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2019 G78 Annual Policy Conference: Global Markets, Inequality and the Future of Democracy – September 27-28, 2019

September 27, 2019 @ 5:00 pm September 28, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences Building
120 University Private, Ottawa, September 27-28, 2019

  Program    Chair Statement

  Credit Card Registration     Register by Cheque/Email Transfer

Statement of Conference Chair: Manfred Beinefeld

 Democracies around the world are being eroded and destabilized by a tsunami of social challenges all ultimately linked to an explosive growth in inequality and economic insecurity. But although this fact is now all but universally acknowledged there is confusion and disagreement about the forces that have led to these totally unexpected outcomes. Well, unexpected to those old enough to remember a time when the almost everyone believed in the idea of progress and the dream of a leisure society?” So how are we to understand the reasons why those dreams have now been all but forgotten, especially since the hoped for technological progress that was to make that leisure society possible, did actually materialize? Or to put this another way, why did that technological progress occur in a form that is not only failing to usher in a leisure society, but that is actually further accelerating the scourges of inequality and economic insecurity.

At heart this conference will focus on a critical examination of the proposition that despite the complexity of the issues, and the diversity of the consequences, the roots of this nightmare can be traced back to three fundamental – and interrelated – causes: the rise of a global financial system that can no longer be regulated in the public interest; the rise of an international trading system that has dramatically undercut the ability of labour to share in productivity gains; and the enshrinement of a deeply individualistic ideology that has greatly increased the power of corporate capital to act with virtual impunity – witness the US pharmaceutical industry’s pricing policies – while reducing the scope for effective collective action in the public interest, either by governments, regulatory agencies, trade unions or civil society organizations.

Attempts to resist – let alone reverse – these trends face formidable challenges, in part because the underlying issues are so international in scope, and in part because their complexity allows powerful interests to poison the efforts to deal with these problems rationally – and democratically – which is to say, on the basis of an informed and free public debate. But that does not mean that such efforts are doomed to fail and, at this conference, we will seek to explore the most promising avenues for resistance always remembering that what progress was made at certain times in the past, was made in the teeth of fierce resistance and vitriolic denunciation. If success does not seem imminent, it is increasingly clear that business as usual is surely a recipe for a future that almost no one would willingly choose if presented with its true dimensions and characteristics. After all, none of the political parties promoting the neoliberal reforms that brought us to the current impasse, advised voters that they were voting for increased income equality and greater economic insecurity, which should serve as a reminder that democracy can function as it should – and must – only when voters are making choices based on an open and well informed debate.


6:30 pm, THURSDAY, Sept. 26, 2019, Academic Hall (SMN) University of Ottawa,133 Séraphin-Marion Private

Doors Open: Special Film Screening and Panel: Free event, donations are much appreciated
One World Arts and the Group of 78, have partnered to offer the Ottawa premiere of The Corporate Coup d’Etat


5:00 p.m. FRIDAY, Sept. 27, 2019 Conference Registration opens, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, 120 University Private, Room 4007

5:30 p.m. Keynote Address by Robert Kuttner: Saving Democracy From Globalization:

Moderator: Roy Culpeper, Chair, Group of 78

Introductory Remarks: Ed Broadbent

Keynote speaker: Robert Kuttner, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University.

 7:30 p.m. Dinner and Discussion: Q & A

Moderator: Roy Culpeper, Chair, Group of 78


Manfred Bienefeld, Professor Emeritus, School of Policy and Public Administration.

Robert Kuttner, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University.

Armine Yalnizyan, Former senior economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; Fellow at the Atkinson Foundation.

 8:15 a.m. SATURDAY, Sept 28, 2019 Registration Opens

9:00 a.m. Panel 1: Global and macroeconomic policies that drive increasing inequality and challenge democracy:

Moderator: Peter Venton, Former senior economist in Ontario Government


    1. Mario Seccareccia, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of


    1. John Myles, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Senior Research

Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of


 10:30 a.m.  Coffee/Health Break

11:00 a.m. Panel 2: National, microeconomic, social and labour market policies leading to wage stagnation, precarity, the gig economy, growing income disparities:

Moderator: Gordon Betcherman, Professor, School of International Development and

Global Studies, University of Ottawa


    1. Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing;

        Executive Director, Canada without Poverty

    1. Katherine Scott, Senior Economist, CCPA, gender equality and public policy
    1. Ellen Russell, Associate professor in Digital Media and Journalism and Social and Environmental Justice programs, Wilfrid Laurier University

12:30 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. Keynote Address by Julie Delahanty: Public Good or Private Wealth?

Moderator: Roy Culpeper, Chair, Group of 78
Keynote speaker: Julie Delahanty, Executive Director, Oxfam Canada

2:30 p.m. Coffee/Health Break

2:45 p.m.  Panel 3: Restoring policy space and national capacity to reverse growing inequality and strengthen democracy.

Moderator: Manfred Bienefeld, Professor Emeritus, School of Policy and Public Administration


    1. Lars Osberg, McCulloch Professor of Economics, Dalhousie University.
    1. Toby Sanger, Executive Director, Canadians for Tax Fairness.
    1. Angella MacEwen, Senior Economist, Canadian Union of Public Employees.

4:20 p.m. Robert Kuttner, Keynote Speaker: Reflections on the Conference Proceedings

4:35 p.m. Conference Conclusion and Closing Remarks

4:50 p.m. Conference Adjourns

5:15 p.m. Group of 78 Annual Meeting to follow immediately

Thank you to our Sponsors:


September 27, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
September 28, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
$10 – $300
Event Category:


Group of 78
View Organizer Website

Faculty of Social Science, Room 4004

120 University Private
Ottawa, Ottawa K1N 6N5 Canada
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