Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, one of the objectives of the Commission is to “witness, support, promote and facilitate truth and reconciliation events at both the national and community levels.” See the current list of Honorary Witnesses.
The term witness is in reference to the Aboriginal principle of witnessing, which varies among First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. Generally speaking, witnesses are called to be the keepers of history when an event of historic significance occurs. Partly because of the oral traditions of Aboriginal peoples, but also to recognize the importance of conducting business, building and maintaining relationships in person and face to face.
Through witnessing the event or work that is undertaken is validated and provided legitimacy. The work could not take place without honoured and respected guests to witness it.
Witnesses are asked to store and care for the history they witness and most importantly, to share it with their own people when they return home.
On October 15, 2009, the Right Honouarble Michaëlle Jean became the first Honorary Witness. A ceremony was held at Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s official residence and workplace. At the National Event in Inuvik, Halifax and Saskatoon, as well as other TRC events, subsequent persons fulfilled this important role and committed to share what they learned.
Our Honorary Witnesses(listed chronologically)
Click each name to read a full biography of each Honorary Witness.
Honorary Witnesses inducted at Revitalizing Reconciliation in Ontario: A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on September 28, 2011
The Honourable David C. Onley, O. Ont
Honorary Witnesses inducted at the Atlantic National Event in Halifax in October 2011
The Honourable Andy Scott
Honorary Witnesses inducted at the TRC Regional Event in Victoria, BC in April, 2012
Honorary Witnesses inducted at The Meeting Place, Truth and Reconciliation: Toronto 2012 conference in May 2012
Honorary Witnesses inducted at the Saskatchewan National Event in Saskatoon, SK in June 2012
Honorary Witness inducted at Revitalizing Reconciliation Event in Manitoba: A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on November 6, 2012
Honorary Witnesses inducted at the Québec National Event in Montréal in April 2013
Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission"
Represented by Sandy White Hawk
Québec Native Women / Femmes autochtones du Québec"
Represented by Vivianne Michel
Honorary Witnesses inducted at the BC National Event in Vancouver in September, 2013
Madame Jean’s life began in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she lived under the brutal regime of Dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier. At the age of 11, she was forced to flee Haiti with her family, and she arrived in Canada as a refugee in 1968.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian and Hispanic languages and literature at the University of Montréal, she pursued her master’s studies in comparative literature and taught at the university’s Faculty of Italian Studies. She is fluent in five languages: French, English, Italian, Spanish, Creole and fluently reads Portuguese.
During her studies, Ms. Jean worked for 10 years with Quebec shelters for battered women, actively contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. She later became a highly regarded journalist and anchor of information programs at Radio-Canada and CBC. She also took part in three award-winning documentary films produced by her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond. The couple has a daughter, Marie-Éden.
On September 27, 2005, Mme Jean was sworn in as 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. During her time in office, Madame Jean made youth a priority of her mandate and transformed the institution she occupied into a meeting place where dialogue prevailed and citizen voices were heard. A fervent practitioner of “cultural diplomacy,” she led forty missions and State visits abroad in Afghanistan, in China, in ten African countries, in nine countries in the Americas, and ten European countries.
Mme Jean is a Companion of the Order of Canada (CC) and has won numerous awards, including the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Canada Award; the National Quality Institute’s Board of Governors Recognition Achievement Award; Prix Anik for best information reporting in Canada; and the inaugural Amnesty International Canada Journalism Award. The Assemblée internationale des parlementaires de langue française bestowed upon her the Ordre des Chevaliers de La Pléiade. In addition, the Universities Fighting World Hunger international network oversees the new Michaëlle Jean Award
Besides her role as President of FMJF, Mme Jean is very involved in the reconstruction of her country of birth, as UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti. She is also Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, President of the Institut québécois des hautes études internationales of the University of Laval as well as a Board member of the Toronto Luminato Festival.
Grand Chief Ed John
Grand Chief, First Nations Summit of BC
North American Regional Representative for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)
Grand Chief Edward John is a Hereditary Chief of Tl'azt'en Nation located on the banks of the Nak'al Bun (Stuart Lake) in Northern BC. He is an Indigenous leader who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of social and economic justice for Canada’s Indigenous people, having worked as a leader in Indigenous politics, business and community development.
Chief John has been a lawyer for 30 years. He holds a B.A. from the University of Victoria, an LL.B from the University of British Columbia and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Northern British Columbia.
Chief John has served in many leadership roles at the local, provincial, national and international levels. He is a former Co-Chair of the North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus and participated in the development of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2007. He was recently appointed to a three-year term as the North American Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (January 2011 – December 2013).
Shelagh Rogers, O.C.
Host, The Next Chapter, CBC Radio
Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast-journalist. She has hosted flagship programs with CBC Radio, including Morningside and Sounds Like Canada. In 2000, she won the John Drainie Award, Canada's highest broadcasting honour. In 2010, the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario gave her their Hero Award for speaking publicly about her own depression. She is also a Cam-H Transforming Lives Award recipient. Native Counselling Services of Alberta has honoured her for her work in reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. And she is the National Chair of the Peter Gzowski Invitationals for Literacy.
In 2011, Shelagh became an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour.
She also holds honorary doctorates from Mount Allison University, the University of Western Ontario and in May 2012, she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Memorial University.
Shelagh is the first ever Ambassador-at-Large for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. She believes we are all in the same boat.
Jewish Holocaust Survivor
"Forgive you must, forget you can't!" Mr. Robert Waisman
Robert Waisman, as a teenager survived the horrors of the Buchenwald concentration camp. On April 11, 1945, soldiers from the Sixth Armored Division of the U.S. Third Army liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp. Among the 21,000 survivors of Nazi genocide were some 1,000 Jewish children and teenagers, including 14-year-old Romek Wajsman – now Robert Waisman – born in Poland, who had been sent to Buchenwald in 1944 after years of slave labor in Nazi munitions factories.
Two months later, 426 of the “boys of Buchenwald” were sent to group homes in France. In December 1949, Romek was granted permission to move to Canada – a land where, he had heard, no one went hungry. He continued his education, becoming an accountant and later a successful businessman, first in Saskatoon and later in Vancouver. He married, became the father of two, and is now a grandfather. He became a community leader, a philanthropist and a dedicated educator, sharing his experiences with thousands of students each year and teaching them the perils of hate, racism and indifference. Today, Robert Waisman is the immediate past president of the Vancouver Holocaust Center for Remembrance and Education.
Francisco Cali Tzay
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Francisco Calí Tzay has been a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination since 2004. Mr. Calí Tzay is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Indian Treaty Council.
Chief Executive Officer
Connecting Home Ltd
John Dommett accepts the role of Honorary Witness on behalf of Connecting Home Ltd., an organization in Victoria, Australia that has been established in response to the recommendations arising from the Stolen Generations Taskforce Report of April 2003 commissioned by the Victorian Government.
Connecting Home Ltd. has established a number of programs including those that are designed to directly support people affected by the Government's past policies of “forceable removal”.
A Queenslander by birth, John Dommett has over 30 years of experience working in community services and working in roles varying from direct support through to CEO positions.
Mr. Dommett has, through various initiatives, supported a number of people who identified with the Cherbourg Mission and were members of the Stolen Generations themselves. His primary role was to assist in making community links and to work in partnership to set up supports that would make a real difference in the lives of those members.
Director, Communications, Senior Staff
International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
Refik Hodzic accepts the role of Honorary Witness on behalf of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). ICTJ is an international non-profit organization specializing in the field of transitional justice. ICTJ works to help societies in transition address legacies of massive human rights violations and build civic trust in state institutions as protectors of human rights.
For almost two decades, Mr. Hodzic has worked in transitional justice as a journalist, filmmaker, as well as an expert in public information and outreach campaigns for international and national courts seeking justice for war crimes. He has focused on post-war justice and media primarily in the former Yugoslavia, Lebanon, and Timor-Leste. Before his current role at ICTJ, Mr. Hodzic consulted for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), where he developed recommendations for STL’s outreach strategy and helped implement several high-impact projects.
The Honourable David C. Onley, O. Ont
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
When David C. Onley was appointed The Queen’s representative in Ontario, his concern for people with disabilities became front page news. And when he took office on 5 September 2007, Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor became a highly placed champion for accessibility.
The Honourable David C. Onley has championed disability issues on many fronts and for many years. Having lived with polio and post-polio syndrome since the age of three, he has broken through social barriers and become a role model.
In his 22-year career with Citytv, he was Canada’s first senior newscaster with a visible disability. A popular news anchor, host/producer, science and technology specialist, and weatherman, he showed that ability outshines disability.
Mr. Onley has worked tirelessly to improve accessibility for all. He has chaired the Government of Ontario’s Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, and served on the SkyDome Accessibility Council and the Air Canada Centre Accessibility Committee. He has assisted the Muki Baum Association for Multiple Disabilities, the Ontario March of Dimes, Variety Village, the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons, and the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto.
For his public service, Mr. Onley has been honoured with the King Clancy Award for Disabled Persons, the Courage to Come Back Award, and the Positive Impact Award. He was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame and the Scarborough Walk of Fame, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Canada Christian College.
His best-selling novel Shuttle was nominated as Book of the Year in 1982 by the Periodical Distributor's Association, and he has contributed to television, radio and publications, often with a focus on science, technology, and faith. He co-founded and was president of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation.
Born on 12 June 1950 in Midland, Ontario, David Onley attended local schools then graduated from the University of Toronto in 1975 with an Honours B.A. in Political
Science. He worked as an intern at Queen's Park and attended the University of Windsor Law School.
In view of his success in life, Mr. Onley credits his Christian faith and the ongoing support of his wife, singer and Christian recording artist Ruth Ann Onley, and their three sons, Jonathan, Robert, and Michael. The Onleys live in Scarborough and are active members of the Safe Haven Worship Centre in Pickering.
Marc Kielburger, CM, OMC
Co-founder and Co-CEO of Free The Children
Canadian author, humanitarian and activist for children's rights, he is the co-founder of Free The Children, an international development and youth empowerment organization.
Kielburger is also the co-founder and co-CEO of Me to We. Free The Children’s Me to We Day reaches 70,000 students in person and more than 5.4 million through televised broadcasts.
Free the Children, an international charity and renowned educational partner that empowers youth to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. Free the Children delivers innovative programming to thousands of young people in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. As the largest network of children helping children through education, the organization has worked in 45 countries and built more than 650 schools and school rooms in developing regions, providing education to more than 55,000 children every day.
After attending Brebeuf College School in Toronto, Kielburger graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, completing a degree in International Relations. He won a coveted Rhodes Scholarship and went on to complete a law degree at Oxford University with an emphasis on human rights law. He has also received two honorary doctorates for his work in the field of education and human rights.
Marc is also a New York Times bestselling author who has written five books including Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World.
With his brother Craig Kielburger, Marc is a syndicated columnist carried by the Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun and Huffington Post, as well as for Canada’s most widely-read women’s magazine, Canadian Living. Also, the Kielburgers have a weekly advice column in The Globe and Mail, called “Ask the Kielburgers”.
Marc is the recipient of many honours, including the Order of Canada and selection by the World Economic Forum as one of the 250 Young Global Leaders. His work has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, BBC as well as many other news and print media.
The Honourable Andy Scott
Former Member of Parliament
Mr. Scott is the Andrew Senior Fellow in Social Policy and the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network. He is an instructor of Public Policy for the College of Extended Learning and a guest lecturer in public policy related subjects in various departments at University of New Brunswick, St. Thomas University and Crandall University.
He is a member of the NB2026 Roundtable, co-chair of the recently announced public engagement initiative on Learning, vice-chair of the Atlantic Institute on Aging, co-chair of the Ombudsman's inquiry into children living in First Nations communities, and a Canadian Delegate to New Synthesis 6, an international exploration of modern government. Mr. Scott has delivered lectures at national IPAC meetings and the Queens Lecture Series on the Kelowna Accord.
As a former Member of Parliament, The Honourable Mr. Scott served as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians from 2004-2006.
Angajukkâk for Rigolet
Charlotte Wolfrey (Pottle) was born on Rigolet area where she lived until the age of eleven. She then moved to Happy Valley-Goose Bay where she lived, went to school and worked until her early thirties. She lived in Labrador City in the late 1970s where she worked for the Iron Ore Company of Canada.
Charlotte moved back to Rigolet in 1980 where she raised her children, worked and volunteered. She is most proud of being a wife, a mom to her four children and a grandmother to her 14 grandchildren.
Charlotte is known mostly thorough Nunatsiavut and Canada for her work in advocacy for the rights of women and children and for her dedication to speaking against family violence. She has always been involved in politics in some way, especially at a community and regional level serving many years on the community council and Labrador Inuit Association.
Before running for AngajukKâk, Charlotte worked for Sikumiut Environmental - an Inuit-owned research company.
She has served on regional, provincial, national and international committees, including Canadian Inuit Circumpolar Health Society, Atlantic Aboriginal Health Research, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women and many local/regional groups and organizations. She has held a variety of senior management positions in health care and in municipal administration.
Former three-term National Chief, AFN
Bold, tenacious, solution-oriented and forward-looking, Phil Fontaine is an articulate advocate for the future of Canada and for Indigenous peoples. As the former three-term National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, he is a shining example of how strong leadership can work.
Known for his calm and confident demeanor, he has a proven track record of opening the lines of communication and bringing people together in a common cause for a better future and to resolve issues of the past. Fontaine's proven ability to inform, inspire, demonstrate leadership, and build consensus makes him a highly sought-after expert.
Fontaine, the youngest son in an Ojibway family of 12 children, has been instrumental in facilitating change and advancement for First Nations people from the time he was first elected to public office as chief, when he was only 28 years old.
Today, First Nations people are now the fastest growing demographic segment in Canada.
An advocate for human rights and a Survivor of residential school abuse, Fontaine's crowning achievement to date is the residential schools settlement. At $5.6 billion in individual compensation, Fontaine negotiated the largest settlement in Canadian history - for the largest human rights violation in Canadian history - arising out of the 150-year Indian residential school tragedy.
Phil Fontaine is a charismatic speaker who has dedicated most of his life to the advancement of First Nations people. Respected at home and abroad, Fontaine attended President Obama's inauguration, met with Pope Benedict XVI to gain an apology for his people, and raised the Corporate Challenge to Canadian organizations. Corporations, governments and associations seeking leadership advice will benefit from Fontaine's extraordinary ability to speak from the heart and teach others how to achieve results.
Michael Abdur Rashid Taylor
Coordinator, Canadian Certificate in Muslim Studies, Emmanuel College of Victoria, University of Toronto
Michael Abdur Rashid Taylor is the Coordinator of the Canadian Certificate in Muslim Studies, Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Michael is a member of the Canadian Council of Imams and Chair of the Ontario Central Region of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. He has worked as a Mental Health Professional and Organizational Development Leader for 15 years.
Taylor holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Regis College of the Toronto School of Theology in the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the Rotman School of Management's Leadership Development Program.
Michael has held varied positions including Manager of Spiritual and Religious Care at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Currently, his consultant work includes Diversity, Religious Accommodation and Healing Approaches. He is Managing Director of Rashid Taylor Consultants and Director of Islamic Chaplaincy Services Canada.
Judge Corrine E. Sparks
Judge, Nova Scotia Family Court
Judge Sparks of the Nova Scotia Family Court has been honoured with the establishment of an annual award in her name. The Judge Corrine E. Sparks Award in Law for Excellence & Service was established in honour of the Judge's outstanding contributions to the legal community. It is presented to students who use their legal education as a tool for change and whose contributions to the legal community reflect Judge Sparks' spirit of leadership and community service.
Her Honour Mrs. Gwendolyn Point
Instructor, School of Social Work and Human Services
University of the Fraser Valley
Her Honour, Mrs. Gwendolyn Point, is an Instructor at the School of Social Work and Human Services at the University of the Fraser Valley. Her Honour has a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia, a Post Baccalaureate Diploma from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Education from the University of Portland. She is currently working on a Doctorate in Education at Simon Fraser University.
In 2007, Her Honour received the “Ambassador Award” from Aboriginal Tourism British Columbia. In 2006, the Chilliwack School District Aboriginal Program established two bursaries in Her Honour’s name that are awarded to Aboriginal students for community service and involvement in Aboriginal language and culture. Her Honour also received the &ldquldquo;Recognition for Work in First Nation Language and Culture” from the Seattle Art Museum’s Day of Honoring Celebration in 2005 and the “Betty Urquhart Community Service Award” from the University College of the Fraser Valley in 2003.
Dr. Andrea Walsh
Associate Professor and Visual Anthropologist
University of Victoria
Andrea N. Walsh, PhD. is an Associate Professor and visual anthropologist at the University of Victoria where her research focus is 20th century and contemporary Indigenous art. Her research with contemporary Indigenous artists focuses on art as a method of communicating Indigenous experiences of history and identity.
In 2000, she began a long-term collaboration with the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Osoyoos Museum Society to research and document a rare collection of children’s art from the Inkameep Day School.
Her current work with children’s art from the residential school era continues through collaborations with Survivors, their families, and communities, around a collection of paintings created at the Port Alberni Indian Residential School.
Walsh’s collaborative research has been the subject of major art exhibitions, public talks, scholarly publications, and public education initiatives.
She grew up in the traditional territories of the Coast and Straits Salish peoples, and along with her partner and two daughters, she continues to call these places home.
Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner
Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission
Barbara Hall has more than 40 years of experience as a community worker, lawyer and municipal politician. She served three terms as a Toronto city councillor from 1985 on and as Toronto's mayor from 1994 to 1997. From 1998 to 2002 she headed the Canadian government's National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention.
She was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Province of Ontario’s Human Rights Commission in 2005. She is currently President of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), a network that brings together Canada’s territorial, provincial and federal human rights agencies to protect, promote and advance human rights across the country.
Ms. Hall has also practiced criminal and family law, been a member of the Province of Ontario Health Ministry's Health Results Team, and lectured nationally and internationally on urban and social issues. She has extensive experience on non-profit boards and committees, and has a strong record of bringing diverse groups together to build safe and strong communities.
Executive Director, Chinese Canadian National Council
Victor Wong is the Executive Director of the Chinese Canadian National Council, a national human rights organization based in Toronto. A leader in the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act redress campaign, Victor has campaigned for a just and honourable resolution to this longstanding injustice for over two decades. He is one of the founders of the Tibetan Youth Dialogue Project, a youth-led initiative to foster understanding and strengthen intercultural relations. He is also a proponent of fair immigration and refugee policies and supporter of various social justice movements.
Joe Clark became Prime Minister of Canada after winning the federal general election of 1979. Born in High River, Alberta, he was elected eight times to the House of Commons of Canada, and served also as Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Secretary of State for External Affairs, President of the Privy Council and Minister of Constitutional Affairs, National Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and Acting Minister of both National Defence and of Justice.
He is President of Joe Clark and Associates Ltd, vice-chairman of the Global Leadership Foundation, and a member of the Inter-American Dialogue, the Friends of the Inter-American Charter, the Board of Trustees of Pearson College of the Pacific, and advisory boards of Save the Children Canada, SOS.Children’s Villages Canada, and other international and Canadian organizations. Mr. Clark serves on the boards of Triton Logging Inc, GlobeScan Inc, Traugott Construction Management and the Stern Stewart Institute, and was co-founder and Chairman of the underwater forestry company CSRD in Ghana. He is a Professor and member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University.
In 1979, his government formed an extraordinary partnership with Canadian citizens to lead the world in rescuing “boat people” who had been cast adrift to die on the China Sea. As Foreign Minister, he was the founding chairman of the Commonwealth Committee of Foreign Ministers on Southern Africa, which fought apartheid, and led the process by which Canada became a full member of the Organization of American States. As Minister of Constitutional Affairs, he led the negotiation of the Charlottetown Accord, which earned the unanimous agreement of the federal government, all provinces and territories and the four major Aboriginal organizations. He has led international Election Observation teams in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Lebanon, and is active in building agreement about governance among experts in North America, Europe and emerging democracies.
Mr. Clark is a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence and l’Ordre de la Pleiades, and was the first recipient of the Vimy Award. He has been awarded honorary degrees by several Canadian and international universities and colleges, was a founding member of the Pacific Council for International Policy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Cyprus, has taught at universities across North America, and is the author of “Canada: A Nation Too Good to Lose”.
Joe Clark is married to the Canadian author and lawyer Maureen McTeer, who specializes in law and public policy respecting health, science, and reproductive technologies. Their home is in Ottawa, Ontario.
Sheila Fraser served as Auditor General of Canada from 2001 to 2011, the first female to hold this position. As Auditor General, Ms. Fraser focussed the Office’s efforts on serving the needs of parliamentarians and ensuring they had objective and reliable information with which to scrutinize government activities and hold the government to account for its stewardship of public funds.
Born in Dundee, Quebec, Ms. Fraser earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in 1972 and became a Chartered Accountant in 1974. Before joining the Office of the Auditor General in 1999, , Ms. Fraser enjoyed a fruitful and challenging career with the firm of Ernst & Young, where she became a partner in 1981.
Ms. Fraser has always been active in her profession, at both the provincial and national levels. For her noteworthy service to the auditing and accounting professions, she was awarded the designation "Fellow" by the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec in 1994 and by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 2000. She was a 2009 recipient of the ICAO Award of Outstanding Merit, the highest honour that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario can bestow upon its members Ms. Fraser has also been awarded honorary degrees from 13 Canadian universities, which recognize her contribution to the fields of accounting, legislative auditing and public administration.
Tina is a Cree woman from Norway House Cree Nation, daughter of Joseph Keeper and Reverand Phyllis Keeper (nee Beardy of Muskrat Dam First Nation). Tina studied acting at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, the Banff Centre and the Sundance Film Institute, and completed her BA in theatre at the University of Winnipeg. Tina is best known for her work on the Canadian series “North of 60” for which she earned a Gemini award.
Over the past 20 years, Tina has been committed to utilizing her skills and profile to raise awareness on the issues of Aboriginal youth suicide and the Missing & Murdered Aboriginal women. The advocacy led Tina to a run in federal politics and she served one term as the Member of Parliament for the Churchill riding until October, 2008.
In 2010, Tina Keeper and Phyllis Laing of Buffalo Gal Pictures formed Kistikan Pictures, dedicated to developing and producing film and television with Indigenous artists. Recent productions include the APTN tv series Cashing In, and The REDress Redress Project, a short documentary on the Missing Murdered Aboriginal women in Manitoba. Keeper is proud to be working with emerging and established Indigenous artists, and currently has a new teen drama series in development, and a feature film based on Joseph Boyden’s award winning novel, Through Black Spruce.
Tina is also a recipient of the Order of Manitoba and an Aboriginal Achievement Award.
Professor Sir Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead (Ngāti Awa, Tūhoe, Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi), is an esteemed scholar, traditional leader and innovative thinker who is responsible for many ground-breaking initiatives to further Māori culture, language and education. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University, and taught at universities including McMaster University in Ontario, the University of British Columbia, and Victoria University of Wellington, where he created New Zealand’s first department of Māori studies. When Professor Sir Hirini Mead retired from Victoria University, he established a tribal university,Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi at Whakatāne, among his people of Ngāti Awa.
He was chief negotiator for the Ngāti Awa claims, settled in March 2005, and is now assisting with the implementation of that settlement. In 2007 Professor Mead was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Māori and to education. He was knighted in August 2009, and has received countless honours and awards in recognition of his many books and publications. He has given evidence many times in court hearings, select committees and before the Waitaingi Tribunal to support the claims of other iwi and Māori groups generally seeking proper recognition of their rights under tikanga Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi.
As a foundation member of the NZ Bioethics Council, he developed a set of criteria to help the younger generation use tikanaga Māori (Māori values) to assess new technologies and information, such as genetically modified organisms and organ transplants, in the context of their traditional cultural beliefs.
Jim Scarrow is widely recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s committed community leaders. Following a stellar fifty year career in Broadcasting he served as Mayor of Prince Albert for two terms with accomplishments in both social and economic development. Jim and his wife Helen have three children.
As a community builder, he has served at the local, provincial and national level, including:
Jim has been widely recognized for his community involvement and leadership, including:
Jim Scarrow was elected the 42nd Mayor of the City of Prince Albert on October 25, 2006 and subsequently re-elected for a second term in 2009.&nbsnbsp; He has served the community in various capacities, including his current roles as the Chair of the Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners, and as Ex-officio to all City boards, committees, and commissions. Mayor Scarrow also serves as Chair of the Saskatchewan City Mayors Caucus as spokesperson for this province’s 15 cities. Jim and his wife Helen have three children.
Among other things, Jim has been a part of many important community-building initiatives and is widely recognized for his community involvement.
On August 4, 2009, the Honourable Philip S. Lee, C.M., O.M. was installed as Manitoba’s 24th Lieutenant Governor.
Born in Hong Kong in 1944, Mr. Lee came to Canada in 1962 to further his education at the University of Manitoba.
Mr. Lee has a distinguished record of leadership within Winnipeg’s Chinese-Canadian community. For more than three decades he has served as an advocate for the concerns of Manitobans of Chinese heritage, while also serving as a bridge-builder between Winnipeg’s Chinese-Canadian community and the wider community at large. He has been recognized through the City of Winnipeg Community Service Award (1984). He also served on the Multiculturalism Council of Canada between 1984 and 1988. He received the Recognition of Service Award from the Community and Race Relations Committee, City of Winnipeg (1990). Mr. Lee received the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 1993. In addition to being an Executive Board Member of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre, he was also a member of the Chinese Development Corporation and the 1995 Manitoba’s 125th. Between 1995 and 1999, he was a board member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and a board member of the Alumni Association of the University of Manitoba.
Mr. Lee was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1999. In 2002, he was the recipient of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. He became a member and the Chancellor of the Order of Manitoba on August 4, 2009. In June, 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by the University of Manitoba. He and his wife Anita married in 1968 and have three daughters: Margaret, Mabel and Malinda and two grandchildren.
Honorary Witnesses inducted at the Québec National Event in Montréal in April 2013
Charles-Mathieu Brunelle has been Director General of “Space for Life”, an urban eco-tourism experience in Montréal, since 2008. Earlier, he founded Montreal’s “TOHU, la Cité des arts du cirque”, a non-profit collective of prominent circus arts organizations, and served as its Executive Vice-President from 1999 to 2008.
M. Brunelle studied contemporary dance at the Conservatoire Mudra in Brussels. He served as Director General and Artistic Director of the Spindrift Dance Theatre in Kingston from 1980 to 1985. He was subsequently appointed Director General of the Compagnie de danse Marie Chouinard, Director General of PRIM, Co-Director of the Cinémathèque québécoise, and CEO of Océan Diffusion.
M. Brunelle’s involvement with TOHU earned him the title of "Personality of the year 2005 - Business, administration and institutions" at the 21st Gala Excellence La Presse/Radio-Canada.
He is a member of the Executive Board of Culture Montréal, member of the Executive Committee of the Vitrine Culturelle de Montréal, member of the Board of Directors of Montréal's Société du Havre and a member of the Economic Advisory Committee of the City of Montréal.
Éloge Butera is a survivor of the genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda and a human rights activist. He works in the office of Canadian Senator and retired General Roméo Dallaire. As a recent graduate of McGill's Law Faculty, he worked as an articling student in the office of Irwin Cotler, MP for Mount Royal and Liberal Critic on Justice and Human Rights.
A Sauvé Scholar in 2009-10, Mr. Butera explored the role of judicial institutions in rebuilding societies post genocide, war or ethnic conflict. More specifically, he investigated the anthropological and sociological roots of truth-telling about political and ethnic violence. His research considers the extent to which this truth-telling process shapes a society’s concepts of justice and may succeed in generating peace and tolerance.
In 2009, Mr. Butera was a recipient of Government Volunteerism award (Prix Claude-Masson: Homage Bénévolat Québec). He has spoken to audiences of all ages across Canada of his personal experience in Rwanda and his passion to defend human rights around the world.
In the Summer of 2009, Mr. Butera worked as a law clerk to Justice Professor Sam Rugege, Vice President of Rwanda’s Supreme Court. He was a member of the McGill Law Journal's Management Board from 2008 to 2009 and he continues to be active in various community and international organizations - such as the Montreal Holocaust Education Centre - and Canadian Lawyers Abroad, where he serves as a member of its Advisory Board.
As a leader in various student organizations, including the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (as its first Vice President of Advocacy), the African Students Associations, McGill Jewish Law Students Association, SHOUT (Students Helping Others Understand Tolerance), and YOT (Youth Outreach Team, War Child Canada), he has worked tirelessly for human rights, access to education, and to raise awareness on issues affecting vulnerable communities in Canada, Rwanda and around the world. During his studies at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, he helped create the local Seventh Day Adventist African Fellowship Outreach Program to assist in the integration of numerous African Refugees settling in Manitoba.
Mr. Butera volunteered with the Needs Centre for war-affected families and was a guest speaker at intercultural integration and health seminars of the University’s Medical Faculty as well as at the Summer Institute on Education and Democracy of the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Education. He was also actively involved in scholarly and human rights education programs of the Arthur Morrow Center for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba. Mr. Butera maintains a great deal of interest in cultural exchanges and in the intercultural integration of war-affected persons in Canadian society and other refugee receiving countries.
Mr. Butera has been active in raising awareness about the 1994 Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda, as well as in fighting against indifference to human rights violations around the world. He has twice been the keynote speaker before the Manitoba Legislature on Yom Ha Shoah, at various Rwandan Tutsi Genocide memorial events, and Darfur genocide and war crimes awareness events. He participated in organizing the 2007 Echenberg Genocide Prevention Conference at McGill University, as well as the Annual Raoul Wallenberg lecture series of the Winnipeg Jewish Federation. Éloge is also passionate about advocating for the poor and vulnerable in his community. He has participated in a number of fundraising activities for Tubahumurize (a Rwandan women’s collective for victims of violence), and has also worked with access to justice and genocide survivors’ support networks.
Mr. Butera hopes to someday teach law both in Canada and in Rwanda, and hopes as well to contribute to the reconciliation work of his adoptive country, Canada vis-à-vis its First Nations.
Renée Dupuis, the Vice-president (responsible for the Charter mandate) of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, assumed her new responsibilities on August 15, 2011. A member of the Québec Bar since 1973, she specialized in human rights, Aboriginal law and administrative law.
Mrs. Dupuis has acted as counsel for several First Nations in Québec and as consultant on aboriginal issues for the governments of Québec and Canada. She is the author of several books and articles and has lectured in Canada and abroad.
In June 2012, Mrs. Dupuis received the Médaille du Barreau du Québec, the Québec Bar’s highest distinction, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the Université Laval in Québec City, in recognition to her contribution to Aboriginal law, administrative law and human rights.
Between 2003 and 2009, she was Chair of the Indian Claims Commission and Commissioner from 2001 to 2003. She was a member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission from 1989 to 1995. Between 1992 and 1995, she was a researcher with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and was a member of the Canadian Human Rights Act Review Panel in 1999-2000.
Joé Juneau is a former professional hockey player who played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League (1992 to 2004). He holds NHL records for the most assists by a rookie and by a left winger. A former Olympian, he contributed 15 points in eight games to Canada’s gold-medal win at the Albertville Games in 1992. As Coordinator and Director of the Development Program for young hockey players in Nunavik, M. Juneau uses hockey to tackle problems such as crime, high school drop-out rates and health issues facing Inuit youth. M. Juneau graduated in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1991, and holds honorary degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2005) and the University of Ottawa (2011). He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal as well as the Medal of Honour from the Québec National Assembly.
The Right Honourable Paul Martin was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006, Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002, and served as MP for LaSalle-Émard in Montréal from 1988 to 2008.
During his tenure as Minister of Finance, he erased Canada’s deficit, which was the worst of the G-7, subsequently recording five consecutive budget surpluses which paying down the national debt and settling Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio on a steady downward track. He also introduced the largest tax cuts in Canadian history and the largest increases in the federal government’s support for education, and research and development. In conjunction with his provincial counterparts, he restored the Canada Pension Plan, securing it for future generations. He also strengthened the regulations governing Canada’s financial institutions, with the result that Canada is now viewed as an international model for sound financial regulation. In September 1999, Mr. Martin was named the inaugural chair of the Finance Minister’s G-20, an international group of finance ministers and central bank governors composed of the G-7 and emerging market nations. As Prime Minister, he pushed strongly for its elevation to the Leaders’ level which subsequently occurred in 2008. He is respected internationally in large part for his innovative leadership in working to forge a new global financial order.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr. Martin’s many achievements included setting in place a ten-year, for-one billion dollar plan to improve health care and reduce wait times; signing agreements with the provinces and territories to establish a national early learning and child care program and creating a new financial deal for Canada’s municipalities. Under Mr. Martin’s leadership in November 2005, the Canadian Government reach an historic consensus with Canada’s provinces, territories, First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders that would eliminate the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians in the areas of health, education, housing and economic opportunity. This agreement became known as the Kelowna Accord. Further, he introduced the Civil Marriage Act which redefined the traditional definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
Since leaving office, Mr. Martin chaired a high-level panel responsible for submitting a report on a new strategic vision for the African Development Bank, following upon an earlier United Nations panel report on private sector investment in the Third World which he co-chaired.
Currently, Mr. Martin chairs the two-hundred-million-dollar British-Norwegian poverty alleviation and sustainable development fund for the 10-nation Congo Basin Rainforest. He also sits on the advisory council for the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa, an initiative that examines the critical issues facing the continent. It is sponsored by the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.
Domestically, he leads the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative which aims at reduced the Aboriginal youth dropout rate and at increasing the number of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary institutions. He also founded, along with his son David, the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and entrepreneurship Fund, whose investments seek to further a culture of economic independence, ownership and entrepreneurship amongst both on and off reserve Aboriginal peoples, through the creation and growth of successful businesses.
Prior to entering politics, he had a distinguished career in the private sector as a business executive at Power Corporation in Montreal and as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CSL Group Inc., which operates the world’s largest fleet of self-unloading vessels and offshore transshippers. Its acquisition by Mr. Martin in 1981 represented the most important leveraged buyout in Canada at that time.
Mr. Martin graduated in honours philosophy and history from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the University of Toronto Law School. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1966.
In December 2011, he was appointed as a Companion to the Order of Canada. This honour recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to the country.
He married Sheila Ann Cowan in 1965. They have three sons: Paul, Jamie and David. They are the proud grandparents of Ethan, Liam and Finn, children of David and his wife Laurence.
Alanis Obomsawin is a member of the Abenaki Nation. She is one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers. For almost 40 years, Obomsawin has directed award-winning documentaries with strong social content inspired by the desire to let the voices of her people be heard. Her latest film, Gene Boy Came Home (2007), explores the ugliness of war through the eyes of Vietnam War veteran Eugene "Gene Boy" Benedict from her home community of Odanak. Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), a feature-length film documenting the 1990 Mohawk uprising in Kanehsatake and Oka, has won 18 international awards. In 1983, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her dedication to the well-being of her people and the preservation of First Nations heritage through her filmmaking and activism. She is the subject of the first-ever book on Aboriginal filmmakers, Alanis Obomsawin: The Vision of a Native Filmmaker, by Randolph Lewis, published in 2006. In May 2008, she received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Her many honours include the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, the Luminaria Tribute for Lifetime Achievement from the Santa Fe Film Festival, the International Documentary Association’s Pioneer Award, and the Toronto Women in Film and Television’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Direction.
Formed by a historic agreement between Wabanaki Tribal Governments and the State of Maine, the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission aims to uncover and acknowledge the truth about what happened to Wabanaki children and families involved with the Maine Child Welfare system; create opportunities to heal and learn from the truth; and collaborate to operate the best child welfare system possible for Wabanaki children.
The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC was represented at its induction as an Honorary Witness by Sandy White Hawk.
Founded in 1974, Quebec Native Women Inc. / Femmes autochtones du Québec Inc. (QNW/FAQ) defends the interests of Aboriginal women from Quebec and Aboriginal women living in urban areas. It is a bilingual organization and a member of the Native Women's Association of Canada. QNW/FAQ sits at the table of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, on the Board of Directors of the Native Parajudicial Services of Quebec, at the Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec, as well as several other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal commissions and committees.
QNW/FAQ was represented at its induction as an Honorary Witness by Vivianne Michel.
Honorary Witnesses inducted at the British Columbia National Event in Vancouver in September 2013
Natalia Atz Sunuc is the General Director of CEIBA, the Association for Community Development and Promotion in Guatemala. She is Indigenous from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. She is the daughter of a catechist and a victim and orphan of the armed conflict in Guatemala in the 1980s. She is currently completing a law degree. Ms. Atz Sunuc is a Board member of council of development institutions of Guatemala. Since its foundation in 1994, CEIBA has been supporting Indigenous communities in Guatemala, strengthening their capacity to bring about social change and to build alternative development opportunities including food sovereignty and community-led development. In the last six years, CEIBA has helped organize over 60 community consultations in Guatemala in which almost a million people voted - an impressive and inspiring assertion of the rights to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), self-determination, and of democratic participation.
CEIBA is a global member of the Friends of the Earth and of the Latin American Women’s Network of social and environmental rights. Ms. Atz Sunuc came to Canada in June 2010 as part of the KAIROS climate justice tour and again in May 2011 as a participant in the ecumenical conference on mining.
Charles Cunliffe Barnett was a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia from 1973 to 2006 and a deputy judge of the Territorial Court of Yukon from 1981 until his retirement in 2011.
Born in Montreal and raised in Vancouver, Judge Barnett graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, after which he taught school in Red Lake, ON. In 1966, he received a Bachelors of Laws from the University of British Columbia. He practised law in Kamloops, Prince Rupert and Vancouver before being appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia at Williams Lake in 1973.
Judge Barnett did a great deal of circuit work in distant places and Aboriginal communities. As a judge and administrative judge based in Williams Lake, he travelled to sit in 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Alexis Creek/Anahim Lake, Bella Coola/Bella Bella, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and Fort Ware/Tsay Key. As a deputy judge in the Yukon, he presided in all of the Yukon court locations in all seasons.
Most of Judge Barnett’s work was done in a criminal court setting but he has also had considerable experience with family matters, particularly with difficult child protection matters, as well as small claims. He was an early participant in the work of judicial education with a focus on the making of probation orders and other sentencing issues, as well as the impact of FASD on both criminal and family matters. He has written many published decisions and presented at many workshop s and seminars.
Judge Barnett’s learning about Indian Residential School began in 1974 when he and a social work colleague were invited to meet with Canim Lake Indian Band, which was grieving the disappearance of about 30 children who had been removed for supposed child protection reasons or taken to St. Joseph’s Mission School and never returned. In 1989, he did a sentenced Father Harold McIntee for sexual offences committed at the school, and in 1991, presided at the preliminary hearing of Bishop Hubert O’Connor, committing him for trial on similar charges. In 1997, Judge Barnet was one of three persons who heard the stories of former students at Alkali Lake and wrote a small report: the “Alkali Residential School Inquiry Report”.
Recently, Judge Barnet has worked extensively with members of the elders panels for First Nations Court in Kamloops, Duncan and New Westiminster as well as Aboriginal Services for the Legal Services Society of BC.
Patsy George has fostered innovation and social change in communities across British Columbia and Canada for more than 50 years. She retired from public service in 2001, and her work in public welfare, child welfare, and community development—including as Director of Multiculturalism and Immigrant and Settlement Services BC. A few of the achievements of her long and illustrious career include organizing the Solidarity Coalition, working with the BC Federation of Labour to fight government cutbacks, serving on the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and acting as a member of the Community Panel to Review Family and Children’s Services Legislation in BC.
Ms. George’s commitment to human rights, women’s and children’s rights, capacity building and community development is evident through her extraordinary commitment to volunteer service, including work with the United Nations Association in Canada, Canadian Crossroads International, and the Margaret Mitchell Fund for Women. Patsy has been a treasured and much-valued member of the Board of Directors of the Stephen Lewis Foundation since its inception.
She was a founding Director of the Pacific Immigrant Society, as well as the Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada. She served a Trustee of the Vancouver Public Library, and Director of the United Way of Lower Mainland BC, the Legal Services Society of BC, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, and the International Council on Social Welfare.
Throughout her career, she has advocated for the rights of indigenous people everywhere and worked with various United Nations agencies and commissions to promote those rights. Locally, she has set up bursaries for social work students at the post-graduate level to support their commitment to serving First Nations communities in BC.
Ms. George’s many contributions have been recognized with honours and awards. Among them, the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada medal, both the Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals, the Order of British Columbia, and the Order of Canada. She has an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of the Fraser Valley in BC.
The Honourable Judith Guichon was sworn-in as the 29th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia on November 2, 2012. Prior to this appointment she owned and operated Gerard Guichon Ranch Limited in the Nicola Valley in the British Columbia Interior. The Guichon family has ranched in the area since 1878 and Her Honour's father-in-law was awarded the Order of Canada in 1974 for his leadership in Cattleman's Associations and his contribution to agriculture in Canada. Her four children now manage the ranch with a 700-head cow-calf and 700-yearling operation.
Her Honour studied Holistic Management, a farming method which promotes sustainable management of livestock by emphasizing their natural habitat. Along with her late husband, commercial pilot Lawrence Guichon, she introduced Holistic Management to the ranchers of British Columbia.
Her Honour was also involved in several organizations. She served on the local hospital board and Community Health Council and was on the Community Health Foundation board. Prior to this, she served as a 4-H Leader and started a recycling society in Merritt, B.C. with a neighbour. She also served as a director for the Fraser Basin Council of B.C., director of the Grasslands Conservation Council of B.C., member of the Nicola Water Use Management planning committee and played the flute in the Nicola Valley Community Band.
Prior to her term as Lieutenant Governor, Her Honour served on the Provincial Task Force on Species at Risk and completed a two-year term as the president of the British Columbia Cattlemen's Association. She has also been a part of the Ranching Task Force for B.C. and the British Columbia Agri-Food Trade Advisory Council.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, and raised on a farm near Hawkesbury, Ontario, Her Honour moved to British Columbia in 1972. She and her husband, Bruno Mailloux, maintain a residence in the Nicola Valley.
Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, and Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, Chief Robert Joseph is the hereditary chief of the Kwagiulth nation of the northeast coast of Vancouver Island. He has been involved in First Nations activities at the local, provincial and national levels. A Residential School Survivor himself, he has provided leadership, counseling and support for former students of Indian residential schools and helped to improve relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities and governments.
Chief Joseph works as Special Advisor to Indian Residential School Resolution Canada, focusing on bringing reconciliation for Aboriginal people who suffered abuse and hardship through the residential school system. Having entered that system as a six-year-old boy speaking only Kwa Kwala, his experience as a survivor has inspired and equipped him to take on these challenges.
He has worked within several government agencies and has served as an advocate for aboriginal people in the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Native Brotherhood of BC, First Nations Summit, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Kwakiulth District Council, Musgamuagw Tribal Council and a number of Bands. He has been active in the campaign to remove netcage fish farms from his traditional territory and has helped develop strong working relationships between aboriginal and environmental groups. He is highly respected for his work to bridge the differences brought by intolerance and lack of understanding. In May 2003, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of British Columbia.
Stephen Lewis is the board chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. He is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, and he is co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World in the United States.
Mr. Lewis is a Senior Fellow of the Enough Project. He is an immediate past member of the Board of Directors of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and Emeritus Board Member of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. He served as a Commissioner on the newly formed Global Commission on HIV and the Law; the Commission’s landmark report was released in July 2012.
Stephen Lewis’ work with the United Nations spanned more than two decades. He was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from June 2001 until the end of 2006. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Lewis was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF at the organization’s global headquarters in New York. From 1984 through 1988, he was Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
From 1970–1978, Mr. Lewis was leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, during which time he became leader of the Official Opposition.
In 2003, Stephen Lewis was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. In 2007, King Letsie III, monarch of the Kingdom of Lesotho (a small mountainous country in Southern Africa) invested Mr. Lewis as Knight Commander of the Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe. The order is named for the founder of Lesotho; the knighthood is the country’s highest honour. In 2012, Mr. Lewis was an inaugural recipient of Canada’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Mr. Lewis is the author of the best-selling book Race Against Time. He holds 36 honorary degrees from Canadian universities, as well as honorary degrees from Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
Nick Noorani is an authority on diversity and improving immigrant outcomes. He is a well-known thought leader in Canada and globally for the successful integration of immigrants, and in bridging cultural gaps in the workplace and beyond.
When Nick speaks, he inspires his audience of immigrants into action. Why? Because he’s been in their shoes. His insights into immigrants’ needs also help him when he speaks to employers about diversity integration.
Born in Mumbai, India, Nick came with a world of international experience in the advertising business, but he faced many challenges in his new Canadian home, and he noticed that many other immigrants were also struggling.
The savvy marketer recognized an opportunity — not to mention an important social cause — when he saw one and, in 2000, Nick authored the bestseller Arrival Survival Canada, published by Oxford University Press. The response to the book then gave him the idea for spinning the concept into a monthly magazine and he created the Canadian Immigrant magazine in the basement of his home! Canada’s first national magazine for all immigrants was born in 2004 and it rapidly changed the media landscape in Canada by showcasing immigrant successes rather than failures.
In order to grow the magazine, Nick sold it to the Toronto Star in 2007, while retaining his position as publisher. He also developed the magazine’s Lilian To Scholarship, giving away $55,000 of education to newcomers annually, and its national Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. In 2005, he became the host of his own weekly radio show called “Ask Nick” on Radio Canada International. And, in addition to countless hours spent volunteering with newcomers one-on-one, he has served on numerous community boards.
But for Nick, the magazine has always been just one part of a journey that earned him the sobriquet “social entrepreneur and immigrant champion.” In August 2010, Nick resigned from the Canadian Immigrant magazine to launch a new company dedicated to helping international students and immigrants before they arrive in Canada through two dedicated portals “Prepare for Canada” and “Canada Campus”.
He continues to speak to thousands of immigrants face to face with his marquee speech 7 Success Secrets for Canadian Immigrants and online, inspiring them to go after success, as well as speaking to audiences of employers, service providers and stakeholders who work with or support immigrants in Canada. Nick has appeared several times in the House of Commons to provide expert opinions on critical decisions regarding immigration process and law.
Nick has also been closely involved in creating content for “Welcome to Canada” - The Government of Canada official publication for immigrants.
Dr. Daniel Pauly is a French citizen who completed his high school and university studies in Germany. His doctorate (1979) and habilitation (1985) are in Fisheries Biology, from the University of Kiel.
After many years at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), in Manila, Philippines, Daniel Pauly became in 1994 Professor at the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, of which he was the Director for 5 years (Nov. ’03-Oct. ’08). Since 1999, he is also Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us Project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, and devoted to studying, documenting and promoting policies to mitigate the impact of fisheries on the world’s marine ecosystems.
Dr. Pauly has supervised a large number of Master and PhD students in the Philippines, Germany and British Columbia.
The concepts, methods and software which Dr. Pauly (co-)developed, documented in over 500 scientific and general-interest publications, are used throughout the world, not least as a result of his teaching a multitude of courses, and supervising students in four languages on five continents. This applies especially to the Ecopath modeling approach and software (www.ecopath.org) and FishBase, the online encyclopedia of fishes (www.fishbase.org), the latter recently complemented by SeaLifeBase (www.sealifebase.org).
Steven Lewis Point,(Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl), born July 28, 1951, was Lieutenant Governor of BC from 2007 to 2012. He serves currently as the chair of the advisory committee on the safety and security of vulnerable women, which provides community-based guidance to the implementation of the recommendations from the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.
From 1975 to 1999, Steven Point served as Chief of the Skowdale First Nation, and from1994 to 1999 as Tribal Chair of the Stó:lō Nation.
In 1985, Mr. Point graduated with a Bachelor Laws degree from the University of British Columbia. He practiced criminal law and native law as a partner in the law firm of Point and Shirley from 1986 to 1989. He worked for Citizenship and Immigration Canada as an immigration adjudicator for several years, starting in about 1989, at its refugee backlog office in Vancouver. In 1999, he became a judge of the British Columbia Provincial Court, and in 2005, Chief Commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission.
Gregor Robertson is currently serving his second term as Mayor of Vancouver. He was re-elected to continue building upon the accomplishments of his first three years in office—working to end street homelessness, addressing housing affordability, improving public transit, and making Vancouver the greenest city in the world. Mayor Robertson is also a national advocate for urban issues as Chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus, focusing on public infrastructure, housing and transit.
Mayor Robertson spearheaded the creation of the city’s first comprehensive Economic Action Strategy, and is committed to growing a sustainable and thriving economy in Vancouver focused on high-growth sectors like digital media, clean technology and renewable energy. He has made affordable housing a top priority, with an aggressive, ten-year plan to provide thousands of affordable housing units for Vancouverites of all ages, while ensuring that existing affordable housing is protected. As Mayor, he has overseen significant progress towards the goal of ending street homelessness by 2015, by opening new homeless shelters while leveraging significant investments in new social housing throughout the city.
Under Mayor Robertson’s leadership, the City’s first Urban Aboriginal People’s Advisory Committee has been established and Vancouver has become an active member of the Coalition of Canadian Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.
On the eve of National Aboriginal Day, Mayor Robertson proclaimed June 21, 2013 to June 20, 2014 the Year of Reconciliation in the City of Vancouver, becoming the first Canadian municipality to do so. The City of Vancouver is embracing reconciliation through a year-long initiative that includes a series of gatherings, intercultural dialogue and storytelling workshops, public education, and cultural and arts programs as ways to mend the past, build shared understanding, and to create a legacy for meaningful change in society.
He will be inducted as an Honorary Witness by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission this week and will proudly lead the City of Vancouver’s contingent at the first National Walk for Reconciliation on September 22.
Chuck Strahl has lived in British Columbia his whole life, joining other members of his family to develop a successful logging and road building business. IN the early 1990s, he was motivated by the federal political situation and inspired by Preston Manning to join the Reform Party. He was elected in six consecutive federal elections, retiring on the eve of the 2011 election.
While Chuck was involved in the federal scene, he advocated the unification of the conservative movement, and eventually served as Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and Minister of Transport and Infrastructure in a Conservative government. He remains interested in policy development and current affairs, and continues to write and comment on political issues.
When he’s not entertaining grandchildren on his Chilliwack hobby farm, Chuck is working as a consultant on political, governmental, and business strategies.
David Wong is a Canadian born Architect and Community Activist. He was named by the Vancouver Sun newspaper as one of BC’s “100 influential Chinese-Canadians”, and was a recipient of a 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his professional and community work to champion environmental and social causes.
His work with young peoples and elders, has taken him across the cultural landscape– from First Nations communities to new immigrant organizations. A passion for the environment, arts, and people’s history, has helped David demonstrate how diversity and respect can empower – as engines for creativity and innovation.
He spends his free time nurturing his carnivorous plant collection, and sharing his love for frogs through presentations at schools and at community gatherings.
David’s graphic novel, Escape to Gold Mountain – a Graphic History of the Chinese to North America was published last fall (2012) to outstanding reviews. It is a story of racism, of hope, and of reconciliation.
“I am most proud of the long and respectful friendships between the early Chinese and our First peoples. My children, know of the struggles and hardships of our ancestors and of our First Peoples. I am happy that they will continue and share this knowledge through relationships of respect, hope, and of shared joys. It is my hope that their generation will finally see the healing that Canadian leaders have just initiated with the Truth and Reconciliation work with our First Peoples”.