Laurier LaPierre, the broadcast journalist and academic who also served as Canada's first openly gay Senator, has died at 83. He was a long-time activist with Egale and an outspoken supporter of First Nations causes. As a journalist on the news program This Hour Has Seven Days he became a media icon; he also played a then-controversial role in the debate over ending the death penalty:
It was being touched by emotion that famously led to LaPierre’s firing from the CBC, and the end of This Hour. In an interview with the mother of Stephen Truscott, a 14-year-old facing a death sentence for murder, he wiped tears from his eyes while noting a bill to abolish the death penalty was before Parliament. The CBC’s president cited it as evidence he was unprofessional, and the show was soon cancelled.Among other causes he supported in his long and varied career, LaPierre was especially vocal in his support for expanding the hate crimes definition to include sexual orientation.
But it had made its mark. “This put CBC television into the major leagues,” said Ian Morrison, spokesman for the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. “It was an exciting thing to watch – fearless, gutsy.”
[Note: If there are less flattering things to be said about LaPierre, they have been excluded because I am unaware of them, not as the result of any deliberate intent to whitewash his life. Please feel welcome to comment on the entirety of his work and life in this thread.]