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.

2015 Winner


What Is Government Good At?: A Canadian Answer

Donald J. Savoie

McGill-Queen’s University Press

In his new book, Donald Savoie begins with a simple question: What is it that the public sector can do better than the private sector? Savoie acknowledges that the public sector is grappling with serious challenges, but in order to adequately address those challenges, he contends that we require a more acute understanding of what government is good at. In answering that question, Savoie’s book also speaks to the question of what government is not good at.

Runners – up


Middle Power, Middle Kingdom: What Canadians Need to Know about China in the 21st Century

David Mulroney

(Allen Lane/Penguin Canada)

Middle Power, Middle Kingdom examines the direct impact of China’s rise on Canada’s economic prosperity, health and well-being, and security. In making the case for more ‘China competence’ amongst Canadians, Mulroney argues that we should neither demonize China nor should we assume that it is like us. Drawing lessons from his long and distinguished career in Canada’s diplomatic corps, Mulroney provides strategic insight into how foreign policy works, and how policies must be changed if Canada is to prosper in the future.


From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation: A Road Map for All Canadians

Greg Poelzer & Ken S. Coates

(UBC Press)

In this timely book, Poelzer and Coates provide an overview of the history, policies, cultural assumptions and divergent opinions that underpin Canada’s complicated history as a treaty nation. Advocating for ‘equality of opportunity’ for Canada’s indigenous peoples, they also lay out innovative ideas for how Canada and Canadians – indigenous and non-indigenous – can move together toward greater social, political and economic equality. They conclude by saying that sustainable reconciliation must rest on respect for indigenous cultures, political reform, and economic opportunity.


Leading Research Universities in a Competitive World

Robert Lacroix & Louis Maheu

(McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Universities play a central, sometimes conflicting, role in our society, serving as hubs of research innovation, educating the leaders of tomorrow, and advancing knowledge. With this book, Lacroix and Maheu argue that research universities must find an equilibrium between state regulation and academic autonomy, which is itself located at the intersection between bold university leadership, imaginative government policies and support from private industry. The authors conclude that if Canada wants to remain competitive globally, it must foster a knowledge-based economy that effectively trains and retains PhD graduates.


Back to the Well: Rethinking the Future of Water

Marq de Villiers
(Goose Lane Editions)

Drought, floods, and contaminated fresh water crises around the globe continue to bring the critical issue of water to the forefront of the public consciousness. In this refreshing and clear-eyed examination of the fate and future of water, de Villiers controversially suggests that there is no global water crisis. Instead, he proposes that water problems are fundamentally local and regional in nature, and are therefore most effectively addressed through local grassroots solutions.

2015 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.

Jean-Marie Dufour

An Officer of the Order of Canada, Jean-Marie Dufour is the William Dow Professor of Political Economy at McGill University and a Bank of Canada Research Fellow. He is also Director of the Canadian Econometric Study Group, a Member of Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (June 2013), and Research Fellow at the Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organizations (CIRANO) and the Center for Interuniversity Research on Quantitative Economics (CIREQ). Dr. Dufour has served as President of the Canadian Economics Association and the Société canadienne de science économique. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada, the Econometric Society and the American Statistical Association, and was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2006-2007. An Officer of the National Order of Québec, Dr. Dufour is a recipient of the Konrad Adenauer Research Award (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany), the Léon-Gérin prize (Government of Québec), and the Izaak-Walton-Killam Award for social sciences.

Peter George

Recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, Peter George is an economist with broad policy interests. He was President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University, from 1995 until 2010. Previously, 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, and on the Boards of the C.D. Howe Institute, the Institute for Work and Health, and the Ontario Cancer Institute. He is currently a Board member of the Kids Health Links Foundation, the LORAN Foundation, the Ontario Research Fund’s Advisory Board, the Aga Khan Museum, and is Senior Advisor to the United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

V. Peter Harder

Peter Harder is Senior Policy Advisor to Dentons Canada LLP. Before joining Dentons in 2007, he was a long serving Deputy Minister in the Government of Canada. Harder also serves as a corporate director on a number of public companies as well as President of the Canada China Business Council and a number of not for profit organizations. In 2000, the Governor General presented Harder with the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award for public service leadership. He is also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden (2002) and Diamond (2012) Jubilee medals. He has an LLD from the University of Waterloo.

Jennifer A. Jeffs

Dr. Jennifer A. Jeffs is the past President of the Canadian International Council (CIC), Canada’s independent, non-partisan, international affairs institute. Dr. Jeffs currently co-chairs the international editorial board of International Journal, Canada’s premier international affairs journal, and is a member of the editorial advisory board of Foreign Affairs Latinoamerica; a Director of the Centro de Estudios y Programas Interamericanos (CEPI) in Mexico City; a Director of the Canadian International Council; a Director of World Wildlife Fund, Canada; and a member of the Executive Council of the Canada-Mexico Initiative. Dr. Jeffs’ former positions include Deputy Executive Director at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo; Founding Director of the Centro de Estudios y Programas Interamericanos (CEPI), based at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, where she was also a professor in the Department of International Studies. Dr. Jeffs holds a Ph.D. in International Political Economy from the University of Toronto. Her dissertation focused on the evolution of global financial regimes.