Public Policy Forum Announces 2009 Testimonial Award Winners - Hy Solomon and Young Leaders Award Winners also revealed

    International relations, health care, philanthropy and theoretical
    physics but a few of the domains through which winners have contributed
    to public life in Canada

    OTTAWA, Feb. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The Public Policy Forum (PPF) today
announced that Jim Balsillie, Mike Lazaridis, Jacques Ménard and Georgina
Steinsky-Schwartz will be the recipients of this year's Annual PPF Testimonial
Awards. It was also announced that Craig Oliver will be awarded the Hy Solomon
Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism, and Sara Ehrhardt will
receive the 2009 Young Leaders Award.
    This is the 22nd year that the PPF has honoured deserving Canadians for
their contributions to public life in Canada. Honourees are nominated by
members of the PPF and chosen via an independent committee.
    PPF Board Chair David A. Brown, QC, said "The Forum looks to honour
individuals whose contributions to public life in Canada are above and beyond
what their 'day jobs' would demand. This year's honourees all have impressive
professional credentials, but what is note-worthy from our perspective is
their capacity to bring together Canadians from all sectors to create more
vibrant public policy in Canada." Brown also pointed out that each winner has
chosen different, and varied, ways to contribute to the policy mosaic:
"International relations. Health Care. Philanthropy. Theoretical physics.
These are but a few of the domains through which this year's Public Policy
Forum Testimonial Award Winners have made their contributions," he said.
    The Hy Solomon Award for Excellence in Journalism is a juried award that
is presented annually to a journalist whose work provides insights into the
policy-making process in Canada, and explains to Canadians how changes in
public policy affect their individual well-being and collective economic
progress. "Craig Oliver is a fixture in the pantheon of Canadian political
reporting not only because of the duration of his career, but because his
career has been based on integrity and a rigid adherence to the highest
journalistic standards," said PPF President & CEO David Mitchell. "He makes
the interplay between politics and public policy interesting, accessible and
relevant to Canadians."
    The Young Leaders Award seeks to recognize an outstanding Canadian who
shows leadership in civic discourse and public policy and is at the beginning
of their career. "Sara Ehrhardt epitomizes someone who believes in the power
of government to drive change," said Mitchell. "While she has already made
contributions to fresh water policy and social entrepreneurship policy while
working outside of government, Sara has now chosen a career path within
government. This bodes well for the future of policy-making in Canada."
    All awards will be presented at the 22nd Annual Testimonial Dinner in
Toronto on April 2nd , 2009. The dinner will be co-chaired by the Honourable
Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan, and Alex Baumann, Executive Director, Road
to Excellence and two-time Olympic gold medallist.

    The Public Policy Forum is an independent, not-for-profit organization
that aims to improve the quality of government in Canada through enhanced
dialogue among the public, private and voluntary sectors.

    Brief biographical information attached.

    Photos available.

    James (Jim) L. Balsillie

    Jim Balsillie serves as Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer at
Research in Motion (RIM) Ltd. In addition to the outstanding Canadian business
success story that is RIM, Balsillie has made various contributions to
international policy capacity in Canada. Balsillie is the founder of the
Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) an independent think
tank focused on addressing international governance challenges. In 2007,
Balsillie founded the Balsillie School of International Affairs in a
collaborative partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of
Waterloo and CIGI. Also in 2007 he founded the Canadian International Council
(CIC), an institution that promotes public interest and debate regarding
Canadian foreign policy and international relations. He currently serves as
the Chair of the Board for all three organizations.

    Mihalis (Mike) Lazaridis

    Mike Lazaridis is the founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer at Research
in Motion (RIM) Ltd. In 2000, Lazaridis established the Perimeter Institute
for Theoretical Physics (PI). Devoted to fostering research and innovation in
theoretical physics in Canada, the PI partners with academia and government to
achieve its objectives. With a specific mandate for public outreach, the PI
has helped students, teachers and the general public learn more about
theoretical physics. Lazaridis serves on the board of directors of the PI. He
has also proven to be a friend to his local university community with
significant donations to the University of Waterloo's Institute of Quantum
Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. He is a member of the
Order of Ontario and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

    L. Jacques Ménard

    Jacques Ménard is the Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns and President of BMO
Financial Group, Quebec. In 2004 - 05, Ménard chaired the Task Force on the
Sustainability of the Quebec Health Care and Social Services System which was
established by the Quebec Government to identify the funding needs for health
and social services in Quebec. His extensive involvement as a director
includes past service as Chairman of Hydro-Quebec and board member of the
Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB). He currently serves with the with
the Montreal Heart Institute, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the
Institute for Research on Public Policy. Ménard is an Officer of the Order of
Canada and served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Order of Canada
from 2005 to 2008.

    Georgina Steinsky-Schwartz

    Georgina Steinsky-Schwartz most recently served as the President and CEO
of Imagine Canada, an organization that was founded to serve the interests of
the chartable and not-for-profit sector. Steinsky-Schwartz was the first
leader of Imagine Canada which has a vision that a stronger and more humane
Canada results from effective collaboration among nonprofit institutions,
business and government. Her career encompasses stints in the public, private
and not-for profit sectors and speaks to her commitment to multi-sectoral
dialogue and interplay. She currently chairs two nonprofit corporations,
Plexxus and OECM, created by the government of Ontario to promote
administrative efficiencies in the health care and education sectors. She is
also a member of the Bata Shoe Museum Board of Directors.

    Craig Oliver

    Craig Oliver is CTV's Chief Political Correspondent and Co-Host of
Question Period. With a career in political reporting that spans 50 years and
10 prime ministers, Oliver is the quintessential news junkie for whom politics
is a passion. Oliver's career with CTV includes stints as a news director, a
producer for Canada AM, and as the network's Washington correspondent. However
Oliver is best known for his reporting in, around and about Parliament Hill.
Oliver has been well recognized for his journalistic excellence and has
received the Charles Lynch Award, the Broadcast Hall of Fame award and the
Gold Ribbon Award from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, the
President's Award from the Radio and TV News Directors Association and two
Gemini Awards.

    Sara Ehrhardt

    Sara Ehrhardt has spent the past ten years of her young life involved in
public policy issues as an advocate and a policy maker. Her public policy work
has focused on issues such as water policy, environmental policy and social
entrepreneurship. Ehrhardt's career and policy activism has largely been at
home in Canada, but she has also worked and studied abroad. A graduate of
Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Ehrhardt has chosen to pursue
a career within government as a way to effect positive change. She currently
works as an economist at Finance Canada.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Linda Kristal, Public Policy Forum, (613)
238-7858 ext 229,

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