Some people I’d like you to meet

A few Canadian columnists who deserve higher profiles:

Tolkien biographer Michael Coren, whose high media profile means he has the dubious distinction of getting more death threats than anyone on this list. His latest column is on the Portland middle school/birth control controversy.

Erudite polymath and poet George Jonas, author of Reflections on Islam. RWN readers will likely enjoy “The protection racket we call government”. Oh, by the way: he also wrote the book that inspired Munich

Sadly, the best prose stylist of them all Rex Murphy, is difficult to link to, almost all his writings are locked behind subscriber walls. If you’ve ever wondered, and who hasn’t, what a Newfie Rhodes Scholar might sound like, look no further. Here’s part of a speech he gave called “Canada after September 11”:

“I don’t think that everything has changed. I think longer line-ups at the Air Canada check-up hardly strike me as a fundamental breach of continuity. Airports seem to satisfy as part of their nature the old catholic idea of limbo as a place where souls abide eternally without point or purpose, other than to avoid the even greater torment of a second eternity on the tarmac.

“Everything hasn’t changed. Everything has come back. The world is more likely to be a place of noise and pain and threat than it is likely to be one of calm and ease and harmony. We have been for such a long interval exempt from the predominant miseries of life on the planet that we have forgotten the exceptionalism of our condition. We on this swatch of the globe have been awakened to the contingent nature of our exemption from the dirty side of history. We like to believe that we are well off and safe and advanced and progressive as we undoubtedly are, and with no apology. But we like to believe we’re all those things as a result of our own diligence, intellect and a certain providence that shelters democracies. The last century, the one just passed, should have told us what is normal in history. And the motto for every society that is enjoying a period of peace and tolerance should be the old injunction: ‘Watch and pray.’


“Health care in this country is a doctrine before it is a policy. It is not the third rail of Canadian politics. It is the back-up generator of Canadian self-understanding. Health care is the surrogate or default mechanism of Canadian patriotism.”

Another journalistic legend of wide ranging interests, Robert Fulford is cultured, outspoken and, like Jonas, not the kind of guy you’d like to meet in a dark rhetorical alley. Believe it or not, this column calling for school choice and an “end to the obsession with overly delicate speech” will inspire a litany of boos across the nation (or at least, from the teacher’s unions…)

With the recent loss of the Western Standard, Canada’s only conservative magazine (whose lively blog remains active, for now) fans of David Warren will have to settle for his regular newspaper columns, archived here. (You can sign up for updates). Probably second in terms of hate mail. Why, you ask? Well, because unlike Fulford and Jonas, but very much like Michael Coren, Warren is very openly… Catholic! (Cue sinister organ flourish).

Anyway, we need as many writers like this as we can get. Because, sadly, most Canadian journalists are more like the hapless doofus who called my pal Denyse O’Leary (another fine writer) with a very stupid question.

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