Dear [first name],
I have some exciting news to share. In the coming weeks, FRIENDS’ Board will begin a search for a new Executive Director/Spokesperson, a move I heartily endorse.
All of the details regarding this transition can be found at friends.ca/future.
Because you are one of FRIENDS’ most loyal supporters, I want you to be among the first to know.
I have served as Spokesperson since FRIENDS first got off the ground in 1985. I have vivid memories of hosting a meal with Peter Herrndorf, Chaviva Hosek. Peter Newman, Walter Pitman, Lois Wilson and several others after a particularly brutal cut to the budget of the CBC. We decided to take out a two-page ad in The Globe and Mail to urge Prime Minister Mulroney to reconsider his government’s attack on public broadcasting. Because the Globe insisted that we put a name on the ad, we came up with Friends of ‘Public’ Broadcasting — on the spot!
A lot has changed since then. In 1987 we incorporated as Friends of ‘Canadian’ Broadcasting — with a broader mission to defend and improve Canadian content on radio and TV. And we grew from a handful of concerned people to hundreds of thousands who care deeply about the future of our country — always willing to roll up our sleeves and invest our money to defend Canada’s democracy and cultural sovereignty!
Through it all, FRIENDS’ investors have stood side by side in support of shared patriotic and democratic values. In fact, almost one thousand of our very first donors are among those who continue to contribute their time and money — to this very day!
While much has changed over the years, the struggle to defend and enhance Canada’s cultural sovereignty remains urgent.
FRIENDS’ future priorities include:
- Strengthening public broadcasting by reducing CBC’s dependency on advertising revenue and ensuring arm’s-length governance through merit-based appointments to CBC’s Board of Directors and CEO, independent from political patronage
- Defending local news and story telling, especially in small and medium-sized cities: both under grave threat today
- Defending the core values of the Broadcasting Act that ensure pride of place for Canadian programs, including news, under attack by powerful interests as Ottawa is set to review the Broadcasting Act (as well as the Telecommunications Act) later this year
- Closing tax loopholes that give foreign companies such as Google and Facebook an unfair advantage over Canadian-owned media
- Persuading the Conservatives that attacking public broadcasting is a lose/lose proposition for them — their new leader, Andrew Scheer campaigned on a platform including closing down CBC/SRC’s news operations
The Harper decade has diminished CBC’s capacity. Meanwhile, all Canadian media face daunting challenges in the digital age, with some experts predicting the disappearance of many Canadian news outlets in the near future. Our democracy and identity hang in the balance. What is the future of a people that cannot tell their own stories through the most powerful communications media?
Threats of this magnitude have lurked just beneath the surface ever since FRIENDS first arrived on the scene. They command our continuing vigilance in an age of Trump authoritarianism.
That is why, with a new leader in place, I will continue to serve on FRIENDS Board, focusing on safeguarding the continuity of our important work, while coaching our new leader, as needed. And, until such time as a new leader is in place, I will continue to serve as FRIENDS’ Spokesperson.
I am convinced that FRIENDS has an important and growing role to play in defending Canadian democracy and identity — maintaining a distinct country on the northern half of the North American continent.
That’s why I invite you to join with me to make a special financial contribution to FRIENDS’ Future Fund. This Fund will ensure that FRIENDS remains vigilant — now, and into the future.