May 2016

News Flash: Board nominations now open (see below)

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

Ah, May … and it's finally warming up here, so it must be Spring – and with Spring a young mind turns toward …. Well, I’m not sure I know what other young minds turn to, but I know what mine does – getting ready for the Summer Conference, of course!

It’s an opportunity to meet up with old friends, make new ones, and engage with interesting conference goers and exchange exciting ideas – in the way that only happen at a Couchiching Summer Conference!

Dynamic and engaging conversations over dinner; policy debates over scotch by the fire pit, and thoughtful and thought-provoking speakers – where else but at the lake! See below for Armine Yalnizyan’s excellent write-up of what this year’s Summer Conference has in store for you.

For 85 years, the Couchiching Institute and its Summer Conference have been a fundamental part of the dialogue on the important public issues in this country – and this year is no different. In fact, this year might be the most “Couch” conference ever because the topic is this project we call Canada.

We will ask: What does it mean to be Canadian? What does it mean to be a Canadian citizen? What does it mean to be a Canadian in this world of global citizenship? How are these factors changing our idea of Canada?

As I remarked at our annual Couchiching Gala a few weeks ago, we have had some significant debates and discussions in our country over the past few years, debates that have gone beyond “just” policy to issues that have challenged our values and forced us to think about what it means to be Canadian. But that conversation has only begun; I look forward to you joining us at the Lake to continue this important discussion.


Attention all members: Call for Nominations to the Couchiching Board

This is the initial call for candidates for election to the Board of Directors of the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs.

At the Institute’s Annual General Meeting on April 20th, 2016, the members agreed to amend the bylaws to allow the Board to establish the membership of the Nominations Committee and change the number of Board members to at least five and no more than 25, with the number to be fixed by a special resolution. Subsequently, the members passed a special resolution fixing the number of directors at 23.

At the Board meeting, also on April 20th, 2016, the Board appointed Vass Bednar, Mohamed Huque, Adam Redish, Bahram Raham, and Helen Tewolde as members of the Nominations Committee.

In accordance with the Institute’s bylaws, Board members can be nominated by any two members or by the Nominating Committee.

When nominated by two members, the written nomination, signed by one of the members and including both the nominators’ names and the name of the nominee, should be accompanied by a biographical outline/CV of the nominee and the nominee's written consent to seek election as Director at the forthcoming election and to serve if elected. Individuals standing for election to the Board must be qualified at law to be a member of the Institute and become a member of the Institute within 10 days of their election.

The nomination package should be sent to the nominating committee via Cindy Gareau, at


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

Ever since we decided on the conference theme for this year, conversations at organizing committee meetings and our dinner tables have been utterly fascinating ... and hard to stop. Who should be allowed to become a citizen −  and what should it take to lose citizenship? Do identity politics make us feel like we belong to the larger "Canada Project" less... or more? Is the very idea of the nation state being eclipsed by the internet, globalization, and climate change? If it's still relevant, what does it mean to build a country when a growing proportion of newcomers are entering − and leaving − as temporary foreign workers? What would make Canada great again?  (That's only partly a joke question.)

These conversations tap into our values and belief systems, triggering strong opinions across generations, across ethnicities and racial backgrounds, across the political spectrum.

One of our speakers is guaranteed to make us all think twice about how we view these issues and why. He's Jason Kenney, Minister responsible for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism for the Government of Canada from 2008 to 2013. His role in shaping Canada's policies regarding multiculturalism and the use of temporary foreign workers is one of the most striking in Canadian history. As population aging accelerates, and the challenges of slowing economic growth continue to dog our prospects for shared prosperity, how do Canadians think our policies of newcomer intake and settlement should evolve?  Are we on the right track? If not, what needs changing, and why?

Join us in one of the most pivotal debates for the future of the Canada Project.

Every year some of the most interesting insights on our topics du jour bubble up from our youngest attendees.  Many of them can only attend because of our generous scholarship program, made possible by donors who are often previous attendees of Couchiching and know what a life-changing gift these lakeside conversations can be.  (Hint, hint -- if you're reading this, you probably know what we're talking about. How about giving a little bit to make sure new ideas keep flowing into Couchiching, 85 years young this year!)

So it seems appropriate to remind you that Scholarship Applications Are Now Open for the 2016 Summer Conference

If you're a student or under the age of 25, check out our application form here:

Young professionals (less than five years into your career or a young entrepreneur) can qualify for lower rates, and may be eligible for partial scholarships. 

Check our website for more information and register now to take advantage of the additional early bird discount.

Spread the word! Deadline is June 17th, 2016.

Download Couchiching Application Form!

It's never too late to help shape our conversations, and you're never too young (or old!).  Become a member for as little as $25, or join a committee for free!

Click here to read about speakers Nahlah Ayed, Desmond Cole, Chief Isadore Day, Fay Faraday, Ingrid Mattson, Keith Neumann, John W. McArthur, Doug Saunders, and Simon Tremblay Pepin.

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 Jason on Twitter: Jason Kenney (@jkenney) | Twitter

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

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

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

Read about the Program:

2016 Summer Conference Reading List

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

We are accepting applications for scholarships to the Summer Conference. The deadline to submit is June 17, 2016. Apply online or email your completed form to


Chair Karen Hamilton

"And now for something completely different!

Dear friends of the Couchiching Institute for Public Affairs:

In this fundraising blurb in Couchiching Connects, I am not going to take any of the tacks I have taken before.

I have tried through enthusiasm, inspiration, education, information, hearkening back to our history, dabbling in our present and presenting a vision for our future, a bit of guilt and even some entertaining biblical quotes to encourage you to make financial contributions to the Institute. I have referred to our strategic plan, our re-thinking of how we continue to be a 'civil place to disagree' in a changed Canadian context and landscape, and our mandate to build Canadian democracy one conversation at a time.

None of these strategies have worked.

So now I ask you to get in touch with me and to let me know what would inspire you to make a financial contribution to the Institute.

What do I need to know? What does the Institute need to know? How can we make fundraising more fun and more productive? Inquiring minds want to know and will keep your comments completely anonymous.

Email me at

Spring greetings to you all.

Please give generously.

Couchiching Community News



The Globe and Mail, May 13th:  David Dodge, Kevin Lynch, and Tiff Macklem wrote: “The Liberal government’s first budget has used much of the available fiscal room to invest in shovel-ready and social infrastructure projects.” Dodge, senior adviser at Bennett Jones and former governor of the Bank of Canada, received the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership in 2012.

Read more

The Globe and Mail, May 10th: Ed Broadbent, Alex Himelfarb, and Hugh Segal wrote in support of proportionality: “The Liberals have promised that 2015 would be the last election under our current system and that they would engage Canadians in defining the alternative.” Alex is the former Clerk of the Privy Council and a former Institute board member. Hugh is Master of Massey College and a past speaker at the Summer Conference.

Read more

The 180: “The Trudeau government announced it will put a Canadian woman on a bank note and while Vass [ says she's glad a female face, other than the Queen's, will grace Canadian money, she argues it shouldn't stop there.” Vass is the Institute’s Chair of the Public Policy Award and Gala Committees and the Associate Director of the Cities research program at the University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management.


The Globe and Mail, April 28th: Michael Adams and Kathy Bullock wrote: “On any given day, Canadians might wake up to a range of news related to Muslims in Canada.” Michael, founder and president of the Environics Institute for Survey research, was a table host at the 2016 Couchiching Gala.

Read more

The Globe and Mail, April 22nd: Thomas Homer-Dixon, the CIGI chair of global systems in the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo, wrote: “The Leap Manifesto is a Rorschach ink-blot test of one’s political and economic ideology. To take the test, just read the document’s first four sentences …” He was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity.

Read more

The Globe and Mail, April 20th: Tom Flanagan, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and a former campaign manager for conservative parties, wrote: “The 2015 Liberal campaign platform promised that “2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” Like many campaign commitments, this will be harder to implement than to promise.” He was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted.

Read more

The Globe and Mail, April 15th: Bob Rae wrote: “The news that 11 teenagers in the James Bay community of Attawapiskat were admitted to hospital last weekend because they had either attempted or threatened suicide has prompted yet another parliamentary debate and media flurry about the condition of indigenous people in Canada.” Bob teaches at the University of Toronto and is the author of What’s Happened to Politics? He is a partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend, a law firm that acts for First Nations across Canada and was a table host at the 2015 Couchiching Gala.

Read more

The Globe and Mail, April 15th: Columnist Denise Balkissoon wrote: “For anyone wanting to reduce the number of abortions in Canada, my advice is to start well before conception.” She was a table host at the 2016 Couchiching Gala.

Read more

Our Alumni/Members in the News ...

National Post, May 11th: Reporter Marie-Danielle Smith wrote:Speculation is building that the Liberal government may draw on recommendations from former Assembly of First Nations chief Phil Fontaine in its implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” Phil was a speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada”. He was the 2013 recipient of the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership.

Read more

Reuters, May 6th: Reporter Steve Keating wrote: “Former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound believes world athletics chief Sebastien Coe is under mounting pressure to find a way for suspended Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio Olympics.” Dick was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”.

Read more

Aaron Paquette Network, May 6th: Aaron Paquette wrote:Like most of you I watched in safety as the good people of Fort McMurray lost theirs. Dash cam footage showed trees spontaneously combust, animals fleeing the forest, cars moving to the other side of the road to escape the heat of hellfire unleashed on this remote Alberta city.” The painter, writer, keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, political commentator, illustrator, goldsmith and cathedral stained glass artist was a speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada”.

Read more

Maclean’s, May 6th: Bob Rae, a table host at the 2015 Couchiching Gala, spoke about “his long friendship with hostage John Ridsel, his desperate effort to free him, and the terrible news at the end of it all.”

Read more

The Agenda, May 5th: Teva Harrison discussed her cancer diagnosis and her approach to living with the disease. She was a table host at the 2016 Couchiching Gala.


Deborah Yedlin, the business columnist for the Calgary Herald, will be a speaker at the Institute of Corporate Directors 2016 conference entitled “Leadership in the Boardroom” on June 2nd in Calgary. She was a speaker at the 2015 Summer Conference “Are We Failing Our Future? Time for a New Deal between Generations”.

The Agenda, April 26th: Chief Isadore Day participated in a program entitled: “Indigenous Power Struggle”. He will be a speaker at the 2016 Summer Conference.


The Globe and Mail, April 26th: Phil Fontaine was quoted in an article by Gloria Galloway and Sean Fine entitled: “Other churches escape residential-school settlement obligations in wake of Catholic deal”. He was a speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada”. He was the 2013 recipient of the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership.

Read more

For related articles see:!-1668963460/?ts=160429084333&ord=1

Maclean’s: Former prime minister Paul Martin recalls meeting Queen Elizabeth II: “I saw her in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, both of which were celebrating their 100th anniversaries as provinces. She was full of life, an amazing woman. I’d never met her before the tour, and I’ve never met her since.” He was a speaker at the at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada” and the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Waster Opportunity”.

Read more

Ottawa Citizen, April 16th: An excerpt from James Bartleman’s memoir, “Seasons of Hope”, was published: “James Bartleman is the former lieutenant governor of Ontario and the bestselling author of the novels, ‘As Long as the Rivers Flow’ and ‘The Redemption of Oscar Wolf’. A member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, he is also a retired ambassador and a member of the Order of Canada.” He was the closing speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together as One: Navigating the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada”.

Read more #mce_temp_url#

The Globe and Mail, April 16th:  Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was one of six prominent Canadians to write about “The Idea of Canada”: “Dear Canada: As we approach your 150th birthday, I’ve never been so proud of you – of your energy, of your kindness and humanity, about the possibility and opportunity you embody for all. The mayor was the closing speaker at the 2011 Summer Conference, “From the Ground Up: Civic Engagement in our Time”.

Read more

The Agenda, April 13th: Doug Saunders, the Globe and Mail's international affairs columnist, participated in a debate entitled “The European Union at a Crossroads”. He will be a speaker at the 2016 Summer Conference.


Books of Note

In-Between Days by Teva Harrison, a table host at the 2016 Couchiching Gala.

For reviews see and

The Idea of Canada: Letters to A Nation by David Johnston. McClelland & Stewart | April 19, 2016 | Hardcover

“From our present Governor General, a series of 50 (of several thousand) carefully chosen letters he has written to people he has admired and befriended over his seventy-plus years, that sets out Mr. Johnston's frank, informed, and novel thoughts about Canada.”

Read more

Seasons of Hope: Memoirs of Ontario’s first Aboriginal Lieutenant Governor by James Bartleman. A look back over Bartleman’s seventy years, from his childhood of poverty to becoming the Queen’s representative in Ontario.

Read more

Read more

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 28th David Miller is president and CEO of WWF-Canada and the former mayor of Toronto.

The Myth of the Muslim Tide (2012) and Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World (2011) by Doug Saunders.

For reviews: and

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,

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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