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Confessions of a columnist: Toronto Star columnist Jaime Watt evaluates his record as a public commentator

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Podcast & Video

This episode of Hub Dialogues features Sean Speer in conversation with Jaime Watt, the executive chairman of Navigator and a Toronto Star columnist, about his new book, What I Wish I Said: Confessions of a Columnist.

You can listen to this episode of Hub Dialogues on Acast, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Spotify. The episodes are generously supported by The Ira Gluskin And Maxine Granovsky Gluskin Charitable Foundation and The Linda Frum & Howard Sokolowski Charitable Foundation.

SEAN SPEER: Welcome to Hub Dialogues. I’m your host, Sean Speer, editor-at-large at The Hub. I’m honoured to be joined today by Jaime Watt, the executive chairman of Navigator, the well-known Canadian advisory and communications firm, a long-time political strategist and commentator, and for the past several years, a columnist for the Toronto Star.

He’s recently published a collection of columns entitled, What I Wish I Said: Confessions of a Columnist. The columns cover the period since September 2016 and reflect a range of themes and topics, including politics, human rights, Donald Trump, and the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m grateful to speak with him about the book, including the role of a columnist, what he learned going back and reviewing his past columns, and what advice he would give his previous self. Jaime, thanks for joining us at Hub Dialogues, and congratulations on the book.

JAIME WATT: Well, thanks for both of that. Thanks for having me. Because this is, of course, my first book, I didn’t realize how vulnerable you were when you actually had that thing bound and done. So that’s nice of you to say. Thanks.

SEAN SPEER: Well, I’m looking forward to digging into the book. But before we do, let’s go back to September 2016 when you started your regular column at the Toronto Star. You had been involved in politics and public commentary for a long time. You probably wrote a lot of op-eds under your own by-line and others. What did you expect? What did you hope to achieve, and what, in hindsight, did you misunderstand about the role of a columnist? What has surprised you about your gig?

JAIME WATT: Well, let me start with the last part of that question first. What surprised me is that no one bosses you around. I expected that editors would tell me what to write, that they would assign topics—at least not what to write specifically, but they would assign topics. I thought they would have points of view on what would interest readers. And actually, none of that. You’re out in this little rowboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean all by yourself. You have to figure out not only what your point of view is, although that’s not that difficult if you have a guide or a star in a sense of where you sit on things. But it is a completely blank slate. I didn’t understand that editors assign reporters, but part of being a columnist is you have absolute free rein, and they’re not allowed to interfere.

So I found that weird. And I began writing on what was then called the politics page, and there was a New Democrat and a Liberal, and myself. So I often thought, “Well, why don’t we all get together and do a topic of different points of view on the same topic?” And nobody was interested in that. So I had to figure that part out, and I had to find my voice. That’s the one thing.

The second thing is I was allergic to the first person, and I never used. I crossed that out like crazy until I learned from some very good columnists that that was dead wrong. It turns out that people who read columnists want to hear from the columnist. That’s something I completely missed. So they actually want you to use the person. Now, they don’t want you to be a little snotty about it, but they do want your point of view, they do want it to be personal, they do want it to be revelatory in some ways. So I didn’t understand that at all. So those were the two things that I figured out.

And then the third thing is something that, Sean, I know that you know, being so deeply involved in policy for your career, people weren’t so much interested in that, right? I could write about Donald Trump and I get a million people reading it. And I could write about some FPT thing or something that I was quite interested in, funding formulas for health care or something. And nobody gave a shit, so.

SEAN SPEER: I want to ask about the process you used to select from your body of columns over the years to the 48 that you ultimately included in the compilation. How did you decide what was in and what was out?

JAIME WATT: Well, I didn’t because I didn’t think I would be very good at that. So I asked two people, one who wrote the foreword and one who wrote the afterword of the book, Andre Pratte, the long-time chief editorialist for La Presse, and Michael Cooke, who as you know he is still even at his age a crusading editor for, amongst others, the Toronto Star. I asked both of them to do two things for me. The first thing to do was to say, “Were they any good?” We write these things every week, and I wanted to know if any of them were any good, if they stood the test of time or not. And then the second thing is, I asked them, of the ones that we had written, which ones did they see that would be probably worth it.

So that’s where it came from. First of all, they came back and said, “No, you won’t be embarrassed. They’re pretty good.” They said they were actually better than pretty good. And then, secondly, they recommended the structure of the book as they started to look at the columns. And as you’ve reflected, there are six topics. Then Breen Wilkinson, my co-author, and our editor had the idea to have them sequentially run within each of those sections. And that turned out to be a really helpful idea, particularly when I was writing about Trump and COVID. Because when you’re in the middle of those things, you don’t actually realize how much things change. And of course, and I say in my opening essay on Trump, it’s like, “We’ve forgotten how quickly we came to find his idiotic behaviour normalized.” So those were some of the ideas. So Michael and Andre helped me pick them, and then Breen and Margo helped structure them within the columns that way. And then, once that was done, I just wrote the pieces that followed.

SEAN SPEER: Jaime, you’re not the first columnist to publish a collection of his or her columns, but you’re among the only ones that I can think of to essentially score your record as a pundit. For each column, you include a measure of whether your analysis proved accurate and an annotation in which you describe in hindsight what you got right and what you got wrong. What led you to that decision and what was it like to essentially go back and evaluate your own performance?

JAIME WATT: Well, what led me to the decision, the idea for the book, is it drives me bananas that all these people go on television and they write in the newspaper, and they shoot their mouths off, and they have no accountability for it. It makes me insane. And I realized I was one of those people. So I thought, “You know what? Maybe I should do something about that.” So I just thought, “Well, I think people need to have some kind of accountability.” I don’t mean accountability in some kind of draconian, punitive way; it’s just I think people who read you are entitled to know did you get it right? Did you get it wrong? Has your point of view changed? All those kinds of things. So I thought it was an interesting idea.

But here, Sean, is what I didn’t know. I didn’t know how many other people felt just like me, and how many people—the response to that part of the book has been quite different than we imagined. We thought people would be interested in this and that, but what they’re really interested in is this idea of holding myself accountable for what I wrote. Adrienne Clarkson, people remember her as a governor-general, but of course she was a journalist, a long-time CBC journalist version. And she thinks it’s the freshest idea for a book that she’s heard of in a long time. So I think maybe we’re on to something in this. And the good news is that this book sells more than 15 copies. I got about 350 other columns for the next one.

SEAN SPEER: Let me ask a follow-up question. As you went through and identified what you got wrong, is there any common dimension that you could discern across those columns? Did they disproportionately reflect, say, optimism bias, or some other tendency that can lead you and the rest of us astray?

JAIME WATT: The biggest mistake I made was the tyranny of time and four o’clock on Friday. I write in the book that it’s a little bit like those cooking shows. When people have to bake the cake and the bell rings, and whether they have the little flowers on the top of the cake or not, it’s done. But four o’clock on Friday is the same thing for me, right? Whether we’re ready or not, it goes, and there’s a deadline, and that deadline is immovable. So, for example, one thing that I got disastrously wrong was the impact of Trump. I wrote that Trump would be a speed bump, embarrassing, but you know what? After four years, his presidency would be like a sandcastle on a beach in the summertime; he’d washed away in no time.

I missed entirely the impact of his judicial appointments. I didn’t understand that. And those appointments are going to impact people for generations. Well, at least one or two generations after he’s gone. And millions of women don’t have the right to choose dominion over their own bodies now because of that. And even a Democratic president and a majority in the Senate could not deal with that. So the biggest thing was I just didn’t have enough time for what I like to think about is mature reflection or the chance to do enough research or talk to enough people. And so I have some blind spots on that. 

I think other than that, the biggest thing I notice as I go back was maturing in my writing. I gained more confidence over time. I think I found my voice. Not in that all of a sudden I turned into a person that I wasn’t, but people think of me as a hyperpartisan conservative, and that’s not true. I’m a Red Tory. I could have been a Blue Liberal, right? I am part of that uniquely Canadian space that I think most Canadians actually aspire to occupy. And I became more confident in asserting that point of view. I also got much, much sharper and more declarative in my writing—enough of pussyfooting around and meandering, whatever. My sentences got shorter; they were more declarative. Hopefully, I got a little bit funnier, but more confident, I’d say.

And also, by the way, sorry, I should say more confident knowing that I was going to be wrong. I became more okay with being wrong. So I stopped hedging my bet. And I’ll tell you, in January of this year, again, I don’t know what I was thinking when I said, “No, there was going to be an election this year.” But there’s not going to be an election this year. I’ve changed my mind. I don’t think so. I mean, why on earth would there be an election? Everyone says every election is the most polarizing, well, this one is going to be very polarizing, and guess who’s going to get squished into nowhere? The NDP, because people are going to go either to the Conservatives to kick these guys out or the Liberals to stop Mr. Singh. So the loser in this is going to be the NDP. So I don’t know why he would sign his own execution warrant and call an election now. So I can’t even understand what I was thinking then. That was just a stupid thing to say.

SEAN SPEER: Your columns have been written for a Toronto Star audience that’s by and large to the Left of you. What’s it like to write for an audience that doesn’t necessarily share your preferences and predispositions? How has it influenced your craft?

JAIME WATT: Well, I don’t read the social media commentary about it because it will make me insane. Every once in a while, I get one of these tirades, sometimes two, 3000 words, mostly what I write on LGBTQ+ issues, but also when I write on health care and things like that. And I always do the same thing. It’s a character flaw that I insist on doing this, but I always write back to them and I say, “Thank you for your thoughtful commentary and taking the time to write. Next time, if you find yourself a time on your hands on a Sunday, perhaps you’d learn to read to the blind, bake a pie for a neighbour, or drive someone to a chemotherapy appointment.” Then I never hear from them again. And I know that’s ridiculously childish, but every time I do it, it makes me feel good.

I’ll tell you, though, about the broader Toronto Star audience, which has been actually very rewarding for me, is I frequently—I would say, at least every other week—I get a note from someone who says, “I often don’t agree with you, but I always find you to be a sensible person, and I sometimes do agree with you.” So that is rewarding. And someone else said to me the other day, that I also took as a compliment, that they can pretty much predict what every columnist is going to say on a particular issue, and I’m the only one that surprises. And so, again, I think that’s something that I seek to do. I don’t like—enough of being in these boxes. I think people can—I’m very much a conservative on fiscal issues. I’m very much a conservative on international relations. I’m very much a conservative on defence issues. I am a massive progressive on social issues. On the Canadian social net. On not leaving anybody behind. On looking after all of us and understanding every life some will fall. On what it’s like with the intersectionality of being a gay man with other people who have been disadvantaged or othered in society. So I think people are more complex, and I hope my writing shows that. And I think the Toronto Star audience is embracing of that most of the time.

SEAN SPEER: One more big picture question, Jaime, before we get into the book itself. At different times in your life, as you alluded earlier, you’ve been more or less active in politics itself. How has that influenced your work as a columnist? Do you think it’s helped or hindered your ability to observe and describe politics for a wider audience?

JAIME WATT: Well, I certainly think it has helped because, most of the time, when you read these columnists, they have the craziest ideas of what actually goes on in politics. It’s actually bizarre what some people write because they’ve never been in politics, and it’s as though they’re looking through a glass window and they can’t hear anything, and all they can see is a pantomime. And the window hasn’t been cleaned for 35 years. So they can’t even see that through. So I actually think that a number of the columnists, I’m not going to be rude enough to name, write things that are actually bizarre and bear no relation, no relation, to what happens in politics. So I least think that when I write about that, I write from a position of actually having some firsthand knowledge about it.

SEAN SPEER: Okay. As I said, let’s turn to the book now. There’s quite a long section on the rights of sexual minorities. You call the fight for equality “the defining fight of my life.” Jaime, talk about your experience. What has it been like to be part of these debates and see the extraordinary progress that’s been made over the years?

JAIME WATT: Well, I mean, first of all, I am a gay man of a certain age, so for a part of my life growing up homosexuality was illegal. There was a time that if I thought that it would be revealed that I was gay, that that would be the end of my life. Not to be dramatic, but I made a noose one night because I thought I’d have to end my life. And I chose to push on. That seemed ridiculously melodramatic now or whatever. But it’s not. And it’s only a measure of the progress that we’ve made. And so there came a time when some of us decided that we couldn’t just leave this fight to the Left, we couldn’t just leave this fight to activists, and that we had to take part in it ourselves.

I don’t quote Hillary Clinton that often, but she is correct when she says it takes a village. And it did take a village. It took activists and jockstraps and leather harnesses screaming at pride parades. It took really smart lawyers going to court. It took the people that figured it out; you didn’t actually need the province to issue a marriage license, that a minister could publish the bands of marriage. No one ever thought of that because all of the churches were rapidly against equal marriage, but of course, there was one that wasn’t. It took all of us doing for ourselves what we do for our clients every day of our lives.

And Sean, the first fight, the first thing I lobbied on, if you can imagine it, was employment benefits for our partners. We had to go to Ottawa and beg for them. And then we moved along. We got a little bit more, and a little bit more, a little bit more. And of course, at the end, it was marriage. And the marriage fight was very difficult because we pissed everybody off. The wealthy gay men who had funded much of this work said they weren’t giving me a dime for it. They wouldn’t give them movement a dime for it because it’s, “Are you crazy? Give them half? No, I don’t want to do that. We’ve got it just fine now.” And of course, that’s not right. Only equal as equal. And then straight people said, “Look, we’ve supported you and everything. We’ve given you everything, but why do you, after the word marriage; can’t you just leave that alone? Leave that for some—just leave it alone.”

And of course, we persisted, and now we have almost nine and ten Canadians supporting it. And it’s a beautiful thing. And the Canadian people—people often say to me, “How did the activists, how did all you people win equal marriage?” And I’d say, “We didn’t win equal marriage. We didn’t win equality for LGBTQ, although we still have some work to do, of course, in the transition, particularly. But we didn’t win that fight. Canadians gave us that equality.” And that’s a very important thing to understand about the amazing generosity of the Canadian people, they gave us that. In the end, it wasn’t something we had to jam down their throats. And that’s why it’s enduring. Now, we have to be vigilant, of course, and there is definitely more work to do. I’m not saying there isn’t. And certainly in the trans community, it’s still a lot of work to do. But I think we can be very proud of how Canadians have moved their opinions along on this.

SEAN SPEER: In your follow-up note to a June 2021 column about progress on equality for sexual minorities, you observed that there is growing factionalism even within the LGBT community. You essentially say that the so-called “culture war” has even manifested itself there. What do you mean? What are some of the sources of debate and fault lines? How do you think these developments affect efforts for greater equality?

JAIME WATT: Well, I mean, because, of course, equality comes in layers, and as equality is achieved, it benefits different people in different ways, different groups in different ways, different social classes, economic classes, and so on, in different ways. And so, well for people like me, we’ve done very, very well, right? And we would say things are pretty damn good. I live in a major city. I work with progressive people. I pay no price for being openly gay. In fact, I was in a kitchen party in Newfoundland the other day, and someone asked me what my wife would think about it. And I just reflexively said, “My partner.” And then I wondered if I should have said that. And it turns out, of course, their best friend’s son had got married to his husband the year before, and it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to.

So for some of us, it’s been a very good result. For other people, not so much. And so for other people, especially people economically disadvantaged or otherwise who are still facing other challenges, it hasn’t. And I think there’s that tendency for some people to think that, “Now that we’ve got what we needed, we’ll pull the drawbridge up on the island, then just get on with our lives.” And we can’t do that. We have to understand that there is always more work to do. We have to understand the intersectionality of it, as I mentioned before. And that this thing that’s happening in the States, I don’t think it’s going to come to Canada, but we have to be vigilant. So I think those are the things. The other thing that’s happened is that some people just want to keep fighting, right? And they just want to keep at it, so.

SEAN SPEER: You wrote of the rise of celebrity politics in a January 2018 column about the prospects of Oprah Winfrey running for the American presidency. When pundits debate the source of Donald Trump’s political rise, they often neglect the simplest. He’s ubiquitous in our culture and has 100 percent name recognition. Talk a bit, Jaime, about the growing conflation between entertainment and politics. What are its consequences, and how do we move past it?

JAIME WATT: I think that we know the consequences, and that’s Donald Trump on the bad side. And then some people would say it’s somebody else they liked then they would have a different point of view. But you answered the question, which is they have 100 percent name recognition, right? And not only do they have name recognition; they have profile recognition, personality recognition. So you say, take someone who’s ubiquitous, like Oprah. So people would have a view of how she would be as the president. Someone like Martha Stewart. People would have a view about how she would be as the president, and so on. So I think they get a massive head start. And, of course, because in America they have a very different system for fundraising than we have, in which they don’t have spending limits. They have some contribution limits, but they don’t have spending limits. They can spend as much as they can raise. So if you’ve got that kind of a galloping head start, it puts you in a very different place, especially in a culture which values celebrity, right?

So then I would take you back to the second part of your question, which is, “What do we do about it?” And I think one of the things we do about it is we value public service, and we do a crappy job of valuing public service in Canada. We don’t let people keep their titles unless they’re in the Privy Council. So all the premiers and all the provincial cabinet ministers lose their title. If you go to, as I did, the hanging of the portrait of Kathleen Wynne when it starts at Queens Park, the master of ceremonies or whatever it was said, “Please rise for the arrival of the official party, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the lieutenant governor, the Honourable Doug Ford, and Ms. Kathleen Wynne.” Well, that’s nonsense, right?

And so we should let them keep their titles. We should put them all in the Order of Canada. We should value public service. I think in the secular world, public service is the highest calling. I think the people that put aside their interest to go. Now, I might not like what they’re doing, I might have a different point of view, but we need more of that. And the problem now is we’re getting less, right? And if we get less of it, then we’re going to get more of unqualified celebrities. When we saw, for example, that guy—I’ve forgotten his name now—Mr. Wonderful, he goes on with that hat on television. And when he tried to run for the leader of the Conservatives. It’s complete nonsense. It’s complete nonsense. And so we have to find ways to encourage good people to go into public. We have to find ways to do more what you are doing and encourage debate about policy. And if we do that, then we’ll get better-qualified people than we have right now.

SEAN SPEER: Just in parentheses, Jaime, about your observations concerning how we value or don’t value public service. Presently in the province of Ontario, a minister’s chief of staff oftentimes earns more in salary than the minister him or herself, which is just a perverse set of incentives for how to ultimately influence public policy and politics, especially given all of the other costs associated with entering public life.

JAIME WATT: And by the way, public life includes people like the chiefs of staff, right? It’s not just the politicians. It’s all those people who put their lives on hold, they leave their jobs, their businesses, their partners are screaming at them. Their partners at home are saying, “Get home and look after your kids.” They make tremendous personal sacrifices. And all we do is crap on them. It’s got to stop. It’s really, really bad.

SEAN SPEER: As you mentioned earlier, Jaime, one of the key insights in the book is that you ultimately got Donald Trump’s candidacy and presidency wrong. You were skeptical that his illiberalism would amount to a serious threat to U.S. democracy. You subscribed, as you said earlier, to the view that the institutions were strong enough not to give into his worst excesses. What did you miss or underestimate?

JAIME WATT: Well, I underestimated, first of all, the judiciary. I didn’t understand, and this is my own ignorance.—and again, the part of writing a column, if I had more time, I would’ve been better educated on it. So, one thing I missed was I didn’t understand how many judges he appoints. I had no idea. And I didn’t know how long they work. I had no idea of that. And so I missed that. I also missed how the difference in the direct control the president has over the bureaucracy compared to Canada and how many people get actually—so I understood because I obviously read about how many people got changed over and how many appointments he made, and so on. But I didn’t really understand how that changed the bureaucracy and how much a presidential decree could change the way the bureaucracy acts. It’s far different than in Canada. And I didn’t get that at all.

The other thing I didn’t understand was—this weekend I just put 20-20-20 fertilizer on my garden because I’m assured that it’s going to make it grow like crazy. And I didn’t understand how he would use his bully pulpit to fertilize his base. I didn’t understand that. I actually thought a person, I wrote about this, I’m not sure if the column’s in the book I don’t think it is, but I wrote about this, how he was misusing the greatest bully pulpit in the world. That the presidency, that previously people would stop when the president of the United States spoke. They would actually stop and they would turn on their television and they would watch it or whatever in a shop or in a food court or whatever.

And that he threw all that away. But I think that’s a little bit in my, not close-mindedness, but I guess maybe my more narrow perspective that I didn’t understand that. I thought what he was doing was appalling. And I still do think it was appalling. It acted like gasoline on the fire for his base, and he was extraordinarily effective. I don’t like him at all. I don’t like anything about him. Every time I see one of his residences, I want to throw up in my mouth. I just don’t like anything about him. But he is very effective at what he does, and you can’t take that away from him.

SEAN SPEER: Let me ask a follow-up question. You write in different points in the book about the transmission of ideas and political strategies between Canada and the U.S. What should Canadian conservatives be doing to protect themselves from Trump-like illiberalism?

JAIME WATT: I think the first thing they need to do is stop copying it. All these people—it’s such an easy thing to do to say, “Oh, it’s working in the States, so let’s do it in Canada.” Well, first of all, we don’t have a two-party system, right? So in America, if I crap on you, then you come to me. But that has not been here. We have a multiparty system. So it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the way our systems work, which is why I don’t like fixed elections because I don’t think they make sense in the Westminster system. But anyway, that’s another story for another time. So I think the first thing is to understand that our systems are different so not to copy it. And the second thing is the differences between our country are way more real than apparent. Some people say it’s our constitution: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness versus the grand promise of peace, order, and good government. Some people say it’s guns, gays, Medicare, and Quebec. I think it’s yogurt. You get your yogurt in the morning in Canada, and you look on the top of the tinfoil as you pull it off and it says best before, right? Public health warning. And do you know what it says in America?

SEAN SPEER: Best before sell or something, right?

JAIME WATT: No. Sell buy.

SEAN SPEER: Sell buy.

JAIME WATT: We don’t give a shit when you eat it, but get it the hell out of this store, right? So the point is, we’re different. My professional practice does a lot of business with Americans who come here and think that we’re the same and mess it up. And so I think conservatives have to do the same thing, which is first of all, recognize the systems are different, recognize the people are different. And then, with that as a backdrop, put forward their ideas, and I think they’ll be fine.

SEAN SPEER: In May 2021, you were already calling out the media for its groupthink on the COVID-19 origin story. What did they get wrong, and what enabled you to see it earlier than most?

JAIME WATT: I don’t know what enabled me to see it more than most, but I was very concerned about that. And I think part of the problem was—and I think we’ve got to be very careful about being critical of anybody at that time. I think people were doing their best. I don’t think people were malevolent or whatever, but I do think that they did get it quite wrong. And I just, I don’t know. I have to think about that. I guess I just saw it differently.

SEAN SPEER: Final question. My favourite column in the collection is from March 2023, marking the one-year anniversary of your kidney transplant. You wrote that that experience caused you to come to see illness as a gift. Why? What do you mean?

JAIME WATT: You go through something like a kidney transplant, and it is an opportunity for a reflective person to think about so much. I won every lottery there was to win in that time. My partner was a match, 6 percent chance that would happen, that he would be able to give me his kidney. The best place in the world to have your kidney transplanted is Toronto. There’s no place you can fly in your private jet to get—on the KPIs, on the outcomes—better than here. I got a terrific kidney. OHIP paid for it. I’m now in the top 2 percent of possible results, not age-adjusted. Today, if I went to a new doctor I’d never seen before and she ran a blood panel, all the biochemistry, it’s all normal. If she did a physical exam, she’d see an abdominal scar. The only way that she would know I had a kidney transplant a year and a bit later was if she took an x-ray. And she saw that my native kidneys were about the size of walnuts, useless things, and I have a new kidney that is doing all the work.

And so, I think through that process, I saw those things as gifts. I saw my privilege as a gift. You don’t have to be very long in a hospital where you see the socioeconomic determinants of help and why most of those people are there. People who are under-housed or people who have other substance issues or other things are vastly overrepresented in that population. And you also get a chance to talk about it and tell your story, and help others as well.

I was able, Sean, to go into that surgery—it’s not a picnic, it’s about eight hours—and my blood pressure was perfectly normal. I was serene. I was sanguine and at peace. I’d done everything possible.

And if I can give some other people that help to get to that place, I would, and I know people don’t want me to read from the book, but if I could just read those last four paragraphs that you refer to, I write: “In the late Paul Dewar’s final statement to Canadians,” of course, the well-known New Democrat MP, “he told us he saw his illness as a gift. And I never truly understood his words until I was lying by myself in an ICU bed with an IV in each arm. But now I do. The finest gifts fill you with a sense of awe, humility, and renewed purpose. And today, I have a new life because a man I love risked his own. You can’t quantify that feeling of gratitude or touch it, or hold it in your hand, but you can live out your life with humility and renewed purpose and all. You can give back and you can tell your story.”

SEAN SPEER: What a great place to end our conversation. The book is What I Wish I Said: Confessions of a Columnist. Jaime Watt, thank you so much for joining us at Hub Dialogues.

JAIME WATT: Thanks for having me, Sean.

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