Is it somehow appropriate that Manitoba’s northern port of Churchill should be a story that is in the news with ‘legs’ right now. Too bad that it took a major crisis to put this historic place back on the map.
900 people live there in 2017, but not all that long ago the population was several thousand, and they had a local CBC radio station. In 1968, that station became the starting point for the career of a young high school dropout from Ottawa named Peter Mansbridge.
His story is the stuff of legend in Canadian broadcasting, and it’s also appropriate that he’s passing the torch as anchor of the National on Canada’s 150th birthday.
Peter gave the people’s network nine months notice of his retirement, but typical of the public sector, the Corporation still hasn’t managed to figure out who will be their next ‘Chief Correspondent’. Meanwhile, Peter can look back with pride on his half century in public broadcasting.
He has been a true believer and a disciple of that cause, and all of us who have tried to make a living in this game should thank him.
We never got to work together, but I got to know Peter quite well in the early 1970’s when he worked in the CBC newsroom in Winnipeg. His determination and work ethic earned him the nickname The Beaver, and since those days, Mansbridge has always had time for his former colleagues.
It strikes me that only Peter could persuade Canadian TV viewers, AND CBC management that it was worth our while to watch four people talking about politics every Thursday evening.
He boldly labelled it ‘Canada’s Most Watched Political Panel’. These days, is it not really Canada’s Only political panel?
Don’t be a stranger when you come to Winnipeg to visit the grandkids Pete.
Lunch is on you, right?
I’m Roger Currie