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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


Chretien counsels early election
Source: The Canadian Press
Apr 30, 2009 20:45

VANCOUVER - Jean Chretien says Liberals should push for an election `the sooner the better.'

And the former prime minister says his party is in `very good position to win.'

As the most successful Liberal leader in recent history, with three consecutive majority victories to his credit, Chretien's advice is likely to be taken seriously by Liberals.

They've gathered in Vancouver for a convention that will formally acclaim Michael Ignatieff as their new leader.

Some Grits would like to take advantage of a resurgence in the polls to topple Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government this spring.

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L. Ian Macdonald, Montreal Gazette: Harper’s In Deep, Deep Trouble: "A good leader knows when he's in trouble. And Stephen Harper, on his 50th birthday, is in deep trouble. He's in trouble in the country, especially in Quebec; in trouble with the public service, which is putting down tools with his government; and increasingly in trouble with the Conservative Party, whose fault lines are cracking under the divisive and mean-spirited management style of the Prime Minister's Office."
Don Martin, Calgary Herald - Harper turns 50 with nowhere to go but down: "But consider the introspection Harper must be suffering with the milestone marker he'll pass today, an occasion celebrated last Saturday night at his residence with friends and family minus any politicians, which shows he at least has good taste in party guests. He's turning 50 at the peak of Canada's political pyramid with nowhere to go but down."
Brian Lilley, CFRB - Happy Birthday Stephen! Will you be staying? : "Someone, or several someones, likely with leadership ambition, have been pushing the story that the party is unhappy with Prime Minister Harper's leadership, that MPs want to fight the next election under a new leader. It's a fairly common story in Canadian politics; people who want the leaders job try to plant the story that he's leaving so their star can shine. The only problem is there is no one in the Conservative caucus whose star is shining bright
enough to take on the Prime Minister or Michael Ignatieff."
Terry Corcoran, National Post - Mugged by Harper: "Mr. Harper's attempt to purge libertarians from Canadian conservatism reached its lowest point when he pretty much blamed libertarianism for the economic crisis. Wall Street, he implied mockingly, was the heart of libertarianism, and Wall Street and the libertarian free market tanked the economy. Do libertarians pose some kind of threat to the Harper Conservatives? Apparently they do, judging by Mr. Harper's attempt to eliminate them from the party. And he might be right."

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I'm heading to the airport, and Vancouver, for the Liberal leadership convention.

I can't remember how many Liberal conventions I've attended over the years, but it's been a few. Contrary to what the critics say, there's always a bit of drama at these things. In 1982, for example, I remember standing behind a young firebrand from Toronto as he railed against the unelected power brokers in the party; this weekend, the same guy is making his debut as the acclaimed party president.

The last one, in 2006, I attended as a journalist; that same news organization is now teetering on bankruptcy, and is sending a historically-low number of reporters to this year's model. At another one, in 2005 or so, I was a distant observer of events; this year, I'm a bit closer to the action.

The 2009 convention, in Vancouver, is important - and not just because we are electing the guy all of us (and most of the media, and many Conservatives, too) believe will be the next Prime Minister. It's important because this is an opportunity to show we have learned some lessons, that we have prepared, and that we are ready to be considered as the next government.

To receive the honour of people's support, you need to show you've got some good ideas, that you've got a good team, and that you've got an outstanding leader, too. We've got all of those.

In a country like Canada, you've also got to be reaching out beyond your base - which is why Michael Ignatieff has been making explicit appeals to disaffected New Democrats and Conservatives. You've got to be election-ready, too, and I can attest to the fact that we are - right now.

What makes the 2009 convention unique is the circumstances in which it is taking place: a massive economic crisis, a burgeoning public health crisis, a nation at war in a dangerous world. In those circumstances, it is essential that people feel you have a plan to get them through the tough times.

The Harper Reformatories just don't. It's not spin or even an insult. It's a fact: they have no plan. They denied it was coming, and when it came, they didn't know what to do. They still don't.

Anyway. We're boarding soon, and - like I say - lots of things have changed.

One thing hasn't, of course: Air Canada still sucks. They've oversold the flight, and a ton of people don't know what is happening.

Vancouver, here we come!

Or, not.

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One, (apparently) the swine flu.

Two, tasteless, dumb and ineffective government advertising.

Is it for real? From 1976:

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...at the Freedom at Depth event at Labatt House. From right, the Strategic Counsel's Peter Donolo, the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, and an unidentified crazy person.

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The view from Warren's window at the Chateau Laurier. If you look very carefully, you will see Harper Reformatories inside the Langevin Block quietly emailing their CVs to Workopolis.

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...as it were.

I am staying at that venerable old dowager, the Chateau Laurier, here to give a speech or something, and I spy this morning's Hill Times. Therein, Powers says something about me and a T-shirt. I respond. It all goes downhill from there.

Bought some amazing dub last night at the Black Tomato, by the way. It's a long story.


Tim, I have an Iggy Mania T-shirt, size XXXL, all ready for you. I’d give it to you right now, but I’m concerned it’d fall into your gullet and choke you, what with all the inane yammering you’re doing.

And yammering is what you are doing, my old friend, and I can understand why. Here’s why, in 10 pithy words, which can also fit neatly onto the front of a T-shirt: "Michael Ignatieff is Going To Hand Stephen Harper His Ass.” (I shouldn’t use the word “ass” in a family newspaper like the one you now grasp in your sweaty maulers, Tim, but I have a point to make.)

My point is this: the Conservative Party is immolating. It is falling apart. The once impressive coalition that Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay crafted, some years back, is in big, big trouble. If you doubt that, my Newfoundland chum, let’s just do a cursory summary of the past week’s events, shall we?

•Ignatieff is ahead in national opinion polls, and is getting way ahead in places like Ontario, and Quebec and British Columbia. Most of that increased support is coming right out of Conservatives backsides. It’s fun to watch.

•Brian Mulroney (the Progressive Conservative guy who won you big back-toback majorities), is being treated like dirt by Stephen Harper (the unreconstructed Reformer who couldn’t win a majority if his life depended on it). Half of your caucus members are livid, and still admire Mulroney, whilst the other half are livid, because they still hate him. The right, once united, is united no more.

•Harper, whose inner circle has lost some of its brightest minds, and whose political judgment is now questioned by members of his Cabinet and caucus—has to hire Americans to get himself on Fox TV (to what purpose, we know not why). Ignatieff, meanwhile, can pick up the phone and meet with the most senior members of the Obama administration without shelling out a red cent.

•The Liberals are about to wipe out their debt, and are energetically getting ready for an election. The Reformers-cum-Conservatives? Dejected, dispirited, divided. They’ve got money, sure, but so did Ross Perot. And he didn’t get elected president, did he? Nope.

I could go on, Powers, but you get the point. Just in the past week, your party has been beaten, battered and bruised. And that’s not even counting what took place before the Easter break.

You can make fun of my Iggy Mania T-shirt as much as you like. But in your quiet, private moments, I’m willing to bet you fantasize about how it would look on you, you big lug.

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So there we were, up at the cabin, and - all of a sudden - I heard this huge wooshing sound heading our way. It sounded like a big wave or something. It was massive.

The eldest and the youngest heard it then, too. The sky got abruptly dark, and the trees started bending towards the East. One moment, calm water; the next, whitecaps. "Dad, look!"

Down in the middle of the lake, someone was in a tiny outboard, motoring as fast as they could, trying to stay ahead of the weather. We waved and yelled at them to come and dock at our place until the worst of it was over, but they kept going. Not a decision I would have made.

The youngest was scared, by that point, and covered his ears as the storm hit. We told him not to worry, it would pass.

Then the power went out, and it stayed out.

That was Saturday night up at the cabin. The two of them played Monopoly by flashlight until bedtime, and I fell asleep in my chair, wondering if that boater had gotten home safely. I hope so.

We left early this morning, 'cause the power was still out. No sign of the boater.

Back in wireless range, however, I had a momentary desire to turn the van around and head back to the woods. Sometimes, that seems to be the only thing that makes sense, you know?

Up to Ottawa tonight. Out of such storms, political careers are made and lost.

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I love this Andrew Steele column, and all of the fun metaphors in it. Steele has become one of the finest political bloggers in the country, right alongside...Rob Silver, Tim Powers, Doug Bell and Norm Spector. (Whew.)

Anyway. Andrew's point, therein, is typically bang-on: for the NDP's Jack Layton (you remember him, don't you?) to go from doe-eyed suitor just a few weeks ago - to his current depiction of Glenn Close, in a made-in-Canada political remake of Fatal Attraction - is plain old ridiculous. It's stupid. It's absurd, but it's also plenty funny to observe.

And, by all means, keep at it, Jack. If you prop up the drifting, divided, disagreeable, discredited regime of Stephen Harper - doing the very thing you said you'd never, ever do, good golly - you're done. Stick in a fork, etc. You'll be gone, as in, Elvis-has-left-the-building gone.

If you persist - and if it's mutually-convenient - we'll send a few buses over to pick up what's left of your caucus and your core vote. None of them will be with you after this latest stunt, believe me.

Oh, and you may want to give Fatal Attraction a spin this weekend, on your tofu-powered VCR system, or whatever. As the sharp-eyed Andrew Steele would likely observe, it doesn't end very well for Glenn Close.

Brian Topp attempts to prevent a wig-wearing Jack Layton from doing something he will regret.

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...many of you think the economic demise of traditional media heralds a new dawn for Twitterers and Flickrers and bloggerers. Not so fast, says Media Relations In Canada.

Nice site, by the way. Which raises another question: besides Bourrie, is there a one-stop-shopping blogsite for journalists in Canada? If there is, I am unaware of it. If there isn't, there should be.

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...and I'm proud to be his friend, hate bloggers. (Proud. I hope that makes you sneeze uncontrollably, and then pop a head valve.)

The trial judge, by the by, is the same judge we had in Macdonald v. Kinsella and CBC. We're still awaiting her decision.

Congrats, Warman! I look forward to you obtaining the same result in this.


Top court refuses to hear appeal of hate speech defamation award (SCOC-Fromm-Defamation)
Source: The Canadian Press
Apr 23, 2009 10:47

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear an appeal by self-styled free-speech crusader Paul Fromm against a $30,000 defamation penalty.

Fromm was seeking to overturn lower court rulings that found he maliciously defamed a former investigator for the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Fromm's web postings were directed at Richard Warman, a lawyer who has made a career of going after hate speech on the Internet.

Fromm didn't dispute that he'd labelled Warman a `high priest of censorship' - among other things - but argued it was fair comment and without malice.

Last December, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a trial award of $30,000 against Fromm, and added $10,000 in legal costs.

The Supreme Court refused to hear Fromm's appeal and, as is usual with leaves to appeal, provided no reasons.

(The Canadian Press)


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The news of Robert Fowler’s release is wonderful and, to many, unexpected. When I lived in Ottawa, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Fowler a few times through the LeBlanc family, and – as you’ve been reading – he truly is an extraordinary public servant.

So his release, and that of his colleague Louis Guay, is the kind of good news that has been in very short supply so far this year. We needed it.

But, in listening/reading the many reports about al-Qaeda’s decision to free Messrs. Fowler and Guay, it’s difficult to shake one question that – in all likelihood – will never be fully answered for those us who don’t, say, toil daily in the Pearson Building on Sussex Drive. That question is this: how does one negotiate successfully with al-Qaeda? Should one, even through intermediaries?

The very notion of talking to al-Qaeda, as someone apparently did in the Fowler case, is highly controversial. Governments paying al-Qaeda ransom money – as Stephen Harper denied in respect of Canada, but which (in a clever bit of parsing) he seemed to suggest happened in respect of the government in Mali - is also considered to be a terrible mistake, too. It’s axiomatic: paying money to terrorist movements enables them to commit more acts of terror, including kidnappings. Negotiating with them, meanwhile, legitimizes them. (Whilst repeatedly smearing one of the world’s great religions – for which some Canadians, sadly, are notorious – is also a bad strategy.)

My first book attempted to advance the preposterous theory that outlaw Islamic states were funding terrorism to strike against North Americans, on North American soil and elsewhere (I say “preposterous” facetiously, because – when Unholy Alliances came out in 1992 – a couple of Southam News correspondents excoriated the book, and me, for exaggerating the extent and nature of the Islamist threat; subsequent events perhaps suggest they were hasty in their judgments). That said, I do not even possess a fraction of the knowledge of others who have written about al-Qaeda and its ilk. This morning, then, I only have questions.

For example: should we engage in “dialogue” with one of the most notorious criminal organizations of this century, or the last one? Can we? On the one hand, it is beyond debate that treating murderers as legitimate, as governmental equals, is clearly fraught with peril (cf. Neville Chamberlain). But, on the other hand, I can’t recall an instance where a terrorist movement has ever been defeated – fully, irrevocably – without some measure of “dialogue” (cf., the IRA, Fatah, etc., etc.).

So what to do, fellow Canadians? As I say, I’m not sure. Have our governments quietly changed the West's collective approach to the serial murders in al-Qaeda, without even consulting with the rest of us?

If the answer to that question is yes, I cling to the slender hope that al-Qaeda has changed its collective approach to us, too. If they haven't, it’s not hard to visualize its leadership in a cave somewhere, laughing uproariously at we Canadians.

And counting our money.

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Stephen Harper, November 9, 2007: "I think it will be incumbent upon myself and also upon members of the government not to have dealings with Mr. Mulroney until this issue is resolved."

Peter MacKay, April 22, 2009: "Look, from my perspective, Mr. Mulroney was a tremendous prime minister for this country. He accomplished a number of notable historic positive changes and contributions; and in my view, he will always be a member of the Conservative Party of Canada...Mr. Mulroney has stated that he's a conservative; I believe he's a conservative. I believe that -- you know, we honour the commitment of individuals who enter public life. And -- you know, I'm very proud of the things that he accomplished during his time in office."

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