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Upcoming Big Thinking lectures

Big Thinking

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Fall 2017 lineup

Big Thinking on the Hill

The promise of reconciliation: Will this time be different?

November 21, 2017 - 7:30 am to 8.45 am

Parliamentary Restaurant, Centre Block
$25 ($10 for students) - pre-registration required
Complimentary for parliamentarians and the media
Breakfast included

Registration details coming soon

Katherine Graham, Professor Emerita, Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University 
David Newhouse, Director and Professor of Indigenous Studies, Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies, Trent University

Canada embarked on an official journey of reconciliation with the Prime Minister’s commitment to implement the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Recent changes in federal institutions that acknowledge Indigenous-Inuit-Crown relationships give cause for optimism. While the frame of reconciliation is new, the idea of a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples has been a recurring theme in Canadian policy since the 1970s. This presentation asks the question: will this time be any different?

Katherine Graham is Senior Adviser to the Provost at Carleton University and former Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs. Co-founder of the Community Based Research Canada and the founding coordinator of the Carleton University Institute on the Ethics of Research with Indigenous Peoples, she has worked in the field of Indigenous policy and administration for over three decades. She served on the staff of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) and was the Program Co-chair (along with Prof. Newhouse) of the 2016 National Forum on Reconciliation that marked the 20th anniversary of the RCAP report.

David Newhouse is Onondaga from the Six Nations of the Grand River community near Brantford, Ontario. He has been Chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies, now the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, since 1993. His research explores the emergence of modern Aboriginal society, while his policy portfolio includes work with the Policy Team on Economics for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the National Aboriginal Benchmarking Committee of the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board. He also currently serves as the Science Officer for the Aboriginal Peoples Health research committee for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 

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Big Thinking on the road

The importance of Indigenous knowledge and spirituality for the future of academia

November 25, 2017 - 8:00 am to 10:00 am
At The Royal Society of Canada's Annual General Meeting
Fairmont Winnipeg Hotel
2 Lombard Pl
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y3
Blair Stonechild, Professor of Indigenous Studies, First Nations University of Canada

Indigenous knowledge and spirituality is an ancient and viable system that has persisted for tens of thousands of years. However, the rise of “civilization” along with its human-centered ideology and philosophy of rationalism have demonized and marginalized these ways of knowing and being. While some academics claim that Indigenous knowledge and spirituality are not suitable for inclusion in academic studies, Elders believe that dismissing the concept of spirit and failing to recognize the interconnectedness of all created beings has led to a contemporary world on the edge of self-destruction. Recognition of the legacy and potential of Indigenous knowledge is therefore vital for the future of scholarly endeavour and perhaps humanity itself. This is the academy’s challenge.

StonechildDr. Stonechild is a member of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation. He attended Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School and Campion Collegiate, then went on to obtain his Bachelor’s from McGill University, and Master’s and Doctorate from the University of Regina. In 1976, Blair joined the First Nations University of Canada as its first faculty member. Blair has been Dean of Academics and Executive Director of Development responsible for construction of the university’s facility. Major publications include Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion (1997), The New Buffalo: Aboriginal Post-secondary Policy in Canada (2006), and the biography Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way. His latest work, The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality, which relates the teachings of Indigenous Elders, was published in 2016. Blair resides in Regina with his wife and three adult children.

This event is full, but the video will be posted here in the week of November 27, 2017

2017-2018 Season

Expertise in a post-truth era: How to be a trusted advisor in a low-trust world
Gabriel Miller, Executive Director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Lisa Kimmel, President and CEO, Edelman Canada
Mark Kingwell, Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto
Rima Wilkes, President, Canadian Sociological Association
November 2, 2017

The apparent rise in populist, anti-intellectual sentiment around the world presents serious risks to the research community, public-policy practitioners and, indeed, the functioning of a democratic society. Widespread popular rejection of evidence-backed messages in areas such as the environment, public health and national security is contributing to destructive policies and behaviours, including inaction on climate change, declining vaccination rates and hostility to immigration. Researchers, business leaders, public servants and other subject-matter experts now face difficult questions: To what extent have they lost public trust? Why do so many reject the findings of experts? What are the consequences of a political discourse that is dismissive of facts? And how can researchers, public servants and other experts build and maintain public trust in the years ahead? This panel will explore these questions by examining the nature of the “post-truth” phenomenon; the social forces that underlie it; and practical steps researchers and public-policy practitioners can take to grow public trust.

  • Big Thinking video (coming soon)

Economic inequality: Should Canada bring back inheritance taxes?
Patrick Turmel, Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and Director of the social and economic ethics section of Université Laval’s Applied Ethics Institute
October 24, 2017

Most democratic societies, including Canada, are faced with growing inequality, and various policies to address this issue have been the subject of repeated debate. One of the main areas of concern is the return of “patrimonial capitalism”, in which inheritance becomes the main determining factor of one’s socio-economic position. In this context, many voices on the international stage have been speaking to the necessity of increased inheritance taxes as an essential tool for achieving a more just society. Canada is one of the few developed countries to have eliminated inheritance or estate taxes. Should we consider reinstating this fiscal tool? This talk will consider the main objections to inheritance taxes in order to reach a clearer understanding of this morally and emotionally-charged debate.

Diversity dividend: Canada’s global advantage
Bessma Momani, Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance, University of Waterloo
Jillian Stirk, former ambassador and Assistant Deputy Minister, Trudeau Mentor
September 21, 2017

What is the relationship between diversity and economic prosperity? Join Bessma Momani and Jillian Stirk as they present the results and policy recommendations from a year-long research project that shows a positive correlation between workplace diversity, revenue and productivity in Canada. This finding has important implications for both federal policy and public discourse on issues of diversity, immigration, and the strength of the Canadian economy. How and why can diversity have a positive economic impact? What are areas for action, and what are the implications for Canada’s future in a competitive global economy? This event is sponsored by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

See past Big Thinking lectures