National Newswatch

TORONTO — Wendy Mesley, a longtime CBC television news anchor and journalist, has signed off from the public broadcaster.

Chuck Thompson, CBC's head of public affairs, confirmed Monday that Mesley retired from the corporation in late June after working there for 38 years.

"Simply put, Wendy Mesley is a trailblazer in broadcast journalism," wrote CBC managers in an email to staff announcing her retirement on Monday.

Mesley could not be reached for comment.

The announcement comes little more than a year after Mesley was embroiled in a controversy over her use of the N-word on two separate occasions during editorial meetings. CBC suspended her from the airwaves as they investigated the allegations last summer and she never returned to their programming.

It brought a sudden end to the Montreal-born reporter's fruitful relationship with the broadcaster, which she began as a legislative reporter covering the first Quebec referendum on sovereignty in 1980.

Five years later, Mesley moved to Ottawa as the network's first female parliamentary correspondent for "The National."

In the years that followed, she became one of the most familiar faces on the network, which at the time was overwhelmingly male.

Mesley hosted CBC's evening broadcast "Sunday Report," consumer watchdog series "Marketplace" and the Gemini Award-winning media and technology show "Undercurrents."

"The National," the CBC's flagship nightly news program, also welcomed Mesley as lead anchor on Friday and Sunday nights. She would hold that role for the better part of 25 years before the show was revamped with four anchors in 2017.

Mesley found other avenues at the CBC, however, most notably as the headliner of her own Sunday morning program "The Weekly with Wendy Mesley" which united her interests in politics, technology and media.

The show debuted in January 2018 and ran until it was abruptly halted in June 2020 after complaints were made by staffers about Mesley's use of the N-word during two editorial meetings — one in 2019 and another in 2020. The latter complaint focused on Mesley's use of the word during a segment that focused on anti-racism.

The allegations sparked an internal investigation that led CBC News to pull Mesley from the final episode of her show on June 7, 2020. Ultimately, the broadcaster took disciplinary action against her and she never returned to the program.

Mesley later tweeted that she used the word "not as a slur," but as a reference to what another journalist, who they were considering booking as a panelist on the show, had been called. She pledged to "spend time listening and learning."

"The Weekly" never returned to the air and was ultimately cancelled by the CBC last September.

More recently, Mesley updated her Twitter profile to describe herself as a "free range journalist" who is "open to new adventures."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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