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Shortlist for $50,000 Donner Prize includes controversial MacKinnon book

The five public-policy books on the shortlist for the Donner Prize have been announced. The winner of the $50,000 prize will be announced at an awards ceremony in Toronto on May 1.

Among the shortlisted words are Dalhousie University interim president Peter MacKinnon’s controversial University Commons Divided: Exploring Debate and Dissent on Campus. The University of Toronto Press book, which dissects controversies that he argues are unique to the university environment, was at the centre of student protests in January for suggesting that students overreact to white students in blackface at Halloween parties.

At the urging of students and colleagues at Dalhousie University, he made a statement to the university senate. “I do not condone blackface,” he said. “I regret any interpretation to the contrary, and the distress it has caused.”

The shortlist was announced by the chair of the Donner Canadian Foundation, Ken Whyte, on Tuesday.

  • Indigenous Nationals, Canadian Citizens: From First Contact to Canada 150 and Beyond, Thomas J. Courchene (Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, Queen’s University)
  • Population Bombed! Exploding the Link Between Overpopulation and Climate Change, Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak (Global Warming Policy Foundation)
  • Basic Income for Canadians: The Key to a Healthier, Happier and More Secure Life for All, Evelyn L. Forget (James Lorimer & Company Ltd.)
  • University Commons Divided: Exploring Debate and Dissent on Campus, Peter MacKinnon (University of Toronto Press)
  • Excessive Force: Toronto’s Fight to Reform City Policing, Alok Mukherjee with Tim Harper (Douglas & McIntyre)