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Couchiching/CIC: Raising Hope : Canada in the World after COVID-19

January 30, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST


The annual Couchiching Conference returns on Saturday afternoon, January 30, with speakers from across Canada


About this Event
Join us on 1pm to 4pm EST on Saturday, January 30, because Couchiching 2021, in the form of a Zoom conversation, will focus on issues that have marked Canadian experiences over the past year and need to be addressed now and into the future: health care, the economy, climate change and international relations.

This event is free but donations are encouraged. Donations will be tax-receipted following the event.

Raising Hope: Canada in the World After COVID-19

1:00–1:05: Opening and Welcome, with Wendy Feldman and Doug West, Conference Co-Chairs
1:05–1:50: Opening Keynote and Conversation with the Right Honourable Paul Martin
1:50–2:00: Break
2:00–3:00: Panel Discussion with Danielle Martin, Women’s College Hospital; Annamie Paul, Green Party; and Josh Hjartarson, Deloitte Canada
3:00–3:10: Break
3:10–3:50: Closing Keynote and Conversation with Thomas Homer-Dixon
3:50–4:00: Closing remarks Madeline Koch and John Kirton, Couchiching
4:00–4:30: Open chat and network with participants, moderated by Wendy Feldman and Doug West
This event will be recorded for later broadcast.

For more information, email couchiching@thecic.org


The Rt. Hon. Paul Martin

The Right Honourable Paul Martin was Canada’s 21st prime minister serving from 2003 to 2006.

As prime minister, Mr. Martin pursued major reforms of the health care system, a national early learning and child care program, a deal with Aboriginal people of Canada (the Kelowna Accord) and a new financial agreement for municipalities. He also legalized same-sex marriage.

As minister of finance from 1993 to 2002, Mr. Martin eliminated the fiscal deficit, recording five budget surpluses and setting Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward track and put the Canada Pension Plan on sound footing. He was the inaugural chair of the Finance Ministers’ G-20 in 1999.

Mr. Martin was Liberal Party leader from 2003-2006, and represented the riding of Lasalle-Émard as Member of Parliament from 1988 to 2008.

After leaving public life, he advised the African Development Bank, the Advisory Council of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, co-founding the Congo Basin Forest Fund and was a Commissioner of the Global Ocean Commission. He founded the Martin Family Initiative (MFI) a charitable organization committed to improving education, health, and well-being of Indigenous children and youth in Canada.

Mr. Martin’s memoir, Hell or High Water: My Life In and Out of Politics, was published in 2008.

Mr. Martin’s pre-politics career with the Canada Steamship Lines (CSL Group) culminated in his role as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. A graduate of the University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College and the University’s law school, Mr. Martin was called to the Ontario Bar in 1966.

In 2012, he was appointed Companion to the Order of Canada. Brock University awarded an Honorary Doctorate to the Right Honourable Paul Martin in June 2020, one of his many awards and honours.

Paul Martin is married to Sheila Ann Cowan and they have three sons and five grandchildren.

Moderator Carol Off – CBC Radio’s As it Happens

Carol Off was an arts reporter and Ottawa correspondent in the ‘80s an International CBC correspondent in the ‘90s and ‘00s. She is an award-winning documentarian, award-winning author and, since 2006, host of As It Happens. https://www.cbc.ca/mediacentre/program/as-it-happens

As a television reporter, Ms. Off covered the Middle East, the Balkans, Afghanistan, the United States, the former Soviet Union — and most other places. She has also covered Canadian military missions around the world, including combat operations in Kandahar after 9/11.

She is the author of The Lion, The Fox, and the Eagle: A Story of Generals and Justice in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, in 2000, The Ghosts of Medak Pocket: the Story of Canada’s Secret War in 2005, Bitter Chocolate in 2006, and in 2017, All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others.

Ms. Off has won a Gemini; two gold medals from the New York Festival of Television; a Gabriel Award; and ACTRA’s John Drainie Award for Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Broadcasting, among other honours.



Dr. Danielle Martin MD, CCFP, FCFP, MPP, Women’s College Hospital

Danielle Martin is the Executive Vice-President and Chief Medical Executive of Women’s College Hospital (WCH), where she is also a practicing family physician. Danielle is leading the hospital’s strategy to establish Women’s Virtual, Canada’s first virtual hospital, aimed at improving care and reducing health system costs in ways that can be scaled up across our health care system.

Dr. Martin’s policy, clinical and academic expertise, combined with her commitment to health equity, have made her a highly regarded health system leader. She provides expertise and formal advice to lawmakers both nationally and abroad. In 2014, her testimony before the United States Senate Subcommittee about the Canadian health care system was viewed by nearly 2 million people. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYOf6hXGx6M

Dr. Martin earned a B.Sc. at McGill University and a M.D. at the University of Western Ontario and holds a Masters of Public Policy from the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. She is an active scholar and an internationally recognized researcher on health system issues.

As a media spokesperson, Dr. Martin provides commentary on health issues at the CBC. Her book Better Now: 6 Big Ideas to Improve the Health of all Canadians was released in 2017.

In conjunction with her work at WCH, Dr. Martin is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. The recipient of many awards and accolades, in 2019 she became the youngest physician ever to receive the F.N.G Starr Award, the highest honour available to Canadian Medical Association members.


Annamie Paul, Leader, Green Party of Canada

Annamie Paul became leader of the Green Party of Canada on October 3, 2020. She had previously served as the Party’s International Affairs Critic and has represented the Party as its candidate for Toronto Centre in the 2019 general election and in the 2020 by-election.

Ms. Paul has been active in several organisations. In 2002, she was the first Canadian to be awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship from the Echoing Green Foundation. She used that award to launch the Canadian Centre for Political Leadership which worked to increase diverse representation in public policy roles.

Ms. Paul worked as an advisor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and as EU director for Crisis Action, an organization working to prevent deadly conflict and to protect civilians in conflict zones. Ms. Paul co-founded the Barcelona International Public Policy Hub (BIPP HUB) which serves an incubator and catalyst for international organisations working to address the world’s greatest global challenges.

Ms. Paul holds an LLB from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and is called to the Ontario Bar. She holds a Master of Public and International Affairs from Princeton University. Ms. Paul has been a senior volunteer with Operation Black Vote Canada and Equal Voice Canada and is an Action Canada Fellow and a Harry Jerome Award recipient.


Josh Hjartarson, Ph.D, Deloitte Canada

Josh Hjartarson is the National Human and Social Services Leader at Deloitte Canada. His previous roles include Partner at KPMG, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Vice President, Policy & Government Relations and Policy Director at the Mowat Centre, University of Toronto. His career history includes public service, academic and advocacy.

As a thought leader, Mr. Hjartarson has written and lectured extensively on Ontario politics and government, public sector transformation, and regulatory reform among the most pressing policy challenges facing Canada and Ontario.

Mr. Hjartarson grew up in rural Alberta in the midst of a deep recession. Like many families, his was reliant on government supports during this period. This is why he firmly believes in the value of government. He also believes that enhancing the efficacy of the Canadian social safety net is both a moral and economic development imperative. In this spirit, his professional and academic interests converge on the transformation of income assistance, social care, and employment services so that they are more integrated, outcomes-focused, and client and family centric.

Mr. Hjartarson earned a PhD in political science at the University of Toronto in 2005.

When not contemplating the safety net, he helps coach a little league baseball team, reads vociferously, and travels as much as he can.

Moderator – Adrian Harewood, CBC Ottawa

Adrian is co-host of CBC News Ottawa. Harewood attended elementary and high school at Ashbury College, and was involved in community radio at CKCU (Carleton University) and CHUO (University of Ottawa).

He has been a guest host on national CBC programs such as As it Happens, Sounds Like Canada and The Current. Before coming to television, Harewood was the host of All In A Day on CBC Radio One in Ottawa.



Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon, Royal Roads University

Thomas Homer-Dixon is Director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University, and he holds a University Research Chair in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo.

Between 2009 and 2014, he was founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. Prior to that, as Director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, he led pioneering research projects investigating the links between environmental stress and violence in poor countries.

Dr. Homer-Dixon’s research has focused on threats to global security in the 21st century, including economic instability, climate change, and energy scarcity. He also studies how people, organizations, and societies can resolve conflicts and innovate in response to complex problems. His work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on political science, economics, environmental studies, geography, cognitive science, social psychology, and complex systems theory.

He teaches on topics ranging from environmental security to international relations and complexity theory. In 1999 he received the University of Toronto’s Northrop Frye Teaching Award for integrating teaching and research.

Dr. Homer-Dixon’s books include Commanding Hope: the Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril, The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, which won Canada’s 2006 National Business Book Award, The Ingenuity Gap, which won the 2001 Governor General’s Non-fiction Award, and Environment, Scarcity, and Violence, which won the 2000 Caldwell Prize of the American Political Science Association.

His academic writing has appeared in leading journals, including Ambio, International Security, Journal of Peace Research, and Population and Development Review. He has written for nonacademic audiences in Foreign Policy, Scientific American, The New York Times, and the Financial Times. He writes regularly for the Globe and Mail .

Dr. Homer-Dixon has addressed academic and general audiences around the world and consulted to senior levels of government in Canada, the US, and the UK.

Born in Victoria, B.C., he received his B.A. in political science from Carleton University in 1980 and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in international relations, defense and arms control policy, and conflict theory in 1989.

Dr. Homer-Dixon and his wife Dr. Sarah Wolfe live near Victoria with their two children Ben and Kate.


Moderator – Wendy Feldman, Conference 2021 Co-Chair

Wendy Feldman is a Co-Chair of the Couchiching Conference 2021 and has been volunteering with Couchiching since 2003. She is a Part Time Lecturer at Humber College in the Public Administration programme.

Feldman’s public sector experience in the Ontario government included Cabinet Office, Treasury Board Secretariat and several ministries. In the Federal government she served in Global Affairs Canada (in Ottawa, Paris and at the UN) and the Office of the Solicitor General of Canada. Previously Feldman was the Director of Research of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

She is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Ottawa.


Rt Hon. Paul Martin, PC, CC, QC · Website: http://www.paulmartin.ca/

  •  Martin, Paul. (2008). Hell or High Water: My Life in and Out of Politics. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.
  • TVO Interview with Steve Paikin on Aboriginal Education (June 2014): https://www.tvo.org/video/paul-martin-rethinking-aboriginal-educationagain · Charitable organization: MFI (Martin Family Initiative): https://themfi.ca/


Dr. Danielle Martin, M.D. · Website: http://6bigideas.ca/

  • Martin, Danielle (2017). Better Now: Six Big Ideas To Improve Health Care For All Canadians. Toronto: Penguin Canada.
  • Testimony in the U.S. Senate (2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYOf6hXGx6M&ab_channel=SenatorBernieSanders
  • Interview with Steve Paikin (January 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCFZIcWjiYA&ab_channel=TheAgendawithStevePaikin
  • https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30181-8/fulltext
  • https://thewalrus.ca/the-myth-of-universal-health-care/

Annamie Paul · Website: https://www.annamiepaul.ca/

  • CPAC Address discussing Government response to COVID-19: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMUrnlIFGmo
  • Interview article with The Guardian (October 2020): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/25/annamie-paul-canada-green-party-leader-interview · TVO Interview with Steve Paikin (May 2020): https://www.tvo.org/video/annamie-paul-vying-to-lead-the-federal-greens · CPAC Interview (October 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ-KTV-Oxd4&ab_channel=cpac

Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon · Website: https://homerdixon.com/

  • Homer-Dixon, Thomas. F. (2020). Commanding Hope: The Power We Have To Renew a World in Peril. Toronto: Vintage Canada.
  • Homer-Dixon, Thomas. F. (2006). The Upside of Down. Toronto: Random House of Canada.
  • Homer-Dixon, Thomas. F. (2000). The Ingenuity Gap. New York, USA: Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Globe & Mail (August 29, 2020): The world seems dire. But we must not give up on hope. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-world-seems-dire-but-we-must-not-give-up-on-hope/
  • Globe & Mail (March 5, 2020): Coronavirus will change the world. It might also lead to a better future. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-coronavirus-is-a-collective-problem-that-requires-global/


January 30, 2021
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST
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