Peter Mansbridge feels a tad uncomfortable being the story instead of reporting it. The retired CBC chief news anchor, however, has written a bestselling memoir titled, "Off The Record" (Simon & Schuster). And that's where he goes, spinning dozens of short, fascinating stories.
One of the best is his ridiculously unlikely break into the news business as a 19-year-old baggage handler overheard on a P.A. system by the right person at the right time in Churchill, Manitoba.
That led to a spectacular career involving prime ministers, princesses and At Issue panelists.
For the podcast, I reached Mansbridge in Scotland where he was finally tending to a farm property with his actress wife Cynthia Dale. We talked about the time CBS in New York backed up the money truck in an attempt to whisk him south as their new morning show host. He turned it down due partly to the generosity of his predecesor in the CBC anchor chair, Knowlton Nash. It's a story Mansbridge has told before, but it is so damn Canadian it has to be heard again.
We also talk about his gift of self-effacing photo captioning ("The hair days," he writes under an early shot of him in Calgary). He also names his favourite TV show growing up, and, yes, it's a western. He even singled out the theme song. I asked if Cynthia could sing it. "That will cost you," said Mansbridge.