Canadian teacher, news reporter, documentary producer, and a politician, Isabel Bassette is a highly respected, even though controversial, figure and a pioneer in the Canadian broadcasting space.
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Early Life: Name, Age and Education
Born Isabel Glenthorne Macdonald, to parents Ronald Ian Macdonald and Janet Marjorie Macdonald, Isabel Bassette is now 79 years old. Bassette was born on August 23rd, 1939 in County Tyrone, Ireland. She grew up with her mother and grandparents in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada her Grandparent’s home. Her father was a doctor and was away in England and then in France, during World War II. Once the war was over, they moved to Toronto in 1946.
She went to Queen’s University for a Bachelor of Arts degree after which she took up a job at Humberside Collegiate Institute where she taught French and English.
Then she went on to work as a reporter at the Toronto Telegram. She even went to York University for a Master of Arts degree.
It was there at York University, when her professor, Clara Thomas suggested that she turn her research paper into a book. Bassette heeded to her professor and named the book The Parlour Rebellion.
Isabel Bassette’s Career and Bio
Bassette was on the book tour when she got a call from CBC and was offered an audition for a show. Though she did not get the show, she got attracted to the television world. She began her television career at CFTO-TV, it was Toronto’s first of its kind broadcasting station and was privately owned. Her new career included writing, producing and also presenting.
Bassette spent years at CFTO as the host and reporter for ‘Hourlong’. She earned many awards for the documentaries she made. Her documentary on depression ‘Beyond the Blues’ won the prestigious Canadian Mental Health Association’s National Media Award. Her documentaries received international acclaim and were recognized at various television and film festivals. Her documentaries which were internationally distributed include ‘Nighttime in the Neighbourhood’, ‘Teen Gang’, ‘Children Take care’ and ‘No Place to Hide’.
In 1993, Bassette decided to move on to politics. Bassette was a candidate in the federal election of 1993 from the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. She contested in the Toronto riding of St. Paul’s. She did not win the election.
Bassette again ran for the provincial election in 1995 where she won by 3,500 votes. She became the Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament for the provincial district of St. Andrew-St. Patrick during the next four years. She was also appointed as the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation in 1997.
In the next provincial election in 1999, Bassette did not win after which she returned to television. She was appointed as the Chairwoman and the Chief Executive Officer of TV Ontario, also known as the Ontario Educational Authority. She held that post until 2005. Bassette was awarded the second highest Canadian Honour of Merit, the Order of Ontario, in June 2016.
Isabel Bassette’s Husband and family
Bassette married John White Hughes Bassette, the owner of Baton Broadcasting. On July 17th, 1967. The couple had three children. Avery Isabel Bassette, Sarah Glenthorne Bassette and Matthew Macdonald Bassette. However, John passed away in 1998.
After the death of her husband, Bassette has been in a live-in relationship with Ernie Eves.
22 Dec, 2018