17th Annual Donner Prize Shortlist Announced

Four books on diverse policy issues compete for $50,000 prize

TORONTO, April 8, 2015 /CNW/ - The four books vying for the 2014/2015 Donner Prize, the award for best public policy book by a Canadian, were announced today by Allan Gotlieb, Chairman of the Donner Canadian Foundation.

"These four finalists deserve recognition for the invaluable contribution they make to the discussion around some of Canada's most pressing policy challenges," said Mr. Gotlieb.

"This year's nominated titles illuminate key policy issues," said Jury Chair A. Anne McLellan. She went on to say, "All four finalists took on problems with serious implications for our future as a country and as a society: the complete reform of the Quebec economic system; the importance of transition costs in implementing public policy changes; the deterioration of rational thought in politics and public policy decision-making and the future, prosperity and influence of Canada in a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape."

The prestigious Donner Prize, established in 1998, annually rewards excellence and innovation in public policy writing by Canadians. In bestowing this award, the Donner Canadian Foundation seeks to broaden policy debates, increase general awareness of the importance of policy decision making and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse. The 2014/2015 shortlist titles were chosen from a field of 75 submissions; the winner receives $50,000 while each other nominated title receives $7,500.

The winner of this year's Donner Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.  The ceremony will be hosted by Jeffrey Simpson, columnist for The Globe and Mail.

The 2014/2015 Donner Prize finalists are:

  • Réinventer le Québec: Douze chantiers à entreprendre by Marcel Boyer and Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy (Éditions Stanké)
  • Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World by Derek H. Burney and Fen Osler Hampson (McGill-Queen's University Press)
  • Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring Sanity to Our Politics, Our Economy, and Our Lives by Joseph Heath (Harper Collins)
  • Dealing With Losers: The Political Economy of Policy Transitions by Michael J. Trebilcock (Oxford University Press)

Shortlisted authors are available for comment and interview.

The 2014/2015 Donner Prize Shortlist

Réinventer le Québec: Douze chantiers à entreprendre by Marcel Boyer and Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy (Éditions Stanké)

A plea for economic freedom that challenges the sacred cows of the Quebec economic model, Réinventer le Québec debunks myths and proposes reforms to ensure the achievement of Quebec's full socio-economic potential. This potential is currently hampered by a lack of economic freedom and a lack of autonomy and individual and institutional responsibility. This economic manifesto is highly relevant—a refreshing, if controversial, perspective on the economic performance of Quebec. The authors' statistical analysis provides compelling reasons for concern, as well as providing the underpinnings of a roadmap for change and action. A punchy, take-no-prisoners book where every sentence serves a purpose, it is large in ambition—taking on nothing less than to change seventy years of societal, political and economic thinking in Quebec.

Marcel Boyer is Professor Emeritus of Industrial Economics at the University of Montreal and a founding member of the Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations.

Nathalie Elgrably-Lévy teaches economics at the University of Montreal and UQAM and is a senior economist at the Montreal Economic Institute and Fraser Institute.

***

Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World by Derek H. Burney and Fen Osler Hampson (McGill-Queen's University Press)

Globalization and the shifting tectonic plates of the international system have led to an increasingly competitive world.  Brave New Canada identifies the key trends that are reshaping the world's geopolitics and economics and discusses the challenges Canada confronts with the rise of China and other global centres of power. An informative and timely read, the book details how Canada can become bold, assertive  and confident in a new global landscape, and presents a compelling case for a serious foreign policy debate while remaining refreshingly readable and jargon-free. Burney and Hampson have written an excellent, thoughtful and accessible book that deserves wide readership.

Derek H. Burney is a senior strategic advisor of Norton Rose Fulbright and former Canadian ambassador to the United States.

Fen Osler Hampson is Chancellor's Professor at Carleton University and director of the Global Security and Politics program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

***

Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring Sanity to Our Politics, Our Economy, and Our Lives by Joseph Heath (Harper Collins)

Over the last twenty years, the political systems of the Western world have become increasingly divided—not between right and left, but between crazy and non-crazy. With rational thought seemingly losing ground in the current social and media environment, Joseph Heath outlines a program for a second Enlightenment of new "slow politics." Enlightenment 2.0 argues that the only way to restore sanity is by engaging in collective action against the social conditions that have crowded it out. This compelling work addresses deep and divisive issues in our contemporary society in an entertaining, insightful and thought-provoking fashion. Heath has put his finger on one of the most pressing issues for liberal democracies and the development of public policies in our time—Canada's democracy included.

Joseph Heath is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto

***

Dealing With Losers: The Political Economy of Policy Transitions by Michael J. Trebilcock (Oxford University Press)

Whenever governments change policies, there will typically be losers: people or groups who relied upon and invested in physical, financial, or human capital predicated on the pre-reform policies, and whose losses will have to be mitigated during a transition phase. The book explores rationales for transition cost mitigation strategies in a wide variety of policy contexts, providing examples and realistic strategies for genuine policy reform. Dealing With Losers is an invaluable essay on the role and importance of compromise. This is a book that every elected and unelected official at whatever level of government should read. 

Michael J. Trebilcock is Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Toronto School of Law.

SOURCE Donner Canadian Foundation

For further information: Sherry Naylor, Prize Manager, Phone: 416 368 8253, E-mail: sherry@naylorandassociates.com, www.donnerbookprize.com


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