Editorial: Endings and Beginnings

April 1, 2014

This edition of the CCPA Monitor marks the end of an era. With this, his last issue, Ed Finn passes the torch to a new generation.

Twenty years ago, almost to the day, we asked Ed to take on the challenge of creating a regular publication to put in the hands of our members. He agreed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The CCPA Monitor was born in May 1994. The front-page story of that first issue was: "Annual Cost of Unemployment to the Economy: $109 billion."

There were articles comparing CEO salaries with those of workers; on how Canadian social spending lagged behind other industrialized countries; on the exodus of jobs under free trade; and much more... plus que ca change!

That first issue was 16 pages. It has grown over the years to its current 40 pages, to become a leading journal of progressive analysis and opinion in Canada. Nevertheless, its basic, no frills, no pictures, word-heavy format has (to the chagrin of some) remained remarkably similar to that first issue.

In 20 years, Ed never missed an issue; was never late in getting it to the printers and in the mail. His last Monitor as editor, this one, is his 200th.

From the beginning, Ed maintained overall editorial control, though he was always open to input from colleagues.
Ed is a master wordsmith. He has the uncanny ability to craft a jumble of material into a coherent narrative. He has written well over two million words himself, and edited millions more.

Ed has had numerous careers spanning more than 70 years. For those of you who would like to learn more about his remarkable life, I urge you to read his memoir, Ed Finn: A Journalist's Life on the Left. He fought Joey Smallwood's attacks on unions in the 1950s; was at Tommy Douglas's side at the birth of Medicare in the early '60s; served as the first provincial leader of the NDP for four years; wrote a column on labour relations for the Toronto Star for 14 years; and fought against monetary austerity in the 1980s as a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Canada.

Work has been a major part of Ed's recipe for how to live long without growing old. He embodies the dictum of the great cellist, Pablo Cassals: "He who works and is not bored is never old."

He taught us lessons of courage; lessons of never giving up no matter how powerful your adversaries. He believes that, before people can be moved to action, they must have their eyes opened to what is really going on; to the reality of power, to those who have it and exercise it for their narrow self-interest; to those who spin the myths and stories that perpetuate unjust social, economic, and political systems.

These beliefs have guided the Monitor over the last 20 years. Ed's writing has inspired tens of thousands of Canadians who seek to build a better world.

Ed is not going away entirely after April. He will remain emeritus editor and write a column occasionally when the urge strikes.

However, the next issue (May) marks a new beginning. We are extremely conscious of how much our supporters value the Monitor. This was made clear in our recent telephone Town Hall in which almost 4,000 of you participated. Your feedback on the Monitor from our supporter survey will also be very important in our future planning.

The new editor, Stuart Trew, comes to us via the Council of Canadians. He is an experienced journalist, editor, and policy expert, very familiar with the work of the CCPA. And as a longstanding Monitor reader, Stuart has deep respect for its traditions, the high quality of its analysis, and the values that underlie it.

Going forward, we shall strive to maintain the same high standards, the same passion that you have come to expect from the Monitor. To do so is the best way we know to honour Ed Finn's legacy.