Gary Slaight: “They have been part of my rock ’n’ roll family ever since my dad, Allan Slaight, launched Q107 in the late ‘70s. Playing lots of Rush was a key reason for our early success. In 1982, Rush staged their first benefit concert. It was at Maple Leaf Gardens for the United Way. Dad was chair of the campaign at the time. Since then, they have gone on to help a vast array of charities both collectively and individually.
“They have raised funds for Alberta Flood Relief, Winnipeg’s Museum of Human Rights, Toronto’s Second Harvest, AIDS research, UNICEF to name but a few. For their last series of tours, the band donated one dollar for every concert ticket sold to various charities. That initiative alone has raised over two million dollars.”
Alex Lifeson: “Seldom in our times have we felt a greater need for the humanitarian spirit than now, with the rising voices of fear and distrust becoming more commonplace, anger and hatred competing with love and compassion. It is more crucial than ever to champion the basic principles of human welfare.
“We are all capable of promoting these ideals and see it in the courageous spirit of Malala Yousafzai or the unwavering spirit of so many other human rights champions. We are all capable of doing something, grand or humble to further our moral obligation to make the world a better place for all. It should be every person’s hope and intent to follow in the steps of those who lead us in a direction towards compassion, empathy and care for many in need of a helping hand and a gentle pull up. Thank you very much.”
-- An onstage exchange as Rush received the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Award.
(L to R): Gary Slaight; Rush’s Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee; Polaris Music Prize founder Steve Jordan; Toronto Mayor John Tory backstage at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards held at the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Centre in Toronto on Thursday, April 20.