The Late Dean Heywood

Honourable senators, when we think of people who report on and bring us the news, we tend to think about those who stand in front of the camera. We see them and talk about them as if we know them.

Dean Heywood was a CBC parliamentary TV cameraman. Though he worked on the other side of the lens, unseen by television audiences, he delivered the crucial aspect of countless memorable news stories. He was a “great shooter,” as we say, and he was passionate about his job and his role in journalism.

I met Dean 30 years ago here in Ottawa. On many occasions, CTV and CBC would use the same crews. In these pooled arrangements covering the Prime Minister overseas, Dean would be the pool cameraman. He always treated me professionally. It was irrelevant that we were from competing networks. What brought us together was a shared purpose and that is what mattered to both of us.

Dean could be full of mischief, too, and he was fun to be around. As they say in the news business, “What happens on the road, stays on the road.” Dean was full of laughter and he never took himself seriously, only the story.

When I heard of his death last week, I was in shock — a good friend gone. Dean died suddenly late last month while snorkeling off the Costa Rican coast. His enthusiasm for the things he enjoyed was like an unstoppable force. It is shocking that this has happened.

Since his death, people who knew him and worked with him have reacted with tremendous sadness. He was only 59. He died too soon. He still had so much to bring to this world and the people in his life — especially his wife and children, whom he loved so much. His family must be struggling to come to grips with this loss and my thoughts are with them. I think Dean’s obituary said it the best: “Dean passed away while snorkeling in paradise with the love of his life, Cheryl.”

I want to thank honourable senators for giving me this opportunity to pay tribute to my friend Dean Heywood and for listening with the respect owed to a life well lived.