11.29.2010 11:52 PM

Obligatory mea culpa post

I predicted on CBC’s Power and Politics, last week, that the Cons would win Vaughan, and that the Libs had an excellent candidate in Winnipeg North. Monte and Peggy laughed at me, heartily.

Meanwhile, in the Sun, I even rashly said that Julian Fantino would win “handily.”


Well, I may have been right about Winnipeg on CBC, but I sure got it wrong about Vaughan in the pages of the Sun – I mean, blowing a massive lead of thousands of votes in two weeks, like the Vaughan Conservatives did, isn’t winning “handily.” It’s a huge embarrassment.

I am ecstatic, however, that old Chretien chum Kevin Lamoureux won in Winnipeg North! Great news, and a lot of fun to follow on CPAC last night. I particularly enjoyed irritating Sheila and Meredith.

Now, bon soir.


  1. Sean says:

    well done Lamoureux!

  2. Michael S says:

    Glad to see my old home riding elect a good one.

    How’s his French? This guy’s grassroots are real. Ex-military, the whole show. He might be a future leadership candidate.

    • JenS says:

      No way Stephen Harper will move over for Fantino. In fact, I’m surprised Harper would take him as a candidate, given Fantino’s penchant for outspokenness. And I’m not sure I see Fantino, at 68, launching a leadership challenge — my feeling is, his age was a factor in Harper allowing him to run.

      • Michael S says:

        Kevin Lamoureux is 48. I’m from Winnipeg. Lamoureux is the real deal. Keep your eyes on him.

        • JenS says:

          I apologize, Michael — I misread, in my morning, pre-coffee stupor, and thought you were talking about Fantino. Sorry about that.

          Now, off to read a little more about Lamoureux . . .

  3. Lance says:

    “It’s a huge embarrassment.”
    Spin it any way you want, Warren; so is losing a seat in Southern Ontario, regardless of the vote count.

  4. DJ says:

    The Tory tough-on-crime schtick is getting tiresome and is beginning to seem disingenuous. What’s Fantino going to bring that we haven’t heard a million times over from the Conservatives?

  5. Paul R Martin says:

    By-elections can be hard to predict, because turnout is usually low and the ruling party tends to lose seats. The Conservatives have gone against the grain as they have picked up new seats in the by-elections since the last federal election. Both the NDP and the Green Party came off badly. The Liberals won 1 but also lost a seat they had held since 1988. Another 905 area seat went Conservative. As much as they try, it will be difficult for the opposition parties to spin last night as a win.

  6. sanwin says:

    Only a Warren Kinsella could turn a Liberal defeat into something to brag about.

    • Cameron Prymak says:

      So are you a supporter of the clip aired on CBC radio this morning, attributed to a Fantino worker, that the Conservative win sends a ‘strong message’?

      Talk about spin.

      The Harper government is now some 5-6 years old and if this is the best they can do then we really are at a tipping point. Canadians have not overwhelmingly endorsed Mr. Harper by any stretch and the Liberals have not clicked either, and so to me the major party that can retool and refine their messaging *now* will form the next government in 2011.

      Canadians are not enamoured with any of them at the moment.

  7. Scott Tribe says:

    If thats the best Fantino can do in a by-election where he was massively favoured and had a lot bigger name recognition then the Liberals.. then he’s in big trouble in a general election with regular level of voter turnout.

    • terence says:

      On top of that Tony Genco is turning out to be a good campaigner and only lost on the name recognition Fantino has. It will be different in a general election when Fantino is just another Tory candidate running on Hatper’s vapor trails. He won’t make it then and his age will work against him. his best hope is to get a few years in the senate if the cons win the general election which is questionable to me.

  8. Michael S says:

    It painfully illustrates that there is no groundswell of enthusiam for the Conservatives and that the next election is a wide open race.

    The whole point was to get Julian Fantino’s big victory on the 10 o’clock news. It was supposed to be the beginning of a bandwagon effect. The result turned out to be an optics nightmare as it gave the (valid) impression that the Liberals are getting their act together, holding their own and have a good shot of winning an election. A pickup out west only burnishes that.

    The moral: Nominate good candidates and GOTV.

    For the Conservatives the latter is going to be harder than expected. It’s the Liberals who are motivated now.

    “Canada’s New Government” is now officially middle aged and no longer able to attract new interest. Fantino’s tepid win is a sign of things to come.

  9. MW says:

    It’s been very interesting to read the media accounts this morning. For weeks, we have been told that if the Liberals lost Vaughan it would be a “huge blow”. I always agreed with you that the chances of Fantino not winning were slim to none and never really thought that a loss would be much of a blow to the Libs since it was the Conservative’s seat to lose once they got Fantino.

    Fantino won, so the media is portraying it as a huge loss for the Liberals, in keeping with their narrative. I haven’t seen a single story this morning addressing the fact that it was surprisingly close in Vaughan, which in my mind is actually quite a surprising result and evidence of life in the big red machine. The fact that the Libs also won in Winnipeg . . . seems to me that if you are a Liberal, this morning you should be pretty happy.

  10. mississaugapeter says:

    WK, it was a Fantino landslide until the last minute media gang up. You know the power of last minute media smears, it killed Bob Hunter in 2001 and Gerard Kennedy in 1996. However, unlike the two other instances, where a last minute outright fabrication/something extremely inconsequential altered the result because the media focused on it just a few days before the campaign, the attacks on Fantino were justified.

    It was the mistake of the whole Toronto mayoralty race – the revelations about Ford’s criminal discretions should have been revealed in the last week of the campaign, not months earlier by which time he was able to control the message. The Conservatives did a PATHETIC job of controlling/changing the message this last week, and almost paid dearly.

    Everyone was a loser on Tuesday!


    Because they lost the seat that had been Liberal for 22 years.

    Because the GTA fortress is under serious attack and could crumble. 6-8 Liberal downtown ridings are in play (against the NDP). 10+ Liberal GTA suburb ridings are in play (against the Con). There should be some uneasiness among GTA MPs since the NDP are on the side of the majority of Torontonians concerning Afghanistan and the Conservative pre-packaged campaign plan worked in Vaughan.

    Because it reveals PATHETIC Liberal preparation and recruitment. The Liberals knew a candidate was required for the by-election, but only appointed their candidate last minute. It reveals that they can’t run/manage three campaigns, much less 308. Results reveal a spring election, and a Liberal War Room needs to be activated now, and nominations held immediately. Let the local candidates get a running start, not start from behind. Call Jim Coutts and ask him how Pearson brought the Liberals back to power.


    Because Harper and his War Room must look at themselves and realize that they are not as clever as they think they are – they blew the majority in 2008 by an inconsequential $20M funding cut, and this time, they were 1 day away from blowing another sure thing by making a mistake (a candidate can’t ignore all-candidate meetings everytime) and failing to control the message on the last week of a campaign.


    Because they lost another riding outside Toronto. 0 for 3 is never a good result.

    Because it reveals Layton’s favorable leadership numbers over the other leaders means DIDDLY SQUAT.

    • mississaugapeter says:

      WK, who do we complain to because we can’t change our comments?

      “campaign” in the first paragraph should be “vote”. “Tuesday” should be “Monday”, however, that is relative. I’m 13 hours ahead in Guangzhou so TO’s 9:30 p.m. last night was my 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

      Note: I’m enjoying a great foot massage while plugging away on my iPad, however my inability to change my comments is making the experience less enoyable.

      • JenS says:

        I’m not sure people should be able to change their comments — not being able to should keep at least some from making rash statements then attempting to re-write history by altering them. (I totally get the wish to make changes for spelling, grammar, etc., but there’s no way that I know of that you can allow that without allowing people to edit for substance and message.) But beyond that, I think I’m with you, though I’m not sure there’s as much evidence of a media “gang-up” as that there was lots to report on. I mean, being a no-show at debates and other issues of inaccessibility of the candidate came to the fore as the campaign closed. It became clear there was some sort of muzzle on Fantino — and that’s news, given his known lack of self-censorship.

  11. JH says:

    I’m sorry but I can’t see how losing a seat held by the Liberal party for 22 years can be seen as anything but a major loss. As I pointed out before, it can legitimately be blamed on Ignatieff’s flip flop on the Immigration bill which left former Vaughan MP Maurizio Bevilacqua hanging in the wind and tremendously embarrassed. He had after all been doing the leader’s bidding in the first place. His not campaigning for them only added insult to injury.
    Quite frankly though, my Tory friends at coffe this morning were hoping it doesn’t portend a step towards a Liberal leadership review. Their feeling is that MI is the biggest asset they have, a not-so secret weapon so to speak.

    • JH says:

      Sorry WK I didn’t have a 20 percent lead – haven’t decided about the general yet actually – there’s no place for a Centerist it seems. But – I’m also not believing the spin from you guys on this one. The Libs tried to recruit Fantino who said no and then Genco couldn’t beat him even though we were told Fantino was running a peek-a- boo campaign, avoiding debates and the MSM media (I would have ignored the press as well ). Voters were supposedly outraged over this. Not forgetting of course the huge Liberal vote in the past in Vaughan and it’s 22 years in the party’s hands.
      Actually I’m suprised you are even spinning this for them – you should be pointing out how they have consistently ignored your advice and that this defeat is partly a result of that. BTW I would also be quick to tell the back room crowd, that at first glance there may have been a movement of NDP voters to the Libs as a stop-the-Tories strategy. Perhaps you should point out your attempts to move the party in that direction. Might not be nice to say I told you so – but you did.

      • Warren says:

        I’m no fan of the OLO crowd, as everyone here knows well. That’s why you can be assured I am not “spinning” for them.

        The net winner this morning is Ignatieff. He was supposed to have been crushed in Vaughan, and wasn’t; he wasn’t supposed to win in North Winnipeg, and did; and no one expected him to win in Dauphin, and he didn’t.

  12. bc says:

    “It’s a huge embarrassment.”

    Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. Current governments rarely win by-elections. Typically and historically those seats goto the opposition.

    Sure the Conservatives lost alittle traction over the past few weeks, Christie Blatchford’s book tour probably had a small impact. But the LOSS of Vaughan is a massive embarrassment for one party and one party only – the Liberals.

    • Warren says:

      Bullshit. Your team blew a lead that should have – and your spinners said was going to – be in the 10,000 vote range.

      • Lance says:

        And what “spinners” are those, pray tell? All I saw were Liberals trying to high-ball expectations so that a let down, even a close one if it happened, would be easier to swallow.

        C’mon Warren, you can’t tell me that there isn’t anything seriously wrong with being able to predict a Tory win in a seat that was safely Liberal for 22 years and being right, regardless how close it was, or who the “star candidate” was, or how much the Tory candidate was a peek-a-boo prodigy. If the Tories can **** up that badly in a safe Liberal GTA riding and STILL win in a bye-election when governments are traditionally punished, then you guys are in serious trouble.

      • bc says:

        Teams blow leads all the time – but if they end up winning in the end then the rest is just talk.

        The facts are simple…

        The Liberals have held a seat in Vaughan for over 20 years and last night it turned Conservative, significantly countering the historical trend of by-elections.

        You’re the only one spinning anything.

  13. SteveV says:

    This result is also a testament to never giving up, and vindicates Ignatieff for the “all hands on deck” effort. Had the Liberals listened to some advice, Vaughan would have been a much bigger gap and the storyline today different.

    • mississaugapeter says:

      You are right, the “never giving up” was awesome. I am sure every GTA MP was in the riding helping out in the last week. I am sure volunteers from every GTA riding helped out with the GOTV.

      Unfortunately, in a general election, that focused attention dissipates.

  14. Michael S says:

    Where was the Fantino GOTV

  15. Sheila Gervais says:

    Please don’t stop. You are my favourite irritant.

  16. Sheila Gervais says:

    Bad rash.

  17. hugger says:


    Do you prefer bearnaise with crow or ketchup?

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