‘This guy is an idiot’

Calgary Sun editor admits letter to editor too hard on Newfoundlanders

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on July 30, 2013
A screen shot to a letter in the Calgary Sun about Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that offended a lot of readers.
Calgary Sun website

An editor of a major Calgary newspaper regrets his decision to publish a letter to the editor from an Alberta man blasting Newfoundlanders who work in that province.

“We actually did debate whether to run it or not,” Calgary Sun editor-in-chief Jose Rodriguez told The Telegram Monday.

“In hindsight, we shouldn’t have run it.”

That’s after the letter, which ran in the weekend edition, unleashed a rath of backlash from proud Newfoundlanders — as well as some Albertans — outraged that the newspaper would publish what many would consider bigotry.

Rodriguez, whose email was inundated with angry messages, said it’s the most reaction the newspaper has received from a single letter.

On the newspaper’s website alone, it garnered almost 300 comments.

The letter — written by Shawn Mitchell and published in the Sun’s Saturday edition — can be seen at the bottom of this story.

In it, Mitchell lambasts Newfoundlanders who “steal jobs away from us Albertans.” He goes so far as to insult Newfoundlanders’ grammar and manners.

Mitchell said Newfoundlanders who come to Alberta ride around in run-down vehicles with “da rock” bumper stickers.

“Spelling and grammar do not seem to be a common Newfoundlander’s strong point,” he wrote.

“Simply put, I am sick of seeing these interprovincial migrants that just cruise around from city to city looking to steal our jobs away.”

He goes on to say, “Get some manners, job thieves, get a life and get some class.” He then tells these Newfoundlanders to “pack up and go home.”

When contacted by The Telegram, Rodriguez said he and the other editors knew what Mitchell was saying was wrong.

“This guy is an idiot,” he said. “And I couldn’t believe in this day and age, people still think like this.”

However, Rodriguez said they decided to publish the letter to give the public the opportunity to have its say.

“When we were debating whether or run it or not, one of our editors said, ‘Why give this guy a podium?’ But we wanted to put it out there so people could knock him down,” Rodriguez said.

“It definitely wasn’t run with any ill intent towards Newfoundlanders.”

He said the newspaper, in the past, has run opinion pieces from people criticizing Quebecers and homosexuals.

“We don’t run those letters because we have any ill will towards those people. We do it for the opposite reasons,” Rodriguez said.

“There are people who are bigoted. Do we just ignore them all or do give the a podium so people can put him in his place?

“Most Albertans are rational people who can see through those kind of people.”

At the bottom of the letter  the editor wrote a short response: “Hey, back off the Newfoundlanders. They are amazing people.”

Rodriguez said that’s the general consensus among Albertans towards Newfoundlanders.

“I think Albertans and Newfoundlanders are probably similar people — they work hard, play hard and enjoy life,” he said.

“This letter was just one idiot’s opinion. We love Newfoundlanders and we thank your province for producing good, hard-working people. They’re a great part of our mosaic.”


Twitter: @TelyCourt

This article has been updated to correct information.


The letter:


I was out for a drive on my way home today and what did I see, a whole crapload of licence plates on run-down looking vehicles that aren’t from Alberta. Sure, people can say that they are here on vacation, but really people, who are we kidding here? These people are here to steal jobs away from us Albertans.

You really have to like the ones with “da rock” on their bumpers as we all know where you are from. My question is, if you like “da rock” so much, why don’t you go back there and get some more education as spelling and grammar do not seem to be a common Newfoundlander’s strong point?

Simply put, I am sick of seeing these interprovincial migrants that just cruise around from city to city looking to steal our jobs away. I have heard back east, folks are hard-working and certainly many of them are, but in my line of work, they are the biggest makers of puppies on company time and these job thieves are the best at slitting the throats of hard working Albertans as we as Albertans are the ones in this damn country that put in the most amount of hours worked per province.

Get some manners, job thieves, get a life and get some class: Pack up and go home because there isn’t any more room. I liked Calgary the way it was, before the boom.


Shawn Mitchell


Editor’s Note: Hey. Back off the Newfoundlanders. They are amazing people.