Amateur Hour at the Ontario NDP. Leak at your own risk.

I

II

As an official opposition, the NDP really don’t know what they are doing. They did rule this province once and have been elected as politicians for decades; so there is no excuse for their colossal fuckery of leading a trail of huge, radioactive breadcrumbs straight to the computer of their leaker:

Ontario NDP’s improper redaction led Ford government to leaker: Sources

Oy yoi yoi.

This is how n00bs function: they get a piece of dirt, vogue and posture in front of rolling cameras filled with ego and bad acting skills, forget the basics of trying to protect people who are going out on a limb, fuck up the message, and watch as the government fires the leaker, gets the OPP unleashed on said amateur leaker, and then no one talks about the scoop, but of your nincompoopity as you conveniently try to dodge the questions, proving you are no better than the man in charge.

The leaker was naive. The NDP were oblivious and self-serving. The Ford regime had no choice but to come down hard, and it helps greatly that this fuck up happened so early into the Tories’s tenure: because the trail was coloured with loud neon green bread crumbs, they can see how to fortify their defences, and the other potential blabbermouths are going to know that the NDP are not professionals, and they won’t give them goodies to spew for press conferences.

This thwarted headache is now a gift to Ford.

When I worked as a journalist, I tried to avoid using anonymous sources as a general rule. There often is a good, but not noble reason for someone wanting to go incognito. If their identity is made public, someone is going to blab what this person is really up to. I preferred getting information, and then going off to independently verify things through some more open and forthcoming channels. My job is to give facts in context, but I am not going to tell you what to think of those facts.

When I was asked to write the companion book to the documentary OutFoxed, I was presented with three anonymous sources, but I wasn’t told their identities, which posed a dilemma for me. The book has to reflect the documentary, and I had no say over a canned movie not of my making. The vast majority of the interviews were not anonymous, but some very important details came from those three sources.

I have a rule: I need to verify information to my satisfaction, and I have to know who I am dealing with. It is not as if I expect perfection from sources or else they are completely tainted, but if you weigh your facts and sources, eventually the scale will tip one way and you can use the intel, or it tips the other way, and you know the intel not true — and then you have to find out why you were told an untruth and what it is hiding, meaning there is more to the story, or just a completely different story than the one you were given.

It is like being Anubis, and figuring out if you are going to feed Ammit and unleash him to the person who tried to con you.

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So, I could not add anyone that wasn’t interviewed for the film (whether or not they were featured in it) to replace the three anonymous sources.

But I then took each interview and in very short order, managed to figure out the identities of all three.

And I could also verify what they said, meaning what I used was good intel. People can chose to use their own scale and dismiss an anonymous source, but the book didn’t pin everything on those three sources, either. There were the memos, other sources, and the breakdown of the actual transcripts, among other things. I offered a huge buffet of facts, you want to skip three dishes, you have hundreds of other options to choose from.

But I shouldn’t have been able to figure out who they were, or as fast I as did. If you are using anonymous sources, they have to stay anonymous. With Watergate, Deep Throat’s identity was safe for decades.

In the gossip, surveillance-happy Beltway filled with operatives, lawyers, journalists, politicians, and lobbyists.

This was extraordinary, but fair to the source who gave enough information to take down a president, but not enough was revealed to figure out who he was.

But Bob Woodward is an actual journalist. So is Carl Bernstein.

And this was back in the day when the Washington Post was a real newspaper.

But the NDP bungled this badly. It reminds me of the “Eyewitness Ed'“ episode of the cartoon The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley.

All Horwath forgot to do was don an Astroboy hairdo and play the triangle…

Memo to Andrea Horwath: Even "tapping" someone on the shoulder is considered intimidation. People have lost their jobs for it.

Ontario NDP honcho Andrea Horwath is not behaving very professionally lately. PC MPP Donna Skelly has accused Horwath of pushing her, and I am not certain what possible motive she would have to lie about it, but Horwath’s excuse is as pathetic as it is ill-informed:

Horwath denies accosting the PC MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook and claims it was Skelly who "went ballistic" when she tapped her on the shoulder.

I have known people who lost their jobs because they literally tapped an underling or colleague on the shoulder. It is considered intimidation, and you do not touch people at work, regardless of the circumstances.

Skelly had every right to be livid even if it were a “tap.” That is workplace harassment and bullying, and Horwath should know better. That is a form of intimidation, and Horwath may be the head of her party, but she still ranks lower than an MPP whose party formed the government. Skelly is the lone Hamilton-area PC representative, and no one in the Opposition party — or anyone else — has the right to touch her. That is a schoolyard tactic and Horwath owes Skelly an apology at the very least, but the offence is serious no matter if it were a push or a tap.

That is poor form, and there is no reason to touch anyone in that manner in the workplace — none

I will update this entry rather than add a new one: the Speaker may have “cleared” Horwath, but it is interesting how rules do not apply to politicians as they do to the plebs. Tapping is a fireable offence, and I know someone in a management position how tapped a coworker on the shoulder with a single finger — and he immediately knew the second he did it that he was going to get sacked for it (and he was). Horwath’s temper tantrums have not done a single thing to impact any policy, and I doubt the ineffectual boorishness will be toned down…

Why can some people never win? Because they don't understand the concept of loss. Journalism muddles through the concept again.

Put a sunny spin on rot and maybe you can fool people into thinking you won. That is precisely how Andrea Horwath spun her defeat yesterday, and make no mistake: she lost big time.

It doesn't matter if she moved up a notch by default. That is nothing to celebrate.

To put it in perspective, let's say there is a fire in a building and four people are trapped inside, and only one of them can come out in time.

Does the person who was second fastest going to celebrate?

No, obviously. Only the first person who gets out lives. Who was second, third, or fourth isn't even a thing.

When we try to sugarcoat loss as some sort of "win", we begin to try to spin a narrative in such a way that we do not have to face the fact that we lost, but somehow won.

Sometimes you can get away with it, but at a price. When you keep sunny spinning failure, you can never actually achieve a victory.

And Andrea Horwath is a person who can't win because she has a penchant to cheer her failures.

She is abetted by a press that enables that delusion.

The National Post is doing just that. Yes, they noticed that she lost, and even noticed that her concession speech was most likely the victory speech she wrote, but then was so impressed with it that she used it in defeat because it was just that kewl, but they still could not slap that faction to the reality that they suffered a massive loss and did so because they could not assess who was leading their soldiers to certain defeat:

There was a sense of missed opportunity, that after the first couple of debates the NDP had a real possibility to win.

And then this musing:

Now Horwath has another four years to audition for premier, this time with greater resources and influence, and with no likely challenge to her leadership, given the rare achievement of her second-place finish.

“It is a victory. It’s not a spin,” Lyle said. “No New Democrat has done better since Bob Rae … To go and shoot the messenger would be crazy.”

When you have a leader giving a victory speech after defeat, there was never any chance of victory. This is Hillary Clinton all over again, only if Clinton used her victory speech instead of keeping silent for a day.

The NDP were a panic choice for the Left who thought Wynne was too radioactive and controversial to win. They did not stop to think at looking at the NDP's past bungles and past defeats to assess how viable of an alternative they truly were.

Last night's mystifying speech says it all: any improvement means victory of some sort.

It's not, of course. In politics, only the party who has the most seats has all of the power. The opposing parties don't. They cannot put forth bills that have a chance of being passed. They cannot stop bills the ruling party decides will become law.

That means the opposition are inert. To see it any other way is being in denial.

It is all or none. Win or lose and very binary. Only when there is a minority government does an opposing party have cards to play.

And once upon a time Horwath had that winning hand when Wynne had a minority regime. Instead of taking advantage of it, she blew it. Wynne proved to be the more alert of the two, and then went on to win a majority.

But Canadian journalists have a difficult grasp of losing. Everyone must have some sort of ribbon and certificate of participation along with a lollipop.

But in fact, it is not just the NDP that bumbled out a defeat: so did various union leaders who made the colossal tactical error of telling their flock to switch parties to vote for the NDP rather than the Liberals. The Grits will recover -- and now they will know not to be so generous with those voting blocs or play as nice because their loyalties switch at the first sign of trouble.

And because those union leaders made the wrong call, splitting a base, they should resign. They lost. They failed.

They left their members vulnerable in an unstable climate.

But that won't happen. There will be no rebellion or revolt. This blunder will be spun as a win, as usual. Because that's the Canadian way.

Always finding the positive in failure. That thinking destroyed journalism, and if the Canadian Left are not careful, they will share the same fate, too -- until they can admit when they lost -- and then find ways to save their fortunes rather than their egos.

If the NDP had sense, they'd take stock and make changes at the top. The Liberals, for all of their faults, get this truth, and will reinvent themselves with their quiet and strategic internal revolutions.

But the Orange are too happy with being the second fastest in a burning building to see that their fortunes have gone up in flames as well...

 

Lefties in Toronto having a meltdown; Hamilton left without representation as Steel under threat.

Doug Ford gets his majority. Considering the disarray the Tories were in at the beginning, this is a feat.

Ford was shrewd: he was vague, repetitive, heavy on strategic catchphrases, didn't encourage candidates to debate, but knew which ridings to strike. It is often nearly impossible to win an election on suburbs and rural areas alone, but he pulled it off. Ford Nation has moved up a significant notch.

Those ridings who voted Blue are going to have their fortunes rise as they will have cabinet ministers ensuring their resources go to their turfs, and considering these ridings tend to be the province Haves, this can shore up the province's fortunes.

But not for everyone.

Toronto is going to be in trouble. The spoiled ridings that veered to NDP from Liberal are not going to have the same old protection having cabinet ministers who will lavish goodies to them and fight their battles. It will be a serious tactical error, but it could have been worse.

Hamilton, as usual, voted NDP instead of the party that had a real chance of forming a government. Steel City used to be robust when they voted Liberal when the Grits were in power. Dundas, usually a politically cagier area, hedged their bets on Orange, and will now not have a presence in the government. Donna Skelly is the lone PC MPP in the region, and it should get her a cabinet position for that reason. Persistence paid for her.

Now that Hamilton can be counted on always voting for the losing party, and with the trade wars with the US, this is not good for the rusted small town with a big city population. They will have no bloc in the cabinet to lobby for their interests.

Hamilton isn't the only demographic who has poor grasp of strategic voting. St. Catharines and Windsor also went Orange -- both economically-strapped regions with serious poverty and crime problems. They won't be digging out any time soon now, and most likely fall deeper into an abyss. The local television station is trying to spin it because the NDP is now official opposition, but elections are all or none -- no one cares about the silver medal when all the bounty is strictly given to the ones who got gold.

The Liberals walked a tightrope, but the divide between rich and poor and grew too far apart for them to get another term. 

The Green Party has one seat in Guelph, which is a very interesting turn to say the least.

Unions are also in trouble twice over. They betrayed their champion Wynne, making the next Liberal leader warier of indulging unreasonable requests from that now unreliable bloc, while Ford, will now be indulging the private sector.

The election proves that the idea of the Left-of-Centre voter being in the majority is an actual myth. They may loudly babble on Twitter and Facebook, but when it comes to actually voting -- the only action that counts -- they stay away from the voting booths in droves...

But that being said, Wynne won her seat and the Grits are but did not retain their party status. This is the Government Party, after all, and they are teachable and have no trouble reinventing themselves. Wynne's gambit didn't work (though it seemed like it would at one point when the Grits were leading in 9 ridings, but fell to the PCs). Even in defeat, she tried to pull a rabbit out of her hat...

NDP's nincompoopity: Why doesn't the press ask basic questions?

Watching Andrea Horwath's television ad promising rainbows and unicorns is a real knee-slapper.

She promises to reduce electricity bills -- how do you do that when the bulk of the bill goes to retiring the debt. That amount has to be paid off -- otherwise you are just accumulating interest on the debt.

It is no different than paying off your credit card.

But that's not the nincompoopity that requires hard question.

Horwath babbles about making the "rich" "pay more" taxes.

Okay, how many wealthy people are there? How much more do you expect them to pay...?

And how much money can you actually get that can pay for all those pipe dream promises?

There is precedence for this idea -- and it is the extreme version.

Yugoslavia was a country that was socialist -- and when they began, they thought it would be a great idea to make everyone financially equal by confiscating the wealth from the rich and giving it to everyone else.

That money did not last very long. The country burned through that -- and as there was no more wealth to confiscate, they resorted to other means by playing one superpower against the other.

So if the extreme version was a flop and bankrupted other socialist countries as well, then how realistic is it to think the wealthy are some sort of bottomless pit that can cover not just those campaign promises, but also all the debt Ontario has?

It can't.

And with rumblings in the US over NAFTA, it is a delicate balance.

I don't expect much from the NDP. My family had dealings with Horwath's office, and they were tone deaf to say the least, showing absolutely no willingness to help the severely disabled -- and worse, did not know the laws regarding the rights and plight of the vulnerable. There was no interest whatsoever; and the climax of hanging up after admitting ignorance is one for the books.

Horwath has been true to that form during her campaign, blithely ignoring and dismissing anything that doesn't applaud her. That is not a quality you want in a leader. Eyes shut is not a leadership style.

Ontario is in seriously deep and unpredictable waters with no right answer. A minority government will be no better than a majority government. The NDP are as unprepared as the PCs. I am not endorsing the Grits by default: the Liberals weren't taking things seriously as they gave too much to teachers' unions at the expense of the rest of the province. They focussed too much on the environment, causing other problems to slide.

And there were problems. Serious problems with people on the Sunshine List whining that they weren't getting enough.

The Grits were too accommodating, and for their largesse, they were thanked by those same groups with the gift of abandonment. That should be a lesson for any politician who thinks pandering is going to work as a long-term strategy.

And the NDP is now pandering with bigger promises with less money do be able to do it.

But the press isn't asking hard questions. They, for instance, aren't asking people who have had direct dealings with the various parties as constituents with problems to see the results. How many people have had their issues resolved after asking their MPP for help?

That is the best gauge of a party's competence: actual results. It is not just the big things, but the little ones.

I find it interesting that none of the three candidates in my riding have come knocking on my door. Not one. I live in a busy part of town. With no ear to the ground, they gather no intelligence. I remember a time when I would get all three candidates knocking at my door.

The press has the same problem: not knocking on doors. It is easy to hide truths when no one moves to find them.

Once upon a time, people had a fear of the unknown; now, it has become the fear of the known.

The NDP has no platform that jives with reality, and while the Grits had the benefit of more stable times, whoever takes the helm is not going to be lucky.

There is a serious storm coming that will expose many of those festering problems. Ontario is not prepared. There is no They who has an actual plan to deal with the chaos that has started to rear its ugly head.

If we had a press that ignored the canned photo ops and turned over every rock, the electorate would be able to bravely face those problems -- and then demand a realistic plan of action...

Kathleen Wynne's brilliant gambit.

Kathleen Wynne has a brain and she has guts. Unlike the cowardly and oblivious Hillary Clinton who had no concession speech, Wynne chases out in front.

Proving she is both a realist and strategist, Wynne took control of the situation and did something the Big Boys do not have the ovaries to do: concede defeat before the end of the election.

It was a daring gambit, and it proved that Wynne isn't in it for her: she warned Ontarians not to make a knee-jerk reaction and give a majority to the weak contenders.

It takes a realist to be able to face that kind of truth in public -- and then strategically try to save the party by doing something no one has ever done before. It is something to admire and something a lot of people would be wise to study. It is very easy to be out there when everything goes your way; it is another thing when everything is working against you.

But this isn't good news for Ontario -- a province that does not have its house in order and the new minders are unprepared for what is coming ahead. Andrea Horwath has no vision, let alone that aligns with the shifting landscape: she parrots a script. Doug Ford has cunning, but he lacks gravitas. Neither one is actual leader material -- and now that Ontario is in a precarious situation, whoever wins the contest will rue the day it happened. A dark storm is coming and Ontario is completely unprepared. This has always been a timid province that plays it safe, and when unpredictable storms come raging in, those old tricks will make things worse.

Wynne's defeat is a blessing for her: she is dodging a bullet. It must be absolutely devastating for her: she had vision and the courage to push through with it, but she took it as far as she could with an electorate who have no idea what is in store for them. Her legacy will be dismantled, but she was always a good soldier, and her talents were wasted in that position, anyway.

Another winner by losing is Patrick Brown. He may be throwing epic fits, but he, too dodged a bullet by getting the boot before the election.

Wynne is a maverick -- and to be a female maverick is a difficult path to take. White boys cannot stand the fact that they do not have the monopoly on being rebels with a plan. Other women who stick to scripts are insanely jealous that there can be a woman who can be free to be a visionary.

Wynne broke barriers, but she would have always been better suited in the federal sphere. Provincial politics isn't the place for vision. It is middle management territory where the point is to fly under the radar, and follow a script that both the bosses and the underlings can accept without feeling intimidated. That's not Wynne.

With today's gambit, she keeps herself active in the game. She comes off as a genuine realist, and not a prima donna as other politicians have proven themselves to be. She needs a better outlet for her unorthodox brand of balancing various factions while shaking people out of their slumber.

I am not one of her detractors, nor am I intimidated by her. I may not agree with her ideas, but Canada needs people like her to cross lines in the sand because this has been a nation that seems to draw them thinking nothing bad happens when you make them...

Kathleen Wynne got rattled by Doug Ford, and the campaign shows it.

Doug Ford knows strategy and he clearly delivered a single, elegant shot that has literally made her lose that mojo that has given her those improbable and impossible victories in the past.

He asked her a single question:

When did you lose your way?

It rattled her so much that media outlets actually noticed the shift. She went on News Talk 1010's Moore in the Morning to address it the day after in a classic case of l'esprit d'escalier. 

Too little, too late. The damage was already done.

Wynne is seen as more capable than her two rivals, and until that fateful question, she was.

But Ford's stealth attack did enormous damage to her focus, and we can see her fortunes plummet. He hit a nerve as he dug deep into her psyche, saw her fear, and pulled it out to show it to her and the public. 

Had the question not been asked, we would not be seeing the same campaign. I am not one to go by polling numbers, but now we are seeing something very interesting: a hidden truth about the real health of Ontario.

NDP is the poor man's party. They have no clout or connections with the elite or the financial districts. If they are elected, the banks will all downgrade the province's credit rating. Businesses will leave for greener pastures. There will be no funds to juice all those deceptive freebies, and it will lead to serious trouble here. The fact that the NDP is seeing a surge is revealing how much of a pauper's playground Ontario has become. Those who are defeated always retreat to the nanny party, without realizing there is no tax base to support their fantasy vision.

The PC's are appealing with those who have not thrown in the towel, and see hope in their future to make a life one their own -- that means we have two Ontarios, and not one.

One group who are independent and the other who are passive.

And it happened under the Liberals' 15 year watch. Wynne had played a dangerous game and had tried to please both sides, but the chasm was by then too great. She increased minimum wage, invested in businesses through government subsidies, and gave the voting bloc of teachers more than they ever deserved -- and all groups are thanking her by abandoning her.

This betrayal of alliances is what shook her. Doug Ford let her and the rest of the world know that it happened.

And now watching her photo-ops has been cringeworthy. She goes from place to place, engaging in little stunts, making her come off as someone with a mid-life crisis trying to knock off as many things off her bucket list as possible. I am surprised she didn't dye her hair blue and go get a tattoo as cameras are rolling.

That is a sign of defeat, and someone who doesn't think she has a tomorrow.

She could have easily sewn up this election the way she did last time: talk about pensions and appeal to Baby Boomers. They are still the biggest voting bloc and the ones who still see voting as their civic duty. They may seem set in their political affiliations, but target that group with a tangible and significant benefit and a you-focussed message, and they will come through for you.

But now, Wynne is all over the place, and that's not the way to win an election. You cannot be all things to all people -- nor does victory come from that desperate strategy.

Ford cannot be discounted, and he is very strategic in both strategy and timing. With Wynne running around like a chicken without a head, he can focus on other things. Ford found her kryptonite and used it against her. He didn't hammer away at her. He didn't engage in overkill. He merely pointed at the monster that scared her most, and told her she veered off course to avoid it.

And that is a devastating accusation to make at someone whose job is being a leader.

As someone who has had people try psychological warfare on me over the years from the 36 Stratagems to negging, I see through it and find it funny, even when the stakes are high. You are not going to make me insecure with your manipulative words or doubt myself. Bottom line people shut out the white noise of arguments and insults because they are deadweight.

Meaning that gambit works only if the leader believes it and looks to others for validation and applause. Had she seen the ruse, she could have given an epic rebuttal to turn her fortunes around.

Anything can happen in this election, but seeing Wynne flounder over something minor when she has triumphed over bigger obstacles is fascinating to watch nonetheless.