Canada Tibet Committee – 2008 Annual Report
Each year, hundreds of our friends give generously both in time and money to support the work of the Canada Tibet Committee. Your gifts are critical to our work. We hope this report is one way that we can detail how your generosity directly helped support Tibet.
2008 was tragically marked by the historic uprising in Tibet. Over 200 Tibetans died after Chinese authorities brutally cracked down on predominantly peaceful protests, thousands were injured and thousands more detained. For nearly three months CTC volunteers and staff worked tirelessly, seven days a week lobbying on behalf of Tibet, managing over 200 media requests from Canada and the U.S., and through local events ensuring that the sacrifice of Tibetans resisting oppression would resonate across Canada.
In the midst of these protests, the CTC with Parliamentary Friends of Tibet organized an all-party delegation from Ottawa and Queen’s Park to visit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Ann Arbor, Michigan to show Canada’s solidarity during this crisis. We also assisted the CBC in arranging a one-on-one interview for Peter Mansbridge with His Holiness that same day. That interview can be watched here: http://www.cbc.ca/mansbridge/2008/04/hh_the_dalai_lama.html
Your support also allowed us to take His Holiness’ April “Appeal to the Chinese people” directly to Chinese Canadians through the Chinese News. Our newspaper ad can be viewed here: http://www.tibet.ca/_media/PDF/CTC_chinese_ad.pdf . 2008 was the first year where the CTC also posted to our web site in Chinese.
There are some who believe Canada paid an economic price for standing with the Tibetan people during those tumultuous weeks, particularly over the decision of Prime Minister Stephen Harper not to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, honouring a request of the CTC. But Canada sent a clear message that it would not look the other way when the rights of Tibetans were under siege.
Perhaps it was former Team Canada member David Kay who personally symbolized the resilience of the Tibetan people as he biked 7,700 kms across Canada over July and August, bringing the Canada Tibet Committee’s Race for Rights campaign to communities large and small.
As David put it: “the ride was a great experience and wonderful in so many ways. I'm so happy I made you an offer without even thinking you would take me up on it. 7,700 kms, 42 days, 1,440 media hits and 20 pounds later fait accompli. Congrats on all the good planning, it was a real pleasure.” David’s journey across Canada is captured here: http://www.tibet.ca/en/raceforrights
And David was just one part of the CTC’s overall Olympics campaign. CTC branches organized and supported events for the Tibetan Freedom Torch as it passed across Canada on its worldwide relay. From the steps of the B.C. Legislature to a Voyageur canoe trek bringing the Torch to Parliament Hill, the Torch passed through six cities and was carried by Tibetan-Canadians for over 100 kms on land and water.
We appealed and engaged directly with Canadian athletes. And branches held events on both the opening and closing days of the Games.
But as an organization with a political mandate as well, not everything we do is appropriate to be announced via a news release or news conference. Much of our work takes the form of ‘quiet diplomacy’, ensuring that specific issues or cases are raised directly with those in Canada who have influence to help intervene on behalf of Tibetans, whether they’re members of Parliament, senators, premiers, department officials or corporate leaders. No opportunity is missed as we pursue this work.
This report can only highlight part of our work. Whether it was film festivals in Calgary and Vancouver or vigils in Yellowknife and Montreal, the CTC’s work and success in 2008 is due to the commitment of our volunteers, donors and supporters who proved that they were ready to support Tibet when events demanded. We truly appreciate your commitment.
And please know that we treat your gifts with great care, particularly in these economic times. Every dollar you generously give is stretched as far as we can for the Tibetan people.