, 11.24.2021 03:42 PM

My latest: pick a lane, Tories

The conservative conference delegate stood to ask a question.

“Warren,” she said, clutching the microphone one of the conference organizers had passed to her, “do you think we as conservatives should spend more time defining who we are?”

Before providing my answer, let me set the scene. I was at a weekend gathering of the Conservative Leadership Foundation, ably led by my friend John Mykytyshyn. On the noontime panel, held in a stately boardroom in Toronto’s Royal Canadian Military Institute, were two people who were way smarter and way better-looking than me: TVO legend Steve Paikin and Conservative strategist (and fellow Postmedia columnist) Tasha Kheiriddin.

But the question had been addressed to me. So I answered it.

“You conservatives spend way too much time agonizing over who you are,” I said to the assembled delegates, many of whom were masked, and all of whom had been verified as fully vaccinated. “I know who you are. You favour smaller government, less taxes, and law and order. You favour individual liberty. That’s it. That’s who you are.”

I paused. “Liberals, and I’ve been one, don’t worry about who we are. We don’t get into big philosophical debates while standing in front of a mirror. We know what we are, above all else: Winning. We win.”

And Canadian conservatives, mostly, don’t. Why? Well, take a gander at what is going on in Ottawa this week.

The vaccination vacillation of Erin O’Toole continued, virtually overshadowing the return of Parliament. One Conservative MP was revealed to have COVID, and any number of others had therefore been possibly exposed at last week’s caucus meeting.

Meanwhile, a number of others were mysteriously absent from the reopening of a Parliament they’d previously insisted needed to reopen. Oh, and a statistically impossible number had “medical exemptions” from vaccination.

So, a question: Do ‘Error O’Terrible’ and his cast of fools think we are dummies? Do they think we’ve not noticed that they’ve equivocated, and obfuscated — and plain old skated — on every reasonable vaccine question directed their way?

Chief of which was, and remains: Are you all vaccinated?

We still don’t know.

As I told the assembled conservative attendees at the aforementioned conference: The COVID-19 pandemic is existential. As in, it directly relates to the existence of human beings. After five million of us have been killed off by this cruel, relentless virus, you’d think O’Toole’s cabal would get this. But they don’t.

“I’m a war room guy,” I told the conservative folk. I’d run majority-winning war rooms for Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty. “I don’t care about policy. I care about clarity. That’s what voters want: Clarity.”

That’s the case, I told them, even when the most plain-spoken option is awful. Donald Trump, for example. He was awful. But he spoke in simple, declarative sentences and you knew where he stood.

But with Hillary Clinton — who I proudly worked for, full disclosure, in two states and at her Brooklyn headquarters — you didn’t know where she stood. She was a superior human being to Trump, in every way, and every sane person knew it. But she equivocated. She vacillated. She bobbed and weaved.

Like Erin O’Toole and his team do, on one of the most critical public policy issues of our lifetimes. And he thinks we haven’t noticed.

“We’ve noticed,” I told the conservative conference folks, many of whom were nodding their heads.

“And we’re not impressed.”

— Warren Kinsella has run war rooms for Canadian political parties from B.C. to Ontario.

26 Comments

  1. Warren,

    Bingo! I blame caucus far more than I blame the leader because they don’t have the guts to almost totally come into line and get vaccinated AND because they refuse to speak almost as one voice to the leader to finally set him straight. People everywhere would be laughing if this wasn’t a matter of life and death. So, instead they are royally pissed off with O’Toole, who’s losing more and more credibility with each passing day. So, dear caucus members: read the damned riot act to the leader and do it yesterday otherwise forget about being even remotely competitive in the next campaign. Thems the facts.

  2. And for those who choose to be oblivious:

    As of now it’s 5,189,677 unfortunate souls that have already departed.

    • Robert White says:

      Ronald, these fatalities worldwide are the wholsale responsibility of Fort Detrick U.S. Army Biosecurity Level Four Maryland, and the ever irresponsible Central Intelligence Agency along with directive form the Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff.

      I have ample evidence that the Government of the United States of America is responsible for the manufacture, and deployment of the bioweapon Sars-2-nCoV-19 which is a GOF Offensive Fourth Generation Biowarfare bioweapon.

      http://www.cambridgeworkinggroup.org/

      Don’t forget that I’m a signatory & charter member of the 2014 Cambridge Working Group Call-to-Action on deadly American manufactured Gain-of-Function Fourth Generation Biowarfare pandemic pathogens utilized for purposes of covert war.

      RW

      • Robert,

        I would categorize this as a worldwide induced genocide. It’s outright murder and the person at the top of the totem pole will never be held criminally or civilly responsible in a court of law. Others have been executed for far less. In this case, it seems that God will have to render final judgment and may he send you know who in the same direction as Stalin and Hitler. And still, that person would be getting off lightly.

  3. Winnipeg Hard Core circa 1980 says:

    Warren, first I’d like to say that I greatly respect you and your positions on so many points, and I respect your service to Canada. You have correctly, in my mind, seen through the false, corrupt, and unethical Liberal government we currently have, and could have if other parties were elected (and Trump). What I don’t understand is how you can not see that Biden and the Clintons are just as false, corrupt and unethical. Perhaps one day we could have a chat over a pop and you could explain why.

    With the greatest respect – thank you for all you do.

  4. Robert White says:

    I’ve been turned into a political unvaccinated leper whereby I’m not welcome in Parliament, or the Bovine Club as the world’s best drummer bar none.

    What has happened to the Canadian Human Rights paradigm if we are coercing Canadians into making decisions about their own private heath at the behest of peer-group pressure instead of peer-reviewed science?

    Ostricising the unvaccinated is not civilized, warranted, or even advisable based upon the current science. Reacting hysterically via allienation, censure, or outright bannishment of the unvaccinated based upon a biased interpretation of law, rights, or epidemiology is not wise.

    Parliament is an impressive architectural heritage legislative building, but the people in it are mere Canadians most days IMHO. Are we really impressed with this latest iteration of Parliamentarians after six years with Trudeau?

    I’ll stand behind the Conservative Party decision making on the Canadian Human Rights legislation that upholds Informed Consent legislation and the rule of Privacy vis-a-vis personal health decision making of Canadians.

    RW

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Robert,

      You no doubt won’t agree but vaccination is never about self and self’s right to decide. Rather it’s all about self having absolutely no right to potentially expose another human being to COVID-19. Vaccination is all about protecting the other, to the best of the scientific community’s knowledge and ability.

      Like I said before, if our little anti-vaxer comes into the office and kills one or many of us, I’ll sue her pint-sized little ass for five million dollars as part of a wrongful death suit. You can count on it.

    • Bill Malcolm says:

      Nobody in Canada has been forced to get vaccinated or to reveal their private medical records. You can wander around in a daze to your heart’s content.

      Just don’t expect to be admitted to gatherings or facilities where people who care about themselves and others have agreed that they will admit to their vaccination status. What you do wandering around in a brain fog is entirely your business, so long as you don’t insist on pissing on the vast majority of people by insisting on crashing their gatherings.

      As for your polemic about science not being settled. Phooey. Update your notions from your April 2020 stance. This seems beyond the ability of people who believe in black magic rather than evidence and some aggrieved sense of their personal importance that everyone else should care about. Go and infect camels at your local zoo. Or don’t, as the mood strikes you.

  5. Robert White says:

    If you reread the article with Dean Vernon Wormer of Faber College in the place of Warren lecturing the Conservative attendees, and you think of Dean Wormer saying ‘Get Neidermeyer to do it, he’s a sneaky little shit like you’ whilst viewing the Conservatives as his henchmen, you will realize we should only be responding via Delta House Fraternity tradition to Warren’s double secret probation lecture.

    RW

  6. Vaccinations against Covid-19 have become a proxy for the obstreperous Conservatives in their opposition to PM Trudeau. I guess they have decided that cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face is a credible political strategy. Maybe Mr. O’Toole is hoping that he can wait the “vax-hesitant” out and that in a couple of years, the public will have other stuff than Covid on their minds. Who knows? It could also be Mr. O’Toole has been advised not to lean too hard on the recalcitrant because the party will implode (not a bad idea when I think about it, the imploding thing that is). As I have said before, I’m waiting for Doug Ford.

    • ER,

      You may have a far better read on politics in English Canada than I do but my gut tells me that good old AB would never, ever, swallow the party being led by a former Ontario premier. And yet, they are hunky dorey, in so many quarters, if Kenney one day gets the nod.

      All I can say, to use a Harperism, is that Quebec would never stomach either of them so good luck IMHO in stacking up huge majorities in both AB and ON cause it likely won’t happen under either of those guys. But I could be proven wrong.

      • Greetings & Salutations my esteemed friend.

        Doug has the common touch, and just radiates sincerity. I actually think he would do quite well out west. I’m not too worried about La Belle Province. I think what is more important is that he is someone who might actually win some seats in the 416 and 905 area codes. I’m not too sure about Mr. Kenney’s political future.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          ER,

          Regards to you as well and thanks. After reading this, I’m sort of coming around…slowly. True enough, anything is possible.

          It might amuse you to know that in my CPC circle, the big debate is about whether O’Toole actually makes it to the next election. I’m part of the YesCrowd, such as it is. LOL. Most of my bunch are with the NoCrowd. I see caucus as basically gutless so IMHO, Erin gets a pass. Is that good or bad? We’ll find out!

          • If you permit me a comment (BTW, I do not belong to any party), Mr O’Toole erred in postponing the leadership review. He should have faced his critics head-on. Now he will have months of “anonymous sources” within the CPC whispering to the CBC and other interested members of the media about his leadership (or lack thereof). I don’t think replacing him now will make any difference in any event.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            ER,

            I don’t know if time changes anything in the end. Remember that in 2004, Harper was certainly less liked and was far more polarizing than O’Toole ever will be and he sailed right through the review vote in Montreal without breaking a sweat. Most camp followers are a strange mix of coward and lap dog. That’s certainly the case in 2021 in all of our federal and provincial parties. Erin is certainly running a bit scared. His conduct amply demonstrates that but in the end, nothing will come from this wet firecracker. The OLO is counting on that and THAT’S about the only thing they got positively right these days…

  7. Joseph says:

    So if vaccination status should be public, then it’s fair to inquire if someone has ever had an STD.
    Just to be safe right?

    • Steve T says:

      You don’t catch an STD by someone exhaling in the same room as you, last time I checked.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Joseph,

      I’m good with that.

    • Jim R says:

      You might want to try a different analogy.

      A person who has had a STD and been cured of it, is in no danger of spreading the since cured STD.
      A person who currently has a STD can only spread it to a sexual partner.

      So, the more correct analogy is that it’s fair to ask a person who you’re about to have sex with if they currently have a STD.

      And I don’t think anyone would disagree with that if we throw in an exception for monogamous couples.

  8. A. Voter says:

    There are many intelligent, articulate conservatives in think tanks and the media. It’s depressing to look at the Conservative party. O’Toole should be replaced-but by who? Who stands out?

  9. Steve T says:

    Very astute observation, Warren – and interestingly this is one of the things many Conservatives believe is a flaw of the Liberals. That is – Liberals have no specific principles; they just go whatever way the wind is blowing.

    I have been involved in my local conservative riding association since the Canadian Alliance days, and this has been a theme throughout. Many conservatives feel that the party has to stand for something – even if those things aren’t the trendy or fashionable view du jour. They feel that Liberals are too enamoured with “winning”, and have no backbone to stand up for what is right.

    Of course, the downside of this approach is what you and others have pointed out – Conservatives have a tendency to cling too dogmatically to certain things, and argue about them very publicly and ugly-ly. That needs to stop.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Steve,

      Now, I’m speaking just politically, not morally. So the big problem is properly determining what at least a plurality of potential voters think is right. That’s the rub.

    • I think it might be more accurate to say the Liberals will see which way the wind is blowing, promise the sun and moon, and then when elected say they can’t actually deliver…as a wise politico once said, and party that robs Peter to pay Paul will always be popular with Paul.

  10. J.Ph. Brunet says:

    Believing Hillary Clinton a paragon of probity is at best
    truculently abnegational if not bathetically bolshie.

  11. - says:

    The Toronto Sun should pick a fucking lane

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