Categories for Feature

Bye bye, NAFTA: “Trudeau mocks Trump” (updated)

That’s the main story over on Fox News, which is basically a Rorschach Pattern of Donald Trump’s brain.

Trudeau’s remarks – and that of Macron and Johnson – are completely defensible, but that doesn’t matter.  And, why the Brits (a) had a pool camera pointed at the leaders (b) no one told the leaders (c) no staffers bothered to ask…well, those things will be debated for many days to come, I suspect.

What won’t be debated is that Trump now has an excuse to treat Canada like a chew toy for the foreseeable future.  Again.  Adios, NAFTA et al.

That impeachment vote can’t come soon enough!

UPDATE: Aaaaaand we’re off to the races!


Tory war: keeping score

So, back in the good old days, when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth and Jesus was a little fella, you were given a couple chances to become Prime Minister or Premier. That’s how it was done.

Nowadays, with a news cycle of 10 seconds, and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all that crap helping us to become crazier than usual, people have become more impatient. Political people especially. These days, you don’t get two shots at the big chair anymore. These days, you get one. That’s it.

Sometimes, partisan political people will want to get rid of you even when you’ve won! Seriously. For example, not long after Jean Chretien won a bigger majority in 2000 than he did in 1997 – his third majority in a row! – Paul Martin’s gang decided that they knew better than several million Canadians.

So, they got together at an airport hotel and resolved to remove Jean Chretien from power.

Chretien got back at them, though. He resigned, alright. But he resigned way after he’d been planning to. Take that, Team Juggernaut.

Anyway. Andrew Scheer is no Jean Chretien, but he is facing a similar problem. Even though he got more of the popular vote, even though he has representation in every part of Canada – unlike all the other party leaders – and even though he got the best result an opposition party has gotten, ever…well, lots of Harper and Bernier people are in the media saying they want him out. You can’t pick up a paper without one of them complaining about Andrew Scheer, who apparently is the anti-Christ now.

One of them, this week, even cited Scheer’s weight as a reason why he lost. I’m not making this up. This Ottawa area candidate – who lost, surprise surprise, and was last seen making videos with the She-wolf of the Clueless, Faith Goldy – said that Scheer needs to lose some weight if he wants to win.

Anyway. That’s how bad it is in the Conservative Party, now. They’ve lost their minds, basically. And they’ve returned to their proud tradition of resembling a circular firing squad.

Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, is maintaining what Brian Mulroney used to call “a courageous silence.” That is, he remembers what Napoleon (or one of those guys) said: when your opponent is destroying himself, don’t interrupt him.

There’s some things that Andrew Scheer and his at loyalists can do, but aren’t doing. They worked for us during Martin‘s attempted coup against a popular sitting Prime Minister, the aforementioned Chretien. I offer them as talking points, free of charge.

One: the judgement of several million Canadians should matter a lot more than that of a few backroom folks and bitter defeated candidates. That’s what I used to say back in the early 2000‘s – that more than 5 million people had voted for Jean Chretien, and they get the final word, in our system of government.

Number two: civil wars only benefit your opponent. In this case, Justin Trudeau.

Get out the smelling salts: I like the minority Justin Trudeau way more than the majority Justin Trudeau. He’s been showing a lot of maturity and restraint post-election. His Conservative opponents, meanwhile, are showing neither restraint nor maturity.

Minority Trudeau is a very very different guy than he used to be – or at least he’s portraying a different guy very well. Right now, the conservatives – whether they are for Scheer or against Scheer – are persuading lots and lots of people Trudeau and his Liberals are the better option. To wit: the Tories have magically transformed the Grit leader into a Prime Minister presiding over what is effectively a majority government. That’s hard to do, but they’ve done it.

Three: there are rules. For example, every party has a constitution. Every party provides for leadership reviews. In this case, Scheer is facing one in Toronto in just over four months. The chances of him resigning before that review takes place seem to be somewhere between slim and none.

So why don’t his critics work on recruiting an alternative, and work on winning that review in April? They’re not doing that. They’re just giving lots of interviews, to the media, who are lapping it up.  The media always prefer conservative car crashes to conservative happy endings.

Four, back when Martin‘s minions were attempting to drive Jean Chretien out, there was a certain brutal logic to it all. I hate to admit it, but there was.

That is, they were doing it for a reason we all understood: to install Paul Martin in power.

The Martinis at least had an alternative. In the conservative’s case, in the year 2019, it’s not clear who is the alternative to Andrew Scheer. Is it Erin O’Toole? Is it Peter MacKay? Is Rona Ambrose? Who is it?

Scheer’s loyalists are entitled to ask that question: namely, if our guy isn’t good enough, who do you have who would do better? No one‘s had the guts to step forward yet. Perhaps there that’s because they know you don’t ever want to be the one who kills the leader. You want to be the one who replaces the guy who killed the leader.

Five, follow the money. That’ll tell you who is behind this, and that will explain a lot of their motivation. The very people attacking Scheer in the media are the same people who would be kissing his ass if 15 Liberal seats are gone the other way.

That’s it. Fifteen seats. If the Tories had stolen away 15 seats from the Liberals, they would’ve won both the popular vote and the seat count. And Andrew Scheer would be perhaps having tea with the Governor General, talking about the government he intended to form. Fifteen seats.

Politics is crazy.

Anyway, what do I know. I merely worked for Jean Chretien, who won three majorities in a row, and Dalton McGuinty, who won three big election victories in a row. And I last year got to volunteer for that John Tory guy, who won with 70 per cent of the vote in Canada’s largest city. Oh, and I oversaw a mean, nasty campaign against the knuckle-dragging Maxime Bernier (who lost his seat), and his racist People’s Party (which didn’t win a single seat). What do I know.

So, keep doing what you’re doing, Tories.

Justin Trudeau thanks you.


Daisy Group bomb threat: do you recognize the guy threatening to kill us and the police?

This afternoon at Daisy Group, right after this, one of my staff received a bomb threat.

We evacuated everyone at Daisy, and let our neighbours know, as well.  We waited on the sidewalk on Bloor West. The police came and, as I was going through the building with them, looking for anything that shouldn’t be there, another one of my staff got called by the would-be bomber on his personal cell phone.

The police sergeant encouraged me to talk with this guy, while we taped it.  On the recording, you’ll hear him claim to be a member of the neo-Nazi Soldiers of Odin – but he’s a liar.  The SOO would never claim responsibility for a bomb threat, or make a threat to kill police when he knew they were listening in.  And he didn’t even know the name of the founder of the SOO – and every member knows that.

As you can hear on the tape, however, he knew some details about us, and he sounds determined to cause damage.  It was his demands that were most revealing – that I go on TV and admit that we were paid “foreign actors” (that typically means Jews) – to disrupt Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party campaign.

CBC won’t cover this, of course, because they’re far more interested in depicting the racist PPC as victims, or writing about our personal lives to hurt us, after pretending to be sympathetic. But it’s obvious to us, at least, that a PPC supporter made the threats against us and the police.

And, as a result, this coward showed why – better than we ever could – Daisy Group was right to work to defeat Bernier’s extremist People’s Party in the election.  Which some people have told us we did.

If this guy’s voice sounds familiar to you – or the odd phrasings he uses (“kleptocracy,” “foreign actors,” “Nuremberg Laws,” etc.) – you can contact me via warren AT daisygroup DOT ca, and I will pass it along to the police officers who are handling this case.  Thanks.

The recording is here:


Statement by me and Daisy Group

I have been contacted by a CBC reporter who has told me that they have recordings secretly made at my firm in the Spring.  The recordings are about anti-racism work we did.  We’re really proud of that work.

Here’s a summary of what I said to this reporter.

We do not discuss client matters publicly.  It is up to the client to make public the relationship.

But I can say we have proactively reached out to Elections Canada and disclosed everything we did up until June 29, 2019, when our work ended – as the law requires.

I have proudly been exposing and opposing racism for more than 30 years.  Daisy Group has also exposed and opposed racists, anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, Islamophobes and misogynists for many years.  Many people and organizations seek us out to assist them in opposing hate.

I have proudly been exposing and opposing racism for more than 30 years.  As a political assistant, in 1990, I documented known white supremacists joining Preston Manning’s Reform Party.  In 1993, I documented Kim Campbell’s inadequate response to the presence of actual neo-Nazis in the Canadian Airborne Regiment.  In 2000, as a political advisor, I documented the presence of known racists in Stockwell Day’s Canadian Alliance. 

After lots of research, I concluded none of those leaders were in any way racist.  However, their parties had a problem in those days, which was well-known. 

But the extremism found in the People’s Party of Canada is far worse, and far more pervasive, than anything I experienced before. 

We were, and are, very proud to shine a light on the many extremists found in the People’s Party of Canada. 


Why I’m not so critical about Justin Trudeau lately

As regular customers know, I’m a Democrat.  Large “D.”

I work on Democratic Party campaigns as a volunteer.  In 2016, I worked for Hillary in three states, including her Brooklyn headquarters.  I’ve volunteered for Democrats for as long as I can remember.

But I’m also a democrat, small “D.” I believe in democracy.

Saying that shouldn’t be a big deal, but it sort of is.  I come from the punk culture, you see.  The punk movement – defined as it is by anger, and aggression, and DIY, and creativity, and anti-racism – is where I started, and it’s the place where I feel like I can breathe.  It defines me.

Punks despise politics, however.  They think politicians are the scum of the Earth.  And they think democracy is a sham.

Take Gerry Useless, for example.  I met him in 1979 or so, when I brought his band, the Subhumans, to Calgary for the first time.

The Subhumans were intensely political, in a way that other punk bands (particularly North American ones) were afraid to be in the 1970s. In the United States or Canada, it was difficult to advocate for the sort of anarchy and class warfare the Sex Pistols and the Clash sang about. The economic chaos that hit Britain – characterized by massive unemployment, collapsing public services and actual race riots – was not really happening to the same degree in North America.

But the Subhumans and a few others were still unsatisfied with the way things were, and – to their credit – they regularly challenged their audience to press for radical change. For instance, in September 1979, Useless helped initiate Rock Against Radiation, an outdoor concert in Vancouver’s Vanier Park that featured DOA, the Subhumans, the Pointed Sticks and the K-Tels protesting both nuclear weapons and nuclear power. More than three thousand people showed up: the event was a fantastic example of the positive, proselytizing power of punk. Everyone was impressed, but not Gerry Useless.

Gerry Useless wanted more. His patience for societal change – change that was the product of a democratic process – was wearing thin. He wanted to do more than just sing about revolution.  He didn’t believe democracy worked anymore – or even if it ever did.

So he became a terrorist, basically. Useless and some other disaffected Vancouver punk rockers started doing things, and not just talking about things.  They broke into someone’s home and stole a cache of guns. They did lots of robberies, office-trashings and vandalism. When they were in need, they shoplifted; they became good at stealing cars.

Earlier in 1982, Useless and Co. had stolen a half-ton of Toval dynamite from a construction site; later, they located nearly 2,000 pounds of explosives at another remote site owned by the provincial highways department. They targeted the Cheekeye-Dunsmuir hydroelectrical transmission line, near Squamish, in May 1982. Early in the morning of May 31, they blew up four shunt reactors with 400 pounds of the stolen dynamite. The explosion was powerful enough to wake up residents ten kilometers away.

In the Summer and early Fall of 1982, Gerry Useless and his friends selected their next big target – Litton Systems, in Toronto. Litton manufactured the guidance system for U.S. cruise missiles.  The gang brought 550 pounds of explosives across Canada for that one.

In the resulting explosion, they almost killed a man, Terry Chikowski.  The bomb Useless and the others planted at Litton systems split open Chikowski’s back by approximately 14 inches. Four pounds of muscle were blown out of his back. Part of a rib, took. His spleen disintegrated. Four ribs snapped off his spine and four others cracked. A hole was blown in the lower left side of his stomach. His left lung and left kidney collapsed. His diaphragm was split. There were fragments of glass from in his heart.

Half a brick that was embedded in Terry Chikowski’s back, along with a piece of sheet metal. It was sticking out of him like a shark’s fin. Chikowski was in good physical shape before the bomb. Somehow, he survived.

Asked about it afterwards, Gerry Useless and his friends kind of shrugged: “Accidents happen,” they said.  Before long, they’d all go to jail, for a long time.

Why do I relate this long story? Because I knew Gerry Useless – we all did, in the punk scene – and it affected me.  And there are still those, like Jello Biafra, who seem indifferent to what Gerry Useless did.  Not me.

My punk friends will often say I shouldn’t have gotten involved in politics.  They say democracy is flawed, a farce.  They say that you will keep compromising, until you trade away parts of your soul.

I say this: “I won’t win every argument.  I won’t win every debate.  I think that democracy – however imperfect it is – encourages compromise, and conciliation, and change. Democracy is way better than what Gerry Useless did.”

Which brings us back to Fall 2019.  To me, a lawyer, obstruction of justice is disqualifying.  To me, a man who aspires to be a better man, groping a woman is disqualifying. To me, to someone who has aggressively opposed racism since my punk days, wearing blackface should also disqualify you from public office.  Any public office.  Full stop.

But millions of Canadians considered all of that, and they didn’t like it, but they decided to give the wrongdoer another chance.  They decided to forgive him.

So, I have a choice: keep slamming my fists against the wall, knowing that it will change nothing.  Or, consider that – if I’m a democrat – I have to accept a different outcome, this time.  I have to defer to the judgment of others, however wrong I think they might be.  The judgment of the many, not of the one.

That’s what it means to be a democrat, to me.  It’s also a way to avoid what happened to Gerry Useless.

It’s a way to remain sane in an insane world.