After what happened to BC NDP, the chances of a Spring election are somewhere between slim and none.
“Warren Kinsella's book, ‘Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse,’ is of vital importance for American conservatives and other right-leaning individuals to read, learn and understand.”
- The Washington Times
“One of the best books of the year.”
- The Hill Times
“Justin Trudeau’s speech followed Mr. Kinsella’s playbook on beating conservatives chapter and verse...[He followed] the central theme of the Kinsella narrative: “Take back values. That’s what progressives need to do.”
- National Post
“[Kinsella] is a master when it comes to spinning and political planning...”
- George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC TV
“Kinsella pulls no punches in Fight The Right...Fight the Right accomplishes what it sets out to do – provide readers with a glimpse into the kinds of strategies that have made Conservatives successful and lay out a credible roadmap for progressive forces to regain power.”
- Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics
“[Kinsella] deserves credit for writing this book, period... he is absolutely on the money...[Fight The Right] is well worth picking up.”
- Huffington Post
“Run, don't walk, to get this amazing book.”
- Mike Duncan, Classical 96 radio
“Fight the Right is very interesting and - for conservatives - very provocative.”
- Former Ontario Conservative leader John Tory
“His new book is great! All of his books are great!”
- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD
“I absolutely recommend this book.”
- Paul Wells, Maclean’s
“Kinsella puts the Left on the right track with new book!”
- Calgary Herald
After what happened to BC NDP, the chances of a Spring election are somewhere between slim and none.
Self-excoriating column to follow.
UPDATE: And, because I didn’t sleep at all last night, and had this rattling around in my head, is what I’ve written for the Sun about why I WAS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG:
I was wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I predicted that the British Columbia New Democrats would win that province’s election. They didn’t. In fact, the scandal and mishap-prone B.C. Liberals won it – and they won a majority, too. It was perhaps the most dramatic political turnaround many of us will see in a lifetime.
What happened? Well, I like to think my two or three regular readers are owed much-better analysis than I gave them on Tuesday. So here are ten reasons why I – along, seemingly, with every other pollster and pundit and prognosticator – got it wrong.
1. The polls: Every pollster messed up. In the weeks and months leading up to the historic vote, not one of them suggested that the B.C. Liberals could win big. The reasons will be hotly debated for a long time. Perhaps it is their methodology – online pools, IVR (Interactive Voice Response) – in an era where landlines are passé. Perhaps respondents are lying to pollsters, and keeping their preferences to themselves. Perhaps polling – as we have recently seen in provincial elections in Alberta and Quebec – has a far larger margin of error than pollsters claim. Whatever the cause, I was wrong to believe the polls. Even when they show 20-plus-point leads.
2. The pundits: Every one of us – including the ones I consider media giants in B.C., like Vaughan Palmer, Gary Mason and Mike Smyth – didn’t see this one coming. Even supposedly-experienced soothsayers, like me, buy into the conventional wisdom. When, these days, the conventional wisdom is neither. Clearly, we are being lazy, and relying on polls (see above) to do our thinking for us.
3. Campaigns matter: The B.C. New Democrats ran a good one, but the B.C. Liberals ran a better one. Christy Clark’s smartest move was to import Dalton McGuinty campaigners like Don Guy, Laura Miller and Ben Chin, who helped give the ruling party the discipline and message it desperately needed. (As a fellow McGuinty Liberal, I couldn’t have done what my friends did, and worked alongside the likes of Stockwell Day and Rob Ford advisor Nick Kouvalis. But a win’s a win.)
4. Christy Clark: Some of us were right about the Liberal leader’s negatives – she got beaten in her own riding, a longtime Liberal stronghold. But Clark’s personal unpopularity, particularly among women, didn’t hurt her party as much as it should have. She is a formidable debater and a campaigner.
5. Adrian Dix: The B.C. New Democrat leader was no Bolshevik extremist, but he had a poor debate performance, and he clearly did not relish the campaign spotlight – while his main opponent reveled in it. His approach was stable and steady, but uninspiring.
6. Stephen Harper: Clark’s coziness with the Conservative Prime Minister and the upper echelons of his B.C. cadre did not hurt her – in fact, it may have helped. Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair, take note: in urban Canada, Harper is not as much of a liability as many reckon. Even after a decade in power, the federal Conservatives – who, in B.C., are provincial Liberals – remain a force to be reckoned with.
7. Going neg: Clark did, Dix didn’t. Only towards the end, when some of his massive lead had eroded, did Dix put together some attack ads. But they were weak and ineffective. Clark’s, designed by Miller, Guy and her friend Don Millar, were better and everywhere.
8. B.C. Conservative Party: To win big, Dix needed the Right-wing vote to split. It didn’t. The B.C. Conservatives party was a serial joke for months, and voters had no confidence in it. Their collapse helped re-elect Clark.
9. The economy: Clark relentlessly focused on it, but Dix didn’t. Big mistake. While economists may insist that the great global recession is over, not many Canadians are so sure. Clark’s message discipline, on the only issue that matters, made the difference.
10. British Columbia: B.C. – where I lived, and which I loved – has nutty politics. Period.
To repeat: I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Now, where is that plate of crow?
I, of all people, should know not to trust pollsters. If BC CTV is right (they just called it for the BC Libs), man oh man did I get it wrong! My sincere, abject apologies.
(If CTV is right, that is!)
Oh my Lord, this is awful.
The old Ontario Liberal logo was amazing – creative, eye-catching and full of meaning. It was also the product of a lot of consultation and research.
The new logo, dropped from on high, is terrible. Bland, boring, blecch. I sure don’t see candidates wanting to send in big cheques for new signs bearing this thing.
Anyone agree? I loved the old one, and hate the new one. You?
When I first saw this last night – in the midst of the Leafs’ loss, the re-entry of Chris Hadfield and other stuff – I thought it was a social media prank. You know, that the Conservatives were spinning the Liberal Party’s massive win in Labrador as a loss.
But it was true. To wit:
“When this byelection was called, the Liberals had a 43-point lead in the polls. Since electing Justin Trudeau as leader and having him personally campaign there, they have dropped 20 points in Labrador,” DeLorey argued.
The Cons have always been into the Big Lie theory of comms, but this one took the cake.
Free advice: when in a hole, fellas, stop digging.
Please join us for a lively and enlightening evening with guest speaker Warren Kinsella who will explore the social and economic implications of the disturbing trend toward income inequality in Canada. Warren Kinsella is a lawyer with a broad range of experience as a political consultant. From 1990 to 1993, Warren held the position of Special Assistant to the Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. In 2003, 2007, and 2011 he was Chairman of the War Room in the successful Ontario Liberal Party election campaigns; federally, he managed the Liberal Party of Canada’s War Rooms in 1993 and 2000. He is an award-winning author and journalist. Warren has been a columnist for various newspapers. He currently writes for the Hill Times and the Sun chain. His seventh book, Fight the Right, was published this year. Cost: $10 paid via Liberal.ca or please email event host to RSVP and arrange payment by cash or cheque.
You want a lede? This is a lede. Wow.
When the Sun’s George Gross died suddenly in March 2008, at age 85, there were few of his contemporaries left alive to recall the old days, when he was in his prime and his world was young. I was one of the few who knew him then.
After attending his funeral I half-facetiously remarked to the Toronto Sun’s deputy managing editor, Al Parker, that I had been around so long that no one was left who knew me back then, and I had better write my own obituary.
Tuesday is voting day in British Columbia. And, by provincial standards, it’s been a pretty staid affair.
For example, the Mounties didn’t raid the legislature — although, they did do that back in 2003, in a criminal probe of bribery and influence peddling involving senior B.C. Liberal staff.
Nor were there any fisticuffs between politicians — like “The Brawl in the Hall,” when Liberal Rick Thorpe threatened to beat up NDP Premier Glen Clark, who then instead chose discretion over valour.
Nor was there any sighting of oddly monikered politicians — such as (we kid you not) Amor de Cosmos, whose name meant “Lover of the Universe.”
Cosmos, born William Smith, was premier of B.C. and had been the leading advocate for joining Confederation.
(Later, however, there was Bill Vander Zalm, who was also premier, and ran a theme park called Fantasy Gardens — and made de Cosmos seem like Winston Churchill.)
This, and more, has long been the stuff of B.C. politics. Politically, it is a place that bears out one of my beloved mother’s favourite maxims: “All the nuts roll to the corners, dear.”
But this time, in B.C., it’s been a comparatively stolid affair. No police raids, no fistfights, no lunatics in the premier’s chair.
After a month of politicking, British Columbians head to polling stations Tuesday, and they are going to vote for an NDP government, led by a rather dry fellow named Adrian Dix. They are doing this for three reasons:
n Dix is — as noted — kind of unexciting. He is no socialist firebrand like his former boss, the aforementioned Glen Clark. He is a shy, well-read sort, one who quotes sports trivia and is adverse to class-war rhetoric. British Columbians have had quite enough excitement, thank you very much, and Dix’s strength is the very thing that B.C. Liberal strategists wrongly thought would be his weakness: He isn’t a showoff.
He isn’t a phony. He isn’t a performer. He’s the kind of guy who, if he lived next door to you, would mow your lawn while you were away, and without being asked.
n The second reason Adrian Dix and his new New Democrats are going to win, and deserve to, is because his main opponent is everything he isn’t: A phony, a show-offy performer, and one who is possibly one of the most inauthentic politicians to ever grace a podium in B.C. (and that’s saying something). Christy Clark has variously depicted herself as a Paul Martin Liberal and Stephen Harper/Preston Manning Conservative. She’s a chameleon, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.
One of the most revealing insights into Clark’s ethos came when B.C. Liberals actually ran ads attacking Dix for riding the SkyTrain without a ticket. This, when Clark was caught running a red light with her son beside her. But where Clark ran ads about Dix’s lapse, Dix refused to say much about Clark’s far more serious mistake. That said much about him, and nothing that was good about her.
n The third reason why Clark’s Liberals will lose, however, is simple: Change. The B.C. Liberals have been in power since 2001, and most sensible British Columbians think it’s time to give the other bums a chance. They want change.
Tonight, they’re going to get it. And, as a former B.C. Liberal, I think it’s going to be a good thing.