Who were LaFontaine and Baldwin?

Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin are best known in Canadian history as the architects of responsible government. From Montreal and Toronto respectively, they were both influential in early Canadian politics as lawyers and as members of their respective assemblies.

Between 1848 and 1851, LaFontaine and Baldwin led the “Great Ministry” that established responsible government and enacted hundreds of laws. Their reforms created the roots of modern Canada by moving government away from the European model and toward the concepts of complexity and diversity.

Past LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecturers

2016: Naomi Klein +

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the international bestsellers This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2014), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and No Logo (2000).  She is a member of the Board of Directors for climate-action group 350.org and in 2015 was invited to speak at the Vatican to help launch Pope Francis’s historic encyclical on ecology, Laudato si’.

On September 19, Naomi Klein delivered the 14th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture, followed by an on-stage conversation with John Ralston Saul.

2015: Naheed Nenshi +


The Canada We Hope For

“Each year we invite a speaker who can extend our conversation in new directions with original and inclusive ideas. Naheed Nenshi will bring the force of his thinking about citizenship and cities, along with his remarkable personal narrative, to the fore, ensuring another important Symposium conversation about who we are as a country.” — Charlie Foran, Institute for Canadian Citizenship CEO

Globally known for his passion to make cities, especially Calgary, work better, Naheed Nenshi is currently serving his second term and is Calgary’s 36th mayor. He was Canada’s first tenured professor in the field of nonprofit management at Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business and a trusted business advisor to corporate leaders in Canada and the USA. Nenshi is also the lead author of Building Up: Making Canada’s Cities Magnets for Talent and Engines of Development.

2014: Robert Lepage +


An Artist's View on Identity and Belonging

Many of you know him as the influence behind Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM and shows, and Peter Gabriel’s tours, Secret World and Growing Up. For the stage, he has created Needles and Opium and The Far Side of the Moon. He also directed The Ring Cycle for New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Lepage is also the recipient of The Glenn Gould Prize, celebrating his international critical acclaim for combining diverse media into cohesive stories that surprise, challenge and delight.

Lepage addressed 350 people, and many more online watching the live webcast. It was a rare opportunity to hear him speak about his personal life and the themes that fuel his work. Insightful and entertaining, he showed us how different cultures brought together are shaping our identity: “by learning other languages we often learn about our own culture”. The lecture featured introductory remarks by Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul and Antoni Cimolino, the Stratford Festival’s Artistic Director. Saul also led an audience Q&A with Lepage.

Immediately following the lecture, 120 audience members participated in an intimate discussion on the ideas presented by Lepage. Seated at tables, each group was asked to work through pre-set questions and then share their table’s highlights with the room in a conversation moderated by Saul, Lepage and Clarkson. The room was buzzing with excitement as participants eagerly shared how Lepage’s ideas resonated with their own experiences.

2013: Shawn A-in-chut Atleo +

The National Chief reopens Canada’s original conversation on inclusion. Influenced by the founding principles of peace, friendship and mutual respect between Canada’s First Nations and newcomers 400 years ago, his explores how these founding ideals must frame the national dialogue today. The National Chief sits at the very heart of the discussion on where our country has been, and where we all need to help it go. In addition to the National Chief, the lecture featured:

  • Introductory remarks by Antoni Cimolino, Stratford’s Artistic Director, Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul;
  • Ceremony blessing by Lee Claremont;
  • Drumming by James Adams; and
  • An audience Q&A led by John Ralston Saul.

2012: His Highness the Aga Khan +

Featuring His Highness the Aga Khan, the 10th LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium held October 15, 2010, was a huge success. The Aga Khan spoke about pluralism and diversity to a sold out audience at Koerner Hall in the Royal Conservatory’s Telus Centre for Performance and Learning. John Ralston Saul then took the stage and discussed citizenship and pluralism in Canada. Telus streamed the event and it was shown in 60 Ismaili community centres across the country; approximately 20,000 people watched the lecture online.

On October 16, at the Leslie and Anna Dan Galleria in the Royal Conservatory’s Telus Centre for Performance and Learning, approximately 100 people participated in a roundtable discussion with John Ralston Saul and the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson to further discuss the themes and topics from the night before.

2009: Siila Watt-Cloutier +

Siila Watt-Cloutier delivered the 9th LaFontaine-Baldwin lecture on May 29, 2009, in Iqaluit. Watt-Cloutier, one of Canada’s leading public figures, has long been a national and international voice for Northerners and the North. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, the first recipient of Canada’s Northern Medal and was nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

An audience of approximately 500 people packed into Inukshuk High School in Iqaluit to experience the first lecture of this scope in the North. Dignitaries included Governor General Michaëlle Jean, and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s co-chairs John Ralston Saul and Adrienne Clarkson. The lecture was streamed to venues in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Alice Springs by AustraliaIsumaTV, award-winning filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk’s production company.

2007: The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson +


The Society of Difference

Coming soon

2006: George Elliott Clarke +

Coming soon

2005: The Honourable Louise Arbour +

Coming soon

2004: David Malouf +

Coming soon

2003: The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin +

Coming soon

2002: Georges Erasmus +

Coming soon

2001: Alain Dubuc +

Coming soon

2000: John Ralston Saul +

Coming soon