2010 Conference

American and Canadian Policy in the 21st Century: Is What Unites Us Still Greater than What Divides Us?

at the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

The state of Michigan and the province of Ontario are closely linked geographically, economically and through similar policies that affect the residents of both jurisdictions. On a larger scale, the United States and Canada face similar problems and opportunities in regards to public policy. Despite this geographical proximity, Ontario and Michigan and the countries to which they belong are too often viewed as disparate. In many cases, each is defined for its dissimilarity with the other as regards issues as healthcare, social welfare, economic regulation, attitudes toward immigrants and overarching fundamental values that guide policy development, strategy and execution.

It is the intension of this conference to bring together future policy leaders from Canada and the United States in order to begin a dialogue on the policy similarities and differences in these bordering nations. This initiative will provide a forum for debate and an opportunity for Canadian and American students to connect with future international colleagues.

The objectives of this symposium included:

  • Increasing the cross-cultural understanding of the United States and Canada’s future policy leaders;
  • Creating a forum for discussion, debate and dialogue as regards current policy topics that span the U.S.-Canadian border;
  • Fostering a partnership between students of the Ford School and SPPG that may be built upon in coming years.


Mark Stabile

Mark Stabile is Associate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Rotman School of Management, and Director of the School of Public Policy and Governance. His current research interests include the economics of child health, economics of health care and health insurance, and tax policy and health insurance. His work has been published widely in journals including the Journal of Health Economics; Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, and American Economic Review, among others. Professor Stabile’s past honours include a 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Rotman School of Management, and he was the recipient of the John C. Polanyi Prize in Economics in 2003, and the Harry Johnson Prize in 2002. Professor Stabile received his B.A. from the University of Toronto, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.

Barry Rabe

Barry Rabe is a Professor of Public Policy in the Ford School and also holds appointments in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Program in the Environment. He is a non-resident senior fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. Much of his recent research examines state and regional development of policies to reduce greenhouse gases, which has been conducted in collaboration with the Brookings Institution, the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. In 2006, Rabe became the first social scientist to receive a Climate Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of his contribution to both scholarship and policy making. Recent publications include a 2004 Brookings book, Statehouse and Greenhouse: The Evolving Politics of American Climate Change Policy, which received the 2005 Lynton Keith Caldwell Award from the American Political Science Association in recognition of the best book published on environmental politics and policy in the past three years.

Rabe has also written extensively about such topics as nuclear and hazardous waste management, cross-border and cross-media transfer of pollutants in federal regulatory systems, and the conditions necessary to achieve intergovernmental cooperation in the implementation of federal grant and regulatory programs. During the 2008-09 year, he was a visiting professor at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, where he organized the National Conference on Climate Governance and edited a series of subsequent publications. In 2004, he completed a ten-year term as editor of the American Governance and Public Policy book series for Georgetown University Press. In 2004-05, he served as president of the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association. At Michigan, he previously served as Director of the Program in the Environment and an Interim Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment. In 2007, he received the Daniel Elazar Award for Career Contribution to the Study of Federalism from the American Political Science Association. In 2009, he was named a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Josh Hjartarson

Josh received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto in 2005. Since then, he has lectured extensively in comparative and Canadian politics, including here at the U of T. His book on financial sector reform, Foreign Banks and Financial Reform, was published in 2009.

Josh also brings policy and management experience from the public sector, having served in various positions with the Government of Ontario in Intergovernmental Affairs, Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Finance.

Prior to beginning his Ph.D., he lived in Central Europe and worked for Bank Austria in its financial markets research division. He was born and raised in a small town in Alberta. Josh’s profile.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto at Mississauga and Co-Director of the Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems (PROGRIS) at the Munk Centre for International Studies. His research interests include the political economy of technological change and the role of local and regional economic development, with special reference to Canada and Ontario. PROGRIS serves as the national secretariat for the Innovation Systems Research Network (ISRN), funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He is National Coordinator of the ISRN, and from 2001 to 2005 he was the Principal Investigator on its Major Collaborative Research Initiative grant on Innovation Systems and Economic Development: the Role of Local and Regional Clusters in Canada, a comparative study of twenty-six industrial clusters across Canada. Along with Meric Gertler, he has recently been awarded a new MCRI grant from SSHRC on the Social Dynamics of Economic Performance: Innovation and Creativity in City Regions which runs from 2006 to 2010. Professor Wolfe holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Political Science from Carleton University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.