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OLO bloodletting prompts Warren Kinsella to ditch war room

Warren Kinsella has quit as head of the Liberal war room, complaining in part about the treatment of Michael Ignatieff's former chief of staff, Ian Davey, and ex-communications director Jill Fairbrother.

Although he says he has moved on and is still a federal Liberal, Mr. Kinsella told The Globe in an email this month he "was unhappy about the way in which some people were dealt with."

"For example, Ian and Jill and others are my friends, and they brought me in. I didn't like how they were treated but they moved on, and so have I."

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Mr. Davey and Ms. Fairbrother left the Opposition Leader's Office last year after Mr. Ignatieff replaced Mr. Davey as his top strategist with Peter Donolo. The whispers at the time were that it was done with little respect to Mr. Davey, who was one of Mr. Ignatieff's most loyal staffers. (He was one of three men who helped entice the academic and writer to leave Harvard for Canadian politics.)

It is rumoured that the two have not spoken since Mr. Davey left last November; he is now back in Toronto, working on various projects. His partner, Ms. Fairbrother, left at the same time. A very effective communicator, she has just joined Ketchum Public Relations as a senior vice-president.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kinsella said this afternoon that "Michael was very understanding" about his decision to step down.

"I wrote to Michael and said I couldn't run the war room in the next campaign. I am quite busy with the McGuinty war room, and won't be able to do both simultaneously."

Mr. Kinsella has a lot of experience in war rooms, having been one of the main players in the task force that was put together in the 1993 campaign that saw Jean Chrétien win his first majority government.

A veteran campaign strategist, he has also run for the federal Liberals and has written a book on negative campaigning, Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics.

But Mr. Kinsella's business in Toronto took a hit last summer and fall by his having to be here in Ottawa; he said he "dropped everything to be on hand for an election that never came."

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"Have I agreed with everything that has been going on in OLO?" he writes. "No, of course not. But that's how it is in a political party - you don't always agree with every single decision that is made."

Mr. Kinsella nonetheless says he wishes "Michael and his team the best."

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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