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Pamela Wallin, OC, SOM (born April 10, 1953) is a former Canadianmarker television journalist and diplomat. On December 22, 2008 she was named to the Canadian Senate, where she sits as a Conservative.

Early life and career

Wallin was born in Wadenamarker, Saskatchewanmarker, and is of Swedish descent. After obtaining a degree in psychology and political science from the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campusmarker (now the University of Reginamarker), she began her career as a social worker at the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiarymarker. Politically, she was a member of The Waffle, a left wing faction of the New Democratic Party of Canada. She has no children of her own, however, she has one goddaughter.

Journalism

The following year, she began her career in journalism, joining CBC Radio's news division. In 1979, she joined the Ottawamarker bureau of the Toronto Star. In 1981, she joined CTV and became cohost, with Norm Perry, of Canada AM. In 1985, CTV named her its Ottawa bureau chief. She later rejoined Canada AM, hosting alongside J.D. Roberts.

In 1992, CBC Television hired Wallin in a highly publicized move. For many years, The National had been followed by a 40-minute nightly newsmagazine, hosted by Barbara Frum, called The Journal. However, as a result of Frum's death in February 1992, the CBC wanted to revamp and reposition its entire approach to news programming.

In the fall of that year, Wallin and Peter Mansbridge debuted as the cohosts of Prime Time News. Instead of the old segregation of Mansbridge reading the news on The National, followed by Frum introducing documentary and current affairs features and interviewing newsmakers on The Journal, the new show featured Wallin and Mansbridge as equal hosts of the whole package. As well, the new show aired at 9 p.m., one hour earlier than the old National/Journal tandem.

The show fared poorly in the ratings, and by 1994, had returned to its old format and time slot, with Mansbridge reading the news, followed by Wallin hosting a magazine segment which eventually took on the name The National Magazine. In 1995, Wallin was replaced as host of The Magazine by Hana Gartner.

Following her dismissal from CBC News, Wallin created her own production company, and launched a daily interview series called Pamela Wallin Live. Airing on CBC Newsworld and, in some years, on the CBC's main network as well, Pamela Wallin Live was a highly successful series which featured Wallin interviewing newsmakers, celebrities and other interesting personalities in a manner similar to CNN's Larry King Live. The show ran for four years before Wallin moved to the cable network TalkTV.

In 2000, Wallin hosted the Canadian edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. She was criticized by some observers for compromising her journalistic integrity, but noted in response that as an interviewer and television producer, she was no longer working as a journalist in the traditional sense of the word.

In 2001, Wallin, along with then-Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley, was one of the organizers of the "Canada Loves New York" rally for Canadians to show their support after the September 11, 2001 attacks (Manley ran in the New York City Marathon in 2001, a contributing factor to organize the rally). In 2003, Wallin and Senator Jerry Grafstein were honored by the Canadian Society of New York for their ongoing commitment to strengthening the ties between Canada and the United States. In 2001, Wallin spoke publicly about her battle with colon cancer.

Wallin has also published two books, Since You Asked (ISBN 978-0679310082) and Speaking of Success (ISBN 1552633705), and has made cameo appearances on the Canadian comedy series Royal Canadian Air Farce and Corner Gas.

Diplomatic and academic appointments

On June 25, 2002, Wallin's television career came to an end when Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien appointed her to a four-year term as Canada's Consul General in New York Citymarker, her first diplomatic posting. Afterward she became a senior advisor to the president of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas in New York.

In March 2007, she was appointed the seventh Chancellor of the University of Guelphmarker and was installed in June 2007. She is also now a corporate director of CTVglobemedia.

Wallin was appointed to the Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan, chaired by former cabinet minister John Manley.

On December 22, 2008, Wallin was appointed to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She has pledged to step down and run as a candidate when Saskatchewan holds its first Senate election, which Premier Brad Wall has promised to do.

Honours

In 1994, her home town of Wadena, Saskatchewan named its major street Pamela Wallin Drive in her honour. In 1999, she was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. In 2007, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2008, Toastmasters International announced that Wallin would be that year's winner of their Golden Gavel award, to be presented at their annual conference in August.

Wallin has received 13 honorary degrees, including from Athabasca Universitymarker, the University of Lethbridgemarker and the University of Windsormarker.

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