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Enabling Growth: Building a sustainable, technology-based knowledge economy for Atlantic Canada

A Virtual Public Dialogue: Co-hosted with the Public Policy Forum & Action Canada

How can Atlantic Canada harness momentum to build on its population reversal, entrepreneurial leadership, tech successes and long-standing status as a post-secondary magnet for students from other provinces and other nations?

To help define the opportunity of the moment, UNB Shaping the Debate in collaboration with the Public Policy Forum and Action Canada will convene an important conversation with leaders who are helping to enable growth. This in turn builds a more prosperous and just future for New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada.

This event is the Public Policy Forum’s official launch of its Atlantic Initiative which will take learnings from this dialogue into its work.

Hosted by

The Public Policy Forum builds bridges among diverse participants in the policy-making process and gives them a platform to examine issues, offer new perspectives and feed fresh ideas into policy discussions.

They believe good policy makes a better Canada.  As a national applied think tank with long-standing connections to Atlantic Canada, including the four-year-old Frank McKenna Fund, the Public Policy Forum (PPF) is well positioned to play a role in identifying and mobilizing levers of change in Eastern Canada.

Action Canada is the country’s top accelerator of new leaders. The Action Canada Fellowship—a 10-month public policy leadership program—brings together outstanding young Canadians whose talents, experiences and perspectives represent the mosaic of our country, and connects them through shared experiences in communities and places across Canada.

The Action Canada Fellows are in New Brunswick from Nov. 3 - 7 and are hosted by UNB on Nov. 3.


Edward Greenspon

Edward Greenspon has worked at the intersection of journalism and public policy for more than 30 years. Before becoming President & CEO of the Public Policy Forum, Ed was a journalist with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and newspapers in Western Canada. He is also the author of two books on Canadian politics, policy and public opinion.

At the Globe, Ed specialized in politics, economics, foreign affairs and business while serving as Editor-in-Chief, Ottawa bureau chief, European correspondent and managing editor of the Report on Business. He was an early proponent of digital transformation as founding editor of globeandmail.com.

At Bloomberg News, he was Editor-at-Large for Canada and global managing editor for energy, environment and commodities, a group situated in 22 countries on six continents.

Ed is the author of Double Vision: The Inside Story of the Liberals in Power, which won the 1996 Douglas Purvis Award for best public policy book, and of Searching for Certainty: Inside the New Canadian Mindset. He was a winner of PPF’s Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism. In 2010, he chaired a 13-person panel for the Canadian International Council that produced a bold international policy strategy called Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age.

Ed holds a combined honours degree in journalism and political science from Carleton University and was a Commonwealth Scholar at the London School of Economics, earning an M.Sc. (Econ.) with distinction. Ed joined the PPF in 2016.

Francis McGuire

Francis P. McGuire assumed the position of President (Deputy Minister) of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency on June 12, 2017.

Mr. McGuire has served both in government and in the private sector. Having been educated in the French and English systems, and being a resident of New Brunswick, Canada’s only officially bilingual province, Mr. McGuire is completely at ease in working in either official language.

After stepping aside as President and CEO of Major Drilling Group International Inc., where he served from 2000 to 2015, Francis McGuire provided advice to companies and individuals on strategy, leadership and organizational design. Mr. McGuire also served on the Board of Directors of Major Drilling. Second largest mineral drilling company in the world, Major Drilling operates in over 20 countries and is listed on the TSX. In 2008, Atlantic Business Magazine named Mr. McGuire Atlantic Canada’s CEO of the Year. In 2012, Mr. McGuire was inducted into the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame. Ernst & Young named him Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013.

Mr. McGuire served on the Board of Directors of Industrial Alliance from 2001 to 2017. Headquartered in Québec, Que, Industrial Alliance is Canada’s 4th largest insurance company. Mr. McGuire also served as Chairman of the Board of NB Power from 2007 to 2010.

Francis McGuire was the Chair of the Wallace McCain Institute for Business Leadership at the University of New Brunswick, and is an emeritus member of the New Brunswick Business Council.

From 1985 to 1997, Mr. McGuire worked in Premier Frank McKenna’s administration, including as Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, and as the Leader of the Province’s Information Highway Secretariat. As Deputy Minister, he was responsible for attracting industry to the province, for assisting local companies in their growth, for establishing the IT industry in the province, and for growing its tourism industry. Mr. McGuire served as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of MITI Information Technology Inc. from 1998 to 2000. In 1999, MITI was recognized as Atlantic Canada’s fastest growing company.

Francis McGuire holds a Master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., (1974 – 1976), a Diploma in European Politics from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris, France, (1973 – 1974), and a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University (1970 – 1973). Mr. McGuire also completed the Management Training program at the University of Western Ontario’s School of Business Administration (1984) and the Marketing Management program at Queen’s University (1991). He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of New Brunswick in 2017.

Mr. McGuire was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has two sons, Brendan and Dylan, and lives with his long-term partner, Elizabeth Webster.

Adrienne O'Pray

Adrienne brings deep leadership experience and a passion for economic and social development in New Brunswick to her role at the helm of the McKenna Institute.

Over more than 25 years in senior management positions in the public and private sectors, she has served as president and CEO of the New Brunswick Business Council and COO of Atlantic Lottery Corp., among other roles.

Adrienne serves on the Board of Assumption Life and is the Chair of the UNB Faculty of Management Advisory Board. She regularly volunteers to facilitate strategic planning engagements with local community organizations.

Adrienne holds an MBA from the University of New Brunswick and a BSc from Dalhousie University. She has also completed several programs through the Institute of Corporate Directors and Queen’s University’s Executive Education Program.

In 2018, Adrienne was recognized by the Ottawa-based Public Policy Forum with the Frank McKenna Award for Public Policy, presented to distinguished Atlantic Canadians who have built bridges between sectors, contributed to public policy and shown exceptional leadership. UNB’s Faculty of Business Administration has awarded her the Certificate of Achievement.

Kendra MacDonald

Kendra MacDonald is the CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster responsible for driving innovation and growth in the ocean economy. Together with a team working across six cities in Atlantic Canada, Kendra is focused on changing the culture of doing business in the ocean, increasing collaboration across ocean sectors and Canada’s global reach.

Kendra was previously a Partner in Deloitte's Risk Advisory practice and the Chief Audit Executive of Deloitte Global. Kendra speaks regularly on the topics of innovation, future of work, and disruptive technologies, and also serves on the Board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and is the Past-Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries.

Over the course of her career, Kendra has both lived and worked in Ottawa, Montreal, Australia and Hong Kong before moving to St. John's in 2010 where she now resides with her husband and two children.

Dr. William Cook

Dr. Cook honed the skills and knowledge required to conduct research in high temperature and pressure systems at UNB and is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading expert in chemistry and corrosion control in nuclear power plants and steam raising systems.

David Shipley

David is a recognized Canadian leader in cybersecurity, frequently appearing in local, regional and national media and speaking at public and private events across North America. David is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Information and Communications Studies as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick.

Between July 2012 and May 2017 David helped lead the multi-year effort to transform UNB's approach to cybersecurity. David led UNB's threat intelligence, cybersecurity awareness and incident response practices before founding Beauceron Security.

His experience in managing awareness programs, risk management and incident response helped shape the vision for the Beauceron platform.

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.