Samuel Associates Participates in Exclusive Banff Forum
Samuel Associates was represented at the 20th Annual Banff Forum in Banff, Alberta last month by Dr. Jeffrey F. Collins, Strategic Research Associate. The Forum is arguably Canada’s premiere gathering of business leaders, academic thinkers and political officials to network and debate critical issues facing the country. This was the first time that a senior representative from Samuel Associates was invited to attend the Forum.
Meetings were conducted under Chatham House rules (i.e. not for attribution), which allowed for candid and frank dialogues between leaders from across business, non-profits, political parties, governments, academia and journalism. Panels and keynotes featured an array of prominent Canadian leaders, including former BC Premier Christy Clark; Alberta Premier Jason Kenney; federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne; Conservative Party foreign policy critic, Michael Chong; Toronto Star journalist Joanna Chiu; Paul Wells of Maclean’s; Kevin Chan and Rachel Curran of Facebook Canada; and the outgoing mayors of Calgary and Edmonton, Naheed Nenshi and Don Iveson, respectively.
The opening debate was on the state of the Canadian federation with divergent views among the panelists on whether there exists federal leadership to maintain national unity or cede to more autonomist and regional demands of provinces. The following two days featured a range of foreign policy discussions, including navigating relations between Canada and China and, separately, Canada and the United States.
Concerns over recent and definitive foreign policy positions by the Government of Canada and its ability to manage the “special relationship” with Washington D.C. were discussed and debated. Further discussions underscored the need for Canada to be more directly committed to working with the United States on common strategic positions. Criticism surrounding the Government’s too frequent pledges on global issues without concrete and practical action was cited as an irritant to the special relationship.
Despite the recognition that there needs to be more action from Canada, the Banff Forum served as an important barometer in the current geopolitical climate. Next year’s event is scheduled to take place in Charlottetown, PEI.
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Samuel Associates Inc.