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Guild mourns the passing of David Isaac

Members of the Canadian Media Guild lost a good friend Friday when veteran CBC producer and Guild activist David Isaac died suddenly, two days after stomach surgery in New York.

Click here to read memories of David and condolence messages from friends and colleagues.

Isaac, 57, started at CBC in Toronto as a copy clerk in 1975.?He then worked as a freelance film cameraman and editor and became permanent staff at Toronto’s CBLT in 1981, working as a desk editor.

He soon moved to Calgary, where he spent two decades working as both a?local reporter and Newsworld producer, and returned to Toronto in 2003 to work as a TV resource specialist.

He was a long-time Guild activist, starting as a shop steward and then serving as president of the Calgary location unit,?and most recently?as co-chair of the national joint health and safety committee at the CBC.

“Dave loved television work but helping Guild members was probably more important to him,”?said CMG President Lise Lareau.

“He was compassionate about all sorts of issues and with that booming voice, he provided true leadership at every level.

“He also happened to be the lineup editor who oversaw my first ever TV report at CBLT’s “Newsfinal” in 1982, and I feel the CBC has lost part of its newsgathering history today,”
Lareau said.

Isaac received his 25-year award for his work at the CBC only this year.

“Dave stood out during the lockout,” recalled CMG staff representative Bruce May. “He looked after all the needs of the picket line. You could say he used his best skills as a producer in organizing the people and logistics that go into a lockout.”

CMG vice-president Scott Edmonds said he knew Isaac as someone who always had something intelligent to add to Guild discussions, whether during conventions or just sharing a drink.

“You spoke to Dave and you knew he had a good soul and what he said came from his heart as well as his head.”

Bob Waller, of CBC TV news, remembers meeting him for the first time. “I met him in May 1970, outside the U.S. Consulate in Toronto. He was freelancing as a still photographer. It was a huge, violent demonstration against the U.S. invasion of Cambodia,” recalled Waller. “He was the same, big effervescent guy that he was through his journalistic career at the CBC. He was a force in every newsroom where he worked.”

One of his last projects with the Guild was trying to put together a national conference on the safety of news crews, particularly those sent to cover conflicts. He brought the idea to the floor of the 2006 CMG convention in Calgary, where it was endorsed.

He leaves his wife, Barbara Schacter.

David’s funeral will be held December 18 at 11:30 am at Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel at 2401 Steeles Avenue West. You can sign a memorial book for the family by visiting www.benjamins.ca .

[We invite you to share your own personal reminiscences or messages of condolence. Please send them to Keith Maskell at keith@cmg.ca .

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