December 18, 2012

Laurier LaPierre, the outspoken journalist and Canada’s first openly gay senator, passed away at age 83 on Dec 17. LaPierre became forever associated with one of the most famous media moments in Canadian broadcasting history as co-host of the hugely controversial current affairs show, This Hour Has Seven Days. The show, first aired in 1964, became famous for brazenly featuring topics that were considered risqué and occasionally offensive to viewers, including footage of the Vietnam War, interviews with white supremacists, and even a sit-down talk with Nathan Leopold (one half of the child-killing duo Leopold and Loeb). LaPierre would be singled out for criticism for his behaviour during an interview with the mother of Steven Truscott (a man wrongly convicted of murder). LaPierre was seen wiping away tears after the interview concluded, drawing charges of unprofessionalism and bias by media critics. This Hour Has Seven Days was cancelled amid a firestorm of controversy in 1966, but LaPierre didn’t slow down. He ran for federal parliament in 1968, vying for a seat to represent the Lachine, Quebec riding for the NDP.