The National's Peter Mansbridge signing off for final time on Canada Day
After nearly 30 years of bringing daily stories to Canadians across the country, Peter Mansbridge is set to retire as the anchor of CBC Television's news program, The National.
Mansbridge fell into broadcasting by accident when he was just 19-years-old.
"[I] went in there and had five minutes to explain how the controls worked and bingo, I was on the air," he tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.
Following a decade of covering politics for radio and television at the CBC, Mansbridge took over from longtime journalist Knowlton Nash as the chief correspondent and anchor of The National.
"I'd been doing The National at that point on weekends and filling in for Knowlton on occasion since 1982, but it was still a big deal," he recalls.
Suddenly it was kind of my chair and my responsibility.- Peter Mansbridge
"Suddenly it was kind of my chair and my responsibility, and I was accountable for the things that happened on the program."
Mansbridge says that throughout his lifetime, The National has been a "program of record" that informs Canadians about what happened that day, whether they had been following the news or not.
"This will be the program of record that will tell you the truth as best we know it," he says.
When asked about the future of Canadian public broadcasting, the veteran journalist suggests it falls into two sets of hands: the people of Canada and the people who work at the CBC. He says Canadians have consistently vocalized the need for a national public broadcaster, especially at a time when U.S. programming is having a strong influence.
Somewhere on that dial, you need Canadian content.- Peter Mansbridge
"But it leaves a vacuum for us to fill because somewhere on that dial, you need Canadian content. Whether it's online, radio, television, you need it — if you want to understand the country you live in," says Mansbridge.
The CBC News chief correspondent will sign off from the anchor's chair for the last time on July 1, which marks Canada's 150th birthday.
"The closer it gets ... the more I realize how much I'll miss it," he tells Tremonti.
"I'll miss the comradery and the friendship I think most."
Listen to their full conversation at the top of the web post.
This segment was produced by The Current's Samira Mohyeddin and Howard Goldenthal.