Can-Am speaker series begins Feb. 8 at noon with 'Homelessness in Canada'

Western's Center for Canadian-American Studies, in partnership with the Foundation for WWU & Alumni and the Ray Wolpow Institute, is pleased to launch its 2024 Speaker Series, “Populations Rendered ‘Surplus’ in Canada.” 

SURPLUS, in addition to the commonly associated meanings of profit and value, can be more broadly construed as excess or excessive, as surfeit, or what is leftover, or unwanted: an excess of emotions (anger, fear, passion, desire), for example, or surplus time (leisure or its absence); or populations rendered “surplus” — migrants, the marginalized, the unemployed, and the incarcerated. 

Canada has long been and debatably inaccurately characterized as more welcoming, having fewer racists, and more inclusive than other Western countries. The lived realities of populations rendered ‘surplus’ in Canada can paint a very stark picture to that which Canadians themselves prefer to claim as a window into understanding their national identity, particularly when partaking in discussions of ‘us’ versus ‘them’.

This four-part speaker series will feature emerging scholars from across Canada and the United States. Anna Kopec, assistant professor at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) will start the series Thursday, Feb. 8 at noon, with her talk “Homelessness in Canada: A Complex Policy and Governance Landscape.”

For more information and to register, please visit