Grubel takes controversy prize

September 23, 2004, vol. 31, no. 2
By Susan Jamieson-McLarnon

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Herbert Grubel, professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University, is the 2004 winner of the Nora and Ted Sterling prize in support of controversy.

Grubel, a former Reform MP, has often challenged conventional wisdom and is well used to controversy. Whether it is supply management, unemployment insurance, the brain drain, immigration or North American monetary union “his advocacy, based on scholarly research, exemplifies the role the university should play in society,” says Barry Beyerstein, SFU psychologist and chair of the selection committee.

“It's significant that although some members of the committee had some philosophical differences with Grubel's views, they voted unanimously for the award. They recognized that his advocacy in these public debates has been principled and research-driven, forcing all concerned to examine their own beliefs and the evidence upon which they are based.”

Born in Germany, Grubel earned his doctorate in economics from Yale in 1963. He taught at Stanford, Chicago and Pennsylvania before joining SFU in 1972. He had held temporary teaching and research appointments in Australia, England, Germany, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore. The author of 23 books and nearly 200 articles in refereed journals, Grubel is one of Canada's best-known economists. In 1995 he received the Kiel University Bernard Harms medal, marking his outstanding contribution to international economics.

Between 1993 and 1997 Grubel represented Capilano-Howe Sound in Parliament, serving as his party's finance critic between 1995-1997. He returned to SFU following the 1997 election and after mandatory retirement in 1999, has been a senior fellow and holder of the David Somerville chair in taxation and finance at the Fraser Institute.

Nora and Ted Sterling established the prize at SFU in 1993 to honour “work which challenges complacency and that provokes controversy or contributes to its understanding.”

The prize will be awarded at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Morris Wosk centre for dialogue followed by Grubel's lecture: Why Canada Needs Reform of the EI System and a Monetary Union with the United States. The lecture is free, but reservations are required. Phone 604-291-5100.

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