Since I received the 2014 Dalton Camp Award from the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting earlier this year in Toronto, many people have asked me, “who’s Dalton Camp?” and “what’s the Dalton Camp Award?”
I’ve just finished helping organize and host a three-day summit conference on issues of importance to rural folks. One of the things that clearly emerged from this gathering was the acute need for more, not fewer, strong, articulate, thoughtful, provocative, unflinching public voices, taking on issues of crucial importance to us all. Not simply important to people living in cities, or those in positions of power. We need voices we may not always agree with, but can’t help being influenced, or at least stimulated by.
Dalton Camp was such a voice.
Camp was a Canadian journalist, politician, political strategist and commentator, and a supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Despite having never been elected to a seat in the House of Commons, he was a prominent and influential politician, and a popular commentator for decades. He is a central figure in Red Toryism, a movement largely forgotten in the wake of years of Harper-style, flinty, mean-spirited conservatism. He was a fascinating figure of a type seldom seen in any age, a type almost completely absent from the public stage today.
Intrigued? Then here’s a thoughtful essay on Camp by my old buddy from my political science graduate studies days, Allan Gregg you’ll enjoy reading. And here’s a fascinating video tribute to Camp:
As for The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, it’s an independent watchdog for Canadian programming, unaffiliated with any broadcaster or political party. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting announced the creation of the Dalton Camp Award in 2002 to honour the memory of Camp, a distinguished commentator on Canadian public affairs, who passed away earlier that year. Since then the prize has been awarded eleven times to dozens of writers across Canada.
Friends’ goal is to encourage Canadians to reflect and express themselves through original essays on the link between democracy and the media.
According to Jim Byrd, chair of The Dalton Camp Award Selection Committee, “the submissions this year were particularly strong and plentiful. We are thrilled to help draw attention to such powerful and thoughtful ideas on such an important topic.”
So there you go.