Navigating The Trump Era: A Canadian analysis of the next four years11:30am-1:30pm | Fairmont Royal York - 100 Front Street West, Toronto
Canada and the United States share one of the world's most unique relationships: two sovereign states, occupying the majority of North America and sharing the world's longest undefended border. As with any complex relationship, Canada and The United States must work hard to maintain our mutually beneficial relationship. Each nation is reliant on the other for trade, continental security and economic prosperity. In this Economic Club exclusive, our expert panel will focus on changes in Washington over the next four years and the potential impact on Canada when it comes to trade, energy, our economy and more.
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Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada
Ambassador David H. Wilkins is Special Advisor to Global Public Affairs
and a Partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP where he chairs the
Public Policy and International Law practice group, which focuses primarily on
representing businesses on both sides of the US-Canadian border and offers
experience on a wide range of strategic bilateral issues.
Mr. Wilkins was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the
United States Ambassador to Canada. He began his service on June 29, 2005 and served until January 20, 2009.
During his tenure, Ambassador Wilkins helped to resolve some of the
highest profile issues between Canada and the United States, including the
decades-old softwood lumber trade dispute. He is known on both sides of the
border as an honest broker who worked for solutions on the toughest issues –
energy, national security, the environment, trade and travel – impacting
millions of citizens in both countries.
Most recently, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley tapped Ambassador
Wilkins to serve as chairman of her transition team as she worked to form her
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Wilkins practiced
law for 34 years in Greenville, South Carolina, and developed extensive
experience in civil litigation and appellate practice.
Mr. Wilkins was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives
in 1980 and served there for 25 years. He served six years as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and two years as Speaker Pro Tem before being elected Speaker, a post he held for 11 years. He was the first Republican elected speaker of any legislative body in the South since the 1880s and retired as one of the longest-serving speakers in the country. In 2001, he served as President of the National Speakers‘ Association.
Mr. Wilkins served as State Chairman of the Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign and
as Co-Chair of the campaign in 2000. He was appointed by the President to the Board of Visitors of the United States Academy at West Point in 2002 and served for three years. He currently serves as Chairman of the Clemson University Board of Trustees, as well as on the boards of directors for AbitibiBowater, Porter Airlines, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Greenville Area Development Corporation.
Diane Francis is a journalist, author, entrepreneur, and Editor-at Large at The National Post. She is also a regular contributor to the New York Post, Huffington Post, think tanks, and Newsweek. Her popular twitter feed on tech and corruption now has more than half a million followers around the world.
Diane is a Distinguished Professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC in its Eurasia Section, Advisory Board member with the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, Executive Committee member Canada-US Law Institute, and Adjunct Faculty with Singularity University in Silicon Valley.
Ms. Francis is an experienced and sought-after speaker on tech, geopolitics, business, politics and social trends. She is a corporate director and an advisor to several start-up companies in Silicon Valley, a software developer, and is working on two film projects with a Hollywood producer.
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
Former Premier of Québec
As Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Premier of Québec, Jean Charest is one of Canada’s best known political figures.
As Minister of the Environment, he led his country’s delegation at the 1992 Earth Summit on the economy and the environment in Rio and was praised for his leadership role among G7 countries on climate change and biodiversity.
The Charest government has been a world leader on the environment and climate change, and best known for a major initiative for the sustainable development of Northern Québec called “Plan Nord”.
Under his leadership, Québec experienced a sustained period of economic prosperity with stronger economic growth from 2008 to 2012 than the US, Europe, Canada and Ontario, despite a global financial and economic crisis.
For the International arena, his administration was the most active in the history of Québec. Thus, the Charest government initiated an unprecedented labour mobility agreement between France and Québec, and convinced Canada and the European Union to negotiate a broad economic partnership.
Jean Charest is a Partner at McCarthy Tétrault. He provides invaluable expertise to the firm’s clients with his in-depth knowledge and experience with public policy, corporate Canada and international matters. As a strategic advisor with a unique perspective, he supports our clients on complex transactions, projects and international mandates, as they navigate the global business environment.
Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
John Baird is a Senior Advisor to various enterprises and a former Senior Cabinet Minister in the Government of Canada.
An instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, Mr. Baird has played a leading role in the Canada-China dialogue and worked to build ties with ASEAN countries. In addition, Mr. Baird has worked closely with international leaders to strengthen security and economic ties with the United States and Middle Eastern countries.
A native of Ottawa, Baird spent three terms as a Member of Parliament and four years as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. Prior to entering federal politics, Mr. Baird spent ten years in the Ontario Legislature where he served as Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister of Energy, and Government House Leader.
Currently, Mr. Baird serves as a Senior Business Advisor with Bennett Jones LLP, a premier Canadian law firm. In addition, Mr. Baird sits on the advisory board of Barrick Gold Corp., the corporate boards of Canadian Pacific, Canadian Forest Products (Canfor), the FWD Group and PineBridge Investments. He also serves as a Global Strategic Advisor to Hatch Ltd, a Canadian global multidisciplinary management, engineering and development consultancy, and is a Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consultancy.
Mr. Baird also volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, an organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities, the Prince's Charities, the charitable office of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s University at Kingston.