'He's been put in an impossible position': Lisa LaFlamme replacement, Omar Sachedina, addresses controversial ousting in CTV debut

Lisa LaFlamme poses with her Canadian Screen Award for Best News Anchor, National in Toronto, August 17, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Screen Awards/George Pimentel *MANDATORY CREDIT* (The Canadian Press)

CTV News is tackling the Lisa LaFlamme controversy head on.

On his first night as the network's chief news anchor, Omar Sachedina spoke directly to Canadians about the controversial ousting of his colleague Lisa LaFlamme.

Sachedina admitted that the announcement around the popular anchor’s departure from CTV has made the network part of the news, which has inspired conversations about sexism, ageism and racism.

Many viewers felt LaFlamme’s departure from the network was handled poorly, leading some to believe that her age and appearance played a part in her contract not being renewed.

In Sachedina’s address, he went on to speak about his family’s history of leaving Uganda and how his journey to the position of chief news anchor “validates the promise of possibility.” He went on to acknowledge LaFlamme’s influence on him as an inspiration and mentor, thanking her directly.

“Like many of you, I really wish Lisa’s goodbye could have been from here,” he said, alluding to the news desk. (LaFlamme’s goodbye statement was made on her social media, at her residence.)

While many of the comments on CTV’s Instagram account expressed anger about LaFlamme's handling, others were sympathetic to Sachedina’s position.

“It isn’t Omar’s fault that this happened,” one user wrote. “He’s always seemed like a nice person and a good reporter. If he didn’t take this job someone else would. I don’t agree with how they treated Lisa. It was terrible. But it is not right to take it out on Omar.”

“He's in a difficult position,” wrote another. “No fault to him. Wish him well!”

On Twitter, some users shared their positive impressions, and experiences with Sachedina.

Other users still felt strong about how CTV, and how they handled LaFlamme’s ousting.

CTV’s parent company Bell Media has since launched a third-party internal investigation into how the situation was handled.