CANADA

Canada’s national editorial paper

JANE O’HARA February 23 1981
CANADA

Canada’s national editorial paper

JANE O’HARA February 23 1981

Canada’s national editorial paper

Nobody has ever accused Roy Megarry of mincing words. But in London when he called Pierre Trudeau “sneaking, conniving and fraudulent,” even Megarry’s friends were surprised at the virulence of his attack. Others further removed from his personal circle showed less surprise at the language than at its source—the mouth of the publisher of Canada’s self-styled “national newspaper,” The Globe and Mail. “I did it because I feel very strongly about what Trudeau’s constitutional package is doing to this country,” said Megarry, 44, who became publisher in 1978 after four luminescent years as a corporate executive at the Toronto Star. “It’s tearing Canada apart.”

Seldom since the 1870s, when George Brown (then editor-publisher of the Toronto Globe) helped defeat the Conservative government of Sir John A. Macdonald by uncovering the Pacific railway scandal, has a Canadian member of the Fourth Estate so strongly assumed the stance of advocate. Last week, in the role of government mouthpiece, Liberal Senator Keith Davey aimed at settling the score. Commenting on Megarry’s speeches—delivered to an all-party group of British MPs and to the members of the Royal Commonwealth Socie-

day—along with more excerpts from the Megarry speeches, in which the publisher called Trudeau’s patriation plans “the scheme of a tyrant” and warned the British to see “the duplicity, the deceitfulness, the treachery in being asked to rewrite the Canadian constitution in London.”

Megarry’s London lobby may have been, as Davey said, “tasteless and vicious,” but it was consistent with The Globe’s editorial policy, initiated by editor Richard Doyle. For the past six months the top left corner of The Globe’s editorial page has run anti-Trudeau editorials on an average of two or three times a week. When the issue heated up last fortnight, five editorials ran in one week. In early December, Meu garry bought $3,000 worth of space in I the London Times to run a Globe edito| rial condemning Trudeau and asking i the British not to help “in clobbering o the provinces.”

* Skeptics point out that Megarry was free of any ideological baggage in his past incarnation as The Star’s business whiz and that his new tack as political missionary may have much to do with winning friends and subscribers in the West, where The Globe now publishes by satellite. On the other hand, he can be taken at his own word—at least when he said to a reporter shortly before assuming the mantle of publisher: “I like to be generating ideas rather than reacting to events.”

JANE O’HARA

ty—Davey said, “They constituted the worst attack on any prime minister in all my years.” Working up his righteous indignation to a pitch peculiar to politicians, Davey declared, “Extremism is not a virtue, nor is it a quality which should be cultivated by the publisher of Canada’s national newspaper.” Although Megarry was chastised, he was not contrite. Davey’s remarks were duly printed in The Globe the following