2017 - 2018 




Premier Kathleen Wynne at Hart House Debates - March 1, 2018


In four months, the people of Ontario will head to the polls. On March 1, the Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee will host the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, for a brief keynote lecture followed by a moderated discussion with Aceel Hawa, a third-year student at the University of Toronto and the student Chair of the Hart House Debates and Dialogue Committee. This event hopes to bridge the personal and the political, allowing students the chance to meet and better get to know the first female leader of Ontario and the first openly-gay head of a provincial or federal government in Canada.

This event will be held in the Great Hall, Hart House on March 1, 2018 at 7pm.

Free ticket registration will open on Tuesday, February 20 at 5:00pm EST. This event will be publicly livestreamed online for those who cannot attend.


The Honourable Kathleen Wynne | Premier of Ontario

Since taking office in 2013, Premier Wynne’s accomplishments include balancing the provincial budget for the first time in a decade, making record-breaking infrastructure investments in Ontario’s roads, schools, hospitals and transit systems, and securing a historic national deal to improve retirement security by enhancing the Canada Pension Plan.

Premier Wynne’s plan for building Ontario up focuses on creating new opportunities for people and businesses, and ensuring a fairer, more secure future for everyone in the province. Under her leadership, as Ontario has regained its place as the economic engine of Canada, the Premier has worked to ensure the benefits of growth are shared evenly. To this end, her government is making tuition free for hundreds of thousands of students, raising the minimum wage for workers and creating 100,000 new child care spaces.

Earlier this year, Premier Wynne introduced a ground-breaking plan for the biggest expansion of Medicare in a generation. OHIP+ will provide free prescription medication for young people in the province, from birth until they turn 25. The Premier also received international attention for launching a basic income pilot project in three Ontario communities.

Premier Wynne was first elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Don Valley West in 2003, and has served as Minister for five departments and been re-elected three times. When her three children were still in school, she was motivated to run for office by her passion for publicly funded education and her desire to give every child in Ontario the best possible start. Before becoming an MPP, Premier Wynne served as a trustee on the Toronto District School Board. Prior to that, she led citizens’ groups in a number of grassroots community projects and played a major role as an organizer, facilitator and mediator.

Aceel Hawa (Moderator) | University of Toronto

Aceel Hawa is a third-year student at the University of Toronto where she studies Biology, Psychology, and French as a recipient of the National Scholarship. Aceel is a research assistant with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and currently serves as the chair of the Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee.


For further information on this event, please contact the Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee Facebook Page or email nicholas.ac.ferreira@gmail.com.

Media Enquiries should be directed to Stephanie Eldred, Senior Communications Officer, Hart House - stephanie.eldred@utoronto.ca

If you have an accessibility request, we will do our best to make appropriate accommodations. Please email marco.adamovic@utoronto.caat your earliest.


Marie henein at Hart house debate - February 14, 2018


From the retention of birth names after marriage to the permissibility of using a woman’s sexual history in assault trials, women’s right activists and advocacy organizations have long used Canada’s legal system to fight for gender equity. Despite achievements, the experiences of the women trying these landmark cases have often gone unheard: with persistent underrepresentation and gendered-wage gaps persisting across the legal field, there is still much progress to be made towards the way in which professional women are conceptualized and treated in comparison to their male counterparts. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, it is clear now more than ever, that a conversation is needed about how women are treated—both by the law and in the law.

On February 14, the Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee will host Marie Henein, one of Canada’s most successful criminal lawyers, and the former defence counsel to Jian Gomeshi and Michael Bryant, in conversation with Kim Stanton, lawyer at Goldblatt Partners LLP and former Legal Director of the Women’s Legal Education Fund (LEAF).


The Future of mental health in canada - january 15, 2018


Few issues have emerged as more important to Canadians than mental health: 1 in 5 young Canadians are affected by mental illness, but only 1 in 4 of those affected ultimately receive essential support and services. The Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee is proud to convene a special two-hour panel of unparalleled experts—amongst which are four Order of Canada recipients—to discuss the future of Canadian mental health. Moderated by The Honourable Michael Wilson, Canada's former Minister of Finance and a prominent mental health advocate, this event hopes to be a wide-ranging conversation about youth & Indigeneity, technology & innovation, and policy & legislation in the context of mental health. 

Dr. Catherine Zahn, CM | President, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Ms. Louise Bradley | President, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Dr. Carol Hopkins, OC | Executive Director of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation
Dr. David Goldbloom, OC | Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Dr. David Wiljer | Associate Professor, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation


Omar Khadr's Defence Lawyer: The Rule of Law in an Age of Fear - October 18, 2017


It was the case that captured Canada. Omar Khadr, a Canadian detained by American forces at the age of 15 and incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay for 10 years, plead guilty to war crimes and to the murder of U.S. Army Sergeant Christopher Speer. In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Canadian government's interrogation of Khadr at Guantanamo Bay had violated the most basic norms of humane treatment of detainees. After his repatriation to Canada to serve out the remainder of his sentence, the Alberta Court of Appeals refused to block his release. On 7 July 2017, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed a $10.5 million settlment had been reached in the civil suit levelled by Omar Khadr as a result of his treatment.

Few stories have galvanized as much vitriol, partisanship, and division in Canadian politics. On 18 October 2017, presented with the support of the International Relations Society, the Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee will host Mr. Dennis Edney, the defence lawyer to Omar Khadr.


Mr. Dennis Edney, QC | Mr. Edney is listed as counsel in various reported cases, and has made multiple appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada, most notably R. v. Mills and Canada v. Khadr. He was given leave to file an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Rasul v. Bush, and in 2004, was appointed foreign attorney consultant by the U.S. Pentagon to participate in the defence of Omar Khadr. Edney earned his law degree from the University of Northumbria in 1987, and has appeared at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada and the United States Supreme Court. He practices criminal, constitutional and human rights law. The recipient of a number of awards and distinctions, Edney holds the National Pro Bono Award (2008) for his commitment to the Omar Khadr case, and the fight for access to justice and human rights. In 2009, the lieutenant governor of British Columbia awarded Edney with a human rights medal for fighting to uphold the Rule of Law without personal gain.

Moderated by Dr. Pamela Divinsky | Executive Director of the Mosaic Institute.


Trudeau at the Halfway Mark: Has Our PM Been a Success? - October 10, 2017


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was swept into government on a wave of optimism and a promise of progressive, pluralist politics. Since then, he has promised much – a new way foreign policy, a more inclusive economy, a new chapter in Indigenous reconciliation, as well as a variety of social policy reforms. The question is: has he delivered, or will they – like electoral reform – end up as promises broken? We will be hosting an event taking stock of the Trudeau government’s legacy at the halfway point in its tenure.

Mr. Karim Bardeesy | Former Director of Policy to the Premier of Ontario | Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ryerson University
Dr. Mel Cappe, OC | Former Clerk of the Privy Council | Former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
Dr. Donna Dasko | Former Senior Vice President, Environics Research Group | Lecturer, School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto
Mr. Tim Harper | National Affairs Columnist, Toronto Star