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CIC Vancouver: A Life Abroad as Canada’s Most Experienced Foreign Correspondent
September 12, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm PDT$5 – $20
Matthew Fisher was born in what was then called Port Arthur and was raised in northwestern Ontario and Ottawa by parents who served overseas with Canadian Forces during the Second World War and always encouraged him and his four brothers to be interested in politics and international affairs.
Fisher has lived overseas for 35 years. During this time he has resided in Belgium, Germany, the Soviet Union and Russia, Hong Kong, Britain, the Middle East and Afghanistan. He has traveled to 175 countries, all 50 U.S. states and all the Canadian provinces and territories. He speaks French and German and can make a fair fist of Spanish and Russian.
Over the years Fisher has observed 19 wars and conflicts from Central America and Africa to the Caucasus, the Balkans, Timor, to Lebanon, Gaza and Iraq and Afghanistan, where he spent more time than any other Canadian journalist. He has sailed aboard warships in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Caribbean, South China Sea and East China Sea. Since the early 1980s he has traveled to every major Canadian overseas military mission including, most recently, Mali, and has visited most military bases in Canada. As well as embedding with the Canadian army, he has been to war with British, Dutch and Australian forces and with a crack US Marine Corps unit in 2003 during the long march from Kuwait to Baghdad and Tikrit. He saw the world of mankind as one of the few foreign eyewitnesses to the Rwandan genocide.
Fisher was also a sports reporter for eight years overseas, covering 8 Olympic Games, almost all of the downhill victories of the Crazy Canucks as well as scores of international basketball games coached by his great friend and mentor, Jack Donohue.
Among Fisher’s greatest personal moments reporting from overseas were Nelson Mandela’s historic victory as the first black president of South Africa, a 1,000-kilometre journey by skiff on a remote northern tributary of the Amazon, a trip to the North Pole with the RCAF and a recent 6000 kilometre journey on HMCS Regina through disputed Asian waters from Vietnam to Japan, shadowed all the way by Chinese warships and buzzed by Chinese warplanes..
Fisher was at the Kremlin Walls when the Soviet hammer and sickle flag was pulled down for the last time, attended the funerals of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, Lady Diana, Mother Teresa, Yasser Arafat and King Hussein and covered the first democratic elections in Russia, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
As well as winning the Ross Munro Award in 2007 for his coverage of security and military issues, he has received two national award nominations and has written books on alpine skiing (White Circus) with racer Ken Read and A Matter of Principal about the spectacular $467-million failure of the Alberta-based Principal Group. He was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution to a greater understanding by Canadians of international security issues. He is currently writing a book about his life as a foreign correspondent and Canada’s place in the world.
Fisher’s hobbies are hockey, fishing and train travel. He has been on every sleeper train that has run in Canada and the U.S. during his lifetime as well as South Africa’s Blue Train, Australia’s Ghan and Indian Pacific and Russia’s Trans-Siberian. It was his good fortune to have gone supersonic in a Concorde and in an F-18 fighter jet, made carrier landings and takeoffs during combat operations, crossed the Atlantic on the QE2, by private jet and by prop plane, traveled the length of the Mackenzie River by barge, and witnessed intense combat in Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Croatia and Iraq.
He was the Globe and Mail bureau chief for Alberta and the Far North and then covered the collapse of the Soviet Union for that newspaper, After that he was a foreign correspondent for the Sun Media and Postmedia newspapers.
CIC Member Price $10.00
CIC Student Member Price $5.00
Non-Member Price $20.00
Non-Member Student Price $15.00