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"...[Kinsella is] a modern-day Machiavelli, the mastermind who ran war rooms for Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty... He's the ultimate political insider... [The War Room] has plenty of fascinating insights and is a must-read for political junkies."

- The Toronto Sun

"The top Canadian spin doctor...tells all!"

- The National Post

"Warren Kinsella’s new book is a must-read for anyone interested in political campaigning in Canada. And not just political campaigning.…I wish I’d had the chance to read The War Room before I became Stephen Harper’s campaign manager; it might have saved me from many mistakes and months of painful learning on the job."

- Tom Flanagan, The Literary Review of Canada

"The War Room is a rich, detailed, and substantive primer on how to run a winning war room - warts, pizza boxes, smelly couches and all - from a master war roomer."

- The Hill Times

"Kinsella has crafted a handy little guide for politicos and non-politicos alike. Just keep it away from the kids."

- The Winnipeg Free Press

"... a great read ... full of fascinating stories..."

- John Moore, CFRB

"...I don't want to say [he's a] genius...but there's valuable insights here..."

- John Oakley, AM640

"I just got one copy, but I plan to get more!"

- John Wright, Ipsos, CFRB

"I do recommend [The War Room] to everyone."

- Charles Adler, Adler Online

"He's Canada's James Carville...a must-read...If you really want to win, you need this book!"

- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD

"A fascinating book...full of great stories."

- Ken Rockburn, CPAC


Michael Bate is mean to me in the new Frank magazine.

Could it be the same Michael Bate who sends me emails like this?

"-----Original Message-----From: Michael Bate <mbate@XXXX Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 10:13:38 To:wkinsella@hotmail.com Subject: frank
How about giving us a plug for the FBI Muldoon report on efrank today..."

Couldn't be.

Oh, and Jan Wong has found a new gig. Writing for Frank magazine.

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As most of you recognized, right away, it was an April Fool's jest.

I note in passing that certain high-profile reporters - who shall not be named, because I like all of them - fell for it, proverbial hook, line and sinker.

As I said to a few folks: my wife would kill me, and no jury would convict.

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A few years back, I did an editorial on Global National about anti-Semitic creep David Ahenakew. That view still stands.

The decision by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations to re-instate Ahenakew is a disgrace - and kudos to Premier Wall (again!) for his stand, and to Chuck Strahl (full disclosure) for condemning them, too.

Notably, the hate blogs - Brock*, Currie, Shaidle, McMillan et al. - have all suspended their anti-aboriginal animus long enough to rally to Ahenakew's defence, and his "right" to call Jews a "disease."

UPDATE: here.

*UPDATER* - Brock, who is a fool, insists he's not anti-native. When he supports the "rights" of neo-Nazis to spew anti-aboriginal hate, and is indifferent to the consequences, then what is that? So you're not anti-native, Brock: fine. You're still a creep.

Sent in by a sharp-eyed reader: "Sure Warren Kinsella is being defamed; I won’t deny that. But that’s what bloggers do to people who throw themselves into the public eye as Warren has done. If every politician who editorialists’ criticized was able to launch a defamation suit every time someone wrote something they didn’t like about them, the editorial and comment sections of newspapers would disappear." The author? Mike Brock.
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...rejected by her own neighbours for her racism. Hear, hear, Premier Wall.


Blog loses Wall backing over comments

Wall told reporters that the Saskatchewan Party would remove from its own website an endorsement of Wall from Saskatchewan-based Kate McMillan of smalldeadanimals.com.

Saskatchewan Party MLAs have referenced the website approvingly in the legislature in the past but Wall said that would likely not occur in the future. Following the government's cancellation of $8 million in funding for the Station 20 West project in Saskatoon's core, McMillan posted on her blog suggesting "economic stimuli" for the area to get a private sector grocery store.

These included "put the cap back on the used needle . . . failing that, share it with your friends. It's a quicker solution to your problem anyway." She also suggested "cross your legs" and "put down the spray can."

McMillan later posted "try not vandalizing every business still standing in your neighbourhood, try not selling your ass up and down the street in front of the doors. Try parenting your sticky-fingered brats."

Wall said the comments were "beyond the pale."

"Those are intolerant and unacceptable remarks," he told reporters, adding that the government has a firm commitment to the province's core urban neighbourhoods despite its reservations about the Station 20 West project.

H/T Norman, natch.
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After a lot of deliberation, and after a lot of consultation with friends and family, I am delighted to let you know that I have decided to seek the Ontario Liberal Party nomination in our riding of Beaches East York in the upcoming election.

This decision is a really big one, and is the result of a considerable amount of reflection. Necessarily, it means some significant changes are in order - among them, I am sad to say, the end of this web site.

I hope you are as happy about this decision as I am - and, if you are fortunate enough to live in the greatest neighbourhood in the greatest province in the greatest country on Earth, I hope to meet with you soon, and seek your support.

Thank you and God Bless Beaches East York.


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I am sick, sick, sick - sick as a dog. I missed work and a load of other stuff, and – like most men who catch a bug – am feeling quite sorry for myself. Between bouts of hacking and wheezing and whatnot, I draw the following to your attention.

· Some wonderful writing, here, by CP’s Bruce Cheadle. “Rae tried again and this time Bernier, blushing like a fraternity pledge and doing his best Stephane Dion shrug, unfurled himself from his seat, offered Rae a welcome greeting and then sputtered a response…” Unfurled himself – nice touch, that. When I was writing about the media for the Post, Jonathan Kay would routinely strip out anything I wrote that was complementary about other media outlets (and sometimes kill entire columns that were too kindly to the CBC or the Star). No longer!
· Not a few conspiracy-minded Liberal bloggers – whom I shall not name – have often insisted that the RCMP timed the release of their income trust probe to harm the Liberal Party’s campaign. To me, that was tantamount to suggesting that we had become a police state, and that the rule of law had been jettisoned. It was paranoia writ large. An independent review has concluded similarly: “It is important to note that any such real or perceived negative influence on the election could break the trust between citizens and police that is essential to maintaining the rule of law in a civilized society,” Paul Kennedy noted, and found that there was “no evidence” of any of that. Good.
· Bourrie must-read, here. I was going to provide a money quote, but the thing is so packed with beauts, it must be read in its entirety. Paragraph two is a keeper.
· When I worked at the Calgary Herald, I knew one of the guys who invested in Trivial Pursuit and made loadsa dough. Unlike some others in the newsroom – which was sometimes, as the saying goes, a graveyard of broken dreams – I didn’t resent this guy. I did, however, wonder why he was still hanging out at the Calgary Herald.
· Here is a contribution by John West on Kate McMillan’s Small Dead Animals: “We in the West need to continue to provoke the massive numbers of radical facist (sic) musims (sic) all over the world to keep them increasing their attacks on the West. Once everyone has been satisfactorily outraged and or victimized by these monsters, we can them provide the support to our governments and our our armed forces to start killing them in far, far greater numbers. We must also continue to badger our politicians to end all Muslim immigration in the West. If we are ever to have a chance to survive as free people we MUST defeat these beasts NOW! We can beat them if we resolve to do so. So far, as I see it, they are winning because we are letting them win. How stupid is that? The Leftists, Homosexuals, women's groups, university students, the NDP and all other haters of Western society are all complicit in the terrorist's Jihad against us. We might want to start doing something about them too." John Daly spotted it, was rightly appalled, and wrote about it on his blog. There is little question, in my mind, that this passage amounts to promoting or advocating genocide, contrary to section 318 of the Criminal Code; it almost certainly promotes hatred against an identifiable group – Muslims – which is prohibited by section 319. So I ask the self-professed “free speechers” who lurk on this site: is advocating murder against a group of people an acceptable form of expression? If so, what would be your reaction if someone wrote those same words on a piece of paper, addressed it to your family, and slipped it under your front door? Would that be okay, too?

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Spotted by the Oracle, natch.

Forgot about this. Nardwuar does it in his incomparable style; we tend to be a bit more, um, dark.

Then again, Nard could make the Wiggles sound like Nine Inch Nails, y'know?

The vid snippet:

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Remember the Ramones? The Sex Pistols? The Clash? How does Toronto-based punk band Shit From Hell—excuse my language—grab you? The band, made up of political veterans, will open for Canadian punk icons Teenage Head on April 5 at Barrymore’s Music Hall in downtown Ottawa.

Except for Rolf “Ritalin Boy” Dinsdale, band members Derek “Rayman” Raymaker, Lorne “Bjorn von Flapjack III” Kinsella and Warren “Winkie” Kinsella have never performed at Barrymore’s before and are, apparently, quite excited about the gig. “It’s a fabled rock ’n’ role hall, like when U2 played there in the early 1980s to about a dozen people, so we intend to kiss the stage when we arrive, just like the Pope does when he arrives in a new country,” said Winkie Kinsella, a bass guitarist who also sings and used to work on the Hill when Jean Chrétien was prime minister.

Mr. Raymaker helped out on the Alberta and Ontario provincial Liberal Party campaigns, while Lorne, who is Warren’s brother, managed the Ontario Liberal Party’s campaign website in the 2003 and 2007 election campaigns. Mr. Dinsdale’s father Walter Dinsdale was a former Diefenbaker-era Conservative Cabinet minister.

Mr. Kinsella said in an email that the band wanted to have someone affiliated with the NDP in the band, “but the candidates were too busy listening to old Bruce Cockburn records and that is just plain wrong.”

Shit From Hell will perform original songs, such as Surfin' For Jesus, Avril Lavigne Must Die, Barney Rubble is My Double as well as songs from their new album, The Wheel of Wow. “At the end, we will smash our instruments and play Jason Kenney is the Young Richard Nixon,” Mr. Kinsella wrote in an email. “Just kidding. That one isn’t actually a song, but it could be.”

He said the band hopes “Hill hacks and flaks” of all political stripes will come to hear them, or, buy their T-shirts and the new CD. “Failing that, they can strip off their suits and dance onstage naked to Barney Rubble. Nudity and that song seem to go together.”

Well, okay then.

[*Posted here like this at the insistence of our road manager, Hammer Dom. They ran a photo, so here's that too, with Kate "Rotten" Malloy's cutline.]

Is it sunny in here? SFH, Warren Kinsella, centre,
and band members, Rolf Dinsdale, Derek
Raymaker, and Lorne Kinsella. The band will
perform at Barrymore’s in Ottawa on April 5.

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This is in the new Hill Times, which also has a nice story and photo about SFH and Teenage Head at Barrymore's. Eventually, I'll figure out how to post that - and how to get the Top Ten list below in my Top ten section. In the meantime, here ya go.

(And, if you have the sense that the attacks on Dalton McGuinty have gotten not a few of us feeling a bit more federal, these days, you'd be right.)


Everyone needs to take a Valium. Here are ten reasons why Dion is still competitive:

1. After many months of crappy headlines and no shortage of bad luck, the polls reveal that Dion's Liberals and Harper's Tories are still... tied, mostly. It's a fair question to ask: if all of Dion's critics are right, then why is Dion still competitive? Because voters - particularly female voters - still have a lot of a reluctance about penciling an "X" beside the Conservative candidates' name. In politics, it's always good to be underestimated by your opponent. The polls say [the Tory] team is underestimating Dion. Big time.

2. The Liberal Party of Canada is the most successful political machine in Western democracy. Its brand and its organizational strength are formidable. In a country that is still Liberally-inclined, it is always foolhardy to count the Grits out.

3. Dion is no dummy. He knows the Tories want to run a campaign about "leadership" - they've been telegraphing that for months. So Dion need only do what Chrétien did in similar circumstances in 1993: step back a bit and emphasize plan and team. And he's got a Hell of team: Hall-Finlay, Rae, Dryden, Ignatieff, Kennedy, and so many others. It is a powerful front bench, one with a lot of name recognition. Can the Tories say the same thing?

4. The Tories have a message deficit. They can't run an "outsider" campaign - they're the incumbents. They can't run a "scandal" campaign, thanks to Mr. Mulroney. So they will run a campaign about "leadership" - but leadership is an exceedingly woolly concept. Voters like meat and potatoes platforms (which is why Harper won in 2006, by the way). If I were Dion, I'd do a campaign on government services - making 'em better, and not just eliminating them, the way Tories always do. Mix in some environment, some fiscal federalism, and voilà!

5. The campaign matters; campaigns always matter. With the parties effectively tied, the Grits need only run a tough, disciplined, focused campaign. Unlike the pre-writ, the two main parties will have the same amount to spend, so the Tories have no particular advantage there. Campaigns, you see, are great big job interviews. Here’s the Grit interview pitch: “Hi, I’m [Stéphane, Martha, Michael, Bob, Gerard, whomever]. We’ve got a great team and a great plan – to protect the environment, to improve government services, and to get us through tough economic times. The other guys don’t have a team, and they don’t have a plan.”

6. Mark my words: Jim Flaherty’s anti-Dalton McGuinty campaign will go down in the political history books as one of the dumbest, most self-destructive campaigns ever. It is hurting the Conservatives in Ontario. The worst came late last week when pipsqueak Tory MP Pierre Poilievre said: "All Dalton McGuinty has ever done on immigration is run a sponsorship-style slush fund that cost him his citizenship minister." That kind of rhetorical overkill is idiotic - coming, as it does, from a government that last year established a multi-million dollar sponsorship program of its own. Memo to Pierre: McGuinty just got re-elected with a bigger majority than the one he had when the election was called, sonny boy; he's popular and doing a great job. You, meanwhile, would get asked for I.D. at a gathering of those unfortunate enough to be your immediate family.

7. Flaherty’s attacks on McGuinty may well result in Team McGuinty getting much more involved in the federal campaign than anyone had expected. Given that Mr. McGuinty is considered to have a pretty solid team behind him, that can’t possibly be good news for the federal Tories. Who are they going to rely on? John Tory? Uh-huh.

8. In Quebec, things aren’t so hot for les bleus, either. The Charest-Harper relationship is distinctly cooler, and the federal Tories’ ardour for Mario Dumont is only likely to make things worse. When Charest is getting very popular again, is that a good strategy? Um, no.

9.The media remain distinctly less-than-friendly with the Harper folks. They may not love Stéphane Dion, but – during the campaign – you can expect to see them cuddling with him more than once, if only to get back at Harper’s PMO. It’ll be ugly, as love triangles always are. But Dion will benefit.

10. Stéphane Dion is a decent, hard-working guy. Canada is full of decent, hard-working guys and gals. The more they get to know him, the more they will like him. Just watch.

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It's a week and a day away! Rock'n'roll! Intoxicants! Nudity! Midgets! Barnyard animals! Effigies of Mark Steyn and barnyard animals together, defying the laws of God!

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Wouldn't be the first time. Won't be the last.
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Quote unquote:

"Our government is committed to the federalism of openness, an approach to federal-provincial relations that relies on respect for jurisdiction and productive collaboration to get things done for Canadians."

As Karen Howlett correctly notes: "[The Prime Minister's] comments were in stark contrast to federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's verbal broadside against the McGuinty government on Monday, on the eve of the provincial budget."

As I said to the assembled Tory, Grit and Green students at McGill on Tuesday night: can you imagine what would have happened if Van Loan had called Jean Charest "the small man of Confederation"? Or, if Flaherty had told people that Alberta's economy was the "last place" they should invest?

This fight may not be over yet. But the next time one of the few remaining members of the Common Sense Revolutionary Guard smears Ontario's Premier, they're going to get the Prime Minister's words quoted back at them, I expect.

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As politicians ready themselves to launch commissions of inquiry and whatnot, the key battle is always over the Terms of Reference.

In Gomery, for example, Paul Martin's short-lived regime strictly prohibited any examination of public opinion research and loosely-defined "communications" assignments. In that way, polling/communications firms friendly with the Martinites escaped scrutiny. ( And, in the meantime, the shredders worked overtime, to ensure no one would ever be able to right that wrong.)

Thus Robert Thibault's letter today, which was a pretty smart move. The Prime Minister may well have been planning to do what Thibault suggests needs doing. But, now, the Grits can claim credit if he does - or scream bloody murder if he doesn't.

In political scandals, always follow the money. In politically-related commissions of inquiry, always carefully watch the guy or gal penning the Terms of Reference. If you don't, the game could be over before it begins.

H/T Norman, naturally.
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Brilliant move by Canwest, if true. Akin is a top-notch reporter, in my experience - trustworthy, thorough and fair. I don't know what happened here, but I know that Canwest will be pretty happy to land this dude.
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