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Colleague Curtis Brown has a gem in his blog today about Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen meeting with former Liberal assassin extraordinaire Warren Kinsella. Yes, that will be a bit awkward for some Tories even though McFadyen has history with Kinsella as the two worked together at a top-flight Toronto consultancy. However, perhaps McFadyen knows what I know about Kinsella. If he does, then perhaps this meeting is about more than just swapping Big Smoke war stories over a couple of beers.Many political animals consider Kinsella a top strategist. And most know that he is a life-long Liberal in general, and a Jean Chretien operative in particular. But many people don't know that Kinsella may be responsible for one of the greatest re-brandings in Canadian political history. Given that McFadyen is desperately trying to find a new brand for Manitoba PCs, meeting Kinsella is not the worst thing he could do.I take you back to 1983, where an erstwhile punk rocker and part-time cartoonist for The Charlatan, Carleton University's student newspaper, decided to abandon student journalism for student politics. Kinsella led a slate of candidates to a landslide victory, and served out a tumultuous year as the head of the Carleton University Student's Association.However, what really separated Kinsella's student political career from many others was the novel re-branding he used. He called his posse of candidates "The No-Name" slate, and stole (rather shamelessly) the entire motif of the Loblaws yellow label with block black lettering no-name house products for his campaign literature and signs. To say that it worked does not capture what I remember as a genuine phenomenon. The student body could not ignore a group of politicians who were not only witty, but had a sense of humour too.I leave others to judge Kinsella's legacy as CUSA president. I do think it's important to note that there are quite a few people across the country, myself included, who remember the No-Name Slate. That's got to be worth something.Yellow signs with black lettering for McFadyen? Probably not. But perhaps Kinsella could find a little of the old No-name magic for his Manitoba buddy.-30-

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About Dan Lett

Dan Lett came to Winnipeg in 1986, less than a year out of journalism school.

Despite the fact that he’s originally from Toronto and has a fatal attraction to the Maple Leafs, Winnipeggers let him stay.

In the following years, he has worked at bureaus covering every level of government – from city hall to the national bureau in Ottawa.

He has had bricks thrown at him in riots following the 1995 Quebec referendum, wrote stories that helped in part to free three wrongly convicted men, met Fidel Castro, interviewed three Philippine presidents, crossed several borders in Africa illegally, chased Somali pirates in a Canadian warship and had several guns pointed at him.

In other words, he’s had every experience a journalist could even hope for. He has also been fortunate enough to be a two-time nominee for a National Newspaper Award, winning in 2003 for investigations.

Other awards include the B’Nai Brith National Human Rights Media Award and nominee for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism.

Now firmly rooted in Winnipeg, Dan visits Toronto often but no longer pines to live there.

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