Bernard St-Laurent, veteran reporter, retiring from CBC

After 40 years as a journalist and broadcaster, Bernard St-Laurent announced his retirement today from CBC.

St-Laurent is host of C'est la vie and CBC's Quebec political analyst

Bernard St-Laurent is retiring from CBC. (CBC)

After 40 years as a journalist and broadcaster, Bernard St-Laurent announced his retirement today from CBC.

His last day on the air will be June 26.

He has an incredible sense of humour and all-absorbing sense of place and time and a great heart. Can't imagine the joint without him,- Michael Enright, host of The Sunday Edition

Bernie, as he's known to listeners, got his first job at the National Assembly in 1976 just before the Parti Québécois was elected to power. 

In the years since, he has reported on pivotal moments in Quebec's history, including the 1980 and 1995 sovereignty referendums. Most recently, he covered the passing of former premier Jacques Parizeau.

"Over the years, Bernie has guided our audience through some of this province's most intense and memorable moments," Shelagh Kinch, managing director of CBC Quebec, said in a statement. 

"We will miss his exceptional journalism, his deep political knowledge and his extensive understanding of how this province works."

Since joining CBC, St-Laurent has worked as news assignment editor, producer, national reporter and host of CBC Radio's Homerun, and Radio Noon.

Most recently, he's served as CBC's senior Quebec political analyst, while continuing to host C'est la vie — an award-winning CBC Radio program he co-created in 1998 about life in French-speaking Canada.

'He has that magic'

Michael Enright, another veteran broadcaster and host of CBC's The Sunday Edition, said he regards St-Laurent as the best-informed and best-connected Quebec journalist "in any medium and has been since forever."

"He also has that magic and sadly disappearing talent to give the listener/reader not only information but understanding; they are not the same thing," Enright said.

"He has an incredible sense of humour and all-absorbing sense of place and time and a great heart. Can't imagine the joint without him."

Wendy Mesley, a regular contributor and Sunday evening host of The National, remembered St-Laurent as her "Quebec whisperer" while covering the National Assembly during the René Lévesque years.

"After filing our stories, we'd head to a local fondue restaurant; the journalists at one big table, the politicians another," she recalled. 

"They never talked to me. But they did to him. Everybody talks to Bernie." 

Time with the grandchildren

St-Laurent said he plans to spend the summer with his grandchildren and explore his options starting next fall.

"With all the changes happening, I just felt it was a good time to retire," he said in an interview.

CBC veteran journalist Bernard St-Laurent tells Homerun's Sue Smith why he will hang up his hat at the end of the month and retire from CBC. 7:41

St-Laurent said he will miss working for the public broadcaster and doing stories "that don't necessarily get the same kind of attention as in the private sector."

He has guest hosted various CBC Radio programs including The Current, Sounds Like Canada, As It Happens, The House and Cross Country Check-up and contributed to a number of Radio-Canada radio and television programs.

In 2012, he received the Award of Excellence from the Commissioner of Official Languages.