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KINSELLA: LaFlamme no newsroom rebel or troublemaker in my experience

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The CTV national news anchor was likely canned because she got old, which is stupid, because the millions who watched her on TV are also getting old

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Okay, here’s my Lisa LaFlamme story.

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And, in my defence, you shouldn’t get mad at me for adding to the towering pile of stories and opinion columns about the former CTV News anchor and her employer. I mean, everyone else has kept this prototypical Summertime scandal alive for week after week, so why can’t Yours Truly have some fun, too?

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So here goes.

Years ago, for years, I was on Canada AM every week. Jean Chretien was still (blessedly) running things, so I was still (remarkably) a Liberal. I was the Liberal on Canada AM and lots of the other political stuff they did. It was fun.

The person who ran the CTV political panel stuff, in those days, was Lisa LaFlamme. She didn’t have so much grey hair, then, and neither did I. LaFlamme was capable, and ambitious in a good way.

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The panel was fun, as TV political panels always are. There’s lots of good-natured jousting, and reciting of talking points, and competing for airtime — and the occasional burst of bona fide passion. People in Ottawa think these panels are a super big deal, but in Timmins or Red Deer, nobody really gives a rat’s ass what a bunch of hacks think. Ottawa talking about Ottawa, etc.

Anyway. One time, we Liberals were doing some gun thing. I don’t remember what it was, but you can be reasonably assured it was carefully designed to prompt an overreaction by Conservatives, and thereby alienate female suburban voters in droves. (It works, every time.) So Lisa wanted to talk about that, and the opposition to it.

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At one point, I disclosed that I am a gun owner, as I always do because I am. And then I referred to the spit-flecked histrionics coming from the gun lobby as a lot of screeching and braying from “gun nuts.” Quote unquote.

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Well, holy moly Mother Cannoli, it was like I relieved myself in the middle of the CTV green room (met my pal Gene Simmons there one morning, but that’s an X-rated story for another day). Or that I’d taken Lloyd Robertson’s parking spot out front (he’s such a nice guy, he wouldn’t have cared).

I digress, as usual. Anyway, I was on live TV, but I could hear a bit of a kerfuffle all around me in the studio. Someone rushed up and handed Lisa LaFlamme a piece of paper.

I’d like to say she read it like she was a hostage, but she didn’t. She read it like she meant it. Like she agreed.

“CTV News,” she intoned, “wishes to state that we do not condone or agree with what Warren Kinsella said about lawful gun owners.”

That’s not word-for-word. I was on TV, after all, and I wasn’t taking notes for use in a years-later opinion column. All I said was: “Wow.” What I wanted to say was: “Well, look who is the corporate toady, now.”

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And that’s the point, many years later. The notion that Lisa LaFlamme was flamed by CTV because she was a rebel or a troublemaker is, to me, just plain wrong. In my own direct, personal experience, Lisa LaFlamme was highly attuned to the whims of the folks up in the executive suite.

Which almost certainly means that she really, truly did get canned for the worst of reasons: that she was getting older. That she was going gray.

Was sexism in the mix? Probably, because her (now doomed) successor is a guy. Was it something else, something we don’t know about? Possibly. In the media business, you can go from hero to zero pretty darn fast.

But the notion that Lisa LaFlamme walked the plank because she was a valiant newsroom resistance fighter? Based on my experience, not a chance. You don’t get to be prime minister by being stupid, and you don’t get to be a national news anchor without polishing a few derrieres along the way.

Nope. Lisa LaFlamme was canned because she got old.

Which is stupid, because the millions of folks who watched her on TV? They’re getting old, too. And they don’t want to be discriminated against because of it.

Just like Lisa LaFlamme.

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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


The CTV national news anchor was likely canned because she got old, which is stupid, because the millions who watched her on TV are also getting old

Article content

Okay, here’s my Lisa LaFlamme story.

Advertisement 2

Article content

And, in my defence, you shouldn’t get mad at me for adding to the towering pile of stories and opinion columns about the former CTV News anchor and her employer. I mean, everyone else has kept this prototypical Summertime scandal alive for week after week, so why can’t Yours Truly have some fun, too?

Article content

So here goes.

Years ago, for years, I was on Canada AM every week. Jean Chretien was still (blessedly) running things, so I was still (remarkably) a Liberal. I was the Liberal on Canada AM and lots of the other political stuff they did. It was fun.

The person who ran the CTV political panel stuff, in those days, was Lisa LaFlamme. She didn’t have so much grey hair, then, and neither did I. LaFlamme was capable, and ambitious in a good way.

Advertisement 3

Article content

The panel was fun, as TV political panels always are. There’s lots of good-natured jousting, and reciting of talking points, and competing for airtime — and the occasional burst of bona fide passion. People in Ottawa think these panels are a super big deal, but in Timmins or Red Deer, nobody really gives a rat’s ass what a bunch of hacks think. Ottawa talking about Ottawa, etc.

Anyway. One time, we Liberals were doing some gun thing. I don’t remember what it was, but you can be reasonably assured it was carefully designed to prompt an overreaction by Conservatives, and thereby alienate female suburban voters in droves. (It works, every time.) So Lisa wanted to talk about that, and the opposition to it.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

At one point, I disclosed that I am a gun owner, as I always do because I am. And then I referred to the spit-flecked histrionics coming from the gun lobby as a lot of screeching and braying from “gun nuts.” Quote unquote.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Well, holy moly Mother Cannoli, it was like I relieved myself in the middle of the CTV green room (met my pal Gene Simmons there one morning, but that’s an X-rated story for another day). Or that I’d taken Lloyd Robertson’s parking spot out front (he’s such a nice guy, he wouldn’t have cared).

I digress, as usual. Anyway, I was on live TV, but I could hear a bit of a kerfuffle all around me in the studio. Someone rushed up and handed Lisa LaFlamme a piece of paper.

I’d like to say she read it like she was a hostage, but she didn’t. She read it like she meant it. Like she agreed.

“CTV News,” she intoned, “wishes to state that we do not condone or agree with what Warren Kinsella said about lawful gun owners.”

That’s not word-for-word. I was on TV, after all, and I wasn’t taking notes for use in a years-later opinion column. All I said was: “Wow.” What I wanted to say was: “Well, look who is the corporate toady, now.”

Advertisement 5

Article content

RECEOMMENDED VIDEO

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

And that’s the point, many years later. The notion that Lisa LaFlamme was flamed by CTV because she was a rebel or a troublemaker is, to me, just plain wrong. In my own direct, personal experience, Lisa LaFlamme was highly attuned to the whims of the folks up in the executive suite.

Which almost certainly means that she really, truly did get canned for the worst of reasons: that she was getting older. That she was going gray.

Was sexism in the mix? Probably, because her (now doomed) successor is a guy. Was it something else, something we don’t know about? Possibly. In the media business, you can go from hero to zero pretty darn fast.

But the notion that Lisa LaFlamme walked the plank because she was a valiant newsroom resistance fighter? Based on my experience, not a chance. You don’t get to be prime minister by being stupid, and you don’t get to be a national news anchor without polishing a few derrieres along the way.

Nope. Lisa LaFlamme was canned because she got old.

Which is stupid, because the millions of folks who watched her on TV? They’re getting old, too. And they don’t want to be discriminated against because of it.

Just like Lisa LaFlamme.

Advertisement 1

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

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