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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


I have just finished going through Stewart Bell's new book about the ill-fated invasion of Dominica by a motley crew of Canadian and American white supremacists and mercenaries back in the early Eighties.

As a someone who has written about terrorism and organized racists myself, I can heartily recommend Stewart's book. It is a fine piece of investigative journalism, and a fun read. I'm not wild about the edit - some of his prose has been rendered too choppy, for my liking - but that's a stylistic thing.

Make sure to get it when it comes out. The content is fascinating.

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Bloggers and opinion-writers are supposed to have lots of opinions about stuff, but these astonishing CanWest numbers - tracked by Mark - are, well, astonishing.

Anyone care to explain what is happening, here? Is it just them? Industry-wide? What is causing this?

I know it would be mean to just blame it on the continued employment of Jonathan Kay, so I won't do that.


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The Supremes' decision in the Mair case is a landmark because, for columnists and opinion-writers, the law of defamation arguably now no longer exists. Do you believe what you said? Yes? Then you have a defence.

Malice will defeat it, however. And there's lots of that to go around, still.

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...part of a continuing series.

What do I make of this? Well, it's certainly been talked about in the neighbourhood, a lot. And it certainly reeks.

If any investigative journalists are left in Toronto, and reading this, quite a few of us hope you take a good look at this one.

It's needed.

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...Tories, Dippers get their asses kicked.

I have known about this since last week, and was sworn to secrecy. It did, however, make for a funner holiday weekend.


Ontario Liberal support strong
The Windsor Star
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Page: A6
Section: News
Byline: Jordana Huber
Dateline: TORONTO
Source: Canwest News Service

TORONTO - The Ontario government is enjoying an extended honeymoon according to a new Ipsos Reid poll showing the Liberals sitting in a comfortable lead over the Progressive Conservatives.

The survey, conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global Television, found if an election were called the Liberal government would likely win a majority government as big or bigger than it did eight months ago when the party was returned to office.

According to the poll, the Liberal party would receive the support of 45 per cent of decided voters, up three points since the 2007 election, while the Progressive Conservatives, led by John Tory, would receive 29 per cent of the vote, down three points since the election.

New Democrats, who will choose a new leader next March after Howard Hampton steps down, would receive 15 per cent of the vote, down two points.

Darrell Bricker, president and CEO of Ipsos Reid Public Affairs said, despite an uncertain economic outlook, the McGuinty government still looks like the "best choice" for voters.

"Given especially what has been going on, relative to the economy, you figure there would be a lot more upset at the government," Bricker said. "But right now they seem to be the alternative the public prefers."

The Ontario legislature recently rose for its summer recess as opposition parties continued to slam the government for not doing enough to aid the ailing manufacturing sector struggling in the wake of the high Canadian dollar and a slowdown in the U.S. economy.

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Starbucks, which probably has other things to worry about today, offered me a cup this morning with one of those cheery little bromides on the side. It read: “Success in life is that your kids want to spend time with you once they’ve grown up.” True enough. Author of said statement? Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s. Do you think, Starbucks – just for a moment – that some kids have a tendency to want to hang with a parent with a net worth of kajillions? Hmmm?
• “Totalitarianism.” That’s what a supposedly-thoughtful newspaper editorial board says we are facing if we don’t do what they want us to do. “Forget about all of those steaming piles of hate on the Internet! Human rights codes are inconvenient to us in the media, so throw ‘em out, and make it snappy!”
• “Moral decay.” Ah, yes, nothing like moderate language to bring people together. Me? I’m conflicted. I support reproductive rights, like the vast majority of Canadians. But was Morgantaler the right choice, if that was the motivation? Perhaps not. (And B.C. Lib has a great point: if Morgantaler is so awful, why does the National Post's resident columnist criminal get to keep his medal?)
• Guy is a good guy, and so too all the guys he has to work with, or will work with – Patrick, Kory, Mark, all of whom have been colleagues or clients. They are all smart guys. But it seems to me that the problem at PMO, and also this government, is that it is too focussed on guys. If it is going to GTB (Grow The Base, I just made that up), it seems to me it needs a lesser emphasis on guys, and more attention paid to gals.
Okay, excuse me, but why is this even a discussion? The guy is 38 years old, and is offered $20 million (U.S.) to leave the losing-est team in NHL history to live for two years in Vancouver…and he’s in Sweden, just thinking about it? Is he insane? Mats, baby, if I were you, I would have signed back that offer one second after it was shown to me.
• Uma Thurman is engaged? You mean she no longer wishes to wait for me? How can this be?

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Found here.

Meanwhile, up here at the cabin, I sliced my arm on something and it's all swollen up.

If I die, it's Tony Clement's fault, for not having a doctor within boating distance.

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There is none. Or pretty damn close to none.

One of the weirdest things about the Internet is how, every once in a while, you stumble across a total stranger professing to possess great insight into your psyche and deepest thoughts. They don't, at all, and it's really strange.

So you think about that for a moment or two, and then you drive on, not even checking the rear view mirror.

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...sort of.

Up here near Bancroft, nobody gives a rat's ass about Maclean's magazine, let alone the pompous windbag and country club bigot who types columns for them.

But I've been typing about this case, myself, for many months, and I am glad that it has been dismissed. It never came remotely close to meeting the standard for bona fide human rights complaints.

The fact that it took months and months to arrive at this point, however, may ultimately serve to doom human rights commissions. If they had kicked this complaint to the curb right away - as I advise them to do, way back in the Fall - a lot of sturm und drang could have been avoided.

Will the Harper regime kill the federal commission? No. Not while they continue to be a minority government.

But if they somehow secure a majority, federal protection of human rights are as good as gone. And you'll be able to thank Steyn and his detractors for that.

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I did CBC Radio this morning on Jean Chrétien’s amazing win in the Federal Court yesterday. I suggested to the host that (a) Paul Martin now needs to apologize for inflicting such a rigged, biased process on the ailing Jean Pelletier, and his former leader, Jean Chrétien (but Martin won’t, because he is a graceless, classless historical blip); (b) Stéphane Dion now needs to express regret for declining (cf. Globe, November 3, 2005, A1) to defend Jean Chretien, or distance himself from Gomery (and Dion might, because he’s a decent man); and (c) Stephen Harper now needs to say “no” to those few who are clamouring for an appeal (and Harper might, because he has defended Pelletier before in the House of Commons, and because he is everything Paul Martin is not).

The CBC host asked me if the Chrétiens were happy. I told her I spoke to him yesterday while he is in Sweden, chairing a meeting of former world leaders – and that both of them are very, very happy and gratified. Meanwhile, I noted, the media commentary couldn’t be much worse for Messrs. Gomery and Martrin:

• Globe and Mail: “ABSOLVING CHRETIEN, JUDGE BLASTS GOMERY…Saying inquiry chief showed bias with comments like 'small-town cheap,' court quashes conclusion that former PM bore responsibility…It was sweet victory for a former prime minister who had chafed under Mr. Gomery's characterization of him as "small-town cheap," and insisted his legacy was being unfairly tarnished…”
• Toronto Star: “GOMERY WAS BIASED…A Federal Court ruling has blasted the biased musings of Judge John Gomery during the sponsorship inquiry and cleared former prime minister Jean Chrétien and his chief of staff, Jean Pelletier, of any blame in the affair. In a judgment that strips out a key finding of the final sponsorship report, Justice Max Teitelbaum agreed with Chrétien and Pelletier's lawyers that Gomery was "seduced by the media" and showed an unacceptable bias against them even before he'd heard their testimony…Teitelbaum was scathing in his ruling….”
• Ottawa Citizen: “GOMERY BIASED, FEDERAL COURT RULES…An expert on public inquiries hailed the rulings as a warning to the public that politicians too often are "indulging in kangaroo courts" to deal with matters they are afraid to tackle themselves or that should be handled by the police and real courts. The Gomery inquiry, said University of Ottawa professor Gilles Paquette, was "a joke and a circus."
• SunMedia: “SPONSORSHIP JUDGE CHASTIZED FOR BIAS…The scathing 51-page judgment took Gomery to task for being seduced by the media attention and for making public statements to the media, outside the hearing room, before having heard all the evidence."
• National Post: “JUDGE FELL FOR SPOTLIGHT…"It's a scathing judgment and you would think that anybody else who takes on a public inquiry will be much more circumspect and much less likely to engage in any sort of informal discussion with the media," said Bryan Schwartz, a law professor at the University of Manitoba…”

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1. I always knew it would happen - but how wonderful it is to see this on the wire, just now.

2. Link here, from another kick-ass Canadian lawyer (mine).

3. Messrs. Martin, Dion and Harper are all about to get some very challenging questions, to wit: "Is the Federal Court wrong? Will you now admit that it was a mistake to repeatedly endorse Mr. Gomery?" (Oh, and explain away this one, Jim Travers et al.)

4. More killer quotes from the judgment: "The comments made by the Commissioner, viewed cumulatively, not only indicate that he prejudged issues but also that the Commissioner was not impartial toward [Mr. Chretien] ...instead of sitting as a dispassionate decisionmaker presiding over the hearings with no pre-established ideas regarding the conclusions he would eventually reach after hearing all the evidence, the Commissioner had a plan or checklist of the evidence that was expected and which was required in order to support pre-determined conclusions ...the Commissioner was not impartial toward the Applicant. The most striking evidence of this is the following pejorative comment made by the Commissioner about the Applicant: “It’s such a disappointment that the Prime Minister would put his name on golf balls. That’s really small-town cheap, you know, free golf balls.” Not only was this remark a personal insult directed at the Applicant and his background, but it suggests that the Commissioner had come to the conclusion that the Applicant had acted improperly even before the Applicant appeared before the Commission to give his evidence ...the Commissioner became preoccupied with ensuring that the spotlight of the media remained on the Commission’s inquiry, and he went to great lengths to ensure that the public’s interest in the Commission did not wane. This preoccupation with the media outside the hearing room had a detrimental impact on the fairness of the proceedings."

5. I printed this off, and have rubbed it all over my chest, it is so wonderful. The very epicentre of Gomery, as Wells correctly notes, has a golf course-sized hole at the centre of it.


Chretien wins Federal Court battle to set aside Gomery findings (Gomery-Chretien)
Source: The Canadian Press
Jun 26, 2008 11:39

OTTAWA - The Federal Court has struck down Justice John Gomery's 2005 finding that former prime minister Jean Chretien bore some responsibility for the federal sponsorship scandal that rocked the Liberal government.

Justice Max Teitelbaum ruled Thursday there were indications of bias on the part of Gomery toward Chretien during his commission of inquiry into the scheme, which resulted in $1.1 million of government sponsorship money being diverted to the Quebec wing of the Liberal party.

Teitelbaum set aside the portion of Gomery's Nov. 1, 2005, report that said Chretien and his chief of staff, Jean Pelletier, were to blame for ``omissions'' in their direction of the program that led to wrongdoing.

Gomery, however, also ruled there was no evidence Chretien and Pelletier were ``in any way'' involved in a kickback scheme that a senior Liberal in the province supervised.

Chretien and Pelletier went to Federal Court for a review of Gomery's findings, even though Gomery ruled they had no direct responsibility in cash payments to Liberal organizers.

Teitelbaum also set aside Gomery's finding that Pelletier also bore some responsibility for the scheme. Gomery found there was no evidence Chretien and Pelletier were aware of illegal activities.

The ruling noted that Gomery had made comments to the news media during the commission that indicated bias against Chretien.

``The nature of the comments made to the media are such that no reasonable person looking realistically and practically at the issue, and thinking the matter through, could possibly conclude that the commissioner would decide the issues fairly,'' Teitelbaum said.


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