November 10, 2010 – Ottawa – The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a non-partisan Ottawa think tank, today published the first of a planned series of papers on Canada's Founding Ideas. "Confederation and Individual Liberty", by acclaimed Canadian scholar Janet Ajzenstat, celebrates the founding of Canada and those Founders who played key roles intellectually and in their actions. This latest MLI publication is timely as Canadians ponder the effectiveness of our parliamentary institutions in this age of minority government.

Ajzenstat makes a forceful, fact-based case that Canada stands on strong, deeply-rooted liberal democratic philosophical foundations. Using their own words she paints the picture of Founders far more steeped in a concern with liberty, than academic and popular tradition suggests. She proclaims, "We have every reason to be proud of those whose minds and energies gave us Canada, and of the system of Parliamentary self-government at its political core."

In a preface to the publication, University of Calgary political scientist and Macdonald-Laurier Institute Research Advisory Board member Rainer Knopff says this publication presents "…an hors d'oeuvre of Ajzenstat's work about the founding period." Knopff also underlines the need to understand and appreciate the role of history in national policy debates. Ajzenstat's work embodies this principle to the fullest and Confederation and Individual Liberty provides a very readable tutorial on the founding of Canada for political leaders and citizens alike.

In releasing the paper, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley said, "We are delighted that the Macdonald-Laurier Institute can play a role in helping all Canadians to better understand our country. Canada has an immense political tradition and history and we need to celebrate it more every day." Crowley also noted that earlier this year MLI published The Canadian Century: Moving out of America's Shadow, a look at the influence of the Laurier era and of Laurier's classical liberal philosophy on the Canadian body politic of today. "MLI will continue to bring the story of Canada's political history to the fore because there are public policy lessons in it for today."

-30-For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact George Young at or call (613) 482-8327.

Copies of the full report are available by request or can be downloaded at

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