June 2016

Conference Flash: For every two people who register for the Summer Conference that you refer, receive 10% off your conference fees – even after you register!

In this Issue:

Couch News

President's Message

2016 Summer Conference


Couch Community News


Alumni/Members in the News

Books of Note

Calling All Readers!

The President's Message
Adam Redish

2 pm, August 5th, 2016.

You want to be there.

That afternoon marks the start of the 2016 Summer Conference. Our 85th.

And what a conference it will be.

As you ought to know by now :), our topic this year is most timely. On the eve of the sesquintenial anniversary of Confederation, The Canada Project: Identity, Citizenship and Nationhood in a Changing World, will explore what it means to be Canadian, and what it means to be Canada. We will ask, as only Couchiching can, the big picture questions about citizenship, identity and the evolving nature of our nationhood in a globalized world.

And of course a Couch conference is an event like no other, a “life-changing experience” as many have told me, not just because of the panel and speakers, but also because of the unique brand of engagement that Couchiching creates.

This is not sitting in lecture halls being talked at (Okay, we do a bit of that), but really a Couch conference is about creating a unique environment for engagement. Over breakfast, during lunch or dinner, around the campfire, or over an early morning paddle, you will be engaged, entertained, and challenged to think about what it really means to be Canadian and what Canada really means.

And it all starts on August 5th at 2 pm, with our first conference session, where we will bring together thought leaders such as Senator Ratna Omidvar, young leaders from the Inspirit Foundation, and representatives from the federal government to explore where the Canada Project is now. This first session will explore identity, belonging, and the Canada Project in the context of the experience of young Canadian Muslims, the resettlement of Syrian refugees, and the integration of newcomers to Canada.

The session is followed by our President’s Reception (hosted by me!), a delicious dinner prepared by the amazing chefs of YMCA Geneva Park, our unique opening ceremonies, and Joseph Heath, our thoughtful and thought- provoking opening keynote speaker.

And read on in this edition of Couchiching Connects as Conference co-chairs Armine Yalnizyan and Michael Paramathesan lay out all the details of speakers and panels.

It promises to be a weekend of some of the most important conversations any of us have had in the last 150 years. I look forward to seeing you there.


The 2016 Summer Conference - The Canada Project: Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World
August 5th to 7th, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, Ont.
Summer Conference Co-chairs Armine Yalnizyan and Michael Paramathasan

Where do you belong in the Canada Project?

If you're like most people, you probably have moments where you wonder how you fit into the scheme of things.

Set aside Friday, August 5th to Sunday, August 7th and make sure you register early for what promises to be a sell-out conference about the changing meaning of The Canada Project.

There is truly no more fundamental and timely conversation to be had. We are on the eve of Canada's 150th anniversary as a nation. Will Canada even exist as a separate nation in another 50 years? The Canada Project is evolving quickly, as is the whole idea of statehood. Borders are become increasingly blurry around the world, while new barriers are being formed. Debate is swirling in the United Kingdom and Europe over the decision to Brexit or not. And in the United States, presidential elections have unleashed profound questions about what it means to be a nation, and how society should be organized.

These events raise critical questions and prod us to wake up and think about them: who belongs where? and who makes those decisions?  The answers profoundly impact how we live our lives and create society. The thing is, the answers can change. And they do change, constantly. These days, the changes are happening very quickly. And that's exactly what we're going to talk about, lakeside in the remarkable mental space that is Couchiching.

The opening keynote address will be delivered by Joseph Heath, professor in University of Toronto's Department of Philosophy and School of Public Policy and Governance. He will ignite our thinking with his trademark wit and wisdom. His keynote will launch us on our deep dive into the weekend's conversations about the unique path Canada has taken and where we are heading in the ongoing experiment of tolerance and diversity that is The Canada Project. Dr. Heath is a public intellectual of the highest order, expanding ideas and debates in both the academic and popular traditions. Prolific and engaged, his most recent publications include philosophical analyses like Morality, Competition and the Firm and bestsellers like The Rebel Sell and Enlightenment 2.0. Come for the insights, stay for the sparks!

Scholarship Applications Now Open for the 2016 Summer Conference

Students and youth are keys to the success of every conference, and Couchiching is always proud to offer generous scholarships to make sure our conversations stay fresh and relevant to all. If you're a student or under the age of 25, we welcome your applications for a scholarship to this year's conference.

Young Professional Rates Available

If you're less than five years into your career, you may qualify for the lower rate for young professionals. Check out our website for more information and register now to take advantage of the additional early bird discount!

Apply here and check out our website for more information about other available scholarships.

Spread the word! The deadline is June 30th, 2016.

Follow Joseph on his group blog: induecourse.ca

Follow Nahlah on Twitter: Nahlah Ayed (@NahlahAyed) | Twitter

Follow Desmond on Twitter: Desmond Cole (@DesmondCole) | Twitter

Follow Isadore on Twitter: Isadore Day (@ChiefDay) | Twitter

Follow Ingrid on Twitter: Ingrid Mattson (@IngridMattson) | Twitter

Follow Eric on Twitter: Eric Reguly (@ereguly) | Twitter

Follow Doug on Twitter: Doug Saunders (@DougSaunders) | Twitter

Read about the Program: http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/conference/2016-conference

2016 Summer Conference Reading List

See link for our suggested reading list related to this year’s topic courtesy of Manticore Books.


Chair Karen Hamilton

In the face of complexity, horror, pain, and darkness in our country and our world, civil, engaged dialogue, combined with creative and definite action is a way forward. - Karen

Please give generously

Couchiching Community News



The Globe and Mail, May 25th: Christopher Ragan wrote: “You may be surprised to learn this, but economists are not the same as “normal” people. The main difference relates to how the two groups think about markets and prices.”  An associate professor of economics at McGill University in Montreal and a research associate at the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto, Christopher was a speaker at the 2015 Summer Conference. “Are We Failing Our Future? Time for a New Deal Between Generations”

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The Globe and Mail, May 25th: Bob Rae wrote: “Political leaders and scholars have long debated whether “realism” or “idealism” should direct foreign policy. In fact, both are required. A country such as Canada, espousing values such as rule of law and protection of human rights, can’t park its beliefs at its own border. Nor can it remain unaware of how its criticism of other countries, many more powerful that us, will be interpreted. What we do, or don’t do, will have consequences.” Bob is senior partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, and teaches public policy and law at the University of Toronto. He was a table host at the 2015 Couchiching Gala.

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The Globe and Mail, May 25th: Former board member Alex Himelfarb was mentioned in an article by reporter Jane Taber entitled: Women’s groups push for proportional representation. “Influential women’s groups from Quebec to British Columbia have joined forces to push the Liberal government to adopt proportional representation, wanting to ensure Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s declarations that he is a feminist and committed to gender equality are not just empty promises.”

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Ottawa Citizen, May 17th: Elizabeth May wrote: ‘“First past the post” (FPTP), or “winner take all” voting, was invented back in the 12th century, when people thought the Earth was flat. FPTP works well when there are only two candidates. Whoever gets the most votes has clearly been elected.’ She is leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and received the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership in 2006. For more on the Greens’ approach to electoral reform, see: http://www.elizabethmaymp.ca

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The Globe and Mail, May 12th: Richard Pound wrote: “Recent publication of allegations that doping (the use of prohibited performance-enhancing substances and methods) in Russia is state-sponsored and affects the entire sports system in that country has, not surprisingly, raised major concerns in the sport community.” He is the senior active member of the International Olympic Committee, was the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and chaired the WADA Independent Commission that reported on corruption in Russian athletics in November 2015. He was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport.

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Our Alumni/Members in the News ...

Truro Daily News, June 2nd: “The Canadian who has long been at the centre of sport's anti-doping movement says Russia's track and field team can't get a free pass to Rio. Dick Pound led the independent commission whose report led to, among other things, the suspension of Russian athletes from international track competition. Dick was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.

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National Post, May 27th: International affairs columnist Matthew Fisher quoted John Kirton in an article entitled “PM wins hostage stance support”. John, who co-founded and is the director of the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, is a long-time Summer Conference attendee and a former board member.

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The Huffington Post, May 12thAkaash Maharaj participated in the London Anti-Corruption Summit, convened by Prime Minister David Cameron. He called on the Prime Minister to establish public corporate registries in the UK territories, to thwart the ability of the corrupt to operate behind a veil of corporate anonymity. Akaash was a closing speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.

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Books of Note

What’s Happened to Politics? by Bob Rae, Simon & SchusterCanada, @SimonSchusterCA. He was a table host at the 2015 Couchiching Gala.

Read: The Globe and Mail Review by David Miller, August 28thhttp://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/book-reviews/review-bob-raes-whats-happened-to-politics-is-a-useful-and-important-new-book/article26143619/. David Miller is president and CEO of WWF-Canada and the former mayor of Toronto.

Calling all Readers of Couchiching Connects!

Please send information on Newsmakers, Members on the Move, Alumni in the News, and Opinions: Our Members Write ... to Sheila Robertson, Editor, Couchiching Connects, sheila.robcom@gmail.com

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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