James Travers, a columnist for the Star and former editor of the Ottawa citizen died earlier this week from complications after surgery on his spleen, he was 62.

Here is an award winning article he wrote in 2009.


For a foreign correspondent reporting some of the world’s grimmest stories, Canada in the ’80s was more than a faraway home. Seen from the flattering distance of Africa, this country was a model democracy. Reflected in its distant mirror was everything wrong with what was then called the Third World. From Cape to Cairo, power was in the hands of Big Men. Police and army held control. Institutions were empty shells. Corruption was as accepted as the steeped-in-pessimism proposition that it’s a duty to clan as well as to family to grab whatever has value before the state inevitably returns to dust.
By contrast and comparison, Canada was a cold but shimmering Camelot. Ballots, not bullets, changed governments. Men and women in uniform were discreet servants of the state. Institutions were structurally sound. Corruption, a part of politics everywhere, was firmly enough in check that scandals were aberrations demanding public scrutiny and sometimes even justice.
Canada today is not Africa then or now. Our wealth and health, and our communal respect for legal, civil and human rights position this favoured country on a higher plane. Still, 10 years of close observation and some 1,500 Star columns lead to an unsettling conclusion: Africa, despite popular perception, despite the Somalias and Zimbabwes, is moving in one direction, Canada in another. Read the headlines, examine the evidence, plot the trend line dots and find that as...

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R.I.P. Jim.