September 19, 2011, Ottawa, ON – With the addition of Professor Ben Perrin, Laura Dawson, Ph.D., Professor Stephen Blank, and Brigadier-General James Cox as Senior Fellows, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute is poised to tackle even more pressing issues facing Canada's federal government. Our new scholars are recognized experts in their fields of Canada-U.S. relations, trade, defence, human rights, and immigration and we are delighted to have attracted this group of distinguished individuals to MLI.

"The chief foundation stone of any think tank's work is the quality of the people who contribute to its ideas, thinking and analysis," said MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley. "By that measure, MLI's future is bright indeed, for the four people joining our team today have some of the most fertile minds, prolific pens and ardent desire to improve public policy of any of their contemporaries. We are delighted to welcome them to MLI and look forward to bringing their insights to bear on public policy debates in Canada and elsewhere."

Benjamin Perrin is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law and a member of the Law Society of British Columbia. His teaching and research interests include Canadian and international criminal law, the law of armed conflict, as well as migrant smuggling and human trafficking. Professor Perrin's recent book Invisible Chains: Canada's Underground World of Human Trafficking (Viking Canada, 2010) became a bestseller and was named one of the top books of the year by the Globe and Mail. In 2010, amendments proposed by Professor Perrin to the Criminal Code were adopted by Parliament to enact stiffer penalties for child trafficking (Bill C-268) - the only private member's bill to become law between 2008 and 2010 and only the fifteenth time since Confederation that the Criminal Code had been amended by a private member's bill. He has also been honoured by the Governor General of Canada and victims groups for his efforts.

Laura Dawson is the President of Dawson Strategic and provides advice to business on cross-border trade, market access and regulatory issues.  Previously, she served as senior advisor on U.S.-Canada economic affairs at the United States Embassy in Ottawa and has been a senior associate at the Centre for Trade Policy and Law at Carleton University. As a specialist in U.S.-Canada economic relations, Dawson contributed to the launch of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council, the Border Vision Strategy, and the bilateral Government Procurement Agreement.  From September to December 2011, she is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC researching policy options to rebuild North American competitiveness.

Stephen Blank has enjoyed a long career in the academic, business and not-for-profit communities. He is one of the leading experts on North American continental economic co-operation and integration, as well as a long-time Canada watcher. Blank is the Director of the Portal for North America, an on-line network linking the main centres of research on North America.

Brigadier-General James Cox (Retired) served in The Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR) for over 30 years and now teaches Canadian foreign policy at the University of Ottawa and civil-military relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, at Carleton University. From 2005-2011, he was an analyst in the Library of Parliament, assigned to advise a number of House of Commons and Senate committees dealing with international security, national defence and veterans affairs issues.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank based in Ottawa that focuses on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

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