January 1, 2017 11:00 am

Tom Clark says ‘thank you and goodbye’ during his final broadcast

After six seasons of The West Block and 45 years in journalism, Chief Political Correspondent Tom Clark reflects on his career, why he is stepping back and the enduring importance of journalism.

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Tom Clark used the final minutes of his final television broadcast to share these thoughts:

After six seasons of The West Block and 45 years in journalism, I’m stepping back.

This profession has given me an incredible life. I have travelled the world and have seen the best of it and I’ve certainly seen the worst of it.

Few people have the privilege of watching history as it’s being made and I was one of those happy few.

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READ MORE: Tom Clark, host of  ‘The West Block’, to end iconic journalism career

I was there when the Berlin Wall came down and when the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square, among the first to see and report on a famine in Ethiopia that changed the way the world reacted to crises in the third world, reported from eight war zones and 33 countries, covered more than a dozen federal elections and brought you countless stories, big and small.

For a journalist, this has been a dream assignment. But there’s a responsibility on those of us who have had this life to move aside so a new generation of reporters can experience it as well. And that’s vital.

As a country, we need — and will need in the future — journalists with deep backgrounds and wide experience. We’ll need people who believe in public service and the need to maintain the highest standards, things like accuracy, truth and, yes, fairness.

I believe in that, which is why I’m giving up my front row seat to one of them.

These are difficult times for my profession, but the need for good journalism has never been greater. After a professional lifetime of trying to achieve that, my best contribution now is to pay it forward.

I have benefited from the support and the occasional upbraiding from Canadians. I couldn’t imagine a better place to be from.

So as I leave the stage, I would just say this:

For all of our troubles, all of our scandals and disagreements, we should try to keep things in perspective. In global terms, our problems are small. Our country works better than most, perhaps better than any other. We should always aim higher. But let’s remember how blessed we really are.

And with that, I say thank you and goodbye.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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