2015 was a year of anxiety for many Canadians. With oil prices having fallen precipitously and a federal budget surplus hanging in the balance, the then third-place Liberal Party of Canada proposed a bold new path forward. Instead of operating under the constraints of balanced budgets they would run modest deficits to fund infrastructure investments. And Canadians agreed with the approach, electing them to a majority government. Into this environment of new policy opportunities walked Robert Asselin, the newly-minted Budget and Policy Director in the Office of the Minister of Finance of Canada. Coming from an academic background, Robert would help to steer economic policy in Canada for two years starting in November 2015. Since that time, Robert has continued to be a leading economic policy thinker in Canada, and is a frequent contributor to the public policy discussion through his academic and advisory work and in the pages of major national newspapers. Please join us for a discussion with Robert on lessons learned from his time working with the Minister of Finance and the opportunity today to change the direction of economic policy to better position Canada for future prosperity.
Robert Asselin leads the policy team and the Council’s work on economic and fiscal policy. He has written extensively on innovation and industrial policy. Robert brings more than 10 years of experience in providing policy advice to government, including in roles as Policy and Budget Director to Canada’s Finance Minister and as Advisor to Prime Ministers Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau. Prior to joining the Council, he spent two years at BlackBerry as Senior Global Director, Public Policy. Robert also spent nearly a decade in academia as Associate Director of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and as Visiting Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He continues to serve as a Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and at the Public Policy Forum.
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