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.
Breakdown: The Pipeline Debate and the Threat to Canada’s Future
Dennis McConaghy (Dundurn Press)
Breakdown addresses arguably one of the most contentious and consequential set of policy issues facing Canada today – the nexus of resource development, climate change, Indigenous rights and Alberta alienation. It presents the history of four pipeline projects and overlays the political decisions that have resulted in many projects not being supported or being delayed significantly. It is a necessary contribution to the discussion of the perspectives of Albertans and of resource developers generally. The book is well researched, balanced and outlines several pragmatic strategies to help Canada find a way through these issues.
Dennis McConaghy is a Canadian energy executive who has nearly forty years of industry experience in infrastructure development and is the author of Dysfunction: Canada after Keystone XL.
Purchase Dennis McConaghy’s book: Breakdown: The Pipeline Debate and the Threat to Canada’s Future
RUNNERS – UP
Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline
Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson (Signal/McClelland & Stewart)
This book is a timely corrective to the general inattention to declining global population. Many still think of population growth as the problem in a world laden with environmental degradation, climate change, etc.; however, accelerating urbanization and the education of women point to declining fertility. This thesis has important policy implications, which Bricker and Ibbitson outline, especially with future immigration policies, as well as long-term economic forecasting. Original, challenging, engagingly written, Empty Planet also touches on attendant issues of population decline, including impacts on religion, Indigenous populations, and agriculture.
Darrell Bricker is an author, public speaker, political commentator and CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, the world’s leading social and opinion research firm.
John Ibbitson is a columnist for the Globe &Mail, having served as Bureau Chief in both Ottawa and Washington DC. Author of several books, his 2005 book, The Polite Revolution, was shortlisted for the Donner Prize.
Purchase Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson’s book: Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline
Living With China: A Middle Power Finds Its Way
Wendy Dobson (Rotman-UTP Publishing/University of Toronto Press)
Given China’s emerging role in the world, and its current fraught relationship with Canada, Living With China is an au courant and informative look at a critical issue. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of establishing a workable and profitable relationship with China. In this book, Dobson, a Senior Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, provides a historic perspective, a detailed description of China’s economic and political strategy, as well as strong policy recommendations for a path forward.
Wendy Dobson is a Professor Emerita at Rotman School/UofT, teaching international business and Canadian public policy. She has published in English and Mandarin on the Chinese economy, Chinese financial system; and Chinese innovation.
Purchase Wendy Dobson’s book: Living With China: A Middle Power Finds Its Way
The Wealth of First Nations
Tom Flanagan (Fraser Institute)
Clearly directed to the key issue of how to improve the economic and social well-being of First Nations, this book is relevant to a priority, and ongoing, policy issue. Flanagan’s analysis of ways that transfers could be structured is quite original, and a potentially ground-breaking contribution from both a statistical and policy perspective. This concise book is a valuable addition to the debate, and it should promote discussion and dialogue on how to move forward to balance economic development and government investment.
Tom Flanagan is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Distinguished Fellow, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
Read Tom Flanagan’s book: The Wealth of First Nations
The Tangled Garden: A Canadian Cultural Manifesto for the Digital Age
Richard Stursberg with Stephen Armstrong (James Lorimer & Company Ltd.)
The issue of ensuring Canadian culture survives the technological change in the production and distribution of digital content is front and centre in policy debate in Parliament. Here industry veteran Stursberg clearly outlines the threat from FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google), providing both historical context and explicit recommendations, including a clarified definition of Canadian content, as well as possible approaches to subsidizing that content. Stursberg paints a very dim portrait of the status quo and conveys a sense of urgent need for policy action to level the playing field.
Richard Stursberg a career broadcaster, has served as executive director of Telefilm and head of English Language Services at the CBC. He is currently President of PEN Canada.
Purchase Richard Stursberg with Stephen Armstrong’s book: The Tangled Garden: A Canadian Cultural Manifesto for the Digital Age