Leaders headline major conference on Canada-U.S. relations

MISC launches its 16th annual conference “Canada and the United States: Conversations & Relations”

By Tamarah Feder

It’s not every day you can put together a line-up like this.

Former McGill principal and current Governor General David Johnston, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, current and former ambassadors, a federal cabinet minister, Premier Jean Charest, and a U.S. governor are among the many who will gather today and tomorrow for a McGill-hosted series of discussions about cross-border challenges facing Canada and the United States.

Since 1995, the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) has hosted annual conferences designed to foster informed, non-partisan discussions on topics of special interest including Québec-Canada relations, Aboriginal issues, citizenship, health-care reform, media convergence, and Canada’s place in the world.

“We are very excited to host such a unique event that brings together outstanding luminaries who have been and who are so directly a part of the world’s most successful bilateral relationship,” said MISC Director Professor Antonia Maioni.

The conference will set aside podiums and formal presentations in favour of informal conversations led by a moderator, with speakers discussing the decision-making processes and the complexities and challenges of managing the day-to-day relationships with their counterparts.

In his opening address to conference participants, Johnston will address the importance of strengthening learning and innovation.

Besides Mulroney and Charest, other scheduled speakers include Finance Minister Jim Flaherty; Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin; Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. and former Premier of Manitoba Gary Doer; U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson; former U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury, James A. Baker, III; former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S and former Premier of New Brunswick Frank McKenna; former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Derek Burney; Canadian Senator Pamela Wallin and The Honourable Charles Bronfman.

For more information, please visit the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada website at www.mcgill.ca/can-us2011/