Upcoming Big Thinking lectures
The Big Thinking series is made possible through the support of
Winter 2018 lineup
Big Thinking on the Hill
The Big Thinking on the Hill lecture series will resume in February 2018. Dates and speakers to be announced shortly.
The importance of Indigenous knowledge and spirituality for the future of academia
Blair Stonechild, Professor of Indigenous Studies, First Nations University of Canada
November 25, 2017
The promise of reconciliation: Will this time be different?
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
November 21, 2017
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.
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.