Categories for Musings

I am writing this on a Blackberry

Why? Because iPhones don’t have physical keyboards, and they suck if you have to type more than a few words, that’s why.

I had the very first Blackberry, in 2000. Along with Bruce Hartley, I was one of the first to have a Blackberry on that Chrétien campaign, in fact. Bruce and I were the cool kids.

Since then, I have written thousands of posts to this web site using a Blackberry – along with hundreds of columns, and (just this year) an entire book.

I didn’t use an iPhone to do any of those things. I use an iPhone to make calls, listen to music, take pictures, schedule stuff or calculate figures. I don’t use it to write. And why don’t I write on it? Simple.

Because it doesn’t have a keyboard that works, that’s why.

So, I read this great Sean Silcoff story – who is, full disclosure, one of my best students from back when I taught at Carleton’s School of Journalism – with great interest, nodding my head all the way through. Like many of the folks in Sean’s story, I didn’t ever get any of the newer Blackberry models. They were Blackberries trying to be iPhones.

I stuck with the 9900, on which I’m writing right now. I have a second one in my bedside table, as a backup. I’ve hoarded it, in case Blackberry never came to its senses.

It did! The arrival of the Blackberry Classic is a huge deal for guys like me. It’s back to doing what Blackberry always did best – a physical keyboard, with a logical operating system. IT’S WHAT I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, LISA.

And, looking back on what I’ve just written, I can only imagine the atrocities that an iPhone would make of it. It wouldn’t be pretty, baby.

All I can say is this: Go Mr. Chen, go!

Are you now, or have you ever been friends with, Warren?

Who are the anonymous “insiders” who told a reporter that people are being barred from being Liberal candidates because of who their friends are?

No, we are not making this up. From the Winnipeg Free Press, this afternoon:

“Insiders also say Dinsdale was not high on the list of preferred candidates for a number of reasons, including that…there are concerns about his close friendship with columnist and former Liberal staffer Warren Kinsella.”

I don’t believe Mia Rabson would ever make something like this up.  So who are these McCarthyite “insiders,” pray tell?


Clearly, the Bishop of Rome hasn’t met my dog yet


St. Fido surveys his congregation.

It isn’t a hoax – the linkage is here – but it raises an interesting question, one my kids and I often debate: if animals have souls, should we be eating them?

I open this one up for comment by all and sundry.  And if your cat wishes to weigh in on the holiness of dogs, by all means let him/her walk all over your keyboard.

In Friday’s Sun: why I’m not running in Toronto Danforth


Sorry.  But I’m a Liberal.

I am, I am. I’ve occasionally been mad at the party, over the years, and I haven’t been wild about some of the people running it, either. But when all is said and done, I’m a Liberal.

I was rummaging through a drawer recently, and found proof: a “Warren Kinsella Liberal” button from when I was the federal Grit candidate in North Vancouver in 1997. I lost that one, decisively, but it was an honour to run. I loved it.

A few weeks ago, the irrepressible, indefatigable Dennis Mills approached me to suggest I seek the Liberal nomination in Toronto Danforth, the riding he held for many years. I’ve lived on the border of the riding for almost as many years.

I didn’t think it was a good idea. I’m too independent, I told my Grit friends Dennis Mills and Catherine Davey. I’m a writer, and – while a Liberal and a liberal – I haven’t ever hesitated to criticize my party when it deserved it. I’m a contrarian, I told him. I’m incapable of being deferential to authority – ie., I’ve never been good at kissing powerful behinds.

But Dennis kept talking to me about it. I started to think about it.

I heard from people. Two former Prime Ministers told me I should do it. Two Ontario Premiers – one sitting, one former – encouraged me to give it a shot. Lots of former cabinet ministers and MPs and Grits were similarly enthusiastic.

But the folks around Justin Trudeau weren’t enthusiastic. They were against it, in fact.

A senior Trudeau advisor told me why. My writings over the years, here and elsewhere, had been too critical of Team Trudeau. They didn’t like that.

That wasn’t all. Trudeau’s circle is now dominated by folks who tried to drive out my friend Jean Chretien a decade ago. They, too, were unenthusiastic.

Thereafter, I started to hear from many Grits that the party’s mysterious “Green Light” process – wherein the suitability of potential candidates is assessed – would be used to deny me an opportunity to run. Some pretext would be found.

All that said, let me also say this:

I agree with Trudeau’s gang. I shouldn’t run under their banner – but not for the reasons they cite.

I am, indeed, a contrarian. When you are a writer, that’s your job: to tilt at windmills. To try and tell the truth to power.

If Team Trudeau wants people who are in lockstep with them on every issue, every single day, I’m not the guy they want.

There are other reasons why I won’t run. Like Bob Rae, Lloyd Axworthy, Romeo Dallaire and several million voters, I disagree with Trudeau on the international effort against ISIS. When genocide is happening, indolence is complicity.

Ironically, I agree with Trudeau’s position on abortion: I think it should be safe, legal and rare. But I don’t like how Trudeau arrived at his position: political parties shouldn’t dictate intensely personal matters of conscience to Members of Parliament.

I also agree with him on the need to have more women in Parliament. And if I have to stand down to ensure women have an equal voice in Parliament, I will do so.

There are other reasons, of course. I’ve got kids who are still young. I’ve got a business to run. I’ve got a book coming out. I’m getting hitched to the most amazing woman. And so on.

Mostly, however, it’s not a good fit. The Trudeau guys aren’t enthusiastic about dissenters. And I’m a dissenter.

Will I give it a shot in the future? Maybe.

And do I still hope Trudeau wins? I do, I do. It’s time for a change. I like his energy and his positive attitude. Canada needs that, in Toronto Danforth and elsewhere.

In the meantime, however, Sun readers are stuck with me.


“A portrait of depravity”


From the New York Times lead editorial this morning:

The world has long known that the United States government illegally detained and tortured prisoners after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and lied about it to Congress and the world. But the summary of a report released Tuesday of the Senate investigation of these operations, even after being sanitized by the Central Intelligence Agency itself, is a portrait of depravity that is hard to comprehend and even harder to stomach.

Largely left unaddressed in the news coverage, this morning, is this question: were the so-called “black sites” – about which George W. Bush refused to be briefed, and on which the Canadian government remains reliantthe places where ISIS/ISIL was created? Did they give rise to the very thing they purportedly were seeking to prevent?

Like New York Democrat Jerrold said: “Torture fails to make us safe. But it certainly makes us less free.”