On-line lefties outraged that the Globe employed Rick Salutin for only 19 years
In the fine tradition of Toronto summer projects, the Globe and Mail has been working hard at renovating its aging exterior into something modern and new. This means more than just new paper and a different shape; some of the content is changing, too. Rick Salutin, the paper’s left-most voice for most of the past two decades, is being shown the door. (Naomi Klein had an occasional column, we recall, and Tabatha Southey could always be counted on for a little lefty fun, although the rumour is that she’s out, too.) Muslim über-contrarian Irshad Manji is being given his spot. Needless to say, this has some people outraged. The campaign to save Salutin’s spot is under way, and it all started with a blog post by Murray Dobbin:
Each time I saw that column in the Globe – a hard-line neo-liberal paper in most ways – it allowed me to believe progressive voices were still part of the mainstream debate – a place at the table that we might be able to expand. The sheer breadth of his commentary is amazing – economics, politics, culture, cities, philosophy, the nation. And in all of it he was an original thinker – not “derivative of anyone” as some else said today. He challenged, provoked us into thinking beyond conventional progressive ideas and ways of seeing. He was tough but never shrill and rarely really angry – just dead on the money. When you read Rick Salutin you feel like you still live in Canada.
That the Globe would fire him is indicative of the final stage of the Canadian political and economic elite’s betrayal of the country’s traditions and values.
Really? We thought maybe it was just a relatively common marketing decision in an industry that’s desperately trying to stave off obsolescence with new ideas and products. But national betrayal sounds plausible, too.
People like Salutin have a lot to be confident about in this business. They’re well known enough to remain in high demand even if a long-time employer lets them go. If Salutin wants to keep writing, it’s hard to imagine he’d have a hard time finding work—and we hope that he does does (find work, that is).
• Reinstate Rick Salutin [Murray Dobbin’s Blog]
• Protest launched over firing of Globe and Mail’s Rick Salutin [Straight.com]
• Rick Salutin out as Friday Globe columnist [The Coast]
• Rick Salutins Last Words [The Tyee]
7 thoughts on “On-line lefties outraged that the Globe employed Rick Salutin for only 19 years”
You’d be glad if Salutin didn’t find work? That’s how the sentence reads, and if so that seems needlessly petty.
This is one more nail in the coffin for progressive thinkers in Canada. I blame our neoconservative media that is always justifying the economic policies that Allan Greenspan and G. Bush would be proud of.Rick Salutin was a well read knowledgeable counterpoint with many years of watching global and national politics. He has witnessed the changes in Canadian social policies and was eloquent in pointing out the growing gap between rich and poor and the dismantling of programs that used to help with tuitioon fees, social housing, public education etc. His replacement sounds like a wingnut, though that’s okay because she’s “young and fiesty”. Kind of like Sarah Palin. Oh dear….
Salutin has long been brain dead. It was a mercy to take him off life support.
Irshad has some spunk in her and a real brain. She’ll brighten up the G&M – it needs it.
“Irshad has some spunk in her and a real brain.”
Um, no. To both.
One example of the contradictions of capitalism is provided by the issue of “free speech.” We are told, over and over again, that “free speech” is a fundamental characteristic of democratic capitalism. Yet the ability to shape the media, through ownership or the power of advertisers, through setting up think tanks to promulgate a particular point of view, to an influence on political life and political parties that is widely acknowledged, distinguishes owners from others. For example, I am writing this chapter in British Columbia, the western-most province in Canada. B.C. has two major cities, Vancouver and Victoria. CanWest Global, a single Canadian corporation with a conservative ideology, not only owns the three major newspapers in these two cities, hence in British Columbia, but also controls one of the two national newspapers and numerous small community newspapers, as well as a television network. Incidentally, the other national newspaper is also conservative in orientation. The media shape public opinion and events as much as they reflect these. Hence, hundreds of thousands of more progressive people in B.C. have no real public outlet in which to express their interests and ideas. The formal right of free speech is contradicted by vastly unequal access to actually having a public voice. The former Canadian media mogul, Conrad Black (currently in prison in the United States), was willing to lose over $200 million in the process of establishing a right-wing national newspaper in Canada, the National Post. Not many of us could do the same thing.
Thus, there is a tension between capitalism and democracy. While the latter assumes most are approximately equal in opportunities to influence events, the former ensures that some have much more chance of doing so than do others. We may all have one vote, but it is simply not true that I have as much political influence or power as does Bill Gates. Even when we confront the law as citizens, law supposedly being the formal bastion of equality, the idea that I and General Motors are both citizens and therefore on equal terms in court is not really true given GM’s ability to hire platoons of expert lawyers, to draw on relatively unlimited funds, etc. While democracy asserts power equality, capitalism produces inequality. Capitalists preach democracy, but practise power. We must distinguish formal claims to democracy and equality from the ability to actually enact these claims.
David Coburn, in Staying Alive: Critical Perspectives on Health, Illness, and Health Care, p. 67-68, http://tinyurl.com/yehawne
The G&M had become a right wing rag in recent years. Salutin sharp wit and insight was one of the only reasons I would still buy it.
Take the recent of removal of two well-established Canadian columnists, Eric Margolis on the right and Rick Salutin on the left. What was their common denominator? They both engaged in long standing criticism of Israel. Salutin went out right after talking about Leo Strauss & Margolis is still being pilloried at the National Post for his anti-Zionism.
Add in CNN’s firing of Octavia Nasr & Rick Sanchez over trifling remarks and tweets…
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