Wednesday, October 12, 2005

For the record

Babble on.

This isn't a return to blogging.

I'm simply a little tired of having Warren Kinsella spread disinformation about a dispute the two of us had right around this time last year. Since the incident, I have refrained from talking about it because a) this egomaniac needs more attention like you and I need a sucking chest wound, and b) he's dink enough to start tossing around lawsuits at the slightest provocation. But enough is enough.

When Lt (N) Chris Saunders was killed fighting an electrical fire aboard HMCS Chicoutimi, I got angry. I didn't get angry because he died - men and women in the CF die as a result of the work they do all the time; it's an occupational hazard given the job description. Accidental deaths make me sad, not angry. No, I got angry because Chris Saunders' death was the result of our Liberal government buying the wrong subs at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. I know it, Saunders' mother knows it, our Parliament knows it.

So when I saw Kinsella, the ultimate Chretien insider, writing mournfully on his blog about this entirely preventable tragedy, I lost it. I lashed out. I fired off a blog post that said he was part of the problem - part of the Liberal government that handled the sub purchase so abysmally - and should therefore stow his crocodile tears. I was furious, and the post certainly reflected that.

Now, as it turns out, maybe his tears weren't faked. Maybe he was genuinely expressing his sympathy for a little boy who lost his father, as Kinsella himself had recently. I don't know.

What I do know is that Kinsella threatened to sue me for what I wrote. I pulled the post and deleted comments from another related post in an effort to avoid litigation. I'm not a lawyer, I didn't know if I had crossed some legal line, and I wasn't interested in going through a civil suit to find out. After a brief shitstorm around the Canadian blogosphere, Kinsella dropped his threat.

But he continued to misinform people - the vast majority of whom would never have seen my original short-lived post - about what I said. I tried to ignore it, and for the most part succeeded in doing so. Unfortunately, he just keeps bringing it up.

Now, he's presuming to understand my motivations:

Another one wrote, around the same time, that I - the son of a guy who had been so proud to have been a decorated officer in the Armed Forces - had actually contributed to the death of a Canadian sailor. Me, personally.

The objective had been to hurt my feelings, I know that. The authors of those statements were far-right creeps, or emotionally-troubled, or both. I know that too.

But, even though I knew all that stuff, I was pretty upset. I wanted to find the men who wrote those things and beat the living shit out of them. That wasn't a good idea, obviously. Instead, I told these losers I'd sue them. Eventually they backed off, and I moved on. But the haters are a durable lot.

Hurt his frickin' feelings? I couldn't give a rat's back end about Warren Kinsella's feelings. I was too busy venting my own to give the slightest thought to his.

I'm glad Kinsella's father served with distinction. I sincerely hope that as a result he harbours the respect he says he does for our men and women in uniform. But I saw people I went to school with carrying Lt (N) Saunders' coffin; I have friends who have rotated in and out of overseas missions so many times by the age of thirty-five that their kids barely recognize them; I know people flying in worn-out aircraft that need dozens of hours of mainenance for each nerve-wracking hour of flight; I share memories with people who ride both over and under the waves in service to their country. For me, the lack of governmental support for our armed forces during the Chretien era is intensely personal.

I'm not a right-wing nut job. Ask the folks who comment at SDA or The Shotgun if I'm even a conservative in their eyes. Ask Greg, or Timmy, or Declan, or Flea, or Alan, or James, or Pogge, or Jim just how far out on the xenophobic spittle-flecked fascist right-wing I am. Ask Treehugger, a gentleman who was honest enough to change his mind publicly after he heard both sides of this story, how extreme I am. My views are right of the Canadian mean, to be sure, but for Kinsella to lump me in with the 'hater' crowd is low.

I have a good friend whose wife used to work for Kinsella. She swears he's a decent guy. I used to link to him in the lefties section of my blogroll because I thought so too. This incident changed my mind, and his continuing effort to smear me and misrepresent my words just reinforces how wrong I was about the man.

He writes that he wanted to find me and take a shot. I almost saved him the trouble by knocking on his door myself. But talking big on a blog is easy. So is suing someone when you're a lawyer.

Enough of the spin, Warren. Enough of the asinine accusations and exaggerations. Get over yourself.

Babble off.


At 11:11 p.m., Blogger PR said...

One thing about Canadians, and especially defenders of this government, is that they refuse to look at the real-life consequences of the government's public policy decisions and go into a frenzy when someone forces them to. To them, it's just an abstract game. My favourite example of this was the reaction to Jack Layton asserting that the Liberals' cut-backs had led to the deaths of homeless people. The truth of that statement is obvious, and yet journalists went ballistic over it. Your post did the same thing to Kinsella.

At 2:55 a.m., Blogger Candace said...

I have read your blog religiously since discovering blogging and have never seen you as a total wingnut. There may have been times I disagreed (I can't recall exactly) but if so, I know that my comments were treated respectfully (because I can't recall - I remember the "bashers").

If Kinsella's actions (which, from reading your post, appear knee-jerk) have resulted in your no longer posting, then he has done his country a disservice.

Oh, right, he's a Lib. I forgot for a moment.

At 4:06 a.m., Blogger Meaghan Walker-Williams said...

Oh yes peter... "defenders of Government" certainly do engage regularly in a refusal to look at the real life consequences to Aboriginal Children, by the Indian Public Policy Decisions of the Canadian government.

And you are absolutley right.. it's all just an abstract circle-jerking pontificating game to these people, who will fly into a frenzy when anybody forces them to examine the results of these Residential Schools on generations of Aboriginal Children.

Thanks Peter.

That was good for a laugh.

At 3:52 p.m., Blogger PR said...

Oh look, Meaghan is cutting someone else down. What an innovation.

At 3:59 p.m., Blogger Alan said...

Game, set and match to Brooks.

Hey Damian, if I come back, will you?


At 12:01 a.m., Blogger John the Mad said...


It can't be said that you withdrew from the blogosphere because you ran out of words. I'd say Mr. Kinsella has been appropriately sliced and diced.

When I served on House of Commons political staff for a Liberal MP I believed that the Grits had a giant blind spot when it came to the military. Many years later, I haven't changed my mind.

Miss your posts.

Per ardua ....

At 9:46 a.m., Blogger Ghost of a flea said...

For what it is worth, I am well to the left of the Canadian mean on most issues and am certainly to the left of Warren Kinsella. One exception to this is my rather robust view about the necessity of using force to defend ourselves from those folks who would kill or convert us man, woman and child, evangelical and drag queen alike. I do not understand why so much of the left has thrown in with any fundementalist provided they offer some slight tactical advantage in their fight against George Bush, CNN and McDonalds.

Consequently, one place you and I, Damian, have consistently agreed is on the necessity of maintaining, or rather saving, Canada's armed forces and the honourable, long suffering folks who are charged with defending us. I am in a rather peculiar position of having worked with many people who designed and built the Victoria (formerly Upholder) class submarines and have taken a dim view of arguments condemning their technological prowess, seaworthiness and especially the judgement of Canada's navy in deploying them. Consequently, I think their purchase was one of the few things Canada's federal government has got right in military spending and so can hardly blame them if things go wrong or if, indeed, there does turn out to be a systematic problem with their design or flaw resulting from their storage by the Royal Navy. I believe the government took the best advice available and acted on it.

I have never agreed with your condemnation of the vessels, the Liberal government that purchased them or the only remote and tangential role of a functionary such as Kinsella in their acquisition. But that is all it is: a disagreement.

When it turned out Kinsella had lost his own father and so took your argument to heart I can only imagine you were appalled that a disagreement about policy, and a fair charge of hypocrisy at a public figure (if one I disagreed with on substantive grounds), was received as disrespect for a family tragedy. But you did what any gentleman would do and express your regret for the possibility of such an interpretation for all that it was entirely unintentional and beyond your power to anticipate. I am baffled that Kinsella should apparently so abuse your good intentions by describing you now in schoolyard insults. I imagine he is confident in his legal position in so doing but it strikes me there are measures of respect that cannot be purchased with a law firm's letterhead. I am not certain what it would take for Kinsella to earn my respect. But you certainly have it.

At 4:37 p.m., Blogger pogge said...

My own attendance in the blogosphere has been pretty spotty lately, to say the least. Hadn't realized you'd withdrawn and I hope it's temporary.

As for Kinsella, I rarely read him any more. I don't think he remembers how to take the partisan glasses off so he can look at the world the way rest of us do. While I don't have a phobia about salt, I don't like too much of it in my diet either.

Of the two of you, you'd be much the bigger loss to blogging. Does that answer the question?

At 7:24 a.m., Blogger Kateland, aka TZH said...

The real problem with Kinsella is that he suffers from delusions of a grandeur and a burning need to nail himself to a cross.

If you had to choose, where would rather stand, unjustly accused of being lumped with the likes of me and mine, or standing united behind Kinsella?

At 11:57 p.m., Blogger deaner said...

Damian - excellent post; I'm glad I dropped by after you stopped blogging and saw this. If there's anything we can do to encourage you to return on a regular basis, we'd sure like to know about it....


At 10:00 p.m., Blogger Canadi-anna said...

What you said about Kinsella can't be any worse than what he said about you.
You're right to defend yourself.
Hope you don't stay gone.

At 3:04 p.m., Blogger Warwick said...

Peter Said (in the first comment):

"My favourite example of this was the reaction to Jack Layton asserting that the Liberals' cut-backs had led to the deaths of homeless people. The truth of that statement is obvious.."

I'd say that it is anything but obvious.

I'd say it was the liberals of the 60's and early 70's that closed the mental hospitals and put the mentally ill on the streets that are responsible for both the mis-named "homeless" problem and the death of the mostly mentally ill homeless people ever since.


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