Couchiching Connects: April 2013

In this Issue:

Annual General Meeting
The President's Message
The Big Picture
The 2013 Summer Conference
Conversations and Roundtables
Couchiching Alumni

Annual General Meeting

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Time: 6:10pm-6:20pm
Location: Offices of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
1 First Canadian Place, Toronto, 16th Floor, Strathy/Smith Lyons
A brief Annual General Meeting will be conducted immediately prior to a full meetng of the Couchiching Board of Directors. The meeting will approve the minutes of the 2012 AGM, approve the 2012 Audited Financial Statements, and appoint the Auditor for 2013.


The President's Message - Rima Berns-McGown

Dear Couchiching Community:

After months of engagement, discussion, consultation, wordsmithing, and editing, I am delighted to tell you that the Conference description and sessions are up on the website. It is going to be a marvellous, stimulating, and important conference, and you are going to want to be there. Register early: early bird rates are in effect.

The Couchiching Conversations continue to excite and to draw new participants: in partership with the Inspirit Foundation, we have just launched a countrywide series on youth, spirituality, and social action with a probing discussion at the University of Toronto Multi-faith Centre.

And upcoming on April 17th is a discussion of Bill C-31 and its implications for Canada. Register now for "Immigration detention in Canada and abroad: What is the cost of liberty?" led by Stephanie J. Silverman. See Conversations and Roundtables below for time and place.

Finally, tickets to the April 25 Big Picture Gala are almost sold out. This annual fundraiser supports the important work of the Couchiching Institute, including our ability to hold critical, free conversations and to sponsor young people to come to the conference. There are just a few tickets still available. Please consider purchasing one. You will have a chance to meet Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney, to whom we will be presenting the Annual Award for Public Policy Leadership, before he heads to London as Governor of the Bank of England. And you will be able to bid on a signed print by the wonderful and powerful artist Aaron Paquette. We hope to see you there!


The Big Picture 2013, April 25, 2013: Couchiching's Signature Fundraising Event

Leslie de Meulles, Co-Chair, Gala Committee

Meet Table Host Helen Burstyn: "Social Enterprise in Ontario – Overview and Opportunities"

Helen Burstyn has enjoyed a 30-year career in government, business, and community service. She is currently a Principal at Counsel Public Affairs and serves as Special Advisor, Social Enterprise to the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, Government of Ontario. She notes that In Ontario, and around the world, the social enterprise sector is experiencing rapid growth and gaining momentum in terms of grass-roots entrepreneurialism, impact investing, and the convergence (or blurring) of the traditional for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Ontario is currently home to roughly 10,000 social enterprises, with more starting every day. What are some key opportunities and challenges facing social entrepreneurs today, and how can Ontario best position itself as a jurisdiction to take advantage of opportunities in this space? Read more

Meet Table Host Levi Cooperman: "Why is Toronto the best (or worst) place in the world to build a technology business?"

Levi Cooperman, the CFO and co-founder of FreshBooks, will share his personal journey of creating one of Canada's most successful high-tech companies, and will discuss the benefits, and challenges to starting and running a business in Toronto. FreshBooks is a cloud accounting specialist for small business owners and was called by Forbes Magazine "one of the stars of Canada's high-tech sector.” Read more

Meet Table Host Dr. David Goldbloom: "Mental Health in the Public Eye: Does High Profile Bring Change?"

Dr. David Goldbloom, the chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, what changes have been brought about and what still need to come in the field of mental health. Recently, mental health has received more attention in the media and across various sectors, private and public. While this attention may raise public awareness, the question remains: Has the attention made a difference? While this may have had an effect of how Canadians perceive mental health issues, has it created a change in policy or governmental and non-governmental support? Read more

Meet Table Host Shirley Blumberg, OAA, RAIC, AIA:"The space between improving Toronto's public realm and why it matters."

Shirley Blumberg, a founding partner of KPMB Architects, has worked on a range of mixed-use developments to highly specialized learning and cultural institutions, many involving revitalizations of heritage contexts. Her completed projects include the James Stewart Centre for Mathematics at McMaster University, Canada’s National Ballet School, the Gardiner Museum, TIFF Bell Lightbox, and the CIGI Campus in Waterloo which received a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Award in 2012. Currently, she is working on the Art Gallery of Saskatchewan, the new Alumni Centre and Ponderosa Commons for the University of British Columbia, and the Library District and Block 32 for Toronto Community Housing. Shirley has served on the City of Toronto Design Review Panel and is currently a member of the Regent Park Design Review Panel. Read more ...


The 2013 Summer Conference

"Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship between Indigenous Peoples of Canada and Canadians"

Geneva Park, August 8-11, 2013

Conference Co-Chairs, Amanuel Melles and Leon Thompson

Conference Coordinator, Nicholas Constantine

The 2013 Couchiching Conference will be a unique forum for open, non-partisan discussion about the significant historical and contemporary issues that affect the relations of Indigenous Peoples of Canada and Canadians. The conference is organized in the spirit of the 8th Fire. It will explore, under different frames, including constitutional, social justice, economic, and environmental, how we can move forward to create a just and mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians.

We are delighted with the progress we have been making in developing the program for the 2013 Conference. Check out our rich array of conference sessions and speakers and stay tuned to the roll-out of a range of cultural and artistic experiences we are collaborating on with the Cultural Circle of Rama First Nation to engage you on the issues for the duration of the Conference.

  • Roberta L. Jamieson, Mohawk lawyer, President and CEO of Indspire
  • The Right Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada
  • James Bartleman, Chippewas of Mnjikaning First Nation, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and author, of most recently, The Redemption of Oscar Wolf (see Opinions: Our Members Write ... below)
  • Chief Sharon Stinson Henry, Chippewas of Rama First Nations
  • Hayden King, Anishnaabe writer and academic, Beausoleil First Nation (Ontario)
  • David MacDonald, United Church minister and special advisor on residential schools
  • Kathleen Mahoney, professor at the University of Calgary and architect of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Sheelah McLean, co-founder, Idle No More
  • Ian Anderson, President, Kinder Morgan
  • Glenn Nolan, President, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and vice-president, Aboriginal Affairs, Noront Resources
  • Ruth Thompson, director of Program of Legal Studies for Native People, Native Law Centre of Canada, University of Saskatchewan
  • Michael Redhead Champagne, Shamattawa Cree Nation, founder of Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, (Winnipeg)
  • Wes Fine Day, Cree Elder and Storyteller, Sweetgrass First Nation, (Saskatchewan)
  • Heather Watts, Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory (Ontario), Educator and Columbia University Master's student

Register now!

Readings and Viewings

For a complete list of Readings and Viewings, view now


Conversations and Roundtables

Salim Rachid, Chair, Conversations and Roundtables

News about Conversations Held

March 19 Vancouver Conversation: Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivieled a conversation on the importance of a university education to getting a job. She is president of the Strategic Technology Leadership Corporation, the former CEO of Inventure Solutions, and a former Board member of the Institute. Catherine initiated the Aczel Fund, providing scholarships to numerous interested young Canadians to attend the Summer Conference. In 2009, the Women's Executive Network named her one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the "Trailblazer and Trendsetters" category.

Interested in joining the Vancouver Couchiching Conversations? If you wish to be added to our Vancouver Conversation e-mailing list, please write to — new people are welcome!

March 26 Simcoe County Couchiching Conversation Series: Indigenous and Canadian Approaches to the Environment and Natural Resources was the third event in the Simcoe County Couchiching Conversation Series, focusing on Indigenous issues and approaches in Canada. The Conversation was led by experts Bob Rowles and Brian Charles and organized by Dr. Doug West. Bob has lobbied hard for many years for the protection of wetlands and natural areas in his home city of Orillia, Ont. He led the formation of Friends of Scout Valley to protect what is now a Natural Heritage Park in Orillia. He has served on and chaired many organizations and committees that have taken on projects on community improvement. Bob was presented with the Order of Orillia in 2005 and the Orillia Citizen of the Year in 2006. Brian is native community liaison for the Anishnabe Education and Training Circle at Georgian College.

April 2 Toronto Conversation: In what was the first in an upcoming series of Canada-wide conversations on Youth, Spirituality, and Social Action in partnership with the Inspirit Foundation, youth aged 19-35 discussed three questions around the spiritual dimension of social change. This is an issue that has often neglected by current political and economic debates. How do young people view the connection between their beliefs or sense of purpose, and their actions in the world? Can religions address the common good or are they only concerned with their particular interests? And what does it take to motivate and inspire youth to contribute to social progress? We thank the University of Toronto Multi-faith Centre for hosting and supporting this conversation. Read more

News about Upcoming Conversations and Roundtables

April 17 Toronto Conversation: With the recent designation of Toronto as the first 'Sanctuary City' for undocumented residents in Canada, the debate around Canada's immigration laws is once again in the spotlight. The reintroduction in Parliament of The Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act (Bill C-4, formerly Bill C-49) in June 2011 was met with intense public debate, including Parliamentary questions, street protests, and media reports. The eventual compromise (Bill C-31, The Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act) became law in June 2012 after months of seesawing on the shape of its provisions. Amongst the contentious issues is the newly legislated mandatory detention, or incarceration, of select groups of immigrants and refugees over 16 years of age for 12-month periods of time. Join this conversation led by Dr. Stephanie J. Silverman, in partnership with the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement, that will delve into all sides of the debate on the use of immigration detention in Canada. Read more

Watch for more information on this Conversation series and our partnership with the Inspirit Foundation in our next issue.

May 7th Toronto Conversation: To many observers, the Canadian state has inflicted a range of systemic abuses on Aboriginal communities. Indian Residential Schools are a part of our shared history, but it's still a history unfamiliar to many. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is part-way through a five-year mandate to document that history and to set the stage for healing and repairing the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. The Couchiching Conversations will welcome Bob Watts to speak about the critical work currently underway with the Commission. Discussion will include how do we make that apology manifest, how do we make it work in terms of policy, in terms of regulations, in terms of legislation, and how do we breathe life into reconciling the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relationship?

Bob's current work includes working on the Siting Process with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and as an Adjunct Professor and Fellow in the School of Policy Studies, Queen's University. He is a former CEO of the Assembly of First Nations and was the Interim executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A former federal assistant deputy minister, he is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Fellow at the Harvard Law School. Bob is of Mohawk and Ojibway ancestry and is a member of the Six Nations Reserve.

Further details on this Conversation will be posted on our website and distributed to our mailing list later this month.


Opinions: Our Members Write ...

Former Ontario Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman will have his second novel, The Redemption of Oscar Wolf, published in June by Dundum Group Limited. His first novel, As Long as the Rivers Flow, was published in 2011 by Knopf Canada. He is also the author of four memoirs.


Couchiching Alumni in the News

Every year Couchiching Director Emeritus and author Eric Koch astounds our community with the publication of a new book. In March, he did it again, by publishing The Golden Years: Glenn Gould, Marshall McLuhan, Lester B. Pearson, René Lévesque & John G. Diefenbaker, Five Stories (Mosaic Press, 2013), but you'll never guess where some of the scene of the action takes place! You simply have to read it to find out ...

The Golden Years is an imagined account of five unique Canadians who shaped our cultural, political, and intellectual landscape during the "sixties revolution." As Eric tells it, these stories reflect his own truth, or in other words, what he describes as "plausible hearsay." We are all the richer for it. Congratulations, Eric, on your latest achievement!

Stay tuned for a date in May when Eric Koch will lead a Couchiching Conversation in Toronto on The Golden Years: Will such a defining moment in our national life come again?

Writing in The Globe and Mail on March 15, Paul Heinbecker, Canada's ambassador to the UN from 2000 to 2003, and past Couchiching conference speaker, urges that the lessons of Iraq be heeded. “Canada was on the right side of history in refusing to go to war in Iraq a decade ago." 
Read more ...

2016 Summer Conference

The Canada Project

Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

Read More


Couchiching Connects
April 2017
View Now

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