***ABSOLUTE MUST READ!***
- Western Standard, Nov 30/10: A Battle Lost, A War to Win [PDF] (lays out strategy for Liberals to use Fantino & Caledonia “as a club to beat the Harper Tories.” Will Ignatieff listen? See more disgruntled Tory bloggers in UPDATES below)
UPDATE Nov 30/10: Fantino wins – CPC loses: Read on to find out why. Also, why I don’t owe Warren Kinsella an apology…
ELECTIONS CANADA RESULTS : November 29, 2010 By-elections
(Cons-Fantino: 19,260; Libs-Genco: 18,263, 284/284 polls)
When I returned home last night after our final protest rally (that’s my wife and me in photo top, R) prior to getting out most of the rest of the 60,000 ‘Conservatives Against Fantino’ brochures we have been blanketing Vaughan parking lots with during the past four weeks, there was an email from a journalist I respect asking simply, “Any predictions about byelection?”
Here is an updated, edited version of what I sent him:
PREDICTION? Well…first things first
I read in London Free Press recently that reporters were being told that Genco (Libs) people were telling them they expected to lose by a landslide of 10K. A CPC contact in Vaughan who was supporting Genco (the Liberal candidate) tells me the ‘source’ was a CPC plant and it was pure BS. Says Genco started down 20% but has now closed gap to pull even. (I seem to recall a Globe & Mail article w/similar stmt, but not sure 100%.)
My/our impressions from our experiences in Vaughan:
Our team of about 15-20 regulars from Caledonia and Richmond Hill got out between 40-50,000 of our brochures during the past few weeks, mainly by leaving them on cars in parking lots. What was really interesting is how often new people were reporting how pleasantly surprized they were by the warm reception they got from people they met during the day, how most people seemed to know about Caledonia (at long last!) , and how no one was rude to them. They also reported that people weren’t throwing the brochures away, but noticed that after getting in the car, the car wouldn’t move for about 5 mins because they were reading the brochure. (It is very eyecatching and extremely hard hitting.)
- Conservatives Against Fantino brochure: ‘Caledonia: Fantino’s legacy of Lawlessness & Racist Policing Policies’ [PDF]
We began each Sat/Sun with a protest in front of Fantino’s HQ for which media including the Vaughan Citizen (love those ladies!), Rogers Cable and CBC showed up to interview us. This fabulous photo of the loyal Caledonia Contingent – who regularly drove 1.5 hours each way just to make sure their town’s suffering wasn’t forgotten in this election – was taken yesterday (Nov 28/10):
My friend, CANACE co-founder Merlyn Kinrade (who is also featured in Helpless) and I are both former peacekeepers and, since Fantino/McGuinty ‘justified’ suspending the rule of law in Caledonia by claiming it was a ‘peacekeeping’ operation we both wore our blue berets for some of our rallies in front of Fantino’s HQ in protest of this illegal peacekeeping mission on Canadian soil for the media. Rogers Cable did a stand up interview w/me on that topic, said the story would be aired in Richmond Hill area, so I didn’t catch it. This picture is after the Rogers reporter left last week’s rally and was taken by CANACE co-founder Jeff Parkinson as we were handing out flyers at the Price Chopper grocery store which is 100 feet or so from Fantino’s HQ – in the background.
In all the time we were there there were a couple of people that said they liked Fantino, but many more who were very negative, some unprintable reactions. It seems there’s no middle ground – voters either love him or they hate him.
Only one person ever got visibly angry with us. Most took the brochure, some asked questions. In one great case, a guy came over from Fantino’s HQ (think it was a campaign worker) to ask us about why we were there. Gave him our brochure and my card, told him to call w/Q. I heard from him next day – he was in shock after doing research (including calling an assistant to a provincial MPP) and finding out everything we said about Fantino was true. Said he was “having a crisis of conscience.”
Kudos to Fantino campaign staff
I should also say that we had no problems whatsoever with people from the Fantino campaign. They allowed us to protest peacefully right in front of the building, and they were very polite with us. The ‘worst’ comment I heard was from a man declaring, “Isn’t democracy great!” as he walked by our protest. And, I replied, “Yes, it is.” That was it. Kudos to all of you who worked at Fantino’s HQ - I know it must not have been easy at times seeing us with our signs and brochures, and watching the media interview us about your candidate, knowing what we were saying.
1. Vaughan was already a long-held Liberal riding so we’re fighting a downhill battle. Of course, we are indeed fighting Fantino’s name recognition and his bizarre reputation as a law and order guy(!).
2. Fantino did a terrible job of getting out his message. By remaining incommunicado and blowing off the live debate he pissed off the media (I lost track of the number of media stories about this, and the journalists who told us personally how F refused to make himself available), which meant we and/or the controversy about what media began calling his ‘peek-a-boo’ campaign’ were the only real stories going – covered by mainly sympathetic reporters. As Conservatives Against Fantino co-founder Gary McHale liked to say: we were the only Conservatives getting out a message during this campaign, Don Cherry notwithstanding.
Our story and, therefore, Caledonia’s, was covered from Nova Scotia to Alberta, and every one of them also meant positive coverage for Tony Genco. At times it was physically impossible for me to keep our website updated, but many of the stories can be found here:
- Conservatives Against Fantino: News
3. The ‘Warren Kinsella Caledonia Contrarian Theory’: The clincher for making my own prediction is playing contrarian to an ‘expert’ who unintentionally revealed, in one fell swoop, why this country desperately needs a national debate on Caledonia so policy wonks and spin doctor hacks can get their heads out of their collective asses for the good of our country before any more innocents are sacrificed.
While in a Vaughan restaurant yesterday I happened to read a Toronto Sun article on the byelection by Warren Kinsella, the guy who managed the disastrous Rocco ‘Wise Guy’ Rossi campaign for Toronto mayor which was eventually won by Rob Ford after Rossi dropped out when polls showed he was the choice of a mere 4% of voters:
This ‘strategist extraordinaire’ – as Toronto Life once called him - boldly predicted a big Fantino win based on what is the silliest and offensive (at least to the victims in Caledonia) assertions made since Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Lawlessness, And How the Law Failed All of Us hit the shelves Oct 26/10. It had my mouth gaping open over my bacon and eggs in utter disbelief:
To me, there’s never been much question that Conservative candidate Julian Fantino is going to handily win Monday’s byelection in a riding north of Toronto.
Fantino — who, full disclosure, helped my family when we were facing a serious death threat a few years back, and who I unsuccessfully tried to talk into running for Toronto’s mayor more than once — is a very capable guy
Fantino knows how to run things. He’s an extremely effective manager, too. The way in which he stickhandled the Caledonia standoff — and assorted native blockades in summers past — made crystal-clear that Fantino was born to be The Boss.
Really? Do you realize how badly you’re embarrassing yourself here?
I understand that a big-mouth sports pundit like Don Cherry might not be the type to read one of the most important historical books in recent Canadian history before putting his skate in his mouth by endorsing Fantino, but Kinsella’s inexcusable ignorance – as a so-called master political strategist – about what happened in Caledonia and Fantino’s role in it led me to conclude that if the guy responsible for Rossi’s ‘Wise Guy’ ads actually believes Fantino was born to be “The Boss” because of his masterful work in one of the greatest policing failures in Canadian history, it was probably a very good sign that his prediction about Fantino’s big win wasn’t worth much either, and I should bet on the horse going in the opposite direction.
Warren, if you’re reading this, I’ll be the first to eat my words tomorrow.
MY PREDICTION #1: CALEDONIA & CANADA WIN BY A LANDSLIDE
1. Whatever happens, one thing is guaranteed: Caledonia and Canada win by a landslide. Why?
A. IF FANTINO LOSES: If Fantino loses, especially by a narrow margin, everyone will know Conservatives Against Fantino – aided by a loyal cadre of Caledonia patriots(!) – made it happen in conjunction with the serendipitous release of Blatchford’s Helpless and, if the party’s smart, it will stop selling out its principles, and start listening to the grass roots, grass roots like the people of Caledonia and Haldimand County.
As you will see next, Caledonia has already entered the House of Commons, and the buzz on Conservative discontent with the Fantino candidacy is palpable. More on that later.
B. IF FANTINO WINS: The Liberals smell blood on Fantino. If he wins, now that the Libs have begun attacking Fantino as did Justin Trudeau (think of that – federal Libs attacking McG’s OPP commish!), they will continue to hound the government for embracing of a guy who openly spits (figuratively) on the Charter, and the issues of Caledonia will get even bigger play in the House, and media.
We, of course, will assist them in any way possible in the same way we offered assistance to the CPC in helping them understand why Fantino would be a slap in the face to Caledonia and every other right-thinking Conservative who believes in radical concepts such as the rule of law, equality before the law, and in protecting victims instead of creating them.
Last Thursday 2 Liberal MPs rose in the House for the first time ever to confront Diane Finley re Fantino in relation to Caledonia. Never happened before!
Imagine what the Liberals could do if we started supplying all the evidence and background dirt on Fantino in our possession that the CPC didn’t want to hear about? We did our best to warn the party insiders to wait for Blatchford’s book before I went public with this:
Conservative insiders – growing discontent with Fantino appointment
Win or lose, Conservatives insiders and supporters are now questioning the decison-making process used to welcome Fantino into the question. Here are some of the comments by conservative insiders (and a reporter) I have received directly or had forwarded to me from supporters of our work. They show discontent within the CPC’s core supporters:
“Whether Fantino wins or loses is irrelevant to me; I will not be voting Conservative in the next federal election. I give great credit to Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas for being so strong in standing up to this man. They are heroes, in my opinion. And if you haven’t read Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless, that would be another great source of information.”
“Whatever the outcome, probably close either way, you have made a difference. Congratulations.”
“Will be thinking of you guys tomorrow. I won’t be surprised if Fantino manages to pull off a squeaker of a victory simply due to the power of name recognition and the public’s (mistaken) impression of him as a law and order guy but you guys have done an amazing job of getting the word out about why conservatives should think very carefully about supporting him and I commend you for that.”
“In this case, I think stopping Fantino is the most important thing one can do. I personally think that putting Fantino into the justice portfolio would be a mistake given that he has side-stepped the law to get vengeance against those who were innocent but disagreed with him. He also capitulated to political pressure when he should have defended the law. Those are dangerous precedents. Imagine if such a person were given greater powers and responsibilities. I don’t agree with the Star or with Tony Genco but if Fantino gets in, there could be problems down the road that will kill the conservative’s chance of ever winning a majority. Short term gain for long term pain.”
“I am a reporter with XXX….I am preparing a story about the unease in some Conservative quarters about the presence of Julian Fantino in their party.”
“The Conservative Party’s choice of Fantino to represent them in Vaughan leaves me with no other choice than to withdraw support for the Tories. Therefore, in protest of Fantino, please remove my blog and feed link from the Blogging Tories site. I will remove the link to the Blogging Tories from my site, as well.”
“…frankly, if I wasn’t afraid of losing 80% of my traffic, I’d probably resign from the Blogging Tories as well. I didn’t follow the Caledonia file too closely, but the Conservatives’ rather crass political maneuvering with Fantino is not something to be proud of.
While McGuinty’s Liberals and Harper’s new best friend (as Christie Blatchford calls him), Julian Fantino, were ‘justifying’ the suspension of Ontario’s Police Services Act and Charter protections for an entire class of people because they happened to call it ‘peacekeeping’ we notified Harper’s Attorney General Rob Nicholson that we had evidence supporting a case for three criminal charges against Fantino, and asked him for financial help in defending the rule of law. I got a ‘sorry your toaster is out of warranty and we can’t help you’ letter from him:
Money for racist native terror guide, but not for Caledonia activists
The same Harper government that refused to show any interest in human rights abuses in Caledonia gives money to a native supremacist magazine called Redwire that has published a terror ‘how to’ manual with instructions to native youth on how to target non-natives and their property for violent attacks. So far, it has received $1.2M with a recommendation for more:
Fantino or Genco – Caledonia and Canada win either way
Caledonia and Canada wins no matter what the outcome of the Vaughan election is tonight. All because of the growing and unstoppable awareness of the terrible crimes against democracy that were allowed to take place against innocents during an illegal McGuinty/Fantino peacekeeping mission conducted under the nose of Stephen Harper, and the determination to ensure they aren’t repeated.
When Gary McHale and I warned party insiders to wait for Christie Blatchford’s book to arrive, and told them we would campaign against the party, the ‘cigars’ must have had a good laugh at our expense. My guess is they aren’t laughing so much.
THANK YOU to all those Canadian patriots (CPC supporters, every one!) who drove to Vaughan, most from Caledonia – a 3 hour round trip – to help us get out our brochures and protest at Fantino’s headquarters. We couldn’t have done it without you! Thanks to you (and some Liberal MPs, Caledonia’s victims entered the House of Commons for the first time and the Conservative Party of Canada will never be the same.
MY PREDICTION #2 (THE ‘REAL’ ONE)
I predict the actual results are too close to call, but based on our experiences, Fantino’s terrible campaign, the Liberal history, Warren Kinsella’s ignorance, and my CPC source who seems pretty realistic and well-informed on the riding, I think Genco will win with a small margin. I guess I could have saved you a lot of time just by answering the question right away, huh?
But what fun would that be?
P.S. after passing on my ‘Genco wins by a nose’ prediction to my newsie friend yesterday, I came across a National Post article that backed me up exactly – once you get past the highly misleading title:
“My gut feeling tells me that the Liberals are going to win in Vaughan, narrowly,” says University of Toronto political scientist Nelson Wiseman.
The Liberals, who have labelled Mr. Fantino a “peekaboo” candidate because he’s barely participated in any debates, risk an embarrassing defeat if they lose a stronghold, particularly if it’s captured by someone they say is afraid to make public appearances.”
“This whole peekaboo thing is just Liberal spin,” he [CPC spokesman Fred Delorey] said. “There’s no truth to it.” That said, he admitted winning the riding is an “uphill battle.” “It’s a tough riding. The people of Vaughan traditionally vote Liberal,” he said.
If I end up owing Warren Kinsella an apology, at least I’ll be in good company.
- Elections Canada: November 29, 2010 By-elections (select Ontario>Vaughan)
- JeffParkinson.ca, Dec 01/10: Fantino is still a loser
- Western Standard, Nov 30/10: A Battle Lost, A War to Win [PDF] (MUST READ!)
- Celestial Junk (Blogging Tories), Nov 30/10: Moose and Squirrel in Wrong Decision
“Caledonia is a black stain on Canada … there could not be a more un-Conservative moment … it is anathema to any decent person who even moderately believes in conservative principles. Yet, Fantino is Harper’s man now and will sit like a pile of steaming guano in the benches of the CPC.”
- Moose & Squirrel, Nov 30/10: “Fantino wins – CPC loses”
- To Warren Kinsella: Well, Fantino sure didn’t win ‘handily’ by any means. (It was pretty funny listening to the talking heads commenting on how all the ‘experts’ were wrong about the expected Fantino landslide.) But, Fantino did win so, while I don’t think I owe you an apology (on your election prediction) I guess I owe you at least an acknowledgement for a lucky guess on a race that was – exactly as I predicted – too close to call. But, please, do go spend the $20 online for a copy of Helpless before you embarrass yourself again.
- Moose & Squirrel, Nov 29/10: “Prediction: Caledonia & Canada win Vaughan byelection by landslide”
- Conservatives Against Fantino brochure: ‘Caledonia: Fantino’s legacy of Lawlessness & Racist Policing Policies’ [PDF]
- Conservatives Against Fantino: News
- Toronto Life, Aug 30/10: Strategist extraordinaire Warren Kinsella grabs a bucket, starts bailing out the SS Rocco Rossi
- Toronto Life, Sept 20/10: Rocco Rossi releases new campaign ads that will be unappealing to pretty much everybody (be sure to watch the ‘Wise Guy’ video)
- National Post, Oct 13/10: Rocco Rossi drops out of mayoral race
- HelplessByBlatchford: Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Lawlessness, And How the Law Failed All of Us
- Toronto Sun, Warren Kinsella, Nov 28/10: Why is Fantino chasing seat? [PDF]
- Conservatives Against Fantino, Nov 26/10: MP Justin Trudeau rips Fantino for anti-Charter statements
- Conservatives Against Fantino, Nov 27/10: MP Diane Finley ‘Caught in the Middle’ as Liberal MPs question her signature on anti-Fantino petition in House of Commons
- VoiceofCanada, Nov 22/10: CANACE video – Blatchford on Caledonia and targeting of McHale by “prime minister’s new best friend”
- Caledonia Victims Project, Sept 17/10: Message for federal Conservatives: Fantino as candidate = slap in the face to Caledonia victims
- Moose & Squirrel, Nov 28/10: I’ve asked for my site to be removed from the Blogging Tories blogroll over the Fantino candidacy
- VoiceofCanada, Nov 28/10: Moose & Squirrel.ca takes a stand as first conservative blog to resign from Blogging Tories over Fantino candidacy
- Attorney General Of Canada letter to Vandermaas, Jul 31/08: Unable to provide assistance
- Police Services Act complaint, May 30/08: Vandermaas-McHale-Parkinson v. Fantino
- VoiceofCanada, Jan 21/09: EXPOSED: How the McGuinty gov’t refused to investigate criminal allegations against Fantino
- VoiceofCanada, June 21/10: RedWire Magazine’s blueprint for terror & sabotage by native ‘revolutionaries’ paid for by federal funds?
- VoiceofCanada, June 21/10: Feds gave native supremacist magazine $1.2M
- National Post, Nov 28/10: Fantino may steal one for Tories in Monday byelections
Founder, Caledonia Victims Project
Executive Director, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE)