This is the last edition of The Western Producer that will contain content from Barry Wilson.
As I write this, it is Barry’s final day of work (at least at The WP) before his retirement. While I have thought about this day more or less constantly over the last four months, I didn’t realize how much folks outside The WP would also take notice.
Jennifer Ditchburn of the Canadian Press wrote a beautiful profile of Barry under the headline, Canadian farmers to lose veteran political correspondent in Ottawa. To Barry’s complete amazement, several papers picked up the story and posted it on their websites, including The Globe and Mail.
You can find it at bit.ly/1mkTEDP, or via @JenDitchburn.
It’s a great read, and it comes with a truly incredible photograph of Barry in his office. You have to see this picture. I am fairly confident you have never seen an office quite that submerged in papers, photos, newspapers, files and memorabilia.
Digs at Barry’s messy office aside (after all, he is a busy guy), it’s obvious from feedback over the past few weeks that journalists and people in the agriculture industry understood Barry’s weight on the Hill.
“Every agriculture minister from Eugene Whelan to Gerry Ritz has needed to know Barry Wilson,” Ditch-burn wrote in her article.
Certainly the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame thought Barry was important to agriculture when it inducted him about a year ago. He was only the second journalist to be so honoured.
Everywhere we go, people ask about Barry — how he is doing, what he will do next. Many have asked us to send along their regards. Many have emailed him directly to express their best wishes.
He spent 35 years with us, and with you. He is the consummate journalist, always insisting that he was never part of the story but only the scribe bringing the information to his readers. Even his last column lines up with that ideal.
But at the end of his career, a bit of the limelight shone upon him, and rightly so. He truly was a servant to the higher goals of journalism, which means he always considered his readers first.
Barry, we wish you well, and farewell.
It is the end of an era.