Couchiching Connects: March 2013

In this Issue:

The President's Message
2014 Conference Proposals
The Big Picture
The 2013 Summer Conference
Conversations and Roundtables
Marketing and Communications

The President's Message - Rima Berns-McGown

Dear Couchiching Community:

February was a wonderfully inspiring month in the lead-up to the summer conference in August:

Anishnaabe writer and teacher Hayden King led a rich, intense discussion on the context of Idle No More at the Academy of the Impossible in Toronto. We are absolutely delighted that Hayden has agreed to speak at the summer Conference. You will want to be there: Hayden is a mesmerizing speaker.

Special thanks to board member Wenran Jiang for organizing a groundbreaking roundtable in Calgary with Indigenous and industry leaders and senior government representatives on Indigenous interests in trade and resources and the complications of international representation. This was a badly needed conversation that had not happened before and will now continue. Couchiching is proud to have orchestrated its beginning.

The Simcoe County Conversation series continued with a fascinating discussion of the difference between Canadian and Indigenous approaches to governance, led by Mark Douglas, lifelong resident of the Rama (Mijikaning) First Nation. See Conversations and Roundtables for details of the third in the series with Brian Charles and Bob Bowles.

Kevin Asare and Hibaq Gelle, members of the Conversations and Roundtables Committee, organized another desperately needed conversation of a different type – between the police in the 31st Division and 30 youth in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood. This is the beginning of a series of Couchiching-mediated conversations between the police and youth in the neighbourhood. Thank you, Kevin and Hibaq, for negotiating the complications of getting this series off the ground!

Tickets are now on sale to Couchiching's second annual Big Picture Gala and fundraiser, April 25 at Storys in Toronto. We are delighted to be presenting the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership to Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney that evening. The Gala helps to support the very important work we do curating conversations on topics that matter, year-round and at the summer conference. Please consider buying a ticket and showing your support for the Institute.

And finally, conference planning proceeds apace: You are going to want to be there, and everyone is invited! This conference is going to sell out. Register now and take advantage of early-bird prices.

Call for Proposals for the 2014 Couchiching Summer Conference

As a member of the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, you are invited to submit a proposal for the 2014 Summer Conference, August 7 to 10, 2014.* This is your chance to let us know what you believe would be a great conference topic and experience.

Please submit no more than three pages and include the following:

  • Your name and team members
  • Conference working title
  • Conference theme: tell us why you believe it is important for the Institute to address this topic; what is the draw?
  • Brief conference descriptor (250 words), including key approach to the topic and questions to be addressed
  • Potential opening and closing sessions with potential keynote speakers (Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon). you can make your suggestions based on our general conference architecture over 3.5 days
  • Panel session topics and potential speakers: Friday morning, Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning.
  • Anything special that you believe would be a unique feature or approach to the program such as debate or a culture event.
  • Potential sponsors and funders (corporate/ foundation/ government)

Deadline: Monday, April 1, 2013

Submit to:

For information about the selection process, please contact: Candida Paltiel, VP Program,

*Please be aware that the chosen topic will be developed further by the 2014 Conference Chair and will be subject to revision by the Program Committee in that given year.

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

Leslie de Meulles, Co-Chair, Gala Committee

Meet Table Host Chaviva Hošek, OC: "Does Inequality Matter and if so Why?"

Dr. Chaviva Hošek, who received her PhD from Harvard University in 1973, was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research in January 2001. Previously the Director of Policy and Research for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, her career includes a term as Minister of Housing for the Province of Ontario and a 13-year period as Professor of English Literature at the University of Toronto. A long-time champion of Canadian education and human rights, Chaviva has served as President and Executive Member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and has held senior governance positions at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. She is the recipient of two honorary degrees.

Meet Table Host Joe Berridge: "Toronto as Global Urban Leader: Accident or Design?"

Joe Berridge, a partner at Urban Strategies, is recognized as one of Canada’s most creative and innovative planners. He has had an integral role in the development of some of the largest and most complex urban regeneration projects in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Asia and has played a major role in regeneration projects in Manchester, Liverpool, and St. Louis. He was an advisor on the development of the World Financial Center in New York and Canary Wharf in London and a master planner for the waterfronts of Toronto, Singapore, Cork, Ireland, London’s East Docklands, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Governors Island in New York City. He has prepared campus master plans for the University of Waterloo and Western University. Joe’s paper on the failure of Canadian cities to re-invest helped focus media and political attention on this important issue. He played an important role in helping form the growth management and transportation plans for the Toronto region. He teaches at the University of Toronto and is a regular media commentator and writer on urban issues.

Meet Table Host Marianne McKenna, OC: "Revitalizing Interest in the Arts: How Architecture Engages Toronto's Arts and Culture Community"

Marianne McKenna is a founding partner of the award-winning practice of KPMB Architects. Educated at Swarthmore College (B.A. 1972) and Yale University (M. Arch. 1976), she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012. The architecture of concert halls and how design is used to engage community has been her special focus for over 20 years, beginning with the Royal Conservatory in 1990. Completed in 2009, the award-winning Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning is described as the “jewel in the crown of Toronto’s Cultural Renaissance." The design earned KPMB its 11th Governor General’s Medal as well as numerous awards for architectural excellence. In 2011, Marianne was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory for her outstanding contribution and commitment. In 2010 she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. She has taught at McGill University, L'Université de Montréal, and the University of Toronto and lectured and acted as guest critic at Yale University. She has juried a range of art competitions for integrated artworks, including Concordia University and Torys LLP. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Contemporary Culture for the Royal Ontario Museum.

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 is 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.

Meet the Keynote Speakers

Hon. Paul Martin
The Right Honourable Paul Martin was the twenty-first Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006.

He was the Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002, during which time he erased Canada’s record deficit and virtually paid off Canada’s foreign debt, the highest of the G7 at that time. He recorded five consecutive budget surpluses and restored the financial integrity of the Canadian Pension Plan. He also strengthened the regulations governing Canada’s financial institutions, with the result that Canada is now viewed as an international model for sound financial regulation.

He is the chair of a two hundred million dollar British-Norwegian poverty and sustainable development fund for the ten-nation Congo Basin Rainforest. He sits on the advisory council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, an initiative sponsored by the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank that deals with critical Pan African issues.

Domestically, the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative focuses on improving the elementary and secondary school education of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. He founded, with his son David Martin, the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund, which helps establish and grow successful Aboriginal businesses both on and off reserve.

Before entering public life he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CSL Group Inc, which operates the world’s largest fleet of self-unloading vessels and offshore trans-shippers. He graduated in honours philosophy and history from St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the University of Toronto Law School.

Roberta L. Jamieson
Roberta L. Jamieson is a Mohawk woman from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario, where she still resides. In November of 2004, she was appointed CEO and President of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. In February 2012, the Foundation changed its name to Indspire and incorporated its new tag line, “Indigenous Education, Canada’s future.” Under Roberta’s leadership, Indspire is flourishing. Bursary and scholarship funding has dramatically increased to over $49 million to 14,000 students, more than doubling since her appointment. She has extended Indspire’s career conferences to all regions of Canada and is leading the development of the Indspire Institute, an online laboratory of learning focused on increasing high school completion rates and K-12 success.

Roberta L. Jamieson is a Mohawk woman from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario, where she still resides. In November of 2004, she was appointed CEO and President of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. In February 2012, the Foundation changed its name to Indspire and incorporated its new tag line, "Indigenous Education, Canada's future." Under Roberta's leadership, Indspire is flourishing. Bursary and scholarship funding has dramatically increased to over $49 million to 14,000 students, more than doubling since her appointment. She has extended Indspire's career conferences to all regions of Canada and is leading the development of the Indspire Institute, an online laboratory of learning focused on increasing high school completion rates and K-12 success.

Read more ...

Register now!

Readings and Viewings
Click here for a complete list of Readings and Viewings

Conversations and Roundtables

Salim Rachid, Chair, Conversations and Roundtables

News about Conversations Held

February 13 Toronto Conversation: Hayden King, assistant professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University and former Senior Policy Adviser to the Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, shed light on the rich history of Indigenous activism in Canada and the roots of the current challenges we are facing. This was the first Couchiching Conversation hosted by the Academy of the Impossible in the Bloor-Lansdowne District.

February 21 Vancouver Conversation: The Tobin tax, or "the Robin Hood tax", was originally suggested by Nobel Laureate economist James Tobin as a way to create a pool of fund to fight poverty by levying a small fee on international financial transactions. In these days of soaring debt levels and economic uncertainty, it is seen by some as a fair way to help balance government budgets. Currently, several EU countries are seriously contemplating its imposition. Couchiching Vancouver speaker Nichola Malim Hall considered whether the Tobin Tax could ever be implemented in Canada.

February 21 Calgary Roundtable: The Institute, in partnership with the Canada-China Energy & Environment Forum, held a roundtable in Calgary on "Asian Market Opportunities for Canada's First Nations" to explore how First Nations communities, different levels of governments, and the private sector can work together in taking advantage of the emerging markets in Asia, especially in China. Some of the key issues discussed were how to advance the China Strategy developed by the First Nations in 2012 while incorporating First Nations consultation in Asia's investment plans in Canada. Panelists included representatives from the First Nations Council, Alberta Energy, and TransCanada. Many thanks to organizer Wenran Jiang, Couchiching board member and Director of Canada-China Energy & Environment Forum.

February 26 Simcoe County Conversation: Professor Douglas West of Lakehead University hosted a conversation in Orillia on Indigenous and Canadian Approaches to Governance. This event was part of the Simcoe County Couchiching Conversations Series, focusing on indigenous issues in Canada. The conversation was led by Mark Douglas, a life-long resident of the Rama First Nations reserve. These Aboriginal conversation series in Simcoe County are paving the way for this summer's Couchiching Conference on Canada-Indigenous relations.

News about Upcoming Conversations and Roundtables

March 19 Vancouver Conversation: Catherine Boivie, former Couchiching Board member and former vice-president of VanCity, will lead a Vancouver conversation entitled "University Education and Jobs". How important is a university education in attaining a job? If you are interested in joining this conversation, please e-mail Karin Weidner.

March 26 Simcoe County Couchiching Conversation Series: The third in this series of Conversations presents “Indigenous and Canadian Approaches to the Environment and Natural Resources” on March 26th from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Midland Public Library, 320 King Street, Midland, Ont., L4R 3M6. The Conversation will be hosted by Brian Charles, the Native Community Liaison for the Anishnabe Education and Training Circle at Georgian College, and Robert Bowles, a science and nature expert from Orillia, Ont. If you are interested in joining this conversation, please e-mail Douglas West.

Marketing and Communications

Chair Melanie Ching and Vice-Chair Sheila Robertson

Minutes from the February 6th meeting will be circulated to all committee members prior to the next meeting being set. To join the Marketing and Communications Committee, please email


"Banks must do more to regain public trust, including more radical reform to the way they run their businesses, according to Mark Carney, the incoming Governor of the Bank of England." - The Telegraph, February 26th. He will be presented with the 2013 Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership at the second annual Couchiching Gala, The Big Picture, which takes place April 25 at Storys in Toronto.
Read more ...

Board member Alex Himelfarb will be honoured at the 26th Annual Testimonial Dinner recognizing Canada's former Clerks for the Privy Council on April 11th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. He held the position from 2002 to 2006. The event is hosted by Canada's Public Policy Forum. For information, contact

Opinions: Our Members Write ...

Writing in the Ottawa Citizen, February 25th, Alex Himelfarb and Sid Ryan said: "There is an absence of confidence in politics these days."
Read more ...

Couchiching Alumni in the News

Canadian-American filmmaker Lillie Paquette pre-screened her acclaimed documentary, "We are Egypt: The Story Behind the Revolution", at last summer's Couchiching Conference focusing on the Arab Spring. The film has since received high acclaim by academic and policy communities worldwide and is being used as teaching tool in classrooms around the world. "We are Egypt" is now available on DVD and may be ordered through

"By the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over," declared President Barack Obama to thunderous applause during his State of the Union address this week. This was a speech about ending an unpopular war and bringing US troops home, not about winning a peace, or even trying to negotiate one." - Lyse Doucet, BBC News World. February 15th
Read more ...

"Canada is well positioned to develop a strong Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market that will create jobs; an export-focused competitive energy industry; and long-term economic advantage for British Columbia and Canada. But there are challenges to overcome to be successful, said the Hon. Jim Prentice, Senior Executive Vice-President and Vice Chairman of CIBC." - CNW, February 25th
Read more ...

"Toronto internet strategist Jesse Hirsh and author Emily Pohl-Weary are hacking real life with their game-changing Academy of the Impossible." - The Toronto Star, February 26th
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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

Read More


Couchiching Connects
April 2017
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