Labatt Presents

The Walrus Talks Water

Vancouver 7 p.m. (PT), Thursday, May 22, 2014



  • Deep Water and Deep Leadership by Joe MacInnis, physician, explorer, and author
  • Swimmable, Drinkable, Fishable Water Is Possible by Mark Mattson, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
  • Lost Rivers by Katarina Soukup, filmmaker
  • The Bow River Watershed: Managing for Weather Extremes by Kim Sturgess, Alberta WaterSMART
  • Flood Survival Tips by Chris Turner, journalist and author
  • The State of the World’s Water: The Twin Crises of Contamination and Supply by Marq de Villiers, author
  • The Poetics of Water by Fred Wah, poet
  • Rob Williams, Oceans Initiative
  • Speaking the C-Word by Chris Wood, journalist and author

Joe MacInnis is a physician and scientist who studies leadership in high-risk environments. He has logged more than 5,000 hours beneath the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. Recently, he was the journalist-physician on James Cameron’s seven-mile dive into the Mariana Trench. Random House published his latest book, Deep Leadership: Essential Insights from High-Risk Environments, in 2012. For more information, go to

Mark Mattson is a prominent environmental lawyer who has spent the last decade building a network of successful community-focused environmental organizations across Canada. As a prosecutor, first for governments and then for NGOs, Mark participated in groundbreaking private prosecutions and administrative cases against major industrial polluters. He founded Lake Ontario Waterkeeper in 2001 and remains the organization’s full-time waterkeeper and president to this day. Mark’s love of water stems from his childhood summers swimming and fishing on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ontario.

Katarina Soukup is a documentary filmmaker, media artist, multimedia producer, and the founder of Catbird Productions. Through Catbird, Katarina produces socially relevant documentary, fiction, and interactive projects. Her works tell powerful human-interest stories, which reveal the extraordinary dimensions to seemingly ordinary events. Before beginning her film career, Katarina presented her media art projects at gallery venues in Austria, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, the United States, and Canada’s Art Gallery of Ontario.

Kim Sturgess is the founder and CEO of Alberta WaterSMART, a water management services organization. Since 2005, Kim has helped develop water management projects and systems for corporations as well as policies for industrial and government clients. She served on the boards of the Alberta Water Council, CCI Thermal Technologies, the Calgary Airport Authority, the Council of Canadian Academies, the Alberta Chamber of Resources, the Canadian Academy of Engineering (were she is also past president), APEGA, the Alberta Economic Development Authority, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the National Research Council, and Queen’s University. She has won the YWCA Women of Distinction Award, the Global Woman of Vision Award, the Queen II Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and both the Distinguished Service Award and the Alumni Achievement Award from Queen’s University. In 2007, the Women’s Executive Network named her one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and in 2012, the Consumers’ Choice Awards chose her as Calgary’s Business Woman of the Year.

Chris Turner is a bestselling author and one of Canada’s leading writers and speakers on sustainability and the global cleantech industry. He has won multiple National Magazine Awards, including the 2001 President’s Medal for General Excellence, the highest honour in Canadian magazine writing.

Fred Wah is professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, and in June 2013, he was made an officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to national literary culture. Fred has received major awards for his poetry, short fiction, and criticism. He is currently on the faculty for In(ter)ventions: Literary Practice at the Edge, a program at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Rob Williams is a marine conservation biologist and co-founder of Oceans Initiative. He serves on the editorial boards of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Journal of Zoology, and Animal Conservation and has been a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission since 2000. Currently, Rob is a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Chris Wood is the author of Down the Drain: How We Are Failing to Protect Our Water Resources (co-written by Ralph Pentland). His previous book, Dry Spring: The Coming Water Crisis of North America, was nominated for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Times, Pacific Standard, Maclean’s, and The Walrus. Chris is the coordinating editor for the Tyee Solutions Society, a non-profit Vancouver-based centre for creating catalytic journalism in the public interest. Most recently, he authored the free Walrus Ebook Back to the Mack, about resource development at the Mackenzie River.

Marq de Villiers is the author of fourteen books on exploration, history, politics, and travel, including Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, which won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction. He and his wife, Sheila Hirtle, wrote Into Africa: A Journey through the Ancient Empires, Sahara: A Natural History, and A Dune Adrift: The Strange Origins and Curious History of Sable Island. Formerly a nationally renowned journalist and executive with the Key Magazine group, Marq now writes books from his home, in Port Medway, Nova Scotia.

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The Walrus Talks is a national series of events produced by the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation as part of an educational mandate to provide forums for conversation on matters vital to Canadians. The Walrus Foundation produces The Walrus magazine, the most awarded publication in Canada, as well as producing content at, on Walrus TV, and on stages from coast to coast to coast.

The Walrus Talks format features eight speakers for seven minutes each on various themes relating to a single topic. Each event offers lively, thoughtful, inspiring, riveting, smart, new thinking from scientists, writers, performers, scholars, and leaders of business and the arts. Each Talks event is followed by a spirited reception with attendees and participants.

The Walrus Talks delivers fresh ideas and new ways of looking at big issues. The Walrus has no “wings.” Our speakers are chosen to reflect a range of experiences and viewpoints, but they all have one thing in common: the desire for real conversation about issues that affect the future of Canada. Our goal is for audience members to think “I never thought about it that way” when the Talks are over.

Dates, details, and ticket information are available at