profile image

Raymond Heard

Former Communications Director, Liberal Party

Raymond Heard is a Canadian journalist, editor, media executive and political strategist. He is president of Toronto-based Heard-Cosgrove Communications, whose clients include some of Canada's largest companies.

A white South African by birth, Heard, whose parents, George and Vida Heard, were prominent liberal journalists, was a political reporter for the Rand Daily Mail from 1955 until 1960.

In 1960,he graduated with a BA Hon. in political science at the University of the Watersrand (Johannesburg) and then spent a year at Harvard University on a Frank Knox Fellowship, where his teachers included Henry Kissinger and J.K.Galbraith.

While there, he wrote an article on the political situation in his homeland for the Harvard Crimson in which he described apartheid as "a combination of hatred, fear, and ignorance" and predicted its ultimate downfall.

An opponent of the apartheid regime, he left South Africa in 1962 and immigrated to Canada where he found a job with the Montreal Star. He served as the Star's White House correspondent, and a correspondent for the London Observer, the South African Morning Group, and O Estado de Sao Paulo, from 1963 until 1973, when he became editor of the London Observer's foreign news service.

In 1976, he returned to the Montreal Star as managing editor, with responsibility for all content, and remained with the newspaper until it closed in 1979 after a crippling 11-month printers' strike.

Heard then moved to the Global Television Network where he served as vice president, news and current affairs, until 1987 when he accepted a position as communications director for Liberal leader John Turner.

In the 1988 free trade election, Heard was in charge of Turner's TV debate team.

During the 2008 federal election, as a Liberal he endorsed his friend Conservative Peter Kent's winning candidacy for Parliament.

From 1990 until 2000, Heard was the senior adviser, media and speech-writing, to two chairmen and CEOs of Royal Bank of Canada, Allan Taylor and John Cleghorn. As the adviser to Cleghorn during the abortive effort to merge Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal in 1998, Heard played the role of devil's advocate, warning that the merger would be denied by the Liberal government unless the banks did more to explain why the merger would benefit customers.

In 2000, he launched Heard-Cosgrove Communications.

Since 2000, Heard has been President of Heard-Cosgrove Communications, whose clients include Onex Corp., Indigo Books and Music, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, LingoMedia, Mainstreet Equity, Western Financial Group, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, the Mosaic Institute and Sonomax Technologies. From 2005 until 2009, he hosted a public affairs program on digital i-channel and appears on CTV and CBC current affairs programs as a guest and is a contributor to the National Post.

Heard was responsible for making Nelson Mandela, whom he had covered as a young reporter in South Africa, an Honourary Canadian, in 2001, the fist living person to get this honour.

In 1965, the Royal Humane Society honoured Heard, an avid surfer since boyhood, for saving the life of a woman bather at Land's End, Cornwall.

In early 2010, a consortium made up of Heard, Senator Jerry Grafstein, Beryl Wajsman and Diane Francis announced a bid to purchase the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette from the floundering CanWest media conglomerate.

Heard is married to the Canadian journalist, Gillian Cosgrove and they have a daughter, Jennifer, a 2010 political science honours graduate from Guelph University.

He has two children, Josephine Robson of London, and Antony Heard of Ottawa, from his first marriage to Susan Lewis (now Lady Susan Steyn).

Heard's younger brother, Anthony Heard, remained in South Africa and served as editor in chief of the liberal Cape Times for many years until he was dismissed after breaking the apartheid laws in 1986 by publishing his interview with Oliver Tambo, the exiled leader of the African National Congress (ANC).

When Nelson Mandela became president of the new South Afriuca, Anthony Heard became an adviser in The Presidency, serving until 2010.

Heard's father George was a popular radical journalist in the 1930s, who exposed pro-Nazis in the government. He served in the SA Navy, and disappeared in full uniform in Cape Town after VE Day in 1945. It was later discovered that Heard, who was number two on the death list of the Nazi Afrikaner Broederbond underground, had been kidnapped and murdered to prevent him from launching a post-war newspaper that would advocate a new, non-racial country.
DAVE CHAN via Getty Images

How Nelson Mandela Touched Canada (And Vice Versa)

Mandela acknowledged Canada played a more positive role than most other western countries in helping the African National Congress to topple the apartheid state. Prairie firebrand John Diefenbaker persuaded the Commonwealth to take a stand against apartheid. And all prime ministers after Dief rallied to Mandela's standard.
12/06/2013 03:53 EST

Would Mark Carney Have Been the Next Liberal Leader?

Mark Carney, the Bank of Canada governor who's been appointed to head the Bank of England, may go down in history as the best prime minister Canada never had. Carney has a Harvard and Oxbridge background. He is bilingual, with George Clooney good looks, and the ability to deliver pithy sound-bites. Overall, Carney, 47, was seen as the very antithesis of Justin Trudeau, 40, whose most challenging management mission to date was teaching a high school drama class. Why, then, did he slam his door on this opportunity?
11/28/2012 08:03 EST
CP

Dalton McGuinty Resigns, Will He Step into Federal Politics?

A bright outcome of Dalton McGuinty's decision to retire could be that he's persuaded to run for the leader of the federal Liberals. In my view, only a McGuinty candidacy could halt the Justin Trudeau bandwagon in an election next spring open to anyone in Canada. Like him or not, McGuinty has actually managed a huge enterprise, Canada's biggest province, whereas the biggest thing Mr. Trudeau has managed is a high school drama class and -- or so he insists -- a Twitter site with some 160,000 fans.
10/15/2012 09:41 EDT
MBDA

My Memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis, 50 Years Later

Fifty years ago this month, the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis confronted us with the very real possibility of a nuclear war. People wanted to forget the missile crisis. But we should always remember what happened 50 years ago -- as a sobering reminder of how easily humankind can stumble into apocalypse, if there are not wise leaders to stop at the brink.
10/08/2012 12:04 EDT

The Only Hope for the Liberals May be an NDP Merger

The real question pundits should be asking is: Should the Liberals merge with the New Democrats? For his part, Justin Trudeau concedes that, if his party does not "shine" by the 2015 election, a merger may indeed be the only way to evict Stephen Harper from 24 Sussex Drive. A recent poll asked Liberals if they like the idea of a merger, a staggering 64 per cent said yes. This poll also found that 56 per cent of Canadians see the Liberals as a spent force. Doesn't seem so crazy now, does it?
07/27/2012 12:53 EDT

Ok, So it's Winnipeg -- But Finally Our Human Rights Champions Will Get Their Due

How many Canadians know who Viola Desmond was? In 1946, years before Rosa Parks famously refused to move to the back of a bus in the U.S. South; Ms. Desmond refused to sit in the balcony seats reserved for blacks in a Halifax cinema. She deserves a place in the history of Canada -- and she, and many other Canadian human rights heroes, will get it here in Winnipeg.
02/26/2012 12:04 EST
Getty

Not Just Hippies Occupying Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street is supported by titans of commerce, not just a bunch of latter-day hippies, street people and other idealistic, but woefully misguided, young people. And those pundits, including the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, who whine it has no clear goal, are themselves hypocrites.
10/19/2011 02:54 EDT

"Who Gassed You Today, Dad?" One Man's Memory of Street Protests

The essential difference between Occupy Wall Street and street protests a generation ago is that the latter were for human rights and peace, whereas the motive of the former is mainly economic. Given that history can repeat itself as farce and tragedy, here are some recollections of the high points of the American protests.
10/04/2011 03:49 EDT

In the Beginning, the Idea, the Word, Then Babble

We live in an idea-driven economy in which, when asked if he has anything to declare at customs, a Bill Gates (with Microsoft in his brain) can reply with a straight face "I have absolutely nothing to declare!"
06/18/2011 12:03 EDT

Hold Page One for the Suits in Foggy Bottom!

You can bet your bottom Loonie that the biting, elegant prose of the WikiLeaks cable on the Liberal Party has exposed the weakness in political thinking at the very centre of the party under Ignatieff. They also show how astute American officials can be in assessing the political tea leaves.
06/06/2011 11:48 EDT