivion. Says Curran: “What Kathleen did to her candidates was pretty much the shittiest thing I’ve ever seen a leader do to her own, hardworking, selfless, dedicated candidates who have put their lives and families on hold for the party they believe in. It was absolutely selfish and totally disgusting.”

There are lots more stories like that, but suffice to say this: Kathleen Wynne lost.

She lost because her $70,000-a-month campaign Wizard ran the worst campaign in modern Canadian political history.  She lost because her war room was a joke – “the surrender room,” as someone said. She lost because she had no message to offer Ontario’s voters.  She lost because what messages she had – inter alia, “Sorry Not Sorry” – were juvenile and idiotic.  She lost because she thought she won in 2014 – when, in fact, Tim Hudak snatched defeat from the clichéd jaws of victory.

She lost because she gave up the political centre. She lost because she and her mercenary inner circle saw the Ontario Liberal Party as a vehicle for their personal ambitions – and now they have left it with massive debt, adrift, a shell.

But, mainly, Kathleen Wynne lost because of Kathleen Wynne.  She lost because something – Hubris? Self-delusion? Ego? – persuaded her to stick around longer than she should.  Something persuaded her that it was all about her.

Because, as her former senior cabinet colleague notes, to Kathleen, it is always all about Kathleen.

Now, there can be little debate that Kathleen Wynne was smart, she was driven.  No debate.  One does not become a Premier, generally, by being an idiot.  But, her intelligence notwithstanding, Wynne refused to see the writing on the wall.

It was there for all to see.  For two years leading up to the 2018 Ontario general election, Kathleen was the most unpopular Premier in Canada.  Angus Reid and other pollsters dryly reported on it at regular intervals: Wynne was deeply despised by Ontarians.  They wanted change.  They wanted her gone.

She didn’t seem to care.  Solipsism, or something, told her that she could communicate her way out of her dilemma.  She was, of course, the Premier who hustled to every Loblaws in Ontario to promote limited beer sales like it was the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize.  She could communicate anything, she told herself.

The polls told a different story.  A while ago, this writer and others commissioned a poll by a reputable national agency.  It showed that the Ontario Liberal brand was popular.  It showed that mostly McGuinty-era policies were popular.  It showed that, with former cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello at the helm, the party could win another majority.

But, under Wynne, the poll showed that the Ontario Liberal Party was heading straight for the rocks.

Last Thursday night, the Ontario Liberal Party – formerly one of the most successful political parties in the Western world – hit the rocks.  It was reduced to barely a half-dozen seats and no party status.

To the end, Kathleen Wynne made it all about her. “I have not lost the passion for continuing this work,” she said.

But  Ontario long ago lost any passion it had for her.

OLP: the aftermath, and the future

The Wizard, and Wynne, have destroyed the Ontario Liberal Party.

A rump in the Legislature.  A massive party debt.  A terrible, terrible campaign – possibly the worst in Ontario political history.

So where do Ontario Liberals go from here?

I gave many years of my life to the Ontario Liberals.  They were my political home – until Kathleen Wynne arrived, that is.  When she arrived, all of the McGuinty/Chrétien Liberals were driven out.  We were maligned and shunned.  Offers of help were ignored.  Some days, Kathleen refused to even utter Dalton McGuinty’s name.

Now Kathleen and her Wizard – who was reportedly getting $70,000 a month to preside over the worst campaign some of us have ever seen – are gone, or going.  I like Kathleen, as a person, and wish her the best in her future endeavours.  But good riddance to Kathleen the politician, and her Wizard and her Board.

So where do we Ontario Liberals go from here?

Not so long ago, when it became apparent to some of us that a Wynne-led Ontario Liberal Party was headed for disaster, Daisy Group commissioned a poll by a reputable national agency.  We wanted to know what would happen if the OLP was led by the woman who should have won in 2013 – the woman who was knifed in the back after a shady backroom deal involving Messrs. Murray, Hoskins and Sousa.

Below are the key findings, never before seen publicly.  They show three things:

  1. The Ontario Liberals would have won last night, big, with Sandra Pupatello.
  2. The Ontario Liberals would have picked up support in precisely those places where the PCs and the NDP triumphed last night.
  3. The Ontario Liberal brand was strong – but only with Pupatello as leader.

So, you may ask yourself: can Ontario Liberals come back from last night’s disaster?

Yes. But only if Sandra Pupatello is leader.

And, if she wants the job.

Get your Ontario Election coverage right here!

Or, go watch Lisa on CITY-TV. That’s probably a better use of your time.

Tweeted updates right here!

Two tales of #MeToo

The first tale goes back six months.

In January, in the same week that CTV News unleashed its extraordinary story about former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown, a regular reader – one who had asked me to speak at a #MeToo rally in Edmonton – tweeted at me. This is what she tweeted:

I retweeted what she said. Within hours, hundreds of others retweeted or liked it, as well. It went viral.

The next day, as revelations about Patrick Brown‎ were still landing – and revelations about the just-dumped Nova Scotia PC leader, as well – Kent Hehr abruptly cancelled a funding announcement in Toronto. Shortly afterwards, Hehr was no longer in cabinet.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kept him in caucus, however.  Which was odd, given that he had kicked out other Liberal MPs for similar offences.  An ostensibly arms-length investigation commenced into the various allegations against Hehr.

This week, that investigation – whose report the Prime Minister is keeping secret – concluded.  Kent Hehr would not be returning to cabinet.  Last night, however, Hehr started doing the media circuit, insisting that his actions were “clearly not” misconduct.  But his pitiful rationalizations didn’t matter: he was out of cabinet, for good.  My friend Kristin Raworth – because she has become a friend, and I am frankly in awe of her courage and strength – had been vindicated.

So that’s one #MeToo tale.  Here’s the other one.

The second one landed last night.  I was rushing to band practice and saw something had appeared in my inbox.  It was a newspaper clipping, from the Creston Valley Advance in B.C.  An editorial, dated August 14, 2000.

Here is the most important part:

Justin Trudeau “handled” a female reporter, and had apologized.  He wouldn’t have done it “if I had known you were reporting for a national paper.”  The newspaper editorialized about how he was wrong to have done what he did.

The former reporter’s name is known.  She still lives out West and is married now.  As far as I know, she doesn’t want to talk about what happened.

And that’s as it should be.  Kristin Raworth bravely chose to come forward in the Kent Hehr case, while the other female complainant chose to remain anonymous.  It’s their choice.  Same with the young reporter who Justin Trudeau “handled.”  They get to decide when and if to tell their story, not someone else.

But the two tales are related, aren’t they?  Certainly, one broke six months ago, and is about sexual harassment from a decade before that.  The other broke last night, and is about sexual harassment from 18 years earlier.  One case in Alberta, one in B.C.

But. But the two tales, appearing on the same day in June 2018, are connected.

If what Kent Hehr did resulted in him being considered unfit for cabinet, is Justin Trudeau similarly unfit?

Now, Justin Trudeau is busy at the G7, preoccupied with the utter failure of his Trump charm offensive – and, perhaps, the utter collapse of his political base in Ontario.  But when he gets back to Ottawa, you can reasonably expect he will be asked:

Why aren’t you facing the same fate Kent Hehr did? 


Fifty years today, he died. Half a Century.

In my family, he was our uncrowned King. We were living in Dallas when they killed him, and I can still remember my Mom and Dad crying.

The bust on the right was given to me by Lisa. The photo on the left is of Bobby and his son Bobby Kennedy Jr., with whom I worked on an anti-tobacco file. On it, Bobby Jr. wrote: “Warren – see you on the barricades. Bobby Kennedy.”

Fifty years. So much would have been different – and so much better.

Linkless, contextless stuff, plus Warren’s History of the Internet

Nearly twenty years ago, when I started this here web site, I would have folks coming up to me on the street or at events or whatever and saying: “I follow you on your blog.”

“It’s not a blog, for Chrissakes,” I’d say.

“Don’t blog about me,” they’d say.

“You’re not interesting enough,” I’d say.

Later, when Facebook came along and commenced giddily stealing peoples’ personal information to share with the Russians, people would come up to me and say: “I follow you on Facebook.”

I’d say: “You shouldn’t do that. I lie a lot.”

Or they’d say: “Will you friend me?”

And I’d say: “I don’t need any new friends.”

Anyway. In the shiny new Internet era, I now get people coming up to me and saying: “I follow you on Twitter. You’re funny.”

Me: “I’m not funny, I’m pissed off. Get off my lawn.”

Or they say: “Hey, can you retweet my tweet that my church, the Half Way Baptist Cavalry Redemption Mission, is having a vegan bake sale?”

And I say: “Sure, whatever. Get away from me while I’m listening to the new Pennywise album.”

Anyway. As in any election period, things get a bit batty. So I thought I’d give you HTML renderings of my last few notable tweets. It’s been interesting. It also strongly suggests I need professional help.

  • Saw a guy at Starbucks wearing a skirt. He was wearing it well. We’re not in Bancroft anymore, Dorothy.
  • Goofy haircuts notwithstanding, A Flock of Seagulls had some fucking amazing tunes.
  • What was most striking about today’s Ontario political panel on CBC’s Metro Morning is that there was no Ontario Liberal representative – just the PCs and NDP. Another legacy of the 2018 Wynne/Wizard Campaign: the OLP is already being erased from history.
  • Voters don’t believe late-campaign scandal stuff. Jack Layton affidavit, etc. Doesn’t work.
  • I’d like to be a Soros puppet if it allows me to retire early.
  • Media polls are worth what one pays for them.
  • Talking about ending the York U. strike now is the most the cynical thing Wynne et al. have done since the last cynical thing they did.
  • Colon schmolon.
  • I love how everyone on the HGTV shows Lisa Kinsella watches all have stickers on the Apple logo of their Apple laptops so we are fooled into thinking they aren’t Apple laptops even though they totally are.
  • I plan to retire to a beach in Jamaica where I will play reggae and live in a shack and eat lots of jerk chicken.
  • The universal truth contained in the ‘Mats’ ‘If Only You Were Lonely’: “Somewhere, there’s somebody throwing up.” That’s songwriting, man.
  • If Kathleen Wynne really wanted to help Ontario Liberal candidates, she would have resigned the leadership a year ago – she knows she was as unpopular then as she is now. Yesterday’s stunt wasn’t selfless, it was reckless. Worst campaign ever.

Kathleen Wynne doesn’t think she should have resigned

On Saturday, five days before Election Day, the Ontario Liberal leader conceded the election. Usually, politicians wait until, you know, the actual vote has taken place.  But Kathleen Wynne insisted she was doing so because she wanted to help her party’s candidates. “I would never want to do anything that would undermine any of my candidates, any of those races. I have thought long and hard about this, believe me,” she said.

Her view: I’m helping out my caucus and candidates by throwing in the towel.  The view of many Ontario Liberals: bullshit.

One lifelong Grit, Jim Curran, wrote this on Facebook. He has given me approval to quote it:

I am voting Liberal anyway. What Kathleen did to her candidates yesterday was pretty much the shittiest thing I’ve ever seen a leader do to her own, hardworking, selfless, dedicated candidates who have put their lives and families on hold for the party they believe in. It was absolutely selfish and totally disgusting IMHO. I will continue to support my local Liberal candidate as the alternative is not acceptable to me. I’m for a party dedicated to a living wage for its citizens, free pharma for the young, dedication to making sure our kids get to go to college and dedication to building and expanding hospitals for our growing and aging population. In [my riding] I will be voting for [his candidate], LIBERAL.

I feel the same way.  I am disgusted by what Wynne and her $70,000-a-month “strategist” Wizard did.  But I am going to enthusiastically vote for my friend Arthur Potts, the Ontario Liberal candidate in our riding, because he richly deserves re-election.

This morning, Kathleen Wynne was yet again on CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning, because she likes preaching to the choir.  Matt Galloway, who is a tough interviewer, demanded to know why Wynne didn’t quit the leadership a year ago.  Lots of us have been wondering that, although I was pretty much the only one saying so publicly.

Wynne dodged and weaved, but then she finally said she had consulted her “advisors and colleagues,” a year ago, but concluded that she “really believed” she could get re-elected.

Let’s examine that, shall we?

Exactly one year ago, here’s what the Angus Reid Group were saying about Wynne’s ability to get re-elected.

Not too good, eh?  Least-popular Premier in Canada.

But maybe she meant to say the year before that – in 2016.  So, here she is in May of that year.

A bit better, but not by much. So, what gives? Kathleen Wynne has been very unpopular for a very long time. What persuaded her to “really believe” she could win over the past couple years?

There are two possibilities, here. One, she is delusional, and totally removed from political reality. Having known her for a long time, however, I can tell you this is impossible. She is very, very smart.

The other possibility is one I have been hearing whispers about: Kathleen Wynne was being presented with numbers that were completely and totally wrong. Those bogus numbers persuaded her – and, beyond her, her cabinet and caucus, who never once rose up in revolt – that victory was attainable.

I think you all know where I am going with this.

Kathleen Wynne would have resigned a year ago if she had been presented with reliable, verifiable data. She would have have quit if she knew the truth. But someone didn’t give her the truth.

I wonder who that person is?

This is what $70,000 a month gets you

This is pathetic. It’s farcical.

And, as I will show everyone next week, it was completely needless.

If she had left a year ago – and if she had taken her pitiful Wizard and the Board with her – we could have won.

This is on them.

Kathleen Wynne on Saturday acknowledged that she will no longer be premier after the June 7 election and encouraged voters to elect Liberal candidates to prevent the NDP or PCs from securing a majority.

“Even though I won’t be leading this province as premier, I care deeply about how it will be led,” the Liberal leader said during a campaign stop in Toronto.

Public support for Wynne’s Liberals has plummeted since the election started on May 9, and Wynne said that a “confluence of things” led her to make her statement on Saturday.