Couchiching Connects: December 2016
In this Issue:
Couch Community News
The President's Message
The launch of the new Couch year has been busy and exciting. In the September 2016 issue of Connects, I provided an update on the Institute’s strategic planning process and our need to focus on addressing financial and human resources and the role that technology and partnerships can play in both addressing these issues and expanding our reach.
Over the past few months, the board has been actively engaged on these issues as well as thinking about what activities we can undertake over the upcoming year to make sure we not only stay in the public eye, but also bring our members and participants events that reflect our mandate. I hope to have more to say on this process over the coming months.
In the meantime, after the incredible dialogue we had at the 2016 Summer Conference, I am reflecting on what several Couch members have said to me recently: ”In times like these, the need for the kind of dialogue that Couchiching enables has never been more important.”
As I write this in late December, it is “Giving Tuesday” and I want to thank the many volunteers who contribute so much to the Institute in so many ways. It is only through their generosity and support that we can deliver on our most important mandate.
At the same time, I can’t resist the temptation to remind our many supporters that as the end of year approaches, so too does your opportunity to make a 2016 tax deductible charitable donation to the Institute by clicking the link here (insert link).
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, on behalf of the Board of Directors and the whole Couch community, I want to wish all of our Connects readers a safe and happy holiday season and best wishes for the coming year.
Couchiching Community News
The Globe and Mail, October 15th: Jim Prentice, 60, a former Conservative cabinet member and Alberta premier, was killed in a plane crash. He was a speaker at the 2011 Summer Conference, “From the Group Up: Civic Engagement in Our Time”.
The Globe and Mail, August 3rd: Noted publisher Mel Hurtig died in Vancouver at the age of 84. He was a speaker at the 2003 Summer Conference, “Continentalism: What’s in it for us?”
Alumni in the News ...
Cycling News, November 30th: Former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound came out against the British Olympic Association's policy of banning convicted dopers from future Olympic Games after the athlete's completed sanctions, saying the BOA is "offside" in going against the WADA code and "has put itself in a position of being a rogue". He was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.
The Globe and Mail, November 30th: Bob Rae wrote: “When I was elected premier of Ontario in 1990, the province and the country faced many tough challenges.” He is a partner at Olthuis Townshend LLP, teaches at the University of Toronto, and was a table host at the 2015 Couchiching Gala (insert link).
The Globe and Mail, November 24th: Thomas Homer-Dixon wrote: “During the election campaign, Donald Trump made the normalization of abnormality a signature political tactic. The more he violated the conventions of U.S. political life, democratic practice and civil discourse, the more he excited his followers. He deliberately turned himself into their wrecking ball – a device they could use to smash the dominant political, economic and cultural system and the “elites” they believed ran it.” Thomas is a professor in the Balsillie School of International affairs and the faculty of environment at the University of Waterloo and was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity”.
The Globe and Mail, November 21st: Bessma Momani and Jillian Stirk wrote: “As the world is trying to digest the prospect of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, Canada has an opportunity to capitalize on the international apprehension of the climate this outcome might bring to American university campuses.” Bessma is a professor at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution. She was a speaker at the 2012 Summer Conference, “The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities For Canada”. Jillian is a mentor at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and associate at the Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue.
November 17th: Civil liberties lawyer Nathalie Des Rosiers handily wins the Ontario riding of Ottawa-Vanier in a byelection. She was a speaker at the 2011 Summer Conference, “From the Ground Up: Civic Engagement in Our Time”.
The Current, November 17th: Bessma Momani discussed “From Brexit to Trump, are we entering a post co-operative world?” with guest host Piya Chattopadhyay. Bessma is a professor at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution. She was a speaker at the 2012 Summer Conference, “The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities For Canada”.
Ottawa Citizen, November 15th: Constance Backhouse and Shari Graydon wrote: “We are haunted by this image: a small woman in a tailored pantsuit, waiting to debate a large, imposing man. They’re on stage, beneath glaring lights, in a packed auditorium.” Constance, a distinguished legal historian and holder of a research chair in sexual assault legislation at the University of Ottawa, was a delegate to many Summer Conferences. Shari is the founder and catalyst of Informed Opinions, a project that is amplifying women’s voices for a more democratic Canada.
Columnist Bruce Dowbiggin asked: “Can Trump Happen in Canada”? He was a closing keynote speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference. He was a closing speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference,“More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.
Ross Anderson, a past member of the Institute’s board of directors and fund raising committee, is the Head, Public Policy % Global Responsibility, at Starbucks.
The Globe and Mail, November 10th: Preston Manning wrote: “The victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election is further dramatic evidence that politics across the Western world has become increasingly characterized by an anti-establishment, anti-elite, anti-‘talking heads’ sentiment.” He was the 2007 recipient of the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership.
The Globe and Mail, November 3rd: Bessma Momani wrote: “The tide of populism sweeping the Western world has not gone unnoticed, but the pressure on central bankers who view themselves as apolitical technocrats has been overlooked. The latest casualty in the surge of the “commoner” against the “liberal elite” is our very own Mark Carney,” the 2013 recipient of the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership. Bessma is a professor at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution. She was a speaker at the 2012 Summer Conference, “The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities For Canada”.
The Globe and Mail, November 1st: Tom Flanagan wrote: “Although the living standard of most First Nations still lags behind the Canadian average, many are finding ways to improve conditions for their members.” Professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and the author of the report Why First Nations Succeed, published by the Fraser Institute, he was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity”.
The Globe and Mail, October 31st: John Manley wrote: “The delayed signing of CETA, Canada’s trade agreement with the European Union, should be seen as a triumph of bipartisanship in a world full of small-minded political sniping and nastiness.” He is President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada and was the chair of the 2011 and 2013 Big Picture, now the Couchiching Gala.
The Montreal Gazette, October 20th: Akaash Maharaj joined the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) “Think Tank”, to advise the Agency on how to respond to state-sponsored doping in Russia. He warned WADA and the International Olympic Committee that the two institutions must set aside their differences, or risk being themselves swept away. He is chief executive of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption and was a closing speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.
Policy Options, October 19th: In an expanded version of a chapter in The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Policy Legacy, Richard Dion and David Dodge wrote: “How did the Canadian economy perform during the Harper government years, what factors drove this performance, and what role did Harper government policies play in achieving broad economic objectives? In this chapter, we first compare the performance of the economy during the years of the Harper government (2006-15) with that of the preceding 22 years, and then identify which factors drove this performance, so that we can assess the importance of federal interventions. Then we examine these policies and their effects in the light of objectives that any central government should pursue: stabilization, long-term growth, income distribution and sound public finances.” Mr. Dodge is an economist and former governor of the Bank of Canada. He was the recipient of the The 2012 Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership. Mr. Dion is an economic analyst and forecasting advisor.
Inside the Games, October 22nd: Akaash Maharaj wrote: “Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) convened a closed-door summit to debate the future of the global anti-doping regime. The summit was prompted by revelations of institutionalised doping in the Russian sport system, which ruptured into the public sphere on the eve of the Rio Olympic Games.” He is chief executive of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption and was a closing speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.
Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar is a contributor of a chapter in The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Policy Legacy (see Recommended Reading below). The senator, a distinguished visiting professor at the Global Diversity Exchange, Ryerson University, was a speaker at the 2016 Summer Conference, “The Canada Project”.
Hon. Ken Dryden is a leader of the campaign “to raise over $1 billion in support of University Health Network. He was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.
Hon. Michael Wilson is a member of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative Honourary Board. The chairman, Barclays Capital Canada, Inc., was the inaugural recipient in 2003 of the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership.
The Globe and Mail, October 17th: Jack Goldstone and Thomas Homer-Dixon wrote: “As the great nuclear strategist Herman Kahn once said, to survive we must sometimes think the unthinkable. Never has this advice been more apt, because from the moment Donald Trump announced his run for president of the United States he has been transforming the unthinkable into the thinkable.” Thomas holds the Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and is a professor in the faculty of environment at the University of Waterloo. He was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity”. Mr. Goldstone is John T. Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University.
Inside the Games, October 10th: Richard Pound claimed that the recommendations made by the Olympic Summit were "long on generality and short on specifics", before adding it is the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) role to see which of the proposals are feasible to accomplish. He was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.
The Globe and Mail, October 5th: Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar was quoted in an article by Michelle Zilio entitled “Liberals will not grant revocation moratorium”: “The Liberal government will not grant a moratorium on revoking the citizenship of Canadians who misrepresented themselves in their applications, a matter that has been forced into the spotlight by the circumstances of cabinet minister Maryam Monsef.” The senator, a distinguished visiting professor at the Global Diversity Exchange, Ryerson University, was a speaker at the 2016 Summer Conference, “The Canada Project”.
Former board member Salim Rachid has joined the board of Apathy is Boring.
Marie Wilson has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the development of the Northwest Territories and for her work as a commissioner with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. She was a speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada”.
The Globe and Mail, September 22nd: Wenran Jiang wrote: “Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Canada, following closely behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first official China trip, signals Beijing’s positive response to Canada’s ‘resetting’ of the bilateral relationship and its pro-active attitude. Yet there is much confusion on what China wants from Canada, especially in a potential free-trade agreement.” Wenran, a former member of the Institute’s board, is a political science professor at the University of Alberta, a former special adviser to the Alberta Department of Energy, and directs the Canada-China Energy and Environment Forum and its annual conference.
The Walrus, September: Thomas Hall wrote an article entitled The Wrong Track: “He first stood out to me in a row of shirtless boys in a black-and-white photograph taken in the early 1980s in what was then East Germany. All arms and legs, they were of different heights, lined up against a mark someone had painted on the wall. One hatchet-faced boy fell well short of it. At that moment, he became my hero. Andreas Dittmer, who went on to become a five-time Olympic medallist, was, arguably, also the best sprint canoeist ever.” Tom was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.
Ottawa Citizen, September 20th: Jane Hilderman and Stewart Prest wrote: “Parliament has returned, and aggressive deadlines loom on electoral reform. Jane, the executive director of Samara Canada, was a speaker at the 2015 Summer Conference, “Are We Failing Our Future? Time for New Deal between Generations?”
Stewart is a postdoctoral fellow at Carleton University’s Norman Patterson School of International Affairs.
The Globe and Mail, September 19th: Ratna Omidvar wrote: “In the year since the death of Alan Kurdi brought the plight of Syrian refugees into the world spotlight, we have seen an outpouring of public support. More than 30,000 Syrians have found new homes in Canada, more than 10,000 of those through private sponsorship. Hundreds of thousands have migrated to Europe. And yet, efforts of the global community do not come close to addressing the crisis.” The independent senator for Ontario and distinguished visiting professor at the Global Diversity Exchange, Ryerson University was a speaker at the 2016 Summer Conference, “The Canada Project”.
The Globe and Mail, September 17th: Doug Saunders reviewed The Return of History by Jennifer Welsh writing: “You may have noticed that the face of the Earth is not exactly ablush with democratic stability, international co-operation and rising prosperity this year.” He is the newspaper’s international affairs columnist and the author of Arrival City and The Myth of the Muslim Tide. He was a speaker at the 2016 Summer Conference, “The Canada Project”.
Recommended Reading and Listening
Great Creators with Aaron Paquette – Episode 1 – Depression vol.1. He was a speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada”.
The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Policy Legacy, edited by Jennifer Ditchburn and Graham Fox, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 320 Pages, 6 x 9, 18 figures, 7 tables. ISBN 9780773548701, October 2016, Formats: Cloth
Bill Davis: Nation Builder, and Not So Bland After All by Steve Paikin, Hardback: $45.00; eBook (EPUB): $29.99 (https://www.dundurn.com/books/Bill-Davis). A biography of one of Ontario’s most important premiers, who, despite having been out of public life for more than thirty years, is remembered fondly by many as the father of the community college system, TVO, OISE, and was indispensable in repatriating the Canadian Constitution with an accompanying Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Mr. Davis was the winner of the 2015 Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership.
Colour Code, a weekly podcast About race in Canada hosted by Denise Balkissoon and Hannah Sung. Denise is an editor in The Globe and Mail’s Life section and was a table host at the 2016 Couchiching Gala. Hannah is a video journalist for the Globe. Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook #colourcode; tgam.ca/colourcode.
The Return of History: Conflict, Migration, and Geopolitics in the Twenty-First Century by Jennifer Welsh, House of Anansi, 347 pages, $E24.95
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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