Saturday, May 06, 2017

Warren Kinsella's despicable and defamatory attack on BC NDP unbelievable but aimed to help Christy Clark BC Liberals

Warren Kinsella makes defamatory, despicable and untrue attack on BC NDP in desperate effort to support Christy Clark BC Liberals
Warren Kinsella - Christy Clark - BC Liberal backer
By Bill Tieleman 


I was blocked on Twitter by Warren Kinsella - who I know and have met a few times in the past - after I wrote this column in 2017 taking him rightly to task for an outrageously incorrect attack in a column prior to the May 2017 BC election.

I frankly didn't notice that I was #BlockedbyWarrenKinsella for quite awhile, then somewhat mystified when I found out.  He has never contacted me to complain or ask for anything below to be corrected.

But since the revelation this week that he was hired by the federal Conservative Party to attempt to trash their right-wing opponents, the People's Party of Canada and leader Maxime Bernier, it appears clear that the mercenary and politically unprincipled approach he takes includes attempting to silence criticism.  

That the Green Party and Elizabeth May hired Kinsella prior to the 2019 election to set up their war room speaks volumes about them as well.

Here's the original article I wrote in 2017:  

Warren Kinsella has launched a defamatory, despicable and unbelievable attack on the BC NDP as the provincial election draws to a close - a desperate effort to support Christy Clark and the BC Liberals.

I have often agreed with Kinsella views but his Huffington Post column "10 Reasons I Want The B.C. NDP To Lose" is a scurrilous, unsubstantiated and unfair attack that needs a factual rebuttal.

Kinsella - a lifelong federal Liberal who worked for the BC Liberals in the 1996 losing provincial election - where I was communications director to BC NDP Premier Glen Clark  - is welcome to his opinion, but his over the top, mostly fact-free column is outrageous. Start with:

Reason 3 - "Election '96".  Kinsella makes this totally unsubstantiated claim about the 1996 election:  "The NDP won because they had gerrymandered the province while in power. Period." and to "prove" it links to a BC Hansard page that actually dates to 2007 and features BC NDP MLAs complaining about BC Liberal changes to the independent Boundaries Commission report - changes that the BC NDP said were wrong.  

As current BC NDP leader John Horgan put it then, the BC Liberal legislation amounted to: "Blatant interference by the Premier in the work of an independent commission."   That would be former BC Premier Gordon Campbell - who Kinsella greatly admires and who he claims offered him the job of his chief of staff, which Kinsella declined.

In fact, the BC Liberals lost the election because they ran a poor campaign despite coming in with a huge lead in the polls.  And because Campbell's campaign manager was caught out discussing a backroom deal with the Social Credit party in the final days of the campaign that would have seen most Socred candidates drop out except for their leader to help elect BC Liberals, who would withdraw from the Socred leader's constituency to let him win.

The BC Liberals also lost because they were going to slash health care and education funding, privatize BC Rail and reduce the number of seats in Northern and rural BC.  That was a rallying cry for the new right-wing Reform Party of BC, who won 2 seats and 9% of the vote.

Kinsella's whining about winning more of the popular vote echoes Campbell's at the time - but our electoral system is based on the number of seats won, not across the province vote totals, as both know well. 

Reason 4 - "Creeps" - the most outrageous thing Kinsella writes:  "The B.C. NDP were the sleaziest, dirtiest, scummiest opponents I'd ever encountered in a campaign. While we had a few Young Liberals to help set up events, for example, Glen Clark's B.C. NDP could rely on the assistance of big union guys to help them -- and, occasionally, interfere with our events." 

No facts, no details, not a shred of evidence - just an ad hominem and defamatory smear job by Kinsella.  

In fact, the BC Liberals in 1996 - as in the 2017 campaign - sent around a truck to follow the BC NDP campaign bus to try to disrupt media events constantly.  It was a desperate move that backfired but it there was only one party doing it - the BC Liberals.

I disagreed then and now with much of the BC Liberal campaign tactics but I've never described them in the offensive, derogatory and untrue way Kinsella does.  He owes the BC NDP an apology for this part alone.

Reason 7 - "Scandal" - clear defamatory, without any evidence and offensive.  I will risk repeating a libel only to dispel each factually inaccurate claim.

Kinsella wrote: "As we B.C. Libs had predicted, the Glen Clark NDP turned out to be the most corrupt provincial government in modern Canadian history. They stole from charities (Google "Bingogate"). They were linked to bribes (Google "Hydro-gate"). And, of course, there was the deck that killed off an NDP Premier (Google "Glen Clark," "deck" and "act of folly"). The B.C. NDP treated the provincial treasury like it was their personal piggybank. Their name was synonymous with scandal."

First - the NDP governments of Mike Harcourt from 1991 to 1996 and Glen Clark from 1996 to 1999 were elected long after the "Bingogate" scandal had occurred and had nothing to do with Mike or Glen.  Former NDP MLA Dave Stupich, now deceased, pled guilty to fraud charges in 1999.

Second - it was NDP Premier Glen Clark who in 1996 appointed former Supreme Court of BC Chief Justice Nathan Nemetz to investigate the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society scandal - far from covering anything up, Justice Nemetz launched a comprehensive review.

Third - it was BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell who shut down the Nemetz commission! Was the commission getting too close to other parties' past dubious fundraising activities?  We will never know. 

Fourth - allegations of being "linked to bribes" are highly defamatory - and untrue!  The "Hydro-gate" case Kinsella mentions did not involve bribes but did involve undisclosed BC Hydro investment in a Pakistan power project.  Glen Clark swiftly fired both the chair and CEO of BC Hydro just weeks before the election - and won that vote despite "Hydro-gate".

Fifth - Glen Clark was acquitted of a breach of trust charge in the so-called "Casinogate" affair after a neighbour who had made a casino license application allegedly did renovations for the premier without charging fully for them.  Clark had been forced to resign after it was revealed he was under police investigation.

Clark - to his great credit - worked his way up from a manager position in the Jim Pattison sign division to become President and Chief Operating Officer of the entire organization -  with revenue of $9.6 billion it is Canada's second largest private company.

The only criminal activity by a BC Premier in history was when Gordon Campbell was caught in Maui drunk driving, spent the night in jail - the first premier ever to put Canada in such an embarrassing situation - and was fined $1,350 for the offence.  "Mr. Campbell is sufficiently embarrassed and ashamed for what he did, as well he should be," said Maui District Judge Reinette Cooper.

And if Kinsella wants to talk about scandals - how about the fact that Christy Clark's BC Liberal Campaign Director Laura Miller was hired despite facing criminal breach of trust charges in Ontario this fall, where police allege she was involved in deleting government records relating to the $1.1 billion gas plant cancellation when she was deputy chief of staff to then-Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty.  

And Brian Bonney - a BC Liberal operative and ex-communications director in the BC Liberal government's multicultural ministry - also faces a criminal breach of trust charge later this year for alleged activities while in government.

BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark

And the list goes on much longer - so much so that a new group called the Better Government BC Society launched a very tough 1 minute online video that's received over 33,000 views and thousands of Facebook shares.

Reason 10 - "John Horgan" - Kinsella makes far too much of an offhand comment made by the BC NDP leader in a radio debate and then launches into this smear: "He has been incoherent, policy-wise. He has no self-control, and he has no understanding of even basic economics -- and how to keep the strongest economy in Canada strong. He would be an unmitigated disaster for British Columbia."

In fact, Horgan released a fully-costed BC NDP platform last month that uses the BC LIberal budget financial data for all its calculations.  Horgan has been a strong opposition MLA since 2005 and worked in the BC NDP governments before that in several senior positions - including as chief of staff to interim BC NDP Premier Dan Miller.  

Kinsella is free to criticize Horgan or the BC NDP platform - but try doing it on the facts and with counter arguments, not simply ridiculous rhetoric.

Bill Tieleman 
All in all, the veteran political operative Warren Kinsella does neither his reputation nor his chosen Christy Clark BC Liberals any favours with a defamatory, wildly inaccurate and very unfair column of insults to his opponents.  You would think by now he'd know better.

Bill Tieleman is a columnist for 24 Hours Vancouver and The Tyee online.  He runs West Star Communications, a Vancouver strategy and communications consulting firm.  Tieleman was Communications Director to BC NDP Premier Glen Clark in the 1996 upset election win and also Strategist for Fight HST, the grassroots organization that forced and won a binding referendum to eliminate the BC Harmonized Sales Tax.  Fight HST was led by former Social Credit Premier Bill Vander Zalm. 


Anonymous said...

Seems like our version of the "republican party" is also using "alternate facts" must have taken notes from their Koch brothers strategy.

Grant G said...

Warren Kinsella....Ezra Levant's water boy turned into a slimer for hire...I'm surprised you gave Kinsella a mention, his writing is so poor, fake facts, I liken Kinsella's words to the scribblings of a school dropout turned criminal now serving extended time behind bars inmate...incoherent drool.

Warren Kinsella was starving for a paycheque..Ezra Levant stopped giving Warren beer and cigarette he came a begging to Christy Clark for $$$$...

To me Bill....Warren Kinsella's article is so bad it loses relevance, he might as well have called all NDPers axe murders and flag-burners...Warren Kinsella's writing is not only bad, it's sad...amazing how the mediocre have fallen, from mediocre to irrelevant..


Alex Puttonen said...

Outrageous! I am sickened, but not surprised. Hopefully this goes down in history as a desperate last minutes hail-mary from an outgoing governing party.

Great and much needed rebuttal.

Cheers Bill.


Frankly Speaking said...

Bill - Gordon Campbell is the only premier convicted of a criminal offence while in office, but Edward G. Prior, premier from 1902-03, was actually dismissed by the lieutenant-governor for a blatant conflict of interest that would almost certainly merit criminal charges today. From Wikipedia: "In 1902 he became the 15th premier leading the province's last non-partisan administration but was dismissed by the lieutenant governor in 1903 due to charges of conflict of interest that involved giving an important construction contract to his own hardware business." Thanks for an informative post and a facts-based response to an ill-informed rant.

Anonymous said...

I will always be convinced Kinsella was behind the last minute smear of Jack Layton near the end of the 2011 Federal Election. I don't care how much he denies it.