Margaret Wente is one of Canada’s most accomplished journalists. She came from Evanston, Illinois and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1964. She works for the Globe and Mail which is Canada’s largest newspaper.
The early life of Margaret Wente
As a young girl in Grade 3 she remembers that she took a stance for women’s rights even back then by insisting on her rights to sit in the boys section of the bus. By the time she was 12 she admits she smoked to be worldly; she only started inhaling at 15. When her mother remarried and took her with her to Don Mills, Ontario Margaret Wente took up smoking with the “greaser” who hung out behind the shopping plaza. Her mother found out about her smoking when she was in the 10th grade and sent her to an all girl’s school. In defiance she still smoked on the sly.
It was around this time that she was able to show her love for reading and poetry. She adored Leonard Cohen’s lyrics and wished she would be able to meet him some day. She wanted to show him that not every woman was a “Suzanne” (Please read the lyrics of this song to understand her feelings).
On Saturday afternoons she hung out with a group of teenagers who smoked and drank coffee while listening to Richard J. Needham the Canadian humour columnist. In a way Margaret Wente was mentored by Needham who took her on a tour of the Globe and Mail and introduced her to newspaper jargon. She stopped smoking in 1981 “because smoking wasn’t sexy anymore.”
While Margaret Wente was still doing her undergraduate degree in Michigan she would return to Don Mills, Ontario to hang out at a Hungarian Restaurant where certain writers frequented. She describes herself as being very parochial (limited world views) at that time.
Margaret Wente obtained a BA in English from the University of Michigan and then she went to the University of Toronto for her Master’s in English.
Margaret Wente’s Career
Margaret Wente managed to get hired as a book publicist fresh out of university. She was given the assignment of writing a book on the Summit Series. This series was about the dispute between the Russians and team Canada in hockey. Prior to the summit series Canada had been the team to beat and then the Russians took over. The international series was held during the cold war era and so there were hostilities even before the playoffs not to mention the national pride of both nations. Team Canada won in the end.
Margaret Wente began writing for the Globe and Mail in 1986. She was the managing editor of the newspaper and the editor of the business report known as ROB report. Wente has been a full time columnist since 1999. She has appeared on television and radio and has won several awards for her work.
An unfortunate situation for today’s subject for women’s issues
A blogger by the name of Carol Waino accused Margaret of plagiarism. Margaret apologized stating it was a mere case of journalism laziness by not sourcing. However, after an investigation it was stated that some accusations were correct while others were not. This unfortunate situation happened in 2002.
The strongest accusation happened in 2009 and the Globe and Mail took punitive action and allowed her to continue writing for them. However the CBC radio station discontinued her post as a panelist on the program Q because of the incident.
According to her profile on the Globe and Mail, “she provokes heated debate with her views on health care, education, and social issues. She is winner of the National Newspaper Award for column-writing.”