Staff - The Samara Centre for Democracy

Staff



Sabreena Delhon

Sabreena Delhon

Executive Director

Sabreena is an experienced public sector leader who is interested in exploring the intersection of democracy, equity, and justice. She has a proven track record of directing multi-stakeholder social change initiatives across justice, academic, and non-profit sectors. Her research studies have informed the work of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General and are required reading in access to justice courses at law schools across Canada. In 2016, Sabreena conceived, coordinated, and launched the first annual Access to Justice Week, bringing together government, community, and justice-sector partners to examine complex issues such as digital inclusion, Indigenous child welfare, and public legal education from new perspectives. This framework has since been adopted by regions across the country. She is a Fellow with Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and Massey College. Sabreena holds a Masters in Sociology from Dalhousie University and a Bachelors in Sociology from the University of Alberta.



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Abra Rissi

Public Affairs Director

Abra has over a decade of experience in public affairs, community organizing, and in promoting active citizenship. Throughout her career, she has worked alongside government and elected officials, and collaborated with advocacy and community groups. She previously held positions at the office of The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson where, among many initiatives, she contributed to the creation of 6 Degrees; at TakingITGlobal, which empowers young people to become agents of positive change; and at Massey College, where she focused on outreach and community-building in service to the public good. Abra studied International Relations at York University’s Glendon College and French and History at Paris IV-La Sorbonne. 

Enthusiastic about civic action and a keen observer of Canadian politics, Abra believes in the value of a strong civil society and in the power of inclusive democratic engagement in advancing a more prosperous and equitable society for all.



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Christine Latimer

Operations Manager

Christine is a senior-level administrator and governance expert with over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector. At Samara, she provides cross-disciplinary strategic support to the staff and Board of Directors. Prior to joining the Samara Centre, Christine held governance and executive support roles with an array of non-profit and public sector institutions, including the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, OCAD University, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Government of Ontario. She has also served in Board governance executive roles with several non-profit arts organizations. Christine graduated from OCAD University with a double-major in Photography and Integrated Media. She is an internationally recognized visual artist, having exhibited work at over 250 galleries and film festivals across five continents. In her spare time, you can find her making things, fixing broken technologies, and watching movies.

Christine is passionate about active citizenship, and how the arts in particular can generate inclusive, intentional spaces for community building and critical discourse. She recommends reading the report Investing in Canadians' Civic Literacy.



Ann Dickie

Ann Dickie

Research Assistant

Ann is a Masters Candidate in International Relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. She holds a Bachelors from McGill University in Political Science and History. A strong passion for civic engagement and the democratic establishment led her to start McGill Model Parliament, a place for students to engage with Canadian politics in a non-partisan manner and develop public speaking, bill drafting, and networking skills. She now serves as Research Assistant in a collaborative project between the Samara Centre for Democracy, the Jarislowky Democracy Chair, and the Democratic Engagement Exchange, entitled “Democracy after COVID-19: What Lessons Can Canada offer and Learn?” This project examines whether, how, and why the politics of the pandemic has affected the way democracy works in Canada, and, using other case studies from around the world, aims to share strategies, innovations, and practices that can strengthen democracy. 

Ann recommends reading Party Favours, a report that pries open the “black box” of nomination contests in Canada to examine how political parties select federal election candidates.


Co-founders

 

Alison Loat

Co-founder

Alison is co-founder of the Samara Centre for Democracy, was the executive director from 2008 to 2015, and continues to serve on the Advisory Board. She is co-author of the #1 best-selling book Tragedy in the Commons. The Samara Centre’s early work was used to develop federal legislation on democratic reform, improve politics curricula, the orientation of newly elected MPs, and initiatives to improve citizens’ participation in politics. 

Alison is a member of the Premier of Ontario’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel, and is on the board of the Banff Forum. She was also a fellow and instructor at the University of Toronto from 2007-2014, and served as the past president of the Canadian Club of Toronto, a director of the Toronto Community Foundation, and a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Alumni Board.

Alison received several awards for her public service leadership, including the Queen’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, where she co-leads a disability rights initiative, and was named one of the WXN 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. She has degrees from Queen’s University (BAH) and the Harvard Kennedy School (MPP).

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Michael MacMillan

Co-founder and Board Chair

In 2007, Michael co-founded the Samara Centre for Democracy, and continues to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors.

In 2011, he co-founded and is CEO of Blue Ant Media, a company that produces, distributes, and broadcasts television programming internationally.

In 1978, Michael co-founded Atlantis Films Limited with fellow Queen’s University grads Seaton McLean and Janice Platt. He was Chairman and CEO of Atlantis (which later became Alliance Atlantis) for almost 30 years.

Michael is also the co-founder and co-owner of Closson Chase Vineyard and Winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

A member of the Order of Canada, Michael has volunteered with numerous community and industry organizations over many years. He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College and co-author of the book Tragedy in the Commons.

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  • Wednesday, August 18, 2021

    Tracking #elxn44 toxic tweets

    The Samara Centre and Areto Labs have partnered to deploy the Samara Areto Monitorbot (known as SAMbot or SAM), which will use AI to track toxic tweets received by incumbent candidates and political party leaders on the digital campaign trail.
  • Wednesday, August 11, 2021

    A New Public Affairs Director

    We are thrilled to welcome Abra Rissi as our new Public Affairs Director. Abra has a decade of public experience and has promoted active citizenship and inclusive democracy throughout her career.
  • Thursday, July 08, 2021

    A Consequential Moment

    In the times ahead, our country will be required to make decisions of enormous and lasting consequence. The Samara Centre has an opportunity to influence the important debates that will help determine Canada’s democratic future.