Queen’s academics and alumni support Ottawa
The 20th century brought with it changes to Canada’s economics, politics and civil society. When Ottawa needed guidance, Queen’s faculty and alumni were ready to give advice.
In the 1920s, former Queen’s Journal editor Charlotte Whitton went to Ottawa and became a vocal social welfare critic and eventually mayor of the city.
In the 1930s, Queen’s-trained economists W.A.M. Mackintosh and John J. Deutsch were called to Ottawa to research the roots of that decade’s devastating economic collapse. Their investigations for the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations set the statistical stage for the emergence of Canada’s social welfare state. These talents spilled over into the huge task of efficiently managing the war economy.
In 1945, Professor Mackintosh presented a seminal “white paper” to the Mackenzie King government setting out a blueprint for post-war income and employment stability. Insiders in Ottawa joked that the Canadian social welfare state was “conceived by King and born of Queen’s.”
Late 20th-century Ottawa had frequent working visitors from Queen’s. Principal Alex Corry chaired a royal commission on hate literature. Principal Ronald Watts lent his voice to solving Canada’s national unity problems in the 1970s. Queen’s gave birth to the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations, which gives insight into federal systems the world over.
Principal David Smith headed the research team on a 1980s royal commission studying Canada’s response to a globalizing economy.
Queen’s commitment to Canada’s federal project has always trickled down into its faculty, manifesting itself in the perspectives of such scholars as historians Arthur Lower and Frederick Gibson and political scientists Richard Simeon and C.E.S. Franks. Their commitment in turn filtered into the minds of undergraduates who looked to Ottawa for creative careers.
Others, such as political columnist Jeffrey Simpson and politicians Flora MacDonald and John Baird have found other ways to engage Ottawa. Queen’s, it seems, has long provided support in Canada’s corridors of power.
Pictured above: John Deutsch