David Climenhaga’s “Leaving Dublin” review

Posted by on Oct 10, 2011 in Brian's Blog | 0 comments

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga, my friend, fellow blogger, and former colleague at the Calgary Herald, has written a generous review of “Leaving Dublin,” posted to the politically influential and widely-read rabble.ca website.

The focus of the review, as one might expect from a trade unionist who walked a picket line with me for eight months, is on the chapter dealing with the now almost-forgotten Calgary Herald strike of 1999-2000. And, given that we were comrades-in-arms, you might expect him to agree with everything I have to say about that fractious labour dispute, its origins and its aftermath.

Not necessarily so. We witnessed a recent situation where Edward Greenspan, a prominent Toronto criminal lawyer who represented Conrad Black during his 2007 fraud trial in Chicago, was moved to write a lengthy rebuttal in The Globe and Mail taking issue with what he calls Black’s “flawed” account of the trial in his recently published memoirs. Greenspan says that Black’s fanciful recounting of the legal proceedings serves as a reminder of “how seldom an accused person actually grasps what is going on in court. Most defendants in a criminal trial realize that they shouldn’t expect to understand the process. That is what hiring experienced criminal counsel is all about.”

I could have been similarly guilty of not grasping what went on when the owners of the Calgary Herald (one of whom happened to be Conrad Black) forced us to take strike action in support of our quest to obtain a first collective agreement for the Herald newsroom. If David had written the same chapter – and at one point we actually did discuss the possibility of collaborating on a book about the strike – I suspect he would have been considerably less restrained than I was in describing some of the principal players and their actions.

But I am glad to see from David’s review that we are both on the same page in terms of how we recall this pivotal event in our lives. The book we hoped to write never materialized because the publisher we approached did not want to risk being sued. But I am happy that another publisher, the estimable RMB | Rocky Mountain Books, considered the story important enough to warrant at least a chapter in my book of memoirs.

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Copyright 2011 Brian Brennan - Writer

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