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The Canada West Foundation is a pan-western non-partisan think tank based in Calgary, Alberta. It primarily conducts research on issues of concern in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but also on issues of national significance.

Canada West Foundation
MottoGood for the West. Good for Canada.
TypePublic policy think tank
Headquarters110–134 11 Avenue SE

The foundation emphasizes it has an evidence-based, non-partisan approach to research. [1]

The foundation focuses on research and convening stakeholders to improve the prosperity, sustainability and quality of life for the citizens of Canada's four western provinces, and to educate Canadians on western Canadian contributions and aspirations.[2]


Three Research CentresEdit

Natural Resources, Trade & Investment, Human CapitalEdit

After a deep program review in 2012-13, the foundation decided to focus on three key areas of research: human capital, natural resources and trade and investment. In 2013, the Foundation established three new research centres:[3] the Natural Resources Centre, the Trade & Investment Centre and the Human Capital Centre.

Through its three centres, it looks for practical solutions to the challenges that face western Canada, including getting products to markets around the world; building a stronger, more versatile workforce; and finding ways to build public support for the region's key natural resource industries: forestry, agri-food, mining, and oil and natural gas.


The Canada West Foundation was founded Dec. 31, 1970. Founding members include George Maxwell Bell (1912-1972), Arthur Child (1910-1996),[notes 1] Frederick C. Mannix (1913-) and Honourable James A. Richardson.

The idea of a western-focused thinking tank emerged during the One Prairie Province? A Question for Canada Conference, co-sponsored by the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Herald in Lethbridge, Alberta, on May 10–13, 1970.[4][5] Three papers were presented, including Strayer's paper on the Constitutional processes for a Prairie union.[5][6] David Elton political science at the University of Lethbridge.[7] published the conference proceedings in 1970 in the Lethbridge Herald.. Elton replaced Stan Roberts as president in 1980. He remained in that position until 1997 where he researched such topics as institutional reform and citizens' engagement. In this capacity he acted as witness in federal parliamentary committees on Finance advocating for zero deficit and cut-off income limits for social welfare funding.[2][8]

Stan Roberts was president of the Canada West Foundation from 1976 to 1980.[2] In this capacity, he took a leading role in arguing for the position of the west in Canada's constitutional debates.

In 1987 Francis Winspear,[notes 2] financed the Western Assembly on Canada's Economic and Political Future, (Patten 1997:40) organized by Preston Manning, Stan Roberts and Robert Muirheld[9] and promoted by Ted Byfield,[9] in Vancouver in 1987. Organizational support was provided by the Canada West Foundation. It was at this assembly that the Reform Party of Canada was launched.[9][notes 3][notes 4][10] Winspear who was convinced that "mainline political parties no longer served the interest of Canadians," played a crucial role in the "founding and sustaining of the Reform Party of Canada."[11] There were some within the Canada West Foundation who believed that Roberts himself was partly sympathetic to separatism; he never became affiliated with the movement, but was forced to step down as CWF President in December 1980 after some controversial statements on the subject. According to journalist, Norm Ovenden, under Roberts' presidency, by 1980, the Canada West Foundation had become a "powerhouse", a "prestige organization in just a decade."[2] Ovenden credits Roberts with transforming a "low-key research organization" into a "well-known, widely respected pulse-takers of the Canadian west" in four years.[2]

James K. Gray O.C., A.O.E.,[12] co-founder of Canadian Hunter Exploration, "one of Canada's largest and most successful natural gas companies."[13][14] served as chair of the Canada West Foundation from 1994 to 2009 and as honorary chair.[15]

Roger Gibbins, chairman and head of the political science department at the University of Calgary, served as president and CEO of the Canada West Foundation from 1999 until his retirement in June 2012.[16][17] Gibbins was also a member of the Calgary School.[18][19][notes 5]

Dylan Jones was President and CEO of the Foundation, from June 2012 to May 2016. Jones was former Deputy Minister to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.[20] Jones was named Deputy Minister of Western Economic Diversification, effective June 20, 2016.

In September 2016, Martha Hall Findlay was named President and CEO of the Foundation.[21]


The Foundation is a registered educational charity, funded through donations from charitable foundations, government, industry stakeholders and individual citizens. It also conducts research on behalf of clients. The Foundation has a reserve fund, from which it draws annual income.[2]

Senate ReformEdit

In late 1978, CWF President, Stan Roberts, expressed interest in Francis Winspear's proposed constitutional reforms, which included Senate reform and the equal treatment of all provinces. During this period, Roberts made several speeches warning about the possibility of western separatism. The four western provinces were vastly under-represented in Senate. In 2012 Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Albert and British Columbia has only six seats each in the 105-seat Senate chamber.[16] Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, despite much smaller populations than the West, had a combined 30 seats. Ontario and Quebec each had 24 seat.[16] The CWF promotes a Triple-E Senate that would be equal, elected, and effective.[22][23] However, with Prime Minister Harper in power, "the West no longer wants in because it is in. Indeed, it occupies the Prime Minister's Office."[24]

Western Cities ProjectEdit

In 2000 the CWF published a report entitled A Roof Over Our Heads: Affordable Housing and Urban Growth in Western Canada. In 2008 the research was updated in a publication entitled Affordable Housing and Homelessness Policy in Canada funded by the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, the Urban Development Institute Alberta and the cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina.[25]

Canada-Asia Energy Futures Task ForceEdit

In September 2011, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) and the Canada West Foundation established the Canada-Asia Energy Futures Task Force with Kathleen (Kathy) E. Sendall, C.M., FCAE,[notes 6] a former Governor and Board Chair of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and Kevin G. Lynch, a Canadian economist and former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Canada's most senior civil servant as co-chairs, to investigate a long-term Canada-Asia energy relationship. One of their recommendations was the creation of a public energy transportation corridor.[26][27]

Recent PublicationsEdit

Canada West Foundation

Seniorpreneurship: Don’t retire – rewire, Release Date: 21-Jun-2017

Supply Management: A win-win opportunity for reform, Release Date: 5-Jun-2017

La gestion de l’offre : Une opportunité de réforme qui ne ferait que des gagnants, Release Date: 5-Jun-2017

Natural Resources Centre

Hot Commodity: Geothermal electricity in Alberta, Release Date: 18-Jul-2018

Unstuck: Recommendations for reforming Canada’s regulatory process for energy projects, Release Date: 24-May-2018

Submission to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities regarding Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, Release Date: 16-Nov-2017

Reforming Environmental Assessment: Submission on the Expert Panel Report on the Review of Environmental Assessment Processes, Release Date: 15-May-2017

Up Front: Modernizing the National Energy Board, Release Date: 10-Apr-2017

A Matter of Trust: The role of communities in energy decision-making, Release Date: 24-Nov-2016

Power Up: They hydro option, Release Date: 27-June-2016

Look Out: Toward a climate strategy that reduces global emissions, Release Date: 16-May-2016

Fair Enough: Assessing community confidence in energy authorities, Release Date: 11-Apr-2016

Branching Out: Preparing for life without a Softwood Lumber Agreement, Release Date: 2-Sep-2015

Patchwork Pollution Solution: Stitching together a Canadian climate plan, Release Date: 13-Jul-2015

Walkin' the Walk: Five Steps To Efficient Cities, Release Date: 24-Mar-2015

Restoring Trust: The Road to Public Support for Resource Industries, Release Date: 18-Jul-2014

From the ground up: Earning public support for resource development, Release Date: 26-May-2014

Buildings, Bicycles and 'Burbs: An Overview of Urban Energy Management in Seven Western Canadian Cities, Release Date: 21-Apr-2014

Trade & Investment Centre

The ‘Just in Case’ Plan: How western Canadian small businesses can prepare for the potential end of NAFTA, Release Date: 1-Feb-2018

Sprouted: The plant ingredient opportunity taking root on the Prairies, Release Date: 12-Dec-2017

The Pacific Alliance: Why it’s (still) important for western Canada, Release Date: 16-Nov-2017

Western Canada’s Trade Agenda: TPP11 and beyond, Release Date: 26-Oct-2017

Alberta farmers’ market survey results, Release Date: 26-Jul-2017

The Art of the Trade Deal: Quantifying the benefits of a TPP without the United States, Release Date: 13-Jun-2017

Strategic Trade Infrastructure Roundtable Summary, Release Date: 16-Feb-2017

Some Assembly Required: Cross-border infrastructure that creates jobs and growth, Release Date: 15-Nov-2016

The infrastructure that matters most, Release Date: 06-Jul-2016

The TPP: The West wants in, Release Date: 6-Jun-2016

A Smoother Track for Exports: A framework for Alberta rail policy, Release Date: 20-Apr-2016

Branching Out: Preparing for life without a Softwood Lumber Agreement, Release Date: 2-Sep-2015

Feeding the Global Middle Class - discussion paper, Release Date: 23-Apr-2015

Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Release Date: 24-Feb-2015

The business case for Alberta to provide international aid, Release Date: 24-Dec-2014

Building on Advantage: Improving Canada's trade infrastructure, Release Date: 24-Nov-2014

Miser sur les avantages: Améliorer l’infrastructure commerciale du Canada, Release Date: 24-Nov-2014

The Pacific Alliance: Why it's important for western Canada, Release Date: 01-Nov-2014

Mexico's Energy Reform: Potential Impacts and Opportunities for Western Canada, Release Date: 02-Jun-2014

Human Capital Centre

The Skill Advantage: The 21st century challenge for Canada’s unions, Release Date: 24-May-2017

Beyond the Rules: Moving safety from compliance to competence, Release Date: 9-May-2017

Matchup: A case for pan-Canadian competency frameworks, Release Date: 27-Feb-2017

Start 'Em Up: Incubating nextgen innovators, Release Date: 25-Oct-2016

Know, Do, Understand, Release Date: 21-Mar-2016

Building Blocks: Modular credentials for Canada's trades, Release Date: 2-Dec-2015

Smarten up: It's time to build essential skills, Release Date: 01-Jun-2015

Competence is the Best Credential, Release Date: 07-Apr-2015

Work Interrupted: How federal foreign worker rule changes hurt the West, Release Date: 9-Mar-2015

Shedding light on the TFW Program, Release Date: 15-Dec-2014

Talent is not enough: Closing the skills gap, Release Date: 15-Sep-2014

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Arthur Child, a staunch Reform Party supporter, was president and CEO for Burns Foods, brought it from the verge of bankruptcy to becoming the second-largest meat packer in the country. Child was author of Economics and Politics in US Banking(1965).
  2. ^ Francis G. Winspear (1903-1997) was a wealthy Edmonton financier and philanthropist who retired in Vancouver. Biography.
  3. ^ Ellis worked with Tom Flanagan conducting research for the Reform Party which eventually led to his dissertation. Roger Gibbins recruited Ellis into the Ph.D. program in political science at the University of Calgary.
  4. ^ In a meteoric rise, almost unprecedented in the history of Canada, the Reform Party became the Official Opposition to the Government of Canada within 10 years.
  5. ^ Although the Calgary school is not an official organization and has no membership list, Roger Gibbins, David Bercuson, history professor and director of the university's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, Barry F. Cooper, political science professor and fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, Tom Flanagan, professor of political science, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and former adviser to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Rainer Knopff, political science professor and Ted Morton were included in the group in a 2004 article in The Walrus.
  6. ^ Kathleen Sendall, is director CGG (Paris, France), Director of Enmax Corporation (Calgary, AB); Vice Chair, Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (Calgary, AB); Co-Chair, Canada West/Asia Pacific Foundation Task Force (Calgary, AB)." In 2013 Prime Minister Harper appointed her the Sustainable Development Advisory Council (SDAC) and the Advisory Council for Promoting Women on Boards. She advises "federal and provincial governments in the areas of climate change, carbon capture and storage, environmental legislation, and Arctic foreign policy, and recently chaired the Canadian Council of Academies Assessment Panel on the State of Industrial R&D in Canada. Previously, Ms. Sendall led Petro-Canada's North American Natural Gas Business Unit."Kathleen Sendall Biography Archived 2013-06-28 at


  1. ^ "About Canada West Foundation".
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Stan Roberts: Mr. West Moves To The East". Montreal Gazette. December 6, 1980. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  3. ^ CanadaWestFoundatiorelaunchesCalgaryHerald18october2013
  4. ^ Brangwin, Christopher James (1973). Causes of agitation for one Prairie province (Master of Arts Geography thesis). University of British Columbia.
  5. ^ a b B. L. Strayer (December 1970). "One Prairie Province? The Constitutional Processes for Prairie Union". Canadian Public Administration. 13 (4): 337–343. doi:10.1111/j.1754-7121.1970.tb00031.x.
  6. ^ Stephen Tomblin (1995). Ottawa and the Outer Provinces: The Challenge of Regional Integration in Canada. Toronto, Ontario: James Lorimer. p. 214.
  7. ^ "Alberta Mood Hard To Assess As Campaign In Home Stretch". Leader-Post. October 27, 1982. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  8. ^ Donald Gutstein (1 February 2012). "Canada West Foundation rewrites history: Think-tank tracker". Rabble.
  9. ^ a b c Faron Ellis (September 1997). A Genealogy of Dissent: Activism and Participation in Canada's Refonn Party (PhD in Political Science thesis). Calgary, Alberta: University of Calgary.
  10. ^ Steve Patten (September 1997). The Rise of Reform: A Political Economy of Neo-liberal Populism in the 1990s (PDF) (PhD Political Science thesis). North York, Ontario: York University. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ Champion, Chris (10 February 1997). "Blessed man with a profound sense of duty: philanthropist, patron of the arts, and Reform Party founder Francis Winspear dies at 93". Alberta Report. Archived from the original on 23 March 2014.
  12. ^ "James K. Gray O.C., A.O.E., C.B.H.F. - Class of 2005". Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  13. ^ "James Kenneth Gray's Alberta Order of Excellence biography". Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  14. ^ "James Kenneth Gray's Alberta Order of Excellence Scroll". Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  15. ^ "CWF board of directors". Canada West Foundation. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  16. ^ a b c Colby Cosh (14 May 2012). "Roger Gibbins against Senate reform? The hell you say!". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  17. ^ Window on the West: Western Canadian policy matters: End of an Era (PDF) (Report). Canada West Foundation. May 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  18. ^ MacDonald, Marci (October 2004). "The Man Behind Stephen Harper". The Walrus.
  19. ^ Flanagan, Tom. "Advice to Progressives from the Calgary School". Literary Review of Canadadate=December 2010.
  20. ^ "OC 1/2012 - Cancel Appointment of Dylan Jones, Associate Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs and Appoint as Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs, in Executive Council (President of the Executive Council) - Publications Centre".
  21. ^ Duggan, Kyle (8 September 2016). "Martha Hall Findlay to head up Canada West Foundation". iPolitics. Archived from the original on 8 September 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  22. ^ Roger Gibbins; Robert Roach (March 2010). A New Senate for a More Democratic Canada (Report). The West in Canada Project.
  23. ^ Dr. Campbell Sharman (1989). The Australian Triple-E Senate: Lessons for Canadian Senate Reform (Report). Canada West 9
  24. ^ Donald Lenihan (11 November 2008). "How I Learned to Live With the Unelected Senate". Public Policy Forum of Ottawa. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  25. ^ David Snow (September 2008). Affordable Housing and Homelessness Policy in Canada (PDF) (Report). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  26. ^ Securing Canada's energy future: report of the Canada-Asia energy futures task force (PDF) (Report). Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. June 2013.
  27. ^ Jameson Berkow (6 June 2012). "National interest must come first in Canada-Asia energy relationship: report". Financial Post.

External linksEdit