The two came to their activism differently. Maida remembers leaving a Peter Gabriel concert at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens and being handed an Amnesty International sticker and Greenpeace flyer and talking with their representatives. He signed up to Amnesty’s mailing list and then to Irish band U2’s newsletter, who have always been political and charity driven. “I was always connected to the musicians who had a social conscience, and as I started as a musician and an artist it was just part of it from the beginning,” he says. “Obviously, it wasn’t until I really got to know the people at War Child that that became the main cause. But I always felt like that was part of being an artist for me, in a weird way. It just didn’t work without it.”
For Kreviazuk, there wasn’t one incident that set her down a charitable path. “I have always been the justice police. I have always been curious and questioned the establishment and the world around me in general. Even as a child, I could not accept the poverty in my hometown’s downtown core. I was dismayed by the quality of life that our indigenous population seemed to endure. My father was generous – to the church, to NGOs – I saw that.”
When Maida and Kreviazuk first met, they didn’t talk about social and political issues or shared views on certain causes, he says. They were busy making music. But in September 2000, after Kreviazuk played a huge benefit concert for War Child Canada in Winnipeg, they decided that they wanted to get more deeply involved. A dinner with Dr. Samantha Nutt and Dr. Eric Hoskins, War Child’s founders, set them on the same philanthropic course. “The night we had dinner with Sam and Eric about (going to) Iraq, we knew that was something we both wanted to do. And basically through that trip, and through the interaction with War Child in the years that followed, it kind of just set the tone,” says Maida.
“Raine and I were meant to challenge each other intellectually and that was clear right from the start.”
Still, they never set out to support similar causes. It just worked out that way. “We’re like-minded people in terms of what we write about, what we talk about, what we’re passionate about, but in terms of ever really having a conversation about what we believe in, it never actually had to happen,” he says. “We were always on the same page, luckily.”
“Raine and I were meant to challenge each other intellectually and that was clear right from the start,” adds Kreviazuk. “It was going to always be more than self-serving incentives that would sustain us as people and as a couple. Awareness and exposure to the greater world would be key.”
While receiving the Order of Canada pin is, no doubt, a major milestone in the couple’s lives, their work is by no means done. Maida hopes others will join him. For those who want to give back, Maida says to find out as much as you can about the people running the charity. “Charity is all about relationships,” he says. “Try and get to know the people in charge.”