2005-03-12 17:57:41 UTC
late last night of esophageal cancer, following long periods of "brutal
chemotherapy", according to a story in today's Globe and Mail. You need a
password, so here's the item in its entirety.
Saturday, March 12, 2005 Updated at 10:46 AM EST
Toronto - Bill Cameron, the intellectually challenging and erudite broadcast
journalist who had a celebrated parting of the ways with CBC Television in
the wake of 1999 budget cuts, is dead.
He died around midnight Friday of cancer of the esophagus which had moved
into his brain and liver despite rounds of brutal chemotherapy, a CBC
The veteran TV news personality was born in Vancouver in 1943.
He got his first break in broadcasting at CBC Radio in the 1960s as a
freelance journalist. He later served as an editorial writer and columnist
for the Toronto Star and as an associate editor at Maclean's magazine.
He appeared on Global TV as host of Newsweek for five years beginning in
1978. He was also an anchor on Toronto's independent Citytv before joining
CBC's news magazine program The Journal as a reporter, producer and
alternate host. He spent nine years there and during his stint he journeyed
to the United States, Britain and Jordan. He also reported from Mozambique
and Nicaragua. He was the show's final host when it signed off Oct. 30,
He then joined CBLT, CBC's Toronto flagship station where he anchored the
evening newscast, and won a Gemini Award for his efforts. In September 1995,
he joined Newsworld in Halifax as host of CBC Morning News, replacing Henry
Champ who was moving to Washington. In 1999, he moved back to Toronto to
host Sunday Report and daily newscasts for Newsworld and Newsworld
He co-wrote The Real Poverty Report, a study of the plight of the poor in
Canada. Cameron also wrote plays and poetry, having been published by Random
"He has a wealth of news experience and knows how to get the most out of a
story," Slawko Klymkiw, CBC-TV's chief programmer and former head of
Newsworld, once said.
Although once cited as a potential anchor of The National, in 1999 he had a
parting of the ways with CBC after being asked to reduce his workload and
his paycheque in the wake of major budget cutbacks.
Friends said he'd had it with indecision and narrow-mindedness at the public
"I don't want to sound maudlin, but there's an awful lot of my life there,"
he said at the time. "I still believe in it and I feel a little homeless,
wandering around in the big, wide world."
He still considered himself a "CBC lifer" and declined to be outright
critical, but he did warn that the network was in danger of hemorrhaging
more good people.
He added that in the end his departure was as much a quality of life issue
"Inevitably, you find that what you're doing for a major part of your day is
extremely silly," he said. "I've got enough silliness in the rest of my
life. I don't need it at work."
Cameron had had lucrative offers from the U.S. but within days announced
that he was taking a job as vice-president of communications at the
Toronto-based American Gem Corp., a sapphire marketer, which then changed
its name to Digital Gem Corp.
He also held the ethics chair at the Ryerson School of Journalism and
freelanced for the National Post.
Recently he was back on television, hosting the talk show (At)issue on the I
Channel, the fledgling digital tier service, but could not continue due to
his escalating illness.
He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Hawkes, a freelance journalist, and their
three children, two of them still in university and one in high school.