CHESTER – Clearwater co-founder and chairman John Risley has been appointed chairman of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) board of directors.

AIMS is a non-partisan, independent, public policy think tank based in Halifax.

In its 15-year history it has won five international awards for research excellence, and is consistently ranked as one of the most influential think tanks in Canada by the Foreign Policy Research Institute in its Global Go-to Think Tanks survey.

Mr. Risley has taken on the volunteer role with a keen insight as to the importance of AIMS’ work and research to the future of the region.

“I think AIMS is well positioned to provide policy guidance as the region struggles with a low-growth environment, huge fiscal debt and unrealistic expectations as to the role of government and public services,” he said. “We need to aggressively stimulate debate, get the broad community involved in understanding the extent of the problem and provide ideas on policy response. Never has the role of public policy been more important to the region than it is now.”

Mr. Risley takes over from John F. Irving who stepped down earlier this year.

AIMS president and CEO Charles Cirtwill said the institute is honoured to have Mr. Risley as the new chairman.

“AIMS has very simple criteria when seeking board members. We want people who have both vision and a willingness to roll up their sleeves and work to make that vision a reality,” he said. “John Risley is such a visionary.”

Other changes to the AIMS board include the addition of R.B. Cameron, Malcolm Fraser, Wadih Fares and David Hooley as members.

They join vice-chairpersons Vaughn Sturgeon and Dianne Kelderman, along with members Charles Cirtwill, Brian Crowley, Colin Dodds, Douglas Hall, Louis Maroun, Don Mills, Perry Newman, Andrew Oland, Jacquelyn Thayer-Scott and Heather Tulk.

“We have been very fortunate to have attracted over the years very talented and influential people to our board,” Mr. Cirtwill said. “I’d like to thank all those past members and in particular those who have just stepped down from the board – John Irving, George Bishop, George Cooper, Norm Miller, Phillip Knoll and Peter Vigue – for their time and contribution to AIMS.”