The Globe and Mail has replaced left-wing, freelance writer Rick Salutin as its regular Friday columnist with Irshad Manji, the feisty activist described by the New York Times as "Osama bin Laden's worst nightmare." The move is part of what's being described as a "radical redesign" of the paper set to be launched on Friday.
"It's a little bit painful for readers who are used to our columnists," says Judith McGill, assistant to Globe editor-in-chief John Stackhouse. "We're bringing in some new voices to the paper."
McGill acknowledges "there's a bit of a campaign" underway to get Salutin reinstated partly as a result of a blog written by Murray Dobbin which appears today on the website of the Vancouver Sun.
She adds, however, that "hopefully we will feature him as an occasional contributor" on Globe comment pages "from time to time."
Salutin himself said he was rushing out the door when reached by phone at his home in Toronto. He added he's in his 20th year writing the Globe column and has known for some time that the newspaper was dropping it. "I didn't make a big thing of it," he said.