Pamela Wallin

Pamela Wallin, OC SOM (born April 10, 1953) is a Canadian senator, former television journalist, and diplomat. She was appointed to the senate on January 2, 2009, where she initially sat as a Conservative.

Pamela Wallin

Senator for Saskatchewan
Assumed office
January 2, 2009
Nominated byStephen Harper
Appointed byMichaëlle Jean
Personal details
Born (1953-04-10) April 10, 1953
Wadena, Saskatchewan
Political partyCanadian Senators Group
Other political
Independent Senators Group (2016-2019)
Independent Conservative (2013–2016)
Conservative (2009–2013)
New Democratic (1970s)
ProfessionJournalist, diplomat, corporate board member

Early life and career

Wallin was born in Wadena, Saskatchewan, and is of Swedish descent. Wallin spent much of her formative years in Wadena but completed her high school in Moose Jaw. In 1973,[1] she graduated with a degree in psychology and political science from the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus (now the University of Regina) and began her career as an officer at the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary. Politically, she was a member of The Waffle, a left-wing faction in the New Democratic Party that existed in the early to mid-1970s.[2][3]


In 1974, she began her career in journalism, joining CBC Radio's news division.[1] In 1978, she joined the Ottawa bureau of the Toronto Star where she remained for two years.[1] In 1980 she joined CTV and became cohost, with Norm Perry, of Canada AM.[1] In 1985, CTV named her its Ottawa bureau chief.[1] 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 March 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 co-hosts of Prime Time News.[1] Instead 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 integrated the two former programs and featured Wallin and Mansbridge as equal co-hosts of the entire 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 April 1995, Wallin was dropped as host of The Magazine,[4] and was succeeded in June by Hana Gartner.[5]

Following her dismissal from CBC News, Wallin briefly returned to CTV as part of its coverage of the 1995 provincial election in Ontario,[6] but did not rejoin the company permanently. Instead, she created her own production company, Pamela Wallin Productions, and launched a daily interview series called Pamela Wallin Live in 1995.[1] 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?.

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

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 attacks (Manley ran in the New York City Marathon in 2001, a contributing factor to organize the rally).

On June 25, 2002, Wallin's television career came to an end when Prime Minister Jean Chrétien advised Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to appoint Wallin to a four-year term as Canada's consul general in New York City,[1] her first diplomatic posting. In 2003, Wallin and Senator Jerry Grafstein were honoured by the Canadian Society of New York for their ongoing commitment to strengthening the ties between Canada and the United States. In 2006, she became a senior advisor to the president of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas in New York.[1]

One of the perquisites of the post of Consul General was an official residence on Park Avenue.[7] In 2005, shortly before her term ended Wallin bought a 500 square feet (46 m2) apartment for $379,000 USD.

In March 2007, she was appointed the seventh chancellor of the University of Guelph, being installed in June of the same year,[8] and sat on the Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan, chaired by former cabinet minister John Manley.

She was also appointed by the governor general as an honorary colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force.[9]

Corporate boards

In 2006, Wallin was appointed to the board of Bell Globemedia, owners of The Globe and Mail and CTV Inc.[10] From 2007 to 2011 she served on the board of Oilsands Quest, Inc. and has also served on the board of Gluskin Sheff & Associates, Inc., an investment and wealth management firm and as a member of the advisory board of BMO Harris Bank.[11] In 2013, as a result of the Senate expense claims scandal she was embroiled in, Wallin resigned from all three paid positions she held outside of the Senate:[12] as a director of Gluskin Sheff & Associates, a wealth management firm, in May 2013,[13] the board of Porter Airlines in June 2013 after having been on the board since 2008,[14][15] and the board of the Ideas Council.[12]

Canadian Senate

On January 2, 2009, Wallin was appointed to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.[16] Following her expulsion from the Conservative Senate Caucus in 2013, Wallin identified as an Independent from 2013 to 2016. Since 2016, Wallin has caucused in Parliament with the Independent Senators Group.[17][18] On November 4, 2019, Senator Wallin joined the Canadian Senators Group.[19]

Residency and travel expense controversy

Wallin decided to leave the Conservative caucus on May 17, 2013, until an audit into her expense claims could be completed.[20] On November 5, 2013, the Senate voted to suspend Wallin without pay for the duration of the 41st Canadian Parliament for alleged theft from the public purse. The suspension ended with dissolution of parliament for the 2015 federal election. In 2016 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced that criminal charges would not be laid against Wallin over her expenses.[21] She subsequently returned to the Senate in 2015.[22][23]

Personal life

Wallin is divorced. She was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2001.[24]


In 1994, her home town of Wadena, Saskatchewan named its major street Pamela Wallin Drive in her honour. In 1999, she was inducted into the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and in 2007 was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[25] In 2008, Toastmasters International announced that Wallin would be that year's winner of their Golden Gavel award.[26]

Wallin has received 13 honorary degrees, including from Athabasca University, the University of Lethbridge and the University of Windsor.


  1. Biography
  2. Kingston, Anne (October 24, 2013). "The high-flying life of Pamela Wallin". Maclean's. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  3. Facebook comment by Waffle co-founder and co-leader Mel Watkins, May 17, 2013: "It is a known fact that Pamela Wallin was in the Waffle."
  4. "CBC, Wallin come to terms after `firing' from Prime Time". Edmonton Journal, May 26, 1995.
  5. Greg Quill, "CBC picks Gartner to replace Wallin". Toronto Star, June 3, 1995.
  6. "Pam Wallin back on CTV for vote". The Gazette, June 7, 1995.
  7. Greg Weston (2013-09-10). "Pamela Wallin selling Manhattan condo: Wallin has until Sept. 16 to repay just over $100K in disputed travel expenses". CBC News. Retrieved 2013-09-12. Wallin bought her bachelor condo during her final months as Canada’s consul general in New York, and just before she had to move out of her official diplomatic digs, a spacious residence on Park Avenue.
  8. "Pamela Wallin Named University of Guelph Chancellor". CNW Newswire. CNW Newswire. 2007-03-06. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  9. Bridges, Holly (9 December 2009). "Senator Pamela Wallin is newest Air Force honorary colonel" (PDF). The Maple Leaf. Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada. 12 (23): 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  10. "Bell Globemedia adds new board members". August 31, 2006. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  11. Pamela Wallin profile,
  12. "Pamela Wallin resigns from paid board positions amid audit". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. July 5, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  13. Cudmore, James (Jun 7, 2013). "Saskatchewan Senator Pamela Wallin filing lists Toronto home". Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  14. "Senate asked Deloitte to broaden investigation into Sen. Pamela Wallin's travel expenses". The Star. Toronto.
  15. "Senator Pamela Wallin quits Porter Airlines board". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. June 13, 2013.
  16. "Wallin, Duffy among 18 named to fill Senate seats". CBC News. December 22, 2008. Archived from the original on December 23, 2008.
  17. "The Hon. Pamela Wallin, O.C., S.O.M., Senator". Library of Parliament. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  18. Young, Leslie (May 29, 2018). "Senator introducing bill to ban payments for blood donation". Global News. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  19. "Senators List". Senate of Canada. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  20. "Sen. Pamela Wallin recuses herself from Conservative caucus". CTV News. May 17, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  21. Tasker, John Paul (May 19, 2016). "Senator Pamela Wallin won't face RCMP charges over expenses". CBC News. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  22. Smith, Joanna (September 3, 2015). "Her suspension expired, Sen. Pamela Wallin returns to work". The Toronto Star. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  23. Mas, Susana (October 30, 2015). "Pamela Wallin will resume sitting in Senate when Parliament convenes". CBC News. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  24. "Senator Pamela Wallin taking a break from committee work, office says". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  25. "Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada". Website of the Governor General of Canada. Governor General of Canada. 2007-06-29. Archived from the original on 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  26. Ray, Regan (2008-07-14). "Wallin wins Golden Gavel award". J-Source. The Canadian Journalism Project. Archived from the original on 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Lincoln Alexander
Chancellor of the University of Guelph
Succeeded by
David Mirvish
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