Mostly Money

100: Peter Mansbridge - Off the Record

July 19, 2021 Preet Banerjee
Mostly Money
100: Peter Mansbridge - Off the Record
Chapters
Mostly Money
100: Peter Mansbridge - Off the Record
Jul 19, 2021
Preet Banerjee

Welcome to the 100th and final episode, at least for a while, of Mostly Money. 

I wanted to have a special guest for this send off show, and I don’t think I can top who offered to help me out. You know when people say, our next guest needs no introduction? That is actually true in this case. He is a Canadian icon. A broadcasting legend. This guy walks into a room and time stops. And let me tell you, it really is an honour that the one and only Peter Mansbridge is my special guest today.

With 50 years at the CBC, culminating in the top job, anchor of The National for many of those years, he’s seen a lot. I wanted to ask him a bit about what life is like inside a major network news department, but I also wanted to tap into the stories behind the stories of some of the big financial events in Canada - past elections, and budgets, the story behind how the GST was introduced, and more.

This ties in nicely as he has a new book available for pre-sales, releasing October 5th, 2021 titled "Off the Record", in which Peter tells you the stories behind the biggest stories of our lives. I've already ordered my copy, and I just know I'll be hearing Peter's distinctive voice in my head as I read it, and I can't wait.

LINKS:

New book - "Off the Record"
Peter's website - ThePeterMansbridge.com
Twitter account - @petermansbridge
Instagram - @thepetermansbridge



Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to the 100th and final episode, at least for a while, of Mostly Money. 

I wanted to have a special guest for this send off show, and I don’t think I can top who offered to help me out. You know when people say, our next guest needs no introduction? That is actually true in this case. He is a Canadian icon. A broadcasting legend. This guy walks into a room and time stops. And let me tell you, it really is an honour that the one and only Peter Mansbridge is my special guest today.

With 50 years at the CBC, culminating in the top job, anchor of The National for many of those years, he’s seen a lot. I wanted to ask him a bit about what life is like inside a major network news department, but I also wanted to tap into the stories behind the stories of some of the big financial events in Canada - past elections, and budgets, the story behind how the GST was introduced, and more.

This ties in nicely as he has a new book available for pre-sales, releasing October 5th, 2021 titled "Off the Record", in which Peter tells you the stories behind the biggest stories of our lives. I've already ordered my copy, and I just know I'll be hearing Peter's distinctive voice in my head as I read it, and I can't wait.

LINKS:

New book - "Off the Record"
Peter's website - ThePeterMansbridge.com
Twitter account - @petermansbridge
Instagram - @thepetermansbridge



Peter Mansbridge:

I was a smoker in the 80s when I started anchoring and I used to have a cigarette going during the show it'd be sitting just off camera in you know an ashtray. And every once in a while I'd hear the director would say to me through my your move the cigarette, the smokes, you know, wafting into the shot.

Preet Banerjee:

Welcome to the 100th and final episode, at least for a while, have mostly money and wanted to have a special guests for this send off show and I don't think I can talk who offered to help me out. You know, when people say our next guest needs no introduction. Well, that is actually true. In this case. He is a Canadian icon, a broadcasting legend. When this guy walks into a room, time stops. And let me tell you, it really is an honor that the one and only Peter mansbridge is my special guest today with 50 years at the CBC culminating in the top job, anchor of the national for many of those years. He's seen a lot. And I wanted to ask him a bit about what life is like inside a major network news department. But also wanted to tap into the stories behind the stories of some of the big financial events in Canada, past elections budgets for story behind how the GST was introduced and more. Without further ado, the one and only Peter mansbridge. This is mostly money. And I'm your host Preet Banerjee. And on the show today, I have the most impressive guest that has ever been on this podcast and apologies to all previous guests who are listening. But no one can talk this guy. During his 50 years at CBC Peter mansbridge anchored coverage of basically every single big news event, you could imagine the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 911 terrorist attacks 13 Olympic Games every visit by the Queen since 1973 Royal weddings to rule of funerals, and he's covered every federal election since 1972. And anchored all 10 since 1984, even after retirement came back as a special contributor for the 2019 election. Now...

Peter Mansbridge:

Now I feel really old I feel really old breed after all that

Preet Banerjee:

I don't know if you know this, but you actually are really old

Peter Mansbridge:

That's true.

Preet Banerjee:

He's conducted in estimated This is mind blowing 15,000 interviews with the who's who of the world. And I'm so delighted to have him as a guest on the mostly money show. Peter, welcome to the show.

Peter Mansbridge:

Hey Preet, thank you for this, you know, you know, I've been a big fan of yours for a long time. And it's, it's nice to be on the other side of the microphone for change.

Preet Banerjee:

Well, you know, it's not intimidating at all. I mean, this is my 100th episode. And as I was prepping, I'm thinking wow, 100 episodes now, I'm not a prolific podcaster by any stretch of the imagination, but I was very proud of the fact that I've gotten to 100 episodes, I wanted a super special guest. I made the call to you. Then doing my prep, I thought, Wait a second, this guy's done 15,000 here. Oh, God, I feel like such a schmuck in comparison.

Peter Mansbridge:

It's It's funny, you know, when you when you start adding them up, the total gets, I think it's upwards closer to 20,000. Now, but they, you know, they add up pretty quick and over 50 years. They really add up fast. Yeah, no kidding. And you know, some of them are worth remembering. Most of them are not worth remembering.

Preet Banerjee:

Oh, that's interesting. Yeah, that's interesting. With so many I mean, these are all better than every interview Preet Banerjee has done.

Peter Mansbridge:

I doubt it. I doubt it very much. I don't know about you. But what I've found in my in my interviewing time, is that the ones you tend to remember obviously, you remember the kind of celebrity interviews the the big names, you know, President Obama, you know, the you know, presidents of various countries and prime ministers and, and you name so

Preet Banerjee:

many that you can't even

Peter Mansbridge:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, you remember those, but the ones that actually really make a difference where you think you've actually learned something, and your audience has learned something, or often with those who aren't the celebrity interviews Because for the most part, they kind of repeat the same thing to whomever is interviewing them. Whereas the the the non celebrities are usually people who have never been interviewed before. But they're they're willing to tell their story and their to their stories involving something, you know, extraordinary that's happened to them. And you find I've found those people that the most fascinating really when you get right down to it?

Preet Banerjee:

Well, yeah, because they don't have the handlers. Right. And one of the things that I think a lot of people have noticed, especially lately, because now every interview, every question that gets asked of a politician, you can find it in seven different social media platforms, different news websites, and you can ask them 30 different questions, and you'll always get the exact same answer, even if it has nothing to do with the question. So yeah, no, that's an interesting observation about the different interviewees. Now I wanted to sort of give some some background of how we met. And it was all because of the bottom line panel on CBC, which was a panel talking about finance and economics. And I remember I got an email out of the blue from Lera Chatterjee, who is a producer of that panel. And she invited me to be on and when I came to the set, and the first time that I met you, I think you came into the makeup room. That was the first time I really was like, starstruck, where I'd like, Man, I'm starting to feel cotton in my mouth, I was getting so nervous before the lights went on. But luckily, you carried me. And they invited me back for some reason. And we ended up doing that panel for about eight years. And it was the highlight of my career. Because as soon as the panel aired, my inbox would get flooded, my tweet mentions would get flooded. And I'll tell you, I'll tell you this funny story. So my first time I showed up in my suit and tie. And then after about two years, I'd sent an email to learn, I said, you know, lira, I don't normally come across as the suit and tie guy like, I don't normally wear a tie every day, and I try to be more relatable to the average household and distill some of this information to eye level, I feel it, you know, wearing a tie is off brand. You know, do you think I could maybe not wear a tie? I was expecting just a simple yes or no, you know, whatever. And then she she writes back, and I feel like I should whisper what she wrote is like, I think you should go for it. I'm like, wow, this makes it sound like it's a way bigger deal than I thought it was gonna be. And so I show up, and I don't wear a tie. And that night. So normally what happens for the listeners understanding is we pre tape at seven. And the panel airs at 930 on news network, and then on the main channel at about 1030. About 1035, I started getting flooded with emails, and they basically all said, Listen, son, if you're going to be talking with Peter mansbridge, you better be wearing a goddamn tie.

Peter Mansbridge:

You were at the you were at the front line, sort of the leading edge of the change in television and in the you know, in appearances, because now it's like, perfectly normal not to be wearing a tie. Right. Right. Right. And, and you were sort of right out there. I can remember when you walk in the studio that day without a tie the first time I thought, jeez, should I offer him one of my 250 ties in my dressing room? Because he clearly forgot his will listen, we loved you on that panel. Because you You brought a common sense to a lot of the discussions that we were having. And you know, it was a great, it was a great panel and I you know, I'm you know, I'm sorry for the fact Yamuna CBC obviously wanted to change after I left, and they you know, they've, they've made a number of me, you know, great decisions, but I thought one of the decisions that wasn't so great was that they, they dropped out of things like the bottom line. And the foreign policy panel, you know, those were great discussion points, and people did rely on them to get a better sense of the world they were living in whether it was about the economy or foreign affairs or what have you. But you were unload luck and luck launched your career. Look at you. Best Selling Author, best selling podcast, you name it, you're all over the place.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, I know a lot of people will come on and they'll say yeah, I'm a national bestseller. I think I can make the claim that a municipal bestseller for sure. I don't know about national but

Peter Mansbridge:

it's the big. Yeah, as you know, the book business is funny. I mean, you you try to get on the bestseller list. And that's one you know, one part Have your branding. And then if you can get to number one, even for like half a week, you're always a number one best selling author.

Preet Banerjee:

Well, you know, speaking of books, right, one of the reasons that I had the idea to sort of celebrate my 100, by asking you was because I saw that you had just announced that you have a new book that is coming out in pre sales are available now. So before we get started, maybe you could just tease the book a little bit and tell us what is in this book that is being released? I think it's in October, right?

Peter Mansbridge:

It's an October October 5, called off the record. And as you know, as you would know, when you say you're out for dinner with some friends or something and you end up talking about a story you covered, the odds are the story you tell it that dinner is not the one you reported on here, right, there was something else happened about that story that made it that interesting to you, you would actually bring it up at a dinner. Well, that's what this book is. The book is a lot of the stories behind the stories that I covered over my 50 years. And the publisher, Simon Schuster wanted to call it a memoir, but it's not really a memoir. It's it's really a series of anecdotes, 50 or 60 of them, that I weave into a couple of, you know, more substantive chapters on journalism on the country. But mainly, it's these anecdotes that give you a snapshot into what my life has been like as a journalist who's traveled around the world and, and obviously, around the country, and some of the stories that I love to tell that I never told on the air. So that's what it's about. And I think the early indications are from those who have, you know, done a read to you know, how they obviously sense these books out to get blurbs on them. You know, somebody famous writes something about the book. They're, they're really good, the people seem to enjoy it. So it'll be out. October 5. I was very lucky. Last year, I wrote a book with Mark Begich called extraordinary Canadians, which was a look at 17 Canadians who have faced certain challenges in their lives. And, and come out the other end really well, that those book that book have actually turned out to be a number one national bestseller. So hopefully, with any luck, go, this one will be somewhat the same.

Preet Banerjee:

I have a feeling no luck will be involved whatsoever. I am definitely going to make the pre sales and I'm sure you will probably pre sell more books than I've ever sold when my books have been on sale.

Peter Mansbridge:

But your books do extremely well as they should.

Preet Banerjee:

Alright, so I wanted to bring you on. And of course, this podcast is called mostly money, which I think is apropos because it's mostly about financial stuff. But it doesn't have to be specifically about finances. But I did want to sort of talk to you about some of the big events, financial events that have happened in your career covering the biggest events in the world. And before we get get started, there's two things I want to do. One is I want to share with you a comment that the listener sent in ahead of this recording because they knew that you were going to be a guest. And then And then second is also to talk about your origin story, which I'm sure you're sick of telling, you know how you were discovered. So you know, the Coles notes is fine. But I had a listener who sent in a comment. This is from listener Claire. And she said one of the great joys in her life, was working alongside the great Tony mansbridge.

Peter Mansbridge:

Yes, Tony was great. I remember Tony. I patterned myself after Tony watching how he did things and yes.

Preet Banerjee:

So that that's kind of an inside joke. That was Claire Martin, who was a chief meteorologist or senior meteorologist at CBC for a long time and pink

Peter Mansbridge:

wall. Did you know that Pink Floyd the wall the video she was in she was in you know that's I do vaguely remember this? Because I know Claire personally, and someone had told me that story she hates. I used to bring it up occasionally on the air and she hate me for it saying that, but it's true. And if she's gonna call me Tony, I need to remind everybody about things.

Preet Banerjee:

Well, I'm going to include that clip because there is a clip of Claire, you were throwing it to Claire and I guess she As the meteorologist, she's talking to, you know, local anchors as well as the National acre. And I think she would just been talking to Tony Parsons. And so when you threw to place it all thanks, Tony. And then I remember coming back to the studio, you held up a sign that was either it's either said, Peter, to reminder what your actual name was, or Tony,

Claire Martin:

Peter, back to you. Thanks very much, Peter. Thanks very much, Peter. Thanks very much, Tony. Beautiful day for the beautiful game in three parts. Tony, oh, I keep calling you the wrong name.

Preet Banerjee:

She was mortified by that. Okay, so for people who don't know, you were discovered because of your voice. Is that correct?

Peter Mansbridge:

Yeah. The Coles notes version is pretty simple. I dropped out of high school. So, you know, I never went to university, I ended up and after, you know, I'll keep it short. I ended up in Churchill, Manitoba, working for an airline called trans air. And I was basically a baggage handler occasional ticket agent. And I was 19 years old. And one day, they were really busy at the counter, and they asked me to announce the flight over the PA system, which I did trans Air Flight 106. Thompson upon Winnipeg now already for boarding. Gate, one only had one gate, church.

Preet Banerjee:

Why did they number it?

Peter Mansbridge:

Just because it sounded really good. Yeah, it sounded like, Hey, we're a big airline. And there was a guy in the terminal building who came over and said, hey, you've got a really good voice. Have you ever thought about being in radio? And I said, I've never thought about being a radio. He said, I'm the manager, the CBC northern service station here in Churchill. I have a shift late at night. I can't get anybody to work it everybody I approach that is not interesting. Would you be interested? I said, Sure. I mean, there wasn't exactly a lot to do in Churchill at night. Other than what you can imagine you do at night in Churchill. And so I worked during the day a translator, and I worked in the evening at the CBC for about a year until they decided to offer me a full time job. At which point, I switched the news because I was terrible at me. I was a DJ that first year. But they didn't have a newscast. So I said, I think we should have a newscast. And they agreed. And let me start one with no training, no idea of what to do or anything. But that's, that's what we did. And that's how it started. So it was a total fluke. But as, as is the case, in so much of life, it's you know, every once in a while something will come your way. It's pure luck. But it's what you what you do with it. How you how you make it work for you.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, well, you definitely took that opportunity and make the most of it as your career you were 50 years at CBC. I mean, you're the guy. Like you're the guy of news, when people think about, you know, anchors. When did you discover and I'm, I'm guessing here, I'm making the assumption here. When did you discover your passion for covering politics? Because it seems like you really enjoy covering politics. When did that transition happen from you know, hosting that that radio show to them becoming a parliamentary reporter.

Peter Mansbridge:

You know, I grown up in a family that we always talk politics around the dinner table. At night, we always had supper together. My dad was always home for supper. We grew up in Ottawa and politics in the late 50s. And early 60s was a pretty interesting game in in Ottawa. And so we talked about it a lot. So I there was always part of me that was interested. But after I left church, I went to Winnipeg, and then Winnipeg to Regina, this is all with the CBC and different roles and they offered me a job as parliamentary correspondent in Ottawa. And I didn't really want to go, because I like their wide open spaces and more general reporting than then being kind of pigeon holed in one area, which was political. But within two weeks of being an Ottawa, I thought, My gosh, I love this. This is great. And, and so it's been a part of me ever since being interested in in politics, and you know, I have a podcast now competing with yours. We call it a competition. Yeah, it's a competition and there's obviously is a lot of politics in it and there will be a lot more this summer and fall as we head into a likely election.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, and when you started covering you know, the the political beat Eventually, you worked your way to the anchor desk, and you're covering. And in fact, you were the editor in charge of the news for CBC. So when that started when you first got the call to say, hey, do you want to anchor the national? You know that first time? Did you have any nerves about it? Or were you season at this point? To the point that you're like, yeah, this is a great opportunity. I'm champing at the bit to do this. What did it feel like for you? Because from the outside looking in, it feels like, there's nothing like, you know, you'd be like Teflon, nothing would phase this guy. But what's it really like? What was it really like for you at that time? At the beginning? Well, first

Peter Mansbridge:

of all, you know, I, when I was even back when I was in Churchill, I used to dream that my goal was to read the national that I wanted to be the chief correspondent of the CBC. And I never told anybody because they would have laughed at me. But that was my goal. And I set out a pattern and kind of agenda of different jobs that I would have to get to first before I could get to this one. So anyway, it comes along, and I first newscasts. The first national that I did was on a Saturday night in, I think november of 81, I think. And I was in there filling in for George McLean, George McFly and I was a great voice from back then. And he was away on holidays or something I came in. And my heart was pounding all day at the thought of doing and then when I was sitting in the chair, waiting for the 11 o'clock, which was what time we were on in those days. To come, I was sure that if anybody was looking at me, they could see my heart pounding through my suit jacket. So I was pretty nervous. And it slowly that got away, what I've always found is there's always a bit of nerves, no matter what the broadcast is, at the very beginning. And if you get through those first 10 seconds, and you know, things are, things tend to be okay. But I learned that from you know, I was co anchoring sort of the color guy on the 72 election broadcast out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. So that was the federal election, but we had these local inserts. And the main anchors a guy, a fella by the name of Bill guest who was a terrific bit of a legend icon in in Manitoba broadcasting. And he was sitting there and I was the young kid from Churchill, who was sitting beside him. And, you know, we come up to 30 seconds for air and I was feeling pretty nervous. And I look over at bill and he looked great from the waist up. But his hands were under the desk, and they were just shaking. And I can see them shaking. And I looked at him. I said, Bill, you're not nervous, are you? And he looked at me. He said, Listen, kid, today, you're not nervous. For a big show like this. Today, you should get out of the business. I always remembered that. And you know, he was right. And bingo, you never would have known it watching him. He was like, cool as ice. But it gets the gets the energy going inside. And and you recognize that what you're doing is important. So you better do it. Right.

Preet Banerjee:

We know this is fascinating, because this ties into kind of, you know, with your book The what happens behind the scenes. And so I know that one of your favorite movies is anchorman. And add during the time of the bottom line panel was around the time that Aaron Sorkin showed the newsroom was on. And I want you to give your take on and I know anchorman is a comedy but in terms of the things that they got right. Or in the newsroom for people who don't have a view to see what happens. You know, behind the cameras and all the people involved in the flurry of activity leading up to the show like the stress. Can you talk about what it's like in a newsroom and how accurate the newsroom was? Or if there's anything that from the anchorman that people say or you would say to people you have no idea how being on accurate that one thing is you think that's a joke, but that actually happens?

Peter Mansbridge:

Yeah, I wouldn't say that. I thought anchorman was very funny movie. But that's kind of the end of it. You know, it probably relates in some area to the truth in certain certain not all but certain local stations. I mean, it's a carry on from The old Mary Tyler Moore Show where Ted Knight was a bit of a you know, he was just a face and a voice. And not too many smarts and they made fun of him all the time. And that was the case in some local operations, especially in the States, but in some in Canada as well. Aaron Sorkin shows the newsroom as opposed to the old newsroom show that used to be on CBC many years ago. Aaron Sorkin show is a pretty good reflection of what happens and the tensions that exists within within a major network newsroom. Because it is stance and the responsibility and the accountability that goes with it is is serious. And you know, when when when things happen and big stories hit. There's a lot of activity in our newsroom and a lot of action when something goes wrong. As in the case of the first year of the newsroom when they you know there was issues surrounding the sourcing. That's a huge problem within a newsroom and and you challenge each other and that's all part of the process of accountability. So I thought Sorkin's portrayal of what happens in a major network newsroom was pretty accurate, you know, a few things get picked over but for the most part I was really good. And the relationships that develop in a newsroom all of that was all you know, a very accurate in my view, portrayal of what happens.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, and of course it's you know, it's a it's made for TV, there's some some dramatic licenses that are taken. So you're suggesting that, you know, there's a scene where mill will McAvoy accidentally eat some edible marijuana brownies before going on the air he's completely baked so you're saying that's never happened to you

Peter Mansbridge:

know that happened quite often. I don't recall that ever happening but you know I was there long enough that smoking was smoking ordinary cigarettes was perfectly all right in the newsroom guys used to smoke cigars and pipes and all that stuff. And I was a smoker in the 80s when I started anchoring and I used to have a cigarette going during the show it'd be sitting just off camera in you know an ashtray and every once in a while I'd hear the director would say to me through my your move the cigarette the smokes you know, the wafting into the shot. There were there were that was that was a potential Bravo. Oh, wow. Yeah. But Wow. No, I don't think so

Preet Banerjee:

wild even think about today. Oh,

Peter Mansbridge:

I you know, they I can never, never got baked, ready for a show. But maybe I should have tried that on some show. Never had.

Preet Banerjee:

Okay, so. So now I want to ask you about a couple of news items that you would have covered in your career, just to get a sense. And you can go as wide and deep or not as you want on any of these issues. But when it comes to the federal budgets. There's two things I want to ask you. One is can you explain to people what is the budget lockup procedure for journalists covering the budget? And why is that Institute in the first place?

Peter Mansbridge:

Well, it's sort of a hangover from the from the past, things have changed somewhat in today's world. But the whole idea behind the lockout was the, to give a chance for journalists to understand, you know, what was in this sometimes three 400 page document, and what some of these measures actually meant. And they were locked up because they didn't want them, you know, running out and spilling the beans on the air before, especially before the markets closed at four o'clock. And that's where I budgets are usually right after four o'clock. And but, you know, that was the main process. So it got more and more sophisticated as time went on. When I when I was doing budgets in the in the 70s. It was pretty straightforward. A lock up, it would run four or five hours. There would be a couple of people in there who were available for briefings on as to what, what certain things meant and the reporters would line up in there today, or at least the last time I was involved with one, you could you could go in there with your experts with your pre banner G's, who would also you know, look at the document. And, and help you frame questions for for either during the briefings that were taking place in the lockup or afterwards for the interviews with the finance ministry. And so you had a pretty good idea when you came out as to, you know, how to best describe this, you know, complicated stuff to an audience who were interested in knowing how they would impact them, but by doing so in in such a way that they'd understand, which is always a challenge with with budgetary items. It was bad enough that the reporters half the time didn't understand the some of the stuff, but then to have them being the the people who were explaining it to consumers. That was always a challenge. And some budgets are bigger than others, you know, like I, you know, I remember the ad budget with McCracken and Alan McKenna was the finance minister was the National Energy Program was in there. And, you know, trying to figure that one out and realizing it was gonna cause a huge national unity crisis with Alberta. And then again, two years later, after that, McGann brought in a budget that was dealing with a form of wage and price controls, with limits on both wages and prices that were lower than the interest rate was at the time. So I mean, it was, it was a really challenging time to try to explain these issues, and for consumers to try and figure out what the heck was going on. I mean, people are so used to low low interest rates right now that they have no idea what it was, like 30 years ago when interest rates, I mean, I remember getting a mortgage at 12%. And thinking, I got a deal. You know, because they were ended up going as high as like, 1819 20% interest rates on mortgages, which is the, you know, the big fear right now, the inflation is starting to track higher, and how high could it go on? What impact could it have? I mean, God forbid, we should ever face interest rates like that before, but there's a lot of people who are right on the edge in terms of what interest rate they are paying on their mortgages. They gotta be really careful

Preet Banerjee:

when you talk about contentious budget, budgets, period. So you know, in the 80s, in the National Energy Program, another one that I think would have been contentious, and maybe you can give us the background of what was going around this time was the introduction of the GST in 1989. And so now, it we take it for, you know, as it is accepted, yes, we have this GST that we have to pay. But when it was introduced, I think if you ask someone today, you know, like, say someone under 35, a word to ask them, who do you think introduced it? which party Do you think introduced it? And where do you think the opposition came from? I didn't know if that would line up with what actually happened back then. So can you walk through the introduction of the GST?

Peter Mansbridge:

Well, it's interesting because it kind of flew under the radar in many ways at the time. First of all, it was one of those things that nobody could understand, you know, GST replaced another tax, which was similar, but wasn't called the GST. And where the money ended up going was, was perhaps a little different. But the thing that was happening through 88 when the GST was introduced in Parliament the main topic of conversation wasn't the GST it was free trade bill. Right. That's what we had all the attention. And this did kind of slip under the radar. There were some who were who were upset about it. It was introduced by the Mulroney government. I think Mike Wilson was the finance minister at the time. And the liberals, under john Turner, were so focused on free trade, they didn't really get into the debate around the GST from what I recall, because I can remember, you know, Turner, and I had a really fascinating relationship over 2030 years. And, and I liked the guy a lot. I learned a lot from him. But I can remember in 88, they tried to dump him in the middle of the campaign and I, I broke that story. And it was very controversial, but it never affected our relationship. And I can remember after the campaign, because he made a comeback in the debate in ADA. It looked like it was going to lose almost every seat the liberals add they ended up winning 80 which was double what he'd won in 84 and small running. But anyway, I can remember saying to him at Lunch afterwards. Why didn't you push the GST? You needed a second front, you'd made the case on GE on free trade. It basically won that debate and scared the hell out of the conservatives and Mulroney. And if you'd open up a second front on GST, it was a natural. He said, just didn't just thought I had to just keep going after free trade. So I was sitting there as an issue, and then it kind of people, you know, were mad about it, but they accepted it. And then Harper was smart enough to realize, if I promised to drop the rate, that's going to be a winner. For me, and it was in 2006 election. It's one of those arguments about politics that the simpler you make the promise, the more impact it can have you remember Doug Ford with bucket beer. And Harper with the I'll drop the the GST rate one point or two points. And people understand what that means. No, yes. They don't need a degree in climatology to understand the carbon tax issue. Right. So that's, that's the little I recall about that time that it kind of slipped under the radar wasn't the issue that it could have been, perhaps should have been, and might have made a difference in that campaign, the ADA campaign, it came in to effect January 1 89. So people weren't actually dealing with it. In the campaign, like consumers, they didn't have to worry about it. It was something off in the distance. But then when the distance arrived, that they got it or, you know, right between the eyes.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, I was doing a little bit of reading up on it, because this was, at the time I would have been 12. So I wasn't covering or even thinking about, you know, the business news at the time. So I had to read up on on this history a little bit. And it seemed like it was quite a contentious thing behind the scenes, because it was originally proposed that as a 9% tax. It was proposed by the Mulroney government. And it ended up that the liberal controlled senate refused to pass it. And then I think they ended up filibustering until I think Mulroney brought in eight more senators to get the thing passed. It just seems like what a fascinating thing that happens behind the scenes. And like you said, most people probably didn't sort of tune into that as much because the talk of the town was all free trade free trade Free Trade Agreement. Yeah. Which was a huge undertaking, certainly through that 88 election.

Peter Mansbridge:

That was that was what the talk was about after the election. As you got closer to implementation date on GST and unneeded Royal Assent. Then you saw all that activity in the Senate and was raised something to watch.

Preet Banerjee:

Now, speaking of elections, the election night coverage is that like the Super Bowl for a news broadcaster?

Peter Mansbridge:

I think it is I've always, you know, I grew up, I you know, I can remember sitting there this is long before I ever thought I'd be end up in journalism, but I can remember, you know, watching 58, the election, the deef sweep of 58 watching the limited television coverage that existed then through elections in 63 and 65 and 68. Through the 60s, a heavily dominated election scheduled during those years and and it was the big deal it was the broadcast that defined people defined networks and they would throw everything at it their big budget nights because there's a lot involved in in trying to cover an election night and and you know, you have you're taking a huge gamble on how well your your computers and your graphics presentation and all that are going to work enormous pressure over the executive producers who were involved in those you mentioned Laura earlier as the person who found you she's she's the executive producer of cbcs election coverage for the last couple of elections and including whatever it's gonna happen this year.

Preet Banerjee:

The conversation with Peter mansbridge continues in just a moment. Now, as regular listeners know, during the mid show segment, I work my way through all the listener comments. I am sorely behind and I won't be able to give everyone a shout out as this may be the last episode for the show. But I just wanted to thank you all for spending your time with me over these 100 episodes means a lot to me. Now, I may relaunch the show again after a short break. But right now, I have just a few too many projects on the Guild, many of those are actually wrapping up by the end of 2021. But I may enjoy some downtime for a bit, and then sit down to give a think about what I want to do with the podcast in any future content creation. Now, stay subscribed to the podcast, if you are subscribed. And if I do relaunch it, you'll be the first to know. And if I don't relaunch it, well, you're not going to notice anything. Before I get back to the interview with Peter, I should point out that his laptop died at this point in the interview. And he switched to a different computer which had a different microphone. So the audio quality changes a bit. And you know, the voice like his heat, sound good talking into it, tin can with a string. And I don't know about you, but I really miss hearing his voice on a regular basis. But you know what, there's a solution for that, you can subscribe to his podcast, the bridge. And now back to the conversation with Peter mansbridge.

Peter Mansbridge:

I'll just think it's the most important night of a any broadcasters new schedule is the election, you define yourself as a network. The people who are, you know, in the front row of your news coverage, they define STEM careers are made or broken on election nights. And, you know, it's more than just people it's resources, and if the networks don't put behind their people, the kind of resources they need for an election night. In other words, money. You know, it can damage you and I fear at times that some of the networks don't, you know, have forgotten that or think that we've passed that, that that's, that's a sort of, you know, a part of our past as opposed to a part of our present or future. I think the most important night in a cycle is election night, it's when democracy plays its role in in our society. And this decision of the people is, is paramount. And we should be there to help guide through to the finish line in terms of coverage.

Preet Banerjee:

And I know that, you know, it's been a few years since you anchored. You know, the news, let alone the election in the last federal election in Canada, you came as a special contributor. What was it? What was it like being not the anchor that night?

Peter Mansbridge:

Well, I you know, it's hard to get used to that role. It's also liberating in a sense, because they wanted me there was an analyst and Bob Ray and I were sitting together and people were set up to look like those Muppets in the theater. But, but it was fun because I you know, I got drawn to certain experiences I had to do explain what I thought about the way things were unfolding. So I enjoyed that. But uh, you know, obviously, it wasn't the same as the anchoring. Rosie Burton did a terrific job as anchor that night and, you know, time moves on and I, you know, I understand accept them.

Preet Banerjee:

And do you feel that you will come back with, you know, in an analyst role do you feel that you have, like you said, you're much more liberated in what you can say, do you feel like there's a significant change versus being the anchor?

Peter Mansbridge:

Sure. I mean, you're everybody's anchor, when you're the anchor, that's, that's what it's supposed to be you know, and say on election night, any party, any party, any supporter of any party should feel comfortable with you. In that role in terms of your you know, you're not one sided or bias, you're just telling the story. As an analyst you can, you can show a little more kind of flair about what you think about certain things. And I've enjoyed doing that with the podcast. I still hold back, you know, a fair amount but uh, but I have I have moved on from my my anchor position in terms of what I end up saying and doing.

Preet Banerjee:

Now. Now, speaking of your podcast, there is I don't think it's every day but you have a smoke and mirrors edition of the podcast. Is that correct? Can you explain what that is?

Peter Mansbridge:

Well, we're trying to do is separate the smoke and mirrors from the truth. Right. And so every Wednesday and through the summer, that's the only one I'm doing. I'm doing one day a week until the elections called and so we do smoke mirrors and the truth with Bruce Anderson, who's a longtime friend of mine pollster, he's worked for all the parties at one time or another, especially the conservatives and the liberals. And so he has a wealth of experience. And we tried to, you know, talk in that general sense of, you know, separating what's true from what's just, you know, or they're trying to pullo pull the wool over your eyes on some things. And we try to explain that and we have a lot of fun doing it.

Preet Banerjee:

But you know, it's, it's such a, it's so enjoyable to listen to the two of you banter and talk about things because there's such a wealth of experience between the both of you, and like you said, Bruce is experienced being a pollster and working for both sides of the aisle. And in your experience with, you know, five decades of coverage. Phenomenal. So for anyone who's listening, you know, I really highly recommend Peters podcast. Okay, the last thing I have to ask you about is Trump. And that is only because you know, as of late, you know, he just made an appearance and it looks like he is looking to build support for getting the the party's nomination for the next election. And I think some people thought, No, Trump's done now. But does he ever go away? Does his influence in politics ever change at this point?

Peter Mansbridge:

You know, I I've been a believer all along that he will go away, that the last person the republicans really want is Donald Trump again. Now you run that up against the fact that you know, there are a lot of people still believe in anything, he says, no matter how bizarre or unhinged, it may sound. And those are the people who are sick and tired of what they perceive as the normal kind of BS that's come out of Washington for decades. And, and they believe in conspiracy theories and a lot of other things, because they've been put in the position of having to believe them, because they feel they haven't been served in any reasonable way. In the past. Now, I think what surprised us is that there are more of those people than we ever thought there were. I mean, that the guy could get whatever it was 70 million votes in the last election, considerably less than Biden, but still a hell of a lot of votes. does tell you something. Now, I think the republicans are going to go through hoops to try and figure out a way that he isn't their representative, I guess, if they're hoping anything, so he ends up in jail. Before before, more that he ends up ruined or broke as a result of the various actions that are being taken against his companies. But I, you know, I don't know I've given up making predictions. I never thought he could win the nomination, let alone the presidency in 2016. I can remember being at his inauguration. And I was in Washington, and when I I covered that in the within 24 hours, he was lying about the crowd size. All the people he said out, I this is crazy. You know, I mean, no, like crowd size, who cares? But if this is this guy's President of the United States if this is an indication of what it's going to be like, and I tweeted, on, I was fly fly to Washington on 6am flight on the Sunday morning. He was inaugurated on the Friday, I flew out on the 6am. On the Sunday morning, I wrote something like you know, I've never felt so unsettled as I pass over the White House. In a way when a president is people lie. And I use The L Word lie. I you know, it crumbles. Oh, you know, an important pillar of democracy. And I took so much heat on that by calling it a lie. Right, including from the CBC. Really? You're not supposed to say anything, Peter, certainly not. Know what, I'm sorry, this, this is a rageous. Anyway. It was six months or a year before the mainstream media in the sites started using The L Word. They You know, covered it up and they felt they couldn't say lie now it's like lying is in every sentence attributed home thing about Trump. But we saw it right from the beginning. And quite frankly, we saw it throughout the guy's career. You know, I, you talked to more business people, and I do but I've talked to a number of business people in Toronto, who were involved a different levels with Trump on a projects that he was doing in Canada, and they all backed away from it said, there's nothing about this guy I can trust. And I don't want anything to do with him. And this was, you know, the this is based on events before he ran for the presidency. And I remember hearing those stories early on and thinking man, can that possibly be true? And, you know, if it's true, why isn't anybody in the states figure this out yet? So I listen, I'll tell you one thing about Trump. You know, he always used to say if I lose, or if I'm gone, you guys in the media gonna miss me?

Unknown:

Is Right. Yeah.

Peter Mansbridge:

He was right. They miss him. And they're finding it awfully hard to do. Just your basic normal legitimate stories ago government. Clown show going on. Right. Listen, they certainly listen.

Preet Banerjee:

Well, you know, I'll tell you. We miss you. anchoring the news? I certainly do. But I know that people can get their hit of Peter mansbridge on his podcast. At the end of every episode on this podcast, everyone gets a commercial. unabashedly promote anything that you want. We talked about your book in your podcast, but feel free to talk about those again or anything else that you want to promote the floor is yours.

Peter Mansbridge:

Well, I listen, I would promote information, real hard, true information. And I would try to encourage people to demand it of their their information sources and make them accountable. Call for more transparency on the part of all journalistic operations in terms of the way they're doing their jobs and the decisions they make. On a personal note, obviously, I would like people to listen to the bridge when they're finished listening to Preet Sprott podcast. And you can find out on any podcast platform on or on Sirius XM channel 167. Canada talks. They buy the rights to the podcast, so it's up on their normal, you know, satellite radio service before it is then pushed out on as a podcast the same, the same program. Very successful book last year in extraordinary Canadians that I wrote with my friend, Mark Bowditch, which reached number one as a national bestseller and this fall, October, as Preet mentioned, I'm coming out with my new book called off the record, which is more personal. And I think, I think if you're interested in the kind of the behind the scenes stories about news, you'll get a lot of them in here plus my own thoughts about about journalism in general, and where we are today, in that profession, and also my thoughts about Canada and the challenges we still face because of anything. The last few months have reminded us that we're not there yet. We're a great country. There's a lot of good about it. But we're not where we want to be and, and we need we need help and a push to get there. So that's my that's my free promo.

Preet Banerjee:

Well, Peter, it's it's been an absolute honor for me to have you on this podcast. I look forward to sharing some stories off the record over over a tipple maybe some whiskey at your place in Scotland. I think it is right. So I'm going to be I'm going to be across the pond as well for the next couple of years. So hopefully we can Yeah, share a few drinks. But yeah, thank you again, so much. highlight of my career was being on the bottom line panel for eight years and meeting and working with you.

Peter Mansbridge:

That's very kind of your pre and you know, I enjoyed doing those and you were always a mainstay on it. So good luck and in the challenges add and I'll be listening

Preet Banerjee:

Well, that is it for mostly money. I would love to stay in touch though you can visit my website Preet Banerjee calm and subscribe to my email newsletter. I haven't published content there for a while. But while the podcast might be ending the website will be relaunching in 2022, maybe a little bit earlier, as they do feel the urge to start blogging again. Maybe I have to think about that. In any case, I will continue to create more financial content in different media at the very least. So if that is of interest, please do sign up and when I do have stuff to share, you will be the first to know until then it's been an honor and a privilege.