Peter Desbarats

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Peter Desbarats
Born (1933-07-02)July 2, 1933
Montreal, Quebec
Died February 11, 2014(2014-02-11) (aged 80)
London, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Occupation journalist, writer
Known for Global News anchor, Toronto Star columnist

Peter Hullett Desbarats, OC (July 2, 1933 – February 11, 2014) was a Canadian author, playwright and journalist.[1] He was also the dean of journalism at the University of Western Ontario (1981–1997),[1] a former commissioner in the Somalia Inquiry[1] and a former Maclean-Hunter chair of Communications Ethics at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.

Until his death from Alzheimer's disease,[2] he lived in a heritage home with his actress wife Hazel in the East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District in London, Ontario.[2]


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 worked as a print and television journalist for 30 years,[3] starting as a copy boy with the Canadian Press, Canada's national news co-operative, in his home town of Montreal.[2]

Desbarats worked in London's Fleet Street for Reuters news agency,[2] as a political reporter and foreign correspondent for the Montreal Star[3] and as national affairs columnist for the Toronto Star.[1] In the 1960s and early 1970s he hosted the supper-hour news and current affairs show on Montreal television station CBMT,[2] and in the 1970s was co-anchor and Ottawa Bureau Chief for the Global Television Network,[1] winning the 1977 ACTRA Award for best news broadcaster.

Desbarats wrote 13 books, including René: A Canadian in Search of Country, a best-selling biography of René Lévesque;[1] Somalia Cover-Up: A Commissioner's Journal, a book about his stint on the Somalia Inquiry; and Guide to Canadian News Media, a standard journalism text;[3] as well as several children's books[4] and a 2002 stage play, Her Worship, about controversial London mayor Dianne Haskett.[2] He was later a contributor to the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen and The London Free Press,[2] as well as an active community volunteer in London.[2]

In 2006, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[1]


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