The Toronto Star received the 2013 Michener Award for its coverage of the activities and behaviour of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford and the loss of his powers after a police investigation.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues,
II me fait beaucoup de plaisir et c’est avec une fierte que je suis devant vous ce soir pour accepter ce prix glorieux pour le journalism du Toronto Star.
The Michener Award is the noblest validation of the work of our reporters and we are humbled to be in the company of the Windsor star, the Edmonton Journal, the Calgary Herald, and the Canadian Press.
CTV News – with Bob Fife’s amazing exposés of the shocking behaviour of some of our Senators.
And the Globe and Mail and amazing work on Lac-Mégantic. This is hard for me to say but I confess I did have an admiration – a fleeting admiration – for the work of our old enemy. Their Lac-Mégantic story was simply fabulous.
Now I want to talk about the mayor. The mayor of Lac-Mégantic – Mme Colette Roy-Laroche.
I was lucky enough to meet her. Mme Roy-Laroche will leave behind a legacy of leadership excellence.
Mme Roy-Laroche is 5 feet tall but she stood high and strong and smart and she stood up for her small town as the big politicians helicoptered in. And now she has gone beyond her tenure which was supposed to end after 12 years. The Quebec National Assembly agreed to the town’s request to extend her council’s mandate to avoid elections.
There is too much work left for her to do. She is indeed a commendable mayor who has brought great honour to her office. That’s a mayor for you.
Now we come to another mayor – Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford. You all know his story.
He has brought disgrace to his office. Mayor Ford has been on many tv comedy shows but it isn’t funny.
Imagine, if you will, if Mayor Ford had been the mayor of Lac-Mégantic during last summer’s tragedy. We might smile at that thought but we know it’s not funny.
For nearly a year, the Star’s reporters endured a firehose of spittle and phlegm as Mayor Ford and his brother Doug – when presented with the truth – they lied. And lied. And lied some more.
But the Star was telling the truth.
For months, Star reporters, Kevin and Jayme here tonight, were called liars and maggots. It is a testament to their resilience that our paper was able to carry on doing our job.
Our job is reporting the truth. And even with the seismic changes shaking our industry, the basic – the pursuit of the truth – cannot change, must not change for the sake of our city, our province and for the sake of our country.
That pursuit of truth is our charge and our glory – the Star’s legacy. We hope our legacy on this story will see October’s Toronto municipal election with the highest voter turnout ever.
We are so lucky to work at the Star.
We are lucky to carry on forward with the paper’s institutional values and the values of all those journalists who came before us.
Notre industrie connaît actuellement un déclin important, que tous les médias écrits ressentent. En ces temps difficiles, durant lesquels l’éthique peut être compromise, le Star souhaite rester intègre en continuant de faire du grand journalisme, du vrai journalisme. Celui qui prône la justice sociale, l’égalité et la responsabilité; tant au pouvoir qu’à la pauvreté. Merci
I would like to thank those that control and care for the Star. Without them this wouldn’t be happening. I want to end by thanking you, your Excellency, for your support and the fabulous time we are going to have in the next two hours or maybe five. We’ll see how it goes.
June 11, 2014