Advisory Board - About Us - Samara

Advisory Board

Keith Archer

Keith Archer served as Chief Electoral Officer of British Columbia from 2011 to 2018. Prior to that appointment, he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary from 1984 to 2011, where he currently holds the position of professor emeritus. He is the author, co-author or co-editor of 7 books and many articles and chapters on elections and voting, and he has a particular interest in youth political engagement. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Election Official Training, a non-profit organization that provides training and professional development opportunities for permanent staff at federal, provincial and territorial election agencies in Canada.

Isabel Bassett

Former teacher, journalist, MPP and broadcasting executive, Isabel Bassett is a highly regarded pioneer of Canadian broadcasting. As past Chair and CEO of TVO (1999 – 2005) Ms. Bassett refocused the organization to deliver on its educational mandate. Elected to the Ontario legislature in 1995 as MPP for St. Andrew-St. Patrick, Ms. Bassett was appointed Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation in 1997. She has actively campaigned for the YWCA's Toronto Elm Street Centre for Affordable Housing for Women, York University’s Library, and Equal Voice, encouraging women to engage in politics and the boardroom. In 2016, Ms. Basset was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.

Suresh Bhalla 

Suresh Bhalla is a retired senior financial expert who worked with several major Canadian and US banks during a distinguished career spanning three decades. Since retiring, he has served as Co-Chair of Human Rights Watch and on the board of the Toronto Community Foundation. Suresh has a longstanding interest in a variety of social and political causes.

Heather Conway 

Heather Conway served as the executive vice-president of CBC/Radio-Canada’s English services. Before becoming a member of CBC/Radio-Canada’s senior executive team, Heather was chief business officer at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Under her tenure, the gallery saw its attendance increase by 20 percent and achieved its highest membership levels. Prior to the AGO she was CEO of Edelman Canada. She is one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 and is on the board of American Express Bank of Canada, IGM Financial, and the Walrus Foundation.

George Cooper

George is Managing Trustee of the Killam Trusts, comprising $400 million for graduate and postdoctoral scholarships and research at five universities and the Canada Council. A lawyer by profession, he was President of the University of King’s College, Halifax, and is a former Member of Parliament. A Rhodes Scholar, George holds three honorary doctorate degrees and is a Member of the Order of Canada. He also serves on the Boards of the CBC and The Canadian Ditchley Foundation. 

Margaret Huber

Margaret Huber is a former career diplomat who served as Ambassador in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. During her extensive diplomatic career, she worked closely with international organizations including the United Nations, the European Union, the International Olympic Committee, the Asian Development Bank and the International Committee of the Red Cross. She served as the Chief of Protocol of Canada from 2010 to 2013, was a Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow in 2014, and is the President of the Harvard Club of Ottawa. She has been a supporter of Samara Centre for Democracy since 2014.

Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch is the Vice-Chair of the BMO Financial Group. Prior to joining BMO, Mr. Lynch had a distinguished career in the Government of Canada, where he served as Clerk of the Privy Council, Secretary to the Cabinet, and Head of the Public Service of Canada and its 260,000 public servants.

Robert Prichard

Robert Prichard is the Chair of Torys LLP and Chairman of Metrolinx. He was previously President and CEO of Torstar Corporation and he is President Emeritus of the University of Toronto.

Perry Spitznagel

Perry Spitznagel is a lawyer and vice-chair of Bennett Jones and managing partner of the Calgary office. He is a senior corporate lawyer with over 30 years of national and international experience advising clients in a wide variety of high profile corporate matters and is a director of a number of private and public corporations. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2010.