John Aird (banker)

John Aird (banker)

Sir John Aird (1855-1938) was a Canadian banker.

Born in Longueuil, Quebec, he joined the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 1878, becoming president of that organization in 1924 and holding the position until 1929.

The Aird Commission

Beginning in 1928 a public reaction to attacks made via radio on the Catholic Church by the Jehovah's Witnesses lead 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".

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