Stories from Rex Murphy

My Nikkel's Worth column

On DVDs and Blu-Ray movies, there are usually “special features” that provide extras, like scenes not included in the movie, gag reels, and behind-the-scenes comments about how the movie was made.
Now, I acknowledge this isn’t a movie, but this is an extra feature of sorts. In attending the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show, I was among many who enjoyed the presentation by Rex Murphy, the inimitable commentator from CBC and the National Post.
In my story, which you can read in this issue of the Weyburn Review, I share some of his comments as they relate to the oil industry — but he had lots of stories and anecdotes that had nothing to do with the oil industry, but were interesting nonetheless.
One rambling story that I thought kind of captured the diversity and beauty of this great nation of Canada was the connection that Rex found between the fishermen of Newfoundland (his home province) and the farmers on the Prairies, and the story arose out of the time when a moratorium was placed on fishing.
He noted this impacted heavily on 31,000 fishermen and their livelihood. To measure this impact on Newfoundland’s population, this would be the equivalent of over 600,000 in Ontario.
As a Newfoundlander and journalist, he did a story on the sad tales this situation caused, and the CBC apparently received a flood of letters in support of the fishermen. When Rex checked these letters out later, he found most of them were from the Prairies, and some of the letters even had money enclosed.
Later he did stories on farmers, and was interviewing one near Redvers where he mentioned the support of Prairie farmers for the fishermen.
The farmer said he wasn’t surprised, because back in the time of the Great Depression, Newfoundland farmers heard of the plight of farmers in the Dust Bowl of the Prairies, and sent them barrels of pickled fish to help them out.
“You don’t think we’d forget that, did you?” the farmer asked Rex.
Rex also had a great story about being in Toronto when they had a snowstorm, and actually brought in the Canadian military to help them deal with it.
He said he stepped outside and wondered when the real winter was going to arrive, and said if a person took a broom and brushed all the snow off Yonge Street, “you wouldn’t have enough to dust a doughnut.”
He told of standing on Yonge Street across from a Second Cup coffee store (“an upscale coffee place for people who can’t pronounce ‘Tim’”, he quipped), and saw a soldier come out, cradling a rifle in one arm and a tray of coffee in the other, a sight only possible in Toronto.

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