Debates Committee Events


November 22nd, 2012 – ‘The Big Shift’ with Ipsos Reid CEO Darrell Bricker; The Rise of the West and the Death of the Liberal Party?


In an exclusive for the Debates Committee, Ipsos Reid CEO Darrell Bricker will be giving students a preview of his new book, co-authored with John Ibbitson- The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics , Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future.’


When: Nov 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Where: TBD
Cost: Free
Facebook Event Page:


Darrell Bricker is Chief Executive Officer, Ipsos Public Affairs. Ipsos Public Affairs conducts corporate reputation and social research around the world. The company, a Division of Ipsos, the world’s second largest market research firm, has offices in 25 countries and a staff of 700 research professionals.


Based in Toronto, Bricker has a long history in social and corporate reputation research, as well as research for political campaigns. Prior to joining Ipsos Public Affairs in 1990, Darrell was Director of Public Opinion Research in the Office of Canada’s Prime Minister. He also worked as a research consultant with firms in Ottawa and Toronto.


Dr. Bricker holds a PhD in Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a BA and MA from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo.


Book preview


The political, media and business elites of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal ran this country for almost its entire history. But in the last few years, they have lost their power, and most of them still do not realize it’s gone. The Laurentian Consensus, a name John Ibbitson coined for the dusty Liberal elite, has been replaced by a new, powerful coalition based in the west and supported by immigrant voters in Ontario. So what happened?


Great global migrations have washed over Canada. Most people aren’t aware that the keystone economic and political driver of this country is no longer Ontario, but rather, a Pacific province dominated by immigrants from China, India, and other Asian countries, who have settled there. Those in politics and business have greatly underestimated how conservative these newcomers are, and how conservative they are making our country. Canada, with an ever-evolving and growing economy and a constantly changing demographic base, has become divorced from the traditions of its past and is moving in an entirely new direction.


In The Big Shift, John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker argue that one of the world’s most consensual countries is polarizing, with the west versus the east, suburban versus urban, immigrants versus old school, coffee drinkers versus consumers of energy drinks. The winners—in politics, in business, in life—will figure out where the people are and go there too.

November 8th, 2012 – Should NATO intervene in Syria?


A discussion on whether NATO should intervene in Syria. A student debate by members of the Hart House Debating Club will precede a speech by Professor David Wright, the former Canadian Ambassador to NATO.


When: Nov 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Where: Music Room, Hart House
Cost: Free; Seating will be limited, so make sure to come early to reserve a place.
Facebook Event Page:


Mr. David Wright is the Kenneth and Patricia Taylor Distinguished Professor of Foreign Affairs at Victoria College, University of Toronto. For six years he served as Canada’s Ambassador to NATO, during the conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was Dean of the NATO Council from 2000-2003. Previously, he was Canadian Ambassador to Spain and, in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall, Assistant Deputy Minister for Europe in the Department of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Wright has also held postings at the Canadian Embassies in Paris, Tokyo and Rome and at the Canadian Delegation to the UN in New York.


A graduate of McGill and Columbia Universities, Professor Wright has written extensively and spoken publicly on a broad range of current international issues. He serves as a board member of several institutions in both the private and non-profit sectors.



October 16th, 2012 – Obama v. Romney: The Presidential Debate


We’re livestreaming the Presidential debate, and then hosting a discussion afterwards. If you’re at all interested in U.S. politics, this event is for you.


When: Oct 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm
Where: Arbor Room, Hart House
Cost: Free


Join the Debates Committee in the Arbor Room to watch the Presidential debate on a large screen. Following the debate, University of Toronto Professors Lawrence LeDuc and Arthur Rubinoff will give their opinions on the evening’s debate, and students are encouraged to share and discuss their perspectives.


October 10th, 2012 – U.S. Presidential Elections: A Conversation with Former U.S. Ambassador and University of Toronto Chancellor Michael Wilson


Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.”
- John F. Kennedy on Canada, 1961


In a recent issue of Foreign Affairs, prominent Canadian academics Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson argued that the Obama administration had squandered Canadian good-will, bringing our integral bi-lateral relationship to a new low. With the coming Presidential election, the question of what a Romney presidency or another Obama presidency will mean for Canada looms heavy. What are the key areas requiring more bilateral co-operation? Have the last 4 years hurt or help our bilateral relationship? How can Canada balance new opportunities in Asia with our special relationship with the United States?


When: Oct 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Where: Great Hall, Hart House
Cost: Free
Facebook Event Page:


The Honourable Michael H. Wilson is currently the 33nd Chancellor of the University of Toronto. Mr. Wilson graduated from U of T’s Trinity College in 1959 and has played a key role in Canadian public life as a politician, diplomat, business leader and active community volunteer.


Mr. Wilson was elected to the House of Commons in 1979. In September 1984, he was appointed Canada’s Minister of Finance and remained in that position until May 1991. He then became Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and Minister for International Trade. In this latter position he had responsibility for the NAFTA negotiations. During his tenure as a member of the Cabinet, Mr. Wilson represented Canada at the G-7, IMF, World Bank, OECD, GATT and other international Ministers meetings. Following his service in government, Mr. Wilson launched Michael Wilson International in 1993 to offer corporate clients advice on international trade and related issues. He later served as the 22nd Ambassador of Canada to the United States of America from March 13, 2006 to October 9, 2009,


Apart from his career in public life, Mr. Wilson was an investment banker with various responsibilities in corporate, government and international finance. He has served as the Chairman of UBS Canada and remains the Chairman of Barclays Capital Canada Inc. He was also Director of a number of companies including BP plc. and Manulife Financial.


Mr. Wilson is also a highly respected and active member of professional and community organizations including the NeuroScience Canada Partnership, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships, and the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance. He has received a number of awards for his work in these fields as well as from The Conference Board of Canada, The Public Policy Forum, and The Rotman School of Business. A mental health advocate, Mr. Wilson was instrumental in establishing the Cameron Parker Holcombe Wilson Chair in Depression Studies at the University of Toronto. Mr. Wilson continues to provide voluntary leadership in the health sphere and was appointed by the Government of Canada to the governing council of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. He was recently named as the Vice-Chair.


Mr. Wilson was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003 and was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2010. He also has an honorary degree from York University and an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal Military College of Canada.