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“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



SWOT is an analysis technique consultants use to assess internal STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES – to a campaign, to a client, to a cause – and to evaluate external OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS.

A SWOT analysis isn’t about a message – it’s about a thing, or a factor, that can help or hurt. It can be happening right now, or is something likely to happen in the future.

The Canuckistan commentariat are pretty good at assessing the political import of things that have already taken place. But what about future events – things that haven’t happened yet? What is the political impact of those?

Herewith and hereupon, a SWOT analysis of ten things that may or may not happen over the next four months.

1. The weather: Hurricane Sandy helped return Barack Obama to the White House – remember that iconic shot of the president hugging a tearful New Jersey marina owner? – but extreme weather events can terminate political careers, as well. In era where climate change is both dramatic and undeniable, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has done rather well (cf. the floods in Calgary, Manitoba, Montérégie and so on). His opponents, meanwhile, tend to all but disappear during these disasters. Based on past events, a Conservative STRENGTH and OPPORTUNITY.

2. Terror: Sadly, acts of terror – whether committed by jihadists or neo-Nazis – have become a daily occurrence (globally) or a factor in daily life (domestically). The murders of Canadian Armed Forces members Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent by jihadists just eight months ago had a profound effect on our politics. As was the case post-9/11, acts of terror propel the electorate into the arms of conservative political parties, as these players are seen as more credible on “law and order” themes. Another Conservative STRENGTH and OPPORTUNITY.

3. Length of writ: Pundit Guide’s Alice Funke has speculated that the Conservative government may well extend the writ period from the standard 37 days required under the Elections Act, and thereby increase their advertising budget along with it. With their demonstrated fundraising superiority, a super-sized writ would present yet another a Conservative Party OPPORTUNITY. But it could be a THREAT to them, as well: in the extended 2005-2006 campaign writ period, the incumbent Liberals bizarrely ran a 36-day campaign during a 55-day writ period – while the challenger Conservatives paced themselves, and ultimately triumphed. An extended writ period, therefore, could similarly present an OPPORTUNITY for the challenger NDP and Liberals.

4. Facebook, Twitter: In the modern era, social media have become a gold mine for political war rooms – and an ongoing headache for campaign management, and political leaders. Alberta’s 2012 election notwithstanding, social media-based flubs aren’t typically a game-changer – but they do have the potential to throw campaigns off-track for a day or two. For all of the parties, social media are therefore both an OPPORTUNITY and a THREAT.

5. Scandals: As you read this, Liberal Party operatives are poring through the emails and files of former Conservative Party strategist Dimitri Soudas, looking for dirt to fling during the writ period. Similarly, the Conservative Party are aware of sworn affidavits that have the potential to greatly damage Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s reputation. If the muck starts to fly – in a kind of Tory-Grit mutually-assured-destruction exercise – it will provide New Democrats with a huge OPPORTUNITY to depict themselves as the only mainstream option not caked in grime.

6. Paid media: For a decade, the Conservatives have simply had much better ad campaigns – a STRENGTH – while Grits and Dippers have had a demonstrated paid-media WEAKNESS. Based on the recently-broadcast evidence, expect this dynamic to continue.

7. Media and money: As in, the former lack the latter. As such, media organizations lack the means to cover campaigns as they did in days of old – and so they now tend to favour following only those campaigns who have a realistic shot at winning. If the Liberal Party continues its precipitous slide in public opinion polls, media inattention may well be the result – and is a huge THREAT, and a similarly-sized NDP OPPORTUNITY.

8. Leaders debates: The Conservative Party has successfully – and brilliantly – ensured that the various leader’s debates will be very difficult for regular folks to see. For the best debater on the stage, Tom Mulcair, this is a real problem and therefore a THREAT: he needs the debates to convince Canadians that he isn’t a wild-eyed radical. Similarly, for Trudeau, the debates – while a potential WEAKNESS, given some of Trudeau’s past verbal mishaps – are now keenly needed to get back in the game. All told, a Conservative STRENGTH.

9. Third party campaigns: Most recently, Engage Canada has taken to the airwaves with a potent anti-Harper message (a THREAT for him) – but also no clearly-expressed alternative. Does it favour Mulcair or Trudeau? We can’t tell. As such, Engage – and progressive campaigns like it – may end up creating an OPPORTUNITY for Harper, because they equalize and split the Conservative leader’s progressive opposition.

10. The teams: By now, most political folks recognize that Trudeau’s core team has become a liability – they have angered the Grit rank and file on myriad issues, and they arrogantly assumed Trudeau’s popularity would have no end: WEAKNESS. The Conservative campaign is no longer led by Doug Finley, as it was until 2008 – but Jenni Byrne ably demonstrated in 2011 that she knew how to win a majority: a STRENGTH. The NDP, meanwhile, have brought back Jack Layton whiz kids Brad Lavigne and Anne McGrath – this, too, testifies to New Democrat bench STRENGTH.

You can do the SWOT, too, and come up with different results. For this writer, however, the yet-to-happen tends to yield Conservative and/or New Democrat STRENGTHS and OPPORTUNITIES.

Team Trudeau, meanwhile, are beset by more than their fair share of WEAKNESSES and THREATS.

The only question, to me, is this: what on the above list is actually going to happen?


Brandon Blaine (of Plague Vendor) and me (of SFH) do Jim Carrey and Bill Murray impersonations, backstage in TO, midnight June 20, 2015. 

  


  


I’ve written a couple of books about extremists on the Left and the Right. Along the way, I’ve noticed a few shared characteristics of the extremists – the terrorists, really – on both sides of the ideological spectrum. 

The manifesto of the Charleston killer – I refuse to use his name – is here. It is standard neo-Nazi fare. Reading it, however, reminded me again of the demographics of hate, whether it is ISIS or the Aryan Nations. 

The ones who commit violence in the name of hate are almost always this:

• Young men, between late teens and late thirties. 

• Failures in relationships with girls, and failures in school and in finding work. 

• From families that aren’t always broken – but from families where the parents almost always have little involvement in the young man’s life. 

• Angry at everything, because they felt they were owed something more. 

• Looking for a new “family” to which they can belong. 

And, along come older men, practiced in the ideology of hate. These older men offer the angry young men a family – along with a uniform, and an ideology, and a secret society, one to which only a chosen few can belong. These older men rarely get their hands dirty. But they teach the younger ones to terrorize, and maim, and kill. Happens everywhere, all the time. 

Want to stop it? Give these young men hope. Give them work. Give them a way forward. Give them a future. 

The haters won’t know what hit them. 


  


Here, amusingly (amusing because I have to use Google to find an example from one of my own books), is the etymology of the What Would Chretien Do? thing:

WWCD

Others have written about the high regard in which the Harper Conservatives hold my former boss, here and here and here. But, as with most things in Ottawa, folks assume that what was once true is no longer true – i.e.., Harper couldn’t possibly be running the 2015 campaign like he ran the 2006 and 2008 campaigns, could he?

Of course he could. And he will.  These guys don’t abandon winning strategies very easily.

Thus, Michael Den Tandt writes this, in this morning’s papers:

“But to return to the crux, which from a Tory standpoint is the PM himself: The perception among Conservatives I hear from is that his brand is more broadly appealing than coverage from the Ottawa bubble would indicate, for the simple reason that he scores solidly, in his own way, on both the key image-based markers referred to above.

On TV Harper typically looks and sounds measured, solid, as he did Thursday in Toronto, with enough white in his hair to denote experience; and everyone knows he has the wherewithal to run a Group of Seven country because he’s been doing it for nearly a decade. Conservatives will also point to the fact that, despite the controversies stemming from the PM’s take-no-prisoners partisanship, despite the unfolding mess in the Senate, he has managed 10 years in power without being tainted with a perception of either personal dishonesty, or stupidity.

All of which may explain why, even now, 10 years in, with the Orange Wave supposedly poised to crest and the Liberals storming the Bastille to restore democracy, Harper is projected, based on current polls, to win this fall, albeit with a minority. He long ago tore a leaf from Jean Chrétien’s book — stability, no surprises, keep out of people’s faces — and made it his own. It still works.”

Indeed it does, indeed it does. There’s a reason why Harper wins all the time, and why – in my view – he is going to win again in the Fall. It’s because he a student of Chretien, as Den Tandt writes. I know, for a fact, that Harper and his inner circle have studied Chretien’s moves in the way that Raptor DeMar Derozan studies game tapes, over and over. The Harper guys tell me, still, how much they admire Jean Chretien. They’re not telling me that because they want to suck up to me – I have nothing to give them that they don’t already have.

There’s another Canada, you see, one that is South of the Queensway and North of Steeles. This is the Canada – a significantly larger and more powerful Canada – in which Stephen Harper (like Jean Chretien before him) remains the favourite. Yes, yes, I know: this renders apoplectic the progressive folks who live in the Annex or the Glebe, who have once again convinced themselves that Stephen Harper is a goner, and that the citizens of Carp or Stittsville or Malton or Stouffville are mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging hicks. I know.

Well, the only connection those latte-sipping, Volvo-driving, C-51-hating One World Government types have to those aforementioned rural and suburban communities is that “they drive through them on the way to the cottage every weekend,” as my pal Darrel Bricker memorably put it recently. They don’t get all of Canada, in other words. They only know the Canada in which they live and work. It’s a smaller Canada.

Chretien and Harper understand the other Canada, because they come from it, and because they never forgot it. In 2005, accordingly, I wrote that the ballot question would be Starbucks versus Tim Horton’s. Amazingly, a decade later, it still is. Chretien and Harper represent the latter constituency – and Messrs. Martin, Dion, Ignatieff and now Trudeau represent the first one.

What Would Chretien Do? Well, for starters, he wouldn’t play footsie with nationalism, as someone else – appallingly – did just yesterday (i.e., refusing to “impose” policies on the provinces, sounding like a pequiste as he decries “centralization” in the most decentralized federation in the world). He wouldn’t flip then flop on an issue that has become a symbol of something much, much larger (i.e., promising to vote for a law before he had read it, and then saying he’d repeal it after reading it). He wouldn’t needlessly require his caucus to vote a certain way – when the issue in question had long ago been settled before our highest court (i.e., abortion, like gay marriage, are properly the law of the land, whether SoCon Grit or Tory backbench troglodytes like it or not).

And so on, and so on. You get the picture.

Stephen Harper went to the Jean Chretien School. Justin Trudeau went to the Paul Martin School.

You tell me who is going to end up top of the class, when October rolls around.

 

 


My favourite single of all time was released in this week in 1978.  It was perfect because it introduced a whole generation of white punk kids  - like 17-year-old me, in faraway suburban Calgary, Alberta – to a whole generation of reggae and dub artists.

And, on this sad and terrible day, it reminds us that the struggle to eliminate racism is never truly over.  Here’s Joe and his band.


Have loved this guy since I was a teen. Finally got to see him. Our Twitter exchange, which I shall treasure to the end of time:

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 11.02.24 AM

And, my (truncated) video of him playing his best-known tune, ‘Whole Wide World,’ which will be song number two played at the wedding reception thing: