Debate # 1


Are these the type of socks a Prime Minister should be wearing?

Is this sartorial swagger or, as the New York Times suggests, sock diplomacy?

Watch this space for who will be debating the one of the most challenging policy questions of our time.






Debate # 2

Many democracies are seeing a rise in populist movements, fuelled by the anger and frustration of people who believe governments are not paying attention to their issues, and who feel left behind economically. Such forces were behind the Brexit vote in the UK, and the surprising strength of the right wing National Front in the first round of the French Presidential election. And, of course, there was the surprising American election result last November.

Distressed about what’s going on with our American neighbour, many Canadians and say they’re thankful we’re not in the same situation.

But are we sure about that? Anyone remember Rob Ford being elected Mayor of Toronto? The serious debate will explore evidence suggesting that the potential exists in Canada for the rise of a northern populist movement, similar to that which resulted in the Trump win in the US.  

Speaking for the resolution:  

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Shachi Kurl

Shachi Kurl is the Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute in Vancouver.  The Institute is one of North America’s premier nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and public opinion polling organizations. As the ED, Ms. Kurl works to further public knowledge, debunk myths, and contribute to debate and discussion in meaningful ways, enhancing the understanding of issues that matter to Canada and the world. That has seen her offering analysis on CBC’s “At Issue” panel, as well as in The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and other influential forums. She brings nearly two decades of public policy expertise to her role, spending the first part of her career as political reporter. She holds a degree in Journalism and Political Science from Carleton.




Speaking against the resolution:  


Stephen Maher

Stephen Maher is an award winning journalist and author. A veteran of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, Maher came to Ottawa in 2004 to cover politics for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. In 2011, he moved over to Postmedia News.  Together with colleague Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen, they broke the robo-calls story in 2012. The series of exposés resulted in court action and a series of prestigious journalism awards including the Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism, a National Newspaper award and World Press Freedom award.  Mr. Mahar was a 2015-2016 Harvard Nieman Fellow, and until recently the Executive Editor of iPolitics.  He was born in France, raised in Nova Scotia, and has lived in Toronto, Newfoundland, Jamaica, Japan, France and the United States. He is also an accomplished author, with two published novels.



Hon. John Manley is president and chief executive of the Business Council of Canada, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization composed of the CEOs of Canada’s leading enterprises. Mr. Manley is a former deputy prime minister, and from 1993 to 2003 he was a minister in the governments of Jean Chrétien, serving in the portfolios of Industry, Foreign Affairs and Finance.





Hon. Peter Kent has been the Member of Parliament for the Toronto-area riding of Thornhill since 2008. He served in the portfolios of Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, responsible for the Americas and Minister of the Environment in the previous Conservative government. Prior to his political career, Peter was a broadcast journalist having spent more than 40 years working as a writer, reporter, producer, anchor and senior executive in Canada, the United States and around the world. @kentthornhillMP




Debate ModeratoR

Hon. Bob Rae was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario legislature between 1978 and 2013.  He was Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995, and served as interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011 to 2013. He is working now as a lawyer, negotiator, mediator, and arbitrator, with a particular focus on first nations, aboriginal, and governance issues. In his most recent book “What’s Happened to Politics?” Canadians finally get a definitive account of the problems plaguing their national politics. @BobRae48



Mistress of CeremonieS

Rosemary Barton will be assuming her new duties as one of four new anchors of the CBC’s The National in November. She is acknowledged as one of the most influential and respected journalists in the Capital, having hosted the CBC News Network's daily political show, Power & Politics from 2015-2017, as a member of CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. Based in Ottawa since 2007, Ms. Barton has covered federal elections, as well as a number of federal leadership campaigns.  At the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016, Barton won the award for Best Host or Interviewer in a News or Information Program or Series. @RosieBarton



Honorary TimekeepeR

Kevin Page is the current Chair of the Jean-Luc Pepin Research Chair on Canadian Government at the University of Ottawa. He was the first Parliamentary Budget Officer for Canada, and served in that office from 2008 to 2013. He has authored Unaccountable: Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill making a case for better government accountability.