27 October 1938|
|Died||27 October 2000
|Cause of death||heart attack|
|Alma mater||Carleton University|
|Known for||historic interview with Pierre Trudeau|
Tim Ralfe (27 October 1938 – 27 October 2000) was a Canadian television journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation who provoked a controversial moment in Canadian political history. During the October Crisis on 13 October 1970, Ralfe interviewed then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and pointedly questioned Trudeau about the use of the military to protect cabinet ministers and senior officials, and the possible threat that this represented for civil liberties.
About five minutes into the interview, Trudeau stated: "Well, there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don't like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and order in the society than to be worried about weak-kneed people." Ralfe then asked how far Trudeau would go to deal with terrorists, and Trudeau famously responded, "Well, just watch me".
Ralfe's persistence was condemned by CBC managers who accused him of being too aggressive during a time of national crisis. Peter Trueman, executive producer of national television news wrote a message to Ralfe on an open, inter-office teleprinter link. It said that Ralfe's questioning of Trudeau violated every journalistic standard that Trueman had ever heard of. Trueman ordered severe cuts to the video tape to eliminate Ralfe's most argumentative questions. He also insisted that a formal reprimand be placed on Ralfe's employment file. In his 1980 book, Trueman wrote that he regretted his actions.
Ralfe was a reporter for CTV when in 1973 he exploited a loophole in Canadian law that allowed surreptitious recording under certain circumstances. He placed a recording device in the New Democratic Party caucus room at Parliament Hill then confronted party leader David Lewis with an audio tape of a meeting in that room. The report earned CTV a Michener Award the following year. Canadian law was later changed to further restrict such recordings.
Ralfe was born in Shanghai, China in 1938 and returned to Canada with his parents before the Japanese invaded China. Ralfe graduated from Bedford Park Public School and Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute, then to Carleton University for journalism.
- Wilson-Smith, Anthony (6 November 2000). "Passages". 113 (45). Maclean's. p. 45.
- Gwyn, Richard (1981). The Northern Magus: Pierre Trudeau and Canadians. Markham, Ontario: PaperJacks Ltd. p. 119.
- Trueman, Peter (1980). Smoke & Mirrors: The Inside Story of Television News in Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. pp. 41–42.
- ""Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" - The story behind the 'Inquiry' investigation". Michener Awards Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-26.