Book launch for first comprehensive examination of think tanks in Canada

abelson8Donald Abelson, one of Canada’s leading experts on American politics and U.S. foreign policy, has penned the first comprehensive examination of think tanks in Canada.

Northern Lights: Exploring Canada’s Think Tank Landscape” (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016) is both a primer for those looking to understand the role and function of think tanks in the policy-making process and a guide to the leading policy institutes in the country.

Octopus Books (251 Bank Street, Second Floor, Ottawa) will be hosting a book launch event for “Northern Lights” on Thursday, December 1 at 7 p.m.

Abelson will be giving a talk, connecting with audience members in a Q&A and signing copies of “Northern Lights” at the event.

A Professor and Chair of Western University’s Department of Political Science and Director of the Canada-U.S. Institute at Western, Abelson is also the author of “Think Tanks, Foreign Policy and Geo-politics: Pathways to Influence” (with Xin Hua and Stephen Brooks, Routledge 2016) and “Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes,” which has been translated into both Arabic and Chinese.

His work has also appeared in more than four dozen edited collections and academic journals, including: International Affairs, Global Society, Presidential Studies Quarterly, The Canadian Review of American Studies, The Canadian Journal of Political Science and Canadian Public Administration.

In addition to his research and teaching interests, he is also a regular commentator on various national and international media outlets where he discusses the think tank phenomenon as well as current developments in American Politics and Canada-U.S. relations.

From the publisher:

Think tanks are often thought of as a uniquely US phenomenon. Although the largest concentration of think tanks is in the United States, they can be found in virtually every country. Often overlooked, Canada’s think tanks represent a highly diverse and eclectic group of public policy organizations such as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Fraser Institute, and the Mowat Centre among others.

In Northern Lights, Donald Abelson explores the rise of think tanks in Canada and addresses many of the most commonly asked questions about how, and under what circumstances, they are able to affect public opinion and public policy. He identifies the ways in which Canadian think tanks often prioritize political advocacy over policy research, and seeks to explain why these organizations are well-suited and equipped to shape the discourse around key policy issues.

A limited number of media copies of “Northern Lights” are available upon request. Abelson is also available for interviews in advance of the event.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165,, @jeffrenaud99

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