Canadian journalist Stanley Burke dead at 93

Canadian television journalist and author Stanley Burke died Saturday at Kingston General Hospital. He was 93.

Burke anchored CBC national TV newscast from 1966-69, wrote children's books satirizing Canadian politics

Veteran Canadian journalist Stanley Burke died at age 93. (CBC)

Canadian television journalist and author Stanley Burke died Saturday at Kingston General Hospital. He was 93.

The veteran newscaster anchored CBC's The National News from 1966-1969 before it was re-branded as The National.
Burke anchored CBC's The National News from 1966-69.

Burke, who also worked as a foreign correspondent in many places including France, became particularly passionate covering stories about the Biafran civil war in the late 1960s, a battle in Nigeria to fight the secession of Biafra as an independent state.

His outspokenness and criticism over the issue led to his resignation from CBC. He went on to launch a public campaign to bring a peaceful resolution to the fighting which had also provoked widespread death from famine and disease.

"He was so personally involved and wanted Canadians to understand that it's a whole other world out there that we should care about," said Peter Mansbridge, CBC's chief correspondent and host of The National.

"That's why you see Canadians so involved when there's an emergency and a natural disaster in the world. Some people would date it back to those days."

Mansbridge was a young reporter when he met Burke and kept in touch with him over the years, describing Burke as "very sharp and very caring about journalism."

"I used to hear from him quite often over the last 10, 15 years," said Mansbridge. "He'd drop a line from his home in the Thousand Islands region of Ontario, with his comments on what we were doing on the newscast and more importantly, what we weren't doing."

After retiring, Burke wrote several children's books that satirized Canadian politics of the 1970s, including Frog Fables & Beaver Tales, a mythical tale about a northern swamp, and The Day of the Glorious Revolution, its sequel. The illustrations by editorial cartoonist Roy Peterson feature animal caricatures of figures such as Lester B. Pearson, Richard Nixon, René Lévesque and Pierre Trudeau.

A 2015 Father's Day blog post written by his daughter Holly Burke, a Vancouver-based musician, celebrated Burke while he was alive as a source of inspiration for their family.
Stanley Burke photo posted by daughter Holly in May 2015 for Father's Day. (stanleyburke.blogspot.ca)

"Many people join with me here to thank you for your many valuable contributions to this world of ours; your light, your love and your prevailing good humour through many trials not the least. We love you. We cherish you and everything 'Stanley Burke.'"

The funeral and memorial service will take place on Amherst Island near Kingston later this week.


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