It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ron Watts. Ron Watts was one of the founders of the Forum of Federations. He served as a Board Member of the Forum between 1999 and 2006 and as Forum’s fellow from 2006 onwards.
He was the world’s leading scholar on comparative federal systems and an inspiration to generations of scholars and public officials around the world.
Ron Watts was Professor Emeritus of Queen’s University where he was a member of the academic staff since 1955 and was Principal and Vice-Chancellor 1974-1984. He was a Fellow and Director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen’s University, President of the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies and Board Member and Chairman of the Research Committee of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. On several occasions he has been a consultant to the Government of Canada during constitutional deliberations, most notably 1980-81 and 1991-92, and has been a constitutional advisor to governments in several other countries.
As a political scientist he has worked for over forty years on the comparative study of federal systems and on Canadian federalism, and has written or edited over twenty books, monographs and reports and over sixty articles and chapters in books. A prolific and respected scholar, his immense contributions both to academe and society at large were recognized by the receipt of five honorary degrees, by his appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979, followed by his promotion to Companion in 2000, and by his Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada.