Canada

A life of wandering the world: The legacy of Joe Schlesinger's journalism

Joe Schlesinger, one of Canada's most respected and beloved journalists, died this week at the age of 90. He led what he called "a little boy's dream" of a life, "wandering around the world, watching the universe unfold and actually getting paid for it." He left behind a rich legacy, which included several years' worth of columns for CBCNews.ca

The former CBC News correspondent died this week at the age of 90, but left behind a rich legacy

Canadian journalist Joe Schlesinger died Feb. 11 after a lengthy illness. He was 90 years old. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Joe Schlesinger, one of Canada's most respected and beloved journalists, died this week at the age of 90. He led what he called "a little boy's dream" of a life, "wandering around the world, watching the universe unfold and actually getting paid for it."

And he left behind a rich legacy of that work, including a series of columns he wrote for CBC News over the past decade, on everything from China's Ping Pong diplomacy to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games to the man who saved so many children from Adolf Hitler, including Schlesinger himself.

You can revisit them all here: 

September 2016: U.S. presidents and their hidden health issues

Some critics have questioned Hillary Clinton's fitness to be president of the U.S. because she came down with pneumonia. You gotta be kidding! If a common illness like pneumonia made a person unfit to be president, then many American leaders would have never taken office.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after leaving an apartment building Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in New York. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

December 2015: How refugees make Canada a better place

If I were to offer advice to those about to arrive, I would say: Just be patient. Canadians eventually come around. Yesterday's outsiders become part of the mainstream.

A Syrian refugee boy stands in front of his family's tent in Al Zaatari refugee camp, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Nov. 29, 2015. Schlesinger urged Canadians to see the value of accepting refugees from the Syrian war. (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)

March 2015: The debt we owe thalidomide survivors

The shortfall in Canada's treatment of its thalidomide sufferers is nothing new; it's been there right from the beginning in the late 1950s.

An emotional Mercedes Benegbi, who is a thalidomide survivor and executive director of the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada, celebrates outside the House of Commons on Parliament Hill after the House voted to compensate survivors of thalidomide Dec. 1, 2014. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

February 2015: History shows Germany is a bigger deadbeat than Greece

What the Germans are conveniently ignoring is their own record as one of history's biggest deadbeats.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gives an interview as part of a Reuters Euro Zone Summit, at the finance ministry in Berlin Feb. 2, 2015. (REUTERS)

October 2014: Why the ISIS mission was Obama's real red line

The world took notice of America's reticence to use its vast power. And countries everywhere reacted by taking advantage of Washington's inertia. 

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses more than 20 foreign defence chiefs to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIS in October 2014. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

August 2014: The fearful history of tunnel warfare, from Vietnam to Gaza

The Romans tunnelled and so did their enemies, be they Germanic tribes or Jewish rebels in Judea. As a military technique, tunnelling is among the oldest methods of warfare still in use.

A tourist enters the Cu Chi tunnel network through a camouflaged hole in the jungle of Vietnam. The underground network is today a tourist attraction that has been visited by presidents and prime ministers. (Desmond Boylan / Reuters)

June 2014: Nicholas Winton: The man who saved children from Hitler

For 50 years, we didn't know who had saved our lives. Winton himself was so modest he didn't even tell his wife what he had done. He felt he had done many things since then that were more meaningful to him.

Nicholas Winton, left, in 1999 with film director Matej Minac, Schlesinger and child actor Brano Holicek at the debut of a Czech movie based on his life story. (Reuters)

March 2014: The problem with Ukraine, according the Russia 

There is an unusual twist in this crisis, however, because, as Putin put it, Ukrainians and Russians are brothers. (And there is no falling out more bitter than a family feud.)

Members of Vienna's Ukrainian community protest against Russian troops in Ukraine in March 2014. (Leonhard Foeger / Reuters)

February 2014: Part roller derby, part ballet. Joe's ode to the Winter Games.

The breakneck speeds make these winter sports more dangerous, particularly, it seems, for women who must contend with courses largely designed for men.

Canada's Charles Hamelin (R) and Eduardo Alvarez of the U.S. fall during the men's 1,000 metres short track speed skating quarter-finals race at the Iceberg Skating Palace at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games February 15, 2014. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

February 2014: Is Europe's past Asia's future? 

It isn't that either Japan or China wants war necessarily — though both are arming noticeably. What's more likely going on in the East China Sea is that two of the world's largest economies — China is No. 2 and Japan No. 3 — have ramped up their bullhorn rivalry as a means of deflecting attention from their own domestic problems.

After Davos, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moved on to India where he talked up the close ties between the two nations as they close ranks against mutual rival China. (Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters)

October 2011:  Dear Greece: There is life after default

Please, don't cry for Argentina. The Argentine economy is doing well these days. It grew by a blistering 9.2 per cent last year. Today, it is you who have much to cry about.

Paint-splattered riot police in Athens brace against waves of protesters challenging the austerity measures being imposed to stave off default. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

April 2011: What China's Ping Pong diplomacy taught us 

The Chinese were the best Ping-Pong players in the world. But it quickly became evident that they had matters other than winning on their minds.

Members of the U.S. table tennis team attend a discussion meeting between the Chinese and U.S. delegations to the tournament organized by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai on April 16, 1971. (Associated Press)

April 2011: De-clogging the veins of democracy

Our current first-past-the-post system is far from equitable and is quickly becoming ever more so.  

Stephane Dion and Jack Layton trying to sell the idea of coalition government at a rally in Toronto in December 2008. It didn't really work out. (Mike Cassese/Reuters)

July 2008: From Ping Pong to powerhouse: China's evolution

Where, before, the town was full of so-called honey wagons collecting the night's organic fertilizer harvest from outhouses, squat toilets and chamber pots, this time around, the toilet in my hotel room has a heated seat and push buttons that control a jet of cleansing water that can be adjusted in direction, intensity and temperature.

A man rides a tricycle filled with goods near the ongoing construction of the China Central Television (CCTV) tower in the Central Business District in Beijing in April 2008. That year, Schlesinger reflected in a column for CBC on the monumental changes the country had undergone since he reported from there in the 1970s. (Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images)

Watch: In an excerpt from the documentary, Joe Schlesinger: Through These Eyes, he describes how the rescue of a boy became his main focus while covering an earthquake in Italy:

In an excerpt from the documentary, Joe Schlesinger: Through These Eyes, the late CBC reporter describes how the rescue of a boy became his main focus while covering an earthquake in Italy. 2:14