Last July, I jotted down five ideas for how the Globe and Mail's new editor-in-chief, John Stackhouse, could improve his paper.
The first thing I wrote was "Less Rex Murphy, please". I was tired of reading Murphy's skepticism about the reality of climate change--a viewpoint we hear enough of in the National Post and other Canwest newspapers as well as on private radio stations.
This week, I was delighted to hear the CBC's chief correspondent, Peter Mansbridge, announce on the national news that Murphy will be writing his columns in the future for the National Post. It means no more Murphy on the opinion page of the Saturday Globe and Mail.
I don't know if Murphy jumped or if he was pushed by Stackhouse. Regardless, I'm looking forward to picking up a Saturday Globe and Mail without one of Murphy's typically ill-informed attacks on climate-change scientists.
I'll close with one scary thought. One of the five vacant seats in the Senate is for Newfoundland and Labrador. There are currently 49 Liberals, 46 Conservatives, two Progressive Conservatives and three others in the Senate.
If Harper fills all five vacancies with Conservatives, he will have a narrow majority in the upper house with the support of the two Progressive Conservatives.
And who best to represent Newfoundland and Labrador in the Senate than Murphy, a confirmed skeptic on climate change?
He has lost three provincial campaigns--once as a Tory and twice as a Liberal. That alone makes him a prime prospect for the chamber of sober, second thought.
In the 1980s, Murphy also worked for a former Liberal premier, Clyde Wells.
By appointing Murphy, Harper could burnish his credentials as a supposed centrist and win some votes from CBC viewers and listeners.
There's one other benefit: Harper would have a high-profile Newfoundlander who could serve as his attack dog against Premier Danny Williams.
Harper could also rest assured that this newest senator from Newfoundland and Labrador wouldn't create any problems for the Alberta oil and gas industry.
Of course, Murphy hasn't always been so fond of the Senate. Last August, he described it in a Globe and Mail column as "the ultimate patronage ATM", adding that "it extorts subservience and sycophancy from those appointed to it."
"It does not have second thoughts," Murphy declared. "A second thought would kill it."
But the public and the media have short memories. No doubt, all the other media hacks who've been appointed to the Senate have uttered their own criticisms of the upper chamber in the past, and it didn't stop prime ministers from presenting them with the ultimate retirement gift.
Besides, with Canwest Publishing going into bankruptcy protection, Murphy can't count on a great deal of job security as a National Post newspaper columnist.