Survey says: Elliott won the debate

But you can still vote now, vote often!

(If I were Ms. Mulroney, I would be a bit worried that I’m getting clocked by Ms. Windmill Sex Corrupt Patrick Brown Crazypants.  But that’s just me.)

As my wife predicted four years ago, the next election is going to be Ms. Elliott vs. Ms. Wynne vs. Ms. Horwath.

Nick Kouvalis, pyrrhic victories, and a mystery

So.  Bear with me, here.  This takes some explainin’.

Back in late December, I wrote about prominent political strategist Nick Kouvalis being charged for a visit he and others made to a Kelsey’s.  That was, you know, open.

I said then that criminal charges never should have been laid against Nick Kouvalis.  Because, when one looks at all the facts, the whole episode was disturbing.  Really disturbing.

Now, the Globe and Mail “broke” the story on December 27, three months after the fact. That’s a long time, three months.

During Christmas break, as you’d know or expect, every media outlet is always pretty short staffed. The timing and the placement of the “story” was not a coincidence, in my view.  It bore all the hallmarks, in fact, of a drive-by on Kouvalis, timed for maximum damage.

So, the Globe went with the mysteriously-leaked story.  And, initially, the cops were pretty matter-of-fact with what they said.  And that’s how I saw this:  “A restaurant employee confirmed that nothing was taken during the incident.”

Thereafter, however, alternate facts started to pop up in the coverage, like weeds.  Stuff like: “Kouvalis broke into a restaurant.” And: “It was after hours.” And: “He took booze.”

Thereafter, too, some cops confirmed all of that, and then the usual happened: Cut. Paste. Send. Twitter. Facebook. Email.

Kouvalis was clearly guilty, he’s a political liability, he should be thrown in jail, blah blah blah.  Being a former cop reporter with undiagnosed oppositional disorder, however, I was perplexed. I said so.

The small army of non-Globe reporters who chased this story down had a significant impact on the outcome. With just a few pointed questions, the whole thing started to unravel.

First, the Globe and Mail story. Black and white, open and shut, yadda yadda. Kouvalis was guilty.

But on the very next day – the next day! – the constabulary got some real questions from CTV.  They admitted that they “could not confirm that beverages were actually taken.”  Quote unquote.

Then, on the selfsame day, a Toronto Star reporter pressed for specific details about the so-called break-in.  The veteran officer said that he now “couldn’t recall the exact manner of the break-in.”  And: that it was “either doors left open or forced entry from pulling on the door.”

So, um, which is it?  Kouvalis either walked in through an unlocked door.  Or, you know, he forced his way through a locked door.  Bit of a difference, there, boys and girls.

Here is what I am told by Very Reliable Sources.

1. The ‘Open’ sign was on.

2. Kouvalis didn’t arrive “after hours.”  He arrived during “regular business hours.”

3. The lights were on, and not just in the bar part. The entire kitchen, too.

4. Many open bottles of booze were sitting on the bar. Not locked away.

5. The bar stools and whatnot were all down, and the bar area wasn’t cleaned up.  Nothing had been secured.

This next part is the best part.

Someone at Kesley’s contacted Yours Truly, all secret decoder ring and whatnot, and said that a cop who came to Kelsey’s that night had the bar manager person try and re-lock the front door. They tried.  The cop then opened the door.  Even though it was supposed to be, you know, “locked.”

Doesn’t sound like “break and enter” to me.  (But what do I know: I just teach at one of Canada’s best law schools.)

Anyway.  The bottom line is that the exculpatory evidence, as it’s called, didn’t matter.  Someone decided they were going to screw up Kouvalis’ life for the next several months.  And they did.

Now, why might anyone want do that?  Who?

In the past, Nick Kouvalis has (a) helped elect John Tory and (b) worked for the Toronto Police Association. That’s the cop union, by the way. A couple years after Tory was elected, the size of the police force was reduced to 4,750 members from 5,200 in three years. Civilian employees would be reduced to 1,850 from 2,220.

The union was losing 800 people. That’s more than a million bucks in dues a year. That’s a lot.  Among other things, it might even mean police union bosses could lose their expense accounts at that Harbour 60 place!

Anyway.  I’ve gone on too long.  As a former cop reporter, and a former political guy who occasionally had to deal with police union bosses, I say this: the way this whole Nick Kouvalis thing happened was a clear warning to the mayor and city council.  It was: comply with our demands or we’re coming after you next.

That is why Kouvalis was criminally charged. Period. It didn’t matter if the door wasn’t locked and the bar was wide open. It didn’t matter. He pissed off the police union bosses, and they got him, but good.

Anyway: here’s how this (long) story ends.  As of this morning, the criminal charges against Nick Kouvalis have been withdrawn. No Breaking and Entering.  No Theft Under $5000.  No Trespassing under the Criminal Code.  None of that.

Instead, a “Provincial Offence Act” violation for tresspassing. A $50 ticket.

The kind you’d get for staying too long in a parking lot.

My advice to Nick Kouvalis:

  1. I’m hearing you’ve been doing well with your sobriety. Keep at it.
  2. Get back to work. Get all your team back to work. Focus on the provincial election and the municipal elections in Ontario and BC this year.
  3. Watch your back.
  4. And, congrats.

India to Canada: your Prime Minister’s claims are “baseless and unacceptable”

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

India’s government formally says your claims are “baseless and unacceptable.” That’s a quote. Are they lying or are you?

India is only the world’s largest democracy, with whom we are trying to boost trade. No biggie. Keep insulting them, Prime Minister, instead of taking responsibility.

For once.


Canadians Mystified By Why You Prefer A Diplomatic Incident To Admitting You Made A Mistake

P.S. Way to stomp all over your budget’s most important full day.

Teenagers, the destroyer of worlds

And this is why I’m in the middle of writing a trilogy about teenagers: they’re more interesting, and intelligent, and fearless, than any adult.

“Facebook announced a decline in daily users in America and Canada for the first time…globally, users were spending around 50m fewer hours per day on Facebook. [This] translates into users worldwide spending 15% less time on Facebook year over year.”

Reasons why here.

From the archives: Martin Patriquin is a corrupt, over-refreshed scumbag

Always has been, too.

The passage below is from this web site, on September 26th, 2010, as passed along by Dan Shields.

I actually forgot I wrote it. Patriquin didn’t, I guess, and iPolitics gave him a platform to pursue a personal vendetta against those who have the temerity to criticize him.

They probably shouldn’t.

Martin Patriquin is one of the biggest scumbags in Canadian journalism. This week, we’re going to be hearing all about Patriquin, because he has written Maclean’s cover story [about how Québec is corrupt].

If that seems familiar to you, that’s because it is. [He’s often claimed Québec is corrupt.]

So, not only is he scumbag, he’s not very original. He’s also a phony, turns out.

Here’s what Patriquin wrote in the National Post on January 5, 2007: “Sorry, I’m not going to blog. Life, any life, is just far too mundane a spectacle. With any luck, the journalist blog trend will follow the faux-hawk into the giant dumpster of bad ideas and everyone, journalists included, will figure out the advantage of knowing when to shut up.”


You guessed it: Patriquin then started a blog, in Maclean’s. You know, the one he said he’d never do, because it’s a “bad idea.”

My personal experience with Patriquin is not dissimilar. He reprints government talking points, is regarded as a cynical no-talent by his more-accomplished colleagues, and sends over-refreshed emails to people in the middle of the night. He thinks he’s clever, but he isn’t. He’s a loser.

So how is it that he’s employed at Maclean’s? Beats me.

As Norman Spector has pointed out, Patriquin’s “story” declines to provide the reader with a study – any study – that proves that Quebec is “the most corrupt province in Canada.”

They won’t, either, because no such study exists. Patriquin just made it up, and someone at the magazine went along with it. Personally, I hope every person in Canadian public life – and every person – kicks the living shit of Matrin Patriquin this week. He richly deserves it.

Oh, and corruption? Corruption is defined as “a lack of honesty or integrity.”

By that definition, the rest of us know who is really corrupt, don’t we, Martin?

Caleb Stark apology (updated)

He’s still spouting libel – and he’s published Lisa’s private phone number, which has resulted in harassment and threats – so his problems will continue.

UPDATE: And this, sent in by a regular reader – Caleb promoting “jokes” about sexual assault?

Ten bold and boldface observations about Ontario politics

  1. Patrick Brown‘s entry into the PC leadership race meant chaos, controversy and Kathleen Wynne‘s likely re-election.  Now that’s he’s gone (again), an Ontario Liberal victory becomes a lot less certain.
  2. Eric Hoskins‘ sudden resignation is very bad news for Wynne, too.  He joins departing senior ministers like Brad Duguid, Liz Sandals and Deb Mathews, all of whom Wynne needed in a tough re-election battle – to help spread the Ontario Liberal gospel.
  3. That’s not to say that Hoskin’s riding is at risk.  Even if there is a grit-dammerung, and Ontario Liberals are wiped out province-wide, Hoskin’s old riding of St. Paul’s and Toronto Centre are safe. (Josh Matlow might put that prediction at risk, however.)
  4. Andrea Horwath is still in a witness protection program somewhere, and Wynne is still the main beneficiary.  As long as Horwath lets Wynne style herself as the only progressive choice in the race – just as Wynne did in 2014 – the Ontario Liberal leader remains competitive.
  5. Doug Ford continues to impress card-carrying PCs, and surprise journalists.  Everyone had expected that, by now, he would have pulled the pin on one or two verbal hand grenades, and swallowed them.  But he hasn’t. Ford’s been disciplined, genial and hard-working.  His smart campaign guru Michael Diamond deserves a lot of credit.
  6. Caroline Mulroney has greatly improved.  At the start of this abbreviated race, she was a political newbie, and it showed: she looked and sounded nervous and uncertain, and had a penchant for repeating talking points over and over.  In recent days, however, she’s stepped up her game – but many PCs are still saying (as party leadership partisans often do) “she’s my pick next time, not this time.”
  7. Christine Elliott has momentum.  Under the able guidance of Fred DeLorey, Elliott has acquired frontrunner status in this crazy-short campaign, and she’s showing a lot more energy than she did in 2009 and 2015’s PC races.  If Doug Ford doesn’t win on the first ballot – and that’s a tall, tall order for anyone – his support would mostly go to her.  She, I know, is the candidate the Ontario Grits fear the most.
  8. With the departure of Pat Sorbara, I’m told the infighting in the Ontario Liberal campaign team has stopped.  Under smart folks like Chad Walsh, Rebecca MacKenzie and Alexis Levine, Wynne’s campaign effort is looking stronger.  (The well-compensated Board members around her, meanwhile, are busily making quiet plans for their next political gigs – subtly burying Wynne prematurely, just as they did with Paul Martin.)
  9. Justin Trudeau presents a bit of a dilemma for Ontario Liberals.  A few short months ago, he would have been an asset to any provincial Grit campaign.  Now – following many months of controversies and missteps, most recently the Indian Imbroglio – the bloom is decidedly off the dauphin’s rose.  Expect to see him less on the hustings.
  10. The pollsters still say the Ontario PCs have the advantage – notwithstanding all the Patrick Brown-related scandal and controversy.  Personally, I think the PCs are well-advised to never, ever count out Kathleen Wynne – under that kindly, grandmotherly exterior, there is a spine of political steel.  Wynne, in my experience, will do whatever it takes to win.  PCs would be well-advised to avoid underestimating her yet again.

Brown being investigated for ethics breaches

Story here:

Ontario’s integrity commissioner confirmed Monday he is investigating a complaint against former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown.

Integrity commissioner J. David Wake confirmed the probe in a statement to media early Monday afternoon.

The complaint was made last week by PC MPP Randy Hillier, questioning how Brown could afford the mortgage on his $2.3 million house and alleging Brown violated the rules for MPPs by failing to declare all his sources of income. 

The probe comes amid the race for a new PC leader after Brown stepped down as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct.

And rumours are flying about whether he will quit the race or not.

What will he do? What should he do? Comments are open.