Recipe for Hate is a bestseller!

And it’s been in the papers, here, and I didn’t even know!

Been too busy with (a) fighting neo-Nazis in the courts (b) moving to my house that is older than Canada and (c) helping promote Jean Chretien’s new book to notice!

And it was my brother Scott Sellers, Random House VP, who told me. I literally did not know.

Anyhow, if you want to check it out, Recipe for Hate is available right here!

And it’s out-soon successor, New Dark Ages, is available here!

Recipe for Hate was up for a prestigious national book award this week, but it didn’t win. I couldn’t attend the ceremony, because I was the MC at the Toronto launch of Mr. Chretien’s book at the Granite Club. (Lisa kindly represented me at the award ceremony.)

Anyhow, I am a bit shocked and more than a bit honored. Thank you, everybody, who picked up the book and put it where it is!

The petit gars wants you to read New Dark Ages!

Last night, me, Lisa, our Daisy colleagues, and an army of Chretien fans gathered at the amazing Ben McNally Books on Bay Street for the Toronto launch of the Bosses’ newest book. It is really, really good.

While there, me and my political father showed off my newest, ⁦New Dark Ages! It’s out now on ⁦⁦Dundurn Press⁩ right here!

It was a great night – he was truly amazing. Now, go order his book and mine!

Petit gars et petit Justin

“Petit Justin!”

He got a laugh every time he said it, so the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien naturally used the line more than once. Everyone laughed. Petit Justin, standing off to the side, laughed a bit too.

They weren’t onstage together very long – a few seconds, tops, for a hug and a few words – but that was the photo everyone wanted: the two elected-majority Liberal Prime Ministers, together for a moment or two.

Trudeau was there to introduce the most-successful Liberal leader since his Dad. Chretien was there to tell a few jokes, brag about a (long) list of accomplishments, and – mainly – to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his landslide victory.

October 25th, 1993: our election-night party was at the World Exchange Plaza. We all stood there, knowing that we’d win, but not expecting the magnitude of our victory. His victory.

Because, really, it was Jean Chretien who secured that great big Parliamentary majority. Not us. It was Chretien who reduced the once-invincible Conservatives to two seats. It was him.

Under the watchful eye of the late, great, Romeo LeBlanc, I ran his 1993 war room, the first. We were assisted in our victory by Kim Campbell, for sure, and by a Conservative campaign team that had decided it would be a good idea to mock Jean Chretien’s facial paralysis.

But, mostly and always, it was Chretien who won it for us in 1993. And in 1997. And in 2000.

I met him in 1990 when I was a litigation lawyer at 99 Bank Street. He was on the other side, at 50 O’Connor, acting as legal counsel at another firm.

I used to see him lined up at lunchtime to get a sandwich at Van Houte’s. He’s then sit at a table, reading the sports pages. I’d watch him from afar, loving that he did that.

Around the same time – when Brian Mulroney and some legacy-seeking Premiers decided to stick an interpretative clause in the Constitution, without interpreting it first – I went looking for a politician to speak for me. The guy eating the sandwich and reading the sports pages was the only one.

I left the law and got hired as his speechwriter, which was kind of the political equivalent of the Maytag Man. As in, not needed. Who needs a speechwriter for the best speech-maker in Canada?

So, he gave me another job. At first, he was skeptical about this “war room” stuff the Democrats were doing. But I assured him that James Carville and other Democrats were saying it was what we needed to do: oppo, quick response, all that.

We did it, and we did okay.

A lot of that old gang were there for the 25th: campaign boss John Rae, giving a stirring introduction of both Trudeau and Chretien. Bruce Hartley, a 1993 war room alumnus, and Chretien’s EA since his retirement in 2003. Mrs. Chretien – Madame, as all of us who worked for Chretien called her – looking pretty spectacular for someone in her eighties.

The best political photographer ever, Jean-Marc Carisse. Denis Coderre, former mayor, former cabinet minister – former young Liberal with me, back when neither of us could imagine reaching our forties, let alone our fifties.

Dalton McGuinty, whose war rooms I also ran, was there, too – his team having been dominated by Chretien folks. Prem Vinning, the BC political legend who helped Chretien win the Liberal leadership in 1990. Bob Plamondon, the former Tory candidate who wrote one of the best books about Chretien.

Senator David Smith, who helped deliver every seat in Ontario. Penny Collenette, the human rights lawyer who ran Chretien’s appointments. Deb Davis and Isabelle Metcalfe, longtime Chretien organizers.

Paul Sparkes, the Newfoundlander who kept the wheels running on the road.oh, and Lisa Kinsella (who I can tell you loves Chretien for the chance he gave her to work on the Hill, and for the policies he crafted that helped her when she was single mom).

The journalists there were laughing at Chretien’s jokes, too, even though they’d heard them many (many) times: the Star’s Susan Delacourt, Global’s David Akin. Lots of cameras.

At one point, Chretien missed a punchline, and everyone laughed anyway. He then re-did the joke, and everyone laughed even harder.

“I’m getting old, you know,” he said.

No one cared. We’re all older, too, but not on that night at the Chateau Laurier. Not even 25 years later.

He made us feel younger again. He made us laugh at the lines we’d all heard before. He made us remember why he – more than any other – remains the most-loved Prime Minister. Still.

There is a joy in politics, but it can be fleeting. The lows are deep. The losses, keenly felt.

For those of us who had the privilege to work for him, Jean Chretien lifted us up. He suffused politics with pure joy. And fun, and camaraderie, and achievement.

Want to be Prime Minister for a long time, Petit Justin? Then pay close attention to what Jean Chretien did. Watch his moves. Learn.

He was the great one.

Still is.

Canadian Jewish News on the neo-Nazi death threats trial


…hearings in the current case [will conclude next week], after several days of testimony and argument. James Sears, the editor-in-chief of YWN, and LeRoy St. Germaine, its publisher, are facing charges of uttering death threats in connection with material they contributed to the paper.

The charges originate in a complaint by Lisa and Warren Kinsella, the husband and wife team of anti-racism activists who have long sought to have YWN’s mailing privileges revoked, and who also urged prosecutors to lay charges of promoting hatred.

YWN has often targeted the Kinsellas in the paper, at one point running a cartoon of Warren Kinsella drinking blood and another with his head pasted on the body of a snake.

The current case alleges that Sears uttered a death threat in YWN’s Summer 2017 edition.

The alleged threat came at the end of a long article about a children’s aid society (CAS) investigation into Sears and his family, in which he stated that he believed that whoever lodged the complaint with CAS was likely motivated by an article written by Lisa Kinsella.

“If I told my friends, thousands of people on my mailing list, and hundreds of thousands of readers of Your Ward News about it, while a CAS investigation was active and our son could still have been kidnapped, there was the chance that some hothead who cares deeply about me and my family, would lose it and do something illegal, like bludgeon the Kinsellas to death,” Sears wrote.

The charges also allege that in another article, St. Germaine put a “bounty” on Kinsella’s head.

Testifying before Ontario Court Judge Dan Moore, Kinsella said, “We regarded the article as a call to action, that we should be bludgeoned to death.”

Lisa Kinsella testified that she felt that St. Germaine’s article constituted a threat to “me, my husband, our six children and my grandchild.”

“We were shining a light on the threat,” Warren Kinsella replied. “For more than 30 years of my life, my belief has been that it is better to shine a light on the cockroaches, so that they scatter. I do not believe in sticking your head in the sand is effective against people like your client.”

According to Bernie Farber, a long-time anti-racist activist and friend of the Kinsellas, “It’s a very complex case. You have to prove the intent and the power of words.”

Can a newspaper publish without a publisher?

A Toronto judge apparently thinks so. Disappointing.

Betsy Powell’s story for the Star below.

Judge rules there’s no evidence Your Ward News publisher threatened political strategists with death

A Toronto judge has discharged one of two men charged with uttering death threats against political consultants Warren and Lisa Kinsella.

Ontario Court Justice Dan Moore agreed to a “directed verdict” request finding no evidence that LeRoy St. Germaine was guilty of the death-threat Criminal Code charge, defence lawyer Chris Murphy said Friday.

St. Germaine, 76, is publisher of Your Ward News, an east-end Toronto based newsletter criticized for being homophobic, anti-Semitic, racist and misogynist. His associate, James Sears, 55, a former doctor who had his licence revoked for sexual impropriety, is still facing the charge and is expected to making his closing submissions next week.

The pair were charged with threatening death in 2017 after the Kinsellas initiated a private prosecution over an article that appeared in the newsletter. The Crown has taken over the case. St. Germaine and Sears are also charged separately with wilful promotion of hatred against identifiable groups.

This week, Warren Kinsella testified a piece written by Sears called for the couple to be “bludgeoned to death,” prompting them to take security precautions.

On Friday, Kinsella, who is a lawyer, wrote that he and his wife are disappointed by the judge’s decision.

“The hateful, threatening words couldn’t have (been) published by Sears without the support and involvement of St. Germaine,” he wrote in a direct Twitter message to the Star.

The couple is also concerned about the impact on the upcoming promoting hatred case.

“Does this mean, now, that the publisher of this neo-Nazi rag walks away from that, too? The judge’s ruling sets a very disturbing precedent, one that affects not just us, but persons of colour, women, as well as the Jewish, LGBTQ and Muslim communities.”