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Big Fish: Look Who's Swimming with The Tyee!

From Atwood to Vaillant, two dozen famous Canadians want to give you their signed books for supporting The Tyee.

Shannon Smart 17 Apr

Shannon Smart is The Tyee's community manager.

At The Tyee, we don't normally brag. 

I mean, come on. We're named after a fish. An impressive fish, sure, but a fish nonetheless. And nobody likes a self-centred salmon.

In the past few months, however, we've been working on a new project: the Tyee Builder Program. As part of gearing up for yesterday's launch, we contacted some of Canada's leading lights. We asked if they'd like to show their support for The Tyee's independent journalism, and to help us spread the word to not only become sustainable, but to double the journalism we do. 

The responses we received from more than two dozen Canadian authors, artists, activists, and musicians that we asked to join us, well, let's just say that -- until now -- we didn't know that a salmon could blush. Many acclaimed writers signed books for us to give to readers who sign up and become Tyee Builders. (Which means if you'd like to support The Tyee, please click here -- and do so quickly if you'd like your first choice of book!).

Margaret Atwood is a Tyee Builder because she believes "in these times, we need all the friends of open, accountable democracy that we can get." Author Graeme Gibson, who also happens to be Margaret's long-time partner, had similar things to say about The Tyee's journalism: he believes that right now, Canadians need "clear-eyed writing and analysis," and The Tyee provides that.

Naomi Klein, another Canadian icon, supports The Tyee "because its reporters are brave, independent, and smart as hell -- and because Canadians need to learn the truth behind government spin more than ever before."

Lawrence Martin, the free swinging, highly connected Canadian journalist who wrote the books on the ruling tactics of Stephen Harper and Jean Chretien, signed up to be a Tyee Builder because "it's an intelligent publication. It's also one of the few media in western Canada that's to the left of Dick Cheney."

Terry Fallis, the Toronto-based novelist who makes federal politics not only interesting, but fun for the average Canadian readers in The Best Laid Plans and The High Road, has signed up to be a Tyee Builder because he believes "Canadians deserve the thoughtful, balanced, and independent journalism The Tyee has delivered since 2003. We don't just deserve it. We need it. Long may it continue."

Legendary Canadian publisher and the founder of the Council of Canadians Mel Hurtig supports The Tyee "because it consistently features first-class, informative journalism of the kind you're not likely to find elsewhere."

Joseph Boyden, Giller- and Writers' Trust Prize-winner, supports The Tyee "because the writing is fresh and alive, and they report on news and issues that other media can't or won't cover."

Generous friends

Who else (with their generous publishers) is supporting our Builder program by signing and giving books as rewards for Builders who pledge $15 a month or more? Imagine a dinner conversation with this acclaimed bunch:

Joel Bakan (Childhood Under Siege); Gurjinder Basran (Everything Was Goodbye); Brian Brett (Trauma Farm); Stevie Cameron (The Pickton File); Lynn Coady (The Antagonists); Douglas Coupland (City of Glass); Ivan E. Coyote (Missing Her); Meeru Dhalwala (Vij's at Home: Relax, Honey); Susan Juby (Thee Woefield Poultry Collective); Linda McQuaig (The Trouble With Billionaires); Joan Thomas (Curiosity); Jane Urquart (Sanctuary Line); Peter C. Newman (When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada); Andrew Nikiforuk (Tar Sands) and John Vaillant (The Tiger).

These Tyee Builders have been incredibly generous. They've given us kind words, lent us the momentum that their names carry, and even signed books for us to share with you, if you'll sign up and join them in increasing The Tyee's reporting capacity.

For fun, we asked all these famous Canadians to tell us what "hooks" them besides Tyee journalism, a little exercise that summoned plenty of wit and insight. We'll be sharing what they told us in mini-profiles over the next few weeks, so check back regularly.

Meanwhile, perhaps you agree with esteemed B.C. artist and author Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, who says he's a Tyee Builder because he doesn't like his news "farmed out," and prefers to "take it wild." If so, sign up today and join the wild migration to help The Tyee grow twice as big and feisty.  [Tyee]

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