Yesterday, Susan Riley published her last column for the Ottawa Citizen; and, in bidding her readers farewell, she revealed a secret:
I am not a Liberal, closeted or otherwise, and never have been. Nor am I a socialist, a Harper-hater, a feminazi, or a “moronic bimbo” as one discerning reader suggested recently. Well, not a bimbo for sure.
I would probably qualify as a “radical” environmentalist in official circles, given my early and enduring concern about climate change. But, for the most part, efforts to categorize my views over the years have been, while often amusing, somewhat off the mark.
Truth be told, Riley has been -- and is -- a voice of reason in a town that has forgotten its purpose. She sees all sides of an issue; and she has been willing to give credit where credit is due:
I have also written positively about politicians from all parties. Favourites among the current crop include the urbane and sane interim Liberal leader, Bob Rae; idealistic, but adroit, New Democrats such as Nathan Cullen and Megan Leslie; fiercely intelligent and independent-minded Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and the new premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, a conservative with a social conscience.
But Riley gave the Harper government no credit for anything remotely redeeming. In fact, she reserved her most caustic comments for the people who are now in charge:
Bombastic Dean Del Masto, unctuous Pierre Poilievre, glowering Peter Van Loan and preachy Kellie Leitch, along with John Baird and most of the front bench, are among the worst. In return for media profile, they will read anything put in front of them, eyes dead, ears closed, rigid as robots.
She long ago figured out who these people are. And I, for one, will miss her astute observations.