Warren Kinsella

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Warren James Kinsella
BornAugust 1960 (age 63)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Alma materUniversity of Calgary
Carleton University
Spouse(s)Suzanne Amos (divorced)[1]
Lisa Kirbie (separated, 2019)[2]
RelativesDouglas Kinsella (father)

Warren James Kinsella (born August 1960) is a Canadian lawyer, author, musician, political consultant, and commentator. Kinsella has written commentary in most of Canada's major newspapers and several magazines, including The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Citizen, the National Post, The Walrus, and Postmedia newspapers. He appeared regularly on the Sun News Network. Kinsella is the founder of the Daisy Consulting Group, a Toronto-based firm that engages in paid political campaign strategy work, lobbying and communications crisis management.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Kinsella is the son of physician and medical ethicist Douglas Kinsella, founder of the National Council on Ethics in Human Research (NCEHR).[5] He attended Carleton University from 1980 to 1984, earning a Bachelor of Journalism.


In the 1980s, Kinsella was a reporter at the Calgary Herald and later the Ottawa Citizen.[6]

Later, as a lawyer, Kinsella was a partner in the law firm McMillan Binch.[7] He left the legal firm in 2002 and co-founded the consulting firm, Navigator.[1] In 2006, he left to found his own agency, Daisy Consulting Group, a Toronto-based firm that engages in paid political advertising, lobbying and communications crisis management.[8]


Federal politics[edit]

Liberal Party[edit]

Kinsella served as a media adviser to opposition leader Jean Chrétien's office and as a strategist in the Canadian federal Liberal Party's 1993 election campaign "task force".[9] After the Liberals won the election, Kinsella became chief of staff to federal Public Works minister David Dingwall.[10] Lawrence Martin noted in his book Iron Man that Kinsella was accused by Peter Donolo, Chrétien's communications director, of being overtly aggressive and seeing enemies everywhere.[11] In addition, Martin noted that many Liberal MPs expressed concern about Kinsella's behaviour. However, Kinsella was a favourite of Aline Chrétien, the Prime Minister's wife, which meant that the complaints were ignored.[12]

Kinsella ran as a Liberal candidate in the 1997 federal election in the riding of North Vancouver but was defeated by Reform incumbent Ted White.

During his last stint as a national campaign headquarters worker during the 2000 Canadian federal election, he appeared on CTV's Canada AM brandishing a purple Barney dinosaur doll to mock what he claimed were Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day's creationist beliefs.[13] Public affairs consultant Robin Sears in Policy Options used this incident to compare him to American Political Consultant James Carvile and argued that "The Carvillites and their young fans were less concerned with the substance of politics or its impact on citizens' building contempt for politics than with their personal scores."[4]

After the 2000 federal election, Kinsella was a vocal supporter of Chrétien during the intra-party struggle that resulted in Chrétien being replaced by Paul Martin. In Iron Man, Lawrence Martin noted that Kinsella saw Paul Martin and his followers "as almost much an enemy" as the opposition parties, and favored working against the Martin faction.[12] He would work on Liberal leadership campaigns for Allan Rock and Sheila Copps in opposition to Martin. He later admitted to quitting the Liberal Party when then-cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal had his Vancouver South-Burnaby riding association taken over by the Martin forces in November 2002.[14]

Starting in November 2008, Kinsella worked briefly for Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff.[15] One long-time senior Liberal questioned the hiring of Kinsella, calling him a "human shrapnel machine."[16] Later that month Kinsella apologized for a post in his video blog that jokingly mentioned that his regular Chinese restaurant sold "cat meat."[17][18] Kinsella resigned from Ignatieff's campaign in May 2009, citing treatment of fired colleagues.[19]

Kinsella publicly considered seeking the Liberal nomination for the 2015 federal election in Toronto—Danforth, but ultimately demurred in the belief that he would not be approved as a nominee. He argued that Justin Trudeau's inner circle had played a role in the ouster of Jean Chretien as Prime Minister.[20] He has been a critic of Trudeau's leadership.[21] During the 2019 election, Kinsella sent tweets accusing the Prime Minister of buying drinks for Faith Goldy,[22] making false accusations of a suppressed Globe & Mail story,[23] and linking to a fake website that advocated Chrystia Freeland as leader of the Liberal Party.[24] After the election, Kinsella praised Trudeau by stating that since the election there had been "no stunts, no selfies, no over-saturation".[25]

Gomery inquiry[edit]

During the Gomery Commission's inquiry into the Sponsorship scandal, Justice John Gomery was told that Kinsella, while chief of staff to Minister of Public Works David Dingwall, wrote a letter to the department's Deputy Minister, Ran Quail in 1994 requesting Chuck Guité be appointed to review the government's advertising and communications strategy.[10] Quail said he viewed the letter as political interference into civil service affairs, while Dingwall and Kinsella characterized the letter as a request rather than a directive. No finding of any fault was found in Gomery's report relating to Kinsella's conduct.[26]

Green Party[edit]

Kinsella worked for the Canadian Green Party during July 2019 in the run-up to the 2019 Canadian federal election.[27][28] This work was a temporary arrangement and involved "Kinsella setting up a quick-response unit for the Greens."[29]

Conservative Party of Canada[edit]

In October 2019, the Globe and Mail reported that Kinsella's consulting firm, Daisy Group, had, according to an anonymous source, been hired by the Conservative Party of Canada to create a campaign attempting to discredit Maxime Bernier and the People's Party of Canada. Neither the Conservative Party nor Kinsella would confirm or deny that they are – or have been – working together.[30] Bernier filed a complaint to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.[31] On October 19, 2019, Kinsella deactivated his Twitter and Facebook accounts and posted a statement on his website that he is "pulling back from (social) media."[32] On October 22, 2019, Kinsella called on the Commissioner of Canada Elections to investigate the role that his own firm played.[33]

On 29 October 2019 Kinsella said on his podcast that he would not reveal the who hired his company, maintaining that it was protected by solicitor-client privilege but stated the campaign should have been disclosed earlier.[34] On November 2, Kory Teneycke cited Andrew Scheer handling of the Kinsella story to the Toronto Star as one of the example questioning Scheer future as the leader of the Conservative Party.[35] While, CBC revealed, on November 26, 2019, a recording describing Kinsella's contempt of Bernier and identified that Conservative campaign manager Hamish Marshall and co-chair, John Walsh knew about the campaign and were watching. Kinsella is heard telling the staff that they need to "draw blood".[36] After filing a $1 million lawsuit, Kinsella later settled out of court with the source; who was a former Daisy Employee, Aziza Mohammed.[37] On December, 08, the Globe and Mail, reported that it was a lack of clarity "what other activities were part of the project" and that "The Conservative Party will eventually have to report all of its spending and third-party contracts to Elections Canada".[38] While, Kinsella and his firm did not break the Elections Canada Act (which only governs spending), CBC News suggested that story might not end.[39]

In February 2020, Bernier launched a lawsuit against Kinsella alleging defamation by branding Bernier a racist, in relation to the 2019 election.[40] The lawsuit sought an admission of defamation and $325,000 in damages.[40] In November 2021, the court dismissed the lawsuit, based on Ontario's Anti-SLAPP legislation, determining that it was not proven that the defamation concerns outweighed the importance of protecting free speech.[41] Bernier was ordered in February 2022 to pay $132,000 in legal costs to Kinsella.[41]

North Vancouver Electoral Result[edit]
1997 Canadian federal election: North Vancouver
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Reform Ted White 27,075 48.86 +8.85 $63,443
Liberal Warren Kinsella 18,806 33.94 +2.87 $62,704
New Democratic Martin Stuible 5,075 9.15 +2.77 $11,938
Progressive Conservative Dennis Prouse 2,740 4.94 -11.00 $14,159
Green Peggy Stortz 982 1.77 $173
Independent Dallas Lindley Collins 365 0.65
Canadian Action Wayne Mulherin 203 0.36 $1,359
Natural Law Ken Chawkin 162 0.29 -0.59
Total valid votes 55,408 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 167 0.30
Turnout 55,575 71.83
Reform hold Swing +2.99

Provincial politics[edit]

Ontario Liberals[edit]

Kinsella was a long time supporter of Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, and was a fixture in Ontario Liberal Party election campaigns while McGuinty was leader. The Hill Times stated that Kinsella was the individual that branded Ontario Progressive Conservatives Leader John Tory's promise to publicly fund faith-based schools during the 2007 election "into a Canadian version of Nixon's racist Southern strategy".[42] He would apologize for a blog post during the campaign suggesting that Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod would rather bake cookies than be seen with farm activist Randy Hillier; MacLeod would later use the remark as the humorous title for a cookbook.[43]

Kinsella supported Sandra Pupatello in the 2013 Liberal Party of Ontario leadership convention that chose a successor to McGuinty.[44] The leadership was won by Kathleen Wynne. Kinsella was sharply critical of Wynne's campaign during the 2014 Ontario election, and subsequently.[45]

Ontario Progressive Conservatives[edit]

On October 31, 2019, the Globe and Mail reported that a spokesperson for Autistics for Autistics (A4A), an Ontario Autism advocacy group, threatened litigation against Kinsella after warning Kinsella's Daisy firm over a suspected connection between free media training provided by his firm and the Ontario government led by premier Doug Ford.[46] Kinsella stated that his work was unrelated with strategic advice and media training provided to Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod and her political staff in March 2018 over the restrictions to the provincial autism program. While House leader Paul Calandra, who was asked by reporters if he would release the contract, stated that Daisy' firm services was for social assistance not autism[47]

Municipal politics[edit]

Kinsella advised John Tory in the 2003 Toronto mayoral election.[48]

In 2014 mayoral election, Kinsella assisted Olivia Chow's campaign. On August 20, 2014, Kinsella tweeted "Is John Tory's SmartTrack, you know, Segregationist Track?", and posted a photo featuring Tory and an edited speech bubble stating that Jane/Finch and Rexdale were intentionally excluded from the plan.[49] Kinsella apologized for the incident. Daisy Consulting later announced that they had fired Chow as a client due to remarks regarding Kinsella.[50] After a Twitter showdown between Tory's strategist Nick Kouvalis; Kinsella sued Kouvalis for $100,000 libel suit over tweets that Kinsella alleges were slanderous.[51][52] Kouvalis was later reported by the Toronto Star as the person responsible for bring Kinsella as an advisor to John Tory during the 2018 Toronto mayoral election.[53]

On November 16, 2018 the OPP charged Mark Grimes along with outgoing city councillor Justin Di Ciano for allegedly filing false campaign expenses for the 2014 municipal elections, contrary to the Municipal Elections Act.[54][55] In order to fight the allegations, then-councillor Di Ciano and Grimes hired the firm of strategist Kinsella to compile a "research" dossier on him and political foes such as CBC News. A few months later, Grimes faced litigation by Kinsella for allegedly failing to pay invoices for services rendered by Kinsella's Daisy Group.[56]


In 1997, Kinsella published the novel Party Favours, a thinly veiled roman à clef about the Chrétien government similar to the 1996 American novel Primary Colors.[57] The novel was initially credited to "Jean Doe",[58] with Kinsella only later revealing himself as the real author.[citation needed]

Macleans associated "Prince of Darkness" with dirty politics because "His political books are thick with tales of dirty tricks and nasty business in Ottawa's corridors of power, and he is an admitted and most gleeful practitioner of both."[59]

Kinsella runs a blog that is famous in Canadian political circles for Kinsella's on-and-off feuds with other bloggers, including one with columnist Ezra Levant that prompted Kinsella to initiate a defamation suit claiming $5,000,000 in damages.[16]

In March 2019, Kinsella started as a Toronto Sun columnist. After, it was revealed Kinsella's consulting firm worked with the Conservative Party. Canadaland reported that Sun management did not respond to questions about whether they were aware of Kinsella doing paid work on behalf of the Conservatives, but a spokesperson for parent company Postmedia stated in an email that "Postmedia is unaware of any financial arrangement that Warren Kinsella might have had with a political party while writing a column for the Toronto Sun. If we had been aware of such an arrangement, we would have disclosed that relationship, as is our standard practice."[60]


  • Unholy Alliances (Lester, 1992)
  • Web of Hate: Inside Canada's Far Right Network ISBN 0-00-638051-4 (HarperCollins, 1997)
  • Party Favours (HarperCollins, 1997)
  • Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics (Random House, 2001)
  • Fury's Hour: A (sort-of) Punk-Rock Manifesto (Random House, 2005)
  • The War Room: Political Strategies for Business, NGOs, and Anyone Who Wants to Win (Dundurn Press, 2007)
  • Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse (Random House, Oct 2 2012)
  • Recipe for Hate (Dundurn, 2017) (fiction)


  1. ^ a b Radwanski, Adam (April 24, 2014). "Ontario Liberal insiders paid millions in publicly funded deals". The Globe and Mail.
  2. ^ "Personal news : Warren Kinsella". Archived from the original on November 4, 2019.
  3. ^ "The "Prince of Darkness" is back in the Liberal fold - Macleans.ca". www.macleans.ca. April 10, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Harper vs. the Press Gallery: the frog and the scorpion". Policy Options. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  5. ^ "National Council on Ethics in Human Research".
  6. ^ "Warren Kinsella investigates punk, neo-Nazis and murder in first work of fiction". calgaryherald,com.
  7. ^ "Warren Kinsella, Chain Bidco Plc: Profile and Biography". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "WHO WE ARE". Daisy Group. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  9. ^ Jeffrey, Brooke Divided Loyalties: The Liberal Party of Canada, 1984–2008, Toronto: University of Toronto Press page 198
  10. ^ a b "Gomery Inquiry: A summary of the testimony". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. June 3, 2005. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  11. ^ Martin, Lawrence Iron Man, Viking: Toronto, 2003 page 240.
  12. ^ a b Martin, Lawrence, 1947- (2003). Iron man : the defiant reign of Jean Chrétien. Martin, Lawrence, 1947-. Toronto: Viking Canada. p. 39. ISBN 0-670-04310-9. OCLC 52877378.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Kinsella, Warren (October 4, 2007). The War Room: Political Strategies for Business, NGOs, and Anyone who Wants to Win. ISBN 9781550027464.
  14. ^ Tieleman, Bill (January 18, 2006). "A Victory that Sowed Defeat". The Tyee. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  15. ^ "Warren Kinsella". Warren Kinsella. Retrieved April 25, 2013.[non-primary source needed]
  16. ^ a b Patriquin, Martin (April 10, 2009). "The "Prince of Darkness" is back in the Liberal fold". Maclean's.
  17. ^ "自由黨高級顧問金希拉 言論涉種族歧視.袁海耀要求向華社道歉". Sing Tao Daily. January 29, 2010.
  18. ^ Taber, Jane. "Ignatieff's first test". The Globe and Mail.
  19. ^ Taber, Jane (May 10, 2010). "OLO bloodletting prompts Warren Kinsella to ditch Liberal war room". The Globe and Mail.
  20. ^ "Confessions of a true Grit". Toronto Sun. December 11, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2015.[non-primary source needed]
  21. ^ "KINSELLA: Why I can't vote Liberal on Oct. 21". torontosun.
  22. ^ News; Politics, Canadian; Election 2019 (September 17, 2019). "How Faith Goldy became the most dangerous woman not on the campaign trail | National Post". National Post. Retrieved December 13, 2019. {{cite news}}: |last1= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ "Rumours Of A Suppressed Globe Story About Justin Trudeau Are Bullshit". www.canadalandshow.com. October 8, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  24. ^ Lopez, Camille (October 17, 2019). "Non, ce site web n'est pas celui d'une ministre libérale". L'actualité (in Canadian French). Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  25. ^ Nov 15, Charlie Pinkerton Published on; 2019 5:13pm (November 15, 2019). "'Proud' pages souring on Scheer?". iPolitics. Retrieved January 11, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ "ADMINISTRATION OF THE SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM" (PDF). www.yorku.ca. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  27. ^ "Elizabeth May brings on Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics author Warren Kinsella to help Green war room". Georgia Straight » Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly. July 12, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  28. ^ Harris, Michael (July 12, 2019). "Why Greens Hired a Fighter, Warren Kinsella, to 'Protect' Elizabeth May". The Tyee. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  29. ^ "Warren Kinsella's Green Party work is done, Elizabeth May says | The Star". thestar.com. July 30, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  30. ^ "Kinsella firm hired to 'seek and destroy' Bernier's People's Party, documents show". Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  31. ^ Harris, Kathleen (October 19, 2019). "Bernier files complaint to elections watchdog over 'secret' campaign to smear his party". CBC.
  32. ^ "Statement: Warren Kinsella". warrenkinsella.com. October 19, 2019. Archived from the original on October 21, 2019.
  33. ^ Curry, Bill (October 22, 2019). "Kinsella calls for probe of his firm's secret work to 'seek and destroy' Bernier's People's Party of Canada". Kinsella calls for probe of his firm's secret work to 'seek and destroy' Bernier's People's Party of Canada.
  34. ^ Thompson, Elizabeth (October 25, 2019). "'Seek and destroy' contract against PPC came with strings, Kinsella says". CBC.
  35. ^ Boutilier, Alex (November 2, 2019). "Andrew Scheer reaches out to defeated Tories as leadership speculation swirls". Toronto Star.
  36. ^ Bellemare, Andrea (November 26, 2019). "Recordings reveal details of campaign to attack Maxime Bernier, PPC as racists before election". CBC.
  37. ^ "Warren Kinsella's Daisy Group settles with former employee accused of Project Cactus leak". CBC News. November 27, 2019.
  38. ^ Curry, Bill. "Maxime Bernier hires former ombudsman to prepare legal action against Warren Kinsella over racism claims - The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  39. ^ Thompson, Elizabeth (January 9, 2020). "'Seek and Destroy' campaign against People's Party didn't violate elections law, which only applies to financial infractions: commissioner". CBC News.
  40. ^ a b McQuigge, Michelle (February 5, 2020). "Maxime Bernier says pundit Warren Kinsella branded him a racist, sues for defamation". National Post. In his statement of claim, Bernier says those descriptions damaged his reputation and subjected him to public scandal and embarrassment.
  41. ^ a b Curry, Bill (March 14, 2022). "Bernier order to pay $132,000 in legal costs after failed defamation case over Project Cactus". Toronto (published March 5, 2022). p. A2. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  42. ^ "Kinsella thrives in war room where stakes are high, speed and nastiness useful". The Hill Times. December 17, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  43. ^ Ferguson, Rob (July 26, 2007). "Kinsella to stay despite 'unfortunate' comment". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  44. ^ Kinsella, Warren (January 14, 2013). "T.O. Curse may be Pupatello's Blessing". Toronto Sun.
  45. ^ Kinsella, Warren (May 29, 2014). "How coalition became a bad word". Toronto Sun. Toronto. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  46. ^ "Opposition urges Ford government to release contract with Kinsella's Daisy Group". Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  47. ^ Oct 31, Victoria Gibson Published on; 2019 4:45pm (October 31, 2019). "Kinsella says he never discussed meetings with autism advocacy group with Ford government". iPolitics. Retrieved November 5, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  48. ^ "John Tory casts his lot with controversial campaign strategists | The Star". thestar.com. October 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  49. ^ "Warren Kinsella accuses John Tory transit plan of segregation, apologizes". CBC News. Toronto. August 20, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  50. ^ Batra, Adrienne (September 20, 2014). "Doug Ford's the wild card". Toronto Sun. Toronto. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  51. ^ "Former Chow strategist suing Tory official for $100K | The Star". thestar.com. October 24, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  52. ^ Toronto, Posted (August 30, 2014). "Warren Kinsella serves libel notice to Tory strategist for tweets implying he was fired from Chow campaign | National Post". National Post. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  53. ^ Pagliaro, Jennifer; Rider, David (October 1, 2018). "John Tory casts his lot with controversial campaign strategists". thestar.com.
  54. ^ Lancaster, John; Rieti, John (November 16, 2018). "2 Toronto city councillors charged with alleged campaign finance violations". CBC News. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  55. ^ Pagliaro, Jennifer (November 16, 2018). "Etobicoke Councillors Grimes and Di Ciano charged with Elections Act offences over 2014 campaign expenses". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  56. ^ "Toronto councillor peeved over CBC stories was privately 'threatening' reporter, lawsuit alleges". June 24, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  57. ^ "Political punk". The Globe and Mail, August 20, 2005.
  58. ^ "Author of Party Favours keeping identity a secret". Toronto Star, September 17, 1997.
  59. ^ "The "Prince of Darkness" is back in the Liberal fold - Macleans.ca". www.macleans.ca. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  60. ^ Goldsibe, Jonathan (October 21, 2019). "Kinsella, Postmedia, And The Paid Campaign To "Seek And Destroy"". Canadaland.

External links[edit]