His columns were always well researched and thought provoking.
Not good in a neoconservative country where a thinking public is considered to be a dangerous public.
But he was one of the few left who spoke with a progressive voice. Maude Barlow suggested some time ago that Chantel Hebert was the only one we had speaking for the average Canadian on television, but she has clearly moved to the right, her attacks on liberalism almost as visceral as Stephen Harper's.
And while Harper groupie Jane Taber, as Senior Parliamentary Writer for the Globe, definitely set the tone, it was refreshing to find an alternative voice. As Murray Dobbin says:
Not many columnists in this country have achieved icon status but Rick Salutin is one of them. There are also not many touchstones for progressive Canadians still intact -- things that give us some comfort that the world hasn't completely fallen apart, at least not yet ....I think that nails it. "You feel like you still live in Canada". Not a feeling I have much these days.
Each time I saw that column in the Globe -- a hard-line neo-liberal paper in most ways -- it allowed me to believe progressive voices were still part of the mainstream debate -- a place at the table that we might be able to expand. The sheer breadth of his commentary is amazing -- economics, politics, culture, cities, philosophy, the nation. And in all of it he was an original thinker -- not "derivative of anyone" as some else said today. He challenged, provoked us into thinking beyond conventional progressive ideas and ways of seeing. He was tough but never shrill and rarely really angry -- just dead on the money. When you read Rick Salutin you feel like you still live in Canada.
So email the Globe's Editor in Chief, John Stackhouse: email@example.com and tell him that this is not acceptable.