In this month’s guide to all things PPF: Atlantic Canada’s secret weapon and what it took to launch the PWHL

The Belonging Advantage: How quality of life is translating into big economic gains for Atlantic Canada

It may be a bit of an East Coast cliché that Atlantic Canada is more homey and hospitable than the rest of Canada, but it’s actually borne out in research. And it’s becoming increasingly important. The latest report from our Atlantic Momentum Initiative looks at the economic impact of social capital in the region. Quality of life and a high sense of belonging have led to strong population growth since 2015 and have become an important draw in a time of labour shortages. While there are challenges — like housing and education — this ‘belonging advantage’ will be key to Atlantic Canada’s ongoing success.


Our Testimonial Dinner Award honourees

The winner of this year’s Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism needs no introduction — at least to any keen follower of Canadian politics. Paul Wellsis one of Canada’s most-read and respected political journalists. Since quitting the once-popular Maclean’s magazine when it abandoned political reporting in 2022, he has become a one-man media empire with a popular Substack, books and a podcast. (See our trivia section below!)

Other previously announced honourees at this year’s Testimonial Dinner Awards include: Janice Charette, Marc Garneau, Jayna Hefford, Murad Al-Katib and JP Gladu.

All the honourees will be celebrated at PPF’s next Testimonial Dinner Honour Roll on April 11, 2024 in Toronto. More than 1,100 leaders and policy wonks from all sectors of society will gather to pay tribute to distinguished Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to public policy and good governance. Take a look at the 2023 edition, and register now.

Book your spot

Canada Growth Summit 2024

Our annual summit kicks off with a breakfast to discuss the latest developments in Indigenous ownership, followed by an all-day, solutions-based look at Canada’s failing productivity as seen through the lens of immigration, housing and the role of AI. Set within a global and domestic context, this can’t-miss event will include a roster of leading thinkers focused on solving one of Canada’s most pressing problems. No one leaves the room until we fix it!

The summit will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2024, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Register here.

Unhealthy news?

Canadians are experiencing a systemic change in how they receive and interact with media and information. Simultaneously, Canada’s health care systems are at a breaking point, and, as the Public Policy Forum’s recent report states, “that public expectations have changed suddenly and significantly, with the tenor of the national conversation [on the universal health-care system] moving from pride to peril.” The Canadian Medical Association (CMA), in collaboration with Abacus Data, is working to understand the impact of this pervasive shift, convening a dialogue with PPF to discuss exclusive polling results. From noon to 1 p.m. ET, on Jan. 30, David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, will present the results of this inaugural research, followed by a discussion with a panel of experts, including CMA President Dr. Kathleen Ross. Sign up now for this free virtual event.

Action Canada Fellowship

Our call for applications for the Action Canada Fellowship 2024-2025 will be opening in January. If you are passionate about making a positive impact and joining a vibrant network, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss. The Action Canada Fellowship builds leaders for Canada’s future. Over a 10-month fellowship, we offer emerging leaders a deep understanding of policy-making tools and leadership skills so that they can be more impactful. Be the first to know when applications open by subscribing to our Action Canada newsletter. Sign up here for exclusive updates, reminders, and important announcements.

Policy Leadership Program

Introducing the Spring 2024 edition of the Policy Leadership Program, in collaboration with the Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa). This edition includes an overhauled curriculum, crafted by our new program director, Rachel Wernick, a former assistant deputy minister. The Policy Leadership Program (PLP) empowers federal government policy specialists with cutting-edge strategies, insights and practical tools to elevate their policymaking leadership. Don’t miss the chance to benefit from early bird pricing — register by Feb. 1, 2024, and seize this tailored opportunity for professional growth.

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

Catching up with WONK: Check out all the latest episodes of our new podcast, with host Edward Greenspon:

  • The Professional Women’s Hockey League launched on Jan. 1 with a game between New York and Toronto. Jayna Hefford joined us to explain why the league is so important to a new generation of players, and what it took to get it up and running.
  • Peter Nicholson, the author of PPF’s Catching the Wind report on the game-changing potential of offshore wind power in Atlantic Canada, discussed the challenges of the energy transition, as well as how he became mentor to a young Elon Musk.
  • Canada’s interest in space will be taking off again, with a Canadian heading to the moon next year. On this week’s episode, Marc Garneau joins us to talk about the incredible joys and pressures of life as an astronaut, plus why he embarked on a new (third) career as a politician and cabinet minister.
  • And coming soon, a conversation with Crystal Smith, the elected chief of the Haisla Nation, about the multi-billion-dollar Cedar LNG project and what it means to her community.

A big year: PPF President and CEO Edward Greenspon reflects on an especially impactful year and ambitions for 2024. If you missed his year-end letter over the holidays, read it here.

More momentum: The Atlantic Momentum Newsletter keeps growing! It’s now an essential read for thousands of followers of policy and economic news from the region. If you’re not already subscribed, sign up here to get it in your inbox every Wednesday morning. And stay tuned this month for a new weekly newsletter focused on health security in Canada and beyond. Subscribe here.


PPF’s Atlantic Director Carole Lee Reinhardt joined CBC New Brunswick’s Information Morning to talk about the Belonging Advantage report, and how a very high sense of social cohesionin Atlantic Canada is driving economic prosperity.

On CNBC, PPF Fellow Brett House discussed the ‘silent depression,’ a term that’s emerged on TikTok to explain why many Americans feel life is so hard today despite a surprisingly strong economy. House, a Columbia Business School economics professor, offers a quick reality check: “Any notion from TikTok that life was better in 1923 than it is now is divorced from reality.”

Listen also to Brett House’s regular radio segment, Dollars and Sense.

In The Hub, Marc Edge writes about the path forward for Canada’s news media, citing PPF’s The Shattered Mirror report and What the Saskatchewan Roughriders Can Teach Canadian Journalism.


We asked PPF team members and Fellows for their book recommendations. Here’s what they’re reading this month. The Weather Handbook (Fourth Edition) by Alan Watts. Long before the most massive computers crunched reams of data sets married to satellite cloud imagery, weather was brought to you by a bunch of people (mostly guys) agonizing over paper charts, while chewing on the end of a pencil. The author lives in Essex and was a wartime forecaster so very pragmatic when it comes to the variability of the maritime weather climate. This handy paperback provides all the basics that help explain what is going on with today’s weather as well as what tomorrow might bring.  Where I live in Atlantic Canada, the forecast is often offside with what is going on outside and now I am able to look at the wind direction and clouds and autocorrect the forecast. –Carole Lee Reinhardt, Director, Atlantic Canada

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams was inspired by Simon Winchester’s The Professor and The Madman,a much-lauded story of the monumental creation of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Williams loved that book, but noted the absence of women within its narrative. In setting out to fill in those blanks, she hews closely to the real-life women who contributed to the making of the dictionary — amazing stories of all. At her book’s core, the unshakable image of a little girl sitting under the lexicographers’ sorting table while errant slips of paper drift to the floor. Our heroine catches the lost words, and off we go; historical fiction at its best. –Alison Uncles, Vice President, PPF Media and Communications


Know your wonk!

For something a little different this month, we’ve pulled together a short quiz. Each of the following pieces of information below describes PPF President and CEO Edward Greenspon or PPF honouree Paul Wells. The first reader to correctly answer all five will get a shout-out in next month’s Insider. Send your answers to:

Edward or Paul?

1. He had a stint working for Torstar Corporation.

2. He covered the 2000 federal election for a major national news outlet.

3. He hosts a podcast interviewing notable movers and shakers about public policy in Canada.

4. He is the author of a best-selling book about politics in Canada.

5. He is the winner of the Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism.

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