Canada needs better policies to address today’s economic challenges, and that starts with bold discourse. The McGill Max Bell Lectures focus on the analysis, balance, and practicality needed to plan for a more prosperous future.

The rise of dominant firms across Canadian industries has dramatically changed the way markets operate. Today, de facto private regulators – in the form of the largest and most powerful corporations – set market rules and norms outside of more democratic channels.

Markets aren’t born, they’re made. Canadians and their policymakers can shape the course of present and future markets in a way that elevates the nation’s productivity, innovation capacity, and fairness – but it will require new approaches to age-old problems. The economy has changed, but our conversation about competition mostly hasn’t.

In this book and accompanying lectures, writers and competition policy experts Vass Bednar and Denise Hearn will help readers think about how markets are made and remade, the importance and limitations of present-day competition policy, and the need to reconsider the optimal role of the Canadian state in moderating corporate behaviour.

This is a book for anyone – policy people, workers, citizens – who cares about the future of the Canadian economy, and dares to envision more productive, vibrant, and democratic markets.

The 2024 lecturers are Vass Bednar and Denise Hearn.

Vass Bednar is the Executive Director of McMaster University's MPP in Digital Society program (on leave). Her work focuses on the intersection(s) between public policy and technology. She contributes to policy discussions in Canada through her affiliations as a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a Fellow at the Public Policy Forum (PPF), opinion editorials in the Globe and Mail and the Financial Post, and her popular newsletter "regs to riches." Vass was recently recognized as a Globe and Mail Report on Business “Changemaker” for her work describing Cineplex’s unique monopolization and calling out shady apps on Shopify. She is a graduate of McMaster's Arts & Science program and holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Toronto.

Denise Hearn is a writer and applied researcher who advises governments, financial institutions, companies, and nonprofits on antitrust, economic policy, and new economic thinking. She is currently a Resident Senior Fellow at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, a joint center of Columbia University Law School and Columbia Climate School. Denise co-authored The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition – named one of the Financial Times’ Best Books of 2018. Her writing has been translated into 9 languages and featured in major publications globally. She currently authors the Embodied Economics newsletter. Denise has an MBA from the Oxford Saïd Business School and a BA in International Studies from Baylor University.


The McGill Max Bell Lectures are held in three Canadian cities annually, and the associated book will be published each year ahead of the lecture series by Sutherland House. The McGill Max Bell Lectures are free and open to the public, made possible by a foundational gift from respected business leader and McGill alumnus Thomas E. Kierans, O.C., LLD, FICD.



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