Board of Scholars

Shahzia Teja

Shahzia Teja

Shahzia Teja, President of the Ideas Institute, is an economist in Toronto. She graduated in 2005 with an M.A. in Economics and has over a decade of policy experience with the provincial government. Prior to that, she engaged in research with The Fraser Institute and the University of Guelph. Her work has appeared in Canadian research publications, including Canadian Public Policy. Her research and personal interests include environmental and health economics, as well as philosophy and mathematics.

Dr. Donald Welsh

Dr. Donald Welsh

Dr. Donald Welsh, Vice President of the Ideas Institute, is a Professor of Physiology at the University of Western Ontario with a strong interest in public engagement. He is a member of several scientific societies, publishes in cardiovascular biology, and is actively involved peer review and the Canadian research ecosystem. 

Lisa Bildy

Lisa Bildy

Lisa Bildy was called to the Ontario bar in 1995. She practiced in family and personal injury law, until taking a hiatus to raise and homeschool her sons. On her return to practice in 2017, she learned of the Law Society of Ontario’s new requirement that lawyers sign a Statement of Principles undertaking to promote Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in all aspects of their lives, as a condition of practicing law. Believing it was not for a regulator to dictate lawyers’ personal principles, she led a successful campaign, known as StopSOP, to elect to the law society a slate of lawyers who were committed to repealing this requirement. Lisa then worked for two years as a staff lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, before leaving to resume her private litigation practice known as Libertas Law. She writes and speaks regularly on civil liberties issues.

Mikko Packalen

Mikko Packalen is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo. He holds a Ph.D in economics from Stanford University and an M.Soc.Sci from the University of Helsinki. His research examines the production of ideas and how to reignite scientific and technological progress. This work has been published in leading international journals such as Journal of Health Economics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Scientometrics, and has received funding from the National Institute of Aging, Amazon Web Services, Emergent Ventures and Business Finland.

Dr. Claus Rinner

Dr. Claus Rinner

Dr. Claus Rinner is a professor at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, where he teaches geospatial data analytics, cartographic visualization, and decision support techniques. He holds degrees in applied mathematics, systems sciences, and geography from German and French universities. His externally funded, peer-reviewed, and widely cited research aims to improve effective collaboration and decision-making in fields such as public health, urban planning, and environmental conservation. During the corona crisis, Dr. Rinner has substantially engaged in public scholarship.

James Manson

James Manson

James Manson is an experienced litigator based in Toronto. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, James has also resided in several Canadian cities before finally settling in Toronto. He has built a career primarily in the commercial sector, arguing a range of cases before the courts in many jurisdictions across Canada.

Outside the courtroom, James has developed an abiding interest in civil and human rights and the rule of law, particularly during the last few years. He is honoured to be involved with the Ideas Institute and to add his voice to the conversation in these difficult times. 

Bruce Pardy

Bruce Pardy

Bruce Pardy, professor of law at Queen’s University and Executive Director of Rights Probe (https://www.rightsprobe.org/), is one Canada’s few classically liberal legal academics.  A critic of legal progressivism, he has written on a range of pressing subjects including human rights and freedoms, environmental governance, professional and university governance, property and tort theory, free markets, and the rule of law. He has taught at law schools in Canada, the United States and New Zealand, practiced civil litigation at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto, and served as adjudicator and mediator on the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal. He is a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, and publishes and comments widely in traditional and online media. He is one of the co-creators of the Free North Declaration, a call to arms to protect civil liberties in Canada.

Trish Wood

Trish Wood

Trish Wood is an author, director and investigative journalist with a long career centered on exposing crime, corruption and institutional failures – always with a focus on the people who’ve been harmed. She spent nearly ten years as host of CBC’s Emmy-winning The Fifth Estate and won numerous awards for her medical reporting on As It Happens. Wood’s book on the Iraq War, What Was Asked of Us, was positively reviewed by the New York Times and other major publications including a San Francisco Chronicle article suggesting it was  “the only book about Iraq that matters.” Her podcast, Trish Wood is Critical, features thinkers from diverse backgrounds and is shaping public policy discussion around the world.

Dr. Travis D. Smith

Dr. Travis D. Smith is Associate Professor of Political Science at Concordia University where he teaches political philosophy. His publications include examinations of the ideas of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, and Alexis de Tocqueville. He earned his PhD at Harvard University where he wrote his dissertation on the political significance of medicine in early modern thought. More recently, he has written extensively about covid times. He is principally interested in the intersection of politics, religion, and science, as well as the relationship between storytelling, ethics, and education.