Peter Desbarats, OC (born July 2, 1933) is a Montreal, Quebec-born Canadian author, playwright and journalist. He is the former dean of journalism at the University of Western Ontario (1981–1997), a former commissioner in the Somalia Inquiry and a former Maclean-Hunter chair of Communications Ethics at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Currently, he lives in a heritage home with his actress wife, Hazel, in the East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District in London, Ontario, Canada.
Before he was appointed Dean Of UWO's journalism school (which he successfully fought to save in the 1990s when UWO wanted to discontinue the program) he had worked as a print and television journalist for 30 years, starting as a copy boy with The Canadian Press, Canada's national news co-operative, in his home town of Montreal.
Desbarats has worked in London's Fleet Street for Reuters news agency, as a political reporter and foreign correspondent for the Montreal Star and as national affairs columnist for the Toronto Star. In the 1960s and early 1970s he hosted the supper-hour news and current affairs show on Montreal television station CBMT, and in the 1970s was co-anchor and Ottawa Bureau Chief for the Global Television Network, winning the 1977 ACTRA Award for best news broadcaster.
Desbarats has written 13 books, including a best-selling biography of René Lévesque; Somalia Cover-Up -- A Commissioner's Journal and a standard journalism text, Guide to Canadian News Media. Currently he is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail and the Ottawa Citizen and occasionally, The London Free Press.