Everyday Political Citizen Jury Members

Meet the 2017 Jury


Margaret Atwood – Author, Literary Critic and Poet 

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays, including Hagseed, The Blind AssassinAlias Grace, The Robber BrideCat’s Eye, and the Oryx and Crake trilogy. Her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale was recently adapted into an award-winning TV series. Atwood holds honorary degrees from Oxford University, Cambridge University, and the Sorbonne. She has won more than 55 awards in Canada and internationally, including the Booker Prize, the Giller Prize and the Premio Mondello in Italy.  She is a recipient of the Order of Canada.


Senator Douglas Black – The Senate of Canada

The Honourable Doug Black, Q.C. was appointed to the Senate of Canada on January 25, 2013. He is a senior counsel at Dentons Canada LLP and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002. Senator Black was named one of Canada’s most influential lawyers in 2012 by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

Deeply involved in his community, Senator Black was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 in recognition of his many contributions. He has served as Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Calgary, Chair of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Banff Centre, Governor Emeritus of the Banff Centre, and was founder of Lakecrest School in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Senator Black was the founding president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC), the organization dedicated to the development of a Canadian energy framework. He is also the co-founder of Alberta2.0, a group of Alberta leaders who have developed a roadmap for a more robust and resilient Albertan economy.

Senator Black sits on the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee and the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee of the Senate. He is also on the executive committee on the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association, and the Canada-China Parliamentary Association.

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Julie Caron-Malenfant – Executive Director, Institut du Nouveau Monde

Julie Caron-Malenfant holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, a Master's degree in Political Science and an attestation of graduate studies in Urban Economic Development. Julie has accrued over 15 years of experience in local development and public participation. She has been involved in strategic studies and development plans in Mexico, throughout Quebec and beyond. Julie is acknowledged for her unique experience in stakeholder participation and dialogue in consultation processes concerning issues of sustainable development, natural resources, the arts and public affairs. She has led a broad range of clients in stakeholder consultation processes, including a number of municipalities, Conférences régionales des élus and local development centres, amongst many other public and private organisations. She is the co-author of the Guide pratique de l'acceptabilité sociale : pistes de réflexion et d'action, a go-to resource in the field of social acceptability.

Now Executive Director of the Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM), a non-partisan organization working primarily in Quebec whose mission is to increase citizen participation in democratic life, Julie joined the INM team in 2009. She has managed over 100 large-scale projects including for the Ministère de la Culture du Québec (Agenda 21 de la culture du Québec- 2012) and the City of Québec (Diagnostic des pratiques de participation publique dans la Ville de Québec – 2017) as well as a Citizen Jury on political party funding and the Quebec-wide Rendez-vous de l’énergie.


Michael Redhead Champagne – Founder, AYO!

Michael Redhead Champagne has spent nearly two decades speaking out and leading by example. He takes a hopeful and solution oriented approach to youth engagement, facilitation, community organizing and mobilization.

He was recognized as the 2016 Canadian Red Cross Young Humanitarian of the Year and in TIME Magazine as a Next Generation Leader. In 2016, Michael served on the Bank of Canada’s bank note advisory committee with a task of creating a short list of women nominated by the public to appear on a new bank note. Michael has also received a Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award as well as recognition as a CBC Manitoba Future 40 leader, a Manitoba Hero, and a Future Leader of Manitoba.

As the founder of AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities), he is committed to a wide variety of important community initiatives including Meet Me at the Bell Tower, AYO Politix, ARROWS Youth Engagement Strategy, 13 Fires, Fearless R2W and Winnipeg Water Wednesday. Michael has served as president of North End Community Renewal Corporation, a board member for the Circle of Life Thunderbird House and is currently serving on the board for Marymound Inc. His committee work currently includes United Way of Winnipeg’s Council for Indigenous Relations and is an advisor to the Garden of Compassion initiative.

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Buffy Childerhose – Writer, Performer and Director

Buffy Childerhose began her career on coffee house stages in Montreal while writing columns and making TV for the CBC.  Author of From Lilith to Lilith Fair, former co-host of W's My Messy Bedroom, her career spans two decades in media, and has taken her around the globe. After a stint as a consultant and reporter in Cambodia, she returned to Toronto to do graduate work at OISE at U of T, focussing on the role of media in the face of conflict.  Currently a writer and directory working with Discovery, she's also a labour organizer with the Canadian Media Guild. Her volunteer work has ranged from teaching writing to kids at risk (Leave Out Violence), to being knee deep in a river of sewage in Haiti (with MSF) She's currently working on a reportage memoir called "Cure for Love."


Desmond Cole – Columnist and Activist 

Desmond Cole is an activist and freelance journalist in Toronto. His work also appears in the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, Walrus, VICE, NOW Magazine, Torontoist, and Ethnic Aisle. Desmond is currently working on his first book, on the experiences of Black Canadians.


Yasin Dwyer – Muslim Chaplain, Ryerson University 

Yasin Dwyer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to parents of Jamaican heritage. Before joining Muslim Chaplaincy at Ryerson University, Yasin was a part of the multi-faith chaplaincy team at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He has lectured extensively on topics such as spirituality and music, Black Canadian culture and the history of Muslims in the west. Along with working alongside many non-profit organizations in Canada, Yasin was the first full-time Canadian Muslim chaplain to work with the Correctional Service of Canada, a position he held for 12 years. He is also a board member of the Montreal based Institut Route de la Soie/Silk Road Institute, which is dedicated to expressing Canadian Muslim narratives through the visual, auditory and performing arts.


Kulvir Singh Gill – Co-founder, SEVA Food Bank

Kulvir Singh Gill works as a Senior Principal with the strategy firm Clareo leading international projects across multiple industries including mining, oil and gas, heavy industrial, banking and retail. Mr. Gill is also the founding Executive Director of the Development Partner Institute to advance sustainability in the mining industry. He began his career as a management consultant with Oliver Wyman before holding several positions with Barrick Gold Corporation.

Mr. Gill holds a B.Sc. and a B. Comm. from the University of Calgary. He is a co-founder and current interim volunteer Executive Director of the Seva Food Bank in Mississauga. He also serves as Board Chair for the Sikh Research Institute (Canada) as well as for the William Osler Health System Foundation. Mr. Gill is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and a 2010 Action Canada Fellow.


Ruth Kaviok – President, National Inuit Youth Council, and 2016 EPC Winner

Ruth Kaviok is the President of the National Inuit Youth Council. She is at student at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa and was the Inuktitut valedictorian of John Arnalukjuak High School in Arviat in 2016. She advocates for suicide prevention, climate change prevention and the importance of education.

Ruth knows climate change makes the wildlife and people of Arviat vulnerable. Blending traditional Inuit knowledge with the scientific study of climate, she promotes a cross-cultural understanding of environmental issues. Her unique approach uses experiential learning and storytelling to make sustainability and environmentalism come alive to Inuit and non-Inuit communities alike.


Nam Kiwanuka – Multimedia Journalist and Speaker

Nam Kiwanuka was named by the ReelWorld Film Festival as an Emerging Filmmaker for the Class of 2013. She has written a popular column for the BBC's Focus on Africa Magazine and in 2010 directed a TV pilot that "celebrated the faces and places of Africa". In 2012, she gave a Tedx talk called 'the Power of One' and spoke of the impact we all possess in changing another's life for the better. She was a former VJ/Videographer for MuchMusic and was a Contributor on the Marilyn Denis Show. She has hosted and produced shows for Sportsnet and BET. She has also reported for ET Canada, CNN and wrote for the Toronto Star & Globe and Mail. She was an Ambassador for the Canadian Red Cross and in 2008, and was named by Chatelaine Magazine as one of '80 Canadian Women to Watch'. Most recently, Nam has been balancing life as a busy mom to a baby and a toddler, all the while she was the Editor for the African Business Journal. Nam loves speaking to and mentoring youth, and looks forward to pursuing more of these opportunities.


Preston Manning – Founder and President, Manning Centre

Preston Manning served as a Member of Parliament from 1993 to 2001 and founded two political parties – the Reform Party of Canada and the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance. Both of those parties became the Official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament, and laid the foundation for the new Conservative Party of Canada. Mr. Manning served as Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 2000 and also served as his party’s science and technology critic. In 2007, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and in 2013 he was appointed to the Privy Council.

Mr. Manning graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA in Economics and provided consulting services to the energy industry for twenty years before entering the political arena. He has received a number of accolades and honorary degrees in his longstanding career.


Rick Mercer – Political Satirist, CBC Television

Rick Mercer is a political satirist currently on CBC Television for season 15 of the Rick Mercer Report. Rick began his career in comedy performing and writing in his hometown St John's, Newfoundland. His weekly helping of topical satire and Canada-wide adventures have made his show a perennial audience favourite.

Rick is also a Canada150 Ambassador and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Rick has received The John Drainie Award from ACTRA in recognition of his contribution to Canadian broadcasting and for his "unique approach to raising awareness of Canadian politics and current affairs."


Senator André Pratte  The Senate of Canada

André Pratte has been a member of the Senate of Canada since April 2016. He was a journalist for more than 35 years, 30 of which at La Presse newspaper in Montreal. He was La Presse’s Editorial Pages Editor from 2001 to 2015. 

André has written several books on politics, history and the media. His latest book is Wilfrid Laurier, a biography of the first French Canadian Prime Minister of Canada. He recently co-edited Legacy – How French Canadians have Shaped North America. He was editor of Reconquering Canada: Quebec Federalists Speak Up for Change.

Along with eleven other well-known Quebecers, André was signatory to a manifesto that had a major political impact in Quebec, For a clear eyed vision of Quebec. In 2007, 2008 and in 2010, at the National Newspaper Award, he was the winner in the Editorial category. Finally, he was also co-founder for the Federal Idea, a non-partisan group, non-profit think tank on federalism.

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Matt J. Price – Author

Matt Price has over 20 years of campaign experience with NGOs across North America, including with Environmental Defence Canada and the Natural Resources Defence Council. He is the author of the book Engagement Organizing: The Old Art And New Science Of Winning Campaigns with UBC Press. He holds a BA from McGill and a MA from York University. He lives on Vancouver Island where he is the only vegetarian sheep farmer.

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The Parliamentary Internship Programme

The Parliamentary Internship Programme of the Canadian Political Science Association was founded through an all-party motion in the House of Commons in 1969, making it the oldest program of its kind in Canada. For ten months, ten Canadian university graduates work on both sides of House, study Parliament through academic seminars, take part in legislative study tours, and write research papers on Parliament. The 2017-18 Parliamentary Interns hail from Edmonton to Conception Bay South. They will work together as one Everyday Political Citizen juror.


Naomi Sayers – Writer and 2016 EPC Winner

Naomi Sayers is a fierce Indigenous feminist, influencer, writer, and educator. A future lawyer, she is passionate about working with Indigenous communities or organizations with an Indigenous focus. With her life experiences, Naomi enjoys inspiring others to make change possible in their world. Naomi is Kwe behind Kwe Today. Kwe Today is a blog that is regularly cited around the world. Her work is also used by national and international organizations to influence policy and law reform.


Jen Sung – Artist-Activist

Jen Sungshine speaks for a living, but lives for breathing life into unspoken situations in unusual places. As a queer Taiwanese artist-activist based in Vancouver, BC, she is guided by an ethos of care that is rooted in the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish people. A facilitator by trade, she works with creative technology and social justice media through: Love Intersections, Our City of Colours, Out in Schools and the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia. Jen’s artistic practice involves learning through unlearning; and instead of calling you out, she wants to call you in, to make artful social change with her. In the audience, she looks for art in your interruption. www.jensungshine.com


Kakeka Thundersky – Student and 2016 EPC Winner

Kakeka Thundersky of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was Samara Canada’s 2016 Everyday Political Citizen Winner in the under 18 category. She was inspired to begin volunteering in her neighbourhood after the passing of her mother, a lifelong grassroots activist, last year. She is recognized for her commitment to volunteering with numerous charities, including the Siloam Mission and Salvation Army, and her motivation to shine a light on the good in her community. Kakeka is currently enrolled at the University of Winnipeg, Faculty of Education, in the pursuit of one day working in an Indigenous school division.

Everyday Political Sponsors and Partners

The 2017 Everyday Political Citizen contest would not be possible without contributions from generous donors and sponsors. We would like to thank lead sponsor Bennett Jones, as well as iPolitics and Twitter for their in-kind support. 

We are also pleased to partner with Institut du Nouveau Monde for this year’s contest.

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