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Warning: strpos() [function.strpos]: needle is not a string or an integer in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/oldsite/index.php on line 61 Warren Kinsella - LIBS LAST NIGHT
"...[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!"
I stood at the very, very back, right against the wall, to watch how the thousands of assembled Liberals would react to the former Prime Minister's speech. They reacted with standing ovations and lots of laughter. A few of them wandered back to where I was to say how much they missed him, and to say how they wished he came back. "He is back," I said. "He's back for the party, and for Michael."
The same is true of plenty of other folks, too. Paul Martin - with whom I shared a handshake and a few friendly words - was there to lend his support, too. He was terrific. So were Ontario's Dalton McGuinty, and PEI's Robert Ghiz, and John Turner and Stéphane Dion. They were all there to pump it up for the party, and for Michael. They didn't have to be, but they were.
I don't know when the election is going to happen, and neither does anyone else. Jack and Gilles are afraid of losing seats to us, which I can understand. But they're crazy - they'll come tumbling down the Hill, to extend the Jack and Jill metaphor - if they think the "coalition of separatists and socialists," as their new pal Stephen Harper once famously called them, can prop up the Reformatories indefinitely. Jack and Gilles will be looking for a new line of work if they try to do that.
Anyway; who cares about them. It was a great day for Grits, yesterday. It was sunny and beautiful, and the North Shore mountains were amazing to look at. As I stood there, looking at 'em, a couple fellow delegates said to me they were glad I was back.
"I never left," I said. "Neither did anyone else, from what we've seen this weekend."
Here's a shot of Dustin Van Vugt, one of the Reformatory hacks present here at the Liberal Convention in Vancouver. From what we've observed, their job seems to be mainly comprised of keeping Jason Kenney company. (Or in doughnuts.)
Dustin is the "Director of Parliamentary Affairs" to a cabinet minister, and has in the past achieved distinction by acting as "Legislative Assistant" to Parliamentary Giant "Rob Anders."
Dustin is currently a supporter of Randy Hiller's leadership effort, which makes him beyond the reach of satire. He attended the University of Calgary, thankfully after I was there.
In this little shot, Justin is captured clapping for a well-known political figure. You may have heard of him.
• 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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.