Couchiching Online
nav button nav button nav button nav button nav button nav button

76th Annual Summer Conference, August 9–12, 2007


Video On Demand 
Vidéo sur-demand 

The mission of the CIPA, Canada’s oldest public affairs forum, is to increase the awareness and understanding of domestic and international issues amongst people in Canada, through open and inclusive discussion, without advocacy or partisanship.The opinions expressed at the conference are those of individual speakers and not those of the Institute.

Transcript of the Conference (pdf)
Reading List (pdf)

The 2007 Couchiching conference looks at diversity, social cohesion and citizenship. With our increasingly diverse society, how do we maintain a core set of values and cultural harmony? Is there a mainstream culture? What role do government and business play in drawing on the talents of such a multiplicity of cultures? What does patriotism mean in this new world? Does diversity threaten security? What can we learn from our friends south of the border, or across the Atlantic, in living together in harmony – and what can they learn from us?

Couchiching will ask “who are we” questions about identity, shared values and the meaning of citizenship, and also ask “how we manage” questions about how we can adapt to (and take advantage of) diversity.

Canada has traditionally seen these two approaches to social cohesion – the focus on finding a common identity and the focus on finding how to live together collectively – as both valid and not contradictory, but more and more, we hear rhetoric from the United Kingdom and continental Europe that positions the debate solely within a framework of identities and values.

2007 Media Coverage

August 13, Preston Manning honoured, Orillia Packet and Times 
August 13, Diversity heading down a rough road, conference told, The Globe and Mail 
August 12, Multiculturalism is a success story, so stop whining, Toronto Star
August 11, Trading rights for security can't be done, scholar says, The Globe and Mail
August 11, Thirty-eight years later, I'm back on Lake Couchiching, The National Post 
August 9, Couchiching Institute honours Preston Manning with 2007 excellence award, Orillia Packet and Times 
August 9, Couchiching Conference tackles social cohesion, Orillia Packet and Times 
August 3, Couchiching Conference: Tackling Diversity and Social Cohesion, Canadian Ethnic Media Association 


2:00 Registration

2:00 Youth Forum

Recipients of Couchiching’s Kurt Swinton, Aczèl and Fresh Minds scholarships convene for issue-specific youth-driven discussion forums. Groups led by speakers JANICE GROSS STEIN, HAROON SIDDIQUI and WILL KYMLICKA offer a novel arena in which to intellectually engage with the conference’s core issues and each other.

3:30 Introductory Panel: Uneasy Partners

Haroon Siddiqui
Will Kymlicka
Janice Stein
Rima Berns-McGown

Panel Summary 

The conference opens with an exploration of the conflict between equality rights and the implementation of multiculturalism policy in contemporary Canada. Panelists contributed chapters to the newly released Uneasy Partners: Multiculturalism and Rights in Canada, described as “a highly personal as well as strongly analytic discussion of multiculturalism in Canada today.”

  • HAROON SIDDIQUI (bio), Editorial Page Editor Emeritus, Toronto Star
  • WILL KYMLICKA (bio), Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University
  • JANICE GROSS STEIN (bio), Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management and Director, Munk Centre for International Studies

Moderator: RIMA BERNS-McGOWN, CIPA Program Committee

5:00 President’s Reception

6:00 Dinner

7:30 Opening Keynote Address: The Challenge of Diversity



Tariq Ramadan has attracted worldwide attention in challenging both the West and Islam, and especially the rapidly growing Muslim community living in the West. His incisive and insightful investigations constitute another fascinating chapter in Islam’s long history of interpretation and reinterpretation as its own identity adapts to the cultural and historical context of western communities.

He challenges the West to engage with Islam in a way that abandons – usually negative – stereotypes and generalizations. He believes this engagement can be an immensely positive experience for the West, for he is convinced that strong religious faiths can live peaceably in a genuinely pluralistic West, and that both Islam and democracy will benefit.

Summary of Keynote Address 

TARIQ RAMADAN (bio), Senior Research Fellow, St. Antony’s College, Oxford

Moderator: HELEN WALSH, President, CIPA

Photo  Photo

10:00 Evening Reception


8:00 Breakfast

9:30 Canada – Who Shall We Be?


Panel Summary 

To talk intelligently about diversity, social cohesion and citizenship in Canada – a country whose cultural constitution is changing at a pace that leads the world – we need not only to get the facts right, but also to appreciate the profound contribution of Canadian thinkers to the global discussion of these issues. Michael Adams, founder of Environics and best-selling author, and renowned philosopher Will Kymlicka are ideally suited to spark a sound and well-informed conversation about the issues. Veronica Lacey will add her penetrating insight on the matter by discussing recent research on the generation who will be Canada in the next decade or two.

Moderator: GWEN BURROWS, CIPA Board Member


12:30 Lunch

1:00 Unleashing All Our Diversity of Talents

Carrying the very portfolio that defines our conference agenda, representing the most diverse province in Canada, the Honourable Mike Colle addresses the issues of the weekend from the perspective of a government minister.

  • JOAN ANDREW (bio), Deputy Minister, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

Moderator: TED WIGDOR, VP, Program

2:00 Discussion Groups

Groups will discuss conference themes including working skills development, the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the limits of tolerance, diversity in the federal Cabinet and Supreme Court, etc.

5:00 Reception

6:00 Dinner

7:30 Diversity & Security: Diverse Threats to Security?

From left to right: Chrystia Freeland, Audrey Macklin, Sophie Body-Gendrot and Kate Lines

Public safety and the right to give expression to one’s own identity – to live in a free society but where protection is at the same time safeguarded – is only possible when the right legal and security frameworks are in place. But what is the balance between security and human rights? Audrey Macklin, one of Canada’s top legal minds, has a deep knowledge of many areas including security certificates. She will be joined by European and American speakers who present different perspectives and opinions that enrich and complicate the debate.

Panel Summary 

  • AUDREY MACKLIN (bio), Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
  • SOPHIE BODY-GENDROT (bio), Professor, Université Sorbonne (Presentation)
  • CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT KATE LINES (bio), Ontario Provincial Police

Moderator: CHRYSTIA FREELAND (bio), Managing Editor, Financial Times

10:00 Evening Reception


8:00 Breakfast & Annual General Meeting

9:30 Are Canadian Institutions Adapting to Diversity?


If Friday morning looked at who we are, this session looks at how we might manage it all – to the benefit of each of us as citizens in a country some may no longer recognize. How are our institutions adapting? Do they help or hinder? Ratna Omidvar of The Maytree Foundation, Marie McAndrew of the University of Montreal and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond of British Columbia’s government will look at the challenges in and pragmatic solutions to immigration settlement, reasonable accommodation, intercultural education and legal institutions, government and education in a culturally diverse society. Where does one start to sort out the issues? These three can help us find an answer – or at least ask better questions.

Panel Summary 

Ratna Omidvar
Marie McAndrew
Bob Watts
Ceta Ramkalawansingh
  • RATNA OMIDVAR (bio), Executive Director, The Maytree Foundation (Presentation)
  • MARIE McANDREW (bio), Faculty of Education, University of Montreal (Presentation PDF)
  • BOB WATTS (bio), Interim Executive Director for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Moderator: CETA RAMKALAWANSINGH, CIPA Program Committee


12:30 Lunch

2:00 Putting Diverse Talents to Work

Photo  Photo
Milton Wong (left) and Alden Habacon

Does diversity deter or encourage us to meet the economic challenges of a country where the cultural make-up of the workforce is destined to change dramatically over the next few decades? Milton Wong, with his vast experience in business, the volunteer sector and the university, has rich insight into how Canada can create the conditions to thrive.

Session Summary 

  • MILTON WONG, OBC (bio), Chancellor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University, and Chair, HSBC Asset Management Canada
  • ALDEN HABACON (bio), Manager of Diversity Initiatives, English Television Network, CBC

Moderator: DON McCUTCHAN, VP, Program

3:00 Discussion Groups

Discussion groups will explore conference themes including the economics of immigration, diversity and the media, diversity in the educational system, etc.

5:00 Reception

6:00 Dinner

7:30 Is There a Mainstream Canadian Culture?

From the left: Nora Young, George Jonas, Marie Clements, Lawrence Hill and Zarqa Nawaz

When we speak about Canadian content in the arts, we assume there is a mainstream culture that defines us. Is this really true? Can all the different reflections of our diverse country constitute a single Canadian culture? CBC Radio’s Nora Young will moderate a rich discussion with award-winning playwright Marie Clements and Roch Carrier, author, cultural icon and former head of the National Library of Canada – a repository of Canadian culture if there ever was one!

Panel Summary 

  • MARIE CLEMENTS (bio), Artistic Director/Producer, urban ink productions and playwright in residence, National Arts Centre
  • GEORGE JONAS, Writer and Journalist
  • ZARQA NAWAZ (bio), Fundamentalist Films and creator of Little Mosque
    on the Prairie


Moderator: NORA YOUNG, Broadcaster/Producer, CBC (bio)

10:00 Evening Reception

Photo  Photo


8:00 Breakfast

9:30 Presentation of the Annual Couchiching Award for Excellence in Public Policy Leadership


PRESTON MANNING served as a member of the Canadian Parliament from 1993 to 2001. He founded two new political parties – the Reform Party of Canada and the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance – both of which became the official Opposition, radically changing the face of Canadian politics and policy. Mr. Manning served as Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 2000. In Think Big, he describes his use of the tools and institutions of democracy to change Canada’s national agenda. Mr. Manning continues to write, speak and teach on a variety of subjects.

Introductory remarks by David McGown


10:00 What Does Citizenship Mean in a World Without Borders?

Left to right: Pierre Pettigrew, Drew Fagan, Farouk Jiwa, Irvin Studin

The world beyond our borders is already present in our daily lives. The presence will only increase. Borders are fluid, international networks are multiplying, dual citizenship is common – what rights and whose responsibilities do we bear, and to which country? In a world that has left behind the tidy era (or not so tidy) of nation-states and citizens of relatively fixed geographic and cultural identities, is anything constant any more? Pierre Pettigrew, a former minister of Foreign Affairs, as comfortable in Canada as he is in Europe or Latin America, and two young Canadians, Farouk Jiwa and Irvin Studin, whose own identities and take on the question of citizenship in a global community are as “post-national” and “cosmopolitan” as they come, add their insights.

Panel Summary 

Farouk Jiwa
Pierre Pettigrew
Irvin Studin
Drew Fagan
  • FAROUK SHAMAS JIWA (bio), Global Youth Fellow 2006, Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation (Speaker’s notes PDF)
  • PIERRE PETTIGREW (bio), Executive Advisor, International, Deloitte & Touche, LLP
  • IRVIN STUDIN (bio), author, What Is a Canadian? (Presentation)

Moderator: DREW FAGAN (bio), Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Closing Keynote: Where Do We Go From Here?

James Bartleman and Joan Jenkinson

27th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

For the past four days, we’ve heard all sorts of ideas and opinions about living in a culturally diverse world. But what is the way forward? How do we develop respect for diversity in the world? And what can Canada do? The closing keynote will send us back to the city with a whole new perspective.


Keynote Summary 




Base Consulting and Management Inc.
Bell Canada Enterprises
Canada Post
CBC Radio-Canada
CNW Group
Henry of Pelham
Probyn & Company
RBC Holdings Ltd.
TD Canada Trust



Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Citizenship and Immigration Ontario
Canadian Heritage
Human Resources Development Canada



The Burton Charitable Foundation
Jackman Foundation
The Maytree Foundation
RBC Foundation

Catherine Aczèl Boivie and Janos Aczèl
Dorothy and Roel Buck


Ruth Abrahamson
Denys Arcand
Sharon Baltman
John Beckwith
Terry Betts
Gloria Bishop
Catherine Boivie
Jane Brenneman Gibson
Howard Brown
Gwenyth Burrows
John Butcher
Dale Butterwill
Roel Buck
Cheryl Chandran
Norman Cheesman
Maurice Copithorne
Karen Dalton
Lisa De Wilde
David Dodge
Michael Drainie
Bronwyn Drainie
Victor Drury
Jordan Dupuis
Norman Dyson
Sandra Eckhardt
Gerald Filson
Beatrice Fischer
Fraser Mustard
Giles Gherson
Douglas Gibson
Marilyn Ann Girvan
Karen Goldenberg
Helen Goldlist
Douglas Goold
Jon Grant
Hillary Haggan
David Halton
George Haynal
Leslie Horswill
Jackman Foundation
Barbara Jesson
Pierre Joncas
Shirley Katz
Sidney Katz
Nand Kishor Gusain
Horace Krever
Grace Lake
Margaret Lefebvre
Mark Lovewell
Bernard Lucht
K.M. Lyons
Catherine Macdonald
Ian MacDonald
Nona Macdonald-Heaslip
Danielle Martin
Thelma McCormack
Don McCutchan
Dorothy McDonald
Ross McElroy
Roderick McFadyen
John Meisel
Michael and Douglas & Associates
Michael & Jane Millgate
Elizabeth Mulholland
Hon. Donald Oliver
Paul Paton
Alan Pearson
Frank Peers
Lloyd and Pat Posno
Lucy Potts
Adam Redish
Susan Reisler
Sheila Robb
Anthony Robinow
Geoffrey Rowan
Mark Sarner
Douglas Scott
David Selley
Ida Shea
Sheila Siegerman
Katherine Smalley
Irving and Dorothy Soichet
Lesley Spencer
Bobby Speck
James Stuart
Eileen Swinton
Barbara Thompson
Vincent Tovell
Christopher Waddell
Brent Walker
James Weld
Grace Westcott
Whipple Steinkarauss
Ted Wigdor
Diane Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson