Your Symposium. Your future.

Michael Valpy

What protections will the world’s nations put in place to try to protect the planet and its inhabitants from greed, economic recklessness, barbarism and environmental despoliation? What will be — in Plato’s words — the art of measurement that saves our lives?

Your student colleagues at SPPG and across the campus at Massey College have spent seven months scouring the country for speakers to address these issues. They’ve commissioned one of Canada’s leading pollsters, Ekos Research, to examine Canadians’ attitudes toward the international role they want their country to play. The curtain goes up Tuesday, March 20, on this year’s Walter Gordon Symposium on public policy, jointly organized by Massey and SPPG.

It begins at 10:30 a.m. in Massey with a disturbing presentation by Ekos president Frank Graves of an increasingly fragmented Canada, values-fractured by age, by education, religion and increasingly by differences between recent immigrants and native-born Canadians. Our social cohesion is eroding, our imagined community of Canada is increasingly harder to identify.

From the Ekos poll, the symposium moves on to examine global governance and finance — with speakers Prof. Lou Pauly from the Munk School, Prof. Tony Porter of McMaster and Andrew Spence, head of global research for TD Bank. Former UN ambassador Robert Fowler, University of Ottawa international law specialist Amir Attaran and former diplomat (and U of T visiting professor) David Wright address the issue of global security and Dr. Roger Gibbins, head of the Canada West Foundation, Prof. John Duncan of the U of T Centre for Ethics, and Pembina Institute analyst Clare Demerse wade through the ethics of the oil sands.

At 8 p.m. in Isabel Bader Theatre, Ambassador Fowler brings the day’s thoughts together in conversation with Michael Ignatieff. There are still some spaces available for the daytime session but you need to register — rsvp.wgs2012@gmail.com. Your mind will thank you.

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