The Donner Prize - The Award for the Best Book on Canadian Public Policy

Shortlist 2013/14

Book Cover of International Law and the Arctic

International Law and the Arctic

Michael Byers / Cambridge University Press

Climate change and rising oil prices have thrust the Arctic to the top of the foreign policy agenda and raised difficult issues of sovereignty, security and environmental protection. Refuting the widespread misconception that the Arctic is an unregulated zone of potential conflict, Byers instead illustrates a strong trend towards international cooperation and law-making. This book is an accessible but thoroughly comprehensive analysis of issues in the Arctic, written with passion and deep knowledge of the subject.

Michael Byers is a Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia.

Book Cover of Out of the Basement by Miranda Campbell

Out of the Basement: Youth Cultural Production in Practice and in Policy

Miranda Campbell / McGill-Queen's University Press

Out of the Basement considers what has—or has not—changed as youth attempt to make a living from creative works, revealing how existing policies can impede small-scale cultural production. Moving between structures designed to support creative life and the initiatives taken by young people in the absence of such structures, Out of the Basement calls for more awareness and support of youth creative enterprise. Campbell's work is a highly original and well-timed analysis of the rise of small-scale creative employment.

Miranda Campbell is professor of English at Dawson College.

Book Cover of Unjust by Design by Ron Ellis

Unjust by Design: Canada's Administrative Justice System

Ron Ellis / UBC Press

Unjust by Design describes a system in need of major restructuring: failing to conform to rule-of-law principles or constitutional norms, Canada's judicial tribunals are neither independent nor, in law, impartial, and only providentially competent. Ellis tackles exceptionally important issues, not only expertly defining the problem, but also providing a solution in the form of detailed blueprints for a restructured system. A thought-provoking read, Unjust by Design presents a powerful perspective on a subject that is important for all Canadians.

Ron Ellis is an administrative law lawyer, teacher, academic, arbitrator, and former chair and CEO of a major administrative judicial tribunal.

Book Cover of The Third Rail by Jim Leech and Jacquie McNish

The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures

Jim Leech and Jacquie McNish / Signal

Over the next 20 years more than seven million Canadian workers will retire. The Third Rail posits that unless our crumbling pension system is reformed, many of these retirees will find the retirement dream a bewildering and disappointing mirage. Leech and McNish break the silence on this "ticking time bomb" subject, and have written a prescriptive, accessible book that deserves to be read by all demographics, from incoming retirees to the young generation just entering the workforce.

Jim Leech is the former President and CEO of the Ontario Teachers' Pension.

Jacquie McNish is a senior writer for The Globe and Mail and a regular host on the Business News Network.

Book Cover of Shut off by Gregory Taylor

Shut Off: The Canadian Digital Television Transition

Gregory Taylor / McGill-Queen's University Press

The history of the digital transition is one of great scientific achievement, expensive failures, and significant political and industrial power struggles. Taylor provides an insightful assessment of a period of technological and economic upheaval in Canadian broadcasting, revealing how digital broadcasting has been the site of dramatic change in the political economy of Canadian media. A strong study that presents the reader with surprising messages, Shut Off challenges old thought and encourages new perspectives on an important subject.

Gregory Taylor is a post-doctoral fellow at Ryerson University.