Tuesday, May 14 was the day our Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife broke the story of Nigel Wright cutting a $90,172.00 cheque to repay Sen. Mike Duffy’s disputed expenses.

Fife’s story exposed the senator’s statement to us from just a day earlier – in which he claimed to have received a loan to repay his expense claims -- as a lie. “I dealt with my bank personally. Nigel played no role,” Sen. Duffy said to CTV News in an email.

Since then, revelation after revelation. Denials, attempted coverups, an attempted whitewashing of an audit into Senate spending -- and ultimately an RCMP investigation.

Fife’s reporting inspired months of denials from the PMO, but after RCMP documents were released to the public on Nov 20, it became clear everything he’d been reporting has been bang on.

Stories of what goes on in the halls of Parliament may seem like ‘inside politics’ and don’t often resonate far beyond its walls -- but this story rippled into the living rooms and settled in the pit of the nation.

It resonates because it lays bare a culture of entitlement at the highest level of government, and brings to unflattering light the schemes concocted to hide it from us. This is why we voted the scandal in the senate as our top story of 2013. We’ll see how the story continues to unfold in 2014.

Unfortunately, disasters continued to be a big part of the news cycle in 2013. From a catastrophic typhoon in the Philippines to disasters that hit closer to home -- the Alberta floods and the train disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Yannick Gagne

(Interview with Yannick Gagne, who owned a bar that was at the epicenter of the blasts. July 9, 2013.)

We spent a lot of time in the idyllic town of Lac Megantic, tucked into the Quebec forest. We met people who, despite having suffered immeasurable loss, went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed to tell their story. 47 people were killed that day and their families wanted the country to know what we had all lost, when that ghost train slammed into the downtown core. It was the saddest corner of Canada and it left a profound impact on all of us. It also ripped the veil off of the rules around rail safety, forcing change. Train service resumed through Lac Megantic just before Christmas. A tragic reminder of what happened that hot summer night and a lesson about the resilience required to move forward.

And as the year was winding down, another major news event had us packing our bags and heading to South Africa. The death of Nelson Mandela, a man who gave hope to millions struggling for justice, was a powerful story to cover. His legacy reached right around the globe but nowhere was his impact more keenly felt than in daily life for South Africans. Their genuine sadness over his death and joy over his life was very emotional to witness on the streets. It truly felt like the end of something great and the beginning of something unknown.

I can’t recall the first time I heard about Nelson Mandela. I know he was still in prison and the world was just waking up to the anti-apartheid struggle. For decades he has, for me, been the only real example of true leadership. Incorruptible, selfless and unrelenting in the cause for equality. His death leaves a void in this world and an opportunity for someone, somewhere to step out of the shadow and continue the work he started.

CTV News in South Africa

(Magogo shows us her memorabilia outside of Mandela's Johnannesburg home on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.)

Go back to our main page (ctvnews.ca/top10) to see our full list of this year’s top 10 news stories. Our web team has crafted an in-depth, interactive infographic for each of the news stories which track the big developments and highlights since the start of 2013. And beginning Monday, Dec. 23, CTV National News will air reports on each of our Top 10 stories each night -- leading up to New Year’s Day. Our team of correspondents will catch us up on recent developments and look forward to how they’ll develop in 2014. These reports will also air on CTV News Channel, CANADA AM and CTVNews.ca.

Please tune in!