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  • Should Governments Regulate Big Tech to Protect the Public Interest?
Jun 11

Should Governments Regulate Big Tech to Protect the Public Interest?

Regent Debate: James Comey and Melanie Aitken vs. David Plouffe and Robert Atkinson

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 17:15 to 20:00
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The Institute’s Regent Debate series has been made possible through a generous donation by Aaron and Heather Regent. For more information, please visit the Regent Debate website.

To register, please emailevents@cdhowe.org.


Meet the Affirmative

James Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (2013-2017)​

James Comey led the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. His tenure was tested by new forces within and outside America’s borders.  Inside the FBI, while navigating government shutdowns, he tried to change how the FBI approached leadership, diversity, and cyber threats.   Prior to his service at the FBI, Comey worked as a federal prosecutor in New York and Virginia and served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. deputy attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush.  Throughout his career, Comey has taught at the graduate and undergraduate level at a variety of universities and is currently teaching a course on leadership at William and Mary, his alma mater. 


Melanie Aitken, Former Commissioner, Canadian Competition Bureau

Melanie Aitken was the Commissioner of Competition from 2009 to 2012, and is credited with revitalizing the Competition Bureau as an active enforcement agency. Most notably, she led the introduction of major amendments to Canada’s competition laws, introducing a stricter US-style merger review process, and a new tougher standard for cartel offences. Aitken is now the managing principal of Bennett Jones (US) LLP, which carries on the practice of Canadian law in Washington, DC, in association with Bennett Jones LLP. She is also co-head of the competition and foreign investment practice of Bennett Jones.


Meet the Negative

Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Robert Atkinson is a Canadian-American economist and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) in Washington, D.C. Atkinson is a widely published author and has conducted groundbreaking research projects on technology and innovation-related topics ranging from tax policy to advanced manufacturing, productivity, and global competitiveness.


David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama (2011-2013)​

David Plouffe uniquely leveraged technology and big data as Barack Obama’s campaign manager. And as a White House senior advisor, he was at the centre of the debate on many of the key issues facing America today. Plouffe has served as Uber’s policy chief and now leads the policy and advocacy team for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

C.D. Howe Institute events are open to members and their guests. Members can register online by signing in here, or contacting cdhoweevents@cdhowe.org.