Acadian artistic icon Herménégilde Chiasson and renowned environmental economist Peter Victor win Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prizes

Managing Without Growth - Peter A. Victor

Ottawa, June 8, 2011 – Winners of this year’s Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prizes Herménégilde Chiasson and Peter Victor have forever changed their respective fields through their innovative and important artistic and scholarly contributions.

Mr. Chiasson, winner of the Molson Prize in the arts, has had exceptional achievements in many disciplines including literature, theatre, film and visual arts and is the first Acadian to win this award. Through his research, Peter Victor, winner of the Molson Prize in the social sciences, paved the way for a new discipline called ecological economies. He continues to find new ways to manage economic growth that are easier on the planet and the population.

Two Canada Council Molson Prizes, worth $50,000 each, are awarded every year to distinguished Canadians, one in the arts and the other in the social sciences or humanities. The prizes recognize the recipients’ outstanding lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada. The Council administers these awards in co-operation with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and, following a nomination process, both laureates were selected by a joint peer assessment committee.

“We are privileged to be honouring Herménégilde Chiasson and
Peter Victor, two extraordinarily accomplished individuals,” said
Robert Sirman, Canada Council Director and CEO. “Mr. Chiasson, through his art and deep commitment to Acadian culture, has increased our appreciation for this vibrant community and its unique place in Canada’s cultural landscape. Mr. Victor has shown us that advancing our country’s economy can happen hand-in-hand with preserving our nation’s rich environmental assets.”

“Our partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts for the Molson Prizes is an important one that results in highlighting scholarly and artistic excellence to all Canadians. As success in the global economy relies increasingly on our ability to capture ideas from all sectors, the Molson Prize remains a beacon for multidisciplinary excellence both in adjudication and achievement,” said Dr. Chad Gaffield, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Herménégilde Chiasson

Herménégilde Chiasson is a noted Acadian poet, playwright, visual artist, filmmaker and artistic director. He has published 15 poetry collections, directed 17 films, written 25 plays (many of which toured nationally) and exhibited his artwork in over a hundred galleries. Among his publications are Mourir à Scoudouc (1974), Vous (1991), Climats (1996) and Conversations (1998), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. He has two bachelor’s degrees in visual art, two masters’ degrees and a doctorate, along with many honorary doctorates including his most recent from McGill University this year.

A former lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, he received the Prix France-Acadie for his literary output and the New Brunswick Excellence Award for his films. He has been named to the Ordre des francophones d’Amérique and Chevalier des arts et lettres; he is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and a Knight of the Order of la Pléiade.
Mr. Chiasson was also a founding member of several key arts organizations such as Théâtre de l’Escaouette, Les Éditions
Perce-neige, Galerie Imago and the Association acadienne des artistes professionnel.le.s du Nouveau-Brunswick (Acadian Association of Professional Artists of New Brunswick). Born in Saint-Simon (N.B.), he now lives in Grand-Barachois (N.B.) and teaches at Université de Moncton.

Peter Victor

Dr. Peter Victor is an economist who has worked on environmental issues for over 40 years as an academic, consultant and public servant. By extending input-output analysis, he was the first economist to apply the physical law of the conservation of matter to the empirical analysis of a national economy. Dr. Victor was one of the founders of the emerging discipline of ecological economics and was the first President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics. His most recent book is Managing without Growth: Slower by Design, not Disaster (Edward Elgar, 2008).

Dr. Victor has served on numerous boards and advisory committees and has appeared as an expert witness before various Commissions. He is currently a professor in Environmental Studies at York University. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee on the National Accounts for Statistics Canada, the Academic Advisory Panel of TruCost, the Board of the David Suzuki Foundation, the Board of the New Economics Institute, and the editorial advisory board of several academic journals.

This year’s Molson Prize committee was made up of :

  • William E. Caplin (Montreal), James McGill Professor of Music Theory at McGill University
  • Adrienne Clarkson (Toronto), writer, former Governor General of Canada and broadcast journalist
  • Ann Dale (Victoria), Canada Research Chair on Sustainable Community Development at Royal Roads University and Trudeau Fellow Alumna
  • Dennis Foon (Vancouver), screenwriter, playwright, and author
  • Joseph Yvon Thériault (Montreal), Professor of Sociology and Chairholder, Canada Research Chair in Globalization, Citizenship and Democracy at the Université du Québec à Montréal

General information

In addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts, the Canada Council for the Arts administers and awards many prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and health sciences, engineering, and arts management. These prizes and fellowships recognize the achievements of outstanding Canadian artists, scholars, and administrators. The Canada Council is committed to raising public awareness and celebrating these exceptional people and organizations on both a national and international level.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council is the federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its three funding programs Talent, Insight and Connection SSHRC enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada and facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society.

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Mireille Allaire
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Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Trevor Lynn