Everyday Political Citizen Shortlist, 2013

Everyday Political Citizen Shortlist, 2013

Samara's Everyday Political Citizen project celebrates the un-sung heroes of Canadian democracy. Over 200 Canadians nominated their political heroes in over 125 ridings from coast to coast to coast. From those nominations, 14 prominent Canadians chose 13 exceptional adult finalists and 8 youth finalists to be recognized for their dedication to democratic participation.

Find out more about the adult shortlist below, then read about the shortlisted youth who are making important contributions to Canada’s political landscape even before they can vote.


Juror Max Cameron picked Idil Burale:


"As an articulate, passionate and principled person, who is wise beyond her years, Burale provides a glimpse of what we might hope from the next generation of leaders; through her example, she illustrates how, by carefully reframing issues and narratives, people from diverse points of view can find common ground." Read Idil's full nomination here.


Juror Mark Heyck picked Samantha Livingstone:

"As someone whose interest in politics was fostered by enthusiastic educators that recognized the value of civic engagement, I'm pleased to select Fort McMurray teacher Sam Livingstone. Ms. Livingstone found creative and effective ways to teach civics in her classroom, but perhaps more importantly, she encouraged her Grade 6 students to bring the importance of political engagement home to their kitchen tables, to discuss the value of political participation with their parents. This passage from Ms. Livingstone's blog struck me as very revealing regarding the impact her teaching had on her students' perception of democracy and the value of participation: "We followed the polls, the students knew who was projected to win the Alberta provincial election and they knew when the election was called that the polls were wrong because people had chosen to participate." Read Samantha's full nomination here.


Juror Miriam Fahmy picked Edith Perry:


"My choice is Edith Perry. I was charmed by the scope of her engagement. She has advocated for social justice in so many different ways. It is proof that being "political" can take many forms : in the workplace, in partisan politics, in charitable work, in mentoring, in advocacy groups. Being political is accessible to everyone." Read Edith's full nomination here.


Jurors Rick Mercer and Danny Graham picked Mark Coffin of Hailfax, Nova Scotia:


Rick Mercer's explanation:
"Mark Coffin from Halifax, Nova Scotia is my nominee for the Everyday Political Citizen because of the important work he is doing to engage young people in Canadian politics.  I’ve said for years that if young people show up to vote, we’ll see some very exciting changes in this country.  Mark is putting in the hard work necessary to make that happen." Watch the video Rick Mercer made for Mark.


Danny Graham's explanation:
"My selection is Mark Coffin. Mark is both an example and a driver of the potential for young Canadians to reboot democracy. He founded the Springtide Collective – a non-partisan collection of passionate champions who are igniting a generation of young people to become engaged and informed citizens about democracy. Springtide has become a one-stop non-stop shop for how to take democracy and politics to a new level. From hosting public events, to producing learning materials, to conducting research, to speaking out about the need for change, Mark is living hope that politics will change for the better." Read Mark's full nomination here.


Juror Miriam Lapp picked Trina Isakson of Vancouver, British Columbia:

"I'm choosing Trina Isakson as my pick for the Everyday Political Citizen contest. Trina's work to educate and empower women and young people to take on leadership roles in their communities is smart and inspiring -- and very much needed. She is providing tools to help others become engaged and active citizens, and that's very exciting." Read Trina's full nomination here.


Juror Hugh MacKinnon picked Victor Beausoleil of Toronto, Ontario:


"I was not aware of Mr. Beausoleil's work until I read his nomination. Here is an advocate who is not waiting for others before wholly committing himself to providing incredible solutions to very real problems. Truly inspiring!" Read Victor's full nomination here.


Juror Michael MacMillan picked Joanne Macrae of Halifax, Nova Scotia:


"I chose Joanne Macrae because of the depth and breadth of her commitment. She is a “serial” participant and serial encourager of others. Not only does she work on a specific issue of concern to her, but she also works to strengthen citizens’ infrastructure so all our voices can be heard. I also appreciated that she does all this as a dual citizen.” Read Joanne's  full nomination here.


Juror Preston Manning picked Patrick Beatty of Calgary, Alberta:


"Patrick Beatty doesn't take political participation for granted. He has constantly improved his qualifications for action through academic training and personal participation in democracy-building activities. Ideologically he is a 'small-d democrat' ahead of anything else and we need more people like this in the political arena." Read Patrick's full nomination here.


Juror Akosua Matthews picked Japreet Lehal of Surrey, British Columbia:

"I've decided to select Japreet Lehal. Japreet should win Samara's Everyday Political Citizen Project because Japreet is filling a much needed journalistic void: writing about youth issues from the perspective of a young person. The media is replete with articles lamenting the apathy of youth. Japreet is a fine example of an engaged young person who turns that often negative assessment of youth on its head. Additionally, when I further researched Japreet online, I found that his nomination submissions was accurate and that he maintains a sustained online presence engaging with a variety of issues and topics via his twitter account and frequent columns in the Surrey Leader. His engagement isn't a flash in the pan. It's appears to be a regular habit of his. Lastly, it's brave to regularly put out your own opinions on a variety of topics with such regularity. Japreet is honing his opinion-writing skills in a most public way. That takes courage and he should be commended for that." Read Japreet's full nomination here.


Juror Kathleen Monk picked Leesee Papatsie of Iqaluit, Nunavut:

"When a box of pasta can cost up to $14, just putting food on the table becomes a real challenge; that’s why Leesee Papatsie is educating and organizing people around the issue of food security, both in her community of Iqaluit and across the North. By challenging governments and retailers to lower costs and increase the quality of food in North, Leesee represents the best of what an Everyday Political Citizen can be: she's committed, engaged and devoted to her community." Read Leesee's full nomination here.


Juror Chima Nkemdirim picked Chris Ortenburger of Malpeque, Prince Edward Island:

"My nominee for the Short List is Chris Ortenburger.  Although I had never heard of Chris before reading her nomination, I was inspired by her efforts to keep her community informed and engaged about social and environmental issues on Prince Edward Island. The simple act of sending a daily email about issues of concern demonstrates how one person can make a huge difference.  I have no idea if Chris has been successful in getting the changes she has advocated, but the fact that she has sustained a conversation in her community about these issues is exactly what should happen in a democracy." Read Chris' full nomination here.


Juror Deon Ramgoolam picked Darlene Okemaysim-Sicotte of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan:

"My pick for this contest is Darlene Okemaysim-Sicotte. She has devoted herself to advocating for one of the most marginalized groups of Canadians. I am impressed that she has done this outside of organized and professional politics, it convinces me that her commitment is selfless." Read Darlene's full nomination here.


Juror Shauna Sylvester picked Rosanne Orcutt of Sarnia, Ontario:

“How many Rosanne Orcutt's have we met in our lives?  I think I've seen a glimpse of them at local YMCA meetings or around the hospice table, but I'm not sure I've met someone as engaged as Rosanne in shaping her community for the better. Her efforts to save and expand health services in her area, coupled with her work as a coach and mentor for young people profiles an often unrecognized, yet essential role, that so many mature women play in our community - the no-nonsense, get it done volunteer who creates enduring change. By recognizing Rosanne we are recognizing the backbone of our political communities - highly active, energetic Canadians who volunteer and engage with the political process because it's part of their DNA as citizens.” Read Rosanne's full nomination here.