FASS News, Public Policy, Research

Kennedy Stewart appointed as new Director of Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Public Policy Research

January 16, 2023

Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kennedy Stewart as the new Director of SFU’s Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) and welcome him back to the School of Public Policy.

“We are excited to have Dr. Stewart back on our Public Policy faculty downtown,” says Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Laurel Weldon. “His experience as a policymaker in the City of Vancouver and as a Member of Parliament will be invaluable to our students."

Genevieve LeBaron, Director for the School of Public Policy, adds, “as one of our longest serving professors, Dr. Stewart helped to shape the School of Public Policy and build our Master of Public Policy program; he brings deep teaching and mentoring experience within our School.”

A tenured associate professor, Stewart returns to SFU after a leave of absence starting in 2011 during which he served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Burnaby-Douglas (2011-2015), Member of Parliament for Burnaby South (2015-2018), and Mayor of Vancouver (2018-2022). While an MP, Stewart was opposition critic for Science and Technology, led opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and brought electronic petitioning to the House of Commons. As mayor, Stewart led an organization with a $1.7 billion operating budget through the COVID-19 pandemic, moved forward reconciliation efforts, secured over $1 billion in social housing investment, oversaw the adoption of the Broadway Plan, and led the push to decriminalize drugs in British Columbia.

“Dr. Stewart’s perspective on his time as Mayor and MP offers many lessons for other communities and leaders seeking to address the same challenges that he had undertaken in his many roles,” Weldon remarks. “His academic background makes his leadership of the CPPR a golden opportunity for the kind of engaged scholarship for which SFU is known globally.”

LeBaron explains, “He has put his scholarship into practice to address tough policy challenges including those surrounding the rights of Indigenous peoples, housing, drugs, and public transit.” She adds, “This high-level policy experience is critical to the work we do at the School of Public Policy. It is our honour to welcome Dr. Stewart back and to have him serve as the new CPPR director.”

Stewart returns to teach at the School of Public Policy both in the Master of Public Policy program and the new undergraduate minor program whereby students have the opportunity to gain firsthand policy experience by completing an applied capstone project, with input from an advisory board comprised of representatives from public, private, and non-profit organizations.

“Everything started for me while I was a graduate student at SFU in the 1990s, so I am excited to return and lead the Centre for Public Policy Research,” says Stewart. “SFU is an amazing place to learn and innovate and I hope the practical experience I’ve gained from a decade in politics will add to the incredible environment at one of Canada’s top universities.”

He adds, “I am also keen to continue shining the spotlight on the excellent policy work generated by SFU academics at the CPPR and make it a go-to place for decision-makers searching of solutions to complex policy problems.”

Stewart obtained his bachelor’s degree in History from Acadia University, master’s degree in political science from SFU and PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE). He has taught at six universities including the LSE, University College, and Birkbeck College at the University of London.

His publications include articles in Party PoliticsPublic Administration Review, and Canadian Public Policy as well as Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical ideas for Reforming Canada's Democracy edited with Conservative MP Michael Chong and Former Liberal MP Scott Simms.

His latest book is due to be released later this year entitled Decrim: How We Decriminalized Drugs in British Columbia (Douglas and McIntyre).

About the Centre for Public Policy Research

Celebrating its 20th year, CPPR is the research hub of SFU’s School of Public Policy. The Centre hosts academic and public discussions concerning pressing local, national, and international policy issues and promotes the peer-reviewed work of SFU academics and associates.