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Political literacy

Canada’s 21st-century electoral climate

The 2021 federal election is upon us and the nuts and bolts of Canadian parties, elections and voting can easily be lost in the fog of campaign coverage and online discourse.

To support political literacy in New Brunswick and beyond, the University of New Brunswick Shaping the Debate series in coordination with the Urban and Community Studies Institute, is hosting a virtual town hall that explores the who, what, when and why of contemporary federal electoral campaign politics.


Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson is one of Canada’s Most Respected Pollsters and Communications Counselors.

In 1980, at the age of 23 he was appointed special assistant to the federal minister responsible for government communications. In 1983, he joined Decima Research as a research consultant, later assuming more responsibility, culminated in his appointment as President of Decima in 1989, at the age of 32.

In 1989, Mr. Anderson became a founding partner of the Earnscliffe Strategy Group and helped lead that company for 15 years. He rejoined Decima in 2004, as CEO, and led that company through four years of strong growth, during which it was twice named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.

After completing a transaction to sell Decima Research to Harris Interactive in 2008, Mr. Anderson opened his own research boutique, Anderson Insight. He has since also founded a new advertising firm, i2 Ideas and Issues Advertising, which provides campaigns for many of the country’s most important industry associations and leading companies.

Mr. Anderson has served as a pollster and/or strategic advisor to political leaders in the Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties. He has worked extensively with many major corporations and organizations including Shaw Communications, TELUS, BCE, Enbridge, Imperial Oil, BP, Cenovus, RBC, CIBC, Teck, BC Hydro, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Mining Association of Canada, CropLife, the Forest Products Association of Canada, and the Canadian Bankers Association.

He is one of Canada’s leading commentators on public opinion and political affairs, a former regular member of the CBC’s popular At Issue Panel and writes online columns for the Globe and Mail.

Mr. Anderson is also Chairman of Summa Communications where he offers communications and campaign counsel and strategic advice to clients.

Katie Davey

Katie Davey (BA'17) joined PPF in March 2020. Feeling like the conversation around inclusive and diverse decision making was lacking on the East Coast in Canada, Katie Davey created Femme Wonk – a policy and current affairs podcast that seeks to discuss both innovative and traditional public policy through a gender and inclusion lens. Through Femme Wonk, she also speaks, consults, and hosts a book club. Once called ‘the feminist money girl,’ Katie advocates for the integration of economic and social policy.

Katie has served as Director of Policy and Stakeholder Relation at the Office of the Official Opposition in New Brunswick, Senior Advisor for Policy and Stakeholder Engagement in the New Brunswick Premier’s Office, and President of the University of New Brunswick Student Union.

She is a member of the Youth Working Group on Gender Equality for the Government of Canada, and a 2019/20 Action Canada Fellow. Katie holds a Degree in Political Science from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Applied Politics from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Yves Bourgeois

Dr. Bourgeois holds a PhD in Urban Planning (Regional and International Development) from UCLA. He is also a Rhodes Scholar, earning an MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford, as well as an MSc in Science and Technology Studies (Innovation Economics) from the University of Edinburgh, and a BA in Politics and Economics from Université de Moncton.

Dr. Bourgeois is Dean of Université de Moncton’s Shippagan campus. From 2012 – 2016, he was Director of UNB's Urban and Community Studies Institute and Assistant Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Business at UNB Saint John, where he taught urban economics and regional economics. He serves as a consultant to local, provincial, national and international organizations in building economic development strategies to leverage opportunities from technological change and to transition to greater value-added and greener activities. He has also worked for Microsoft Australia and for the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa.

Dr. Bourgeois’ academic research focuses on understanding the nature and reach of agglomeration economies, particularly in relation to innovation and skills. He is currently involved in research on: Smart and sustainable cities, including smart planning and intelligent mobility services; Value and job creation in regions transitioning to the digital and green economy; Growing start-ups in digital sectors; and Digital skills and labour market integration.

Dr. Bourgeois funds undergraduate and graduate research assistants on various projects, including a: 5-year (2014-19) SSHRC partnership grant to study the competitiveness of Canada’s ICT industry; 3-year (2014-17) SSHRC partnership development grant to benchmark enabling and portable digital skills and understand their link to economic outcomes, such as employability and productivity.

Other recent research projects focus on renewable energy and economic development, big data and the geography of ideas, and the impacts of private vehicle use on transportation and infrastructure siting decisions.

Dr. Bourgeois has published two monographs and more than 20 scientific chapters, journal articles and research reports on innovation, the knowledge economy and cultural identity politics.

  • Randy Hatfield (BA'78, LLB'88) | Executive Director, Saint John Human Development Council
  • Haley Flaro (BA'99) | Executive Director, Ability New Brunswick Council | Community Intervenor
  • Moncef Lakouas | President, New Brunswick Multicultural Council & Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club, Moncton Council
  • Dr. Sarah Gander (BSc'00, MEd16) | Clinical Department Head, Department of Pediatrics, Horizon Health Network