“Warren Kinsella's book, ‘Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse,’ is of vital importance for American conservatives and other right-leaning individuals to read, learn and understand.”
- The Washington Times
“One of the best books of the year.”
- The Hill Times
“Justin Trudeau’s speech followed Mr. Kinsella’s playbook on beating conservatives chapter and verse...[He followed] the central theme of the Kinsella narrative: “Take back values. That’s what progressives need to do.”
- National Post
“[Kinsella] is a master when it comes to spinning and political planning...”
- George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC TV
“Kinsella pulls no punches in Fight The Right...Fight the Right accomplishes what it sets out to do – provide readers with a glimpse into the kinds of strategies that have made Conservatives successful and lay out a credible roadmap for progressive forces to regain power.”
- Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics
“[Kinsella] deserves credit for writing this book, period... he is absolutely on the money...[Fight The Right] is well worth picking up.”
- Huffington Post
“Run, don't walk, to get this amazing book.”
- Mike Duncan, Classical 96 radio
“Fight the Right is very interesting and - for conservatives - very provocative.”
- Former Ontario Conservative leader John Tory
“His new book is great! All of his books are great!”
- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD
“I absolutely recommend this book.”
- Paul Wells, Maclean’s
“Kinsella puts the Left on the right track with new book!”
OTTAWA—The federal Liberal government has enlisted the independent Public Policy Forum to assess the state of Canada’s struggling news industry as it mulls over potential policy options.
A rash of newspaper closures and newsroom layoffs this past winter, combined with a looming debt bomb for Postmedia Network Canada Corp., Canada’s largest newspaper chain, has added a sense of urgency to a decade-long disruption of the journalism that Heritage Minister Melanie Joly’s office says “plays a central role in a healthy democracy.”
The Commons heritage committee has already begun hearings on how Canadians, and particularly local communities, are being served “through news, broadcasting, digital and print media,” according to a February committee motion.
But specific government policy prescriptions for the digital news age are not within the expertise of the federal public service. Nor, for that matter, are they something any government wants to be seen imposing — or offering up — to the journalists and organizations who report on it.
“It’s a sensitive area of policy making,” Ed Greenspon, the president of the Public Policy Forum and former Globe and Mail editor and reporter, told The Canadian Press in an interview.
“We’re not, if you will, hired by the government. But we’re doing this in co-operation with the government.”
Joe and Jane Frontporch, meanwhile, won’t care – because they already think government and media are incapable of doing anything other than peer at their own navels.
That all aside, should a government – any government – be offering such help? Should any self-respecting news person be accepting it?
At Carleton’s journalism school, we studied Senator Davey’s inquiry into the state of newspaper industry in Canada. I was a big fan of both newspapers and (later) Senator Davey, so I didn’t see anything wrong with Pierre Trudeau’s government being similarly concerned with the future of print media. They were right to do so, I felt, because – as subsequent events showed – the print media largely didn’t have a future.
It wasn’t an abstract question for me, either: my perspective was shaped by events of the time. I had arrived at Cartoon U. on the very same weekend that the Ottawa Journal and the Winnipeg Tribune folded – prompting my Dad, at the time, to gently query whether I had picked the right career path. (I responded to the challenge by actively imitating Grattan O’Leary – pinballing between the State and the Fourth Estate, but belonging to neither. It kept bread on the table.)
Ed Greenspon, who is apparently leading this utterly doomed exercise, has also orbited between media and government, and is a pretty smart guy. I suspect he’ll offer up a thoughtful, well-meaning report in a few months, people will write self-involved opinion columns about it, and then we’ll all place it on a distant perch on the bookshelf, alongside the Davey and Kent Commission reports.
Let me save Ed time and money, and help answer the why-newspapers-have-failed part of his mandate. There are lots of reasons.
Bad business decisions.
Offering up – thanks to the likes of Paul Godfrey – a shittier and shittier product.
Embracing the digital revolution, like the music industry did, without considering the myriad perils inherent in that.
Dismissing wee web sites like this one, I say immodestly, which get 3.5 million visitors a year, and which cost readers precisely nothing.
Thinking, wrongly, that mindless consolidation was better than thoughtful local ownership.
Letting Facebook and the like get their content for free, and then letting Facebook and the like steal away their advertisers.
Heartlessly terminating reporters and editors – when reporters and editors are really all that a newspaper is.
Pretending to be objective when the aforementioned Joe and Jane Frontporch saw them as just another special interest group.
And so on.
Can a government do anything about any of that stuff? No, of course not. No way. Because every fix would require a government to go back in time. And even Justin Trudeau isn’t a time traveller, as far as I know.
Change is upon us, whether we like it or not. I’m not sure where newspapers are going to end up. But it ain’t gonna be where they once were. It won’t be pretty, either.
The now-departed Corey Lewandowski said that, but I don’t think his firing changes the, ahem, truth of what he said: to Trump, and guys like him, The Truth is completely subjective. It’s a construct. It’s a theory.
That’s appalling, of course. It’s cynical. It’s Orwellian and all that. The Truth should always be The Truth, right? Right. But, in modern politics, whether something is true or not is basically immaterial.
Social media has contributed to truth becoming situational, as has the mainstream media’s 24/7 data smog. There is so much bullshit out there, we’ve come to accept that bullshit is a constant. Have you (like I was, just last week, with a story about a former Maple Leafs star) been sucked in by an Internet hoax? Of course you have. Everyone has. Lies have become the lingua franca of the Internet.
In every political campaign, the media publish these “reality check” things, and politicos will quietly laugh and shake their heads. “Whose reality?” they say. “Whose truth?”
A party is for the GST, then isn’t. For free trade, then not anymore. Against calling the Islamic State a state, until they do. It’s not genocide, one day, and it is, the next. To succeed in most political parties, you have to have an innate ability to ascertain (a) what the collective truth is at any given moment, and (b) pivot towards the changed truth in an instant, without breaking into a sweat. All while keeping a straight face. In political parties, this skill is highly prized.
Donald Trump’s core audience know he tells them lies. They don’t care. They want what he says to be true. They don’t care as much about what The Truth presently is.
I spoke to Tony Schwartz about this, for my books Kicking Ass and The War Room. He was the genius who came up with the ‘Daisy’ ad, about which I named the company I started. Schwartz called all of this internalized truth stuff “the responsive chord.” He even wrote a book with that title. To sell someone something, he told me – a candidate, an idea, whatever – you need to figure out what someone’s truth is, and “surface” it.
That’s what winning campaigns do. They don’t try and tell The Truth. They try and figure out, instead, what Your Truth is, and then “surface” it. They embrace Your Truth, not The Truth.
God exists. To me, that’s true. To you, maybe, it isn’t. What matters isn’t who is right or who is wrong. What matters is figuring out what someone’s truth is, and selling it back to them.
Well, we’ve got our share of Islamic terrorists here, of course: the attack on Parliament Hill, and several other attacks in the past decade, have made that clear enough.
We’ve had no shortage of hate crimes, too: l’Ecole Polytechnique was indisputably one against women, and minority communities are still regularly subjected to violent hate – for their faith, their skin colour, their sexual orientation.
We almost certainly have the same percentage of untreated mentally ill people, too – and, as the recently-concluded University of Calgary mass-murder trial showed, a minority of them sometimes commit horrific acts of violence.
So, if Orlando was inspired by al-Qaeda or ISIS, we haven’t been immune to any of that. Same goes for hate crimes, and mental illness that spirals downward into killing. Canadians have experienced all of those things, too.
But there is one critical difference. Here, unlike down there, we do not make it easy for Islamic extremists, or haters, or the mentally ill, to get guns. Here in Canada, unlike in the United States, we have not elevated gun ownership to a state religion.
The statistics grimly bear this out. One that was pinging around Twitter, in the wake of Orlando, was this: “Canada has had eight mass shooting in 20 years. America has had seven since last Monday.” I don’t know if that is scrupulously accurate, but it sounds about right.
Orlando’s causality, then, could have been Islamic terror, or hate crime, or mental illness. But its methodology was the shocking ubiquity – and the easy accessibility – of guns in the United States of America.
Right about now, of course, some gun nut loser is moving their lips, reading what I’ve written, and is readying to deploy the usual barrage of bullshit statistics favoured by that terrorist group, the NRA. Sitting in their jammies in their mother’s basement – with their small penises, and their big guns – the gun fetishists will argue it’s all about mens rea, not actus reus. They always do.
But they’re wrong, of course. Just ask my friend Anthony Aleksik. Anthony took to Facebook, this week, to point out – methodically, factually – how the Orlando killer (who I refuse to name) could not have murdered 49 innocents here as easily as he did there.
Here’s an edited summary of what Anthony wrote:
“1. Before applying for a Restricted Possession and Acquisition License (RPAL), [the killer] would have had to have attended a two-day course, at a cost of around $150-$250.
2. [The killer] would have then had to send in an application and $80 to the Canadian Firearms Program, administered by the RCMP in New Brunswick. His ex-wife would have had to have signed off on it – and he would have needed two other signatures of people who have known him for more than two years. Extensive background checks and reference calls by the RCMP would have raised red flags.
3. In the event he did pass the application process, around a month (or two, in some provinces) after applying, he would have gotten his RPAL in the mail. Twenty-eight days is the legislated minimum waiting period.
4. He could then have walked into a gun store and purchased a Sig Sauer MCX (an AR-15 variant) and a Glock 17 [as the killer did]. First, though, the guns would have to be registered, which can take from between one and 15 days. A membership with a gun range would be required, too, as target shooting is a legal reason to own a restricted firearm in Canada. Collecting is also a legal reason, but you’d better own a museum, belong to a historical society, have a few published papers, and possess a reputation in the collecting and historical community.
5. So now he owns the guns – with trigger locks on, and locked in cases in the trunk of his car. If he drives anywhere other than between his home and the range, he’s breaking the law. And not breaking-the-speed-limit-type of breaking the law, either. Five-years-in prison-breaking-the-law. Each movement of the guns outside this home-and-range route would require a separate Authorization to Transport (ATT). “
And so on, and so on. You get the point.
Unlike me, Anthony is a conservative type who opposes stricter gun laws. But, like me, he’s an Albertan and a gun owner.
As someone who has been through the gun course, and filled out the forms and whatnot, I can also testify to the fact that the Orlando mass-murderer would have been stopped, here, at any number of other steps in the process. The requirement that his ex-wife – who told the media he was violent and beat her – agreed to the purchase of guns. The disclosure of mental illness. The background check that is truly comprehensive. The waiting periods that go on for months.
In Canada, like in the U.S., we have homicidal Islamic extremists. We have sadistic hate criminals. We have people who are mentally ill and violent. We sadly have all that, just like in the States.
But here, unlike there, we don’t make it easy for any of those individuals to get guns.
And that is the main reason why Orlando couldn’t so easily happen here. And hasn’t.
Trump, who is a pathological liar as much as he is a racist, can spin it however he wants. He has fired his campaign manager because his campaign is in trouble. Big trouble.
He has alienated women. He has alienated Latinos. He has alienated African-Americans. He has alienated the disabled. He has alienated every large constituency he needed to be competitive, in fact. Barring a terrorist October Surprise, the short-fingered vulgarian is going down, hard.
When you dump your campaign manager mid-campaign, then, it means usually just one thing.
They’re a new government, and they often looked like it. C-14, in particular, was not their finest hour. At different points, it was:
The elbowgate thing, which planted a seed of doubt about Justin Trudeau
The Motion Six thing, which made them look a bit autocratic
The hasty withdrawal of Motion Six thing, which simultaneously made them look a bit weak
The Senate standoff thing, which reminded everyone what an utter disgrace the aptly-named Red Chamber is
The inability to meet the Supreme Court deadline thing, which was a stupid deadline anyway
And so on. C-14 aside, Trudeau performed well on the international stage, there were no ministerial scandals, the honeymoon proved durable. Not bad.
The Opposition? Neither party has a permanent leader, but that’s okay. Revealingly, perhaps, the Tories adapted quickly to their new role, while the Dippers (revealingly) are trapped in their usual existential debate without end. Plus ca change, etc.
What do you think, Dear Reader? What were the highlights and the lowlights?