Yet economics wasn’t his first career choice. Born and raised in Victoria, in his earlier years he thought he might teach history or English literature. But a semester of Economics 100 with the late Prof. Leonard Laudadio changed that. “He was just one of the most dynamic people I would ever meet,” Drummond says. “He was really into the policy applications of economics and that’s what interested me.”
He would soon be consumed by the subject, turning heads in the process. “Every year there’s one, two or maybe three students who sort of shine, who have something special about them in terms of their motivation and their understanding,” Ferguson says. “Don clearly was one of those.”
It was also at UVic that he would find another lifelong passion: squash. And it was through this sport that he would meet his wife, Susane Latrémouille, in 1981. “There was a young pro at the squash club who put on a clinic on a Saturday night. The kinds of people who go on a Saturday aren’t really going out with anybody,” he says. “Why else would you go to a squash clinic?”
In his current role at TD Bank, Drummond—who became a vegetarian at the behest of one of his two daughters—has used his influence to campaign for improvements to public policy on the environment, social welfare, housing and immigration. To some observers, Drummond’s position within Canada’s second-largest bank is at odds with such a stance, but he makes no apologies.
“Whenever I do some work on public research, people are always suspicious because they think a bank doesn’t do anything unless it’s to make money. I’m not going to be apologetic about that. Obviously if the Canadian economy is stronger and people in Canada are wealthier, the TD Bank will make more money, so what’s wrong with that?” he says. “The real reason I do it is because it’s the right thing to do and people will be better off.”
In particular, he believes as a country we are ignoring the barriers that confront new Canadians. “It bothers me the denial of the difficulties that immigrants have and I don’t think that we’ll ever approach it until we accept it.”
His efforts are making a difference—Ontario welfare policy has moved towards his recommendations—but it’s an arduous process. “I have my moments of getting discouraged, but I don’t think I’ve given up on anything. I still think I’m going to be a better squash player tomorrow than I’ve ever been before, even though I’m 54. It may not be realistic, but that’s what I think.”
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