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As President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Perrin Beatty, BA’71, LLD’13, leads a network of businesses that form the backbone of Canada’s economy. His work as a student leader prepared him for an outstanding career fostering relationships and providing a national voice for business. And his ability to lead was developed at Western.


When Perrin Beatty (BA’71) graduated from Western, he hoped to return to school after a year to pursue a career as a lawyer, history professor or journalist.

He ended up in Parliament instead.

In 1972, he captured a seat in the House of Commons, beginning a distinguished 21-year career as a Progressive Conservative MP representing his home community of Fergus, Ont.

Five years later, he was named to the federal cabinet by former Prime Minister Joe Clark, becoming the youngest person at the time to serve as a cabinet member in Canada.

From 1984 to 1993, he held another six ministerial posts in the Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell administrations, including Minister of National Defence, Minister of Communications and Secretary of State for External Affairs.

After politics, Beatty was an honorary visiting professor at Western for a year, teaching about communication technologies and public policy. He then headed the CBC (1995-99) and the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (1999-2007).

Beatty now serves as president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest and most representative national business association. He is the principal spokesperson advocating the policy positions of the Chamber’s members to the federal government, international organizations, the media and the general public.

“I’m tremendously proud of my association with Western – my two sons are both graduates,” said Beatty. “I believe I received an exceptional education at Western, much of it in the classroom.

“What remains four decades later is not so much the facts I learned, but that I had an opportunity to develop my understanding of the world and my place in it.”

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