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2018/2019 Donner Prize Winner Announced

Press Release


TORONTO MAY 1, 2019 – The winner of the 2018/2019 Donner Prize was announced tonight by David Dodge, Chair of the Donner Prize Jury, in Toronto. The awards gala at The Carlu was hosted by broadcaster Amanda Lang.

Thomas J. Courchene was awarded the $50,000 Donner Prize for Indigenous Nationals, Canadian Citizens: From First Contact to Canada 150 and Beyond, published by the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University. Courchene, Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University, also won the very first Donner Prize in 1998.

In its deliberation, the Donner Prize Jury noted:  Indigenous Nationals, Canadian Citizens is a masterful work on one of the most important themes of our country’s public policy history. Courchene lays out the historical, legal, and socio-economic context for Indigenous policy formation in Canada and, drawing on this background, makes a proposal (the Commonwealth of Sovereign Indigenous Nations) to catalyze debate. Courchene’s fresh policy prescription works to reconcile two competing goals: recognizing Indigenous rights and promoting Canadian economic and resource development, while creating a compelling case for significant change.

The other nominated titles, each of which received $7,500, were:

Population Bombed! Exploding the Link Between Overpopulation and Climate Change by Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak (Global Warming Policy Foundation)

Basic Income for Canadians: The Key to a Healthier, Happier, More Secure Life for All by Evelyn L. Forget (James Lorimer & Company Ltd.)

University Commons Divided: Exploring Debate & Dissent on Campus by Peter MacKinnon (University of Toronto Press)

Excessive Force: Toronto’s Fight to Reform City Policing by Alok Mukherjee with Tim Harper (Douglas & McIntyre)

The winner of the Donner Prize was chosen from an impressive list of 70 submissions by a five-member jury: David A. Dodge, (Jury Chair), Jean-Marie Dufour, Brenda Eaton, Jennifer A. Jeffs and Peter Nicholson.

The Jury Chair commented on this year’s shortlist: “These books reflect issues that are at the heart of public policy debate in Canada, or certainly should be – Indigenous rights, income distribution, population growth, university governance and the civilian oversight of policing.  In this age of news bubbles and sensationalist journalism, it’s even more important to encourage and reward the hard work of researching and writing about the policy dilemmas we face as a society.”

The Donner Prize, established in 1998, annually rewards excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy thinking, writing and research. In bestowing this award, the Donner Canadian Foundation seeks to broaden policy debates, increase general awareness of the importance of policy decision making and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse.


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