The casbah in Algiers during the height of the troubles in 1962 was probably the most dangerous place in the world for foreigners. Every day, I passed corpses on my route. Occasionally, I'd get trapped in a firefight as nervous French soldiers fired at shadows. Last in a series of excerpts.
Co-founder of the Toronto Sun
Peter Worthington is a co-founder of the <em>Toronto Sun</em> and was its editor-in-chief for 12 years and is now a columnist. Prior to that, for 15 years at the <em>Toronto Telegram</em> he covered mostly international crises, wars and revolutions, and opened the first Canadian newspaper bureau in Moscow. <br> <br> In WWII he was an air gunner with the Fleet Air Arm, and in the Korean war a platoon commander with the Princess Patricias. He has a B.A. from UBC, a journalism degree from Carleton University, and four National Newspaper Awards and one Citation. He is married, has three kids and six grandchildren and usually prefers animals to people.
For some time, Olga had been talking in riddles, dropping hints, making provocative comments. Once when I had remarked on her relatively good life in Moscow, she replied: "It is better to be a free sparrow than a caged canary." I had ignored all hints, aware they might be a trap.
05/09/2014 08:22 EDT
"After having witnessed Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy, I was sent to cover surely the strangest court case ever." This is the first of three excerpts from the memoirs of the late, legendary Canadian journalist who died a year ago, available for the first time as an ebook.
05/08/2014 09:08 EDT
If you are reading this, I am dead. How's that for a lead? Guarantees you read on, at least for a bit. After attending George Gross's funeral in 2008 I half-facetiously remarked to the <em>Toronto Sun</em>'s deputy managing editor, Al Parker, that I had been around so long that no one was left who knew me back then, and I had better write my own obituary. "Good idea!" said Parker with more enthusiasm than I appreciated. So here it is, not exactly an obit but a reflection back on a life and a career that I had never planned, but which unfolded in a way that I've never regretted.
05/14/2013 05:25 EDT
Love her or loathe her -- as many did -- there is little doubt that Margaret Thatcher was the dominant political, social, economic and cultural force in Britain during the latter half of the last century. Significantly, it is those who revere "freedom" who most miss Mrs. Thatcher. Not for nothing was she known as the "Iron Lady." Sadly, there is no Margaret Thatcher on the political horizon today. Would that there were. Now she is gone. Dead at age 87 from a stroke, we are told. We are unlikely to see her like again.
04/08/2013 05:23 EDT
Big surprise -- the OSPCA wants more money. Some people think it gets too much money right now for how it handles the job of caring for animals. One of the many aggravating things about the OSPCA, is its view that the salaries it pays should be kept secret from the public. The books of a registered charity should be open, especially one with a controversial history.
09/25/2012 12:02 EDT
Virtually unknown in Canada, and certainly unheralded, Dr. Norman Bethune was magnified and glorified by Mao and Chinese communists who declared him a national hero. Bethune was not in China to help humanity. It was not sick people he tended, but wounded communist soldiers. So Canadians became conditioned to the idea that by publicly revering Bethune, it gave them an advantage with the Chinese. The irony is that were Bethune alive, he'd be outraged and horrified at how he is manipulated.
09/24/2012 12:04 EDT
Anyone is wrong who may think the book by former Capt. Rob Semrau -- The Taliban Don't Wave -- is his justification for what happened in Afghanistan in 2008. Although Semrau is the first Canadian soldier ever to be court martialed for allegedly killing a wounded enemy on the battlefield, his 291-page book devotes barely a page to the incident that led to his court marital and dismissal from the army.
09/22/2012 12:15 EDT
In a recent poll, 69 per cent of Canadians think the government should not approve the China's take-over of Calgary-based energy company Nexen. Doubtless, China needs energy sources. But it seems folly for a country like Canada to sell and loose control of a resource that is increasingly going to be needed in the future, and which will always have willing customers elsewhere. MP David Kilgour and others have pointed out that the government has an obligation to prevent control of its resources being in the hands or another country. Cooperate, sure, if a deal is in Canada's interests, but to cede control to a regime like China's is not only folly, but verges on treason.
09/21/2012 12:10 EDT
The fuss over Blue Jays player Yunel Escobar's eye black bearing the words "Tu ere maricon," which translates into "You are a faggot," is mindful of Northcote Parkinson's dictum -- easy to understand and convenient for getting mindlessly indignant about, as if this was an unforgivable outrage to human dignity.
09/20/2012 12:14 EDT
If there was ever a good time to pull the plug on Dalton McGuinty's minority Liberal government, that time is now. An election now will rid the province of Liberal arrogance for a while, and that's a positive. McGuinty's leadership will be "reviewed" by Liberals on September 28. Speculation is that if an election looms, McGuinty might resign rather than be defeated.
09/19/2012 12:18 EDT
What is it about these female Royals that they can't keep their tops on? Princess Diana was photographed topless on a yacht; Sarah, Duchess of York has been snapped topless and sucking a toe; Prince Edward's wife, Sophie (Duchess of Wessex) has been immortalized topless. And now Kate. Diana topless wasn't much of a deal, as she was something of a loose cannon. Kate is different. She and Prince William are a fairy tale couple.
09/18/2012 12:25 EDT
The only puzzling thing about Canada cutting diplomatic relations with Iran is why now? When has Iran ever responded sensibly to a Canadian gesture? Three Canadians are on death row in Iran, and Canada's efforts on their behalf have been fruitless. What good has diplomacy achieved?
09/13/2012 08:40 EDT
The 13-minute trailer of the controversial Innocence of Muslims film that provoked the violence, was rough on the Prophet Mohammed -- but so what? That's a hazard of freedom, democracy and tolerance. And yet Hillary seems to blame this low-budget movie for barbarism in Benghazi and Cairo -- a movie that is clearly more political than religious. What is it about the Islamic faith that invokes intolerance and violence? Peaceful religion indeed! Only, it seems, if you ignore its excesses or subscribe to its ideology.
09/13/2012 05:31 EDT
While one can be sympathetic with Kate Wise's desire to live quietly and peacefully in her condo on the boardwalk off Toronto's Woodbine beach, it's also puzzling why she chose to live where it was obvious people would gather in summer. Just as we can talk about the weather without having the power to change it, so people will continue coming to the beaches regardless those who want solitude. That's just the way it is.
09/07/2012 11:14 EDT
The law that says a person shouldn't use excessive force when battling an intruder or making a citizen's arrest is pretty good in theory, but ludicrous in practice. What's outrageous is that Moses Mahilal, the guy who recently thwarted a burglar, has been charged with aggravated assault. Yes, that he used excessive physical force rather than ask (or listen to) explanations from the burglar as to how he'd lost his way or was sleep walking , or something.
09/05/2012 12:01 EDT
Most areas of government funding are being trimmed, so why not arts grants too? A probable reason why the arts program escapes the Finance Minister's knife is because any cuts to the artsy set, results in a nation-wide howl that the Philistines are taking over. But to some, that's seen as public money funding someone's hobby.
09/04/2012 07:46 EDT
The Democratic party's convention, which starts today in Charlotte, North Carolina, faces a small (or large) obstacle in that the recent Republican convention that wound up last Thursday, looms large. While Romney emerged from his convention as a hard-working, dedicated and decent man who has never failed at anything he's undertaken, Obama will have difficulty persuading even supporters that he works hard (few cabinet meetings in 2012, a record number of fundraisers, and plenty of golf).
09/03/2012 12:04 EDT
The highlight of the RNC was the surprise appearance of Clint Eastwood, which virtually every commentator knocked as embarrassing, disrespectful to President Obama, the meanderings of a senile old man. What rubbish! Eastwood was brilliant and devastatingly funny. I guess you had to be there, but delegates were rolling in the aisles -- and he made some good points, too.
08/31/2012 12:02 EDT
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the star attraction at the delayed opening of the Republican convention in Tampa -- but he was almost upstaged by the nominee's wife: Ann Romney. In short, judging from speeches at its delayed start (Hurricane Isaac), Romney's appeal should leap forward.
08/29/2012 11:28 EDT
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