Seven months after being let go because the anchor of CTV National News, after a long time with the network, Lisa LaFlamme is keeping things in perspective.
“I had 35 memorable years,” at CTV, she told CBC News chief correspondent Adrienne Arsenault on Wednesday. “And I loved it. Loved all of it. And there are recent things to like now. So I will be effective. I’m effective.”
LaFlamme sat down with The National and spoke more about her split with CTV, her future, and serving as a voice on women’s issues in Canada and globally.
Last August, LaFlamme announced on Twitter that CTV’s parent company, Bell Media, had made a “business decision” to finish her contract. She said she was “blindsided” by the move.
Soon, a narrative emerged speculating that her newly grey hair may need played a task in the choice. LaFlamme had stopped dyeing her hair throughout the pandemic, which The Globe and Mail reported was questioned by a CTV executive.
This led to allegations of sexism and ageism against Bell Media, which the corporate strongly denied. Brands including Wendy’s and Dove even created social media campaigns about grey hair in solidarity.
Bell Media later said it regretted how LaFlamme’s departure was handled and, amid the furor, ordered a third-party workplace review of the newsroom. The top of CTV’s news division was eventually replaced.
Mirko Bibic, the president and CEO of BCE, Bell Media’s parent, denied soon after in a LinkdIn post that LaFlamme’s “age, gender or grey hair played into the choice.”
Asked whether she was terminated for letting her hair go grey, LaFlamme referred to her original video.
“It was a business decision and that is what I do know,” she said.
“Legally there’s only a lot I can say.”
LaFlamme added she’s grateful for the amount of support she received.
“Journalists, especially women, turn into pincushions for the haters, if you happen to will. And so possibly we train ourselves to listen to the negative. Perhaps we absorb the negative greater than we should always,” she said.
She says losing her job pales as compared to a number of the hardships she witnessed while on the job. “I take into consideration — the soldiers who we saw lose their legs in Afghanistan, or babies born in tarpaulins after the earthquake in Haiti, all of this stuff, those are sudden changes they do not come back from,” she said.
Earlier this yr LaFlamme was nominated for best national news anchor on the Canadian Screen Awards. She says she submitted her work independently after checking out her former employer wasn’t putting it forward. The Toronto Star was first to report this development in February.
“After I learned that my work was not going to be submitted, I assumed, no, it doesn’t work that way,” she said.
“You may take someone’s job, but you’ll be able to’t actually erase their history and their body of labor.
“On this case, these are an important stories we covered in a yr: the war in Ukraine, the Pope’s visit to this country.”
LaFlamme says the discussion resulting from her split with CTV put her front and centre for conversations about issues that she’s at all times been deeply invested in.
“Long before my contract was terminated, women’s rights, women’s issues, from young women, to old women, to BIPOC women, has been something I even have focused on. It’s never not been in my mind,” she said.
“People now need to hear from me. And I’m pleased to speak. I’d say the identical things I said 10 years ago, really.”
Moving forward, LaFlamme says she desires to proceed to concentrate on issues which were vital to her, and cites her recent work with Journalists for Human Rights, a Canadian media development organization.
CBC News reached out to CTV News for comment, but didn’t hear back as of publication time.