Do it for Democracy 2023 – September 26, 2023

The Parliamentary Centre hosted its second annual Do It For Democracy under the marquee at Earnscliffe, the historic residence of the British High Commissioner, on Tuesday, September 26th. Guests included politicians, diplomats, academics, members of the business community, thought leaders, media, and volunteers.

The Rt. Hon. Joe Clark was this year’s recipient of the ‘Because Democracy Matters’ Award in recognition of his decades of distinguished contributions to human rights and democracy in Canada and globally. Clark was introduced by his former Chief of Staff and board member of the Parliamentary Centre, Mr. Graham Fox.

In his acceptance speech, the former Prime Minister painted a gloomy picture of the rise in authoritarianism and a downward trend in democratic systems but noted Canada’s instincts and capacity to meet the challenge head-on. Clark added hope by noting, “…that instinct remains a critical contemporary feature of Canada and role for us in the days to come and, of course, is at the very centre of the work of the Parliamentary Centre.”

The Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, also paid tribute to Mr. Clark for his inspiring dedication to championing democratic values and human rights, along with Maureen Boyd, Chair Emerita of the Parliamentary Centre; the Parliamentary Centre’s President & CEO, Tom Cormier; Chair of the board, Yaroslav Baran; board director Ann McGrath; and former board director, Conservative MP Shuvaloy Majumdar.

Another evening highlight was H.E. Kanji Yamanouchi, Japan’s Ambassador to Canada, opening the program by playing a Hendrix-style version of O’Canada on his electric guitar.

The event was also covered by our media partners, the Hill Times and the Ottawa Business Journal. It was also broadcast on CTV News and CPAC.


“The Right Honourable Joe Clark exemplifies Canada’s global brand as a steward of inclusive and values-based democracy that defends human rights and supports the rule of law”

– Tom Cormier, Parliamentary Centre CEO

“Few leaders could be said to have matched Joe Clark in his unwavering principle, and in success championing internationally all that we cherish as Canadians”

– Yaroslav Baran, Parliamentary Centre Chair