By Jean Mercier
[The Centre for Environment (CFE) was pleased to host the sabbatical visit of Dr. Jean Mercier, professor of environmental policy at Université Laval’s Political Science Department in Québec City from November 8 to December 16, 2011.]
My visit was arranged through Dr. Douglas Macdonald (CFE Senior Lecturer) with whom I’ve worked on different SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) funded projects, the current one comparing urban transportation policy in the city of Toronto with other transit cities of the Americas. Within this last project, I met with U of T graduate students Amir Ganjavie (Ph.D. candidate, Geography and CFE) and Scott Sams (Ph.D. candidate, Political Science) who have worked on the interviews in Toronto. I also participated in meetings on the publication of the Toronto data, focussing on decision-making for transit investment.
On November 30, I made the final presentation of the fall term in the Centre’s Environment Seminar Series and spoke about successful transit cities in sustainable urban transportation and the policy tools which they used to attain their goals in augmenting the modal split portion in favour of public transit. These success stories are models from which our Canadian cities, already doing a respectable job, can learn from.
As I’m also interested in climate change policy, I participated in Dr. Macdonald’s graduate course on environmental policy (ENV 1002) in early December, along with two other guests Ph.D. candidate David Houle (Political Science and CFE) and Keith Stewart (Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada and CFE Sessional Lecturer). As it was the last class, it continued at the Graduate Students’ Union pub, across the street for more discussion. During the visit, I also worked on an article on policy instrument choice with David Houle who has also worked with Dr. Macdonald and me on some funded projects.
I also enjoyed participating in other seminars, presentations and discussions on Canadian climate change policy, notably with a visiting member of the European parliament on the proposed new European regulations regarding the calculation of greenhause production of different type or petroleum sources, which are predicted to affect petroleum coming from Canadian tar sands. Finally, I met briefly with Dr. Eric Miller (Director, Cities Centre and Professor, Civil Engineering, U of T), and discussed future possible collaboration, particularly involving doctoral students interested in coming to U of T.
My stay was an active and full one, which I appreciated greatly. My academic and professional interests did not prevent me from becoming a regular reader of the Globe and Mail, in addition to sampling the numerous tempting restaurants of Toronto, particularly those on and around Baldwin Street. For my next stop during my sabbatical, I plan to stay in Lille, France in April 2012, to better get acquainted with European success stories of sustainable urban transportation.
For more information on his visit, please contact Dr. Doug Macdonald at email@example.com.
For more information on Dr. Mercier’s research : http://www.pol.ulaval.ca/?pid=230.