With its stone chimneys and wooden verandas in the Queen Anne Revival style, the house that Thomas Willson, the Ontario inventor and industrialist, built on a cliff overlooking Meech Lake north of Ottawa a century ago is a grand, rustic summer estate. In the middle of May, the house, now federally owned, welcomed a gathering worthy of its grandeur. Cabinet ministers included Bill Morneau, finance; Amarjeet Sohi, infrastructure; MaryAnn Mihychuk, employment; Navdeep Bains, innovation; and Chrystia Freeland, international trade.
The ministers came to meet Morneau’s economic advisers, a group that includes two PhDs in chemistry, two venture-capital gurus based in Silicon Valley, the chief economist of the World Economic Forum, and a consultant from a First Nation on the north tip of Vancouver Island known for success in aboriginal economic development. Oh, and it just so happens that everyone on that list is a woman.