I am pleased and excited to be taking the helm of the Canada West Foundation.

It will not be easy to follow in the footsteps of past CEOs, most recently Dylan Jones, but I will do my best. There is a great team in place, a diverse and dedicated board of directors leading the way, and all-important supporters, financial and otherwise, throughout the West. I look forward to working with everyone involved.

Forty-five years ago, the Canada West Foundation was established to provide a voice for western Canadians in a time and environment when major Canadian policy decisions were often disproportionately influenced by the East. We have all grown and evolved since then. To be sure, there remain region-specific issues that must be addressed and inter-region differences to be managed.

But, overwhelmingly, what is good for the West is good for Canada.

Consistent with the founding principles of the Foundation, we will continue to advocate for the West, at the national level and with other provinces and territories across Canada. We will also work to ensure that the West itself responds to, and takes advantage of, global challenges and opportunities. Recognizing, too, that the West is composed of different regions and interests, with sometimes different perspectives, we will work to find, and build on, common directions and opportunities, and to find creative solutions where differences arise.

We will continue to concentrate on three centres of research excellence: Human Capital – building toward a thriving workforce; Natural Resources – championing responsible development; and Trade & Investment – pursuing prosperity through both foreign and internal trade and investment. And all of our work will include essential economic and fiscal analysis.

Whatever the issue at hand, decisions are better when they are rooted in good policy. This is achieved through thorough, economically supported research and analysis – detached from partisan politics, ideology, or some artificial focus on (or fear of) what might be seen as “left” or “right.” At the same time, even the best policy recommendations are only useful when they find their way into the hands of decision-makers – industry, government, academic and other community leaders. They then need the tools, and the public support, to make and implement the necessary decisions.

To that end, building on its history and reputation, the Canada West Foundation will: (i) develop and gather, on its own and in collaboration with others, the best, most balanced policy research and analysis available to address the key issues of the day; (ii) develop, and communicate widely, recommendations and commentary based on that research and analysis; and, (iii) convene political, industry, academic and community decision-makers to debate the issues, make practical policy recommendations, and show how those decisions can be made and implemented.

The Canada West Foundation is uniquely poised to contribute significantly both to the West and to Canada as a whole. These are interesting times, full of challenge, opportunity and promise. I am honoured to be joining the Canada West Foundation team, and I look forward to contributing to our collective future.

Martha Hall Findlay