Our friend Loralea is running

And, that’s not all: I’m hearing Caroline Mulroney may not run for PC leader after all.  That would certainly change the dynamic, quite a bit.  Here’s some of the release from Loralea’s team:

Loralea Carruthers to seek Ontario Liberal Party nomination in York–Simcoe

HOLLAND LANDING—Loralea Carruthers, a veteran local school trustee and recent chair of the York Region District School Board, announced today that she will seek the Ontario Liberal Party nomination in York–Simcoe. 

“There just comes a time when you need to say enough is enough and you need to step up. I did that when our school board faced serious issues, and I worked to right the ship as chair. Today, our riding needs an experienced, local leader who understands our local needs firsthand,” said Loralea. 

“We need to invest to improve traffic congestion and work to improve access to education, to raise wages and ensure high-quality health care,” said Loralea. “With decades of local experience advocating for people here in York–Simcoe, I’m ready to use that experience to fight for our communities at Queen’s Park.”

“I want to salute Julia Munro for her years of public service as our local MPP, and wish her and John well in her coming retirement. Her community service began as a local teacher, and it has always been a pleasure working with her over the years representing our local communities on shared issues,” Loralea added. 

“I know our growing communities need continued representation by an experienced, local leader who understands the issues our riding faces firsthand from living here, someone who has worked to improve our schools, enhance our public services and protect our natural environment. I am ready to contrast my local experience and judgement with the Conservatives’ parachute candidate,” Loralea concluded. 

Loralea Carruthers is a public-education champion, environmental activist and community leader. As the Ontario Liberal candidate in the 2014 provincial election, she increased the York–Simcoe Liberal vote to the closest result in over four decades.

 


Column: #MeToo isn’t just coming to political Canada – it’s here

The Conservative MP shook his head.  We were in a restaurant at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, getting caught up.

He’d just told me that a little-known backbencher named Patrick Brown was going to seek the PC party leadership. I’d told him all that I had heard about Brown was that he “had a zipper problem.”

The Tory MP shook his head. “I know this guy,” he said. “I’ve worked with him. His personal life is boring. He’ll win.”

And he did.  But his personal life sure wasn’t boring.

**

Two years later. Patrick Brown has asked to meet this writer. He didn’t ask that the meeting be off the record. I was curious.

We are in his big corner office at Queen’s Park. His Chief of Staff is there, too.

Brown is smaller than I expected. He seems anxious, a bit on edge. He asks me this: “What are the biggest problems I face?”

It’s a good question.

“I don’t have any skin in this game, so I’ll give it to you straight,” I said. ‎”You have three problems. One, nobody knows who you are. Two, nobody knows what you believe in.

“Three, you have a problem with women. The data says they have a holdback about you. You need to fix that.”

Brown didn’t look concerned. ‎ “We have a plan to deal with that,” he said.

He may have had a plan, but it didn’t work, did it?

Nope.

**

It was late, late on Wednesday night. I had just posted about Brown’s emotional denial of a CTV story – one detailing serious allegations of sexual misconduct by the PC leader. While Brown spoke, his most senior advisors – guys I knew and respected and considered friends – sent me a joint sttaement. They’d all quit.

So. A regular reader – one who had asked me to speak at a #MeToo rally in Edmonton – tweeted at me. This is what she tweeted:

“My political #MeToo moment @kinsellawarren: I’ve debated this. But that’s the power of sexual harassment. My first day working at the Alberta legislature I was told to avoid being in an elevator with Kent Hehr. He would make comments. He would make you feel unsafe.”

I retweeted what she said. Within hours, hundreds of others retweeted or liked it, as well. It went viral.

Thursday morning, as revelations about Patrick Brown‎ were still landing – and revelations about the just-dumped Nova Scotia PC leader, as well – Kent Hehr abruptly cancelled a funding announcement in Toronto. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he would be speaking to Hehr.

I contacted my Alberta friend. “Hey,” I said. “Your tweet got noticed.

“Well done.”

Hours later, Hehr resigned.

**

This writer has been saying for weeks that #MeToo was going to hit Canadian politics. It has struck with a fury in Hollywood, the media, Washington and the cultural elite. It was only a matter of time before it took down the creeps and criminals slithering through the Canadian corridors of power, too.

There are other men who are about to be exposed. Count on it. The media have been on their trail for many weeks. Once it gets through the editors – once it is okayed by the lawyers – other men will be going down. It is overdue. It is needed.

One of these men is very, very powerful. The stories have been known about him for three years. They are in affidavits, plural.

His name will shock you.

It is up to the victims who swore those affidavits to step forward and tell their story. Not me or those like me. It will take courage – telling truth to the powerful always takes courage – but now, I’d say, is the time.

The country needs to hear their story, and judge.

I do not think the judgement will be in this man’s favour.

**

I was on my way to Calgary to start teaching at my alma mater, the Faculty of Law. A journalist contacted me. She asked me if there had been an increase in the number ‎of defamation cases, or warnings, aimed at women who speak up about alleged harassers and abusers.

“Impossible to know for sure,” I told her. “But it’s also impossible there aren’t many more cases out there. Women considering [telling their] #MeToo story should remember this: in law, the truth is an absolute defence.”

The journalist is unconvinced. “Yeah,” she says. “But truth ends up being the same old he-said-she-said game in court.”

“The balance tilts in favour of female complainants, these days,” I replied. “And appropriately so. Every lawyer knows that.”

She is still doubtful. She says so.

Me: “I’m telling you a cultural shift is underway. The law isn’t immune to that.”

And:

“The time for them to speak out is now. Now.

“Something is happening out there. And it is glorious and overdue and righteous. It’s time!”

**

Before I board the plane, I hear from a former Prime Minister. I tell him what an honour it was to work for him – a man who married his high school sweetheart. A man whose conduct was beyond reproach. A man who never tolerated such conduct by his staff or his caucus or his cabinet. Ever.

“It was different, many years ago,” he says. “It was difficult for women to complain.”

He paused.

“Those days are gone,” he said. “And that’s a good thing.”

 

 


The Pervert Creep Party of Ontario


https://twitter.com/gghamari/status/957817137862758400



Why women don’t report assault and harassment – and what we can do about it

As regular readers know, Kristin Raworth and I are social media friends. You know this because Kristin wrote to me earlier this week about #MeToo and cabinet minister Kent Hehr.

Here’s what she wrote:

That posting caught peoples’ attention, and then it caught fire. Within hours, Hehr would be out of cabinet.

Kristin was interviewed and applauded. (I was in Calgary when it happened, and was interviewed as well.) In the same week Messrs. Baillie and Brown were felled, it was big news.

And then, the online assault began.

They didn’t go after me, naturally, because I’m a man. They went after Kristin, whose only sins had been (a) to be brave and (b) tell the truth.

Read this:

Kristin Raworth was afraid to go home Saturday night.

The Edmonton woman came forward with sexual harassment allegations against former federal cabinet minister Kent Hehr this week.

Now she wishes she had never said a word.

Raworth was greeted with broad support when she tweeted out allegations about Hehr Wednesday night.

That has since turned to death threats on social media and email, threatening voicemails left on her work line, and 3 a.m. calls to people close to her, saying they’re going to track her down.

I’ve been in touch with Kristin since I got back from Calgary and learned about the threats. She’s exhausted and overwhelmed.

In my view, neither the Trudeau nor the Notley governments are doing what they always claim to do – namely, protect the victim. Believe in the victim.

I’ve started a petition to push Trudeau and Notley to do more.

Please sign it. Brave women like Kristin deserve our support, now and always.

Support Kristin by signing here!


Me on #MeToo at CBC #YYC

Heading back to TeeDot this morn after a great time in Calgary.

I did some radio and TV stuff at CBC Calgary yesterday – on #MeToo but also Kent Hehr, Patrick Brown and Recipe For Hate.

Here’s a bit of it:

Q: Public servant Kristin Raworth tagged you in a tweet late Wednesday accusing Federal Sport and Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr of sexual harassment. The following day Hehr resigned from cabinet. Did you know her?

A: She was a Twitter friend, so I don’t know her well. I didn’t know she was going to do it. What we all tell our kids, what you put on the internet, what you put on social media, it’s forever.

I’ve been writing quite a bit about #MeToo. She had asked me to come and speak at a #MeToo rally she was hoping to organize in Edmonton. I said ‘By all means, I’d love to.’ And then she was moved to write this story about this cabinet minister, and then it just tumbled out. It literally went, per the cliche, viral.

Q: Do you believe her?

A: I do. There’s just a whole bunch of corroborating evidence and then she had a number of people backing up the story. This former minister was somebody who had demonstrated that he was careless with the things he had said to people.

You are teaching a class to law students about communications at the University of Calgary right now. On this incident, what would you tell your students?

The key thing, in his case, in former Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown’s case, you get ahead of it.

You can’t hide. Inevitably these things come out. We live in an era where everybody has got a camcorder, a tape recorder and a camera in their pocket, every single person.


Good morning, class

I’m home in Cowtown, prepping for the millionth time for Law 599.02. Intimidated does not begin to describe it.

But current events assist me. The objective of the course is to teach legal professionals how to communicate better on behalf of their clients. So, I will talk about:

  • how Patrick Brown’s lawyers perhaps could have served him better with better communications
  • how Kent Hehr might have survived if his advisors had done a better job

I’m not saying both of these men didn’t richly deserve what they got, of course: they did. I’m no Blatchford/di Manno: I don’t think you’re a genius just because you have a penis. There’s no guy in Canada who is more of a #MeToo supporter than Yours Truly.

But lawyers have a professional obligation to fearlessly represent their clients, no matter how scummy said client may be. Muttering “no comment,” or not returning a reporter’s perfectly-legitimate phone call, ain’t representing your client.

Anyway. I’m nervous – can you tell?

Off to class Professor Kinsella must go. Have a good one, everybody.


#MeToo and #PCPO

Patrick Brown is gone.

And he had no option. The Ontario PC leader at first emotionally denied the allegations, and said he would fight them in court. A few hours later, when the magnitude of the scandal had become all too clear, he resigned. He had no choice.

The allegations were far too specific to be made up. They were backed by the reporting of one of the biggest news organizations in the country. And, they were consistent with rumours that had been raging around the Barrie MPP for years.

What now?

The PC party, once one of the most powerful political machines in Western democracy, is in chaos. They had built their entire election effort around Patrick Brown. Do they have enough time to recover?

If they move quickly, they do. They need to come together around the right leader right away. Already, names like Lisa Raitt, Lisa MacLeod, Steve Clark, Caroline Mulroney and Rod Phillips are being mooted. Those are solid candidates.

Late into the night, last night, Machiavellian types were telling me that all of this is good news for Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath. I’m not so sure. The new PC leader may be experiencing a political honeymoon right around the time the writ drops in June. The Liberals, in particular, had built their entire election strategy on demonizing a man who will no longer be there.

Anyway, all of that is politics. Forget about all that crap.

Instead, I say: the young women who came forward deserve our support and our thanks. They were incredibly brave, and they did the right thing.

Today, as I head to Calgary to start teaching at the faculty of Law, I am thinking about them. Not Patrick Brown.

Because Patrick Brown is gone, and he is unlikely to be missed.