News and Blogs

Celebrating 85 years!

This March 21st will be Ed’s 85th birthday and all of us here at the Institute want to make sure it’s his best one ever!

There are very few things in life that bring me greater joy than the opportunity to celebrate the incredible life and legacy of my friend, colleague and mentor, Ed Broadbent.

The first time I met Ed it was as a young university student in Guelph, Ontario, knocking on doors in my first ever political campaign.  The year was 1988 and Ed was a bit of a rockstar.

But it wasn’t until later in my life that I finally understood the incredible gift that Ed has given to our country.

As the great Canadian philosopher (and close friend of Ed’s) Charles Taylor once wrote, “Ed’s guidance was both political and intellectual, as one might expect from someone who was both a theorist and an active political agent … [in] those moments when after a key debate, the leaders of the parties were interviewed leaving the chamber … here is where Ed shone.”

Ed has always fought to create a stronger, healthier democracy where Canadians can work together to solve the greatest injustices of our time like persistent inequality and the lack of democratic accountability.  Since he was first elected to Parliament in 1968 (the year I was born!), Ed’s intellectual leadership has served as an enduring beacon of hope.

From his advocacy for more protection for women’s and Indigenous rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to his famous parliamentary push to eliminate child poverty, to his half-century long fight to make our democracy more responsive to its citizens, Ed has never tired, never stopped, in his committed efforts.

After 85 years, Ed still continues to advocate -- every day -- for Canadians.  He is actively engaged in the life of the Institute and remains one of the most energetic people I know.  No word of a lie: on most mornings when we speak he’s already read the news from Canada and around the world and is brimming with great suggestions for the Institute’s next moves.  He’s hard to keep up with!

Now, if you’ve followed the work of the Broadbent Institute over the past 10 years, you’ll likely have noticed that we’ve tried our very best to further Ed’s legacy fighting against inequality and for a more democratic, greener, Canada.

This spring, we all have an opportunity to honour Ed’s legacy by joining him in fighting for a better future for all.  If we want a just, sustainable, and fair society, then we all need to do our part.  There is no progress without struggle.  Our kids are counting on our success.

If you have a moment today, please take the next few seconds to send a special message to Ed for his 85th birthday.  Honestly: I’ve never met a finer person or a more dedicated advocate for all Canadians.  He’s also ridiculously modest.  I really think he deserves to hear how much we all appreciate him.

Please join me in wishing Ed a very happy 85th birthday!


Rick Smith

Executive Director

PS  -  Please feel free to invite your friends and family members to join us in wishing Ed a warm congratulations as well!  To further celebrate, please consider a special donation in honour of Ed Broadbent's 85th birthday. 

We are collecting birthday donations here: