This summer, the Broadbent Institute welcomed two Public Policy Interns to our Vancouver and Ottawa offices: Chuka Ejeckam and Somaya Amiri. The internships are one way we are building the leadership capacity of a new generation of progressive leaders. In addition to learning practical skills, working on the day to day work of the Institute, both Chuka and Somaya are being mentored through their own independent research projects. Learn more about them and their projects below.Read more
[Editor's note: The Broadbent Institute is excited to feature insights and lessons from members of our Leadership Network - people who have taken part in our training and leadership programs.]Read more
OTTAWA—As part of its commitment to supporting the development of a new generation of Canadian campaigners, the Broadbent Institute is launching Camp Progress Plus -- a hands-on, intensive training and campaign placement opportunity for Canadian organizers and activists.
The program, offered in collaboration with 270 strategies, a firm founded by senior strategists from U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, involves a five-day intensive training retreat in September, during which participants will learn from the architects of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. Following the week-long training in Barrie, Ontario, the Broadbent Institute will place participants in volunteer leadership roles in Democratic election campaigns in the fall of 2016 or in a progressive campaign in Canada.Read more
Ryan Meili to be joined by Broadbent Institute's Mira Oreck and local progressive leaders
WHITEHORSE—Dr. Ryan Meili, author of A Healthy Society and founding director of Upstream: Institute for a Healthy Society, is coming to town with the message that positive change is possible through people-centred grassroots action. Dr. Meili will speak at Yukon Change Makers, an event co-organized by the Yukon Federation of Labour (YFL), the Broadbent Institute and Upstream that will enhance local community organizing.Read more
Broadbent Institute to place budding politicos in cutting-edge U.S. campaigns through new training program
Unique course offered in partnership with leading Democratic firm
OTTAWA—As part of its commitment to supporting the development of a new generation of Canadian leaders, the Broadbent Institute has launched the Camp Progress Practicum, a new hands-on, intensive training and placement opportunity for Canadian campaigners, organizers and activists. The program is offered in collaboration with 270 Strategies, a firm founded by senior strategists from U.S. President Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns.Read more
Recently I had the chance to participate in Saskatoon Change Makers, one of the Broadbent Institute’s first events to enhance capacity for people to work for positive change. This emphasis on training and leadership recognizes that it’s not enough to have the best ideas; winning campaigns, electoral or issue-based, requires the organization and skills to do so.Read more
Mark Kennedy / Postmedia
For years, Ed Broadbent fought his battles on the front lines of Canadian politics as leader of the federal NDP.
These days, he’s taking his fight to a different plain — to the battle of ideas, of influence and of political relevance.
He is chair of a think-tank — the Broadbent Institute — that champions “progressive change,” trains activists and confronts some of the long-term issues political parties ignore.
He’s intent on countering the influence of Canadian think-tanks such as the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, established in 2005 by former Reform leader Preston Manning.
“Mr. Manning, from his point of view and from the conservative point of view, has done very well,” Broadbent said in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen.
“They have had an impact on the public debate. And it’s time we did some catch-up, frankly.
“Mr. Manning’s institute does it on the right and we want to do it on the left in Canada.”
Call it the battle of think-tanks. Left versus right. Broadbent versus Manning. Progressive versus conservative.
The two organizations have now become parallel incubators for ideas in Canadian politics, unrestrained by the formal partisan ties that can stifle debate among true believers within parties. Moreover, unlike most traditional think-tanks, both organizations offer training on how to achieve political change — all the way from community groups or city hall to provincial and federal politics.
This weekend in Ottawa, the Broadbent Institute, founded in 2011, will hold its first annual “progress summit.” About 600 people are expected to attend.
The conference will feature topics such as: income inequality; the federal government’s “attack” on the labour movement; the rights of indigenous peoples on natural resource development; and how businesses can build a “green economy.”
The institute believes in the merits of learning from “progressives” elsewhere in the world. Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard will headline a list of speakers that includes a French politician describing the “rise of the right” in Europe, and a human rights “marketing director” based in Washington, D.C.
There will be a session on how to use Google and social media in campaigns, and on “lessons from winning progressive campaigns in the U.S. and Canada.”
The event is virtually a mirror image — with different policy leanings — of the annual Manning Centre conference, the most recent of which was in Ottawa in early March.
Chuck Strahl, a former Conservative MP who chairs the Manning Centre, said the country is well-served by having parallel think-tanks because political parties are more focused on winning elections.
“The parties themselves are forced, if you will, to focus on what they do best and that leaves it open for other organizations like the Manning Centre and the Broadbent Institute to delve into some of the big issues. We don’t have to get elected to anything.”
Strahl said he welcomes the emergence of the Broadbent Institute.
“It’s not really a competitor; it’s a competitor for ideas. We’re not tilling the same soil here. We’re looking for people on the conservative end of the spectrum, but we both have the same sort of objective: to engage them in civil society.”
Broadbent said his institute faces a big challenge getting its message out because many of the country’s prominent think-tanks, such as the Fraser Institute and the C.D. Howe Institute, are predominantly conservative.
Broadbent’s institute is not a registered charity, nor does it plan to become one. It funds its operations through donations — often $5 or $20 from thousands of donors, says executive director Rick Smith — and will have a budget of over $1 million in the next year
There is a strong NDP tinge to the group; some key players have held prominent jobs in the party.
But the institute proclaims it is an “independent” and “non-partisan.” It has the support of Allan Gregg, once the Progressive Conservative party’s chief pollster, and John Laschinger, formerly campaign manager for many federal and provincial Progressive Conservatives.
Indeed, Smith said the institute appeals to a broad range of Canadians.
“On any given day, the vast majority of Canadians are untethered from any particular party affiliation. They’re open to good ideas and they’re looking for a good debate about the issues of the day. That’s is the kind of audience we’re trying to cater to and reach.”
OTTAWA—The Broadbent Institute today announced its first Leadership Fellows -- a talented and diverse group of 18 leaders from across Canada who will share their expertise and experiences with the next generation of Canadian leaders.
“Together, the Leadership Fellows will strengthen the Institute’s ability to support the growth of the progressive movement in Canada,” said Graham Mitchell, the Broadbent Institute’s Director of Training and Leadership.
The inaugural group of Leadership Fellows, part of the expansion of the Institute’s Training and Leadership Program, are:
- Tzeporah Berman, strategic advisor for environmental organizations
- Tsering Dolma, Community Outreach Coordinator of the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
- Lois Corbett, environmental consultant
- Judy Duncan, head organizer and Executive Director of ACORN Canada
- Sara Ehrhardt, policy expert and public campaigner
- Bob Gallagher, head of communications and political action for the United Steelworkers, LGBTQ activist
- Raymond Guardia, campaign manager and current Deputy Chief of Staff for Projet Montréal
- Jennifer Hollett, award-winning broadcast journalist and digital expert
- John Laschinger, veteran campaign manager and author
- Brad Lavigne, consultant, media commentator, author and former campaign manager
- Allan Gregg, leading research professional and social commentator
- Trevor McKenzie-Smith, campaigner and electoral geographer
- Gillian McEachern, environmental campaigner
- Kevin Millsip, co-founder and director of Next Up
- Tracey Mitchell, community-based facilitator, writer and activist
- Jason Mogus, digital strategist and campaigner
- Bob Penner, pollster and leading research professional
- Robin Sears, consultant, media commentator and former campaign manager
"They have experience as campaign managers, strategists, tacticians, communicators, innovators, pollsters, public servants, and much more," added Mitchell. "Their work on a variety of issues has made this country a better place, so we’re excited about sharing their expertise with a new generation of campaigners.”
The Broadbent Institute's first Leadership Fellows are also joined by five new Policy Fellows, who join an already impressive roster of leading academics and policy experts that help inform the Institute’s research and policy agenda.
The biographies of Leadership Fellows are available online at https://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/en/training-leadership/leadership-fellows. The full list of Policy Fellows is available at https://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/en/about/fellows/policy-fellows
From March 28-30 in Ottawa, the Broadbent Institute is holding its first annual Progress Summit. Learn more at www.broadbentinstitute.ca/en/summit. The Institute is also holding a pre-summit Training and Leadership session in Ottawa with Mitch Stewart, founding partner of 270 Strategies and Battleground States Director for the Obama for America campaign in the 2012 presidential general election.
The Broadbent Institute champions progressive change. Whether it’s our eagle-eyed (and sharp-tongued) colleagues at PressProgress publishing hard-hitting news and analysis, or our Policy Fellows producing creative and practical policy ideas, we lend our efforts every day to advance progressive issues.
But let’s face it – we also need more champions.Read more