John Aird (banker)

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Sir John Aird (November 15, 1855 – November 30, 1938) was a Canadian banker. Born in Longueuil, Quebec, he joined the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1878, becoming president of that organization in 1924 and holding the position until 1929.

Aird Commission[edit]

A number of problems had arisen during 1920s, causing debates on how broadcasting should be managed. These problems included the feeling that religious radio stations had "...emerged as a new weapon with which one religious group could bludgeon another...",[1] and that U.S. stations unfairly dominated the airwaves despite an agreements to reserve some frequencies exclusively for Canadian stations. [2] These led the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King to establish a Royal Commission on the subject of broadcasting. Aird was appointed head of the three-man commission which also included Augustin Frigon, an electrical engineer, and Charles Bowman, editor of the Ottawa Citizen.

In 1929 the Aird Commission delivered its nine-page Report of the Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting to Parliament. Included in the report was the recommendation that broadcasting in Canada should benefit the people of the country. To this end, the report recommendeded a publicly owned system funded in part by a $3 annual licence fee, in essence the blueprint for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Unfortunately, the stock market crashed a scant six weeks after the report was issued, making government support for public broadcasting problematic. Eventually, however, under the government of R. B. Bennett, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission was formed in 1932 under the chairmanship of Hector Charlesworth, a journalist and music critic from Saturday Night magazine.

Aird died in Toronto in 1938.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McGowan, Mark. "The People’s University of the Air: St. Francis Xavier University Extension, Social Christianity, and the Creation of CJFX". Acadiensis. University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "Canada Radio Fans Fight Interference." Tampa (FL) Tribune, January 16, 1927, p. 12D.