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Back to the Citizen – one more chance.

This past weekend, a young guy came to my door selling introductory subscriptions to the Ottawa Citizen. It was a good deal and I’m not committed for more than a few months at a rate of a few bucks per week.  So, I said yes to give it another chance.

I did previously have a subscription and kept it for several years till one day I decided that the rag wasn’t good enough to line my green compost bin!

And I wonder how long it will take me to reach this same decision. Every now and again, I am reminded why, a couple of years back, I cancelled my subscription to the Ottawa Citizen.

At the time, I was angry at and tired of the editorial board’s über-Christian, David Warren and his constant rantings about his born-again-ness and how Christians were fighting along the side of Dubya for morality, the free market and the American way… all being interchangeable in the mind of “Father” Warren.
It’s not that I mind a good theological debate. My views on the subject are pretty well-defined and have been honed over the years. I grew up in a decidedly non-Christian household that to a large degree shaped how I think today. Later in my teens, I performed a thorough and critical examination of the world’s major religions to see if I had missed something and that perhaps I could find a path that would enhance and complete my life experience.
Nope – what I found was a good basis upon which to launch many arguments against religiosity and for secularism. And I remain of the same mind to this day.

It’s also not that I think that having a system of religious beliefs is a bad thing at all. Indeed, if it gets you though life and it’s many pitfalls, by all means – believe! But don’t impose your system on me or my kids. And DEFINITELY do not make me subsidise religious institutions… although taxpayers most sickeningly do so. Witness the tax-free status of churches and the utterly wasteful duplication in Ontario’s Catholic / secular school boards!
Nevertheless, a system of spiritual beliefs works for some. I am reminded of my favourite episode of the West Wing where President Bartlett, after his lifelong assistant and confidante is killed in a car accident, stands in a church wailing in Latin against the absurdity of the death and how a righteous and kind god could ever allow such a tragedy. In the end, though, he finds strength in his beliefs and this helps him through the loss.
However, I digress.

My point is this: The Ottawa Typo-Master is a private enterprise that is free to write as they wish within certain parameters of decency and acceptable behaviour. But they go overboard when opening and unashamedly advance their evangelical Christian beliefs in the guise of “reporting”.  Their flagrant support for the Conservative Reform party is one issue – after all, they are not the only rag to do this – but issues of spirituality and the touting of one weltanschunng over another is completely out of order in our diverse, and yes, highly secular country.  The other side of an issue should always be addressed by a major Canadian newspaper in the name of balanced reporting and addressed not just as an afterthought but in a thorough and fair manner. There are atheists, humanist and agnostics in their readership who couldn’t care less about the Pope’s views on abortions.

Truth be told, I have been buying the Saturday paper for the New York Times crossword – cheaper than buying the New York Times.

So we’ll go with this for a while and see how fast it takes me to tire of the evangelising!


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  1. You may never have been exposed to it, but the Victoria Times-Communist, er Colonist is somewhere between Le Devoir and Pravda most of the time, and slightly left of Pravda the rest of the time. If it wasn’t so wasteful, I’m sure they’d only print on the left side of the paper.

    That was one thing i did not miss about leaving BC.

  2. Ken says:

    Ah. I see.

    Okay then… I guess I’m only reading the bad parts then 😉

  3. trashee says:

    Ken – here is a handy-dandy left to right guide:

    Left Right

    Pravda Le devoir Toronto Star The G&M The Citizen The Post The Sun Dick Cheney

  4. David Warren and the full-page “ask the religious yahoos” on Sunday really annoy me. They rarely give the same prominence to non-religious points of view. I find Michael Geist to often be incorrect, and I’ve taken him to task for his incorrectness in the past (finally getting him to admit that he “writes to sell papers and doesn’t necessarily agree with everything he puts in the column” or words to that effect). Dave Brown often warrants a slap upside the head too.

    Jay Stone is the worst movie reviewer in history. His reviews are all like this: This movie sucks. Marilyn Chambers couldn’t suck like this movie. It was a total waste of time. I feel that every heartbeat was wasted while I watched. 4 stars out of 5.


    Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to keep abreast of local news without the Citizen, so I still get it. Mostly I read the comics and the City section.

  5. Ken says:

    You’re talking about the Ottawa Citizen, right? The Citizen is right-wing? I know The Sun is, but the Citizen…?

    I must be reading a different paper.

  6. trashee says:

    Hey C – I only want to see it on the weekends so keep it at work.

    Hannah – I turn down the free copies of that rag even when they are handing it out for free at the Transitway stations! There are NO redeeming qualities whatsoever! At least the Crapizen has cool Saturday comics (that weren’t in colour last weekend – cutbacks?

  7. Hannah says:

    If you think the Citizen is bad for right-wing garbage, DON’T read the Ottawa Sun! The sheer ignorance and crazy/offensive fundamentalist beliefs of many of its writers is staggering!

  8. shanaco says:

    Well, I grabbed it on the way out the door this am. Guess I should bring it home. Only had time to read a special section on summer camps. Maybe we should sign A up for something.

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