Much has already been written about James Travers in the twenty-four hours since his passing. I add this small comment simply because I could not let his passing go without acknowledging my personal debt to him. Readers of this space know that I have frequently quoted from his work.
He received a National Newspaper Award for a column which documented Canada's diminished democracy. He truly talked the talk. But, as his colleague -- and former parliamentarian -- Doug Fischer noted, he also walked the walk:
Once, Fischer remembered, he visited Travers while his colleague was working as the Middle East correspondent. They went to a Palestinian village and when Travers saw a young Arab boy being dragged away by the hair by a group of soldiers, he handed his notepad and tape recorder to Fischer. He confronted the laughing soldiers.
“There was a scuffle and he was lucky not to get beaten up or arrested, but he didn’t back down. Eventually, they let the boy go and they pushed Travers away.
He was a man with the courage of his convictions. And for that reason -- most of all -- he will be sorely missed. His family is in our prayers.