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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.