Who else is looking forward to kicking 2020 to the curb?
It’s the year we would all like to forget, but in anticipation of that satisfying flip from 2020 to 2021, Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme is hosting a virtual New Year’s Eve gathering with our correspondents.
You’re all invited to watch – and please, weigh in on who has the nicest living room. We’ll see if Room Rater agrees.
In CTV National News at Home: 2020 Year in Review, airing at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve in most time zones, we are focusing on the Top 10 stories of 2020.
Full disclosure, some of those stories will be tough to revisit, but I promise there are also moments of inspiration sprinkled throughout the hour – and a bit of comic relief.
Spoiler alert: Lisa even addresses a much talked-about grey area – her hair.
Condensing an entire year into just one hour is a difficult task, but downright impossible in a year dominated by a pandemic. So many incredible stories told by our journalists in 2020, that to include them all would have taken us well into the New Year.
Allow me to highlight three of my favourites. Although they did not make it into the hour-long special, they are no less special.
AMIRA IS HOME
In October, we reported on the best possible ending to a long ordeal for a little Canadian orphan stranded in a refugee camp in Syria.
Amira’s parents and three siblings were all killed in an airstrike in the final days of the war against ISIS. She was the sole survivor, just four-years-old at the time.
Her uncle in Canada, desperate to save his niece from the daily peril of living in a squalid camp, trusted our London Bureau Chief Paul Workman with her story. It was Paul’s dogged pursuit for answers as to why Canada was unwilling, at first, to repatriate an innocent orphan, that got the story the attention it deserved. Amira, who is now five, is ringing in her first new year safely in Canada, with her family.
Charie Santiago of Whistler, B.C., terminally ill with cancer, died in November. Before her death, the 38-year-old had just one wish – to see her sister again. Problem was, her sister was in the Philippines and at the time, Canada’s COVID-19 travel ban prevented a visit, even on compassionate grounds.
Charie and her husband, Arthur, shared their story, first with our colleagues at CTV Vancouver, then with our Senior Political Correspondent Glen McGregor.
Shortly after Glen’s report aired on CTV National News, the immigration minister announced a reprieve to the travel ban and Charie’s sister was able to fly to Canada to spend those final precious few weeks by Charie’s bedside.
By this time, the family had developed such a trust with Glen that they allowed him and our cameras to witness this family reunion. This was, undoubtedly, an agonizing Christmas for Charie’s family, grieving such a profound loss. Imagine how much worse it would have been had common sense not prevailed.
KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
COVID-19 has tested so many Canadians, but for Kathy Denton, it led to homelessness for the first time in her 50 years.
When our B.C. Bureau Chief Melanie Nagy first met Kathy, she was living in her rusty old 1988 Dodge Ram. No running water. No electricity. Cramped. Cold. This was not the way Kathy imagined her life and yet, she trusted Melanie to tell her story with dignity.
After Melanie’s report aired on CTV National News, offers started pouring in to help Kathy get back on her feet, including a job and a vacant basement suite, rent-free, courtesy of Laura Stein.
Thanks to Laura, Kathy had a roof over her head this Christmas. The kindness and compassion of strangers is always worth reporting.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TRUST
We use the word ‘trust’ a lot in the national newsroom. The trust Amira’s uncle had in Paul Workman, the trust Arthur and Charie Santiago had in Glen McGregor, the trust Kathy Denton had in Melanie Nagy – and of course, the trust you have in us and we have in you.
CTV National News at Home: 2020 Year in Review is our tribute to all of you who were part of the conversation in this pandemic year, whether the story was tragic or triumphant. Thank you for your trust. We never take it for granted. Since we’re all stuck at home this New Year’s Eve, we hope you’ll join us for this journey of reflection.
One more spoiler alert: We end the hour with a reminder that no matter the challenge, no matter the reason for despair – hope is the antidote.
Just look for the signs.