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Our purpose | FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting

Our purpose

Our purpose
A very powerful idea – that Canada should remain a free and independent country – unites us from coast to coast to coast in a common cause.
Our Purpose
Protect and defend

Canada enjoys a distinct cultural and democratic identity that joins us together and sets us apart. In every generation, vigilant citizens have fought against powerful interests to carve out space for Canada in the broadcasting system, so that our culture and identity can develop and evolve.

FRIENDS works to protect and defend Canada’s rich culture and the healthy democracy it sustains. A strong CBC, fearless journalism, and our shared story make us who we are. Millions of Canadians care deeply about the values and they deserve a tireless advocate in Ottawa. That’s us.

In every generation
Legends of Canadian broadcasting

1900

1901

1919

1923

1928

1930

1932

Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden becomes the first person to transmit speech by radio, when he beamed his own voice a distance of 1.6 km. Soon after, he performed the first two-way transatlantic radio communcation. He would later invent sonar.

Reginald Fessenden

The inventor of radio, Guglielmo Marconi received the first ever transatlantic radio signal on Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland, using a 500 foot kite as an antenna. In 1903, Marconi would found his Wireless Telegraph Company in Montreal.

Guillelmo Marconi in Montreal

XWA Montreal becomes Canada's first official radio station broadcasting music to a general audience. In 1920, XWA broadcast an entertainment program to a live audience located 175 km away, at the Château Laurier hotel in Ottawa.

First broadcast at XWA Montreal

Canadian National Railway sets out to build Canada's first national radio network. The original purpose of the network was to entertain passengers on cross-country trains, but the signal could also be received by Canadians living close to CNR transmitters.

CNR Listening Booth

Prime Minister Mackenzie King launches the Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting, led by prominent banker, John Aird. A strong proponent of free enterprise, Aird surprised many in 1930 when his commission recommended a fully public broadcasting system for Canada.

Graham Spry (pictured) and Allan Plaunt launch the Canadian Radio League to rally political support for public broadcasting in Canada. The two were smart, tireless, and extremely well-connected. FRIENDS is proud to follow in the CRL's footsteps as a defender of Canada's cultural sovereignty.

Graham Spry

Following years of heated debate, Conservative Prime Minister R.B. Bennett creates Canada's first publci broadcaster, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission. Bennett shocks fellow Conservatives by nationalizing most private radio transmitters to create an effective monopoly for CRBC.

RB Bennett in his office
What We're Working For
Clear Priorities
Excellent Public Broadcasting

Canadians deserve a well-financed, fully independent CBC that informs, enlightens, and entertains all Canadians. It's time to restore CBC's public-interest ethos.

A Fair Broadcasting System

Canada must end special treatment for foreign internet broadcasters like Netflix. They must contribute their fair share to the production of Canadian news and stories.

A confident and democratic Canada that doesn't let Sillicon Valley or Hollywood push us around

Left to their own devices, American tech monopolies pose an existential threat to Canada. It's time for us to assert democratic sovereignty over ethically-compromised corporations like Google, Facebook, and Netflix, before they colonize our information, communication, and entertainment media completely. Canadian culture, democracy, and sovereignty hang in the balance.

Our values
What makes Canadians Canadian
  1. Public broadcasting is sacred. CBC leads us forward, brings us together, and makes us stronger.
  2. Fearless journalism preserves our democracy. That's a core tenet of Canadian culture.
  3. Culture is not a commodity. It is an essential public good that brings Canadians together and fortifies our democracy.
  4. The story never stops. Canadians are open-minded people who embrace difference. The audiovisual environment needs to reflect and contribute to the ongoing evolution of a unique and distinct Canadian identity that brings us together in a shared sense of belonging.
  5. Show it all. We are a bilingual, multicultural, decentralized federation with roots in Indigenous cultures and knowledge, open to the world. Our past is at once beautiful and disgraceful. Our future is what we make it. Canadians deserve to engage with content that reflects our evolving character – that challenges us to build a better country.

To engage with our culture is to engage with our fellow Canadians. That peaceful, civil engagement is what keeps our democracy alive.

Daniel Bernhard
Executive Director and Spokesperson for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
We're fighting to defend Canadian culture and democracy.