Written by 04:04 World

Rex Murphy, a Dominant Pundit on the Right in Canada, Dies at 77

Rex Murphy, a Canadian newspaper, radio and television commentator who delighted his country’s conservatives with sharp attacks on environmentalists, liberal politicians and what he called their “woke politics,” died on May 9 in Toronto. He was 77.

His death, from cancer, was announced on the front page of The National Post, the widely read daily newspaper for which he wrote a column, one of several he had over the years in Canadian papers, including The Globe and Mail in Toronto. His editor at The National Post, Kevin Libin, said Mr. Murphy died in a hospital.

In his heyday, in the 1990s, Mr. Murphy was the rare political commentator who commanded a countrywide audience, skewering Canada’s elites as well as its sometimes fragile sense of nationhood. His roots in Canada’s youngest province, and one of its most rugged, Newfoundland, informed a combative patriotism and an affinity for the country’s working class.

For 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, he was the host of “Cross Country Checkup,” a popular weekly radio call-in show aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He would listen patiently as cranky listeners aired their views, then delivered his own back, pointedly. For much of that period he gave a weekly segment of commentary on the CBC’s main nightly TV news program, “The National.”

“For a very long time, he was Canada’s premier provocateur,” said Tim Powers, a former CBC colleague and friend.

In a 1996 profile, the Canadian newsmagazine Maclean’s wrote of Mr. Murphy: “He has become the unlikeliest of Canadian celebrities — a quirkily untelegenic presence who has defied the canons of conventional programming wisdom to etch himself upon the country’s consciousness.”


Last modified: 20 May 2024