The Master Strategist Ain’t So Masterful

…as evidenced by Ekos, now. Just a hunch, but I’m guessing that the Reform-Con caucus get-together in Ottawa next week won’t be a particularly jolly affair.

Why? Well, because 33 of them, at least, are looking at being kicked to the curb by voters. Thirty-three!

Meanwhile, Stephen Harper’s former Chief of Staff says the government has no “credibility” on padlocking Parliament – so the Reform-Cons dispatch assorted nobodies to pretend that “someone named Tom Flanagan” doesn’t, er, exist. Check this out:

Bits and Pieces About Famous People

• Jim Watson: I am very sorry to see my friend leaving Toronto provincial politics for Ottawa mayoralty politics…but I know he will do as great a job there (again) as he did here. Want to know how old I am? Jim and I met on the first day of class at Carleton THIRTY YEARS AGO – in 1980. We were the class loudmouths, and were naturally drawn together. He has been one of my closest friends ever since. I’d say good luck, Senator, but I doubt you’ll need it. Now, chicken burgers for the whole campaign team!
• Tom Flanagan: I like the learned Calgary professor because, mainly, he tells the truth. (The fact that he has written positive reviews of my books may naturally colour my judgment, as well.) So when Tom says that his former student padlocked Parliament to avoid scrutiny in the Afghan detainee torture scandal, you should know that he is telling it like it is. Count on this statement of fact to show up in a campaign ad or two sometime soon.
• The Aspers: My FB pal Bourrie will be mad at me, but I have to admit that I sort of feel sorry for the Aspers. To see their Dad’s empire divided up in this way, with nary an acknowledgment of what Izzy did (or did for this country), has to be very hard. Warren’s stock tip for the day: don’t invest in mainstream media companies, like, ever.
• The Senators: The legislative ones, not the hockey ones. Diane Francis gets it right in the linked column (I can’t believe I just wrote that): my well-placed Senate sources tell me one of the principal reasons Harper prorogued Parliament was to seize control of Senate committees – particularly Defence, wherein Afghan detainee trouble was likely. Colin Kenny will therefore be out as chair, and Pamela Wallin in – but don’t expect that to change anything. The torture issue isn’t going to go away, Senate musical chairs notwithstanding.

Friday Bits and Pieces

John Tory: Pretty accurate and fair takes on John’s decision here and here. Did a fair bit of media on this yesterday. After six months of work, I’m obviously disappointed. But John made the right decision for him and his family. Personally, I’m going to be focusing on getting that McGuinty guy [full disclosure: whose caucus I’ve given comms advice] re-elected Premier – and that Iggy guy elected Prime Minister.
Don Newman: I have to say, I’m really enjoying Don’s reincarnation as a columnist on the CBC website – he goes against the conventional wisdom, and his analysis is pretty good. His brooooadcast didn’t really permit him to do either of those things, so it makes for fun reading.
Democracy Denied: I spoke yesterday to a smart Hill Times reporter about the Reform-Conservative’s padlocking of Parliament. My take: “These guys aren’t merely not up to the job. Now they’re not even showing up to do the job.”
Jobs jobs jobs: Where are they? Padlocking Parliament and the Afghan detainee torture scandal aren’t the only reasons the Reform-Cons’ numbers are dropping – it’s these numbers, too. Until there is sustained job growth, the Harpies’ lusted-after majority will remain beyond reach.
Check it out! My pal Stefan Baranski has put together a boffo aggregator at OntarioNewsWatch. Bookmark it, baby!
He laughed out loud: Another pal, Bob Richardson, burst out laughing – a trademark Richardson phrase – to see the headline on Bourque’s site this morning: TORY’S EXIT: SHED A TEAR FOR BOB RICHARDSON. I have to admit: that’s actually pretty funny. Can’t believe I just wrote that.
Bouncing Souls: My daughter and I were rockin’ to them this morning in the car. Cheered me up. I need cheering up, these days. Here’s one of the best punk acts around, with ‘I Think the World.’

Sad Day

Statement by John Tory:

TORONTO, January 7, 2010 – I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the office of Mayor of Toronto in the 2010 municipal elections.

I am extremely gratified by the degree of support offered to me on the streets, in public opinion polls and in the committed support of a significant number of City Councillors, however I have decided that I will pursue a different course with my life and my career.

Just prior to the sad passing of David Pecaut, he wrote to me and urged me to seriously consider taking the helm of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, which he did so much to build into a huge force for city building. The Board of the TCSA has subsequently confirmed their desire to have me occupy this volunteer post and I intend to accept that appointment. It will give me a great opportunity not only to carry on the vital work of the TCSA and build on David Pecaut’s considerable legacy, but also to remain a very active contributor to the city I love and call home.

I will also be continuing with other activities I am very much enjoying including the hosting of my daily talk show on Newstalk 1010, increased responsibilities with Rogers following the passing of my friend and mentor Ted Rogers, other corporate Boards and business assignments and a myriad of charitable responsibilities with organizations ranging from the United Way and St. Michael’s Hospital to Unity for Autism and Easter Seals. This decision will also leave more time for family, including Barbara, our four children and two grandchildren.

I want to thank all of the people who encouraged me to contest the Mayoralty, especially those who helped me establish the foundation for a strong organization, and all of the citizens who communicated with me in person or otherwise to express their confidence in me.

I look forward to the opportunity to be a commentator and analyst in the campaign to come. That will be a new experience! I also look forward to continuing to be an activist citizen and using my energy and experience to help build a better Toronto.

For further information: Jim MacLean, (416) 919-4319.

Response to the Liar

Column called `dishonest polemic’

January 7, 2010 04:01:00

Re:Accusations of war crimes risky for Liberals, Opinion Jan. 4

In this op-ed column, the Star permitted former Reform Party operative Ezra Levant to propagate a falsehood – about me, and the Liberal Party of Canada.

In the column – which was preceded by no calls for verification by anyone at the Star – Levant insinuated that Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh had linked Canadian troops to the torture of Afghan detainees. This, as Mr. Dosanjh pointed out in a subsequent letter to the Star, was outrageously false.

Unlike many inside the Harper regime, Liberals are concerned about the effect the spreading detainee torture scandal can have on the morale of our troops. The Conservative government, we feel, has been recklessly indifferent to this.

In addition, the Star permitted Levant – a long-time political antagonist whom I am currently suing for libel – to suggest that I also blamed our Armed Forces for torture, without any supporting evidence whatsoever.

On a CTV political panel on Nov. 20, which apparently moved Levant to pen his screed, I stated: “[The Harper government is] trying to destroy [diplomat Richard Colvin] personally, a man who is obviously highly regarded. Now they have two problems. They seem to be indifferent to torture, and they seem to be engaged in a comprehensive plan to cover it up.”

At no time did I, or any Liberal, accuse our brave Canadian men and women in uniform of acts of torture. In fact, we have been critical of the fact that the Harper regime “seem to be indifferent to torture” committed against Afghan detainees handed over to Afghan authorities. We have also been critical of the government’s desire to destroy Mr. Colvin, instead getting to the bottom of this sad affair.

Mr. Levant, I suspect, was moved to write his partisan attack because the host of the CTV program mocked him at the end of the segment. But that does not explain why a newspaper like the Star would accept his dishonest polemic for publication in the first place.

Warren Kinsella, Toronto

UPDATE: On reflection, I think “mocking” doesn’t accurately reflect what Tom Clark did. It was more like “poking fun.” Either way, however, The Liar© is still The Liar©.

The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

…is, when facing heat, to hide behind the skirts of the troops.

Ezra Levant – who Talk Radio 1010 called me about yesterday, and who I described as a liar on this and other issues – is the rodeo clown of Canadian punditry, one loathed by members of the party he purports to support. More about Levant’s dishonesty and lunacy is found here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here, my favourite.

Ujjal and others respond to Levant’s lies, and I plan to do likewise, here. The longer his ilk represents the Reform-Conservatives, the more distant becomes their lusted-after majority.