Speaker Profiles

Jeffery Simpson

Jeffery Simpson

National Affairs Columnist

The Globe and Mail, Ottawa

Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail's national affairs columnist, has won many of Canada's leading literary prizes -- the Governor-General's award for non-fiction book writing, the $50,000 Donner Prize for the best book in public policy, the National Magazine Award for political writing, and the National Newspaper Award for column writing (twice). He has also won the Hyman Solomon Award for excellence in public policy journalism. In January, 2000, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Born in New York, Mr. Simpson came to Canada when he was 10 years old and studied at the University of Toronto Schools, Queen's University and the London School of Economics. In 1972-73, he received a parliamentary internship scholarship in Ottawa. A year later, he joined The Globe and Mail.

His career with the newspaper began at City Hall in Toronto and later with coverage of Quebec politics. In 1977, he became a member of the paper's Ottawa bureau, and eighteen months later he was named The Globe and Mail's Ottawa bureau chief. From 1981-1983, Mr. Simpson served as The Globe's European correspondent based in London, England. He began writing his national affairs column in January, 1984.

Mr. Simpson has published eight books -- including Discipline of Power (1980); Spoils of Power (1988);  Faultlines, Struggling for a Canadian Vision (1993); The Anxious Years (1996); Star-Spangled Canadians (2000); The Friendly Dictatorship: Reflections on Canadian Democracy (2001) and Hot Air, Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge, (2007) co-authored with Mark Jaccard and Nic Rivers. His latest book -- Chronic Condition: Why Canada’s Health-Care System
Needs to be Dragged into the 21st Century -- was published in the fall of 2012 and won the Donner Prize. It was also nominated in 2013 for three other book prizes.

He has written numerous magazine articles for such publications as Saturday Night, The Report on Business Magazine, The Journal of Canadian Studies, The Queen's Quarterly. He has spoken at dozens of major conferences here and abroad on a variety of domestic and international issues. He has also been a regular contributor to television programs in both English and French and completed a two-hour documentary for CBC to accompany his book, Star-Spangled Canadians. He has been a guest lecturer at such universities as Oxford, Edinburgh, Harvard, Princeton, Brigham Young, Johns Hopkins, Maine, California and many universities in Canada. He was won the Arthur Kroeger Award for Public Discourse in 2010 and the Charles Lynch Award for outstanding coverage of national affairs in 2006 and the Pollution Probe award for contributions to environmental leadership in 2011.

In 1993-1994, Mr. Simpson was on leave from his column as a John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He has been a Skelton-Clark fellow and Brockington Visitor at Queen's University. He has also been a John V. Clyne fellow at the University of British Columbia, a Distinguished Visitor at the University of Alberta and a member of the Georgetown University Leadership Seminar. He has been awarded honorary doctorates of laws from the University of British Columbia, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Manitoba, King’s College (Halifax), l'université de Moncton, Queen's University and the University of Windsor.

Mr. Simpson has been a member of the board of trustees at Queen's University; the board of overseers at Green College, University of British Columbia; the advisory councils of the Robarts Medical Research Institute and the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and the editorial board of The Queen's Quarterly. He has been vice-chairman of the City of Ottawa Library Board and was awarded the William Watkinson Award for outstanding contributions to the Canadian Library community.

Mr. Simpson has taught as an adjunct professor at the Queen’s Institute of Policy Studies and The University of Ottawa Law School. He is now senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He is also a member of the executive committee of the University of Ottawa’s Board of Governors.

Mr. Simpson was a juror for the Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction books in 2008 and the Cundill prize for history in 2011 and 2012, and the Flood-Baer prize for health policy in 2013.  He is also a member of the Trilateral Commission.

He lives in Ottawa with his wife Wendy.  They have three children.

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