Graham Spry

 Graham Spry, journalist, diplomat, international business executive, political organizer, advocate of public broadcasting (b at St Thomas, Ont 20 Feb 1900; d at Ottawa 24 Nov 1983). As cofounder with Alan PLAUNT in 1930 of the Canadian Radio League he was instrumental in mobilizing popular and political support for public broadcasting in Canada. A Rhodes scholar in history at Oxford, Spry began his career as a reporter and editorial writer for the Manitoba Free Press (1920-22). He was chairman of the Canadian Radio League 1930-34 (and years later of the Canadian Broadcasting League 1968-73). The CRL campaigned for the general recommendation of the 1929 royal commission on broadcasting - the establishment and the support of a national system operated as a public undertaking. Spry's famous 1932 aphorism, "The State or the United States," is apt even today (seeCANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION).

A political activist, he published the Farmers' Sun, renamed the New Commonwealth (1932-34); was coauthor of Social Planning for Canada, published by the LEAGUE FOR SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION (1935); and was chairman of the Ontario Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (1934-36). He then joined Standard Oil of California, becoming director (1940-46) of UK-based subsidiaries engaged in Arabian and other operations. At the same time he was personal assistant to Sir Stafford Cripps of the British War Cabinet (1942-45), accompanying him on his mission to India, and served in the Home Guard.

As agent general for Saskatchewan in the UK, Europe and the Near East (1946-68), among other duties he recruited doctors, nurses and other skilled personnel. He was instrumental in neutralizing the 1962 SASKATCHEWAN DOCTORS' STRIKE against medicare. In Canada 1968-83, he continued to work for public broadcasting until the end of his life.