Canada West Foundation

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Canada West Foundation
Motto Impact public policy
Formation 1970
Type Public policy think tank
Headquarters 900-105 12 Avenue SE

The Canada West Foundation is a pan-western non-partisan think tank based in Calgary, AB. It conducts research on issues of concern in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The foundation focuses on research and convening stakeholders to improve the prosperity, sustainability and quality of life for the citizens of Canada's four western provinces, and to educate Canadians on western Canadian contributions and aspirations.[1] It was founded Dec. 31, 1970. Founding members include George Maxwell Bell (1912-1972), Arthur J.E. Child OC (1910-1996),[notes 1] Frederick C. Mannix (1913-) and Honourable James A. Richardson.


Canada West Foundation was founded following the One Prairie Province? A Question for Canada Conference, co-sponsored by the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Herald in Lethbridge, Alberta on May 10–13, 1970.[2][3] Three papers were presented including Strayer's paper on the Constitutional processes for a Prairie union.[3][4] David Elton political science at the University of Lethbridge.[5] published the conference proceedings in 1970 in the Lethbridge Herald.. Elton replaced Stan Roberts as president in 1980. He remained in that position until 1997 where he researched such topics as institutional reform and citizens' engagement. In this capacity he acted as witness in federal parliamentary committees on Finance advocating for zero deficit and cut-off income limits for social welfare funding.[1][6]

Stan Roberts was president of the Canada West Foundation from 1976 to 1980.[1] In this capacity, he took a leading role in arguing for the position of the west in Canada's constitutional debates.

In 1987 Francis Winspear,[notes 2] financed the Western Assembly on Canada's Economic and Political Future,(Patten 1997:40) organized by Preston Manning, Stan Roberts and Robert Muirheld[7] and promoted by Ted Byfield,[7] in Vancouver in 1987. Organizational support was provided by the Canada West Foundation. It was at this assembly that the Reform Party of Canada was launched.[7][notes 3][notes 4][8] Winspear who was convinced that "mainline political parties no longer served the interest of Canadians," played a crucial role in the "founding and sustaining of the Reform Party of Canada."[9] There were some within the Canada West Foundation who believed that Roberts himself was partly sympathetic to separatism; he never became affiliated with the movement, but was forced to step down as CWF President in December 1980 after some controversial statements on the subject. According to journalist, Norm Ovenden, under Roberts' presidency, by 1980, the Canada West Foundation had become a "powerhouse", a "prestige organization in just a decade."[1] Ovenden credits Roberts with transforming a "low-key research organization" into a "well-known, widely respected pulse-takers of the Canadian west" in four years.[1]

James K. Gray O.C., A.O.E.,[10] co-founder of Canadian Hunter Exploration, "one of Canada's largest and most successful natural gas companies."[11][12] served as chair of the Canada West Foundation from 1994 to 2009 and as honorary chair.[13]

Roger Gibbins, chairman and head of the political science department at the University of Calgary, served as president and CEO of the Canada West Foundation from 1999 until his retirement in June 2012.[14][15] Gibbins was also a member of the Calgary School.[16][17][notes 5]

Dylan Jones was named President and CEO of the Foundation, effective June 1, 2012. Jones was former Deputy Minister to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.[18]


The Foundation is a registered educational charity, funded through donations from charitable foundations, government, industry stakeholders and individual citizens. It also conducts research on behalf of clients. The Foundation has a substantial reserve fund, from which it draws annual income. In 2013, it initiated the Invest in the West fundraising campaign to help finance the work of its three research centres.[1]

Senate Reform[edit]

In late 1978, CWF President, Stan Roberts, expressed interest in Francis Winspear's proposed constitutional reforms, which included Senate reform and the equal treatment of all provinces. During this period, Roberts made several speeches warning about the possibility of western separatism. The four western provinces were vastly under-represented in Senate. In 2012 Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Albert and British Columbia has only six seats each in the 105-seat Senate chamber.[14] Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Bruswick and Newfoundland, despite much smaller populations than the West, had a combined 30 seats. Ontario and Quebec each had 24 seat.[14] The CWF promotes a Triple-E Senate that would be equal, elected, and effective.[19][20] However, with Prime Minister Harper in power, "the West no longer wants in because it is in. Indeed, it occupies the Prime Minister's Office."[21]

Western Cities Project[edit]

In 2000 the CWF published a report entitled A Roof Over Our Heads: Affordable Housing and Urban Growth in Western Canada. In 2008 the research was updated in a publication entitled Affordable Housing and Homelessness Policy in Canada funded by the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, the Urban Development Institute Alberta and the cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina.[22]

Canada-Asia Energy Futures Task Force[edit]

In September 2011, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) and the Canada West Foundation established the Canada-Asia Energy Futures Task Force with Kathleen (Kathy) E. Sendall, C.M., FCAE,[notes 6] a former Governor and Board Chair of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and Kevin G. Lynch, a Canadian economist and former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Canada's most senior civil servant as co-chairs, to investigate a long-term Canada-Asia energy relationship. One of their recommendations was the creation of a public energy transportation corridor.[23][24]

Three Research Centres[edit]

Natural Resources, Trade & Investment, Human Capital[edit]

In 2013 the Foundation established three new research centres: [25]the Centre for Natural Resources Policy, the Centre for Trade & Investment Policy and the Centre for Human Capital Policy. The directors are: Trevor McLeod (Natural Resources), Carlo Dade (Trade & Investment) and Janet Lane (Human Capital).

Publications include:

Natural Resources Policy

Patchwork Pollution Solution: Stitching together a Canadian climate plan, Release Date: 13-Jul-2015

Walkin' the Walk: Five Steps To Efficient Cities, Release Date: 24-Mar-2015

Restoring Trust: The Road to Public Support for Resource Industries, Release Date: 18-Jul-2014

From the ground up: Earning public support for resource development, Release Date: 26-May-2014

Buildings, Bicycles and 'Burbs: An Overview of Urban Energy Management in Seven Western Canadian Cities, Release Date: 21-Apr-2014

The Missing Link: Constructive Ideas for Improving Urban Environmental Outcomes, Release Date: 05-Dec-2013

Unpacking Social Licence: Discussion Paper, Release Date: 19-Nov-2013

Survey: Canada and its Natural Resources, Release Date: 30-Oct-2013

Managing Expectations: Assessing the Potential of BC's Liquid Natural Gas Industry, Release Date: 29-Oct-2013

Hedging our Bets: Making the case for saving Alberta's natural resource revenues, Release Date: 2-Oct-2013

Engine of Growth: A Western Canadian Energy Policy Framework, Release Date: 13-Jun-2013

Pipe or Perish: Saving an oil industry at risk, Release Date: 07-Feb-2013

Trade & Investment Policy

Feeding the Global Middle Class - discussion paper, Release Date: 23-Apr-2015

Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Release Date: 24-Feb-2015

The business case for Alberta to provide international aid, Release Date: 24-Dec-2014

Building on Advantage: Improving Canada's trade infrastructure, Release Date: 24-Nov-2014

Miser sur les avantages: Améliorer l’infrastructure commerciale du Canada, Release Date: 24-Nov-2014

Mexico's Energy Reform: Potential Impacts and Opportunities for Western Canada, Release Date: 02-Jun-2014

At the Intersection: The Case for Sustained and Strategic Public Infrastructure Investment, Release Date: 5-Feb-2013

À la croisée des chemins: Arguments en faveur d’un investissement soutenu et stratégique dans l’infrastructure publique, Release Date: 5-Feb-2013

Human Capital Policy

Smarten up: It's time to build essential skills, Release Date: 01-Jun-2015

Competence is the Best Credential, Release Date: 07-Apr-2015

Work Interrupted: How federal foreign worker rule changes hurt the West, Release Date: 9-Mar-2015

Shedding light on the TFW Program, Release Date: 15-Dec-2014

Talent is not enough: Closing the skills gap, Release Date: 15-Sep-2014

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arthur Child, a staunch Reform Party supporter, was president and CEO for Burns Foods, brought it from the verge of bankruptcy to becoming the second-largest meat packer in the country. Child was author of Economics and Politics in US Banking(1965).
  2. ^ Francis G. Winspear (1903-1997) was a wealthy Edmonton financier and philanthropist who retired in Vancouver. Biography.
  3. ^ Ellis worked with Tom Flanagan conducting research for the Reform Party which eventually led to his dissertation. Roger Gibbins recruited Ellis into the Ph.D. program in political science at the University of Calgary.
  4. ^ In a meteoric rise, almost unprecedented in the history of Canada, the Reform Party became the Official Opposition to the Government of Canada within 10 years.
  5. ^ Although the Calgary school is not an official organization and has no membership list, Roger Gibbins, David Bercuson, history professor and director of the university's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, Barry F. Cooper, political science professor and fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, Tom Flanagan, professor of political science, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and former adviser to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Rainer Knopff, political science professor and Ted Morton were included in the group in a 2004 article in The Walrus.
  6. ^ Kathleen Sendall, is director CGG (Paris, France), Director of Enmax Corporation (Calgary, AB); Vice Chair, Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (Calgary, AB); Co-Chair, Canada West/Asia Pacific Foundation Task Force (Calgary, AB)." In 2013 Prime Minister Harper appointed her the Sustainable Development Advisory Council (SDAC) and the Advisory Council for Promoting Women on Boards. She advises "federal and provincial governments in the areas of climate change, carbon capture and storage, environmental legislation, and Arctic foreign policy, and recently chaired the Canadian Council of Academies Assessment Panel on the State of Industrial R&D in Canada. Previously, Ms. Sendall led Petro-Canada's North American Natural Gas Business Unit."Kathleen Sendall Biography


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Stan Roberts: Mr. West Moves To The East". Montreal Gazette. December 6, 1980. Retrieved November 29, 2010.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "GazetteStanRoberts1980" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ Brangwin, Christopher James (1973). Causes of agitation for one Prairie province (Master of Arts Geography thesis). University of British Columbia. 
  3. ^ a b B. L. Strayer (December 1970). "One Prairie Province? The Constitutional Processes for Prairie Union". Canadian Public Administration 13 (4): 337–343. doi:10.1111/j.1754-7121.1970.tb00031.x. 
  4. ^ Stephen Tomblin (1995). Ottawa and the Outer Provinces: The Challenge of Regional Integration in Canada. Toronto, Ontario: James Lorimer. p. 214. 
  5. ^ "Alberta Mood Hard To Assess As Campaign In Home Stretch". Leader-Post. October 27, 1982. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  6. ^ Donald Gutstein (1 February 2012). "Canada West Foundation rewrites history: Think-tank tracker". Rabble. 
  7. ^ a b c Faron Ellis (September 1997). A Genealogy of Dissent: Activism and Participation in Canada's Refonn Party (PhD in Political Science thesis). Calgary, Alberta: University of Calgary. 
  8. ^ Steve Patten (September 1997). The Rise of Reform: A Political Economy of Neo-liberal Populism in the 1990s (PDF) (PhD Political Science thesis). North York, Ontario: York University. Retrieved June 2013. 
  9. ^ Champion, Chris (10 February 1997). "Blessed man with a profound sense of duty: philanthropist, patron of the arts, and Reform Party founder Francis Winspear dies at 93". Alberta Report. 
  10. ^ "James K. Gray O.C., A.O.E., C.B.H.F. - Class of 2005". Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  11. ^ "James Kenneth Gray's Alberta Order of Excellence biography". Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  12. ^ "James Kenneth Gray's Alberta Order of Excellence Scroll". Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  13. ^ "CWF board of directors". Canada West Foundation. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c Colby Cosh (14 May 2012). "Roger Gibbins against Senate reform? The hell you say!". Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Window on the West: Western Canadian policy matters: End of an Era (PDF) (Report). Canada West Foundation. May 2012. 
  16. ^ MacDonald, Marci (October 2004). "The Man Behind Stephen Harper". The Walrus. 
  17. ^ Flanagan, Tom. "Advice to Progressives from the Calgary School". Literary Review of Canadadate=December 2010. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Roger Gibbins; Robert Roach (March 2010). A New Senate for a More Democratic Canada (Report). The West in Canada Project. 
  20. ^ Dr. Campbell Sharman (1989). The Australian Triple-E Senate: Lessons for Canadian Senate Reform (Report). Canada West Foundation. page 9
  21. ^ Donald Lenihan (11 November 2008). "How I Learned to Live With the Unelected Senate". Public Policy Forum of Ottawa. 
  22. ^ David Snow (September 2008). Affordable Housing and Homelessness Policy in Canada (PDF) (Report). 
  23. ^ Securing Canada's energy future: report of the Canada-Asia energy futures task force (PDF) (Report). Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. June 2013. 
  24. ^ Jameson Berkow (6 June 2012). "National interest must come first in Canada-Asia energy relationship: report". Financial Post. 
  25. ^ CanadaWestFoundatiorelaunchesCalgaryHerald18october2013