30 Means -30-

July 27, 2009

I have learned that the world changes not through media's obsession with "events" but through the incremental impact of ideas and the vast mysteries of faith or the lack thereof. I am still trying to change and articulate the world and its meaning while understanding that in these matters reasonable people of good faith may always disagree.

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Thirty years and a month ago I began my career in journalism as a summer intern at the Cowichan News in Duncan, B.C.

For now, it ends.

Yes, my appointment last month as Alberta and Northwest Territories CRTC commissioner has a lot to do with it. But the truth is that I really don't have anything left to say in this genre. I have had most of the arguments, very publicly. I've won a few and I've lost most of those that really mattered to me, at least for now.

I have had the opportunity to cover some amazing events, such as during my tenure in sports at the Calgary Sun, the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, (I will never forget Luis Fernandez of France, following 90 minutes of play at 7,000 ft. in 40oC temperatures, meeting with the media while sipping a glass of wine and lighting a smoke), the Olympic Winter Games in 1988 and Stanley Cup finals in 1986 and 1989. In my news life I saw the Klein Revolution first hand at the legislature in the days when Jim Dinning would rise in question period and respond to the latest plea for funding by saying, "Mr. Speaker, No" and then sit back down. I saw the rise of the Bloc and Reform and sat, fascinated, in the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa while the results of the 1995 referendum of Quebec sovereignty rolled in. I won a National Newspaper Award and was honoured by the Association of Opinion Page Editors for my skills as an essayist.

Over the years at the Calgary Herald as editorial page editor, editor in chief and publisher I met prime ministers, presidents, premiers, royalty, philosophers, playwrights, theologians, authors, state and territorial leaders from across North America and beyond. On Sept. 11, 2001 we published the first Extra Edition of the Calgary Herald since Wandering Spirit, angered by broken promises and the loss of the buffalo, engineered the Northwest Rebellion's Frog Lake Massacre in 1885. I worked for and with some larger-than-life characters, revered and vanquished, such as Conrad Black and Izzy Asper. I have made many friends and learned that not everyone who is friendly is a friend. I have seen power and I have felt it.

It was wonderful. It was everything, and much, much more, that I dreamed of when I embarked on the adventure 30 years ago banging out stories on a typewriter in that little building on Vancouver Island.

But I have also learned that there is a rich, full life beyond the narrow spectrum of that world. My wife and I have raised two of the finest, most beautiful young people you can imagine. We have volunteered for charities, sports and the arts; this city has been good to us and over the past 26 years here we have tried to be more than mere Buffalo Hunters who only take from this land and leave nothing to sustain it. I have learned that the world changes not through media's obsession with 'events' but through the incremental impact of ideas and the vast mysteries of faith or the lack thereof. I am still trying to change and articulate the world and its meaning while understanding that in these matters reasonable people of good faith may always disagree.

I am not a great writer, but I am pretty good at it. Two years ago, as a senior fellow with the Cardus think-tank, I was invited to spend a week in the New Mexico desert with artists, poets and authors contemplating Islam, Judaism and Christianity through the prism of art. It reminded me of the dreams of a long-haired and bearded young man ill-prepared for the world's realities, petrified by his own potential for failure and uncertain of his considerable capacity for success. That is the world where my writing now belongs; where it is called to go. It is the world beyond cops, courts, commerce and politics where writing touches people's hearts and tweaks their souls. It is about beauty and a refuge from the otherwise concise life of a regulator charged with overseeing the nation's ability to reflect its culture.

It is there. But it is not here.

And so it is time to go.