Jeffrey Simpson

Canadians are getting closer to a cure for what ails health care.

Former National Affairs Columnist for The Globe and Mail

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Jeffrey Simpson | Former National Affairs Columnist for The Globe and Mail

One of Canada’s foremost political commentators, Jeffrey Simpson was The Globe and Mail’s National Affairs columnist for over three decades, and has won this country’s highest honours for journalism. Simpson has some big, yet applicable, ideas to fix our system—and he’s not afraid to share them. His most recent book is Chronic Condition: Why Canada’s Health Care System Needs to Be Dragged into the 21st Century

Jeffrey Simpson is the most decorated journalist in Canada. An Officer of the Order of Canada, he also received seven honorary doctorates and numerous national writing awards, including the Governor-General’s Prize and the Donner Prize for the best book on public policy, the National Newspaper Award (twice) and the National Magazine Award. He also won the Hyman Soloman Award for public policy journalism, the Arthur Kroeger Award for contributions to public policy, and the Charles Lynch prize for coverage of national politics.

For 32 years, Simpson’s national affairs column in The Globe and Mail was essential reading for decision-makers and informed Canadians across the country. In that column, and in hundreds of public speeches and lectures, he ranged over an enormous number of domestic and international issues, from politics to health-care, from climate-change to economic and fiscal policy, to Canadian-American relations and the Middle East. In addition to making presentations at conferences here and abroad, he moderated many conferences. He retired from column-writing at The Globe and Mail in mid-2016, but continues to lecture and speak on many of the leading issues of the day.


He has written eight books, including Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challege, numerous magazine articles, appeared regularly on television in English and French, and was a guest lecturer at such universities as Oxford, Edinburgh, Harvard, Princeton, Brigham Young, California and more than a dozen universities in Canada. He has been a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; a Skelton-Clark Fellow and Brockington Visitor at Queen’s university; a distinguished visitor at the University of Alberta; and a member of the Georgetown University Leadership Seminar.


He has been a member of the board of trustees of Queen’s University, the board of overseers of Green, College, University of British Columbia; the advisory councils of the Robarts Medical Research Institute and the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western university; and the editorial board of the Queen’s Quarterly. He was vice-chairman of the City of Ottawa Library Board and was awarded the William Watkinson Award for outstanding contributions to the Canadian library community.

Simpson has taught as an adjunct professor at the Queen’s University Institute of Policy Studies and the University of Ottawa Law School. He is senior fellow at the University of Ottawa Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He was a juror for the Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction books in 2008 and for the Cundill Prize for history in 2011 and 2012. He is also a member of the Trilateral Commission.

Speech Topics

Public Health
Chronic Condition Why Canada’s Health Care System Needs to Be Dragged Into the 21st Century

Not many people these days are talking sense about health care. Canadians are in love with Medicare, but they don’t realize that we spend in the top rank for health care among industrial countries—only to get middling results. While this gap widens between spending and performance, we shovel so much extra money into health care that everything else suffers: education, social services, transport, environment. In this insightful talk, Jefferey Simpson taps into new research to explain the history of Medicare, indicate how it compares internationally, illustrate what it's doing to public finances, and debunk some half-baked ideas for reforming it. Simpson also suggests some big, but doable changes that might achieve our two most important objectives: improve quality and reduce the increase in health care expenses.

Canadian Politics
Politics, Power & Personalities Who Really Calls The Shots In Canada

In his talks, Simpson gives you an insider’s look at politics and the people who wield the real power in Canada. He goes beyond the political to look at business leaders and others whose actions influence policy and legislation across the country—whose actions, by extension, impact your life, your business and your strategy. Giving you valuable insight into the power brokers, Simpson helps you focus in on the key players and events that will create the context for the future of your industry—and shows you how to react accordingly. It’s a glimpse into an important world you may have known existed, but which you never fully understood. Until now.

Climate Change
Hot Air Meeting Canada’s Climate Challenge

While many keynotes on climate change are either terrifying, academic, or advocate only a single solution, Jeffrey Simpson’s is different. Outlining, first, how we have been betrayed by our politicians, corporations, even environmentalists, he lays out, in convincing and accessible terms, the few simple policies that Canada must adopt right now. Backed with examples from countries successfully addressing the issue, he shows how these policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can be designed to have minimal negative effects, and why these are the only policies that will work.