“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



[I'm putting this up today, early, because I have been actually shocked by how little coverage there has been of the significance of this day. W]

September 4, 1984: thirty years ago today, I was on an Air Canada flight from Ottawa, heading home to Calgary to start law school. The pilot came on the blower.

“For those of you who are wondering, we are hearing that the Liberal Party has lost every one of its seats,” he said. “And we have a new Conservative majority government.”

The plane erupted in cheers and applause – lots of it. Having just said goodbye to many of my Liberal friends at Ottawa polling stations, and having just finished working for a Liberal cabinet minister on the Hill, I slid further into my seat. A woman beside me noticed I wasn’t as deliriously happy as everyone else.

“I take it your friends have lost?” she asked.

“You could say that,” I said.

On the ground in Calgary, my Dad was there to collect me. We silently listened to John Turner’s concession speech on the way back to my folks’ home on the Bow River. Near the end, Turner said: “The people are always right.’

“I’m not so sure about that,” I responded, but – on reflection – I reckoned that Turner was indeed correct: the people are always right.

And the people had chosen Brian Mulroney, in record numbers. More than seventy-five per cent of eligible voters turned out to give Mulroney an astonishing 211 seats. The Liberals were reduced to a paltry 40 – only ten ahead of the New Democrats.

So began the Mulroney era, and a decade in the wilderness for the Liberal Party of Canada. It was an extraordinary decade, a time of great change, and it is hard to believe it all started thirty years ago today.

Not many in the media marked Mulroney’s September 4, 1984 triumph, and that is a shame. He changed Canada – not always for the good, but not entirely for the bad, either.

Meech Lake, Charlottetown, and assorted ministerial resignations, are always cited as the principal failures of the Mulroney era. But the former Conservative leader had successes, too: free trade, which his Liberal successor – my future boss, Jean Chretien – refused to undo. So, too, some of his major economic reforms, which arguably helped return the federation to balanced budgets and surpluses.

To not a few of us, his most singular achievement was his unflagging opposition to South Africa’s evil apartheid system. This placed him squarely against his closest conservative allies, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and America’s Ronald Reagan. But Mulroney’s determination to end apartheid put him on the right side of history – and earned him the enduring friendship of Nelson Mandela.

Why does all this matter now, thirty long years later? Two reasons.

First, Mulroney extraordinary victory on September 4, 1984 – and the historic events that followed that day – should not be forgotten. Whether you approve of his tenure or not, Mulroney truly changed Canada.

The second reason really has nothing to do with Brian Mulroney at all. The second reason we should recall September 4 is this: when democratic political change comes, it sometimes comes in a way that is dramatic, decisive, and defining. It can be shocking.

As in the Fall of 1984 – and as in the Spring of 2011 – you can sense another earthquake of political change is imminent. You can feel the tremors of it under your feet. And it is unlikely to end well for the Conservative Party or the New Democratic Party. Quietly, therefore, smart Tories and New Democrats are preparing for a rout.

That may be good, that may be bad. Depends on the team you belong to, I suppose.
One thing cannot be disputed, however:

As on September 4, 1984, as today, the people are always right.




So, 1,200 of your family, friends and neighbours are murdered, or go missing. Would you be upset?

How about this: the murders and the disappearances have been going on, unchecked, since 1980. Is that upsetting?

No? Then, let’s say you go to Ottawa for help, and they shrug and refuse to do anything.

Upset yet?

At this point in the column, you’ve likely figured out that the 1,200 missing or murdered people aren’t your family, friends and neighbours. They’re aboriginal women and girls.

Right about now, therefore, you are perhaps performing the calculus of the missing and murdered indigenous women issue, an issue that now has its own online hashtag, #MMIW. The calculus goes like this: (a) it makes me sad, but it’s been happening for a long time (b) it’s never really going to stop (c) these women have sort of made themselves victims with their “lifestyles.”

Now, we don’t even have to say, out loud, that if the 1,200 murdered or missing were, say, debutantes or Rotarians or hockey players, nobody would be looking for something else to read in today’s paper. If it had been a bunch of white girls who had been killed or disappeared, there would be no collective societal shrug taking place.

Holy God Almighty, there’d be a hue and a cry like none this nation had ever seen. You’d have mild-mannered suburbanites storming Parliament Hill with pitchforks and torches, if we were talking about twenty Midget “A” teams, or the entire population of Tilt Cove, Newf. or Greenwood, B.C.

But it’s aboriginal women. And so, nobody’s enraged, and nobody’s storming Parliament Hill.

Actually, wait. Kathleen Wynne is. And the provincial Premiers – of all partisan stripes – are right behind her.

Wynne, to her great credit, has been raising MMIW, an issue in which there is no political upside, and in which there are even fewer votes. She has been relentless on the issue, demanding an inquiry into what happened to these women, and why, and how we can stop it.

Stephen Harper, hearing her, has shrugged. No judicial inquiry, he said, and some columnists and editorial boards – Andrew Coyne, Tom Walkom, Jeff Simpson the National Post – dutifully lined up behind him. Simpson called it all “posturing.” Walkom said: “don’t need it.” From the Post, the same: “we don’t need a national inquiry.”

It’s true that inquiries sometimes do little, or they do more harm. After Gomery, Somalia and the like, Canadians are weary of self-mandating, self-financing judicial circuses, merrily stomping all over peoples’ constitutional rights. That part is true.

And it may also be true, as Harper says, that hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women isn’t just a sociological problem – it’s a criminal one.

But if Harper is right, then, why not treat MMIW as a criminal matter – that is, the biggest mass-murder and mass-abduction case in Canada’s history? If it’s a crime – and it is – then why not create a special team of RCMP and federal prosecutors to start bringing indictments? They all work for Harper, after all.

But he hasn’t done that. He likely won’t do that. Because, as above, (a) it’s sad (b) it’s not news (c) the victims made, you know, bad choices.

So where do you stand, assuming you’ve made it this far? With Harper or Wynne?

Personally, I’m a proud Dad to a young aboriginal woman, and I can state – without getting into all the details – that the Prime Minister knows of her. I can also state that, on aboriginal issues generally, Stephen Harper – remember his residential schools apology, here – is not nearly as retrograde as some suggest.

But he needs to do something, and not just shrug. He has the power to do something, and should use that power. For a judicial inquiry, or a police probe.

And, until he does, “Prime Minister Kathleen Wynne” is sounding better and better to not a few of us.


The movies I love the most, as Lisa or my kids or family might tell you, are movies like Castaway, Life of Pi, All Is Lost, Open Water, and Into The Wild. Which might suggest that, were it not for the ones I love, I’d be gone, baby, gone. Into the wild.

That’s not to suggest I have unrealistic expectations about what the outcome might be. In those last two movies, the protagonist dies, badly. Nature wins.

I live in one of the biggest cities in the world, yes. That’s true. But I dislike – actually, I hate - that I can look out a window, and never see a tree, and only see swarms of people and cars. It doesn’t feel right. (And the zealotry about how wonderful big cities are? It’s bullshit. Nobody who is sane thinks big cities are wonderful.)

This amazing story, therefore, is recommended to you. It’s well worth a read. I loved every word.

Not because it’s a great example of long-form journalism, a genre now as hard to find as the hermit himself. Not because the writer worked so diligently to “get the story” – he’s a con man, like all the great journalists are, and he genially uses deceit and guile to get what he wants. Not because of the insights the hermit has to pass along – after such a long time alone with his thoughts, he’s much more glib than profound. Not because it’s Maine, which I love.

No, you should read it because (I suspect) there are many others out there like me. And we’re always re-watching Into the Wild, and we’re always, always eyeing the exits.






Doing edits on the new book, 30,000 words in. Dunno if it’ll sell two copies, but it may surprise a few folks.

Heading home in two days. Other surprises await there, too.

(Baseless speculation welcome, as always.)

 

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