The Everyday Political Citizen Jury Members 2016 Project

Meet the 2016 Jury

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Margaret atwood

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is pleased to encourage everyday political citizenship as a 2016 EPCitizen juror.

Mercer, RickRick Mercer 

"In my first year of high school a few friends and I looked forward to each edition of the school newspaper only so we could go through it page by page (and there were very few pages) and criticize it. Eventually one of our parents made the classic “instead of complaining why don’t you do something” speech. So we did. At the end of the school year we marched into the newspaper executive election with a contingent of 30 pals, joined the paper and voted. I was the new editor within 20 minutes. The next day our principal called us into the office and accused us of “stacking the meeting.” Well of course that is what we did. I had a godfather involved in provincial politics who taught me well.  The Principal wasn’t impressed and summarily fired us all.  We believed this was an egregious abuse of power. Flash forward to the end of the summer break. My friends and I created our own “underground” paper which beat the official paper to the hallways.  It had racy language, an illustrated guide on how to use condoms, an editorial on the looming teachers strike and, in a stunning example of poor judgement, we published a certain principal’s home phone number.I didn’t really blame him when he called my father to inform him that I was being thrown out of school. I think most parents would take this news poorly. Dad, who knew nothing about this paper, listened carefully and said “seems to me this is an issue of freedom of expression, it’s in the charter of rights, I think we should let the courts decide this one.”None of us were suspended.  I thought “I like this charter very much.”I should mention I apologised about the phone number probably a hundred times and the relationship with the principal eventually improved."

Aguirre, Carmen

Carmen Aguirre - Theatre Artist and Author, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter

"On September 11th, 1973, I awoke to the radio playing. I was five years old and living in Chile. When I joined my parents, they explained that Salvador Allende was talking to the country from the presidential palace, which was being bombed because there was a coup. His words, “The great avenues will open once again, where the free man will walk in order to create a better society...” were burned in my soul forever. He was talking to me, and I knew in that moment that I would take up the cause of fighting for a better society."

Ference, Andrew

Andrew Ference - Edmonton Oilers Defenceman and Environment Advocate 

"I travelled with my parents to Kenya as a child. It was during an election in their country and I remember the tension of people and the advice that we received to not say anything about it for fear of violence. After that, I never took for granted living in a country where we could vote and speak our minds in peace. It would be a shame to not take part in our democracy!"

Blackstock. Cindy

Cindy Blackstock - Executive Director,  First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada

"I think it’s our job as adults to stand up for our kids. When I saw racial discrimination against kids, it wasn’t even a choice. For me, reconciliation means not saying sorry twice. We can’t make the same mistake twice."

Reimer, Andrea

Andrea Reimer - City Councillor, City of Vancouver

Check back soon for Andrea's most memorable experience as a political citizen.

Dyer, Rob

Rob Dyer - Founder, Skate4Cancer

“After losing several loved ones to cancer as a teenager and looking for help, I wasn’t happy with the system or the support that I found. That’s when I realized the only way to fix it was to get involved. By skateboarding across North America and sharing my experience, I was able to raise awareness about cancer and create a support system for those affected. Getting involved helped me deal with my losses, and turned something negative into something positive. It also introduced me to other organizations and allowed me to build on the work they started.”

Kay, Jon

Jonathan Kay - Editor-in-Chief, The Walrus

"I grew up in Quebec, and I have very clear memories of the referendum that took place in 1980, when I was 12 years old. Obviously, I was too young to vote. But I remember that for weeks before the event, it was all anyone was talking about. The future of our family's place in Canada was going to be dictated entirely by how people voted on that day."

Mohamed, Farah

Farah Mohamed - Founder, G(irls) 20 Summit

"A few years ago, I was in Egypt as Election Observer and witnessed a father bring his 6-year-old daughter to vote, he walked out of the booth and had his finger dipped in ink and asked that his daughter’s be marked as well – he then said to her that this was the beginning of the first day of the new Egypt.  That moment crystallized for me the importance of showing by example, engaging at a young age and reminding ourselves how lucky we are to live in a country whose citizens have the right to vote."

Baskin, Morgan

Morgan Baskin - Former Mayoral Candidate and Youth Advocate

"In the summer before the 2015 federal election I had a conversation at a bar with someone I only vaguely knew and I was asking them about the upcoming election and their feelings. They told me that they were not going to vote because it didn't matter, no one was listening to them. They said their vote didn't count. I realised I didn't have a good answer to that, I couldn't lie to them but I didn;t have a good truth to tell. I knew it was no longer enough for me to be excited myself, I want to make sure that politicans are listening to young people. I want to have conversations in bars with people who feel heard by their politicans, cared for by their government."

Charters, Owen

Owen Charters - President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

"While a freshman participating in the Cystic Fibrosis Shinerama campaign, a bright red bus pulled to a stop next to us, and we were surprised to find ourselves shining the shoes of Jean Chretien after he stepped out. He was running in his first election to become Prime Minister, and he seemed as surprised to have his shoes shined as we were to be attending to the shoes of a future PM. An aide invited us to another campaign event that night, and off we went – my friend and I involved in politics in some way ever since."

Woldeyes, Hana

Hana Woldeyes - Youth Advocate and 2015 EPCitizen winner

"Being recognized as a political citizen by Samara Canada brought me back to the foundation of my involvement in my community. Along with why I should keep educating myself about Canadian politics moving forward to make policy and Canadian law more accessible and suitable for immigrant and refugee youth."

Nicotine, Cory

Cory Nicotine - Founder, Knowledge is Powwow and 2015 EPCitizen winner 

"The most memorable moment after being awarded Samara's EPC, was when I returned home to Edmonton, Alberta and Mayor Don Iveson held protocol to give iHuman and I fifty thousand dollars for me to continue the work as an Everyday Political Citizen, which has turned my passion into a full-time job."


Allidina, Hussein

Hussein Allidina - Co-Founder, The Canadian-Muslim Vote and Director, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan

"The most memorable experience for me as a political citizen came in November 2015 when Mainstreet Research published data showing that the participation of Canadian-Muslims had increased to 79% nationally, and 88% in the 9 ridings in the GTA where our volunteers canvassed and knocked on doors. Participation rates in the 2011 election were estimated below 45%. This uptick made all the hard work in the months leading up to the election very rewarding."

Curpen, Radha

Radha Curpen - Vancouver Managing Partner, Co-head of Aboriginal Law, Bennett Jones

"I had just turned sixteen when I immigrated to Winnipeg with my parents and sister. I was asked by my school to write an essay about Canadian citizenship a few months later. That essay was submitted to City council. I was also asked to read the essay at a meeting of all students from my high school. After that meeting, I was approached by many students and teachers as they were intrigued by my perspective as a new immigrant. I discussed with them the promise of a Canadian citizenship. I understood then the importance of conversation and discussion of different perspectives and engagement."

FineDay, Max

Max FineDay - Co-Executive Director, Canadian Roots Exchange

"I was fresh out of high school when I moved to New Zealand. While making my way around the country, I heard a familiar history of colonization, but also saw New Zealanders on a path toward reconciliation. I saw Maori represented in workforces, and around the cabinet table. I saw non-Indigenous people making an effort to learn Indigenous language and culture, and listening to Indigenous voices. It gave me hope, ideas and, most importantly, inspiration about what could be accomplished in my home province, and across Canada. I returned with an understanding that we can, and must, do better."

Anderson, Luke

Luke Anderson - Founder, StopGap Foundation

"After sustaining a spinal cord injury I was all of a sudden introduced to a world that's not well suited for someone that uses a wheelchair. I soon realized that nothing was being done about increasing accessibility in our communities. I was even noticing that some new buildings under construction had stepped entry ways! I wanted people to start talking about this huge issue. I wanted people to start thinking about great ideas that could help solve these access problems that were affecting so many people, not just those using wheelchairs."

Sova, Ilene

Ilene Sova - Artist and Educator

"While researching for the Missing Women Project, I poured over newspapers, for personality details like, “she loved to write poetry” or “her laugh was contagious”. I would meditate on these insights while I painted. Through the research, it became painfully clear that violence and lack of action were based on outdated notions of “good women’ and “bad women." At that realization, I made a commitment to use the artwork as a vehicle to provoke discussion about gendered violence and to build a network around art and social justice issues that could enact change. Through my projects, I wish to move people with art towards new gender paradigms are healthy and help to heal our communities."

McIntyre, Andrew

Andrew McIntyre - Senior Policy Advisor for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

“Not long after joining the Students’ Union as a staff member, I came to realize my love for mentoring young people. In particular, there was one student who was smart and ambitious but also loud and obnoxious when first elected as an executive at 19 years old. Working with this student for a year, I know I had a lasting impact. By the end of the term this individual developed significantly and was nearly-universally recognized as an extremely well-spoken, thoughtful leader. The part I played in that will stay with me forever.”

Peters, Barry

Barry Peters - Senior Manager, RBC Royal Bank

“My most memorable moment as a political citizen was knocking on doors in 2003 for a Toronto municipal candidate and realizing the important role I was playing in the democratic process – of not only informing residents of my candidate’s position on issues, but of their right to vote for the candidate who best represents their views. That memory reminds me of the tireless efforts of Everyday Political Citizens who continue to inform the public of the importance our political system. I applaud their efforts to remind us that you have a voice when you participate.”


Parliamentary Internship Programme

The Parliamentary Internship Programme was Canada’s first legislative internship. Founded in 1969 with all-party support, it is an initiative of the Canadian Political Science Association delivered in partnership with the House of Commons. The ten 2016-17 parliamentary interns will act together as an Everyday Political Citizen juror.

EPCitizen Sponsors

We would like to thank RBC Foundation for their donation, sponsors Bennett Jones and Price Waterhouse Cooper and the in-kind support of The TyeeiPolitics, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Civic Action.

650x70 px - Sponsors (Oct 11)