Policy at its Peak: Celebrating the Best of the West

Date: Tuesday June 13, 2017

The Public Policy Forum is returning to Calgary on June 15 to host its Annual Western Dinner and to present the Peter Lougheed Awards for Leadership in Public Policy. The award recognizes exceptional Western Canadians who’ve made significant contributions to public policy. Let’s meet this year’s honourees.

For more information on #WesternDinner17, visit our website.

Anyone with the smallest amount of exposure to Alberta knows that when it’s down, it is never out. And that it gets back up remarkably quickly. That’s the way it is with a political culture shaped by commodity cycles, weather-related events and global markets. Alberta knows how to adjust. In fact, the Conference Board has pegged Alberta as Canada’s fastest growing province over the next year, despite oil still hovering near $50 a barrel.

It is that underlying and undying spirit of innovation and transformation we are celebrating at the Public Policy Forum’s annual Western Dinner
We’re also pleased to present the PPF’s annual Peter Lougheed Awards for Public Policy. This year’s recipients all represent a core value of the PPF: the motivation and ability to work across partisan divisions and functional silos to arrive at the best policy approaches for Canadians. And they all have shown exemplary leadership in their fields:

Melissa Blake’s effective and compassionate handling of the Fort McMurray fire disaster;

Steve Williams, who has been at the forefront of recognizing that the oil industry must accommodate carbon policies;

Chuck Strahl’s example that nice guys can finish first while leading key federal portfolios; and

Barbara Byers’ tireless campaigning on issues from workplace training to rights for women, disabled and LGBTQ workers.

Read on to find out more about each of our #WesternDinner17 honourees.

Q: How are you celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary?
A: To celebrate our 150th anniversary, we planted “Canada 150” tulip bulbs around a flagpole in my country front yard. We’ll have a party at our house on July 1st, which also happens to be the 18th birthday of our oldest grandchild, Morgan.

Chuck Strahl has planted tulips outside his country home for Canada’s 150th birthday.

Q: What was your first experience with public policy?
A: The series of highly controversial bylaws in my first six months on Council in 1998/99; Non-Smoking, Animal Control and the Land Use Bylaw — specifically related to RV parking!

Q: How will you celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday? And where will you be on July 1st? 
A: After our annual Canada Day Parade, we will gather for the day’s festivities. Most importantly though, I will be hosting our first Wildfire Medal ceremony.

Q: What do you miss most when you are away from home? 
A: Bedtime with my youngest — stories, hugs and kisses.

Q: What’s your essential comfort food?
A: East Indian curry from Nawab!

Q: Where’s your favourite place to play in a Western Canada? 
A: My cottage on the Okanagan Lake in Kelowna.

Q: What’s an important Canadian policy initiative that needs to be addressed?
A: Canadian competitiveness and climate leadership.

Q: What do you believe is the most important piece of Canadian public policy? Why?

A: Medicare, because I am proud of this great gift from Saskatchewan to Canada that ensures everyone receives quality health care regardless of the size of their wallet.

Q: What’s your favourite team?

I “bleed green,” so Saskatchewan Roughriders is my team. I kept my season tickets during the 15 years I lived in Ottawa although I rarely was able to attend a game. I had the pleasure to attend the Riders-Bombers exhibition game on June 10th at the new stadium. GO RIDERS!

Q: What was your favourite subject in high school?

History and English.

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