A new addition


I’ve had two or three summer students in the past 40 years who I figured would excel in the newspaper profession.


They knew what they wanted to do and learned as much as they could on the job.


One of those students was Allan Thompson of Glammis who was in the office Friday to announce that he will seek the Liberal nomination in the federal riding of Huron-Bruce.


Allan received a journalism degree at Carleton University in Ottawa and completed a Masters Degree in International Relations at the University of Kent at Canterbury, England.


He also spent a year touring North Africa with his wife Roula who he had met at Canterbury. While touring, he sent a regular column on his travels to The Independent.


Allan worked at the Toronto Star until 2003 when he became a journalism professor at Carleton.


He spent time as a reporter in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide and, as a professor at Carleton, launched the Rwanda Initiative, a five-year partnership between Carleton’s journalism school and its counterpart in Rwanda.



He is also the author of The Media and the Rwanda Genocide and he is the co-author of The Canadian Reporter, the standard journalism text for Canadian journalism students.


He is currently on a sabbatical until January while he writes the second edition of The Media and Rwanda Genocide.

He’ll be living in Glammis while he writes the book, which will allow him to also work on getting the nomination.


I wish him well on his political quest.




Allan, who covered Parliament Hill for the Star from 1994 to 2003, spent some time chatting with the staff.


He said that period now looks like the golden age of democracy. Reporters had scrums with Prime Minister Jean Chretien about once a week and were able to interview cabinet ministers on a regular basis.


That has changed dramatically. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s rule, any news out of the government is strictly controlled.


That is how everything seems to operate today.


Corporations routinely brush off journalism students trying to contact them for an interview, said Allan. The students are told to send in their questions by e-mail and then the corporation replies likewise.


Locally, police are not allowed to say anything on the record to reporters. Everything must go through a media person. That’s the way is with most public bodies today.




Our third grandchild arrived Friday afternoon in Regina. Madison Grace Hodges was 7 pounds 3 ounces.

She is the second daughter for Christopher and Sarah.


Dana has been in the west helping out and enjoying the mosquitoes.




One of the most inhumane forms of torture is being locked alone in a cell without any sensory stimulation.


A 24-year-old man was banished to segregation cells for 162 consecutive days for brandishing a juice box as a weapon. On day 162 he hung himself. He was in prison for robbing and shooting a cabbie, who recovered.


The report on the death of Edward Snoeshow said he fell through the cracks of the prison system.


So did Ashley Smith, the teenager from New Brunswick who killed herself after spending 11 months in segregation cells.


There is something very wrong in this country. We charge people who mistreat animals. There are no repercussions when the state treats people in its care worse than animals.