By Paul Wells - Friday, May 24, 2013 - 0 Comments
From the June 3 edition of Maclean’s:
“Colleagues, we have an active and important agenda on the issues that matter to hard-working Canadian families,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Conservative caucus on Tuesday. “And there is much work to be done.”
Let us see how active and important Harper’s governing agenda is these days.
On May 20, Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, resigned, allegedly for writing a $90,000 cheque to save Sen. Mike Duffy from an investigation into his spending and expense claims. Here’s what was on the Prime Minister’s website on the day Wright’s resignation was announced; this is the story the government wants to tell you about its agenda.
By Paul Wells - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
This story will get buried by all the other news today. That’s understandable, but I wish it weren’t so. It’s about a long-term government failure.
In 2007 Maxime Bernier created the Science, Technology and Innovation Council to measure Canada’s science and technology performance against that of comparable countries around the world. It’s produced reports every two years. The latest was released this morning while most of us were caught up in some other hilarity on the Hill.
The STIC council, as it’s called, is a big-name panel of advisors both inside government and outside. Its current membership includes the deputy ministers of Industry, Trade and Health; the presidents of Western, Alberta and McGill Universities; and a brochette of CEOs, principally from the energy sector.
Its third biennial report is devastating. Well, maybe I shouldn’t be throwing a word like that around in a week like this one, but it’s full of bad news anyway. Here’s some jargon, which I’ll translate:
State of the Nation 2012 shows that Canada’s gross domestic expenditures on R&D (GERD) declined from their peak in 2008 and, when measured in relation to gross domestic product (GDP), since 2001. In contrast, the GERD and GERD intensity of most other countries have been increasing. Canada’s declining GERD intensity has pushed its rank down from 16th position in 2006 to 17th in 2008 and to 23rd in 2011 (among 41 economies).
That means that by the broadest measure of expenditure on research and development, Canada has fallen from 16th out of 41 comparable countries in the year Stephen Harper became prime minister, to 23rd in 2011. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 11:21 AM - 0 Comments
From the Harper profile John Geddes and I wrote two years ago:
Someone who was there paraphrased Harper’s message to his ministers at his first cabinet meeting in 2006: “I am the kingpin. So whatever you do around me, you have to know that I am sacrosanct.” Harper was telling his ministers that they were expendable but that he wasn’t. If they had to go so that his credibility and his ability to get things done were protected, so be it.
“It wasn’t personal,” this source said. “It was his office.”
The doctoring of a Senate internal economy committee report to erase some references to Mike Duffy’s conduct was perfectly consistent with Stephen Harper’s long-standing preference for making questions go away rather than answering them. Nigel Wright’s resignation is an expression of Harper’s style, not a repudiation of it.
By Paul Wells - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM - 0 Comments
Ten years ago this month I quit my job. There was a small element of principle about it, although there’s no point exaggerating that. I had gone to work for a newspaper owned by Conrad Black and edited by Ken Whyte. Then Black sold the paper and the new owners fired Whyte. The editor they put in Ken’s place seemed, to me, incapable of running a newspaper properly. So I left the newspaper. It’s how I wound up here. I was unemployed for all of two weeks; it wasn’t a martyrdom.
I’m wondering what’s going through the minds of the people who work for Rob Ford today. The Toronto mayor stands accused by two news organizations of appearing in a cellphone video smoking crack cocaine. He has denied the allegation, or rather, called it “ridiculous,” which I am not sure is the same. The story comes weeks after another asserting that he appeared intoxicated at a military ball. There are previous stories about reckless behaviour on the Toronto mayor’s part.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Are we done being surprised by the staying power of incumbents yet?
The BC Liberals’ victory in yesterday’s election, which surprised me too, is only the latest example of an election where the incumbent fared substantially better than polls had predicted. The most recent Alberta, Ontario and even Quebec elections (where the opposition Parti Québécois still managed to win, but just barely over a Charest Liberal party most observers had given up for lost) are the other well-known examples. So, for that matter, was the 2011 federal election: My friends on the press bus spent the entire campaign trying to get Stephen Harper to play game theory about minority-Parliament coalition scenarios; he spent the campaign winning a majority.
Together, these and other election examples suggest a strong tendency in Canadian politics — more a rule of thumb than an iron law, but still: incumbency offers substantial advantages. “Don’t Switch Horses in Midstream” is an argument that makes sense, especially when the economy’s a bit weird and people aren’t feeling confident enough to do something cocky. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM - 0 Comments
Congratulations, National Research Council: Just about the only international coverage for your recent change in approach is this article in Slate tearing you a new one.
“…I was thinking that no one could possibly utter such colossally ignorant statements. But no, I was reading it correctly. These two men—leaders in the Canadian scientific research community—were saying, out loud and clearly, that the only science worth doing is what lines the pocket of business.
This is monumentally backwards thinking….”
I’ve been in Ottawa so long I’m well trained: My first instinct was to check whether the article’s author is a Canadian with a long history of donations to the Liberal party. But no: Phil Plait is one of the more prominent science bloggers in the U.S. He didn’t write this because he’s a Canadian looking for bigger bang outside our borders. He wrote it because he believed it. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:21 AM - 0 Comments
Justin Trudeau enjoys a spring weekend counting money:
On Twitter, where the collective wisdom is what it is, everyone’s debating the Liberal leader’s pants. I’m struck by the numbers. Since he became Liberal leader, about three weeks ago, the party has raised “over a million dollars” from 14,000 donors, of which, apparently, 6,000 are donating for the first time. That sounds impressive.
How impressive is it? Continue…
By Paul Wells - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
If you want to be the calm at the eye of the storm, it helps to be calm. Justin Trudeau is figuring that part out.
On Monday, Trudeau’s (pause to count on fingers) ninth day as leader of the plucky underdog Liberal party, the wavy-maned MP for Papineau exited the House of Commons and parked in front of a scrum microphone in the Centre Block lobby. He was greeted by the customary mob of journalists badgering him for autographs. Just kidding! No, we had Tough Questions for him.
What did he make of his latest exchange with the Prime Minister, which came after ﬁve questions from the NDP, a party the scribes are basically ignoring this month? “I asked a substantive question,” Trudeau said, once, twice, three times. But Stephen Harper preferred to send mockery in return.
Surely this will be a theme of Trudeau’s spring: he would like to be considered more than a pretty face. He asks substantive questions. If Harper can’t give substantive answers, or won’t, Trudeau hints, well then we’ll know who’s low on substantivity, won’t we? Substantivosity. Substantiveness. Substance? Never mind. We’ll know what needs knowing.
By Paul Wells - Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM - 0 Comments
Despite his insistence that Real Leaders shouldn’t “sit around trying to rationalize” terrorist violence “or figure out its root causes,” Stephen Harper has announced a multi-year program worth millions of taxpayer dollars designed to do just that.
I’m indebted to CBC blogger and Former Colleague Kady O’Malley for pointing this out. On June 23, 2011, during his annual St. Jean Baptiste sojourn through Quebec, the prime minister marked the seventh annual National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism by launching the Kanishka Project, a five-year, $10 million program to “invest in research on pressing questions for Canada on terrorism and counter-terrorism.”
From the PM’s speech that day:
“…the first and most solemn duty of government is to keep its people safe. It took far too long to learn the lessons of Flight 182. One of those lessons is that information is an important tool in the struggle against terrorism. We need to know as much as we can about terrorists, their tactics, and the best solutions to protect people…
We will engage Canada’s best and brightest minds, and we will provide funding for publications, conferences and research projects – anything that can help us build the knowledge base we need to effectively counter terrorism.
The Kanishka Project is named in memory of everyone who boarded the aircraft, and we will ensure that the families of the victims are involved in helping to guide the project’s work.”
The Kanishka project, designed to commemorate the Air India bombing, builds on such excellent Harper Government root-causes work as the 2009 RCMP guide Radicalization: A Guide For The Perplexed, which I am not making up. It includes this paragraph published by your national constabulary: Continue…
By Paul Wells - Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM - 0 Comments
The Conservative Party’s volley of attack ads against new Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau may have backfired, according to a new public opinion poll.
A poll conducted by EKOS between Wednesday and Friday of this week found that 84 per cent of respondents found the ads were negative and 71 per cent said the ads didn’t affect their view of Trudeau. Among those who said the ads did affect their view of the new Liberal leader, 16 per cent said it improved their view of him while only 9 per cent said it had the negative impact the Conservatives had intended.
— Elizabeth Thompson, “Trudeau Attack Ads Backfired: Poll,” iPolitics, April 19, 2013
These new ads are simply offensive. They demean Stephen Harper’s Conservatives as much as Dion’s Liberals. And they diminish the political system that Harper, as our democratically chosen master, should be seeking to uphold rather than bring into disrepute….
Attack ads did not work federally in 1993 or provincially in 2003 and they had a minimal effect, if any, on the 1999 Ontario election. So why are the Conservatives embracing a tactic that seems bound to turn voters away from the political process? The answer may lie in the fact that a number of Harper’s key strategists in cabinet and in the party are products of the Harris era in Ontario.
Of them, it might be said, as was said of the Bourbon kings of France, they are doomed to learn nothing and forget nothing.
— Geoffrey Stevens, “Sleazy Game of Attack Ads Could Backfire Against the Conservatives,” Guelph Mercury, Feb. 5 2007
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 11:58 PM - 0 Comments
I wanted to get this New York Times profile of Caroline Adelaide Shaw, who just won the Pulitzer Prize for music, on the record because every year I check out the Pulitzer winner in that category with a little hope, and this year it was rewarded with something worth hearing. The Times profile gives the gist of the oddity of it all — Shaw is not just an unknown composer winning a composing prize, she does not even consider herself a composer. She wrote the winning piece, Partita, for the awesomely named choir Roomful of Teeth, in which she’s a performer. This Slate article gives more background.
I’m pleased to note that Shaw’s website contains a complete recording of Partita. You’ll find it’s odd, cheerfully eccentric, often lovely, and at about 25 seconds into the first movement, it opens the throttle in a way I found breathtaking. Mostly I just wanted you to get a chance to hear it. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 10:48 PM - 0 Comments
These days I am occupationally obsessed with seeking the history in current events. So it took me only a couple of days to recall this story from May of 2009, two weeks after the Conservatives launched their “Just Visiting” ads against Michael Ignatieff. The story is now almost exactly four years old, and I am curious to see whether anything has changed except the identity of the ads’ target.
The story marks precisely the last time I ever accorded any credulity to the claims of then-Liberal president Alf Apps, who was quite sure the avalanche of advertising against Michael Ignatieff would have precisely one effect: to inflate Liberal coffers as indignant citizens donated to the unjustly slandered Liberal Party. In the breathless prose I affected when I wrote that blog post:
On May 18, five days after the Conservative ads started running, Apps held a special meeting of the Liberals’ National Management Committee….[F]undraising changes will allow “a constructive, comprehensive and focused response to the personal attacks on [the party's] Leader by instead addressing the Harper Conservatives’ failed approach to the economic crisis and refusal to adopt the Liberal EI plan.”
“I believe the advertising campaign undertaken by our opponents last week has created the opportunity to galvanize the entire Party around a reinvigorated fundraising effort now, even before the summer commences,” Apps writes. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM - 0 Comments
The Harper government has notified the National Health Council that it won’t be renewing the organization’s funding once the 10-year health accord Paul Martin struck with the provinces in 2004 runs out. The critics are raving. Saskatchewan’s former deputy health minister is displeased; Michael McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition calls the decision to wind down the National Health Council “a decision to wind down national medicare.”
One suspects the feds will manage to move on after this broadside. McBane’s online bio puts quotation marks around the “Free” in “North American ‘Free’ Trade Agreement” and the Health Coalition’s board includes executives of CUPW, the Steelworkers and the CAW, along with the author of a book on Harper’s foreign policy that was blurbed by rogue Senate page Brigitte dePape. But there remains the substantive question of the Health Council’s necessity; let’s take a look. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 12:15 PM - 0 Comments
Using the #sawanad (“Saw an ad”) hashmark on Twitter, readers are sending in reports that they’ve been seeing the Conservative ads criticizing Justin Trudeau on several shows. Most of the reports are from morning and prime time, although that’s when most of the viewers would be watching TV too. The Conservatives seem to be concentrating (or maybe the Twitter crowd is disproportionately watching) sports broadcasts and cooking shows (Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares — wait, are those the same show?). Anyway, it’s a real buy.
One Conservative acquaintance with long experience in communications points out an explanation for the ads, and their timing, that I didn’t mention in my previous post on the subject. The Conservatives may simply have wanted to level the playing field. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:31 PM - 0 Comments
A few thoughts.
Every political party uses advertising to tell voters its opponents are unpleasant people. Literally absolutely nothing about the Conservative use of attack ads is new or unique to that party. Paul Martin ran ads before the writ period in 2004. Martin ran very sharply negative ads in 2004 and 2006, and had worse ready to run. (One of those leaked and embarrassed Martin. I’m afraid I’ll never really believe that was an accident, although that campaign was certainly capable of accidents.) Jack Layton ran and appeared in a 2008 ad so harsh I can still barely believe it.
All of this political communication is legitimate. We get into a very nasty place as a society when we start picking and choosing the things we allow political parties, or anyone else, to say. Besides, political parties say nasty things about their opponents every day; it is silly to suggest they should pretend to be sweetness and light when they speak to voters directly. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 11:55 PM - 0 Comments
I’m told the Conservatives have done market research — focus groups, maybe polling — on voter responses to Thomas Mulcair’s beard. Life never gives us what we want, so I don’t know what they learned from their inquiries. But the nugget suggests the level of mutual fascination and suspicion as the three main parties near the top of the hill up which they’ve been rolling the stone of this majority-government mandate. After this weekend, things will start to move downhill, and accelerate, toward 2015, unless Stephen Harper finds a reason to have an election sooner.
On Sunday in Ottawa, a new Liberal leader will be designated. I’m going to take a wild guess that it will be Justin Trudeau. Also on Sunday in Montreal, the New Democrats will wrap up a policy convention during which they will receive levels of scrutiny they’re not used to. The NDP has slid, not alarmingly but noticeably, in the polls roughly since we, er, put Tom Mulcair on our cover last autumn; part of their response this weekend will be a PR blitz designed to humanize the flinty NDP leader, who does not help mythologizers along by riding bikes and playing guitar the way his late predecessor did. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Friday, April 5, 2013 at 5:47 PM - 0 Comments
From the Inkless emailbox, this apparent denial of a three-day-old story that didn’t need denying until now. What follows is the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s complete news release, verbatim. Got a truck? See if you can drive it through the hole in this denial: — pw
FORMAL AND CATEGORICAL DENIAL FROM THE OSM ABOUT THE DEPARTURE OF KENT NAGANO IN 2016
Montreal, April 5, 2013 – Following recent articles in the press on the departure of Maestro Kent Nagano at the end of the 2015-2016 season, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s management team wishes to formally deny any rumours in regards to the end of the contract or the replacement of him as music director of the OSM.
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal reiterates that:
• The contract of its music director, Maestro Kent Nagano, has been extended through to the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season (the option of the two additional years stipulated in the current three-year contract, which has been in effect since September 2011, being exercised), and;
• After 2016, the contract of Kent Nagano may be renewed further to a mutual agreement between the two parties.
From the moment of his appointment to the title of music director in September 2006, Kent Nagano has distinguished himself by the presentation of innovative concerts that are a source of common bond, and through his initiatives with respect to the community, which have kindled pride and enthusiasm in Montrealers – all the while contributing to the prestige of the Orchestra here and elsewhere.
By Paul Wells - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 8:29 AM - 0 Comments
From La Presse‘s Claude Gingras, who knows everything, comes the news — un-denied two days later — that Kent Nagano, the music director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, will leave town when his second contract expires in 2016.
It’s a bit of a surprise. Nagano will have been leading the orchestra’s fortunes for 9 years when the 2015-2016 season ends. Charles Dutoit, who made it one of the world’s leading orchestras and then left (in an awful huff at the musicians’ union) in 2002, had lasted 25 years. Nagano will be 65 in 2016 and could have lasted many more years. He’s just finishing a second season at the new Jack Diamond-designed Maison symphonique, a bland-looking but superb-sounding hall Jean Charest built partly to keep Nagano happy. His Montreal career looks a little foreshortened. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 3:09 PM - 0 Comments
[UPDATES below with comment from the foreign-service union — pw]
Your honour, the striped-pant set is revolting. Well, threatening to. This appeared today on the website of the union representing Canada’s foreign-service officers:
“In recent contract negotiations, the Government of Canada has proposed to keep paying us much less than workers who do similar jobs in federal government offices in Canada. In some cases, these workers make as much as $10,000 more than us, even though they don’t face the same challenges that we do.”
The union, PAFSO, announces (quietly; colleagues I checked with were surprised to hear this, and there has been almost no Twitter traffic about the impasse in contract negotiations with Treasury Board) that it is in a legal strike position. There is also word of unspecified job action, apparently already underway: I heard about this from people who are trying to plan into next week with Canadian missions abroad and have been receiving maybes in return.
I’ve sought reaction from Tony Clement’s office and from the PAFSO union and will have more in the morning.
UPDATE: OK, so it took until the afternoon. I got a call from Tim Edwards, president of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers. Here’s some of what he told me.
First, the dispute is about non-executive foreign-service officers. So, not ambassadors. But it does include people in visa processing, trade promotion, public affairs and most of the other jobs at Canadian missions abroad, as well as the same people when they’re rotating home to Canada.
This is the third labour dispute in a little over a decade, Edwards told me. In 2001 foreign-services officers struck for a pay increase. In 2005 they had a job action much like the one they’re undertaking now. This will be handy context for people eager to attribute all of this dispute to Stephen Harper: the union ran into conflict under the Chrétien and Martin governments too. While Edwards said individual union members may have concerns about the government’s foreign-policy stances, the reduced opportunity for professional advancement, the shrinking number of available foreign postings, or what have you, the specific bone of contention for the union is wages.
The union offered to give up its wage increase demands in January in return for the “template” wage package being offered across most of the public service, which is 1.5%. But it is sticking to its guns on a pay-equity demand, which is that its members want to be paid as much as members of other unions working similar jobs in different unions. This is largely explained in the union blog post I linked above.
PAFSO members make between $
82,000$58,000 [oops] and $112,000 a year depending on their classification. Edwards said their job action begins with “e-picketing,” which entails merely sending out emails with information like the piece I quoted above, and will ramp up as the dispute continues. There have been no contract talks since Jan. 31; Edwards said the offer from the Treasury Board is the same now as two years ago.
Still waiting for comment from Treasury Board. [UPDATER! WEDNESDAY AFT] Got it. A spokesperson for Treasury Board minister guy Tony Clement told me these foreign-service jobs constitute “highly sought-after and well paid postings” and said the government will “continue to bargain with PAFSO in good faith to reach a reasonable settlement.” I was also encouraged to peruse this list of housing, schooling, and other salary top-ups for diplomats on foreign postings.
By Paul Wells - Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:31 PM - 0 Comments
This budget marks a tactical retreat by a chastened government whose recklessness a year ago bought it a year of trouble it did not want.
Advisors to Stephen Harper say most big departures from business-as-usual in his government come straight from the big guy. This includes both the exploits of diplomacy and the excesses of bitterness. His budget last year was an example of the latter Harper. My blog post a year ago called it a Very Political Budget: the document sought to institutionalize Harper’s sense of outrage at Barack Obama’s decision to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project. That delay was announced in November. By December Harper was promising “major transformations” and a shift in Canada’s trade strategy from the U.S. to Asia. In January Harper visited China and delivered his Davos speech. In March the budget featured, for the first time, a chapter on natural-resource development and included language about reducing environmental protection, penalizing environmental groups that tried to meddle in resource extraction, and speeding the approval of big resource projects.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM - 0 Comments
I know one former senior advisor to Stephen Harper who responds to the mention of Justin Trudeau the way one would expect somebody with that pedigree to respond: with condescending contempt. But I know other Conservatives, some still in the Prime Minister’s employ, who see the way crowds react, still today, to the Montreal MP, and shrug. Maybe we can’t do anything against this guy, they say. Maybe things are what they are and we’re just going to have to watch it happen.
Marc Garneau dropped out of the Liberal leadership contest because he is not a fool. The poll numbers he released, if anywhere near accurate, would have led to futile humiliation. He would have lost badly and then been asked to rally to the new leader. He is an engineer, so he found a more elegant solution. He is rallying now to avoid losing later. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 10:38 AM - 0 Comments
Guys, I’m pretty sure if we try hard we can get the PM to say something cranky about Liberal judges today in Question Period. I suspect he’s in a mood. His Supreme Court reference on changes to the composition of the Senate is having a lousy ride through the judicial process.
Setback 1: Two weeks ago the Supremes rejected a(n insane) request from the Justice Department that the top court not bother to receive legal arguments in the reference, a request the feds made on the ridiculous grounds that everything that could be said on this specific set of reference questions has already been said in more than a century of general debate on Senate-related issues.
Setback 2: Considerably more embarrassing for the government. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9:14 AM - 0 Comments
I thought it only fair to warn you. A perfect storm of political factors south of the border is ensuring the return to prominence — and just maybe to top-tier political significance — of America’s favourite/least favourite family of patrician Massachussetts Republicans with occasional bursts of Southern populism, extraordinary rendition, temporary-gone-permanent tax cuts and squinty eyebrows.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 12:19 AM - 0 Comments
The Prime Minister’s comments in Question Period today to the effect that two former civil servants are “partisan” when, and to the extent that, they criticize his government, have occasioned a lot of close parsing by Colleague Wherry. And it’s true, I have no idea whether Scott Clark and Peter DeVries support the Liberal party. And there are uncomfortable echos of the whole Linda Keen affair in the notion that, to this PM, critics are by definition Liberal.
But neither did Stephen Harper pull the whole notion out of the air. Look:
OTTAWA—Another high-profile public servant has joined Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s inner circle.
Patrick Parisot has quit his post as ambassador to Algeria to become Ignatieff’s principal secretary.
Parisot, a former broadcaster who served as a valued adviser to former prime minister Jean Chrétien, is the fourth person to jump straight from the bureaucracy into Ignatieff’s inner sanctum.
The pattern is troubling to public administration experts who believe the line between professional, neutral public servants and partisan political staffers has become dangerously blurred. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 12:09 PM - 0 Comments
Between them, the University of Toronto and McGill University have 100,000 students, $596 million in total accumulated funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, one Charles Taylor and a perhaps disproportionate amount of the spotlight on higher education in Canada’s two largest provinces. They also have two new presidents: Meric Gertler at UofT and Suzanne Fortier at McGill. Together the two changes are probably more significant than most federal cabinet shuffles.
(This blog post will be lousy with Laurentian Consensus nostalgia; sorry. Perhaps only for today though, the less said about the University of Calgary, the better.)
In hiring close to home, both universities can be taken to be demonstrating either quiet confidence in the maturity of Canadian academe, or a chastened realization that in a time of limited resources, even the biggest schools are wise to stick to their knitting. Both schools instituted global searches and wound up bypassing candidates from afar in favour of local produce. Gertler was Toronto’s dean of Arts and Science. Fortier is president of the National Science and Engineering Research Council — indeed her start as principal of McGill will be delayed so she can cool off from that job for six months before taking a position with a major NSERC grant recipient — but her BSc and PhD were from McGill. Continue…