David Kilgour vs. William Patrick Ryan

David Kilgour

A politician you can actually respect? How often does that happen?

David Kilgour is not one of these lame-o, do-nothing politicians. He’s one of the longest-serving MPs in Canadian history, and one of the few who has sat as a Conservative, a Liberal, and an Independent. Plus, he’s from Winnipeg. (I’m not from Winnipeg, I just like almost everyone I’ve ever met from Winnipeg.)

Kilgour’s worked on a bunch of human rights initiatives, from Darfur to Falun Gong (you can read his whole resume here), and since his retirement from office in 2006, he has published a couple of books. Uneasy Neighbo(u)rs is about Canada-US relations, and his latest, Bloody Harvest, is about China killing Falun Gong members for their organs. Chilling. He continues to speak about this stuff frequently, despite the fact that he’s no longer looking to get elected. Plus, how many Canadian politicians are compared to Lawrence of Arabia?

I think one of the true tests of a politician is how they comport themselves after their political career has ended, and Kilgour has continued to work tirelessly for the things he believes in. In a country riddled with political apathy where our morally suspect Prime Minister just refuses to go to into work on a whim, Kilgour is an inspiring figure. Plus he’s still around, and still working hard, which does us a lot more good than an Irish Socialist journalist who’s been dead since 1942.

VS.

William Patrick Ryan

The Irish Catholic Church didn't want you reading William Patrick Ryan's literature. Just another reason why you should.

Not to let my political leaning give a biased opinion at The Tournament of Everything, but any writer being condemned for radical Socialist views is likely to come up favourable in my books. Irish journalist and historian William Patrick Ryan was a voice for the impoverished of Ireland for much of his life between 1867 to 1942. Honing his journalist chops in London, Ryan returned to Ireland to start his newspaper Irish Peasant.

I haven’t read a copy but I think it was aimed at pointing out that things weren’t hunky dory for the lower class. As owner and editor, Ryan was looking to reach an Irish demographic who had little voice. And you know what happens when someone does that, you get shut down. The Church effectively put an end to Irish Peasant in 1911 for censorship and Ryan was condemned by Archbishop of Armagh Michael Logue for his views (read: wanting to raise important matters that went neglected by the Catholic Church and State).

Undeterred, Ryan changed the name to Irish Nation and further continued his commitment to the cause through books and critical studies including The Pope’s Green Island, The Irish Labour Movement and others, and holding down a job as assistant director of London’s radical paper the Daily Herald. There’s really not a whole lot more information out there and I’ve already pretended like I know far more about what Ryan wrote than I do. But the reason I get so passionate about figures such as Ryan is that he’s one of the good guys. Saddened by the injustice he sees around him, he speaks up.

While politicians go on spouting their PR horseshit and lie to the people day after day to serve their own agenda and egos, there are a few like Ryan who say no to this. And as late comedian Bill Hicks said, “what do we do to these people? We kill them.” They don’t even get dignified with a picture in Google images.

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Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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