I come from Belleville, Ontario but grew up in many countries including Venezuela, the United States and Switzerland. I was fortunate to land at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in the 1960s to study English and art history; later, after a year as an intelligence officer-in-training and as a foreign service officer in Ottawa, I did my graduate work in English at University College in London, England and taught English at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.
But the most fun I ever had at any school was the year I spent at the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. My goal was to become a food writer.
And that's what happened - I became the Toronto Star's food writer in 1977.
Soon I moved into other areas of newspaper reporting and finally found the best place for me was in covering national politics for the Ottawa Citizen, The Globe and Mail and Maclean's.
Eventually I moved into television as the host of the CBC's Fifth Estate (big mistake) and left to write On the Take, a book about the Mulroney years in government. Soon afterwards I started a national magazine called Elm Street (good move- it was a first-class magazine and won many national awards). With regret, I left Elm Street three years later to write The Last Amigo, a book about Karlheinz Schreiber, a German-Canadian arms dealer who kick-started the Airbus scandal in Canada and payoff scandals in Germany that destroyed the reputation of former chancellor Helmut Kohl.