Friday, July 12, 2019

When You're So Pleased With Your New Hire You Have to Wrap the Announcement In An Apology.

Elizabeth May has always been a good measure less progressive than the party rank and file, probably the inevitable result of her Mulroney years.  Like her provincial cohort, Andrew Weaver, no one would consider her even centre-left. She and the membership have clashed in the past. In one instance it resulted in May pouting about perhaps leaving the Greens.

She obviously realized that taking Warren Kinsella aboard for the campaign would not sit well with many Greens. That's why the announcement came wrapped in excuses and unconvincing assurances.

After months of hand wringing and negotiation, the Greens have hired Kinsella to set up a “situation” room for them. His principal task, according to party sources, is to “protect” Elizabeth May from the kinds of attacks that are now routinely made on political leaders, on social media and by other parties.
“Lying and personal attacks in politics have become the new norm,” Green Party deputy-leader Jo-Ann Roberts told The Tyee. 
“Elizabeth had to admit that she does not have the sophistication it takes to deal with this stuff. We can play to her great strength, climate change, but only if we don’t let other people take her apart at the knees. Kinsella knows the dark world much better than we do. By hiring him, we are sending a message to other parties: we will not just let ourselves be attacked.”
But there is a risk in putting Kinsella on the team, even if it’s only on a fixed term contract. 
The Greens have pitched themselves as a party that does politics differently. That has always meant a firm prohibition against ad hominem attacks on the party’s opponents. Kinsella is a person who has earned his chops as a political bar room brawler, someone who never let diplomacy stand in the way of landing a good shot. 
In fact, he’s made it plain that “negative politics work” and proudly bills himself as “the Prince of Darkness” in Canadian politics. One former ally, deciding Kinsella’s methods posed too big a risk for clients, reportedly calledhim “a human shrapnel machine.” 
May has not responded to a request for an interview, but she clearly understands that although there is a clear advantage to hiring Kinsella, there is also a risk. This is what she said to her inner circle after the decision had been reached to engage Kinsella:
“People will accuse us of swimming with the sharks, but we have to keep reminding them we are dolphins.” 
There is more to those words than an amusing aside. The Tyee has learned that under the terms of the agreement reached with Kinsella, his job is not to be the “wolf” attacking detractors and political opponents, but to “protect” the leader.
I can accept that May lacks the "sophistication" to deal with attack politics but does she really think she can put a jackal on a leash? This guy's obsessive vendetta with Trudeau is inescapable even for Unsophisticated Liz. Does she really imagine that he won't exploit his position to advance his personal cause?

People will rightly accuse May of 'swimming with the sharks.' What she needs to realize is that sharks aren't too fussy whom they bite when it suits them. Ask Ignatieff or Olivia Chow.


Anonymous said...

Kinsella?! WTF? What happened, was Jenni Byrne not available?

Kinsella will attract more fire than a target drone. I don't see this ending well.


Brian Dundas said...

Well, she's out, in my mind. Kinsella is a truly deranged organism in the small Canadian political petri dish, still fighting the Liberal internal wars of the 90's and obsessively denigrating even the positive things Justin Trudeau has accomplished (though I am not supporter of Justin's neo-liberal clap trap coated in inclusive, progressive batter). Kinsella? Really, Liz? You have hired a true blue sociopath. Congrats!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, the progressive blogosphere is aghast of course. Montreal Simon went even further off the rails and is now well beyond the reach of cranes that could pluck him out of his dilemma and plonk him back down on the tracks, while JT is still a Greek God sent to save us all to those with no apparent ability to reason logically. Etc.

The average citizen has no clue who Kinsella is, so it's the political junkies who will flap their gums the most about this turn of events. Kinsella has reliably informed me/us through his blog over the years that at least two of his pals who faced charges were decent innocent folk, that Brad Wall was simply a great guy, that Doug Ford was a man of the people and worthy of a vote a year ago last spring. He seemed to attract Conservatives to his blog over the past year who bloviated like the oafs they tend to be, and made two perhaps capable but not street smart women Liberal (now ex) cabinet ministers his cause celebre in his attempts to crash JT out as a "phoney". He's solidly anti-racist though. His main problem to me is in his self-promotion - if he can be focused to do a job, he will be a dray horse, and that's not bad for the cause.

I only met May once, at the head of group protesting a spray program I had been saddled with in a new job some 36 years ago, and she's a force to be reckoned with all right. You also cannot win a telephone debate with her. We changed in the next five years and became a model in utility ROW management by 1990, so I'd say she had a positive effect on the way my thinking evolved. The corporation also created an Environment Division. pressure works. Reading her Wikipedia entry again, I'd say she's got a better CV than 99.9% when it comes to accomplishments. She's going to have a howling pack of Con liars and institute "academics" and dumb Albertans after her in a few weeks, and Kinsella can defend far better than most, I'd wager. he won't have much time for self-promotion.

I cannot expect to be in agreement 100% with any party or leader, but have to look at the big picture. What existential crisis do we face at the moment? The environment, as Mound continually propounds, and with which I agree. I certainly don't agree with a lot of his other thinking, but there you are. I can say the same about May, but she has been a leader, warts and all with a concentrated viewpoint on environmental issues.

Therefore, I will say forthrightly that if anyone decides not to vote Green on the one overridingly major issue of our times, simply because of May or Kinsella, you're a hypocrite. You weren't committed to the cause of environment in the first place. Let's keep our priorities in place. Don't let the Koch Bros, Kenney or the other dimwitted petro-bandit Cons of the country get away with bloody blue murder in screwing the country completely. A decent-sized caucus of Green MPs will tone down the shrill edges and get to the point for all of us.

I'm voting Green. Wobblies who wobble due to mere personalities on the environment issue I cannot stand or have any time for. There is a goal. Let's reach for it.


Rural said...

Is there not anyone less controversial and outspoken who can 'protect' and advise May against the attacks that will undoubtedly come as the Greens gain more supporters? I very much doubt that the jackal can be kept on the leash merely the association with this aggressive individual hurts her standing IMHO.

Anonymous said...

May supposedly hired Kinsella for protection. Except, he’s an attacked dog. And, when she tries to reign him in he will turn on her - like he has done to so many before.


Anonymous said...

“attack dog” UU

the salamander said...

.. in my view.. this is a timely & pragmatic decision. I see the daily saturation of Andrew Scheer's regular bowel movement bombast, insult & natural born contrariness & its pumping & pimping daily on MainMedia. Trudeau and his party machinery will clank along. NDP without a roadmap..

British Columbia seems the natural home for The Green Party, just over the Great Divide from wingding Alberta and the Jason Kenney Perpetual Dilbit Discount Outrage Marching Marionettes. If I could convert the boss from her permadistrust of BC weather & hate of rain. I would return in a heartbeat.. hoping the province would not sellout again as it did for Christy Clark et al and Stephen Harper et al.. and become the world classless transfer point for diluted bitumin uber alles. So it would be comforting to know that at Provincial & Federal Governence levels there were coherent homa sapiens (& not lying political parasites) standing up for the word's last redoubt..

If Kinsella can put his able back into the effort amen amen.. Do not underestimate the lad. To catch some of the partisan screetching & hyperbole, (hello Simon !) one would think he was the evil twin of Kouvalis or Jenni Bryne or Ray Novak or Arthur Hamilton. He's eclectic for sure.. but so what ? He's a strong strong parent, walked the walk in his community against die hard rascists.. and stood tall for Mrs Jane Philpott & Ms Wilson-Reybould.. when the Lavalin shit hit the fan. Yes his blog commentariat is a tough crowd.. I know, I comment there on occasion. His wife Lisa is no slouch either.. again, she's eclectic as well, friends with Ms Michelle Rempel as well, even best friends I have heard..

This is the era of scumbag politics.. it always been full of opportunists and liars.. but now its supercharged via social media and the Mainstream Media has been captured or sold out for the most part. Kinsella 'gets it' .. he'll ride for the brand.. or will walk.. will not sell out or take any prisoners.. he has defined principles & ethics.

I am already on record via Twitter.. to give the lad the chance.. Don't have to like him.. many people don't like Paul Watson, Robert Mueller.. or Michael Harris or Andrew Leach. I have the gift of being non partisan & prefer a fair fight, if there must be a fight. What percent of Canadians know or care who Kinsella is ? In my view, the Canadian environment & its advocates ie the Greens need to be the proverbial wolverine in a beauty salon, shake and bake the NDP, tear into the fat and fatuous faux Conservatives of Scheer, Smear & Hamish Inc & scare the daylights out of Justin Trudeau and his sloppy sloppy Party & Government

Owen Gray said...

Just another indication that, in politics, as Vince Lombardi said, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."

Northern PoV said...

I had pretty well decided to vote Green as a protest vote ....
and accept that it will likely be part of a CON win rather than a Green wave.

Hiring the washed-out, angry relic of out-dated political tricks was about the dumbest thing May could have done at this point. (Too long in the Ottawa bubble?)

Bring back the Rhino Party?

rumleyfips said...

This should be great theatre. May wanted JWR and Philpot but they didn't want her. They are now running as independents against Greens in ridings May may fancy. Kinsellout's job now is to attack his two ' friends ' . Talk about a conflict of interest.

KFB said...

Greens are just green washed Cons. There is Dumb and dumber running for the Libs and Cons, the NDP are circling the political toilet bowel and we have the Greens making a power move to try and pry their way out of obscurity. The political situation in Canada is pathetic.

The Mound of Sound said...

I was living in North Vancouver when I first heard of Kinsella. He had been parachuted in to contest the riding for the Liberals against a garden gnome of a Reformer, Ted White. I was a real Chretien loyalist at that time.

I was sure this newcomer would mop the floor with the incumbent Reform candidate but Kinsella wasn't long in place before he resorted to stunt after cringeworthy stunt that drew a lot of (negative) attention to WK at the expense of the Liberal Party. I dutifully voted Liberal, the first time I recall having to hold my nose to do it, but I wasn't disappointed when the Reformer won.

Post-Chretien, Kinsella turned his back on the LPC. I suspected it was much more about his own fortunes than Chretien's.

Then along came Ignatieff. He literally kicked up his heels at the prospect of returning to Ottawa. Iggy didn't get along well with his staff and fired a couple of WK's colleagues. Months later, when Ignatieff's political career was in flames, WK used the distant firing of those two to justify quitting the Liberal leader's office. I suspected that the guy was simply desperate to abandon a loser, not to be tarred with his failure.

Then there was the Olivia Chow situation where, again, WK went after his own candidate when she faltered. That struck me as calculated loyalty.

When Trudeau came along he didn't give Kinsella the time of day. I couldn't understand, after Ignatieff and Chow, why Trudeau or anyone else would. It wasn't surprising when WK turned so relentlessly on Trudeau. It's what he does, again and again.

The guy is a self-promotion machine. You could be forgiven for calling him a "tout." In legal terms that's not a flattering descriptor. He even calls himself a "law professor" because he teaches a few classes on communications at U Calgary's law school. Go to the school's web site, look up the faculty roster. See if you can find WK's name listed. No, he actually teaches what is one-quarter of an optional course, a glorified teaching assistant.

The announcement that he was joining Team Lizzie was jarring. It came out of the blue. We were told for the first time that May was too "unsophisticated" to handle a campaign. It just seems too contrived and, if May is that unsophisticated, so helpless, how will she ever keep this guy in check?

You read Harris' column. Imagine the announcement followed by an admission that, 'yeah, he's an arsehole but we're going to keep tight reins on him.' And, instead of going for his strengths, attack, they're using him in the opposite role, defence.

Kinsella is politically promiscuous. Several times he's rallied to the support of Andrew Scheer, especially on racism and, oddly enough, Scheer's dimples. His blog has a pretty solid Tory readership. They like him. He's their guy.

As a Green I can't help but question Kinsella's purported epiphany. If you read his blog it's apparent that the environment holds little interest for WK. Attacking Trudeau has become his priority. He even used the Lavalin affair as the main subject matter of his oh-so-professorial lectures at U Calgary.

On what basis would anyone believe that WK won't use his position in the Green campaign to pursue his vendetta against Trudeau? I think it very possible that he could damage the Green Party. That's why I question Elizabeth May's "unsophisticated" judgment.

Northern PoV said...

"An own goal is an event in competitive goal-scoring sports (such as association football or hockey) where a player scores on his or her own side of the playing area rather than the one defended by the opponent."

Toby said...

Is this about money? Does Kinsella hire cheap?

The Mound of Sound said...

I doubt that he works cheap, Toby. That said, he has burned more than a few bridges behind him. Given his relentless attacks on Trudeau for anything and everything and his periodic defence of Scheer I had thought he was angling for a Tory sinecure.

I suppose JWR and Jane weren't big enough to handle his salary requirements and, god knows, the NDP wouldn't touch him. Process of elimination?

The Mound of Sound said...

You bring up an interesting point, NPoV. If the Greens are to make a breakthrough they will have to draw Liberal and NDP votes. I'm not sure that Team May is that popular with the populist NDP but I know they had some traction with Liberal voters.

Will WK deter Liberal voters from taking this "one chance" on the Greens? If I was a Liberal considering crossing over I might find Kinsella's presence just too odious to take the plunge.

The Mound of Sound said...

It will be interesting to watch this play out, Rumley. The Greens may think they've got WK on a short leash but he's not the sort to be easily contained or ordered about by a gaggle of rookies.

The Mound of Sound said...

Owen, do you see this as a winning combo? I'm not sure this won't come back to haunt them. If you re-read Harris' remarks it isn't clear that this was May's idea in any case. "Elizabeth had to admit" her lack of sophistication. Was that admission her idea? I'd really like to know.

Trailblazer said...

Liz May is still an activist, not a full grown politician!


Toby said...

In this modern world of attack politics May's unsophisticated idealism is an attractive quality. The risk of bringing in a "professional" is that just a hint of political games could be enough for younger voters to bail.

the salamander said...

.. c est le vrai .. all the nasty aspects of Warren Kinsella laid bare..
NOW (we ask) .. % of Canadian voters who have or never will know who the fluck he is or even care
- 0.01
- 0.001
- 0.0001
- 0.00001


Apply same % guess re Hamish Marshall, Jenni Byrne.. Nick Kouvalis or what went on in Julian Fantino's riding.. Stephen Lecce, or guy with the red goatee and all the roboware & live call ware and Conservative electoral database, Kellie Leitch snitch line ? Arthur the woodchipper Hamilton.. Nigel Wright.. the mysterious Ray Novak - 2nd most powerful 'politician' in Canada..? Paul Calandra, Rob Anders ? Joe Oliver ? Deary me..

Last I looked, the next federal election is said to be the most important of my lifetime
Last I looked a Conservative Government tried & may have succeeded in stealing a Majority via ELECTION FRAUD.. 2011 - yes yes.. it was ONLY 240 some ridings impacted.. all by crime lord Michael Sona dontcha know. Perhaps some folks feel this next election is pattycake pattycake bakers nine.. Queensbury Rules, toe the line GENTLEMEN ! Haha.. sure

The idle & active speculation re Ms May - Warren Kinsella is just that.. idle speculation

The fact remains.. The Green Party are not 'Conservatives with composters' nor are they Evangelical asshats.. They better be ready to claw and grind for every riding they contest.. and Amen.. they will compete with Mrs Philpott and Ms Wilson-Reybould.. they may split the vote here and there.. they may win some, they will lose many.. Meanwhile Doug Ford has shuttered Ontario's Government to help the Scheer cause.. Jason Kenney is on his hysterical Nation Unity Crusade.. and if you think the Conservative Black Ops Crew is not in motion.. you is in dreamland sucker.

So clutch your pearls.. launch onto your fainting couches.. I hope Kinsella can provide exceptional value.. set up a stellar reactive 'situation room' and rapid analysis.. hip, hot, lightning bolts comin out of his ass, hair on fire.. riding for The Green Party Brand.. Welcome to 'what have you done for me lately' politics - And, If you recently trashed in court of law.. a rascist, bigoted, misogynist newspaper based in your community.. bravo. If you spoke publically in defense of a Mrs Philpott or Ms Wilson-Reybould re their issues as elected MP's & Ministers - double bravos. If you are a rock solid parent.. more props to you, hell, triple bravos.. If you have done volunteer door to door in support of a valid coherent candidate.. whew ! You in exalted bravo territory. But.. if you think any of those Harper political parasites mentioned up above, after the % question.. are better citizens than a Kinsella.. then welcome to your fantasy .. Fill your boots.. as one (MOS) might say

And when you have a moment, please offer your suggestions.. uh.. you know .. someone more uh.. 'nice' more better eh

The Mound of Sound said...

Well, Sal, kudos for your fullsome defence of WK. Let's hope you're right but we'll probably never know.

While I support the Greens and have often said this may be the most important election in our nation's history, I have no illusions that the Greens have many answers to this global predicament that so threatens us.

No tankers, no pipelines - I can back that. That, however, is just scratching the surface. Even if the Greens do emerge holding the balance of power in a minority government how does that translate into an effective means to slash Canada's GHG emissions by half by 2030 with the remaining half by 2050? How do you get from A to B in such a brief window of time?

Churchill defined the challenge of our time when he said that "Sometimes it is not enough to do your best. Sometimes you must do what is required."

I don't think we grasp the gravity of our looming peril. We're still stuck on "doing our best" which varies enormously from party to party. Even the Greens are stuck on that page.

I've said this before. We will see change in the course of the next decade that will rock us and consign all of these aspirational policies of today to the waste bin. Then we may realize the opportunities we have squandered but we'll probably just fall back on recriminations, finger pointing.

I'm at the point where I can have no certainty of seeing 2030. Oddly enough I take a bit of comfort in that.

the salamander said...

.. your reply hits the nail on the head.. It does feel we are grasping at straws.. slipping into darkness. I feel like our current government is almost designed to impede & be impervious to positive & real change. Our political parties evolve to fit accordingly. Take the money & run. Just look what happened to 'electoral reform' .. it was assaulted by Harper, bushwacked by Trudeau.. punted into a vague future..

Being highly attuned & active via social media, I'm encouraged by the Kinsella brouhaha.. On Twitter its like a psychodrama unfolding.. Its right up there with the wild shrieking of Liberal partisans over the sheer temerity of Ms Wilson-Reybould and Mrs Philpott.. to dispute Lord Justin.. hysterical ! I had no idea Kinsella, Jody & Jane ate children !! And now its almost as if Ms May threatens to pull a gun named Kinsella.. But hey, I played college football for a losing team (no steroids at U of G) and I know a 'pile on' when I see one.. But in some ways I see it as a good thing. Almost like The Greens show some teeth.. Liberals wail it will elect Scheer.. NDP still run silent run deep..

deb said...

im with mound---WK has said squat about the environment over the years---with all his kids you think he would care but if he does---its the one thing HE doesnt blog about.
He has a base of CONS who feed his ego, and he seems to fall more to the right these last years.
and finally-- he turns on his employer when they dont give full adoration and devotion to his skills>
This will end badly for the Green Party---sad as they had a real chance of garnering more votes this coming election.
---im cynical enough to wonder if WK is just a mole into the greens for Scheer

Anonymous said...

I am having trouble believing this has happened with May. If she is unsophisticated what are the other leaders...they all have lead in their pants. Kinsella no less ... what has he promised the Green! Anyong