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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


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This guy should be mayor.

David Chen is my new hero. He should be yours, too.

A few weeks ago, David – a 35-year-old Toronto restaurant employee - spotted a creep on a bike stealing a box of plants. The same character had been stealing stuff from people and businesses in the Chinatown area for a while. Everyone knew who he was and what he was doing.

David spotted the guy later that same Saturday, and he confronted him. The guy dropped his bike and took off. David chased after him with two other restaurant employees. When they got him, they tied him up by his hands and feet, put him in a delivery truck and immediately contacted police. They made a citizen’s arrest.

But when the cops arrived at the Lucky Moose Food Mart, everyone – including David and the two other guys, along with the thief – was arrested and charged. The three grocers were charged with assault and kidnapping; the man on the bike was charged with theft. David was kept in jail overnight. The crook, however, was promptly released on bail.

Lots of shopkeepers and customers in Chinatown are pretty upset with what has happened to David, and they should be. They’ve told the media the area is plagued with petty theft, but that the police often don’t get there fast enough, or at all. The police, in the interim, have been dancing on the head of a legal pin – like one of them was doing, badly, on CBC Radio this morning – saying what David Chen did wasn’t really a citizen’s arrest because, um, er, it wasn’t a “continuous event,” your Honour. Uh-huh.

Section 494 of the Criminal Code allows “anyone” to make an arrest “without warrant” if they believe someone has committed a criminal offence. Sounds like what David did, doesn’t it? Check.

The section further provides that the citizen “shall forthwith deliver the person to a peace officer.” David did that, too. Check.

The whole thing seems to turn on the fact that the bad guy was not being “freshly pursued” by the good guys. What does “freshly pursued” mean? Beats me. “Fresh” is a word you can apply to any edible product, in any circumstance, without being arrested. But in David Miller’s Toronto, “fresh” has to mean “continuous,” or someone is going to charge you with kidnapping and a bunch of other stuff, too.

I’m not a law-and-order maniac. As a member of the executive of various provincial and federal law associations, I actually love the genius of the law. But, in this case, I would have to admit that the law is, indeed, an ass.

David Chen, meanwhile, is my new hero. You can sign a petition supporting him here.

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• This is a complement, I think. I’ll take ‘em where I can get ‘em.
• Uh-huh. And where will the Conservative stalwart get the money (or the support) to pay for this explosion in bureaucracy? And is he saying the system the Ontario Conservatives created has been acting for untold years without “evidence”? If so, why aren’t they challenging the system they created in court? Also, do you think Dalton is sleeping really, really well since Saturday?
• Maybe. Tim’s baby is highly cute, however.
• On narratives, winning and otherwise.
• Bourrie, worth reading.

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...on why what happened didn't happen:

Look, politics has a lot of ups and downs. But in recent months, Canadian politics has been a bit like a roller coaster. From the Stephen Harper-induced constitutional crisis to recent events, we have gone through a lot of stressful times.

Now, Michael Ignatieff is not a professional politician or a lobbyist, like Harper is and was. Ignatieff has done other things with his life.

Because of that, he has — genuinely and truly - tried to do things differently since entering public life. Because of that, he has come to believe that Canadians are fed up with politicians who put naked grabs for power before everything else. They’re fed up with the kind of games Harper excels in.

So, when Harper’s Reformatories whipped up a crisis at the end of last year, my leader had lots of people — including some in the Liberal Party — urging him to push Harper out and lead a coalition government. Ignatieff certainly could have done that. But that just isn’t how Ignatieff wanted to win.

On reflection, he and other Liberals determined that wasn’t what Canadians wanted, either. We Liberals want to win, for sure — but we want win the right way.

Right now, the Liberal Party is either ahead or highly competitive in the opinion polls. We’ve got a great team and we areready for an election. And, once again, Ignatieff heard from a lot of people — including Liberals — who wanted to defeat the government at the end of June, and have an election just a few months after the last one. Once again, Ignatieff and Liberals thought about that. And Ignatieff decided,once again, that wasn’t how he wanted to win.

We’ve said — over and over — we want to make Parliament work. We meant it. And that’s what we’re trying to do. You have to mean what you say — you have to do politics differently than Harper plays it, if anything is ever going to change.

Will we defeat the Harper government, sooner or later? Yes, we will. For sure. But we will not be bound by artificial deadlines, or the self-serving spin of the Conservatives and the NDP and the Bloc.

Canadians told us they don’t want an election right now. We Liberals think Canadians are the boss, and not the other way around. They decide, not politicians.

Our party will vigorously contest the next election, and we will win it. But we will win it the right way. Not through backroom deals, or through brinkmanship. We will win it the old-fashioned way: in an election, with the support of our fellow Canadians, when they tell us they are ready for it. And we will bring Canadians government that is as honest and as hard-working as they are.

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The newly-minted Ontario Conservative leader wants to get rid of the Human Rights Tribunal. The Tribunal resolves applications brought under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

So does what that mean? That isn't so bad, is it?

Well, it is if you are black, and someone has denied you a job because of that. It is if you are a Jew, and a will prevents you from buying a piece of land because of your faith. It is if you are gay, and someone has refused to provide you with a motel room for the night. It is if you are sexually harassed at work. It is if your union won't accomodate you because you are in a wheelchair. It is if a golf course won't let you play, because of your religion.

To be fair to him, I'm not sure Tim fully understands the law. That's okay, in a way: lots of people don't know everything there is to know about the law.

The difference, of course, is none of them is running to be Premier.

Man oh man, this campaign can't come soon enough.

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As a public service, we have put together some neato buttons for you to print off and pin to your pin-striped bibs! Feel free to wear 'em for your next interview with the OPP!

Personally, the Klees one is my fave. But there's more to come!

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The prescribed period of mourning for Bart the Fish, Canada's best-loved political fish, is now nearly at an end.

Can Bart be replaced? Can those wee fishy shoes be filled by another?

Click, and ye shall know.

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Still, Jackson's public image has, perhaps irrevocably, been shifted from the pre-pubescent Peter Pan figure of Neverland Ranch to something far less innocent. He probably won't be surrounded by children any time soon, on stage or in public. Endorsement deals are unlikely; tours plugging his most recent album, are doubtless over.

Still, it's not a foregone conclusion that his audience will abandon his music over suspicions about his sexual proclivities. Rock stars have only to make enjoyable records; like other artists, they have never been held to stringent moral standards. Jerry Lee Lewis eventually weathered the censure that ensued when he married his 13-year-old cousin in the 1950's; Led Zeppelin, whose sexual excesses were chronicled in the biography "Hammer of the Gods," are still idolized. Heavy-metal bands regularly brag about their groupie encounters to fan magazines; gangster rappers save the boasts for their albums.

Of course, those are heterosexual exploits. In this country and century, only Beat Generation authors like Allen Ginsberg have openly celebrated the kind of man-boy liaisons of which Jackson was accused. Other renowned artists have made pedophilic fantasies the subject of their work, from Balthus's paintings of alluring young girls to Nabokov's "Lolita." But in the 1990's, pop stars don't have the privileges of literary icons or fine artists.

People are forgiving, and that's a good thing. Without forgiveness, we'd all be in big trouble. But some things you just can't forgive, you know?

I know I'm decidedly in the minority, here. But - by way of example - I can note that I used to love Woody Allen's stuff. And then he got involved with his daughter, and I haven't been able to bring myself to watch one of his movies since.

I'm old-fashioned, eh?

Maybe. I sleep at night, however.

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