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

For further information

Sherry Naylor, Prize Manager
The Donner Prize
505 Danforth Avenue, Suite 201
Toronto, ON M4K 1P5

(416) 368 8253



Michael Byers’ International Law and the Arctic wins $50,000 top prize

Toronto, Wednesday, April 30, 2014 – The winner of the Donner Prize, the annual award for the best public policy book by a Canadian, was announced this evening by Allan Gotlieb, Chairman of the Donner Canadian Foundation, at a gala awards dinner at The Carlu hosted by Don Newman, Chairman of Canada 2020.

Michael Byers was awarded the $50,000 Donner Prize for International Law and the Arctic, published by 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. In International Law and the Arctic, Michael Byers, an eminent Canadian expert on international law relating to the Arctic, positions Canada’s sovereignty claims in the region in the context of competing international claims of other Arctic states. 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 and thorough analysis of the current state of play in the Central Arctic Ocean and its five bordering coastal states, an area where the combination of melting sea-ice and the growing demand for oil and gas has increased international interest in resource exploration, shipping rights and environmental protection. Written with passion and first-hand experience of the subject, International Law and the Arctic reminds us that we cannot ignore the importance of the Arctic to Canada and all its people.” —Donner Prize Jury

Michael Byers holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia. Byers is a regular commentator on CBC programs The Current and The National, and contributor to The Globe and Mail and other major publications. One of his previous books, Who Owns the Arctic? was shortlisted for the 2009 Donner Prize.

The other nominated titles, each of which received $7,500, were:

  • Out of the Basement: Youth Cultural Production in Practice and in Policy by Miranda Campbell (McGill-Queen's University Press)
  • Unjust by Design: Canada's Administrative Justice System by Ron Ellis (UBC Press)
  • The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures by Jim Leech and Jacquie McNish (Signal)
  • Shut Off: The Canadian Digital Television Transition by Gregory Taylor (McGill-Queen's University Press)

The winner of the Donner Prize was chosen from an impressive list of 80 submissions by the five-member jury: A. Anne McLellan (Jury Chair), Marcel Boyer, Peter George, Jennifer A. Jeffs and Denis Stairs.

Jury Chair Anne McLellan commented on this year’s shortlist: “The jury was impressed with the diversity of subjects—from the personal to national and global issues of public policy—that characterize this year’s shortlist. In choosing our shortlist we consider the importance of the subject, the soundness and originality of the analysis, the presentation of evidence, the support for the conclusions reached and the accessibility of the text.”

The Donner Prize, established in 1998, annually rewards excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy thinking, writing and research. In bestowing this award, the Donner Canadian Foundation seeks to broaden policy debates, increase general awareness of the importance of policy decision making and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse.

For further information, please contact:
Sherry Naylor, Prize Manager
Naylor and Associates
Phone: 416 368 8253