There is something inexplicably exciting about seeing something in real life that has previously only been seen on TV. It seems to break some sort of space-time continuum. It is for that reason, and his role as an eloquent Canadian icon, that seeing Rex Murphy speak was so scintillating. With a group of about 20 debaters, we headed to the Mary Winspear Theatre in Sidney, a small town about an hour from the school, and had the pleasure of attending a talk and question period with Rex himself.
Rex Murphy is a Newfoundlander, born and raised; this gives him a distinctly Canadian flair that is comedic and endearing in its own right. Combine that with his brilliant articulation of topical issues, and masterful skills in oration, and we were destined for a great night. Having made his career in journalism, punctuating each keen social analysis with a sharp witticism, Mr Murphy is, and will always be, a hallmark of the Canadian identity. Irrespective of one’s views on what it is that he has to say, although he makes claim to be as non-partisan as possible, one cannot help but admire his unmatched ability with words. We seldom find political figures who embody such measure, wit, and vocabulary, yet remain accessible to the masses.
He spoke primarily on the unity of Canada, tying with various anecdotes from Gander in 2001 to the Dustbowl Prairies, to explain the network of shared traits and, ultimately, identity within our country. Politically, he was advocating against the growing divisions between the various provinces and territories. Morally, he was speaking in the name of gratitude. In some ways, the theme of the evening can be summed up through a quote which he shared, and repeated throughout the talk: “People more often need to be reminded, rather than informed.”
Canadian or not, everyone took something from his talk; whether that be in the art of oration, or the politics of the Canadian social fabric. For that, on behalf of the debate team, I would like to thank Ms Steele-MacInnis, Mr Bryant and Ms Mais for helping facilitate this incredible opportunity.
Amelia H, Allard ‘20