CTV National News officially has a new anchor.
On Monday, Omar Sachedina made his debut as the nightly news program’s chief anchor, welcoming viewers with a warm message after weeks of controversy over the firing of Lisa LaFlamme.
“We typically cover the news, but lately, we have become the subject of it,” he began. “Over the past few weeks, Canadians have been having important discussions about ageism, sexism and racism. The fact that we can have these conversations and learn from them is one of the hallmarks of this great country, and reminds us of the role we all have in making it even better.”
Omar Sachedina speaks to Canadians on his first night as Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor of CTV National News. #ctvnews
“Half a century after my parents were expelled from Uganda and were welcomed by compassionate and generous Canadians from coast to coast to coast, starting this journey with you tonight means a great deal to me, and it validates the promise of possibility,” Sachedina continued.
“But I am just one part of a tireless team determined to share stories with you about what matters to Canadians, and what brings us together. Our mission is to do that objectively, with balance and with different perspectives.”
Next, Sachedina addressed the firing of Lisa LaFlamme, acknowledging that she should have been able to make her farewell on air, at the very least.
“Finally, it is important for me to acknowledge the inspiration and mentor that Lisa LaFlamme has been to me over the years. Lisa, thank you for everything. Like many of you, I really wish Lisa’s goodbye could have been from here,” the new anchor said.
On August 15, LaFlamme posted a video online, sharing the news that she had been fired as chief anchor from CTV National. The decision to oust her, by Bell Media vice-president Michael Melling, with approval from other Bell execs, shocked many and was swiftly condemned by many Canadians and others around the world.
LaFlamme said she had been “blindsided” by the firing.
Sachedina was named as LaFlamme’s successor. Born and raised in Vancouver, the new anchor has been a journalism mainstay for years, including working as an intern for Global News. He joined CTV National News in 2009 as a correspondent, regularly reporting from abroad.
In recent years, he had become a regular substitute anchor for Lisa LaFlamme and Sandie Rinaldo.
“I know welcoming me into your homes ever night is not a right, it’s a privilege,” Sachedina told viewers. “I will work hard with our team to earn and build your trust for that continued privilege. That’s my commitment to you, and that is our commitment to you.”