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Grading the columnists

This Magazine Staff

In yesterday’s National Post, columnist Don Martin handed out grades to members of the Federal Cabinet. Anne MacLellan got the only A, Judy Sgro got the only F (what about Liza?) and a bunch of Cs all around. In the spirit of the season, let’s grade the columnists. Here are mine, feel free to dispute or add others.
Chantal Hebert:A+
She’s easily the best political writer in the country right now, in French and English
Paul Wells: A
Gives people a reason to buy Macleans. Has one of the few must-read political blogs in Canada. Points deducted for being a jazz freak.

Andrew Coyne: B+
Consistently the smartest writer on constitutional issues. He immediately pegged the health accord as Meech by stealth; it took the rest of the country weeks to catch up. Has too many weird moments though, especially his inexplicable support for Bush.
Margaret Wente: B+
Mostly I hate her, but I have to read her. Is bent on skewering Martin the way she skewered Crouton at the end, which is nice.
John Ibbitson: B
For a guy who hates the federal government, he manages an objectivity toward — and even sympathy for — Ottawa. Remarkably unsentimental writer; he’s worked out a lot better than I thought he would.
Richard Gwynn: B-
Once my favourite columnist, he’s become very inconsistent. Is still good on federal issues.
Don Martin: C+
Was once one of my favourite columnists at the Post, but he seems in a bit of a rut. Maybe it is because his main object of study, Ralph Klein, is spinning his wheels.
John Ivison: C-
Hasn’t really put a stamp on his writing. Tends to whine.
Jeffrey Simpson: D
Wakey wakey Jeffrey! His recent column on the supreme court’s same-sex reference was clearly written before the decision had been released. The fact that he was too lazy to change it reflects the sad fact that the man who once owned “the most valuable real estate in Canadian newspapers” has become a complete hack.
Barbara Kay: F
Has replaced Liz Nickson as the Post’s insane right-wing woman. Blinded by ideology.

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