Rex Murphy

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Rex Murphy
BornMarch 1947 (age 74)
Alma materMemorial University of Newfoundland (BA, 1968)
St Edmund Hall, Oxford
OccupationAuthor, journalist

Rex Murphy (born March 1947) is a Canadian commentator and author, primarily on Canadian political and social matters. He was the regular host of CBC Radio One's Cross Country Checkup, a nationwide call-in show, for 21 years before stepping down in September 2015. He currently writes for the National Post and has a YouTube channel called RexTV.

Early life and education[edit]

Murphy was born in Carbonear, but grew up in Placentia, 105 kilometres west of St. John's, and is the second of five children of Harry and Marie Murphy. He graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a degree in English in 1968.[1] After studying law for a year at St Edmund Hall,[2] he began a Master's degree in English at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, but did not complete it.[3]

Early career[edit]

Murphy first came to national attention while attending Memorial University during a nationally covered speech in Lennoxville, Quebec. Murphy characterized Newfoundland Premier Joey Smallwood's governing style as dictatorial and proclaimed his legislature's recent announcement of free tuition as a sham. Smallwood warned the undergraduate student in a news conference not to return. Murphy did and was elected President of Memorial University Student Council. In the end the government caved in. All students received the free tuition promised, plus a $50 living allowance.

Murphy has run for provincial office in Newfoundland twice: in the 1985 provincial election in the riding of Placentia[4] and in a by-election in the riding of St. John's East in 1986 [5] as a Liberal. He lost both times. He also worked in the 1980s as executive assistant to Clyde Wells.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation[edit]

Murphy was a frequent presence on the various branches of the CBC. He had regular commentary segments entitled "Point of View" on The National, CBC Television's flagship nightly news program. He was also the regular host of CBC Radio One's Cross Country Checkup, a nationwide call-in show.

In 2004, he and nine other prominent Canadians participated in the production and the defence of a Great Canadian on the CBC Television program The Greatest Canadian. Murphy, advocating for former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, guided his candidate to third place in the final vote.

Murphy retired from Cross Country Checkup on 20 September 2015,[6] and continued his commentary segments on The National until 28 June 2017.

After receiving several public complaints in 2014, the CBC's ombudsman investigated claims that Mr. Murphy may have been in conflict of interest by criticizing opponents of the Alberta oil sands in his Point of view segments while receiving money from the oil industry for paid speeches. In the final report and subsequent to an investigation, the CBC's ombudsman, Esther Enkin, did not say whether Murphy's speeches presented a conflict of interest but did conclude that "since taking money leads to a perception of a conflict of interest, CBC management might want to consider, in the review they are undertaking, whether even with disclosure, it is appropriate for CBC news and current affairs staff to get paid for their speaking engagements."[7]

Current work[edit]

Murphy wrote a column for the Saturday edition of The Globe and Mail newspaper until January 2010, when the Globe cancelled the column and Murphy moved to the National Post,[8] for which he continues to write. Murphy's writing is characterized by a polysyllabic style and a wide range of cultural references.

In October 2019, he launched RexTV, his own YouTube channel, in which he interviews prominent figures in politics, business, academia, journalism, science and culture who might be ignored or misrepresented by the mainstream media.[9]

In 2009 Murphy criticized the Liberal party who had proposed "green" policy responses for global warming.[10] Murphy has also criticized the Liberal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic for creating a system in which the government is "...without opposition, free to gush money wherever it wishes, in whatever amounts it chooses, to whomever it favours."[11]


In June 2008, Murphy was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Waterloo.[12] He was awarded honorary doctorates of letters by Memorial, St. Thomas, and Nipissing universities. In June 2013, he was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Canadian Institute of Management.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Rex Murphy leaving CBC's Cross Country Checkup". Toronto Star, September 13, 2015.
  7. ^ CBC Ombudsman (12 March 2014). "Conflict of Interest". Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  8. ^ Charlie Smith, "Rex Murphy leaves the Globe and Mail, according to Peter Mansbridge", Jan. 10, 2010, Vancouver Georgia
  9. ^ "Rex Murphy Launches New YouTube Channel" on YouTube
  10. ^ "Michael Ignatieff should think outside the green box" The Globe and Mail
  11. ^ Murphy, Rex (6 May 2020). "COVID-19 and our new Government at the Bottom of the Cottage Doorsteps". National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
  12. ^ "UW will award 10 honorary degrees at spring convocation". Communications and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo. 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-08-31.

External links[edit]