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Jean Chretien talks future of public policy in Halifax

Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was in Halifax Monday for the grand opening of the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance at Dalhousie University.

More than 700 people attended the discussion with Bob Rae on the future of public policy.

Chrétien also shared his experiences with Alan J. MacEachen, the first Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, in honour of the institute being named in his memory.

Kevin Quigley, the Director of the MacEachen Institute, says the establishment aims to encourage rigorous policy debate and discussion in the Halifax community and the world beyond.

“The MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance at Dalhousie will be led by the spirit of MacEachen’s words, ” Quigley said.

“We will work to establish trust in the community as a reliable source for policy advice as a host and platform for honest policy debate. Our concerns will be local and national.”

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He also said the institute hopes to make research easily accessible to those who want to shape the future of public policy.

A discussion among five panellists, including Halifax Member of Pariaiment, Andy Fillmore and several political scholars, explored the following research themes of the institute: Civic Engagement, Atlantic Canada and the World, Health Systems and Governance, and Smart Infrastructure.

Some of the topics inspired by these themes included the immigration of Syrian Refugees to Nova Scotia and the role of today’s youth in the policy making process.

Fillmore commented on how he thinks the institute can inspire youth to become engaged in public policy issues.

“People need to be able to see their aspirations and themselves in whatever the project might be — and I think that to turn that lens to politics — I think that holds absolutely true here as well,” Fillmore said.

The institute hopes to shape the future of public policy by encouraging scholars, students, and community leaders to become engaged in the development of progressive policy options and research.

The MacEachen Institute is located on Dalhousie’s campus in the Macdonald Building.