Civil Society Initiative event series:

The Failing State: Is it the Politics or the Process?

1 day eventIn Ottawa, ON
  • October 16, 20195:30am - 7:00pm
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We are hosting a debate on Wednesday, October 16th, on rebuilding social cohesion and trust between government and civil society.

Major trends are reshaping our society: the rise of (an anti-intellectual brand of) populism, the disruption of mainstream media, and accelerating globalization. Changes on this scale are demonstrating sharp declines in both social cohesion and trust in public institutions.

Cohesion and trust can be rebuilt by rallying Canadians around solutions to the issues of our day. Unfortunately, the current state of public debate and discourse is polarizing many Canadians, rather than uniting them.  

A new study from the Institute on Governance, Rebuilding Cohesion and Trust: Why Government Needs Civil Society, argues that the real problem is not so much with the people, the politicians, or even the issues, as the process.  

Join IOG to hear Rachel Curran and Don Lenihan debate whether a new generation of engagement tools – ones better suited to the changing environment – can succeed in uniting Canadians on issues such as climate change or pipelines, in a way that conventional consultation and debate do not. Deputy Mayor of Ottawa, Matthew Luloff will moderate the debate.

The Failing State 3 0

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Rachel Curran

Rachel Curran

President, Wellington Advocacy and Fellow and Instructor, Clayton H. Riddell Program in Political Management, Carleton University

Rachel Curran is a lawyer by training and has nearly fifteen years of experience in public affairs, including extensive experience providing strategic and policy advice to the Prime Minister of Canada and federal and provincial Cabinet ministers. She is known for her intelligence, work ethic, and analytical ability, as well as her capacity to deliver on objectives. As Director of Policy to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Rachel was closely engaged in all matters involving the federal government, including foreign and defence policy, trade negotiations, economic affairs, immigration, transportation, energy and the environment, indigenous affairs, social development and intergovernmental relations.

Twitter: @reicurran

Dr. Don Lenihan

Dr. Don Lenihan

IOG Senior Associate and President & CEO of Middle Ground Policy Research

Dr. Don Lenihan is an internationally recognized expert on public engagement, accountability, and governance. He has over 25 years of experience as a project leader, writer, speaker, senior government advisor, trainer, and facilitator and is the author of numerous articles, studies, and books. To learn more about Don’s work as a practitioner and a thought-leader, visit his website at:

Twitter: @DonLenihan

Matthew Luloff

Matthew Luloff

Deputy Mayor, City of Ottawa

Born and raised in Ottawa, Matthew Luloff has always felt strongly about service to community and country.

As a member of the Governor General’s Foot Guards and later the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Matthew served as a member of the Ceremonial Guard and deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. Fighting out of small combat outposts along the Arghandab River, Matthew and his platoon patrolled the volatile Panjwai-Zharey districts of Kandahar Province.

After leaving the Canadian Forces, Matthew graduated from The Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs at Carleton University with a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management. He has worked as an advisor to several members of parliament and federal cabinet ministers, including most recently the Minister of National Defense.

Matthew continues to serves his community as City Councillor for Orléans. Entrusted as Deputy Mayor in his first term, the role affords him a seat on the influential Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO). Councillor Luloff also serves on both the Transportation and Community and Protective Services committee, and is the Council Liaison on Accessibility.

With an experienced and dedicated team, Councillor Luloff oversees the vision, direction and budget of the City of Ottawa. He builds trusted relationships with senior managers and works collaboratively with City of Ottawa staff to ensure the needs of the residents of Orléans are met with everything from snow clearing and transit service, to garbage pickup and development proposals.

As a strong mental health advocate, Matthew produces and co-hosts Veteran X, a podcast for veterans and first responders transitioning to civilian life.

Passionate about local arts and culture, Matthew has fronted the award-winning local band Hearts&Mines and continues to write, record and perform music.

He lives in Orléans with his wife Laura, newborn Elizabeth and their two dogs, Norman and Elliot.

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Institute on Governance
60 George Street, Suite 203
Ottawa, ON
K1N 1J4

This event is part of a series

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