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.]

Publisher, editor of neo-Nazi rag lose appeal

Take a bow, STAMP and Daisy Group!

TORONTO – An editor and publisher have lost their appeal of a conviction for promoting hatred against women and Jews.

A judge today refused to quash the convictions against editor James Sears and publisher LeRoy St. Germaine.

Superior Court Justice Peter Cavanagh says their appeal arguments simply don’t wash.

Among other things, Sears argued his trial lawyer failed to mount an effective defence.

He said the lawyer failed to call any witnesses, including a notorious antisemite, to raise questions about the Holocaust.

The judge says there’s no evidence the defence lawyer was incompetent.

Dan Lett: Max Bernier, lawbreaker

“The money shot, as it were, is the moment the Mountie tells Maxime Bernier to put his hands behind his back.

The earnest leader of the People’s Party of Canada, in Manitoba for a protest against social and economic pandemic restrictions, was being handcuffed Friday after thrice violating public health orders.

As the RCMP officer asks Bernier to step outside his vehicle — clearly audible in a video Bernier himself posted on Twitter — “Mad Max” has a clever smirk on his face.

The smirk disappears as the handcuffs are applied, replaced with the ashen realization Manitoba was serious, finally, about arresting him for breaching its COVID-19 pandemic health orders.

It was an odd and somewhat amusing day for both Bernier and Manitoba enforcement officials.

History will show the former federal cabinet minister and Quebec MP was given every opportunity to stand down on his barnstorming tour of southern Manitoba.

History will also show pretty clearly Bernier could have been — likely should have been — stopped a lot sooner.

Notwithstanding its decisive action Friday, this is a provincial government that has been reluctant to shut down the dazed and confused, self-appointed guardians of personal freedom who are using the pandemic to grab their 15 minutes of fame.

Although all provinces suffer from a lack of confidence on this issue, Manitoba has certainly been among the most deferential when it comes to punishing individual or groups of people deliberately breaking public health orders.

Proof of that can be summed up in two words: Springs Church.

Throughout the pandemic, the Winnipeg church has proved to be among the least compliant with public health orders. Its abysmal behaviour crested recently, when pictures and videos of a maskless ceremony for its Springs College graduates was posted online.

Despite this clear and unambiguous evidence, Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said his department has not decided whether charges are warranted. He said the photos and videos “can be deceiving.”

That kind of response has defined a government that would rather issue tickets than intervene directly with people who deliberately and repeatedly break pandemic rules the overwhelming majority of Manitobans follow.

That same deference was evident in the early stages of Bernier’s tour.

On Thursday night, Bernier arrived in Winnipeg, having spent most of the day on Twitter mocking Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister for threatening his tour with tickets and possible arrest. He also posted an excerpt from a letter, written by a senior provincial health official, warning him he needed to isolate for 14 days after arriving in Manitoba.

Bernier’s response? He posted a video of himself standing in front of the giant Winnipeg sign at The Forks.

Pretty clear evidence he was not isolating.

On Friday, Bernier arrived on schedule in Niverville (some 40 kilometres south of Winnipeg) just before noon, and treated 50 maskless supporters to a rambling 30-minute speech about how Conservatives aren’t conservative enough, the pandemic emergency was “over,” and Canada allows too many immigrants.

Just before wrapping up, he also encouraged those in attendance that if they do get cited for participating in the gathering, they should ignore the tickets. “Don’t pay that; it’s unconstitutional.”

Finally, after two clear breaches of public health rules, and advising people to ignore public health orders, enforcement officials finally acted. Although not with the full force of the law.

Shortly after Niverville, Bernier was pulled over by provincial enforcement officers, issued a $1,296 ticket and warned that if he kept up his personal appearances — a scheduled 10 additional events Friday through Sunday — he could face arrest.

(We know all this because Bernier posted a video of the officer issuing the warning through the window of his vehicle.)

Shortly after another event in St-Pierre-Jolys (Bernier once again posted photos on Twitter, just in case law enforcement needed evidence), he was stopped again, cuffed, ushered into a RCMP vehicle.

He has been charged with offences under the Public Health Act.

All Manitobans who have faithfully respected the restrictions and who have welcomed the opportunity to be vaccinated, do not deserve to have their province used as a stage for Bernier’s deranged rantings.

They don’t deserve to see their provincial government offer a level of tolerance inappropriate for the gravity of such offences.

Bernier was, ultimately, arrested. But it’s hard to shake the sense the Pallister government hasn’t figured out the rules and standards used to deal with pre-pandemic threats to public health and safety are woefully inadequate.

In the immediate aftermath, it was unclear whether Bernier would get bail or (less likely) spend the weekend in the Winnipeg Remand Centre. Currently, justice officials are doing everything they can to limit remand time for non-violent offenders because of the threat posed by — wait for it — COVID-19.

It is an odd and ironic concession to make for a man who doesn’t think COVID-19 is much of a threat. That’s justice for you.”


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My latest: the haters

Right off the top, let’s all agree not to use his name.

The alleged killer of the Muslim family in London, that is.
With some crimes, that’s what the criminals so often want: to be named, to be remembered.  So let’s deny the killer that.

But, as we try and find a motive for a crime as senseless, as evil, as this one, let’s also agree on this: there can be more than one motive. There can be more than one reason.

The killer wanted notoriety, to be sure.  But what else could possibly be his motive, for a crime this horrifying, this cruel? We don’t know for certain yet.

Bits and pieces are coming out, as they always do, in newspapers and on social media. Shocked neighbours are interviewed. Disbelieving former teachers, too. Family members are typically sought out for comment, but they often don’t know what to say. Understandably.

But whatever we learn about the killer, and the killer’s motive, one thing is certain: he belongs to a certain demographic.  It’s one this writer has been paying attention to for three decades, because their ranks have been growing.

Going back to my book Web of Hate in 1994, I started to notice a certain type of criminal thug committing a certain type of crime. And their ideology didn’t matter so much as their psychology.

They’re not terrorists, often. Despite what Justin Trudeau claims, they’re not motivated by some political or ideological purpose. They’re just criminal thugs, and they hate other people.


• they’re male
• they’re young (teens to early thirties)
• they’re unsuccessful (at love or life)
• they’re unemployed (often after post-secondary study)
• they’re angry (at everything and everyone)
• they’re alienated from family (who often have lost contact)
• they’re involved in petty crime

From skinheads to incels, these young men become incandescent balls of rage. They are looking for a replacement family, a new beliefs system, a sense of belonging, a higher calling, a culture that rejects the popular culture, a new religion, maybe even a uniform to wear.

And along come manipulative older men, practiced in deception, who give them all those things. The old men give the young men a manifesto of hate.

Now, desperate young men do desperate things, as we are now seeing – in London, Ont., in Quebec City, on Parliament Hill, on Yonge Street in Toronto. But these crimes are happening much more frequently, it seems, and with much more ferocity.

Why? Well, social media doesn’t help.  It’s a cauldron of hate, too often, where hatreds flourish like dark weeds. Video games and popular culture, too: they nurture the notion that violence is a legitimate way of expressing oneself.

But all of these young men share certain characteristics.  Despite the differing races and politics, they share motive.

Why? Because they feel rejected by the mainstream. Because they feel they do not belong. Because they are shunned. So they leave civil society, and embrace a decidedly uncivil one.

These young men turn to anti-democratic action precisely when they feel democracy has turned on them.

Using violence to achieve political change is terrorism. But, Trudeau’s claims notwithstanding, the terrible events in London simply may not be terrorism.

They truly seem what they they most often are: an angry, directionless young man, suffused with hate, who tries to destroy what he fears.

Which, in this case, were some strangers who had what he did not – family, faith, love and a belief in humanity.

[Kinsella is the author of several books on organized racism, anti-Semitism and extremism.]