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(Ottawa) –  More than 80 guests attended An Election Primer for Diplomats, the inaugural event of Carleton University’s new Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement.

President Roseann O’Reilly Runte opened a panel session that included Fen Hampson, director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, and Christopher Waddell and André Turcotte from the School of Journalism and Communication. Waddell is a former Parliamentary bureau chief for CBC National News responsible for political and election coverage and Turcotte is a former party pollster and adviser. All three appear regularly in the national media. Maureen Boyd, director of the Initiative, moderated the panel.

Panelists explained what was required to win a majority and the effect of the polls on shaping media coverage and party strategy and focused on some key ridings. They discussed the role that policy, including foreign policy, played in the election and outlined what to watch for until election day.

The panel was followed by a reception.

Ambassadors, high commissioners and diplomats responsible for political and trade reporting from more than 40 countries attended along with members of the Board of Governors, deans, professors and representatives from organizations interested in promoting the best in political and public life. Guests included Derek Burney who brought his experience as former chief of chief of staff to Prime Minister Mulroney and as Ambassador to Washington and Goldy Hyder, a former political strategist now at Hill & Knowlton. Also in attendance were Dianne Brydon, director general of Learning and Access at the Library of Parliament; Jean Paul Ruszkowski, president and CEO of the Parliamentary Centre; Francis LeBlanc, a former Member of Parliament and board member of the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians. The event was held with the support of, and in association with, the Ottawa Diplomatic Association.

The Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement will serve the parliamentary and foreign diplomatic communities by offering trusted non-partisan information on public policy for parliamentarians as they consider legislation and issues affecting the governing of Canada; and trusted non-partisan information and expertise for diplomats about the political and public policy issues facing Canada and the world.

The Initiative is supported by and will call upon the resources of five Carleton Faculties: Public Affairs; Arts and Social Sciences; Sprott School of Business; Science; and Engineering and Design. As Canada’s capital university, Carleton is strategically positioned and has the resources to offer this orientation using nationally-recognized educators and leaders from within and outside the Carleton community. The Initiative is directed by Maureen Boyd, a senior fellow at NPSIA.

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