Stephane Dion awarded this year’s Public Policy Award for Leadership

Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs addresses the role of the individual and organizations in shaping public policy in “From the Ground Up: Civic Engagement in Our Times” August 4–7, 2011

Toronto, July 13, 2011: The diverse ways in which individuals and organizations engage in community issues and social change at the local, national and international levels and the ways in which these forms of engagement are changing, dominate the agenda at the 80th annual conference of the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs (CIPA), August 4-7, 2011.

This year’s line-up will explore these issues and includes such Canadian and international luminaries and provocateurs as newly elected Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Hon. Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., Senior Executive Vice President and Vice Chairman, CIBC, Dave Toycen, President, World Vision,Jay Naidoo, Chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and former South African Minister of State in Nelson Mandela’s government, award-winning Egyptian columnist, Mona Eltahawy.

“Our contemporary world is experiencing anew what it means to be an engaged citizen, both collectively and individually. Over the past few months the world has borne witness to revolutionary changes sweeping the Arab world, spread through access to new media tools enabling populations to connect on issues of common concern.” said Gwen Burrows, President, Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs. “Similarly, in Canada, these new technologies are enabling new forms of engagement building on the changes we have seen over the past 20 years, including the development of social entrepreneurship, the establishment of corporate social responsibility principles, and the renewal of mega-philanthropy as demonstrated by Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge”.”

The essential question for the 2011 Couchiching Conference then is, does the early 21st century brand of engagement meet the challenges of our time?

Stephane Dion Awarded the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership

The Institute is pleased to announce this year’s recipient of the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership to Stephane Dion, P.C., M.P. The award was established to honour the accomplishments of a Canadian who has demonstrated leadership in public policy and recognizes the actions taken by an individual to create policy that has had a proven positive impact on Canada or a community within Canada, often in the face of public opposition.

The award recognizes Mr. Dion for his leadership on two controversial issues. As Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in 1996, he developed the controversial Clarity Act. More recently, in 2008, Mr. Dion showed himself to be a leader in the true sense when, against all odds augured by low poll numbers, he unveiled the Green Shift. Recognizing publicly that anthropogenic global climate change will have dire consequences; Mr. Dion proposed to restructure Canada’s income taxation to encourage productivity while discouraging rampant consumption of fossil fuels. Criticized by some, applauded by others, it was nonetheless the starting point for a larger societal discussion and showed real faith in Canadians’ ability to think bigger and for the long term.

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The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs is Canada’s oldest public affairs forum and is a crucible of provocative questions, creative ideas and divergent discussions that are the product of the collective contributions of all who attend. For more information about the conference please visit Please find us on Facebook and follow us on twitter: @couchiching

For more information, or to book an interview, please contact:

Brenda Paul-Ishikawa, VP, Marketing, 416.420.4538,

Shannon Bott, Conference Director, 416-494-1440 x229,

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