Meet the 2017 Shortlist

2017 Shortlist

Conducted from coast to coast to the north, Samara's Everyday Political Citizen aims to recognize the diversity of politics and democracy in Canada. From September to October 2017, Canadians nominated over 200 political role models, celebrating some of the many thousands of ordinary people working in big or small ways to make their communities better and our democracy stronger.

After reading each nomination, a jury of prominent Canadians selected the 2017 Shortlists below. Winners will be announced by Rick Mercer on December 7th.

Click on the right side of each shortlist to meet the nominees.


Under 30
Age Category

Janelle Hinds
Mississauga, ON



Margaret Atwood (Janelle Hinds)

Janelle was picked by juror Margaret Atwood for increasing youth civic engagement and promoting STEM education in under-represented communities. Read Janelle's full nomination.

"Janelle is supremely qualified as an Everyday Political Citizen. She has founded and worked on so many programmesHelping Hands, Phase One, Daughters of the Voteto change the game positively, especially for those in STEM for who don't fit the standard image." 

– Margaret Atwood

Yvonne Su
Guelph, ON


Yvonne Su
Rick Mercer (Yvonne Su)

Yvonne was picked by juror Rick Mercer for starting the viral “vote mobs” phenomenon and encouraging democratic participation among youth. Read Yvonne's full nomination.

"Youth voter turnout is a critical issue facing our democracy. Yvonne’s vote mobs change voting from simple civic duty to super fun, social activity and the results speak for themselves. The future of Canadian democracy is bright." 

– Rick Mercer

Noah Irvine 
Guelph, ON


Noah Irvine

Kulvir S. Gill (Noah Irvine)

Noah was picked by juror Kulvir S. Gill for taking a personal tragedy and using it to push for a better national mental health strategy. Read Noah's full nomination.

"Noah has turned personal tragedy into a rallying cry for systemic change. The courage he has shown in telling his family story and demanding a national mental health strategy is matched only by his determination in the face of complacency and political doublespeak. The inspiration of this 17 year old reminds us all that it takes only one light to challenge the darkness." 

– Kulvir S. Gill

Mariam Jammal
Toronto, ON


Mariam Jammal

Yasin Dwyer (Mariam Jammal)

Mariam was picked by juror Yasin Dwyer for creating an online platform where youth can engage in political written and artistic media. Read Mariam's full nomination.

"I am pleased to nominate Mariam, who represents both the common aspirations of young Canadians and the multiple identities that define Canada. Mariam's work with young adults in the media, her studies in law and her important focus on the relationship between identity and politics, place her in an important position to be a future political leader and role-model to young Canadians." 

– Yasin Dwyer

Jackson Muskego
Bunibonibee Cree Nation, MB


Jackson Muskego 2

Michael Redhead Champagne (Jackson Muskego)

Jackson was picked by juror Michael Redhead Champagne for creating meaningful programming for Indigenous youth around healing and mental health.  Read Jackson's full nomination.

"As a young man in his isolated community, Jackon's application of youth engagement and community skills provides activities such as healing circles and his example and attitude is an example of what First Nations youth can achieve." 

– Michael Redhead Champagne

Patience Evbagharu 
Toronto, ON


Patience Evbagharu


Patience was picked by jurors Ruth Kaviok and the Parliamentary Internship Programme for her involvement in city politics and empowering youth to get engaged. Read Patience's full nomination.

"We picked Patience because she showed a mix of effectively engaging with traditional political institutions and identifying needs in her community, innovating and creating her own change. We also felt that the nomination made it obvious that she is someone who inspires others to get involved in their community, which means she not only is an Everyday Political Citizen, she also encourages others to be everyday political citizens." 

– Parliamentary Internship Programme

"I chose Patience because a leadership begins with someone who  leads by example, and dedication. Also because she is recognized by her voice, that's how you really start changing the world."

– Ruth Kaviok

Nabaa Alam
Calgary, AB


Nabaa Alam 2

Senator Doug Black (Nabaa Alam)

Nabaa was picked by juror Senator Douglas Black for his contribution to the renewable energy industry and creating a more sustainable future for Canadians. Read Nabaa's full nomination.

"I'm nominating Nabaa because of his incredible work for the renewable energy industry in Alberta. His work converting canola into three products: bio-jet fuel, renewable gasoline, and renewable diesel shows how young Albertans are leading the way for Canada." 

– Senator Douglas Black

Teagyn Vallevand 
Whitehorse, YK


Teagyn Vallevand 2

Julie Caron-Malenfant (Teagyn Vallevand)

Teagyn was picked by juror Julie Caron-Malenfant for facilitating workshops on lateral violence for Indigenous youthRead Teagyn's full nomination.

"Through her courage to speak up about violence, and her commitment to increasing dialogue and giving youth a voice, Teagyn is quite simply inspiring!"

« Parce qu’elle a le courage de parler de la violence, qu’elle se consacre à favoriser le dialogue et à donner une voix aux jeunes, Teagyn est tout simplement inspirante! »

– Julie Caron-Malenfant

Dylan Cohen
Vancouver, BC


Dylan Cohen 1


Dylan was picked by juror Kakeka Thundersky for being an active champion for youth in care of the government. Read Dylan's full nomination.

30 and Over 
Age Category

Bonnie Briggs
Toronto, ON


Bonnie Briggs

Desmond Cole (Bonnie Briggs)

Bonnie was picked by juror Desmond Cole for her unwavering commitment to end homelessness in her city. Read Bonnie's full nomination.

"Bonnie fought tirelessly for the most basic needs of Torontonians, and did so mostly out of the spotlight. She was an incredible woman and I would be so glad to see her honoured in this way."

– Desmond Cole

Jennifer Keay
Whitecourt, AB


Jennifer Keay

Preston Manning (Jennifer Keay)

Jennifer was picked by juror Preston Manning for educating the next generation of Canadians about democracy by leading Student Vote parallel elections. Read Jennifer's full nomination.

“Democracy provides people with the freedom to advocate and advance their particular interest and cause. But democracy is much more than that - it provides processes (free elections) and institutions (democratic assemblies) for advancing those interests and causes subject to their adherents being able to carry the judgment of a majority or at least a plurality of their fellow citizens… I feel that the Everyday Political Citizen should be someone who works to represent and advance democracy at this general and more fundamental level rather than someone who uses democracy primarily to advance their particular interest or cause, worthy as that cause may be. Hence, my nomination is for Jennifer, who works through Student Vote to encourage students to study and experience democracy at this more general level via election engagement and participation.”

– Preston Manning

Naheed Khan
Ottawa, ON


Naheed Khan

Buffy Childerhose (Naheed Khan)

Naheed was picked by juror Buffy Childerhose for addressing structural issues that affect low-income residents like herself and her family. Read Naheed's full nomination.

"I am nominating Naheed because as a new Canadian she has taken on the mantle of a citizen as much more than a legal designation; for her is is a calling. Her participation in her community and her work to address structural and immediate practical issues that disproportionately affect women, newcomers and children is deeply inspiring.  As a woman who has only been in this country for six years, is on ODSP and is a single mum raising four children, Naheed is a stirring reminder that we all have the capacity to affect social and political change." 

– Buffy Childerhose

Lorelei Williams
Vancouver, BC


Lorelei Williams

Matt Price (Lorelei)

Lorelei was picked by juror Matt Price for her use of art and community engagement to address issues of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Read Lorelei's full nomination.

"I wanted to shortlist so many people, but Lorelei stood out for me not just because her use of creativity and art to address issues of tragedy and justice, but also because she does it all as a single mom. Thank you Lorelei, and thank you to all the nominees for your work to make your community better." 

– Matt Price

Brenda Bronfman 
Bradford, ON


Brenda Bronfman 2

Jen Sungshine (Brenda Bronfman)

Brenda was picked by juror Jen Sungshine for advocating for animal justice through founding Wishing Well Sanctuary farm. Read Brenda's full nomination.

"I choose Brenda because her work in animal justice reminds us what it means to tend to, and sustain eco-systematic communities with care, reciprocity and compassion. We cannot simply be engaged as everyday political citizens with anthropocentric blinders on, placing human as its core. Instead, Brenda teaches us to cultivate a worldview that encompasses all living things as relational, politicized, and worthy of our care." 

– Jen Sungshine

Mary Beth Wighton 
Southampton, ON


Mary Beth Wighton

Senator Andre Pratte (Mary Beth Wighton) r

Mary Beth was picked by juror Senator André Pratte for using her personal experience with dementia to empower and advocate for others. Read Mary Beth's full nomination.

"Mary Beth is a true inspiration for all Canadians. She has transformed a tragic personal experience into action to improve the lives of others, thereby demonstrating that she is a uniquely courageous and effective Everyday Political Citizen." 

– Senator André Pratte

Zeinab Mohamed
Ottawa, ON


Zeinab Mohamad

Nam Kiwanuka (Zeinab Ibrahim)

Zeinab was picked by juror Nam Kiwanuka for starting a community homework club that provides both educational assistance and mentorship. Read Zeinab's full nomination.

"The reason that I chose Zeinab is she's planting the seeds for the future with the homework club she runs. When she founded the club it was only for the kids in her building and now with the help of 11 volunteers, Zeinab helps 20 kids twice a week with their homework. Zeinab recognised the potential of these students and by investing in the club with her own time, she demonstrates an unwavering commitment to her community. And that's what I think exemplifies an Everyday Political Citizen." 

– Nam Kiwanuka

Marc Hull-Jacquin 
Toronto, ON


Marc Hull-Jacquin 3

Ed the Sock (Marc Hull Jacquin)

Marc was picked by juror Ed the Sock for creating a non-for-profit service that provides victims of domestic abuse with emotional and physical support. Read Marc's full nomination.

"I chose Marc Hull-Jacquin because he sees that problems like domestic abuse are like a Magic Eye poster - the closer you get, the more you see they're made up of lots of components that get lost when looking at the big picture."
Ed the Sock, Juror

Joseph Briggs 
Scarborough, ON 


Joseph Briggs

Naomi Sayers (Joseph Briggs)

Joseph was picked by juror Naomi Sayers for seeking justice when targeted by anti-Black racism. Read Joseph's full nomination.

"It takes such courage and strength to bring forth a human rights claim, let alone a claim against a police force. Joseph's story is a reminder that the people who are tasked with enforcing the law, like police, do not always do so within the bounds of the law but that it is possible to seek justice in other ways. He is an Everyday Political Citizen because of his commitment to seeking justice when he experienced injustice." 

– Naomi Sayers


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