My latest: Green self-destructing machine

The job of the media is to come down from the hills to shoot the politically wounded.

So, let’s put a few rounds in the carcass of the Green Party, shall we?

Let’s start by telling a tale. But full disclosure first: My political consulting firm has acted for every single federal political party. All of them.

(One exception: We haven’t represented the political party led by Maxime Bernier, who was last seen wearing handcuffs in the backseat of an RCMP cruiser, arrested for violating Manitoba public health laws.)

But we’ve worked for everyone else. The Green Party included.

I first met with Elizabeth May, then the Green leader, in Ottawa in the summer of 2019. Some of her senior staff were there, too. We talked about my firm running the Green Party war room in the election.

May eyed me warily. “You make me a bit nervous,” she said.

Recalling that unfortunate time in 2015 when May appeared at a press gallery dinner (see photo above), I replied: “Likewise.”

Anyway, we agreed my firm would be hired. I warned her that, when that news leaked out — because everything leaks in Ottawa, eventually — it would attract controversy. She assured me that she could handle it.

She couldn’t.

Fast-forward to July 2019. May is at a pre-election rally in Guelph, and someone stands up to ask her a question about me. The questioner is distressed. She says I’m nasty (guilty) and she’s upset (good). In front of several hundred people, May insists she said this to me: “What you did in politics previously was despicable, and he said, ‘Yeah.’”

This wasn’t just false. It was a whopping whopper. It was fabulist fiction. It was a bald-faced lie.

She didn’t say that. I didn’t say that.

I fired off an email to all of the senior Green staff who had been at the same meeting, gently reminding them I am a lawyer, and that I planned to publicly repudiate May unless she did so herself, govern yourself accordingly, etc.

May issued a grovelling tweet hours later, in which she whimpered that “some past campaigns had been despicable — not Warren.”

Long story short: A couple of my staff dealt with the Greens thereafter, but not me. I’m old enough to know a clown show when I see it.

Fast forward to 2021, now. The Green Party has an impressive new leader who happens to be (a) female, (b) Black, (c) Jewish, and (d) not Elizabeth May. I note this only because I think (b), (c) and (d) are relevant.

Hamas starts firing rockets into Israel, and Israel properly acts in self-defence. The rest of the planet descends into paroxysms of “anti-Zionism” (read: Anti-Semitism). The Green Party joins in.

One of their MPs, a non-entity from New Brunswick, tweets that Israel is a state that practices “apartheid.” Last time I checked, “apartheid” is the whites-only system of laws promulgated by South Africa. Israel, meanwhile, has two million Arab citizens, some of whom are members of the national Knesset legislature, the civil service, the judiciary, and the army.

If that’s apartheid, it doesn’t sound like it’s very effective apartheid.

Anyway. The new Green leader — who is, as noted, Jewish and Black — declines to agree with the “apartheid” blood libel. The MP non-entity thereupon defects to the Trudeau Liberals, who the MP says share her “apartheid” defamation. Senior Greenies start demanding the new leader be fired for being moderate.

Elizabeth May, still regrettably an MP, is heard from. She chastises her successor, and says she wants the anti-Israel defector back.

Had enough? Me too. And I don’t think, anymore, that we need to come down from the hills and shoot the wounded Green Party people.

They’re pretty good at shooting themselves.

— Warren Kinsella was special assistant to Jean Chretien

Maxime Bernier is suing us for damaging his reputation. Seriously.

So, our motion to dismiss the lawsuit launched against us by Maxime Bernier – seen above, in handcuffs and in police custody a few days ago – is being heard in court on Friday. I’m sure it is a complete and total and absolute coincidence, but someone has given two-year-old documents about the case to Bill Curry at the Globe and Mail. Bill has taken the bait, apparently.

So Bill has an invoice, and what looks like a proposal that was never acted upon. He also had some questions for me. Here are the answers I gave him, to ensure total accuracy and transparency:

1. The document you have is not signed by me. It is not a contract.

2. The document you have does not in any way describe what we did. We researched racism and published our research on social media.

3. We don’t discuss client relationships when the client insists on confidentiality. But we are proud to oppose racism and bigotry, and will never apologize for doing so. The client, here, deserves credit for opposing racism and bigotry as well.

4. All of this was covered extensively by you and other media two years ago. All of it. There is nothing new here, in my opinion.”

In a separate email, I also told him this:

“The client was a lawyer, and that is who the invoice is addressed to. Who he gets to pay his bills, and from which address, is determined by him, not us.

When they paid is also up to them, as long as it is done within a reasonable time frame. But we always insist we get paid for good work, and we frankly did very good work here.

Again, all of this was investigated and verified by the Elections Commissioner two years ago. I strongly urge the Globe to speak to them before publishing a story based on two-year-old documents that bear no relation whatsoever to the work that was actually done.”

I’ve urged Bill to contact the Elections Commissioner, because they investigated Bernier’s complaint about us and quickly dismissed it. They can verify everything I’ve told Bill. I don’t know if he plans to do that, so I’m sharing all of this with you guys.

Slow news day, I guess.

June 15, 2004


Like some men, and as was the practice in some families, my brothers and I did not hug my father a lot. As we got older in places like Montreal, or Kingston, or Dallas or Calgary, we also did not tell him that we loved him as much as we did. With our artist Mom, there was always a lot of affection, to be sure; but in the case of my Dad, usually all that was exchanged with his four boys was a simple handshake, when it was time for hello or goodbye. It was just the way we did things.

There was, however, much to love about our father, and love him we did. He was, and remains, a giant in our lives – and he was a significant presence, too, for many of the patients whose lives he saved or bettered over the course a half-century of healing. We still cannot believe he is gone, with so little warning.

Thomas Douglas Kinsella was born on February, 15, 1932 in Montreal. His mother was a tiny but formidable force of nature named Mary; his father, a Northern Electric employee named Jimmy, was a stoic man whose parents came over from County Wexford, in Ireland. In their bustling homes, in and around Montreal’s Outremont, our father’s family comprised a younger sister, Juanita, and an older brother, Howard. Also there were assorted uncles – and foster siblings Bea, Ernie, Ellen and Jimmy.

When he was very young, Douglas was beset by rheumatic fever. Through his mother’s ministrations, Douglas beat back the potentially-crippling disease. But he was left with a burning desire to be a doctor.

Following a Jesuitical education at his beloved Loyola High School in Montreal, Douglas enrolled at Loyola College, and also joined the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. It was around that time he met Lorna Emma Cleary, at a Montreal Legion dance in April 1950. She was 17 – a dark-haired, radiant beauty from the North End. He was 18 – and a handsome, aspiring medical student, destined for an officer’s rank and great things.

It was a love like you hear about, sometimes, but which you rarely see. Their love affair was to endure for 55 years – without an abatement in mutual love and respect.

On a hot, sunny day in June 1955, mid-way through his medical studies at McGill, Douglas and Lorna wed at Loyola Chapel. Then, three years after Douglas’ graduation from McGill with an MD, first son Warren was born.

In 1963, second son Kevin came along, while Douglas was a clinical fellow in rheumatism at the Royal Vic. Finally, son Lorne arrived in 1965, a few months before the young family moved to Dallas, Texas, to pursue a research fellowship. In the United States, Douglas’ belief in a liberal, publicly-funded health care system was greatly enhanced. So too his love of a tolerant, diverse Canada.

In 1968, Douglas and his family returned to Canada and an Assistant Professorship in Medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston. More than 35 years later, it was at Kingston General Hospital – in the very place where Douglas saved so many lives – that his own life would come to a painless end in the early hours of June 15, 2004, felled by a fast-moving lung cancer.

Kingston was followed in 1973 by a brief return to Montreal and a professorship at McGill. But an unstable political environment – and the promise of better research in prosperous Alberta – persuaded the family to journey West, to Calgary.

There Lorna and Douglas would happily remain for 25 years, raising three sons – and providing legal guardianship to grandson Troy, who was born in 1982. At the University of Calgary, and at Foothills Hospital, Douglas would achieve distinction for his work in rheumatology, immunology and – later – medical bioethics.

He raised his boys with one rule, which all remember, but none observed as closely as he did: “Love people, and be honest.” His commitment to ethics, and healing – and his love and honesty, perhaps – resulted in him being named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995.

On the day that the letter arrived, bearing Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc’s vice-regal seal, Douglas came home from work early – an unprecedented occurence – to tell Lorna. It was the first time I can remember seeing him cry.

As I write this, I am in a chair beside my father’s bed in a tiny hospital room in Kingston, Ont.,where he and my mother returned in 2001 to retire. It is night, and he has finally fallen asleep.

My father will die in the next day or so, here in the very place where he saved lives. He has firmly but politely declined offers of special treatment – or even a room with a nicer view of Lake Ontario.

Before he fell asleep, tonight, I asked him if he was ready. “I am ready,” he said. “I am ready.”

When I leave him, tonight, this is what I will say to him, quietly: “We all love you, Daddy. We all love you forever.”

[Warren Kinsella is Douglas Kinsella’s eldest son. His father died two nights later.]

[From Globe’s Lives Lived, June 15, 2004.]