Describing Gary Slaight is no easy task, but then his kind are few and far between and in Canada’s music industry he stands alone for his generosity, unstinting energy in promoting the cause of Canadian artists–and on a broader scale in making the world a better place for the disadvantaged.
He’s smart (incredibly so), a private man whose loyalty is known to all who have had the chance to know him well.
He can be brash; he’s a perfectionist, not given to small talk, forever ambitious and a man of his word. With his father, Allan, he’s a self-made billionaire a few times over, and he doesn’t throw his money around lightly, doesn’t flaunt his position of wealth, and is at all times centred by a family who means the world to him.
Saturday, March 23rd, in Vancouver, Gary was honoured with the Juno Humanitarian Award at Rogers Convention Centre. Below is an interview he did with CBC's George 'Strombo' Stroumboulopoulos about his drive to better this world that was conducted shortly before his receiving the Juno Humanitarian Award. It illuminates Gary Slaight's drive, passion and commitment to humanitarian deeds and investing in causes that help raise the standard of living for those disadvantaged both at home here in Canada and abroad.
Also included is Gary Slaight's acceptance speech and the text of a message he included in the Juno Gala program.
The Acceptance speech
Text of his message included in the Juno Gala program:
"Friends and family –
"It is an honour to be the recipient of the 2018 Humanitarian Award at this year’s Junos. I thank CARAS for the recognition and I accept it, humbly, knowing that I am part of a big broadcasting family.
"My dad was both a broadcaster and a magician. He may be best known, of course, for transforming a single radio station into a broadcasting empire - Standard Broadcasting. It was, however, a group effort. So, when we sold the company in 2007 and had the chance to really give back to the community and country that have given us so much, we established the Slaight Family Foundation and Slaight Music to do just that.
"Whether it is by providing scholarships to music schools, donations to cancer research, supporting indigenous projects, advancing the careers of Canadian artists, or protecting human rights, it is all about transformation. And, I can say from experience, to be given the opportunity to make a change in an artist’s career, the life of a community or, dare I say, the planet, is at once enriching and humbling. You have heard it from others, and you will hear it from me, there is no greater reward than helping others. Indeed, my dad and his wife Emmanuelle Gattuso, my mom Ada, wife Donna and our kids Ali and Chrissy, all share this belief.
"As we gather here in Vancouver I am reminded how much of an honour it is to be part of this Canadian music family. We assist each other when we can. We help each other make dreams reality. Although sometimes luck may be involved, our industry knows that success comes to those who usually stay the course. And because we all know what it takes, how hard it can be, we are thrilled when any of us succeed, and we applaud that success.
"So, congratulations to all the Juno nominees. Special congratulations to Barenaked Ladies for their induction into the Juno Hall of Fame, and to Denise Donlon, the recipient of this year’s Walt Grealis award.
"Enjoy yourselves, and enjoy this annual gathering that celebrates the wonder, the magic, and the power of music. It gives us so much.
"Kind thoughts and best wishes,"