Couchiching Connects: February 2014


In this Issue:

2014 Summer Conference
2014 Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership
The Couchiching Gala 2014
Couchiching Conversations
Summer Conference 2013 Update
Marketing and Communications CommitteePassingsNewsmakersCouchiching Alumni in the News
Opinions: Our Members Write...
Calling All Readers


The 2014 Summer Conference

More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport, August 7-10, Geneva Park, ON

Conference Co-Chairs, Douglas Gibson,, and Heather Keachie,



It’s been an exciting week with the opening of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the early successes of Canadian athletes, and we’re no less caught up in the drama than anyone else. Long after the final medal count is tallied, the Institute will invite you to consider the impact of Olympic Games on individuals, on countries, and on our public consciousness. 
A number of great speakers have been confirmed for the Summer Conference, including Ken Dryden, Guylaine Demers, and Orlando Bowen. Profiles will appear in each issue of Couchiching Connects, beginning in this issue. 
Meet the three remarkable leaders who will speak at the 2014 Summer Conference.
Ken Dryden, is a Canadian politician, lawyer, businessman, author, and former NHL goaltender. He is an officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was the renowned goalie for the all-conquering Montreal Canadiens from 1971 to 1979, and in 1972, he starred for Team Canada in the famous “Hockey Showdown” series against the Soviet team. Armed with a degree from Cornell University, he took time away from hockey to get a law degree from McGill University. After he stopped playing, his #29 was retired by the Canadiens, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He achieved fame as an author when he wrote The Game in 1983, widely recognized as one of the best sports books of all time.
Home Game, with Roy MacGregor, published in 1989, was based on his television series exploring the importance of hockey to Canadians across the country. His books beyond the world of hockey include The Moved and The Shaken: The Story of One Man's Life (1993); In School: Our Kids, Our Teachers, Our Classrooms (1996); and Finding A Way: Legacy of The Past, Recipe for The Future (2002). Ken was appointed Ontario’s first Youth Commissioner in 1984. He worked behind the scenes in the hockey world as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL hockey team from 1997 to 2004. He entered the world of politics as the member of parliament for York Centre in 2004, rising to become Paul Martin’s, Minister of Social Development from 2004 to 2006 where he succeeded in getting provincial agreement for a national day-care system. Since leaving active engagement in politics, he has developed an admired role as a journalist, commenting on hockey issues such as concussion and wider issues of sport in general. He cares deeply about this Couchiching Summer Conference.
Guylaine Demers, PhD, a professor in the Department of Physical Education of Laval University, is the director of the undergraduate competency-based coach education program, entitled the Baccalaureate in Sport Intervention. She has a particular interest in issues of women in sport, coach education, and homophobia in sport. She is the chair of the Coaching Association of Canada’s Coaching Research Committee and sits on the Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching. Guylaine was a key contributor to the development and implementation of Canada’s competency-based National Coaching Certification Program. She is actively involved in promoting gender equity and coach education in sport within Quebec and serves as chair of Égale-Action, Quebec’s Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity. She is also a member of the Institute national du sport du Québec. Her work and achievements have been recognized provincially and nationally, and include being named to the 2010 Globe and Mail Power50 in sport. She was a recipient of the 2009 YWCA’s Women in Sport Award for her accomplishments in Quebec for the advancement of women in leadership positions and in 2007 and 2010, she was named one of Canada’s Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity. Her latest achievement is the book “Playing It Forward: 50 Years of Women in Sport in Canada” (2013, Feminist history society Eds.) which she edited with Dr. Sandra Kirby, Marlon Lay and Lorraine Greaves.  
Orlando Bowen is the executive director of One Voice One Team, a youth leadership organization that uses cognitive and physical activities to introduce the principles of self respect, hard work, and leading by example. Many graduates of the program actively engage through community-focused partner organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Covenant House. As a former CFL player, Orlando has seen the significant impact that sport and community involvement has had on many lives. He has been active in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) for many years and is an active spokesperson for the Toronto Argonauts Stop the Violence Campaign and the Boys to Men initiative. He was a Toronto 2012 DiverseCity Fellow, a one-year action-oriented leadership development program for rising city-builders, was awarded a 2012 African Canadian Achievement Award for contribution to community through sport, and was a 2013 recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal. 
Relevant Readings
The Globe and Mail, February 11th: Columnist John Doyle, in a column entitled “Sochi 2014: Is this real life or just fantasy”, wrote: “Perhaps the most fruitful approach to the Sochi Winter Olympics is to see the event as a kind of fairy tale.” 
The Globe and Mail, February 10th: John Doyle, in a column entitled "The Olympics: A lie we all tell ourselves", wrote: “There’s more than one way to approach to the Winter Olympics unfolding in that apparently godforsaken place, Sochi. Here’s one.”
Canadian Journal for Women and Coaching, September 2013: “Coaching Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Athletes: Needs, Challenges, and Fears of Top-Level Coaches” by Bianka Viel and Guylaine Demers.
Canadian Journal for Women and Coaching Online 
The Globe and Mail, February 7th: Columnist Roy MacGregor, writing from the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, said “The ugly Canadian? Not possible, surely, but make no mistake - Canada is changing.”
Financial Post, February 3rd: W. Brett Wilson, business leader, philanthropist, and former panelist on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, suggested “how private money can help amateur sport.”
Melia’s Take, January 30th: Health vs. Wealth: Are Concussions the new Tobacco? Blogger Paul Melia, the president and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, wrote: “Many years ago, the tobacco industry was confronted with the mounting medical evidence of the harm their products were causing to their customers. Faced with the evidence, the industry had two choices.”
Reuters, January 21st: Football journalist Brian Homewood ( wrote: ”Footballers who take part in match-manipulation risk losing their careers if caught but those who induce the players and set up the fix do so at almost no risk to themselves, according to FIFA's head of security Ralf Mutschke. In the last few years, dozens of players have been banned, many for life.”
The Guardian, January 19th: “Have we all fallen for The Great Doping Bluff in the war against drugs cheats?” ... “The man formerly responsible for testing Norway's athletes says there are not the resources, expertise, or willingness to combat misuse in sport. But is it that simple?” asked Sean Ingle, the sports editor of the British newspaper.
MedPage Today, January 16th: In this online medical news service for physicians and healthcare professionals, health and science journalist Kristina Fiore, on the dangerous new ways men are bulking up, wrote: “Noah Thomas’ tattooed biceps are almost 18 inches around, to hear him tell it. His YouTube channel is full of advice for other weight lifters on how to build muscle. In at least one video, he demonstrates how he injects testosterone. In another, Thomas talks about a side effect of having too much testosterone.”

 2014 Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership

Chair, Public Policy and Gala Committee, Leslie de Meulles,



The Institute is pleased to announce that the annual Award for Public Policy Leadership, sponsored by Scotiabank, will be presented at the Couchiching Gala 2014. The award honours the accomplishments of a Canadian who has demonstrated bold leadership in public policy and recognizes exemplary actions taken by an individual to formulate and implement policy that has had a positive impact on Canada or a community within Canada. Past recipients include Jane Jacobs, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Elizabeth May, Lincoln Alexander, Preston Manning, Stéphan Dion, David Dodge, and Mark Carney



The Couchiching Gala 2014: The Institute's Signature Fundraising Event

Join us to celebrate the 2014 Couchiching Gala, led by Gala Chair Sarabjit (Sara) Marwah, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Scotiabank, at Archeo in the heart of Toronto’s historic Distillery District. The annual Gala brings the spirit of the storied Couchiching Summer Conference to downtown Toronto, and emphasizes small, intense discussions. Tables are limited to eight people, each led by a prominent individual known for posing tough questions or provoking change. The Gala offers individuals a rare opportunity to engage in lively, wide-ranging discussions on issues that matter.
Cocktails are from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., with dinner, conversations, and the Public Policy Award ceremony to follow.
We are thrilled to introduce several of the 2014 table hosts. In following issues of Couchiching Connects we will continue to showcase our distinguished hosts, profile the Public Policy Leadership Award winner, and provide more details on the Gala dinner.
Preet Banerjee is the personal finance and investing expert and columnist with The Globe and Mail. He is also the host of OWN’s TV show, Million Dollar Neighbourhood, and author of the popular blog, WhereDoesAll My
Edward Greenspan, QC, is the senior partner of the Toronto law firm of Greenspan LLP and is vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. He is one of Canada’s most famous defence lawyers.
Matthew Jocelyn is the artistic and general director of Canadian Stage. He is an internationally acclaimed producer and director of theatre, dance, and opera, as well as an art administrator and educator.
Donald Schmidt is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Founding Chair of the Public Art Commission for the City of Toronto. He and his firm have won over 200 hundred design awards, including six
Governor General’s Awards. 
Lovely photos from the 2013 Gala are available online. For the flavour of the evening , take a look at our Big Picture Gallery and re-visit the ambience and heated table conversations that took place on April 26th ( ).


Salim Rachid, Chair / @salim_rachid


Couchiching Conversations micro-site:  Registering for future Couchiching Conversations will be easier than ever before. We're happy to announce the launch of our brand new Couchiching Conversations dedicated site. Check it out and tell us what you think:

Conversations Held

January 28th, Barrie (Ont.) Conversation: “Gender, Identity, Accessibility, and Sports” were discussed at The Creative Space.

Spirit of Social Change Series

February 17th Toronto Conversation: Join us for "Raising the Spirits: Journey through Spirituality", a spoken word celebration, sponsored by Inspirit Foundation, and in collaboration with R.I.S.E. PoetryIFreeCanArtscape and the Baha'i Community of Canada. Come and watch performances by Toronto's top spoken word artists as they provide food for thought on the many connections between spirituality and social change. Register by visiting

Orillia Series

February 25 th Collingwood Conversation: The Conversation will focus on "Sports Business: The Environment, Politics and Economics of Contemporary Sports”, and will take place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

March 25 th Rama First Nation/Orillia Conversation: "Traditional Sports and Gaming” will be discussed from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

April 29 th Orillia Conversation: "Sports and Higher Education” will be discussed from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Lakehead University.

May 27th Toronto Conversation: A Conversation on “Sports and Public Space: The Revitalization of Local and Neighbourhood Sports” will take place at the LAMP Community Health Centre from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

For Conversation photos, visit


A Special Annual Event

SickKids Café Scientifique presents ...

It’s a Small World After All – Global Child Health leads to a Better World

Wednesday, March 19, 2014, from 6 to 8 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

Hard Rock Café, 279 Yonge Street, Toronto (upstairs bar). Wheelchair access from main entrance

The most dangerous time for mother and baby is during labour and the very first days of life of the child. The period from conception to birth is also a critical time in the development of a child. Providing solutions to help ensure healthy birth, growth and development is particularly critical in lesser developed countries with high infant mortality.

Join us for an important and informative discussion on the health and nutritional challenges facing the world’s children. Our expert panel will focus on some of the key areas of risk to the health of children around the developing world, and will share both how research efforts and development and relief work address some of these problems head on.


Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta and Daniel Roth are leaders in the area of diarrhea and pneumonia in children which alone cause more than one quarter of child deaths worldwide. Dr. Bhutta, one of the world’s leading child health researchers, has been leading a global approach to reduce child deaths caused by diarrheal illness or pneumonia by 75% by the year 2025.  Fourteen years ago Dr. Stanley Zlotkin was challenged by UNICEF to come up with a solution to combat iron deficiency, a nutritional problem affecting millions of children worldwide. His solution, Sprinkles, is an innovation in home fortification, addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This unique delivery system provides micronutrients to vulnerable populations by enabling families to fortify many different semi-solid foods in the home. Rebecca Harry from Save the Children Canada will join us to speak about the impact of gender equality on child health.

Admission is free. Find us on Facebook, ‘SickKids Cafe Scientifique’.

Follow us on Twitter, @sickkidsnews #SKCafSci Questions? cafe.scientifique@sickkids Got an opinion? A ‘unique’ question? Join us for a drink, stay for the discussion



Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Robert Harding Chair and Co-Director of the Centre for Global Child Health, SickKids

Dr. Daniel RothStaff Physician, Paediatric Medicine, Clinician-Scientist, Division of Paediatric Medicine, Department of Paediatrics Scientist-Track Investigator, SickKids; Assistant Professor, Departments of Paediatrics, Nutritional Sciences, Associate Member, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto

Dr. Stanley ZlotkinChief, Global Child Health, Senior Scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, SickKids; Professor, Departments of Nutritional Sciences & Paediatrics, University of Toronto

Rebecca HarryProgram Officer, Child Health and Nutrition, Save the Children Canada

Summer Conference 2013 Update


Chair, Gala Committee, Leslie de Meulles

The Ottawa Citizen, February 10th: In an article by Matthew Pearson about Premier Kathleen Wynne’s relationship with the aboriginal community, reference was made to her speaking notes for her speech at the 2013 Summer Conference: “Collaborative, respectful relationships are the infrastructure of good public policy ... Without good relationships in place, you cannot achieve results.
The Globe and Mail, February 8th: Jane Taber wrote that the Harper government is proposing to give control of education to First Nations in a sweeping overhaul of the education system that will provide nearly $2-billion in stable funding and set minimum education standards for aboriginal students.” 
National chief Shawn Atleo “described the proposed package ... as having the potential to be ‘transformative’.” He was a speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together: Navigating the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada ( ). 
The Montreal Gazette, February 7th: According to reporter Mark Kennedy of Postmedia News, “The federal government appears to be dragging its feet on a court-ordered obligation to provide millions of documents from Library and Archives Canada to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that is examining the residential schools scandal.”


Marketing and Communications Committee

Aisha Silim, Chair,; Sheila Robertson, Vice-Chair,

The committee continues to work on a number of initiatives in support of ongoing and upcoming events at the Institute, including promoting the 2014 Gala and the Public Policy award and the February 17th Youth and Spirituality Conversation, and developing a strategy for the 2014 Summer Conference. In addition, the committee is rolling out a new social media strategy to include:
• New Facebook pages to promote upcoming events to wider audiences
• Revitalized Twitter activity with regular updates on Couchiching events, alumni, and interesting news in the world of public affairs
• Live-tweeting to capture Couchiching memories at events.
Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation! 
Interested in joining the committee? Please contact Aisha at


On January 14th, the Chippewas of Rama First Nation lost John Snake, one of their respected and much loved local leaders. John helped to open the 2013 Summer Conference by conducting the welcome and traditional ceremony. 
On behalf of the Couchiching Board of Directors, I attended the funeral at the Rama Mask Arena and delivered our condolences to his immediate family, Chief Sharon Stinson Henry, and his colleagues. The funeral was a great celebration of John's life and was well-attended.
Chief Henry and John’s family were pleased to see the Institute represented at the funeral. The relationship we have forged with Rama under past president Rima Berns-McGown’s leadership is special, and one that I am keen in nurturing and enhancing. - amanual
Read more:



Aaron Paquette, a speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, will shortly be publishing a new book entitled “Lightfinder” (Kegedoncde Press). He is one of Canadaʼs premiere First Nations/Métis artists, known for his bright colours, strong lines, and for sharing new ways of looking at age-old experiences and beliefs. Also available is a free book entitled “A Day of Giving”. Visit his website for details.

 Couchiching Alumni in the News

Rami Khouri, was interviewed in The Armenian Weekly, February 5th, by award-winning radio journalist and author David Barsamian on Mohamad Bouazizi, the street vendor who set himself on fire in December 2010, and the subsequent Arab revolts. Rami was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities for Canada” ( ).
Read more: 
Bessma Momani, senior fellow, CIGI and Brookings Institute, writing in her blog in The Huffington Post on January 28th, said: “The rise of Al Qaeda in Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq's Anbar province has stirred well-deserved concern and fears of renewed violence and despair. The Obama administration's proposal to fix the insecurity of Anbar by providing the central Baghdad government, under Nouri al-Maliki, with more weapons is not only futile but will also further alienate Anbar locals and drive an already deep wedge further into a fragile country.” Bessma was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference. 
Follow Bessma Momani on Twitter: 
Alex Humelfarb, former Privy Council Clerk, Institute board member, and a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity ( )spoke in Cambridge, Ont., on January 22nd and said: “Tax cuts aren’t free. You can’t expect to cut taxes and keep services at the same level.”
Read more: 
Acclaimed author Margaret MacMillan, a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, has written “The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914”, published by Random House, 739 pp. It has been named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg Businessweek, and  The Globe and Mail.
Read more: 

Opinions: Our Members Write

Reaction to Aim High, beyond the Olympics by Couchiching members Sheila Robertson and Bruce Robertson (condensed version*)
In an otherwise thought-provoking Globe and Mail editorial, the writer of “Aim High, beyond the Olympics” ( perpetuated a long-held legend in stating that “Canada failed to win a gold medal at the Montreal Olympic in 1976 ...” Usually that fact is presented as a national embarrassment as in “Canada, the only Olympic host to have never won a gold medal on home soil”.  Sadly, it also usually stated with absolutely no context, and certainly with no analysis of the facts. 
At the 1972 Munich Olympics, the women’s swimming team from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) won two individual silver medals, one individual bronze medal, and two relay silver medals for a respectable total of five medals. One year later, at the 1973 World Aquatic Championships, they won a total of 18 medals: eight individual gold, five individual silver, three individual bronze, and two relay golds – a staggering improvement in just one year. Their domination continued at the 1975 worlds, with a total of 19 medals and at the 1976 Olympics, where they won 10 of the eleven available individual gold medals and one relay gold. 
In view of the widely reported revelations about systematic and rampant drug use throughout the East German sport system from 1973 to 1989, it is entirely reasonable to suggest that Canada’s so-called failure to win a gold medal at the 1976 Olympic Games is anything but a national embarrassment.
In 1976, the medal tally for Canada’s female swimmers was one individual silver, four individual bronze, and two relay bronze medals, for a total of seven medals. If the East German women had been disqualified for doping, Canada could have won three individual gold, four individual silver, three individual bronze medals, and two relay silver medals for a total of 12 medals.
If the East Germans had competed clean, would Canada have won all 12 medals? The truth probably lies somewhere between the 12 we could have won given a full disqualification, and the seven that we did win. We cannot be certain, but what we do know is this: Canada would almost certainly have won at least one and likely three gold medals in Montreal.
The long and troubling silence around this sordid period in Olympic history may be ending at last. In December 2013, Swimming World Magazine launched a campaign to “strip the East German women of its prestigious World and European Swimmer of the Year Awards.” The campaign has attracted worldwide attention and could mark the first step in redressing an injustice that remains a festering wound today.  (
If ever the obvious injustice is righted, Canada will no longer be dubbed the country that failed to win gold during a home Olympic Games. It is long past time for this to happen, if not officially then at least in the way Canada’s outstanding 1976 performances are portrayed.
*To read the complete article, which details the Canadian performances, please email 
The Ottawa Citizen, December 9th:  In an op-ed, Couchiching member Tshweu Moleme wrote: “Our world today remains fraught with struggles for rights and freedoms. As many cry over the loss of former South African president and freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, and lament, others reflect on what can be taken from Mandela’s democratic philosophy and work, as founding father of South Africa’s democratic dispensation. With criticism noted, it is safe to say that Mandela did really change our world. To understand this, one need only look at the world’s current media coverage of his departure. Perhaps what is now arguably the most significant death and funeral of the century can help shed light on what it really is that has caught so much of the world’s attention at this time.” 
Tshweu was born in South Africa and is a research analyst with the BRICS Research Group at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.
Read more:

Calling All Readers of Couchiching Connects!

 Please send us information on Newsmakers, Couchiching Alumni in the News, and Opinions: Our Members Write... to Sheila Robertson, Vice-Chair, Marketing and Communications,

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
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