From Sunday’s Sun

About lobbyists and politics…

Published Sunday, October 18, 2015

Last weekend, nobody knew who Dan Gagnier was.

Now, in the final crucial weekend of a months-long federal election campaign, everybody does.

There’s a reason for that.

Gagnier is a politico, an insider, but now he’s best known for being the guy who wounded the reputation of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals at exactly the wrong moment.

The facts aren’t in dispute, even among Liberals (and I’m one, by the way).

Gagnier, while he was co-chairman of the Liberal party’s election campaign, was giving advice to TransCanada Corp. about how to lobby a new government — not coincidentally, a Liberal government.

And he was doing that, it seems, while riding the Liberal campaign bus with Trudeau.

Now Gagnier, rightly, has been thrown under the bus.

But the questions about what he was doing — and who else knew about it — persist.

Gagnier would have had unparalleled access to Trudeau and his senior advisers over the past several months.

Did he lobby any of them without registering as a lobbyist?

It isn’t a crime to lobby. It’s an important part of democracy, in fact.

But if Gagnier was doing it secretly, that’s wrong.

(Ask former Conservative loyalists Rahim Jaffer and Bruce Carson how well that worked out for them.)

I worked on Parliament Hill for a former Liberal leader, among other parliamentarians.

When stories like Gagnier’s would emerge, all of us working in the political trenches would be frustrated and angry.

Yet another unelected person hurting the reputation of the whole team.

Gagnier is likely going to face a raft of investigations in the coming months — the NDP has already written to the commissioner of Canada Elections demanding an investigation — and he should.

To his credit, Trudeau accepted Gagnier’s resignation, and has condemned what his former confidant did.

But reporters keep peppering Trudeau about who knew what, and when they knew it.

Until now, Trudeau has enjoyed a pretty decent reputation for integrity.

He’s not perfect, but he looks better than Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair.

Trudeau has also turned out to be a solid candidate — and way more ready than all those slick ads would have you believe.

But Dan Gagnier has changed all that.

And we — the voters — are entitled to know who knew what, and when they knew it.

This one, on the final weekend of the campaign, isn’t going to go away.

Old Liberal ghosts, I suspect, will feature prominently as the Conservatives and New Democrats desperately try to stop the Trudeau Liberals’ climb to 24 Sussex.

For them, Dan Gagnier was exactly what was needed.

– Kinsella is Senior Vice President and Principal with Daisy Consulting Group

The statement that Justin Trudeau should have released

As we all now know, on Monday,  MP Eve Adams – after being denied an opportunity to run in the next election as a Conservative – crossed the floor to join the Liberal Caucus. Many Liberals are unhappy with this (see here and here) and many journalists were brutal is their assessments. I weighed in, too, arguing that the acceptance of Adams as a Liberal undermines Trudeau’s ‘open nomination’ pledge.

How should have the Eve Adams floor crossing been handled? Well, this is the (fictitious) statement I think the Liberals should have released:

Liberal Party of Canada applauds MP Eve Adams’ courage

February 9, 2015

OTTAWA – The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, today applauded Eve Adams’, Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Brampton South, decision to leave the Conservative Party of Canada’s Caucus.

“After having spent the last quarter century as a Conservative party member, and the last four years as its elected representative in the House of Commons, Eve Adams has shown tremendous courage in choosing to leave this divisive and mean-spirited government,” said Mr. Trudeau. “While Eve had initially sought to become a member of the Liberal Caucus, she understands it is better for democracy – and Canadians – that she sit as an Independent for the few short months that remain before the next election.”

“As I have committed to an open nomination process, I strongly encourage Ms. Adams to seek the Liberal nomination in a riding of her choice. Like all other potential Liberal candidates, she will be required to successfully complete the Green Light process before doing so. We fully support Ms. Adams’ desire to run for a party that is inclusive, fair and democratic – the Liberal Party of Canada.”*


*In case it’s not clear enough, this is a fictitious statement and in no way reflects the views of Mr. Trudeau or anyone in his office. 

Wente is nothing but Globe and Mail clickbait

Some male Dalhousie dental students posted about how you should “bang” young women until they are unconscious; choosing which woman you’d like to “hate fuck”; commenting that you’d like to drug women into unconsciousness (with drugs they have access to). Margaret Wente thinks this is typical of how young men talk about women.

As the mother of a young man, and a step-mother to several more, I take exception to her misguided and ignorant conclusion that these Dal students were simply boys being boys. None of the boys I have raised, and am helping to raise, speak like this – whether I am in earshot or not. These statements were not mere “coarse talk,” but rather they are misogynistic, fuelled by anger and a seeming hatred of women. There is no other explanation.

To pervert that, as Wente has is this disgraceful column, is outrageous. And men should be particularly angered that she frames them this way.

Yesterday’s Wente column is nothing more than Globe and Mail clickbait, and we’d be wise to stop reading this trash (which is why I’m not linking to it here).

Political Best and Worst of 2014

I’m heading over to Sun shortly to talk about my picks for 2014 with Warren.

Here are my picks:

BEST MOVE: Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers saving the lives of countless politicians and visitors the day a gunman opened fire on Parliament Hill. It’s political because of where it happened –  his heroic behaviour that day on the Hill should be on the minds of every politician as they take their seats during Question Period.
WORST: Sexual harassment on the Hill, and how the parties (badly) handled it. But also Conservatives behaving badly –  Brazeau, Duffy, Del Mastro, to name just a few.
MOST SURPRISING: Wynne winning a fourth Liberal government and Rob Ford dropping out of the mayoral race (which significantly changed the course of the race).
MOST IMPROVED: Liberal Party of Canada’s showing since Justin Trudeau became leader.
MOST DISAPPOINTING: Olivia Chow’s performance in Toronto’s mayoral race and the federal Liberal Party’s ongoing ‘open nomination’ fiasco.
NEWSMAKER(S): Rehtaeh Parsons and the impact she (and her family) has had on the Canadian conscience, our laws, and issues surrounding consent/sexual assault. What happened to her should never happen to anyone else.  



Can’t believe it’s been 43 years.

Top Ten list of Conservatives being ignorant, ineffective and insensitive

By the time you read this, I’ll likely be on my way to CTV for our weekly True North Politics panel debating Conservative insensitivity. So, I post my points here for your reading pleasure. Yes, I realize there’s only nine but I thought I’d leave it empty and waiting for your suggestions because I know there are plenty Now there’s 11.

  1. Minister Leona Aglukkaq reads a newspaper in the House of Commons when a debate was raging among Parliamentarians that her constituents were in the midst of a food crisis and that there were reports of an elder being forced to rummage for food in a dump.
  2. Nearly 25 years to the day after 14 women were murdered in Quebec, Justice Minister Peter MacKay says we may never understand why this happened. Except we clearly do know why: it’s because they were women. I wish the justice minister of all people would admit that misogyny exists in society. And that women are murdered simply because they’re female.
  3. Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and this government continue their campaign of misinformation about funding for veterans programs. And then he’s absent from Parliament when the Auditor General releases a damning report about the availability for mental health services for our veterans.
  4. In 2008, then Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz joked about 17 people who died from eating contaminated food products referring to it as “death by a thousand cold cuts.” And upon hearing that there had been a death in PEI, Ritz had reportedly said he hoped that it was Liberal MP Wayne Easter.
  5. When Minister James Moore was asked last year about what his government is doing to reduce and eliminate child poverty, he said: “Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.”
  6. When Tory MP Rob Anders said Mulcair hastened Jack Layton’s death:  “I actually think one of the great stories that was missed by journalists was that Mr. Mulcair, with his arm twisted behind the scenes, helped to hasten Jack Layton’s death.”
  7. When Pierre Polievre used racist language in Parliament.
  8. When Pierre Poilievre said that First Nations need a better “work ethic” instead of compensation.
  9. When Conservative MP Ryan Leef used the break-in at Justin Trudeau’s house as an opportunity to make a partisan jabs.  “Since Justin thinks budgets balance themselves maybe he thinks doors lock themselves.”
  10. When Conservative MP Gerald Keddy said that there was an increase in EI claims and food bank visits because “all those no-good bastards sitting on the sidewalk” are lazy and won’t get work.
  11. Recently, Conservative MP Robert Gougen used a woman’s rape to score political points.

Head to head: Do you need social media to win a political campaign?

In this month’s IABC magazine, Warren and I were asked to argue opposite sides of the issue. He says yes, while I say no (sort of).

Unfortunately, you must be an IABC member to have access to the magazine, but I’ve uploaded our piece to Issuu. Or, if you have younger eyes than mine, you can check out the graphic, below. Enjoy!




Feminism is not “man hating”

This is so important.

Daisy, 50 years later

Earlier this month was the 50th anniversary of the infamous “Daisy” political ad that won incumbent president LBJ re-election. If you didn’t know, our consulting firm is named for it. Here, I discuss the importance of the ad in a column by Ashley Csanady.

Good riddance to former Liberal MP Tom Wappel

The fact that guys like Tom Wappel could not only reside within the Liberal Party of Canada, but get elected to represent Canadians as a Liberal MP has always irritated me. I was happy when he left politics.

To those of you who’re  asking who the Hell is Tom Wappel anyway… . Wappel is an anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-”family values” (whatever that means) bigot who once said that homosexuality is “abnormal.” As an MP, he opposed protecting gays and lesbians from hate crimes legislation; he opposed protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination; and he once voted against recognizing same-sex marriage.

There should be no place for people like this in the Liberal party.

Today, he and his cronies (all male, by the way), wrote an open letter to leader Justin Trudeau imploring him to return “democracy” to the Liberal party and overturn his “discriminatory” policy on women’s reproductive rights. That’s right, Wappel – who’s incidentally not even a Liberal party member anymore – who regularly voted in favour of discriminatory policies is now crying foul.

This letter he and his pals wrote today – and had published on an anti-choice website – does nothing except increase support among Liberals for Trudeau’s decision. Even those of us who didn’t necessarily agree with it.