SFU Centre for Public Policy Research launches new Speaker Series with distinguished Indigenous policy-makers

December 21, 2023
Pictured: Minister Murray Rankin speaks at SFU Harbour Centre for the CPPR Speaker Series on November 24, 2023.

Established in 2003, the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) provides solutions to complex public policy problems by creating ethical space for decision-makers and scholars to discuss issues of concern. 

In Fall 2023, the CPPR launched a new speaker series, with the first session concentrating on Indigenous policy-making. Distinguished speakers included Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu, BC Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin, and Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. 

Hosted by CPPR Director Kennedy Stewart and conducted under the Chatham House Rule, these sessions offer SFU faculty, staff, students, and alumni the opportunity  to directly engage in dialogue with key figures in this important policy space.

The CPPR is hosting a new speaker series session in Spring 2024 concerning Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Policy with confirmed speakers including BC Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation the Honourable Brenda Bailey, Former BC Premier and Jim Pattison President and CEO Glen Clark, and Invest Vancouver President Jacquie Griffiths. 

Contact to be added to the invitation email list. 

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has devoted his life to championing the rights of Indigenous peoples and advancing the causes of Reconciliation and self-determination for First Nations in British Columbia. The Grand Chief served for 16 years as Penticton's Indian Band Council Chief and eight terms as the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) President. 

Session participants engaged in an insightful dialogue about the Grand Chief’s personal journey and Indigenous policy. The discussion delved into significant topics, spanning from residential schools, the Oka crisis, and Standing Rock to Burnt Church, Indigenous government capacity, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and intricate dynamics within federal, provincial, and Indigenous government relations, among other compelling subjects.

CPPR Director Kennedy Stewart said, “This was an amazing session with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, which offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share in an intimate conversation with one of the world’s most important Indigenous leaders. Future sessions offer similar opportunities to interact with leading elected and non-elected decision-makers and policy influencers.”

The Centre for Public Policy Research proudly welcomed federal Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu. Elected as the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North in 2015, Minister Hajdu has held key ministerial roles, including Minister of Health, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Minister of Status of Women.

During this dynamic session with Minister Hajdu, School of Public Policy students, faculty, and alumni, alongside SFU faculty with policy-related interests from various university departments, engaged in direct dialogue with a key figure in Canada's Indigenous policy landscape.

The topics explored ranged from the Minister's current portfolio to her experiences as Minister of Health, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Minister of Status of Women. The discussions delved into crucial subjects such as Reconciliation, Canada's COVID-19 response, drug policy, and the inner workings of government.

The Centre for Public Policy Research concluded its 2023 speaker series with a session with British Columbia Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin. In addition to his current duties in Victoria, Minister Rankin also held the positions of Justice and Attorney General critic, Health critic, and NDP House Leader during his tenure as Member of Parliament for Victoria from 2012 to 2019 and served as Chair of Canada's National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. 

During the session, Minister Rankin, SFU faculty, students, staff, and alumni explored the opportunities and challenges of Reconciliation, espionage, and the distinctions and parallels between governance in Ottawa and Victoria.