Here’s a look back at past winners and the books that made that year’s shortlist. You’ll also find our Jury from each award season.

2013 Winner


International Law and the Arctic

Michael Byers

(Cambridge University Press)

Climate change and rising oil prices have thrust the Arctic to the top of the foreign policy agenda and raised difficult issues of sovereignty, security and environmental protection. Refuting the widespread misconception that the Arctic is an unregulated zone of potential conflict, Byers instead illustrates a strong trend towards international cooperation and law-making. This book is an accessible but thoroughly comprehensive analysis of issues in the Arctic, written with passion and deep knowledge of the subject

Runners – up


Out of the Basement: Youth Cultural Production in Practice and in Policy

Miranda Campbell

(McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Out of the Basement considers what has—or has not—changed as youth attempt to make a living from creative works, revealing how existing policies can impede small-scale cultural production. Moving between structures designed to support creative life and the initiatives taken by young people in the absence of such structures, Out of the Basement calls for more awareness and support of youth creative enterprise. Campbell’s work is a highly original and well-timed analysis of the rise of small-scale creative employment.


Unjust by Design: Canada’s Administrative Justice System

Ron Ellis

(UBC Press)

Unjust by Design describes a system in need of major restructuring: failing to conform to rule-of-law principles or constitutional norms, Canada’s judicial tribunals are neither independent nor, in law, impartial, and only providentially competent. Ellis tackles exceptionally important issues, not only expertly defining the problem, but also providing a solution in the form of detailed blueprints for a restructured system. A thought-provoking read, Unjust by Design presents a powerful perspective on a subject that is important for all Canadians.


The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures

Jim Leech and Jacquie McNish


Over the next 20 years more than seven million Canadian workers will retire. The Third Rail posits that unless our crumbling pension system is reformed, many of these retirees will find the retirement dream a bewildering and disappointing mirage. Leech and McNish break the silence on this “ticking time bomb” subject, and have written a prescriptive, accessible book that deserves to be read by all demographics, from incoming retirees to the young generation just entering the workforce.


Shut Off: The Canadian Digital Television Transition

Gregory Taylor

(McGill-Queen’s University Press)

The history of the digital transition is one of great scientific achievement, expensive failures, and significant political and industrial power struggles. Taylor provides an insightful assessment of a period of technological and economic upheaval in Canadian broadcasting, revealing how digital broadcasting has been the site of dramatic change in the political economy of Canadian media. A strong study that presents the reader with surprising messages, Shut Off challenges old thought and encourages new perspectives on an important subject.

2013 Donner Jury

A. Anne McLellan


The Honourable Anne McLellan joined Bennett Jones LLP after a distinguished career in federal politics, where she served four terms as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre from 1993-2006. During her political career McLellan was Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Minister of Health, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Natural Resources and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. As Deputy Prime Minister, she chaired two Cabinet committees: the Operations Committee and the Security, Public Health and Emergencies Committee. She is Vice Chair – Board of Directors for the Institute for Research on Public Policy. McLellan was appointed Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Alberta Institute for American Studies at the University of Alberta in July 2006 but retired from the University of Alberta effective June 30, 2013.

Marcel Boyer

Marcel Boyer is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Université de Montréal; Associate Member, Toulouse School of Economics; Fellow of the C.D. Howe Institute, CIRANO and CIREQ; Vice-president of the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; and Honorary Fellow of the Canadian Economics Association. At the Université de Montréal, he held the Jarislowsky-SSHRC-NSERC Chair in Technology and International Competition in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering of l’École Polytechnique, and the Bell Canada Chair in Industrial Economics in the Department of Economics. He was Vice-President and Chief Economist of the Montreal Economic Institute, President of the Canadian Economics Association, and CEO of CIRANO. He has acted as expert economist on behalf of several national and international corporations and government organisations, and has testified as expert witness before various courts and tribunals.

Peter George

Recipient of the Order of Canada, Dr. George was President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University for 15 years, from 1995 until his retirement in 2010, leading McMaster’s academic and scholarly development. He was president of the Council of Ontario Universities from 1991 to 1995. Dr. George has served as Chair of the Ontario Expert Panel on Health Human Resources, Chair of the Burlington and Greater Hamilton United Way Campaigns in 2004 and 2005, and on the boards of the C.D. Howe Institute, the Institute for Work and Health, and the Ontario Cancer Research Institute. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Sharjah (UAE), a Board member of the Kids Health Links Foundation, and was recently appointed as Senior Advisor to the Director, The United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

Dr. Jennifer A. Jeffs

Dr. Jennifer A. Jeffs is the President of the Canadian International Council (CIC), Canada’s non-partisan, international affairs institute. Dr. Jeffs is a member of the editorial boards of International Journal, and of Foreign Affairs Latinoamerica; a Director of Centro de Estudios y Programas Interamericanos (CEPI); a Director of the World Wildlife Fund, Canada; and a member of the Advisory Council of the Canada-Mexico Initiative. Dr. Jeffs former positions include Deputy Executive Director at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); Founding Director of the Centro de Estudios y Programas Interamericanos (CEPI) based at ITAM in Mexico City, where she was also a professor in the Department of International Studies; and Assistant Director of the Canadian Affairs department at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in New York City. Dr. Jeffs holds a Ph.D. in International Political Economy from the University of Toronto.

Denis Stairs

Dr. Stairs is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Dalhousie University, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a past-President of the Canadian Political Science Association. The founding Director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, he was Dalhousie’s Vice President (Academic and Research) from 1988 to 1993. A former Chair of the Board of Visitors of the Canadian Forces College and for many years a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, he is currently Senior Research Fellow and Chair of the Advisory Council of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.