CTV alum and Stratford native Lloyd Robertson commented on the recent Lisa LaFlamme scandal in a Shakespeare-themed comparison to Cordelia, at a weekend discussion in Stratford Festival's Tom Patterson Theatre.
“She held to her own integrity, all through with the old man. From the beginning, saying, ‘My bond is our father-daughter relationship.’ Right to the end she was there for him.”
Cordelia was King Lear's favourite daughter in the tragedy of the same name. After being honest with her father and not professing her love for him -- as her other sisters deceitfully do -- she is banished for the majority of the play while her sisters divide his kingdom. After Cordelia's sisters finally reject him, she finally returns to care for him.
Robertson was moderating a panel called ‘Staging Democracy’ on Saturday. The panel included Lt. Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson, and representatives from the Stratford Festival. Veering slightly from topic, attendees asked Robertson to comment on her departure from the network's flagship evening newscast, rated number one in the country.
Robertson was chief anchor and senior editor of CTV’s national evening news from 1984 to 2011, serving 27 years at CTV and 41 years as an anchor in total. LaFlamme took over the role of chief news anchor and senior editor after Robertson, before being controversially let go in June.
In a video posted to social media, LaFlamme said that she was 'blindsided' by the decision and kept from speaking about her firing as rumours circulated online over her longer-than-usual absence. She worked for CTV for 35 years, and, as many have pointed out, was only 58 when she was let go. Robertson was 77 when he retired from the position.
CTV cited ‘changing viewer habits’ and the desire to go in a new direction as reasons for the dismissal. Senior vice-president of content development and news at Bell Media Karine Moses said that LaFlamme was given the opportunity to do a 'proper send off' but LaFlamme opted not to.
Robertson later clarified his remarks and reiterated the point that other panellists like Dowdeswell and Rae said, that journalism is an important institution to democracy and not just like any other business.
“You don’t go laying off that person the way you laid off Lisa LaFlamme,” Robertson said. “These people are good human beings, communicating with the public in a real way, and being true to their own identities and their own integrity as they go along.”