Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs

March 03, 2014 09:00 ET

2014 Couchiching Annual Gala: Phil Fontaine to be Awarded Public Policy Leadership Award

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 3, 2014) - The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs is pleased to announce Phil Fontaine, OC, Founder and President of Ishkonigan Inc. and former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), as this year's recipient of the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership. The award honours the accomplishments of a Canadian who has demonstrated leadership in public policy. It recognizes exemplary actions taken by an individual to promote policy that has changed the face of Canada or a community within Canada, often in the face of public opposition.

In 2014, Couchiching celebrates the singular leadership of Phil Fontaine in Canadian public policy, as exemplified by his passionate and effective advocacy for First Nations rights. Mr. Fontaine is the longest-serving National Chief in AFN history and the only one to be elected to three terms. He has been instrumental in raising awareness of the importance of human rights to the lives of all Canadians, and First Nations peoples in particular.

Couchiching Gala

Mr. Fontaine will be honoured at the 2014 Couchiching Gala, led by Gala Chair, Sarabjit (Sabi) Marwah, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Scotiabank. The annual Gala brings the spirit of the storied Couchiching summer conference to downtown Toronto, emphasizing small, intense discussions. Tables are limited to eight people, each led by a prominent individual known for asking provocative questions and driving thoughtful dialogue. The Gala offers individuals a rare opportunity to engage in lively, wide-ranging discussions on issues that matter.

This year, the Gala takes place at Archeo in the heart of the Distillery District. Cocktails are from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., with dinner, conversations, and the Public Policy Award ceremony to follow.

At the Gala, Mr. Fontaine will be available to answer media questions. For media-related inquiries for the Gala, contact the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs.

About Phil Fontaine

As former Chief of the AFN, Mr. Fontaine successfully led the resolution and settlement of the 150-year Indian residential school tragedy, which cumulated in a historic apology by the Canadian government. Mr. Fontaine also advocated for the implementation of the Kelowna Accord and signed the Declaration of Kinship and Cooperation of the Indigenous and First Nations of North America. He was the first Indigenous leader to address the Organization of American States. Mr. Fontaine is a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba and holds honorary doctorate degrees from numerous institutions including Brock University, University of Windsor, Lakehead University, and Queen's University. He was honoured with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1996, is a Member of the Order of Manitoba and most recently was appointed to the Order of Canada. Mr. Fontaine is currently the President of Ishkonigan Inc., a successful consulting company providing advisory services to First Nations, governments, and the private sector.

Past recipients of the Couchiching Public Policy Leadership Award include: The Honourable Michael H. Wilson (2003), Jane Jacobs (2004), Dr. Henry Morgentaler (2005), Elizabeth May (2006), The Honourable Preston Manning (2007), J. Fraser Mustard (2008), The Honourable Lincoln Alexander (2009), Sylvia Ostry (2010), The Honourable Stéphane Dion (2011), David Dodge (2012), and Mark Carney (2013).

More About Couchiching

The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, a charitable non-partisan organization, has played a pre-eminent role in Canada's civic discourse on public affairs since its inaugural conference in 1932. Couchiching provides a civil place to disagree. Its mission is to increase awareness, understanding and knowledge of domestic and international issues in Canada through open and inclusive discussion, and without advocacy or partisanship.

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