In this month’s guide to all things PPF: A new cohort of Action Canada Fellows, a wrap on Season One of WONK and AI Policy Compass goes to Montreal  


PPF’s Action Canada Fellowship program recently welcomed a new cohort of 17 brilliant Fellows. They are the top candidates from a nationwide call for applications, hailing from major cities and smaller communities such as Carcross, Yukon; Witless Bay, N.L. and Fermont, Que. They represent sectors that include business, NGOs, science, government and academia.

As Canada’s top accelerator of policy leaders, the Action Canada Fellowship helps deepen Fellows’ understanding of the country, while also equipping them with new policymaking tools and fostering connections with diverse leaders. This year’s cohort — selected from over 200 applicants — will spend the next 10 months exploring one of the country’s most critical issues: the future of the resource sector.  This year’s Fellows are: Aaron Pinto, Alexendra Cool-Fergus, Blake Buckle, Davis Levine, Elvis Wong, Gideon Mordecai, Heather Watts, Isabelle Godin, Jeffrey Collins, Linda Tchombe, Yeon Ju (Lisa) Mah, Maxence Joseph, Melissa Gladue, Tyler Sack, Ziana Ahmed, Cody Kenny and Cole Nychka.

They’ll be guided by our esteemed Advisory Council – a team of highly accomplished professionals who will offer insights and support throughout the year.

Read all about our new Fellows and advisors and follow their progress at Action Canada’s website.

Stylised image of Edward Greenspon, PPF's President and CEO and WONK podcast host

PPF Media

It’s a wrap: Season One of our flagship policy podcast WONK concluded in May. We talked to business and Indigenous leaders, a billionaire, an astronaut, an ambassador and a superstar economist, to name a few guests. All of the 22 episodes offer some fascinating insights that remain highly relevant.

For some smart summer listening, catch up on all of them:

The green energy bet: John Risley, the billionaire chair of World Energy GH2, explains why his green hydrogen project in Newfoundland could be revolutionary, what keeps him anchored in Atlantic Canada and why he went to “wind farm academy.”

Economic truth-teller: Trevor Tombe, the influential University of Calgary economics professor, discusses why Canada’s economy lags the U.S. and why he’s only the second most famous economist from Maple Ridge, B.C.

The ‘fascinating economist’: The retiring chief economist at the Royal Bank, Craig Wright, talks about what’s changed over his career and where Canada needs to do better.

Indigenous game-changer: Mark Podlasly, the chief sustainability officer of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, explains how the new Indigenous Loan Guarantee program puts Indigenous communities on a whole new path.

Solving the productivity crisis: The OECD’s incoming chief economist, Álvaro Santos Pereira, discusses why Canada lags behind other countries and why he’s optimistic Canadians will rise to the challenge.

The energy trilemma: Scott Balfour, the CEO of Emera, talks about green investments, promising technologies and the so-called ‘energy trilemma.’

Big city problems: Halifax Mayor Michael Savage delves into housing, big city growing pains and the long and winding road to municipal success.

How to win the Olympics: David Shoemaker, the CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, discusses why he expects big things in Paris this summer, the challenge of making sport safer in Canada and the delicate balance of international competition in a time of war.

What Canada really wants from immigration: Rupa Banerjee, Canada Research Chair in Economic Inclusion, Employment and Entrepreneurship of Canada’s Immigrants at Toronto Metropolitan University, explains what Canada’s immigration system is getting wrong and why it’s unfair to blame foreign students for housing woes.

Issues with the Online Harms Bill: Beverley McLachlin, the longest-serving Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, discusses anti-hate laws, freedom of expression and why some provisions in the new online harms bill will likely end up before the courts.

The rise of big Indigenous business: JP Gladu, one of Canada’s visionary leaders in the national dialogue around Indigenous ownership in the economy, talks about the rise of Indigenous business and overcoming fear and ignorance of Indigenous ownership.

Running the public service: John Hannaford, the Clerk of the Privy Council, discusses the historic challenges facing the public service, the renewed focus on value and ethics and the importance of fearless advice.

How to build a news empire: Paul Wells, the dean of political reporting in Canada, talks about his life in a fast-changing media landscape, the future of journalism and why he stopped caring about being edgy.

Why you shouldn’t fear AI: Shingai Manjengwa, the head of AI education at chainML, breaks down in simple terms how AI actually works, what kinds of challenges it presents and why we shouldn’t fear the future of AI.

Building a better (and smarter) health-care system: Dr. Vivek Goel, one of the top public health researchers in Canada and the President of the University of Waterloo, talks about the unrest in higher education, the importance of health data and what a better pandemic response could have looked like.

A Liberal in Alberta: Anne McLellan, former cabinet minister and co-chair of the Coalition for a Better Future, opens up about working for Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, why Alberta is misunderstood and Canada’s lack of focus on long-term growth.

What LNG means for the Haisla Nation: Chief Crystal Smith of the Haisla Nation Council is the guiding force behind a multi-billion-dollar LNG project on Haisla territory. She walks us through the dramatic changes occurring in her hometown of Kitamaat Village and her hopes for the future.

The highs and lows of space exploration: Marc Garneau talks about a life of no regrets, the highs and lows of astronaut life, and why he’s never asked Justin Trudeau about his exit from cabinet.

The urgent energy transition: Peter Nicholson, the dean of public policy thinking in Canada, discusses the urgent energy transition, why he ‘marches toward the sound of gunfire,’ and how he became mentor to a young Elon Musk.

Launching the Professional Women’s Hockey League: Jayna Hefford is one of Canada’s greatest hockey talents and a driving force behind the Professional Women’s Hockey League. She talks about inspiring a new generation of players, working with Billie Jean King and what it takes to launch a brand new league.

The fight to save local news: Jeff Elgie, the CEO of the thriving local news empire Village Media, explains his opposition to the Online News Act, what he thinks of the $100 million agreement with Google and what motivates him to keep fighting for local news.

Tough times at the UN: Our inaugural episode features Bob Rae, ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the United Nations. He discusses the Israel-Hamas war, Canada’s diplomatic role behind the scenes, the emotional toll of life at the UN and why his father looms large in his work today.

Follow WONK wherever you listen to podcasts and stay tuned for Season Two and more great conversations, starting this fall. 

Cross-border checkup

Canada is at a critical moment in its relationship with the U.S., with a looming, high-stakes election, rising geopolitical tensions and ongoing economic worries. Last month, PPF launched the Matter More project, an ambitious collaboration with the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy to develop a new strategy to guide Canada’s relationship with its neighbour.

Now we’re excited to announce we will also be launching a new weekly newsletter focused on all things Canada-U.S. Teaser alert: The weekly newsletter will be written by a top Canadian journalist, and promises to offer deep insight and analysis around the news of the week. Stay tuned for details. And sign up now so you don’t miss the first edition, coming this summer.

In other news(letters)

Stay policy-ready with news and insights from PPF Media’s other newsletters.

PPF: Atlantic Momentum. Our most recent weekly edition takes a look at P.E.I.’s recent success with renewable energy, the challenges with tidal power and the Indigenous group that plans to launch a defence contractor business in Nova Scotia. Catch up on all our Atlantic Momentum editions.

PPF: Health Security. This week we look at warnings about the health sector as a prime target for cyberattacks, the latest on made-in-Canada vaccines and an update on the spread of H5N1. Browse this week’s edition, or have a look at our archive.

Subscribe now and join thousands of other readers who make these fast-growing newsletters part of their weekly news diet.

How Canada fell behind: At a recent members’ event, we asked economist Trevor Tombe to break down Canada’s productivity problem, and what needs to be done to fix it. Read our coverage of the event, moderated by POLITICO Executive Editor for Growth, Luiza Savage.


Planning is already well underway for Canada Growth Summit and Testimonial Dinner 2025! You don’t want to miss out on Canada’s biggest and best policy gathering. Check out what happened at this year’s event, including all our coverage of the Growth Summit’s deep dive into the productivity crisis and the big ideas that emerged to fix it. Plus all the incredible speeches from the honourees at the Testimonial Dinner. Register now and get a 10 percent discount: Just follow the registration links and use the promo code PPF10.

PPF’s Frank McKenna Awards 2024 will celebrate leaders whose ingenuity and initiative are helping to drive change in Atlantic Canada. This year’s event will take place on Oct. 10 at Pier 21 in Halifax. Register now — and stay tuned for announcements about our 2024 honorees. PPF newsletter subscribers can now get a 10 percent discount. Follow the registration link and use the promo code PPFATLANTIC10.

AI Policy Compass

AI Policy Compass – Montreal Edition, en français!

Join us for some late summer learning in Montreal, Aug. 27-28. For the first time, we are offering the AI Policy Compass in French with our partner Mila (Quebec AI Institute). This program is designed for policy professionals from all sectors who are developing AI governance and policy initiatives. Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of AI and its applications; learn about the risks and opportunities, alongside emerging responses and solutions; and gain a policy framework and key questions to use in their policy leadership in this space. Register now.

For those who just want to dip their toes into the world of AI, give a listen to Shingai Manjengwa on WONK.

PPF in the news

Price fixing by humans is illegal. But what happens if it’s being done by machines? In a Globe and Mail op-ed, PPF Fellow Vass Bednar looks at the implications of a concerning new phenomenon, algorithmic collusion. “There is nothing inherently wrong with setting prices based on what a competitor charges,” writes Bednar, “but these algorithms react quickly, are at work constantly and have access to a great volume of information. The result is that they mimic the effects of traditional price-fixing.”

The Logic offers a deep dive on Canada’s trade relationship with the U.S. and efforts to expand economic ties. Reporter Murad Hemmadi talks to PPF Fellow Steve Verheul about his experience as Ottawa’s former chief trade negotiator. From the story: “Verheul, who played a critical role in USMCA, said Ottawa’s inability to land a major deal since then is not necessarily a bad sign. ‘Countries have moved away from many of the principles of trade agreements,’ he said. ‘There’s more protectionism. There are more cases where rules are being ignored or breached.’ To avoid irrelevance, trade policy needs to expand beyond its traditional focus on market growth to account for how governments are intervening to address climate change.” There are two new episodes out of PPF Fellow Ed Whittingham’s podcast, Energy vs Climate. The first looks at the effects of climate disinformation and litigation and features Dr. Benjamin Franta, Senior Research Fellow in Climate Litigation at the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme and the founding head of the Climate Litigation Lab. The other focuses on the challenge of battery storage, with guest Dr. Y. Shirley Meng, a professor at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

In a recent column in SaltWire, commentator and business leader Don Mills looks at the investment environment in Atlantic Canada, and the rise of ambitious energy projects. He cites Peter Nicholson’s PPF report Catching the Wind about the enormous potential of offshore wind in the region. “It is safe to say the demand for capital in our region has never been greater,” he writes. “This is good news because Atlantic Canada as a whole has trailed the rest of the country in capital investment for decades.”

PPF Fellow and Columbia Business School professor Brett House explains what’s behind Target’s recent woes for Marketplace. Also, catch his regular Dollars and Sense radio segment.

PPF members

Some highlights from PPF members that have been breaking ground and making news:

ATCO, a PPF Member, announced an ambitious new infrastructure project, the Yellowhead Mainline pipeline. The 200-km natural gas pipeline from Peers, Alta. to Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., is expected to create thousands of jobs and boost development in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. “We’re going to need a lot of natural gas for hydrogen in the future, so we’re hoping that that pipe is going to be big enough,” chief executive Nancy Southern told The Globe and Mail. The paper reports: “ATCO also has a sweeping portfolio of wind and solar assets, and Ms. Southern says Canada will need to take advantage of all of its energy options as it pursues its net-zero greenhouse gas emission goal.”

PPF Member Toronto Metropolitan University unveiled some important building plans. It announced that it will transform a municipal building in suburban Brampton into its new School of Medicine, set to open in 2025. The new site, which is located near two hospitals, will include teaching space, offices, research facilities and an integrated health clinic, said Mohamed Lachemi, TMU’s president and vice-chancellor. “While upgrades to the building systems are needed, adaptive reuse of the Civic Centre is the most environmentally sustainable alternative because of the embodied carbon associated with the production of new steel and concrete that would be needed for a new building,” Lachemi told The Globe and Mail.