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Alumnus David Onley appointed new lieutenant-governor of Ontario

City TV journalist David Onley named lieutenant-governor. (Photo courtesy of City TV.)

JULY 10, TORONTO -- David Onley, U of T Scarborough alumnus and longtime Citytv journalist, has been appointed the next lieutenant-governor of Ontario, the Prime Minister's Office confirmed today.

Onley will replace James Bartleman, whose term ends at the end of July.  The lieutenant-governor is the Queen's representative in Ontario and plays a constitutional and community role, including approving Cabinet decisions and representing Ontario at special events and occasions.

Last October, the Marketing and Communications Department spoke with Onley about his life and times.  The interview is excerpted here:

U of T Scarborough alumnus and broadcaster David Onley is the science and technology specialist for City TV, and live newsreader for Cable Pulse 24. He is a familiar face to many in the Greater Toronto Area, but many don’t know that he was student council president and a graduate of the University of Toronto Scarborough. He earned an Honours BA with specialist certificate in political science in 1975. 

Q: How would you describe your work style?

A: Very much like working in the ER at a hospital -- long periods of routine and bursts of high demand activities from breaking news. We try to keep it in perspective, since doctors deal with life and death, whereas we just report on it. Even so, important events demand close attention as the public wants to know reliably how the events affect them.

Q: In your career, what have you found to be the biggest challenges or frustrations?

A: The biggest challenge, especially on sensitive stories where families have been hit by tragedy, is to be both informative and respectful of the people we report on. It may seem like a small thing, but I for instance always make sure I'm pronouncing a victim's name correctly, as a gesture of respect.

Q: What things do you find most satisfying about your work?

A: Satisfaction comes from reporting well on a story and bringing new insight to the public. Recently, astronaut Steve MacLean dropped by and I was able to get him to talk about Canadians walking on the moon within 15 years. It was newsworthy and informative.

My greatest accomplishment, in some important ways, is being one of the very first people with a physical disability to be a news person in Canada. I've been able to report on the changing issues affecting the disability community as it has changed, and for the better too.

Q: Is there anything you would do differently, as you look back on your working life?

A: Not really. Life is a learning experience. You graduate with a degree and perhaps pursue other degrees but really, life is one big post-grad experience. As long as you are learning and contributing, there is no such thing as wasted time.

Q: How would you describe your time at the University of Toronto Scarborough?

Some of the best years of my life! I was Student Council President in the early 1970s at a time when formative events were occurring, such as the first residence, the Rec Wing, and the radio station's development. We were very aware that we were creating traditions that continue to this day. I had great professors and have wonderful memories.

Q: What lessons were most significant to you, or what were the main benefits of your educational time here?

A: The most significant comment came from my former political science professor John Colman, on my last essay submitted before graduation. He gave me an A, and knowing I was about to graduate, wrote at the bottom of the page, "You must always try very, very hard to put down on paper the thoughts I know you have in your head."

That message has stayed with me all my life. Whether it's a report, an article or submission, I still always look at the paper and wonder if I've met his standard. I have repeated the story to my sons and suggest it is still wise advice.

Q:  Can you say something about yourself outside of work, such as how you spend your free time? What are your hobbies and interests?

A: I'm actively involved with our church in Pickering, and involved with the adventures of my three sons, one of whom is at U of T Scarborough, another at Centennial College, and the third in Grade 11. It is a very demanding and exciting time with them and their own busy lives. My wife Ruth and I enjoy our home very much as a break from the pace of the media world.

- With files from Mary Ann Gratton, Canadian Press, Amorell Saunders N'Daw




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