Watching The National on CBC Television has been something of a ritual for me for almost 60 years now. I’m thankful that technological advances now enable us to watch it as early as 8 in the evening, or maybe even the next morning, thanks to the magical PVR.
The technology also allows us to measure how much time is spent on individual news stories. On the National this past Wednesday, the Corporation devoted a total of 41 minutes to the passing of Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. It marked the end of his hugely public ordeal with brain cancer, and Gord and his band undoubtedly had a huge following across Canada and elsewhere.
Justin Trudeau shed tears on camera when he heard the news, and on and on it went .. and on and on, for 41 minutes. At least a dozen minutes in the hour long news program is filled by commercials, so that didn’t leave a lot of time for the other stories on Wednesday.
CBC took 41 seconds – not 41 minutes – but 41 seconds, to tell us the latest development in the case of Candace Derksen. She was a 13 year old Winnipeg schoolgirl who was murdered back in 1984. In 2007, police were finally able to use DNA evidence to charge a well known sex offender with Candace’s murder.
In 2011, he was convicted of Murder 2, but the case was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered. The result of the second trial was a verdict of not guilty because in the words of the judge, “the crown was unable to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”.
No real closure for Wilma and Cliff Derksen, Candace’s mother and father. Their 33 year ordeal with Canada’s justice system, and the amazing way they have used their faith to find peace through it all, is a most remarkable story. It’s definitely worth more than 41 seconds.
I’m Roger Currie