As I sit down to write first words for the fall issue, the images that come to mind are of foggy September mornings, of moms standing alongside country roads waving goodbye as their kids head off to school, and of tiny heads poking above school bus seats as they disappear down the road.
I was talking about the excitement of “back to school” with my daughter when another topic came up – the Lisa LaFlamme firing. We discussed her contract cancellation: had LaFlamme pushed back too hard against a male dominated institution? Was she right or wrong to let her hair go grey during Covid? Shouldn’t females be allowed to age and exit as gracefully as Peter Mansbridge? And then, we delved a little deeper into her untimely departure. We both recognized that over the years, Lisa LaFlamme had earned our trust. And the word “trust” in journalism cannot be understated these days. Recently, LaFlamme stood by her journalistic principles and asked for funding that would allow for more reporting in Ukraine, more money to deliver trusted news coverage that she could convey to her viewers.
I am speculating, but my sense is that Bell Media saw her determination as a challenge to their authority and an unnecessary cost to their bottom line. Thankfully, Canadians responded with their own message to Bell Media – the wisdom and experience that Lisa LaFlamme had built and shared in her 35-year career as a journalist did not go unnoticed, nor did Bell Media’s lack of foresight. Her journalistic integrity was a national treasure worth standing up for.
And as our children and grandchildren head back to school, we can only hope that they have guiding lights like Lisa LaFlamme in their futures to help them understand the world as it unfolds ahead of them.