Canada and Other Matters of Opinion

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2010-09-07
  • Publisher: Anchor Canada
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Canada's most distinctive commentator presents his fearless and thought-provoking views on a head-spinning range of subjects, from Dr. Johnson's greatness to Bono's gratingness, from doubts about Obama to utter belief in Don Cherry, from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's outstanding oeuvre to-well, Pamela Anderson.

Author Biography

Rex Murphy, who needs no introduction, left his outpost home in Newfoundland to attend university at the age of fifteen. Since that time, which includes a spell at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, he has been writing and talking. His skills in that area have made him one of Canada’s most-watched and best-read commentators, while his speeches have earned standing ovations from coast to coast. A frequent presence on CBC television and radio, including a regular commentary spot with “Point of View,” Rex writes a weekly column for The Globe and Mail.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Inclusive Me Outp. ix
Eminent Canadiansp. 1
Don Cherry, The People's GG
A Boswell's Life
Michaëlle Shines by Default
The Complete Soldier
Celebrityp. 20
Let US Excori8 Live 8
A Saint Sorely Taxed
Ego Warriors
There's Something About Cassandra
Cartoon Crisisp. 35
Under the Cover of Faith
The Case of Salman Rushdie Is Fresh Again
Coming to a Human Rights Commission Near You
Obama Risingp. 49
Power of Speech
Only Words
Canada Could Learn from Obama
She Came to Praise Him
A Dream Divided
He's Not God, But He Is America
A Clichéd Dud
Bad Englishp. 78
Nothing is Sacred
Silly Bitching
The Evil That Men Dop. 85
Saudi Hospitality
Because They Were Jews
Castro's Useful Idiots
Eichmann in Tehran
A Ferocious Parable
Literaturep. 101
Image of a Poet
Pamela Anderson's Outstanding Oeuvre
Sanity Takes a Holiday
Climb Every Mount Doom
This is the Life
Doggerel of War
War On Terrorp. 131
They Kill Because They Can
Fanatical Minds Defy Logic
What We Are Fighting For
The Real Truth
Great and Goodp. 144
Power Based on Faith, Not Arms
Solzhenitsyn's Stature
Out of His Tree
The Pleasures of Smokingp. 156
Money to Burn
A Joint Is a Smoke
Great News out of Vancouver
Reputationsp. 167
The Bush Paradox
From Brian's Lips to Peter's Microphone
Adrienne Clarkson Presents
Paul Martin Fights On
Artp. 187
Eros by Any Other Name
Mediocrity and Mischief
The Environmentp. 194
A Caring Heart
Al Gore Recycled
Cars Are Smokers, Too
Numbers Game
Despicable Mask for a Weak Argument
The New Inquisition
Canadian Identityp. 215
Without Hockey
One Nation
I'm with the Brand
Hands Off Hortons
Scandalp. 227
Completely Foxed
Bernier's Girlfriend
Canada and the U.S.p. 234
How We Flagged the American Bull
Home Truths for Both Countries
Our Camp Coffee
Human Rightsp. 252
Saudi Justice
Flagrantly Islamophobic
Real Rights and Rights Commissions
A Blot on Democracy
Catastrophep. 265
Spirit Behind the Giving
On Our Blindness to Disaster
The Bleakest Day
Newfoundlandp. 276
Last Dice Game
Victims of Stereotyping
The Peace of Twillingate
Meteorological Madness
One Voice that Counts
The Elusive Flavour of Our Politics
Danny Williams Has Gone Too Far
Faithp. 302
Play Mystic for Me
Tolerance Must Flow Two Ways
The James Cameron Code
The Path to Powerp. 312
Dion Buried Alive
Coalition for a Day
Grit Miracle
Coalition of Unintended Consequences
It Might Have Been
Extra! Extra!p. 330
Palin Connects
The Science Is Not Settled
Which Stephen Harper?
Swifter. Higher. Stronger. Dumber.
Hymn and Her
Acknowledgementsp. 346
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


I had not realized how fervently Toronto is a hockey city. The air here was electric with hope for the beloved, hapless Leafs. The dismay following their elimination from the playoffs was palpable. Lord Stanley's cup will grace another city's parade.
But time is a great (actually, the only) grief counsellor. So I guess it's both safe and tactful, from my perch in this city of cruelly procrastinated dreams, to speak of Don Cherry,arbiter elegantiarumofHockey Night in Canada, sage of Coach's Corner and straight man for Ron MacLean. He is much in the news; there is talk that his days as the iconic resident of Coach's Corner may be coming to an end. He is also, I gather, by some weird extension of the Canadian bilingualism statutes, under some sort of review. The Commissioner of Official Languages is offering her scrutiny to some of Mr. Cherry'sobiter dicta.
A strange thing, for a language commissioner to be analyzing the analyzer of Coach's Corner. I'm not sure what business the nation's bilingualism monitor has with the Plato of the playoffs. Whatever Don Cherry- or his faithful dog Blue, for that matter- may be doing, they are not unravelling the two- languages concept.
Parliament, even in its most liberated or unhinged deliberations, did not contemplate the commissioner's office evolving into a freelance inquisition for the furious beadles of political correctness. If this nation is in jeopardy of fracturing, look not to Coach's Corner. Try the sponsorship program.
But it is neither of these matters that has brought the familiar image of the natty, high- collared Homer of hockey onto the front pages and television screens of the country. It is, rather, an active courtship from the newly minted Conservative Party to enroll Mr. Cherry as one of its candidates. I would like to see him in Ottawa in a three- way faceoff against Richard Mahoney and the resuscitated Ed Broadbent. The inevitable candidates' debate would earn higher ratings than the Olympics, and certainly more drama.
But it cannot be. First, because Mr. Cherry has been reported as saying that he has been too long with hockey-I'm paraphrasing here- to dwindle into politics. I agree with him. From Coach's Corner to Question Period would be a subtraction of the great man's zest and energy, and a brutal contraction of his public influence.
Nor, should the Conservatives win, does the thought of Don Cherry at the cabinet table, trying to refashion Stephen Harper into a reasonable facsimile of Ron MacLean, offer the mind any peace. In any case, politics is a tepid stew of compromise and euphemism, a nest of affectation and posturing- all genetic antimatter to His Outspokenness.
No, I applaud the Conservatives for their nerve and originality, and Stephen Harper for being man enough to contemplate his own eclipse, which would have been inevitable should Mr. Cherry have yielded to the party's entreaty.
I think the time is ripe for a different thought, not original with me, though I have brought it up before.
The co-governor generalship of Their Excellencies Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul is moving to its flashy close. An eager and anxious nation awaits a worthy successor. These are large, well- heeled and splendidly itinerant shoes to fill.
Well, Don Cherry is the obvious, the blatant, choice. It was said of Diana, that most melancholy of Cinderella-celebrities, that she was the people's princess. I do not think of Mr. Cherry as a princess, but he is the people's governor general.
The Clarkson-Ralston Saul era has left its high- toned and circumpolar imprint. We have had a governor general ship of lofty (and, let us whisper it, bloodless) pretension, a harvest time for the canapé- and-

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