Join Canadian Club Toronto on February 1 as we celebrate the Club’s rich history. Those in attendance will be lucky to hear from a panel of past Premiers – featuring Christy Clark, The Honourable Jason Kenney and Kathleen Wynne – in conversation with Steve Paikin. The Club has come of age with the vibrant and ever evolving idea of Canada, and the panel will discuss how unified Canada really is after over 125 years of exploration. The Canadian Club has endured and thrived for more than a century precisely because it has been willing to change to reflect new Canadian realities. What has not changed is our mission which is to bring Canadians together to talk about the issues that matter most.
We hope you’ll join us for an evening of conversation and celebration! We are honoured to open the event with a creation story from Nyle Johnston, and close with poetry by George Elliot Clarke.
Enjoy some refreshments, and the opportunity to reconnect & network with Club friends, before the panel starts at approximately 6:15pm.
Former Premier of British Columbia
As an advisor at Bennett Jones, Ms. Clark offers clients insights tied to her experience in infrastructure, Canada-Asia trade, natural resources, social licence and indigenous relations.
As Premier, Ms. Clark earned a well-deserved reputation as a consensus builder both within the Cabinet, and outside it. Her management style was to carefully set out a plan that included hard goals and deadlines for each Ministry and monitor progress through regular reporting to Cabinet and Committees which she chaired.
Her legacy is characterized by her determination to plan for future generations. She left British Columbia with a significantly diversified economy, a greater diversity of markets, a plan for a new, clean energy supply, billions of dollars of new infrastructure, and a dramatic reduction in the burden of public debt that future generations of British Columbians will bear.
When she left office, British Columbia had been Canada’s economic leader for three years running—the first time that has happened since the 1960s. B.C. went from being ninth in job creation to first among provinces. And, after inheriting a deficit of $1.2 billion, Ms. Clark’s government went on to balance five consecutive budgets. Her last budget included $52 billion in revenues and boasted a $2.8 billion surplus. When she retired, B.C. was on track to eliminating its operating debt by 2020—the first time since 1976. B.C. was also the only Canadian province with a AAA credit rating.
Ms. Clark retired from political life in 2017 as the longest-serving female Premier in Canadian history and the only woman in Canada ever to be re-elected.
George Elliott Clarke
Poet, novelist, playwright, and critic George Elliott Clarke was born near Windsor, Nova Scotia and grew up in Halifax. He earned his BA from the University of Waterloo, MA from Dalhousie University, and PhD from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry including Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues (1983), Lush Dreams, Blue Exile: Fugitive Poems 1978-2993 (1994), Execution Poems: The Black Acadian Tragedy of George and Rue (2001), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award, Illuminated Verses (2005), Black (2006), and the dramatic poem Trudeau: Long March, Shining Path (2007).
Clarke’s work reflects his interests in the Black culture of Atlantic Canada, an experience and identity he has described as “Africadian.” He has explored the cultural and social histories of Black Canadians across various genres, frequently braiding together archival research and personal experience. He is the author of the verse-novel Whylah Falls (1990), which he later adapted for the radio and stage, and librettos for the operas Beatrice Chancy (1999) and Québécité (2003). Clarke is also the author of the novel George and Rue (2005) and many critical and scholarly works, including Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature (2002).
Clarke is a seventh-generation Canadian of African American and Mi’kmaq Amerindian descent. His mother’s ancestors arrived in Canada as American slaves liberated by the British in the War of 1812. He has described Three Mile Plains, the town where his grandparents lived, as a “black Eden” that first inspired him to become a poet: “I’d begun to craft poetry—unmusicked ‘songs’—when I was 15, and Three Mile Plains was their locus,” Clarke wrote in an article for Canadian Geographic. “The day I became incontrovertibly, irremedially a poet was February 12, 1977, my 17th birthday, when my mother and I drove to Three Mile Plains on a sunny, frigid, snowy morning. That day, as I trudged up and down hilly, white-dusted Green Street, I drafted in my head a poem, my first attempt to sing a black and Nova Scotian—an Africadian—consciousness. With my breath hanging clear in front of me, I claimed my Afro-Mi’kmaq heritage. I was standing on land that has always made us feel whole.”
Clarke is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for his work, including numerous honorary doctorates, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship Prize, the Planet Africa Renaissance Award, and appointment to the Order of Nova Scotia. He is professor of English at the University of Toronto.
Nyle was born and raised on a beautiful reserve in Georgian Bay and took a keen interest in painting and art from a young age. Sources of the artist’s inspiration include great woodland painters, story-tellers such as his great-grandmother and elder, Verna Johnston, and the traditions of his culture. Nyle paints the stories of the Anishinawbe people in order to raise awareness of their unique histories as they in turn, inform his process. He is an Aboriginal Community Worker.
The Honourable Jason Kenney
Former Premier of Alberta
Premier Kenney committed himself to public life in the early 1990s as President of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, where he fought hard for lower taxes and fiscal responsibility.
In 1997, at the age of 29, Calgary voters elected him to Parliament where he worked to unite conservatives nationally. During his time in Parliament, Jason was voted the “best overall,” “hardest working,” and “most knowledgeable” MP by his colleagues in Maclean’s Magazine’s annual survey.
Mr. Kenney served as Minister for Multiculturalism for eight years in Prime Minister Harper’s government, reaching out to new Canadians as a strong advocate for pluralism. He became Canada’s longest serving Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, welcoming over 1.3 million newcomers to Canada while implementing comprehensive reforms to Canada’s immigration, refugee and citizenship programs, leading the National Post to call him “perhaps Canada’s best immigration minister ever.”
From 2013 to 2015 Mr. Kenney served as Minister of Employment and Social Development, where he implemented a “skills for jobs” strategy to increase support for skilled trades and apprenticeship learning. In 2015, he served as Minister of National Defence, deploying Canada’s military to combat ISIS in the Middle East, and to Ukraine to help modernize that country’s defences.
In 2017 Mr. Kenney was elected Leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party with a mandate to reunite the province’s divided free enterprise political movement. He then helped to lead the creation of the new United Conservative Party, and was elected its Leader, becoming Leader of the Opposition.
In April, 2019 he led his party to an election victory with 55% of the popular vote in a campaign focused on economic growth, and advocating a fair deal for Alberta in the Canadian federation. He was sworn-in as Alberta’s 18th Premier on April 30, 2019.
Former Premier of Ontario
Kathleen O’Day Wynne, 25th premier of Ontario 2013–18, member of provincial parliament 2003–present, school trustee, community activist, mediator, teacher (born 21 May 1953 in Toronto, ON). The skills of a mediator, coupled with a strong sense of will, propelled Kathleen Wynne’s political career, making her Ontario’s first woman premier and Canada’s first openly gay head of government.
He is currently anchor of TVO”s flagship current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Paikin received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto (Victoria University, Toronto 1981) and his master”s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University. He served as sports editor for the University of Toronto”s independent weekly, The Newspaper, while pursuing his Bachelor. Paikin was previously an anchor and Queen”s Park correspondent for CBLT, and host of a daily news and current affairs program on Canadian Broadcasting Company Newsworld.
He also held reporting jobs in private radio and print media, including the Hamilton Spectator and CHFI, where he was Toronto City Hall reporter from 1982-1985.
In 1992 Paikin began work at TVO, hosting the political series Between the Lincolnshire until 1994. He also co-created the Queen”s Park magazine Fourth Reading, which he hosted for 14 years.
In 1994, Paikin began co-hosting duties (with Mary Hynes for two years, and then Paula Todd) on Studio 2 until 2006. In 1998 he co-created and began hosting Diplomatic Immunity, a weekly foreign affairs commentary show.
Paikin was selected to be the moderator of six election debates: for the 2006, 2008, and 2011 federal leaders debates, and for the 2007, 2011, and 2014 Ontario provincial leaders debates.
He holds honorary doctorates from Victoria University, Laurentian University and Humber College. In February 2012, Paikin was named the Queen”s Park journalist with the most Twitter influence in a study conducted by Puerto Rico agency Hill+Knowlton Strategies.