Opinion

Final Hours for Rafe Mair Fund Drive: Donor Will Double Your Dollars

Alexandra Morton and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip add their support. Investigative reporting drive down to the wire.

By David Beers 13 Nov 2017 | TheTyee.ca

David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee.

Wow. Is the drive to create a Rafe Mair Memorial Fund for investigative reporting on the environment ever picking up steam today. Two big new voices added. And a surprise pledge to match today’s contributions dollar for dollar.

Just in time. Because it’s the last day of this campaign to pay for more Tyee reporting defending nature, finding solutions, honouring Rafe’s memory. Click and take a moment now, please, to help.

Mair spent a lifetime fighting for what Tyee readers love about British Columbia. I was so lucky to be his friend and editor for over a decade. Stunned to learn he’d died, I wrote my goodbye, calling him “the conscience of the province.”

Now it’s our turn to say thanks, and carry on Rafe’s ideals. Money raised will fund a fellowship for young journalists, and help pay for new investigations by pros like...

Andrew Nikiforuk, who has ripped the cover off fish farm, drilling and pipeline risks.

Zoë Ducklow, who has exposed the lack of due diligence behind the Site C decision.

Christopher Pollon, who has detailed the promise of clean energy.

Mitch Anderson, who travelled to Norway to show how Alberta’s soft deals with multinational oil corporations cost Canadians billions.

Will you help fund their work?

Join us in creating the Rafe Mair Memorial Fund for investigative reporting on the environment.

Does it help motivate you to know that, today, a donor has pledged to match dollar for dollar the next $1,000 contributed?

Whatever you give, every dollar will be spent on creating top-notch journalism, you have my word.

Two big new voices in support

Two major figures have added themselves to an already impressive list of supporters.

The latest are Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, and researcher Alexandra Morton, steward of wild salmon.

In saluting Rafe’s legacy, they join Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson, environmentalist Joe Foy, investigative ace Sean Holman, run of river private power boondoggle exposer Marvin Shaffer and award-winning journalist and Tyee senior editor Paul Willcocks.

And about 300 others (so far) who have already given to the Mair fund.

Says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip:

“The Indigenous People(s) of B.C. greatly valued Rafe’s political support, given his stature and prominence in the political discourse concerning the major Indigenous land and human rights and environmental issues confronting First Nations in B.C.

“Clearly, Rafe made a difference.

“We shall greatly miss his powerful, principled and uncompromising voice on the battlegrounds of public debate and public opinion.

“However, the legacy of his countless contributions to the many social and environmental justice issues Rafe championed shall continue to reverberate throughout the ongoing history of B.C. For that, we shall be forever grateful!”

Says Alexandra Morton:

“Rafe kept reminding us what free speech sounds like, free even from grammar, punctuation and spellcheck, at times! However, because he spoke from such experience the rawness of his message reached deep.

“He repeated many times to me not to give up, because, he said, you may be a lot closer to winning than you think. He was unabashed in his support for me, something no one else dares express. His voice on the phone always flooded me with encouragement and warmth. I am sad I won’t hear him again, but his words are in my head and I will continue to ‘give the bastards hell!’ in my own way.

“Free speech is under as great an assault as the living world around us. News services are shrinking and shirking away from anything that might perturb powerful corporate activities. It is essential that people can find the truth and trust some news providers. I honestly believe that life as we know it depends on this.”

If you agree, click here.

Just today, your dollars automatically double

The offer came out of the blue. No one at The Tyee sought or expected it when a long time reader offered to give up to $1,000 to match others’ contributions today.

The person is not employed by any special interest group. We asked why they were moved to be so generous, and this is what they said:

“Effective journalism is at the core of a functioning democracy, but it is in trouble. As media fragment and mainstream dominant media consolidate their role as advertisers, society truly needs independent thought and independent communication. The Tyee has played an exemplary role during recent years in bringing important ideas and real information to its readers. This has impressed me, and I think that anyone who values democracy and can afford to should support this kind of journalism.”

The secret supporter was just getting warmed up. They continued:

“Rafe Mair, whatever you thought of his views on any particular issue, knew how to interest people in important ideas. I valued him as an independent thinker who had studied history, who loved British Columbia, Canada and the natural environment. We shared interests in protecting wild rivers and fisheries, and in plain speech and breaking through spin and dissimulation.

“Rafe transcended party politics, especially as his experiences in life matured. This is one reason why he had many admirers and friends.

“We can respect Rafe’s contributions by fostering the independence of other journalists, especially people starting out along a challenging path. They are really the future guarantors of a democratic society that is the envy of much of the world — but is also as strong or as fragile as our will to protect it.”

Again, all I can say is wow. Such beautifully stated reasons to give today to this project — and see your dollars double.

All I will add is that time is ticking. The requests will stop after tonight. You won’t be pestered anymore!

Total contributions — yours included? — will stand as a monument to all that my friend Rafe held dear.

He’d appreciate this very much, I am sure. He’d want his legacy to be real journalism. Based on hard facts. Dug out with hard work. Paid for by people who understand the need, and who care.

Find out more or give to the Rafe Mair Memorial Fund for investigative reporting on the environment here.  [Tyee]

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