Bernard Ostry

Bernard Ostry, public servant (b at Wadena, Sask 10 Jun 1927). After studying history at U of Man, Ostry launched an academic career at the universities of London and Birmingham in England. There, in collaboration with H.S. Ferns, he published The Age of Mackenzie King: The Rise of the Leader (1955; 2nd ed, 1976), a critical and controversial study of the former prime minister.

Bernard Ostry

Bernard Ostry, public servant (b at Wadena, Sask 10 Jun 1927). After studying history at U of Man, Ostry launched an academic career at the universities of London and Birmingham in England. There, in collaboration with H.S. Ferns, he published The Age of Mackenzie King: The Rise of the Leader (1955; 2nd ed, 1976), a critical and controversial study of the former prime minister.

Ostry returned to Canada in the late 1950s, working for the CBC 1960-68 as a broadcaster and subsequently as an administrator in the public affairs department. He was then a commissioner on a prime-ministerial task force regarding government information, and one of the authors of its report, To Know and Be Known (1969); this provided a transition for the ambitious and now well-connected Ostry to the top level of the federal government cultural bureaucracy. He was assistant undersecretary of state 1970-73; secretary general, National Museums of Canada, 1974-78; and finally deputy minister of communications 1978-80.

His strong views on the importance of the arts and the government's role in cultural life are contained in his The Cultural Connection (1978). In 1981, after a brief sojourn in France with his wife Sylvia Ostry, he moved to the Ontario government, where he served in a series of deputy minister appointments before becoming Chairman and CEO of the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario), the province's public television service, from 1985-1992. He was also a member of the board of governors for the Canadian Council for the Arts (1977-82, 1986-91) and Director and later President (1990) of the Association for Tele-Education in Canada (ATEC), 1985-91.

He is associated with numerous boards including: Writers' Development Trust (1985-), the Children's Broadcast Institute (1987-91), the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (1987- ), the Festival of Music of Canada (1988), Canadian Native Arts (1990), the National Ballet School (1990) and the Marshall McLuhan Centre on Global Communications (1990). From 1991-93, Ostry was chairman of the Shaw Festival Board.