The Gordon Foundation’s Tim Morris brings a fresh energy to politics and policy.
Sometimes, it pays to listen to your professors. That’s certainly been the case for Tim Morris, the manager of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation’s Fresh Water Resources Protection Program. After all, it was a professor’s suggestion that he read Marq de Villiers’ Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource that set him on the path that he’s on today. At the time, Morris was working towards a Master of Laws degree at the University of British Columbia. He says, “That was probably the defining moment, in terms of when I really woke up to the challenge posed by water issues, both globally and also in North America.”
In the years since, Morris has played an increasingly important role in the dialogue around water policy in Canada. Those efforts have been highlighted by his role in the creation of Changing the Flow: A Blueprint for Federal Action on Freshwater, a report published in October of 2007. “It’s really a call for the federal government to work constructively with other governments to build a strategic approach for Canada around water issues,” Morris explains, “so that we’re not reinventing the wheel in different places.”
Morris’s gift for communicating complicated information in comprehensible terms is one of the reasons the report has remained relevant, says Bob Sandford, the EPCOR chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of the United Nations Water for Life Decade. “I think this is one of the most important movements that we’re having in this country, being able to translate complicated scientific research outcomes into language the average person can understand and the politicians can act upon. Tim has been a leader in bridging the gulf between science and public policy.”
Dr. Thomas Axworthy, president and CEO of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, thinks that this leadership role is the result of Tim’s sincere commitment to the cause. “He walks the walk as well as does the talk,” Axworthy says. “You know when you meet him that this is not a press release with a set of pat lines that somebody has written, but that he feels it deeply.” For his part, Morris remains optimistic that meaningful change isn’t too far away. “Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, there will be enough public support behind water issues that it will tip the balance and we’ll put in place a really comprehensive strategy for the country.” — Max Fawcett