Travers Debates

“Thanks for all the Fish” © Fred Chartrand and THE CANADIAN PRESS


No debate required – the Travers Debates were a huge hit!


A capacity crowd was treated to a full serving of wit and wisdom at the non-partisan party at the National Arts Centre on October 16th, which raised a remarkable $50,000 for the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship.

The outstanding debaters who made the evening a smash success caused the audience to laugh and think, sometimes even at the same time. Kudos and deep appreciation to Chantal Hébert, Kady O’Malley, Bob Rae, Nathan Cullen, for wrestling with the resolution that “Twitter will be the death of journalism in 140 characters”, and to Dan Gardner and Allan Gregg who tackled a somewhat meatier issue “The future of the United States is brighter than that of Canada.”

The debates were officiated by Senator Hugh Segal, moderator; Don Newman, Master of Ceremonies; and Sheila Fraser, official timekeeper, who provided the wit, enthusiasm, and discipline which kept the evening moving smoothly. (No closure motions were required!)

Generous silent auction donors provided unique items which made the bidding fast, furious and very beneficial to the fundraising effort.


“Inspired by my opponent’s humour and eloquence I will now recite productivity statistics.” © Fred Chartrand and THE CANADIAN PRESS


Enjoying this new highlight of the Fall Ottawa social calendar was a vibrant mix of nearly three hundred politicos, journalists and lobbyists, who had made it a sold-out event three weeks before the evening.

All the players paid tribute to Jim Travers, the intelligent, hard-nosed, award-winning journalist with a huge wit and a big heart who was the national columnist for the Toronto Star when he died March 3, 2011.

The R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship established by colleagues and friends, celebrates the passion and ideals that Jim illustrated throughout his career. It reflects the importance he attached to his six years reporting from Africa and the Middle East and the role he played as a tireless champion for the cause of giving Canadians first-hand, in-depth coverage of stories beyond their borders.

The generous financial support of the event sponsors, who are listed further down the page, the silent auction and the enthusiastic ticket sales, resulted in the Travers Debates event generating a terrific and substantial boost to the Fellowship.

As they left the evening, many in the audience suggested that the Travers Debates become an annual event. It’s a grand idea, and we just might.

“Time Is Up” © Fred Chartrand and THE CANADIAN PRESS

Please enjoy some more images of the evening from veteran photographer Fred Chartrand.

You can see who attended –  click right here.

@TraversDebates on twitter

Susan Delacourt’s Star column describing the debates