I first watched CBC television anchor Knowlton Nash deliver the news during the American hostage crisis in Iran in the early 1980′s. For me what started out as a current affairs assignment for a high school Canadian history class turned into something more. Mr. Nash was, unbeknownst to him, one of my early inspirations. I learned by watching and listening.
A decade later it was the coolest thing to interview him for his 1991 book, ‘Visions of Canada: Searching for Our Future’. But it was a conversation we had during a speaking engagement in Kitchener for his 1990 book, “Kennedy and Diefenbaker: Fear and Loathing Across the Undefended Border” that I quote to this day.
Mr. Nash explained during his talk how he had covered both the Kennedy and Diefenbaker political administrations. I asked him what these men were like when they weren’t commenting on public policy. He explained to me that Diefenbaker was a man who looked at you for what you were and Kennedy was a man who looked at you for what you could become. That line hit me like a bolt of lightning.
I thought long and hard about the “Kennedy” figures in my life who had given me guidance and believed I could do something with my talents. Those figures would fall under the category of favourite teacher, boss or a good friend. I never had the opportunity to thank Mr. Nash in person for his guiding words. The I could do was pay it forward with that same attitude. Thank you Knowlton Nash. RIP.