In June 2006, hundreds gathered at Mont Tremblant to discuss a vision for a more Progressive Canada by the year 2020. Since that time, Canada 2020 has hosted more than 150 events and published three books. Here’s a look back at the past decade and the conversation we started about Canada’s future.
Sowing Seeds for Progressive Thinking in Canada
At our inaugural conference at Mont Tremblant, QC, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore told the audience, which included Justin Trudeau, “What you’re involved with here is perhaps more important than you even realize.” Later that year, we hosted our first debate, ‘Is Peacekeeping Dead?’
Proposing a New Governance Model
In our second year, we hosted three events to examine progressive policy making in foreign affairs, defence and the economy. Speakers at these events included Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Africa’s first elected Woman President; Former Governor General Michaelle Jean; Dr. Thomas Barnett; and Award-winning author Salman Rushdie.
Forward Thinking about Economic Foreign Policy
As the financial world was swept up in crisis, a more progressive narrative emerged in global economic policies. Dr. Fan Geng spoke to China’s economic development. At a second event, Gene Sperling, Chief Economic Advisor to Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, addressed the world’s financial situation and our global impact.
Canada Through an International Lens
In 2009, we examined Canada’s role in the world. Rory Stewart spoke to Afghanistan; Niall Ferguson spoke about the global economy; Paul Lavoie sold Canada as a brand and Dambisa Moyo spoke about global collaboration and foreign aid. We also released a framework document on public engagement with nine provincial and territorial governments.
Canada 2020’s International Debut
We hosted a pre-federal budget debate. We also held our first international event in Washington, D.C. John Podesta, Chief of Staff to Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, questioned the ability to ‘green the oil sands’ in a keynote at our symposium. We also hosted a pre-federal budget debate.
Innovating with an Eye to the Future
Described as a ‘strategic policy roadmap for the federal government,’ we published our first book: The Canada We Want in 2020. The book’s themes formed the basis of a speaking series in 2011 and 2012 - Increasing Innovation, Rising to meet the Asia challenge, Squaring the Carbon Circle, Reducing Income disparities and Polarization and Securing Our Health System for the Future.
Looking Beyond the Fiscal Cliff
More than 3,000 people attended our ‘The Canada We Want in 2020’ speaker series, and Dr. Eric Topol was on our stage to discuss the digital revolution in health care. Two days after the U.S. election, Larry Summers spoke on the global economy and ‘the fiscal cliff: where are we now?’
Discussing Big Data, Big Climate Issues
Dan Wagner and Teddy Goff, chief digital architects from the ‘Obama for America’ campaign, came to Ottawa for an exciting look into the world of Big Data and the future of progressive politics. We also held our largest event to date: a discussion on how to sell carbon pricing to Canadians.
Examining The Next Big Thing
We held our first #Can2020 conference, but it wasn’t our only big event. U.S. Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton spoke on hard choices in leadership, Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney spoke about ‘the next big thing’ for the country, and Justin Trudeau, a year away from becoming prime minister, made his debut on the Canada 2020 stage.
Out-of-this-World Progressive Thinking
We hosted our first ‘5 Big Ideas for Canada’ event, with speakers that included Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. Our second book, Setting the New Progressive Agenda, set the tone for the federal election that fall. Larry Summers provided a global energy outlook. The second #Can2020 Conference was held, making this officially an annual event.
Dawn of Canada 2020’s Next Decade
We hosted a reception to mark the first U.S. State Visit by a Canadian Prime Minister in almost 20 years. Prime Minister Trudeau, The Weeknd as well as other U.S. and Canadian officials gathered as we released the booklet Global Progress. We launched our Innovation Project, aimed at driving innovation in Canada. And we’re just getting started.