Past events

Embracing Change with Erin O'Toole, Leader of the Official Opposition of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party

May 26, 2021
From 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Members of all chapters are welcome to register for this webinar.



interviewed by:

The pandemic has drawn greater attention to concerns of closing gaps in social inequality, diversifying GDP drivers, placing greater focus on wealth creation vs wealth redistribution, managing geopolitical ties, and more.

An outbreak of this magnitude was bound to reorder Canada in extraordinary ways, for better or for worse. But the question remains - which way is it trending?

YCIF is delighted to welcome Erin O'Toole, Leader of the Official Opposition of Canada and Leader of the Conservative Party in this special series hosted by one of the founders of our network, Paul Desmarais III. We look forward to learning more about what sets the Conservative Party apart from other political parties and most importantly, what Parliament must prioritize as Canada moves into the post-pandemic period.

Thoughtful questions are welcome.

When:               Wednesday, May 26th, 2021
Time:                 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Where:              Online, you'll receive the link to connect to the webinar shortly before it starts
Members:         FREE
Non-members: FREE

Meet our guests

Erin O'Toole

Erin O'Toole has led a life of service. Born in Montreal, QC, he grew up as a middle-class kid in Bowmanville, ON. He enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Force when he was 18 and attended the Royal Military College. His time in the RCAF took him across Canada, completing basic training in Chilliwack, BC; earning his wing in Winnipeg, MB; and serving out of Halifax, NS as a tactical navigator. Erin participated in search and rescue missions on Sea King helicopters and learned French during that time.

After 12 years of service, Erin retired from the military and spent the next decade working in the private sector as a corporate lawyer. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the True Patriot Love Foundation, a charity that serves veterans and military families across Canada.

He has been elected to represent Durham three times, first in a 2012 by-election, then in 2015, and 2019. He served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade before becoming Minister of Veterans Affairs, a beleaguered file he successfully turned around within 10 months at the end of the Harper government.

After serving as the Conservative Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs for two years, Erin is now the Leader of Canada's Conservatives.

Erin is married to Rebecca and they have two children, Mollie and Jack.


Paul Desmarais III

Paul Desmarais III has served as the Chairman and CEO of Sagard since 2014. He is also Chairman of Diagram and a board member of Grayhawk. Within the investment portfolio, Paul is the Chairman of Wealthsimple and Dialogue, a director of KOHO, and a board observer of Nesto. Paul is also a Senior Vice President of Power Corporation of Canada. As a part of his responsibilities at Power, he sits on the boards of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert and Imerys.

Prior to Sagard, Paul worked at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Division, Investment Strategy Group, and Special Situations Group; Imerys in supply chain management and strategy; and Great West Lifeco in risk management.

Paul holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from INSEAD in France.


About YCIF

Young Canadians in Finance was founded by Paul Desmarais III and Michael Blickstead in 2006. The organization is present in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, New York and Vancouver.

The Young Canadians in Finance network is a unique meeting place for young professionals and entrepreneurs who want to cultivate a network of privileged contacts and develop their skills through knowledge sharing experiences and networking.