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A notable appointment

The Bank of Canada has asked two university professors, including Queen’s Jonathan Rose, to guide public consultation as it selects a Canadian woman to feature on a new bank note.

“I jumped at the opportunity,” says Dr. Rose (Political Studies), who will serve on the expert panel alongside Barbara Crow, a professor at York University. “It’s the first time a central bank anywhere has used a public engagement strategy to solicit advice on whom should be the face of its money, and it’s always great to be involved in a novel project.”

The Bank of Canada has invited citizens to nominate women from Canada’s past who are deserving of the recognition. The nomination period will close on April 15. After that point, an independent advisory council of eminent Canadian academic, cultural and thought leaders will develop a short list of candidates and submit them to the Governor of the Bank of Canada.

Dr. Rose and Dr. Crow will guide the work of the advisory council during the selection process. They will ensure the consultation process follows best practices such as transparency, open mindedness, and values-based decision-making, but they will not offer their opinion on who should be selected.

Jonathan Rose, an associate professor in the Department of Political Studies, has experience leading several citizens’ assemblies.

Dr. Rose applauds Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz for making the commitment to consult the public.

“A currency is a public expression of national identity, and it belongs to the people. It’s only fitting that citizens have a say in who should appear on their money,” Dr. Rose says. “They are so many pathbreaking, visionary and exemplary Canadian women who have distinguished themselves in fields across society. It’s appropriate they are celebrated in a really public way.”

Dr. Rose believes the bank note consultation will be a fruitful exercise based on his previous experiences. From April 2006 to June 2007, he served as the academic director of the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. He has also created and led a citizens’ assembly in Prince Edward County that studied the optimal size of municipal council and continues to be involved in international deliberative projects.

 “Citizens have a greater capacity for thoughtful analysis than what we typically think. If the conversation and debate is structured in such a way as to encourage citizens to think deeply about the topic, my experience is that they reach a good decision,” he says. “Citizens’ assemblies have also taught me that people are much more open-minded. As they learn and think, they are willing to change their mind.”

Visit the Bank of Canada website for more information.

The original story was posted in the Queen’s Gazette.