Canadians make a plea for Haiti
Canadian stars presented a unified plea Friday night to help victims of Haitiís devastating earthquake.
An early estimate suggested $2.5 million was raised during the one-hour Canadian special, which was broadcast live on CBC, CTV and Global Television.
The show began with the song ìTryî by Nelly Furtado and also included performances by KíNaan, Metric and The Tragically Hip.
Home renovator, television host and author Mike Holmes was among the Canadian celebrities making a live appearance. Holmes said he is already at ways to help the stricken country in the same way he helped in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
ìI picked up my phone right away and I said we should start talking about we can do to help.î
On his role as a telethon co-host Ben Mulroney said, ìWhen we talk about being leaders in the world, this is what we mean and this (telethon) is just another way for us to do that. This is a long-term project, itís going to require countries from around the world and weíre doing more than our part in an attempt to pull people in the same direction. Iím just privileged to play a small role in that.î
Telethon co-host George Stroumboulopoulus said, ìThe fact that all the networks have come together, man, makes this so much better on a personal level. This actually is altruistic, there is no competition. You rarely get to do that in television, purely altruistic, commercial-free one hour, everybody working together. Lord have mercy, how crazy is that?î
Hip-hop artist Kínaan, a performer at the concert, urged fellow Canadians to keep helping the devastated country recover fully from an earthquake.
ìI canít say itís good to be here,î Kínaan said Friday afternoon after a sound check at the CBC headquarters on Front St. in Toronto, where the concert will be broadcast.
ìWhen something like this happens, you canít really say you feel great being here.î Instead, he called his performance ìa necessity. We show the best of ourselves during times of crisis. Iím just here to try to do my little bit.î
The 31-year-old Somali-born singer, who turned to rap to help learn English when his family moved to Toronto, will perform one song. The Tragically Hip is also scheduled to perform amid a glittering lineup of top Canadian talent, including singer CÈline Dion and director James Cameron.
The benefit concert is a collaboration among three networks, CBC, CTV and Global Television, which will all air the show at 7 p.m. ET and PT. It will also be streamed live to their websites and broadcast on CBC Radio Two.
From the world of film, the stars include Jason Reitman, Ryan Reynolds, William Shatner, Rachelle Lefevre, Joshua Jackson, Eugene Levy, Norman Jewison, Tom Jackson and Will Arnett.
From TV: Brent Butt, Hugh Dillon, Mike Holmes, Rick Mercer, Alex Trebek, Sandra Oh and Pamela Anderson.
Musicians Justin Bieber, Nelly Furtado, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Simple Plan, David Foster, Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida and Measha Brueggergosman will be part of the broadcast.
Also appearing are humanitarian Craig Kielburger and star athletes Wayne Gretzky and Steve Nash. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean will have special messages for Canadians.
ìAs the relief efforts move from rescue … to reconstruction, thereís going to be so much more need, and thatís one of the reasons that weíve all come together,î said Mulroney.
Stroumboulopoulos said it wasnít hard getting celebrities to give their time to the project.
ìOne of the things about this country is we have a long history of giving and a long history of trying to come together,î he said. ìItís part of (our) identity.î
Donations collected during the broadcast will go to a number of non-profit organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross Society, Care Canada, Free the Children, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec, Plan Canada, Save the Children Canada, UNICEF Canada and World Vision Canada.
All donations will be split evenly among the charities, said World Vision Canada president Dave Toycen, who urged Canadians to give Haitians hope.
ìIíve been involved in disaster work for over 30 years and this is one of the worst Iíve ever (seen),î said Toycen, who just returned after spending six days in Haiti.
One of the lasting experiences he had was meeting a woman who insisted that Toycen take her young son, because she feared he had no chance of a good life in Haiti.
ìThatís what this special is about in a way. First, itís to answer that call to give help, but itís also to prove to that mother: You donít have to give your child away in order for your child to have a future,î he said.
ìWeíve had a great response. Canadians have given very generously already and yet, I think thereís still people who havenít given. So I hope tonightís program will particularly challenge and touch people who havenít given yet.î
The U.S. benefit ìHope for Haiti Nowî will air immediately after the Canadian benefit. The two-hour special ó on CBC, CTV, Global, MTV, MuchMusic and National Geographic Channel ó will be hosted by George Clooney and include performances by the likes of Beyonce, Madonna, Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay and Taylor Swift.
Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow plan to perform a song together, as will Bono, the Edge, Jay-Z and Rihanna.
Canadians can donate by visiting www.CanadaForHaiti.com, dialing 1-877-51-HAITI, or texting AID to 45678.
Canadians make a plea for Haiti