September 07, 2017
BRUSSELS - “Working journalists have lost a true champion and the IFJ has lost a dear friend”, IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said to mark the death of Arnold Amber (pictured, right), the former head of IFJ affiliate The Newspaper Guild, Canada.
His union honored his memory as a “proud, passionate union leader, respected journalist, and fierce defender of free expression” following his death on Labor Day in a Toronto hospital with family at his bedside. He was 77.
Amber was director of TNG Canada from the time it was created in 1995 until he retired in 2011, and oversaw its evolution into CWA Canada.
A former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) journalist, he was also a committed and tireless campaigner for freedom of expression and workers’ rights.
He was a passionate advocate of international solidarity and was elected to serve on the IFJ’s Executive for six years.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon, who took over from Amber in 2011, called him “a brilliant man who applied himself with equal discipline and passion to journalism, the labor movement, and defending freedom of the press. All of us who knew Arnold will never forget his intelligence and sense of humor. He could be impatient and crusty, but he had a deeply tender and vulnerable side that made you love him. He would have had some wry crack about what it took for him to miss a Labor Day parade; he marched every year. We’ll miss you old friend.”
Bernie Lunzer, president of the NewsGuild, said: “Arnold Amber was of labor, and his passion and defence of it went back to the traditions he learned from his grandmother who worked with textile unions in Montreal. He worked hard on behalf of his peers at CBC and later for all the workers in what is now CWA Canada. As a leader, he never forgot where he came from. He was truly a man of substance.”
Linda Foley, former TNG-CWA President, and IFJ Vice-President said: "Arnold Amber was a champion for media rights and workers’ rights. That's why he placed such high value on his association with the IFJ. As a member of the Executive Committee, he brought focus, intelligence and quite a bit of humor to our meetings. A founder of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and IFEX, he fought tirelessly for press freedom and transparency. He articulated those values passionately and inclusively. - IFJ media release
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