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18th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture

After COVID-19: Paths to Moral and Civic Renewal

What has the pandemic revealed about the divide between winners and losers, insiders and outsiders?  What will it take to emerge from this crisis as more just, inclusive societies?

Since 2000, the LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture has gathered Canadians to reflect on democracy, citizenship, and the public good. This unique digital edition brings together former lecturers in a discussion of the critical issues of our time, led by Michael Sandel.

Michael Sandel is an acclaimed political philosopher whose course, Justice, was Harvard University’s first course to be made freely available to the public, garnering tens of millions of views worldwide. His writings on justice, ethics, democracy, and markets have been translated into 27 languages. Sandel was the 15th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturer.

John Ralston Saul’s 14 books have influenced political and economic thought around the world. As international president of PEN, he took a new approach to activism, negotiating with dictators and speaking out for endangered languages. He is a leading voice in the international movement supporting immigrants and refugees. Saul was the inaugural LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturer.

The Hon. Louise Arbour leapt onto the world stage as chief prosecutor for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals, where she led the first ever indictment for war crimes of a sitting head of state (Serbian president Slobodan Milošević) and the world’s first conviction for genocide since 1948 (Rwanda). She carried this passion for justice with her as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Arbour was the 6th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturer.

The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson arrived in Canada from Hong Kong as a 2-year-old Chinese refugee. For 35 years on television, she shaped the cutting edge of public debate.  She was innovative in her leadership as Ontario’s agent general in France and as chair of the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. Canada’s 26th Governor General for six years, she transformed the office with creative dynamism.

George Elliott Clarke, poet, novelist, playwright and critic, has long been a leader in shaping the cultural and social histories of Black Canadians. He is a master of what he calls “unmusicked songs” — grand yet searing poems embracing people and place. This very public voice has been built out of the Black culture of Atlantic Canada, an experience and identity he calls “Africadian.” Clarke was the 7th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturer.

Sue Gardner is a digital advocate who led cbc.ca and the Wikimedia Foundation to unprecedented growth. A crusader for progress on issues of media, gender and digital freedom, Gardner has worked relentlessly to shape and protect the internet as a non-commercial public forum, serving the public good. Gardner was the 16th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturer.

Adam Gopnik is a celebrated author and speaker, and a strong defender of liberalism in the face of the forces that divide us. A powerful presence at The New Yorker for decades, he brings the voice of humanism to topics as wide-ranging as the nature of cities and the peculiarities of France. Gopnik was the 17th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturer.

The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin became the first female and longest-serving chief justice of Canada, and gave royal assent to the Civil Marriage Act, legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada. A remarkable consensus-builder, she led the court to a series of game-changing decisions which strengthened the legal status of Indigenous peoples, changing the public debate in Canada. McLachlin was the 4th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturer.

Naheed Nenshi, the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city, came to office in Calgary in 2010 through an unprecedented grassroots campaign. Awarded the 2014 World Mayor Prize as the best mayor in the world, he is now in his third term, and has led Calgary onto the global stage. A child of immigrants, Nenshi is a cutting-edge voice for justice and inclusion both nationally and internationally. Nenshi was the 13th LaFontaine-Lecturer.