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(Published in the Abbotsford News week of Mar.  6, 2006)

A Final Column: Thank You, Reader(s)

John Pifer

An old adage in the newspaper world is that there is no ‘I’ in column – something this writer has, for the most part, kept out of the weekly musings in this corner. It should always be about the subject, not the writer.

But today, the ‘I’ will be prominent in this piece, as I say thank you and goodbye.

About 11 years ago, I was asked by the Abbotsford News to revive a weekly column on matters political in our province and our country. I had written columns and news reports during my seven years in Victoria at the Legislative Press Gallery -- March 1987 to November 1993 -- that had appeared in the Abby News and its sister newspapers; and I jumped at the chance to renew that connection.

Through changes of ownership and through different supportive Abby editors who became lifelong friends, this column has been carried, not just in Abbotsford, but also in several other papers around BC since then.

In fact, my weekly rants (or incisive comments, depending upon how you looked at them), have been carried somewhere in British Columbia since 1985, when I returned to live on the Wet Coast after 7½ years in Britain. From the stint in the Press Gallery, to 18 months running newspapers on the Sunshine Coast, and through six years as a radio talk-show host on AM 1040, your humble scribe kept churning out the columns, seeking to skewer some of the oleaginous cretins who serve in politics in this country, and/or to shed some light on what the citizenry was entitled to know.

In the past two years, as I dealt with some serious physical issues and illness, most of my freelance work as a writer, editor and broadcaster slipped away; but through it all the Abby News continued to carry and to promote my weekly article, for which I am extremely grateful.

It now is the last newspaper to feature my work on a regular basis; and this column is the last one I write … at least for now.

No, I have not been asked to stop – indeed, current award-winning editor Rick Rake has championed my cause regularly, showing great support despite the near-the-line rocking of the boat that I have been known to do. Whether it was an attorney-general demanding an apology for the fact that I had attacked or questioned the supposed sanctity of the justice system, or an advertiser threatening to stop advertising if I didn’t lighten up on his political friends, the News’ senior executives have always provided strong backing and encouragement.

Throughout all of this, I know that it has been the loyalty and the support from you, the reader, which has sustained this column. Even those of you who sent blistering letters to the editor about what an S.O.B I was, deserve thanks.

If something I write, if a point of view I take, resonates with you to the point of getting you off the couch to send a congratulatory or condemnatory e-mail or letter to the paper, then I am most delighted.

It means that I am truly blessed to live in a democracy, where I can write what I believe or express my opinion, and not live in fear of being physically attacked or killed for doing so by those who believe differently, or have a contrary opinion. And so can you.

And although this is the last column for the News (for now?), my career is far from over as an editor, writer, broadcaster, and dung-disturber. I haven’t hit 60 yet, my health is stable now, thanks to the wonders of kidney dialysis, and I intend to observe and to comment and to write until the day I die – may that be 25 or 30 years down the road, at least!

So, thank you, dear reader(s), and ‘bye for now.

Namaste (which means the Spirit in me honours the Spirit in you). And notice, there are two Is in Spirit – one for me; one for you.

Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may still be reached at


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