Wanted for being married to a guy some people don’t like

You’re right, we’re not married yet, but this post isn’t about what’s happened to me (despite some very public swings because of who my partner is).

This is about a reporter taking a cheap shot at a professional woman because of her husband’s ties to Stephen Harper.  The story, ostensibly about patronage appointments, has some merit. If our hapless federal government which has been limping from scandal to scandal in the last 18 months is gleefully handing out patronage appointments like they’re candy, we voters should be made aware. But that’s where this reporter goes wrong.

The only person actually named in the story is Kelley Sherwood. She’s spent her entire career in the insurance and benefits industry, and has worked for many of the biz’s heavy hitters. Her CV is lengthy, and impressive – and her accomplishments are her own. Many years ago Sherwood applied for – and was ultimately successful in obtaining – a part-time gig at the CPP Review Panel. This application was made well before her husband ever set a leather-bound sole into the PMO. In fact, he was busy making a living in Toronto at the time.

Later, when that tribunal was shut down and merged into a new one, Sherwood re-applied and was fortunately re-hired. The work she does has absolutely nothing to do with politics, and it would likely bore most people but it is important work. Sherwood spends her time reviewing long-term disability appeals, a field that she has practiced in her entire career. The tribunal made a smart choice with her appointment.

I’ve received an appointment, too, once. Back when I was a struggling student I had been appointed to review student loan appeals for the Gordon Campbell Liberals in BC. I was no fan of these guys, and said so on TV every chance I got, but they still appointed me. Sometimes an appointment is just an appointment.

The Canadian Press story is about patronage, which is fair. Attacking a woman because of who she is married to, isn’t.

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.

John Tory bars woman because of her male partner


And Toronto mayoralty candidate again attempts to bully news media

TORONTO – Toronto mayoral candidate John Tory has decreed that Lisa Kirbie will not be permitted to provide political commentary for CityNews at his Election Night gathering – because of who Kirbie’s partner is.

Kirbie is the Senior Vice President of the Daisy Consulting Group, and a regular political commentator on CTV and Sun News Network.  CityNews asked Kirbie to provide commentary during the station’s election night coverage at the Liberty Grand, John Tory headquarters.

Despite the fact that Kirbie’s appearance was confirmed as recently as late Friday afternoon, this morning CityNews was advised that Kirbie would not be allowed on the premises – because her partner is Warren Kinsella, a Toronto lawyer who has been critical of Tory in the past. CityNews was told they would not be granted accreditation for Kirbie.

“I am my own person, with my own views,” Kirbie said.  “John Tory knows me, and he knows that.  It is frankly pathetic and cowardly that Tory is barring me from being the guest of an established news organization, simply because Warren is my partner.”

She continued:  “It’s also worrying that Tory has again been caught bullying a news organization.  They should determine who they have on-air – not a thin-skinned mayoralty candidate.”

Tory campaign operative Amanda Galbraith allegedly told CityNews that Kirbie was being barred because she is “a material witness” in a lawsuit between Kinsella and Tory’s most senior campaign advisor.

“That’s not just false, it’s a lie,” Kirbie said.  “I am not named in either the Statement of Claim or the Statement of Defence in that case.  And my lawyer this afternoon wrote to the defendant’s lawyer, to alert him to the fact that the Tory campaign is lying about a court process.”

Kirbie concluded: “I thought John Tory had learned his lesson when he was slammed for chauvinism when he said that young women should play golf to get ahead.  Apparently not.  He’s just as sexist, it seems, as the mayor he is seeking to replace.”

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For more information, contact:
David Shiller, LLB

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.