The 2016 EPCitizen Nominees (30+)

Samara Canada
Oct 15, 2016 · 77 min read

Click for or the 18–29 age category.

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Aged 30 and over Category

Total nominations: 108

1. Farrah Marfatia of Mississauga, Ontario:

Farrah Marfatia is an educator, activist and innovator with a passion for youth success and community driven change.Farrah has brought a number of unconventional programs to independent alternative schools,including the Kairos Blanket Exercise, led by Canadian Roots Exchange, and‘Healing, Hope and Art’, an art therapy workshop that helps young Canadian Muslims cope with bullying, exclusion, and racism. She has also been at the forefront of community roundtables that help parents as they grapple with Islamophobia and Bill C-51, to name a few, and volunteered on an NDP federal election campaign in 2015.

In addition to surviving life with two exuberant boys and a well-intentioned husband, Farrah mentors youth in the community,giving them the opportunity to experiment with leadership, ideas and projects, and is on the steering committee for DawaNet’s Project Civic Engagement.

Farrah has worked on a number of other initiatives,including a nationwide federal election debate for Muslim youth, and the National Council of Canadian Muslims’ #StrongerTogetherCa campaign, all aimed at improving the strength of democracy in Canada. Most recently, Farrah was part of a delegation at the Couchiching Conference, to discuss how Muslim Canadians can shape the country as part of the ‘Our Canada Project’.

2. Peter Oliver of Calgary, Alberta was nominated by Nancy Close:

Sometimes there are moments in time that you remember so clearly; in this case, political campaign changing moments that just stick with you for all the right heart and mind reasons.Like the moment that Peter Oliver sat across from me and pitched letting him initiate an email to the list that I used for the 2010 Naheed Nenshi Mayoral campaign volunteers inviting them to a secret overnight operation.I don’t think I even blinked when I said yes. I didn’t know the details of his most wonderful innovative guerrilla advertising campaign using over a hundred volunteers, at short notice, to write campaign messages across the city using sidewalk chalk. And, ever since that day, Peter has been creating ‘moments’ that bring people together in support of making a difference. Whether it is coalescing community and business supporters to advocate for more affordable housing options through Calgarians for Secondary Suites or organizing a groundswell and through the engaging Calgarians for Cycle Tracks campaign in support of Calgary’s City Council approving piloting a cycle-track network, I am not sure where he finds the time but Peter has also developed into a expert strategic political campaigner supporting progressive political candidates’ campaigns at each order of government. And, he continues to support awareness of the importance of cycling in a city by showcasing that it is everyday ordinary Calgarians that use their bikes to get around Calgary through a People on Bikes YYC bike portrait and street photography campaign. AND, he has stepped up front and centre with his most recent volunteer initiative as a co-founder of a new community association that is fostering a greater sense of community within his urban neighbourhood. Peter is tireless in his advocacy and efforts in support of making our community even better. For me, he is the Every Day Political citizen that I am so blessed and proud to know.

3. Ethel Karmel of Vancouver, British Columbia was nominated by Sara Fralin:

Ethel Karmel, an artist who has lived most of her life in the Cambie area, led Vancouver citizens in a series of rallies in protest of the proposed above ground skytrain through the treed Cambie St. median. They reasoned there could be no greater defacement of this landscape than to destroy completely, maturing trees, landscape and skyline. Their rallying cry became ‘No Skytrain on Cambie’. The group gathered signatures of over 6000 citizens in support of Cambie Street becoming a Heritage Landscape. In 1993 their presentation to Vancouver City Council and Mayor Gordon Campbell, now Provincial Premier, was successful and Cambie Street boulevard was proclaimed as the first Heritage Landscape in the city.
The group formed the Cambie Heritage Boulevard Society and Ethel Karmel was elected President. The Society’s express purpose is to provide stewardship and guardianship of this ‘ Treasury of Trees’ in order that they will stand as a living monument, a reminder of our city’s heritage and will continue to provide year round beauty, remain an attractive treed entry to the city and help with maintaining a healthy balance for the environment to the end of the 21st Century and well beyond.

4. Tim Rose of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kevin Vuong:

Tim is a community activist and accessibility champion.

When he was denied his equal right to fly like everyone else, he didn’t just accept it, Tim spoke out against the multi-billion corporation because it was the right thing to do. He continues to advocate for change so that no one else will have to go through what he has had to endure.

Tim is breaking down barriers for People with Disabilities both physically and figuratively by combating myths about the community as a frequent spokesperson for media and events locally, nationally, and around the world. With every engagement, he is actively challenging negative stereotypes and stigmas so that we can build a more inclusive and accessible Canada.

Tim’s energy is boundless, his optimism inspirational, and I feel privileged to be able to call this outstanding Everyday Political Citizen a friend.

5. Cameron Duff of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kevin Vuong:

Cameron Duff is a community leader and champion of Toronto’s Southcore community.

In addition to leading his vertical community, he can always be counted on to provide a fair, informed, and pragmatic perspective on what’s going on in the broader community. This is no small feat given his demanding career in finance!

Many times, Cameron and I have found our casual conversations taking a community spin:

— How can we better animate our POPS (privately-owned public space) to be more communal?
— What can we do to increase green space?
— Is there a way for us to work with other vertical communities in the Southcore?

Without Cameron, initiatives like the Southcore Community Association, a residents’ association and coalition of vertical communities, would not have been possible. #TheWorldNeedsMore Everyday Political Citizens like Cameron Duff.

6. Nowshin Choudhury of North York, Ontario was nominated by John Beebe:

Nowshin embodies everything an Everyday Political Citizen should be.

She is passionate about helping new Canadians integrate into Canada’s political systems. She is equally comfortable working with mothers and grandmothers from South Asia and teenagers from the Middle East.

She is a role model for her colleagues at North York Community House who respect her depth of experience and wisdom that is paired with humour and joy. Whenever she has an opportunity to engage community members in conversations about issues that matter to them she does.

Nowshin has been a particularly wonderful champion for the Democracy Talks program that uses Play Dough as a tool to engage community members in a meaningful conversation about the attributes that they most value in our democracy. Regardless of age or ethnic background, Nowshin is able to get everyone engaged!

7. Murray Mollard of Vancouver, British Columbia was nominated by Laura Anthony:

When I met Murray this past summer I was taken away by how dedicated he is to promoting civic engagement in Vancouver. As a passionate advocate in his community, Murray spends his time ensuring that residents of North Shore Community Resources receive non-partisan, accessible information about Canadian politics. His work with #nsDemocracyCafe workshops in the advance of the federal election no doubt played a huge role in the uptick in voter turnout in 2015.

8. Jill Foster of London, Ontario was nominated by Fran Quintero Rawlings:

Jill Foster is driven to not only make a difference in her community, but for impactful change!

In 2014 she co-founded #IVEGOTYOURBACK911 ( in response to the suicide rates of first responders and military service individuals. The social media campaign was started to create social awareness, to attach a human side to first responders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In Jill’s own words, “We aren’t fancy, we don’t have corporate funding, we don’t have major organizations sponsoring us, but what we do have is all of you! We have photos, we have messages, we have amazing stories of courage and perseverance and most of all we have each other!”

But her active citizenship doesn’t stop there. While Jill is a paramedic by day she is also one of the founding DJs of Yes Yes Y’all (, a monthly party that bridges the queer and hip-hop communities in Toronto.

She’s active, she’s political, she cares about her community, she’s an inspiration and that’s why I am nominating her as an Everyday Political Citizen.

9. Haneen Tamari of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kevin Vuong:

Haneen Tamari is a storyteller giving a voice to our community’s most vulnerable.

Having collaborated with Haneen to produce a video series that showcases Indigenous culture and youth, and combats negative stigmas and stereotypes, I can attest to her talent of empowering people with a voice to help them tell their story.

She doesn’t keep this skill to herself either. A previous organizer for the Toronto Palestine Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, and Vancity Theatre and Film Centre, Haneen has still found time to volunteer at LifeLine Syria as a facilitator supporting refugees escaping war and violence.

If all of this isn’t enough, Haneen also has a perfect Rate My Professor score of 5.0. Not only do we need more professors like her, the world also needs more Everyday Political Citizens like her!

10. Shanta Sundarason of Unionville, Ontario was nominated by Masood Mohajer:

Shanta has been the brightest star and the biggest everyday political citizen that Markham could ask for. She has spent months of her time and energy getting the City of Markham to agree to stop the horns of the GO Train. She must have knocked on over 1000 doors to get signatures for her petition and many visits to the City Council — she won the battle! She took 20 of the kids that she mentors from her Social Justice group to petition council to prevent a ban on skating that they were initiating on our local pond. A tradition that has been ongoing for decades. They won! She closed a brothel down in our village within 4 days — a task that our local councillor said was complicated and would take months. She runs The Giving Tree Unionville and mentors 30 kids to empower them to become positive change makers. She hosts community events that help establish greater inclusivity and understanding amongst our neighbours and is a huge human rights activist. Her desire and passion is to see the current government step up to the table and truly create equality amongst our Indigenous families. There is no stopping her!

11. Tammy Shields of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia was nominated by John Beebe:

What do you do when you are part of community that you care deeply about but is not having its voice heard in the political process? Where in some polling districts no voters turned out in the last municipal election.

If you are Tammy Shields you act.

First you do research. You confirm that in the last local election less than 3% of eligible voters in your community turned out to vote.

Than you build a team of great people. You come up with a ten week campaign that is fun, meaningful and engaging. You include celebrations, food and education.

Finally you launch the campaign.

And you do all of this in a community where you work everyday to build resilience and resources the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre.

Tammy is a model for grassroots organisers everywhere.

12. Kyle Geske of Winnipeg, Manitoba was nominated by Jody Gillis:

Kyle Geske is driven to improve the political system by empowering the electorate. Kyle applies his experience as an educator, web coder, engineer, and artist to the political realm as a co-founder of Open Democracy Manitoba. The WinnipegElection.CA and ManitobaElection.CA have taken shape over three elections with Kyle as the lead developer. These volunteer-managed election resources aim to foster government accountability and transparency by providing information about candidates and the local democratic process.

Kyle is a programming instructor at Red River College, where he challenges and inspires the next generation of web and app innovators. He has provided opportunities for students from different programs at the college to get involved, igniting their interest in local politics and the political system. The election website models are being released as an open toolkit, with the goal of having them replicated in other provinces and beyond.

13. Huihui Jia of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Anna Kim:

Given Huihui’s long-list of democratic participation and her passion for community involvement, it is hard to believe she arrived in Canada only about half a year ago. Huihui has truly hit the ground running when it comes to getting involved in Canada’s democratic culture — whether it is enrolling in the Civic Awareness Project which is a community-based learning program about civic life in Canada, volunteering for community groups, organizing and facilitating Democracy Talks sessions or taking part in public consultations and increasing her awareness about socio-economic issues like transit equity. Huihui’s story is testament to the integration-capacity of being an everyday political citizen. Through her direct participation in Canada’s democratic life, she helps to foster an inclusive and truly participatory space for all newcomers and helps to ensure everyone has a voice.

14. Lamyaa Hassan of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Anna Kim:

Lamyaa’s actions show us what it means to be an everyday political citizen: she has worked to make change in her neighbourhood by connecting with her community members and giving voice to their ideas in order to make shared public spaces safer, more vibrant and more accessible. Lamyaa has played a key role in advocating for lower traffic speeds in her Scarborough neighbourhood. Her voice has also been instrumental in making Glamorgan Park more community-friendly. And she has worked tirelessly for not only increased safety awareness but also community events and programs which help to foster belonging. She embodies what it is to be a democratic citizen: she works for the people and by the people. By facilitating tangible change in an underserved neighbourhood in an inner suburb of Toronto, Lamyaa strengthens our democracy as she shows us that when people act together, they create a world of possibility.

15. Bee Lee Soh of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Anna Kim:

As an everyday political citizen, ‘Be[e] the Change’ might best capture Bee Lee Soh’s contribution to strengthening Canada’s democracy. Bee has worked tirelessly at the grassroots level to work for socioeconomic equity which is an essential part of Canada’s democracy. She has taken part in the public consultations that form the foundations of Toronto’s Poverty Reduction Strategy; she has deputed at City Hall on issues such as the importance of good, affordable housing; Bee also works on behalf of Commitment2Community to ensure issues are heard by decision-makers and that community members are informed about key issues such as transit equity and funding for social programs. As well, Bee actively supports neighbourhood networks such as the Steeles L’Amoreaux Strength in Partnership to ensure community programs reflect issues facing residents such as food security, health and resident engagement. Be[e] the Change. Her actions remind us of what drives a democracy.

16. Naqeeb Musavi of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Anna Kim:

Naqeeb is an everyday political citizen who means business. He understands the fundamental importance of transit equity and access for thriving communities and he has made it his mission to ensure that transit fares are indeed fair. Not only has he supported transit advocacy efforts but he has also initiated a petition to gather more support from community members so that decision-makers know about the need for affordable public transit. Naqeeb has the enthusiasm, the experience and the expertise to help spark change for a brighter, fairer future. Canada’s democracy depends on forward thinkers like Naqeeb.

17. Suganthine Sivakumar of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Anna Kim:

Inspiring. Motivated. Accomplished. Modest. As an everyday political citizen, Suganthine has truly set the standard. Suganthine has worked with abounding energy over numerous years to give voice to fundamental issues facing the diverse population that makes up Dorset Park, a Toronto neighbourhood previously deemed a Priority Neighbourhood. Suganthine has worked to ensure broad community input for the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy and the City’s transit equity strategy. She has also addressed housing issues through deputations and neighbourhood campaigns. As well, she helped to found the Dorset Park Women’s English Circle, a community program that aims to help newcomer women integrate into the community. Suganthine truly strengthens our democracy because of her commitment to inclusion and equity and because of her commitment to real change at the community level.

18. Alain Pescador of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kumaran Nadesan:

Alain Pescador is the Director of 6 Degrees at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

On September 19–21, 2016, 6 Degrees was launched as a new global thought leadership summit to address the central challenge of our times — how to build more inclusive societies. Over the course of two days and three nights, nearly 100 thinkers, doers, business executives, artists, politicians, and emerging and established civil society leaders debated, exchanged ideas, and expressed artistically, radical and practical solutions for inclusion and citizenship in the 21st century.

In successfully spearheading the inaugural summit, Alain proved himself to be a leader par excellence. He led his small but mighty team with great skill, signed up influential speakers to the vision of the summit, managed the key relationship with the Institute’s leadership, and brought together Young Advisors from across the Greater Toronto Area. Through it all, he provided passionate, respectful, and determined leadership that was a treat to watch. To this, his latest success, Alain brought his considerable knowledge, expertise, and values from other experiences in Canada and around the world, including at PEN International, National Film Board of Canada, International Economic Forum of the Americas, and his direct work with Marcelo Ebrard, the former Mayor of Mexico City, Mexico as well as with the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul.

In Alain, we have the truest glimpse of the emerging Everyday Political Citizen who will shape our country in the years to come — thoughtful, intellectual, and skilled political citizen who is able to, with great honesty and empathy, give the world more Canada.

19. Moira Dunphy of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Megan McGinnis-Dunphy:

Moira has worked tirelessly to improve her community her entire life; in the roles of student, mother, teacher, manager, friend, volunteer, and colleague, Moira shows true dedication to Canadian values, especially respect for different cultures, a commitment to social justice, and the freedoms afforded in a democracy.

She truly believes in and fights for her work with the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, ensuring that politicians understand the importance of co-operative housing and what it represents. Her political involvement has also included volunteering with local campaigns, ensuring that citizens are informed and exercise their right to vote.

She has also been an active voice supporting the arts as a force for good in Toronto, including participating in numerous theater and comedy groups, performing in the Fringe Festival, and teaching the craft to the next generation of young artists.

Finally, Moira utilizes her social media accounts expertly in generating dialogue, encouraging open-mindedness, and promoting the Canadian values of freedom and equality that she holds dear.

Above all, she is an excellent example of an everyday political citizen because her every move is thoughtful, respectful, and designed to promote a better society.

20. Ghada Al-Kalaa of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Laura Harper:

Ghada exemplifies being an everyday political citizen, as she demonstrates ongoing commitment and passion to creating positive change in her community. Moving to Canada 19 years ago was a big change for her and her family and this change was exasperated even more upon her husband passing away. Instead of turning inward, Ghada turned outward and connected to her community, and since then has never looked back. She started to attend the Women’s English Circle as a way to become more confident in her English. She then started to volunteer, as she became concerned about safety in her community, as she wanted to ensure that her community was a safe place to raise her children. She was one of the co-founders of the Safety Ambassador program, a group of residents who are dedicated to creating a safe community. Since beginning, the group has seen lots of positive impact including changes to their local park. Their latest endeavour has been advocacy work around pedestrian safety. Ghada is committed to this work ongoing and continues to be a role model for her children and for other women in her community, and for this she deserves to be an everyday political citizen.

21. Amanda Nickerson of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia was nominated by Tammy Shields:

Amanda Nickerson is one of the first graduates of the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre’s Community Action program. Amanda completed 11 weeks of training before being hired as volunteer community peer advocate; a peer who helps connect people with services and resources and organize opportunities to act on issues that matter locally.
The Community Peer Advocates came to me (Tammy Shields, Community Action Coordinator at the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre) wanting to develop a community action group; Noise from the North was formed. Amanda has been instrumental in the development of the group and has been a leader in launching their first campaign “Speak Up. Show Up.”.

Speak Up. Show up. is an eight-week campaign aimed at increasing community awareness and participation in the upcoming municipal election. A slate of weekly Speak Up. Show Up. events is planned (see attached), that started with a Voter Pop-Up (modeled after Samara Canada) we had on Friday August 26th and culminating in a Voting Party & Parade on Election Day, Saturday, October 15, 2016.

Dartmouth North holds one third of the votes for District 6, yet voting rates are 8 to 9 times lower than the rest of the area. In the last by-election not a single ballot was cast in two Dartmouth North polls where more than 1,000 voters live.

In talking to the community we identified some of the barriers to people in our community voting; we set out to address those barriers with the different events in our campaign.

If Amanda knew that I was nominating her she would say that we all deserve the nomination, so for Amanda I will say that this campaign would not have been possible without the help and support from Tammy (Community Action Coordinator and Noise from the North member), Patsy (Community Peer Advocate and Chair of Noise from the North, Jessica (Community Per Advocate and Secretary of Noise from the North) and Kathleen (Mentor and member of Noise from the North) and lastly all the rest of the staff at the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre.

I will end my nomination with a direct quote from Amanda, I think it says it all.
“One voice may get lost but a voice of a community will not. That’s change!”

Thank you!

22. Bruce MacKinnon of Halifax, Nova Scotia was nominated by Olivia Dorey:

Bruce is the beloved cartoonist at the Chronicle Herald. He hails from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he started his career at the age of 14. He has published four books, and participates in the arts and culture scene as part of a father-son duo, Bruce and Jay for which they won The Coast Best of Halifax Reader`s Choice “Best Cover Band”. Recognitions for his artwork includes eight nominations for National Newspaper Awards — out of which he won six, the Order of Nova Scotia, honourary doctorates from both NSCAD and St. Mary`s University, as well as the 2014 World Press Freedom Award. This year, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. His cartoon following the shooting on Parliament Hill in 2014 is a national treasure for which, all other accolades aside, he deserves to be recognized as an everyday political citizen.

23. Lorraine Hewlett of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories:

Lorraine is passionate about society as a whole as her passion has no barriers or conditions. She is involved with labour movement, social/civil, human rights and environmental activistism. As busy as activists are Lorraine always finds time attend various community meetings and voice her thoughts on the issue of the day — her experiences and worldview of the injustices is endless as is her passion to make change.

A sense of justice and to right the wrongs of history, and despite the fact she receives little acknowledgement for her work that we many activits know is ‘thankless’ but we do it anyways because it’s not about anyone person.

Lorraine’s work on fracking, water rights/sources, environmental concerns, and renewable energies has helped to spread awareness of the issues and mobilize people to action — exactly what a democratic society is supposed to do!

24. Jessica Potts of St. Catharines, Ontario was nominated by Marty Mako:

Jessica Potts is known for her energy, optimism and strong belief in pursuing the things you are most passionate about. She is a leading voice of the emerging generation in Niagara. As past Chair of NEXTNiagara, a grassroots initiative led by a panel of emerging community leaders, she is committed to seeing Niagara grow as a vibrant, prosperous community where the next generation can live, work and stay.

Jessica believes that communities thrive when everyday citizens take action and get involved. Leading by example, she chairs the Pearl Gloves charity boxing event. This unique fundraiser features white-collar fighters stretching themselves to their limits for a good cause. It has raised over $80,000 in it’s first 3 year for the local MS Society to help knockout MS!

Jessica also stays connected to her community by serving in leadership roles on several boards and committees including YWCA Niagara Region and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Finally, she understands how our local business community has an important role to play. She helped reshape the Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and was recognized as a ’40 Under 40’ Business Achievement Award winner.

By encouraging diverse organizations to work together in the pursuit of common goals, Jessica’s efforts are an inspiration to many, including me.

25. Patricia Grell of Edmonton, Alberta was nominated by Mark Crawford:

The Edmonton Catholic School Board may not seem like the most likely place in the world to be in the forefront of recognizing rights for trans-gender children — but then Patricia Grell is no ordinary Catholic School Board Trustee. When the Board decided in the spring of 2014 to ban a 7-year-old transgender child from using the girls’ bathroom, she braved official sanction and calls for her resignation when she wrote a blog supporting the girl. Patricia has been driven by her parents ‘ teaching that “the true message of the Gospel [was]that Jesus stood up for and reached out to the marginalized, the outcast, those without power.” Whether she is speaking out against bullying, or encouraging others to run for office and working on their behalf, or introducing a motion to recommend that the Government of Alberta reduce the municipal voting age from 18 to 16, she absolutely rocks.

26. Helen Ries of Ottawa, Ontario was nominated by Michelle Reimer:

Helen is an Ottawa-based consultant, social activist and the loving sister and caregiver of an adult brother with Down Syndrome. She is currently very busy advocating for economic and social equality for persons with disabilities and is pushing for changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Act. Specifically, Helen is asking the Ontario government to raise the limits on gifts and assets to ensure recipients can make an annual income above the poverty line and permitting individuals and their families to plan for adequate long-term financial stability. Helen has created an advisory group, developed a website ( and formed the Coalition for Change to the Disability Gifts and Assets Limits. Helen’s leadership is an inspiring example for other change makers who aim to make meaningful change in their community.

27. Lianne Doucet of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kelly Lynne Ashton:

Lianne Doucet is a committed neighbourhood activist. When her daughters were young she became active on the Board of the South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre, eventually becoming the President. She then became engaged as an active campaigner on numerous municipal, provincial and federal campaigns in the Toronto-Danforth community. Lianne has spent the last three years as President of the Toronto-Danforth Federal Liberal Association and under her leadership the Executive became much more active and inclusive.

Lianne has taken the leadership and engagement skills she has developed to take on another challenge — obtaining a French language high school in the east end of Toronto so that francophone students in her community can exercise their constitutional rights to an equitable education. She works with the Coalition de parents pour une école secondaire du quartier (PESQ) in the hopes of being successful before her youngest daughter graduates from high school.

28. Lanrick Bennett Jr of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kevin Vuong:

Lanrick Bennett Jr. is a city-builder inspiring Torontonians to learn more about our city via his #JacksLibraryTour quest with — you guessed it! — his son Jack. It all started with Jack’s love for colouring books, and has since evolved into a pursuit of (happy) reading where they aim to visit all 100 of Toronto’s Public Libraries by the end of the year.

A community leader who started in music and drama, he has spent over 10 years educating and engaging children and adults with the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Second City, and the Toronto Centre for Arts.

Lanrick has taken his love for the arts to Queen’s Park where he is a bridge between the province and the city, championing culture and the arts as a medium to connect with young people.

Despite his incredible role with our provincial leaders, his hearts remains eternally grassroots. Somehow, someway, Lanrick has found time to volunteer as a Community Liaison with the Toronto Police, advise the Danforth BIA, and, just recently, joined Evergreen Brickworks as a Park Advocate.

If there’s one person #TheWorldNeedsMore of, it’s Lanrick Bennett Jr. Failing that, I’m hoping the Danforth will let the rest of Toronto borrow this incredible city-builder every now and then.

29. Thi Phung Thu Nguyen of North York, Ontario was nominated by Madison Van West:

Thi is a multi-skilled volunteer and Community Animator at North York Community House (NYCH), who continually demonstrates commitment to her neighbourhood and dedication to newcomer settlement.

About her motivation for becoming a community member extraordinaire, Thi has said, “I am grateful for the help I received when I came to Canada and I want to give back to the community.” And give back she has — in the last year, she has supported citizenship classes, English conversation circles, Computer Club, summer camp, and more, always with an eagerness to learn and share with others.

Beyond her work at North York Community House, she has also contributed to communities across Toronto, including supporting programs for seniors with Alzheimer’s at St. Clair West Services for Seniors, teaching computer skills to Vietnamese seniors at the Vietnamese Association of Toronto, preparing food for people experiencing homelessness at the Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre, and participating in a Diabetes Awareness Walk organized by Vietnamese Women’s Association of Toronto.

Thi is currently working with the Compost Club in the community of Lotherton Pathway in Toronto, which does not have municipal compost pick-up. In the program, residents can borrow compost buckets which are then collected and used to create compost for the local community garden.

Thi’s actions to improve her community inspires others to make a difference.

30. Leanne Moussa of Ottawa, Ontario was nominated by Amy Pitkethly:

Leanne Moussa has vision for her community, and makes things happen.

This mother of four finds time to keep up with her family, and transform her neighbourhood and city.

Her involvement includes co-founding a national legacy project (Prime Ministers’ Row), successfully rallying her community to transform a church of national historic significance into a combination of community and commercial space, as well as successfully mobilizing community members to save a local daycare by finding it a new home in a neighbourhood landmark building.

In 2012 Leanne founded a group to mobilize community members and complete a $2M development project that preserved a heritage landmark and kept a daycare facility in a walkable Ottawa neighbourhood (from what I’ve heard, she didn’t even get a spot for all of her kids at the daycare! She’s not in this for herself!)

She then co-founded Prime Ministers’ Row in Ottawa — a national legacy project to transform Laurier Avenue East into an outdoor Street Museum and small-scale cultural landscape. This project is something that people from all over Canada will be able to experience and enjoy.

She is now President of All Saints Developments Inc., — a partnership between business investors and local residents working towards the adaptive reuse of All Saints Anglican Church in a manner that serves community needs and is financially viable. Allsaints is now a beautiful public space and a centre for political discourse.

Leanne is interested in how people come together to effect change. She has a Master’s degree from Carleton University where her research interest focused on civic associations.

31. Kumaran Nadesan of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Thana Dharmarajah:

In the 365 days that exist in a year, there likely doesn’t exist a single day when Kumaran Nadesan isn’t advocating for a community cause that will have a lasting impact on the people of Toronto, Ontario, and Canada, and bringing to this citizen engagement a powerful mix of passion, positivity, and purpose.

In his regular day job, Kumaran is a values-driven emerging public sector leader as the Business Development Manager for ServiceOntario at the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, where he leads his team in fostering thought leadership on service innovation that makes it easier for citizens and businesses to access government services.

His out-of-the-box thinking and leadership, however, also extends well beyond the 9–5.

Whether in his role as Founding Chair of, an international development network that leverages Canadian technical expertise and values to help rebuild knowledge-based economies in former conflict zones in Sri Lanka; or as co-convenor of the inter-governmental and non-partisan Tamils in Public Service network; or as a connector to start-ups in North America, the Middle East, and South Asia; or more recently as a Young Advisor to the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s 6 Degrees summit on global citizenship, Kumaran continues to demonstrate a profound desire to deeply influence and build consensus amongst his myriad, and sometimes vastly different, networks to give the world more of Toronto, Ontario, and Canada.

His passion and energy for the community that he lives in is nothing short of inspiring –inspiring enough that it rouses passion in others to become more involved in their city and community. When Kumaran commits to a cause, he always dreams up a vision that is bigger than him and can seem rather daunting. However, he provides outstanding leadership by motivating, encouraging and supporting his peers to achieve far more than they ever imagined — and he leads by example of his own strong work ethic and commitment to a cause. He is a role model and an influencer in many lives in as many different spaces.

Kumaran truly embodies the Everyday Political Citizen and is a phenomenal example of how one individual can create value for community in a multiplicity of inter-connected ways.

32. Susan Watson of Guelph, Ontario was nominated by Leanne Piper, City Councillor:

Susan lives and breathes democracy, social justice and civic engagement. She led the charge to pursue the Elections Canada robocall investigation. She challenged municipal campaign contributions, leading to changes in the Municipal Elections Financing Act (Ontario). She organizes symposia on electoral reform (Jean-Pierre Kingsley was here last night). She is a frequent delegation to City Council on a wide variety of issues. She motivates and gives voice to others who are too intimidated to speak out. She mentors youth to become involved in local politics.

33. Becky Kilabuk of iqaluit, Nunavut was nominated by Robin Potts:

Becky Kilabuk (Qilavvaq) is a self-taught Inuit artist, born and raised in the Canadian Arctic and fluent in her native tongue, Inuktitut.

She is passionate about using art, film, music and photography to uplift, inspire and educate. Becky believes in being a player and leader in the movement to strengthen her communities, build up a sense of inuit identity, preserve inuit language, cultivate future leaders, and celebrate the unique qualities of the inuit people- through art, song, education, business and social programming.

In 2012, Becky directed a short video that went viral called “Feel the Inukness”. Becky said about the film — “In these challenging times for Inuit people, I seek ways to touch hearts and put smiles on faces through film.”

Becky designs and delivers social and cultural leadership programs for a living, but is always trying new and creative ways to expand her horizons.

Becky is also a self-taught master throatsinger and has performed at the Olympics as well as worldwide, and is a two-time Jubilee medal recipient from Queen Elizabeth II.

34. Jamie Simpson of Halifax, Nova Scotia was nominated by Alana Westwood:

Jamie is one of few staunch protectors of the Acadian forest. He’s a professional forester and a lawyer, and advocates for sensible forestry practices and sound environmental laws. Jamie brings public attention to issues such as indiscriminate clearcutting, governments’ failures to protect species at risk, environmental rights, forest biomass energy and promoting resilient forestry industries.

He lives this work every day. Not only does he practice sustainable woodlot forestry and arboriculture himself, but has spent a decade doing policy-level work to protect the remarkable Acadian forest from indiscriminate clearcutting. Every day off, you can find him climbing, paddling, and hiking through these woods.

Teaching is a great strength of his. He has brought his passion to a variety of audiences from newspapers to classrooms to a TEDx talk. He’s written two books: Journeys through Eastern Old-growth Forests introduces readers to the natural forests of eastern Canada, and Restoring the Acadian Forest is a handbook for landowners who want to promote ecological and economic value in their woodlands. Those who get the chance to talk with him never regret it. His big grin and the passion bursting out of him are unmistakable.

Looking forward, Jamie believes that a major step for our democracy is to recognize Canadians’ right to live in a healthy environment. He knows deeply that the wealth of the Maritime economy relies upon stewarding them well, and works tirelessly for his beloved Maritimers and the Acadian forests.

35. Lucy Stoyles of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador was nominated by Paul Lane, MHA for Mount Pearl South:

Lucy has being a City Councilor in Mount Pearl for over 20 years. Lucy was President of Literacy NL where she started 12 chapters of Learning Disability across NL She also served on the National Board for Learning Disabilities.

She started a stay in School program for students to get help over the summer time hiring students at all 12 chapters helping hundred of children with learning disabilities during the summer time. Lucy also chairs Partners for Books project a project which distributed 40,000 books across Newfoundland & Labrador this project took over one year to get the books to all community centers across NL.

Lucy organizes various fundraisers for patients traveling outside Newfoundland & Labrador for Medical Treatment.

She was also and still drives for Cancer patents for almost 20 years. She has help residents with their issues all this time even taking on housing issues for residents she has event gone into people homes cleaning up their home many time she has gone to shovel a senior driveway. She has gone above and be on applying for grants for them to get their home improvement for their quality of life. Lucy is president of the Kinette Club of Mount Pearl where they raise funds for MS, CF and other groups like Breast Cancer. She also works for MHA Paul Lane where she has gone over and above to see that people gets the help that they need. “I’m proud to have someone with so much passion working for me. Lucy never says no — let’s see what we can do to help you”.

36. Mariko Uda of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Madison Van West:

Mariko Uda is passionate about connecting people with their environments and building resilient, sustainable communities. She has volunteered her knowledge and time to numerous environmental organizations and initiatives across the City of Toronto, using her science and civil engineering background to explore the relationship between people and the infrastructure that supports our urban lives.

In 2013, she spearheaded the creation of the Ward 21 Green Map, a project of local environmental group Green Neighbours 21, which celebrates the eco-features of the area and encourages sustainable living. She is currently lending her passion to Abundance GTA, a group of individuals bringing awareness to the Pickering Lands, prime agricultural land expropriated in the 1970s for an airport that was never built. Mariko along with Abundance GTA is helping to connect and awaken people to these lands through the arts.

Aside from these projects and more, Mariko also shares her knowledge by giving talks to students and local community groups, including the University of Toronto’s Sustainable Engineers Conference, and most recently Toronto Green Community’s Indigenous Waterways event. Through her tireless work Mariko is helping us all imagine a greener future for Toronto and beyond.

37. Randy Kay of Hamilton, Ontario was nominated by Erica Chan:

Randy Kay is a powerhouse of community and social good. He is a mentor to the students of McMaster University, and a respected voice of social activism in Hamilton. Through his role as Volunteer Coordinator to the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, Randy seeks to facilitate the “Everyday Political Citizen” in all of us; encouraging students and community members to participate and dream big. A McMaster alumnus, Randy is no stranger student activism: his roots were firmly set in the heart of OPIRG back in 1997 when he first founded the Recycle Cycles Working Group. He can be found exploring and engaging the city’s communities primarily by bicycle — a method of transportation for which he passionately advocates. Between the environmentally conscious bicycling, mobilizing students’ passions for social justice issues, and saying “hello” to many friendly faces on the streets of Hamilton, Randy also finds time to delve into supporting local grassroots, not-for-profit organizations. Particularly near and dear to Randy’s current repertoire of community projects is the Hamilton Street Trees program. Street Trees is a volunteer-run project that aims to plant street trees in Hamilton’s neighbourhoods to improve air quality and add measurable environmental and community value. A founding member of the Transportation for Liveable Communities, Restore Cootes, and an active member of countless other community organizations, Randy’s dedication to ensuring the vitality of the Hamilton community is palpable and inspiring.
This biography is not exhaustive of his accomplishments, more importantly, neither does it quantify the positive effects of Randy’s social and political activism. For the reasons stated, and much more, I am enthusiastically putting forward Randy Kay’s nomination for Samara Canada’s Everyday Political Citizen. Both Hamilton and #TheWorldNeedsMore Randy Kays!

38. Donna Loback of Oshawa, Ontario was nominated by Angela Mittoni:

Donna truly believes in bringing people together to make a better community. She actively works to this goal everyday.

A Citizen of Oshawa, Donna has brought the City, businesses, non-profits, developers and residents together to enhance the downtown. To start the process, she invited one of the leading individuals in the world to come and talk to the City and explain ways of building a stronger community.

Donna’s persistence and perseverance not only brought everyone together, but has also resulted in a plan to improve many facets of the community. This is being achieved because the stakeholders who were involved in the plan are actively working together towards the same goal. The is a true partnership which has been established due to Donna’s efforts and vision.

Oshawa is a better place because of Donna. She is building a strong sense of community throughout the city.

39. Asher Honickman of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Gerard Kennedy:

Asher is the founder of Advocates for the Rule of Law (“ARL”). ARL is a unique voice on the comparative role of the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive in Canadian society. Its frequently visited website blogs on a plethora of legal and political issues, bringing together voices from across the political spectrum on rule of law-related issues. As a regular contributor to the National Post, Asher brings his work to a national audience. On top of all of this, Asher has a busy private practice as a civil litigator in Toronto.

40. Matt Noble of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Jenn Phillips:

I’ve recently been really inspired by the work of the Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank, founded by Matt Noble. Being new to the veg community in Toronto, it has been amazing to see the selfless work done by so many for animal advocacy. But what about the people trying to make a difference by eating a veggie diet? Vegetarians often become so for deeply personal reasons. Maybe a health scare threatened their life and they were told they had to eat healthier to survive. Maybe they want to do something about the incredible environmental degredation caused by industrial meat farming. Or they too wanted to join in advocating for animals. Someone struggling to get by, experiencing food insecurity, should not also have to sacrifice their health, values and beliefs. Unfortunately, vegetarian options and fresh produce can be scarce or unreliable at regular foodbanks. Matt Noble saw this need and did something about it. In just 18 short months, Matt has created a new food bank serving 200+ torontonians with fresh produce and reliable ingredients to create vegetarian meals for them and their families. On my first day volunteering with the TVFB I met people struggling with diabetes so thankful to get food they need to stay healthy. I met young families excited to cook with fresh produce. Not to mention the dedicated group of volunteers all there because they too have been inspired by Matt, his family and the TVFB. Matt is the definition of an Everyday Political Citizen and I’m excited to nominate him!

41. Inez Kelly of Oakville, Ontario was nominated by Erika Richter:

Inez Kelly is a lifelong advocate. She has an infectious passion for ending global poverty and has used her political power as a Canadian citizen to mobilise funds, members of parliament, and citizens to the cause. This summer Inez organised a 35 kilometre walk to raise awareness and funds to end global malnutrition, she regularly engages with four Members of Parliament in the Oakville and Mississauga region and she has mobilised and trained many young people. She strengthens democracy by putting her democratic power into action to make her voice heard, and training others to do the same.

42. Peter Kucherepa of Ottawa, Ontario was nominated by Peter Milliken, former MP for Kingston and the Islands:

This Week Tonight’s John Oliver said that payday centers are “awful and nearly impossible to regulate.” Peter Kucherepa, as an everyday political citizen, successfully addressed and regulated them in his Ottawa community.

Peter realized there was a proliferation of payday lenders in his neighborhood of Vanier, Ottawa, Ontario. Outside of his normal work hours, and without remuneration, Peter consulted with local businesses, chambers and community groups, explored legal options, and authored a policy report with practical recommendations. Peter, along with ACORN Ottawa, took to media and advocated his report’s conclusions to city councillors, who in turn voted to regulate payday loan companies in Ottawa.

In only eight months, Peter turned a local problem no one thought possible to solve, into a real result for his community. Peter, as an everyday citizen, brought ideas, energy, engagement and effective analysis to an issue that will lower poverty and crime not only in Ottawa, but hopefully across Canada. He exemplifies that one person’s political engagement can make a real difference in their community.

43. Tracey Hellman of Medicine Hat, Alberta was nominated by Sandra Moore:

A couple of years ago Rachel and Tracy read an article on the 100 Women Who Care movement and decided to start a chapter in Medicine Hat Alberta. Their aim was to bring together women from diverse backgrounds quarterly to support local community organizations. In less than a year these ladies have volunteered countless hours to developing, promoting, and organizing these quarterly meetings raising almost $50,000 for local charities. Three charities are chosen for each meeting from member nominations. The chosen nominating members then present to the entire group of women about the vital work these charities do in our community and what they will do with the donations. All members then vote on their choice of which of the three charities they think the group should donate to. Majority rules, and the winning organization is provided with a $100 cheque from each of the members.
The passion with which Rachel and Tracy promote 100 WWC is admirable, they are dedicated to engaging others in our community to learn about community organizations and support the valuable work they do to make our communities better. The world needs more people like Rachel and Tracy who are willing to be advocates for engaging others to support the many diverse organizations in our communities that work tirelessly to address myriad economic, social, and health issues.

44. Pavlina Sudrich of Whitehorse, Yukon was nominated by Chris Tse:

Pavlina Sudrich is an Everyday Political Citizen because she cares about the present and future of her community. Born and raised in the Yukon, Pav is fiercely proud to be a Northerner. She formerly worked as a youth correspondent with the CBC, and in 2004 won the Top 20 Under 20 award for her work educating Yukoners on the issues facing Northern youth. After spending the last 10 years as a high-performance cross-country ski coach around the country, most recently with the Canadian National Team in Canmore, Alberta, Pav has returned to Whitehorse to continue her mission of furthering Northern awareness and capacity. As the executive aide to the Commissioner of the Yukon, Pav represents the territory on a national and even global scale, and hopes to one day launch herself into politics for the sake of continuing to build the Yukon towards reaching its massive potential.

45. Judith Bugg of Edson, Alberta was nominated by Jim Eglinski, MP for Yellowhead:

Judith Bugg is someone who has been a driving force, working behind the scenes, resulting in the ultimate election of three Members of Parliament in the riding of Yellowhead. She has been actively involved in the Yellowhead Electoral District Association for over 15 years, as a director and in various executive positions. Judith has seen various Campaign offices through many elections. She has given countless hours, driving many miles through wind and snow, in the strategic placement of campaign posters, provided many words of encouragement to the candidates, and with indefatigable energy saw each election campaign through to its end. Her enthusiasm and energetic interest has inspired many others to become involved with political participation.

46. Tracy Stroud of Medicine Hat, Alberta was nominated by Sandra Moore:

Tracy is a true community builder. She has dedicated her career to enhancing community and economic development in southeast Alberta. In the last year she has taken on the role of Manager for Business Development at Medicine Hat College. In this role she is passionate about bringing various businesses, organizations, institutions and industries together to form partnerships to address issues from innovation to sustainable energy. As well, she is equally passionate about empowering students at Medicine Hat College to reach and realize their potential as the next generation of entrepreneurs and community leaders through the Entrepreneurship Development Center. She actively works to help develop the skills, abilities, and confidence of these student entrepreneurs with the guidance of an Advisory Council of seasoned entrepreneurs. Tracy’s passion for empowering others in her community is very evident and her positive can-do attitude inspires others to want to work together. The world needs more people like Tracy.

47. Christie Dick of Special Area №3, Alberta was nominated by Sandra Moore:

The world needs more people like Christie Dick. As the Community Economic Development Consultant for SAMDA — a regional collaboration of rural communities in southeast Alberta — Christie is passionate about rural development. She was instrumental in developing Return to Rural (R2R), a movement that celebrates and promotes making a living and a life in rural southeast Alberta. The website for R2R celebrates rural people and businesses, provides links to job opportunities, lists commercial and residential properties for sale, and provides resources for local municipal leaders. Christie recently spearheaded the Big Rural Leadership Project aimed at helping develop rural leaders and encouraging them to think BIG. She also regularly writes opinion pieces on her LinkedIn account that promote and celebrate rural life and encourage rural leaders to think outside the box, take risks, and not be afraid of innovation and change, find the pieces here.
Christie is a passionate advocate for rural communities, a respected community builder, and an individual committed to empowering and developing rural community leaders.

48. Alethea Arnaquq-Baril of Iqaluit, Nunavut was nominated by Taha Tabish:

An award-winning documentary filmmaker and a social justice warrior, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril is the ideal candidate for the Everyday Political Citizen. Her latest film, “Angry Inuk”, spotlights the injustice and economic collapse brought about by global anti-sealing campaigns to Inuit communities across the North. Alethea is also very engaged at the local level, advocating for education and language rights, organizing political discourse and dialogue, and working every day to make things better for her fellow community members in Iqaluit, across Nunavut, and around the circumpolar North. And despite all these battles she is helping to fight, running into Alethea around town always includes a bright smile on her face and genuine words of support and encouragement.

49. Bob Sutton of Sarnia, Ontario was nominated by Erica Kelly:

Bob Sutton actively encourages everyone he meets not only to participate in their democracy, but also to be excited about their responsibility to do so. Through community presentations, workshop development, and letter-writing campaigns, Bob shares his commitment to democratic engagement. Bob played a huge role in the Civility Project, a non-partisan campaign initiated during the 2015 Federal election. He co- developed a web site ( which encompassed a Candidate’s pledge and a petition to all members of Parliament requesting that they move from toxicity to civility in Canadian politics. He wrote dozens of letters to newspapers across the country and even took his efforts into the classroom in his home riding of Sarnia/Lambton. This past summer, Bob worked with a small group of volunteers from three major political parties to develop and deliver Electoral Reform Education sessions, which offered an engaging, informative, and non-partisan account of the options under consideration. Bob leads by listening. He is always reminding crowds that the conversations in which they’re engaging provide the foundation for true democracy. He’s inspiring young folks and adults alike to embrace their role in shaping their democracy.

50. Bianca Spence of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kirsten Duke:

You only have to read through Bianca’s social media to see why she is the ultimate Everyday Political Citizen. She is always posting about incredibly important social issues, and questioning the status quo. She does this because she is a fantastic person who clearly wants the world to be a better place, and she does this every damn day.

51. Anne Tennier of Hamilton, Ontario was nominated by Ralph Wilson:

Anne Tennier, a professional engineer, who ran twice in Hamilton Centre as the Liberal candidate in the 2011 and 2015 federal elections, has been an active and highly-respected community leader in Hamilton for several years.

She serves on a number of boards, including the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hamilton Conservation Foundation, le centre francais Hamilton, the Durand Neighbourhood Association and the Canadian Peace Initiative (Hamilton Chapter). She also volunteers with Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction and the Rising Star Co-op for Mental Health Survivors.

In the past, Ms. Tennier has served with the Burlington and Greater Hamilton United Way and has been an active supporter of a variety of local and national charitable agencies.

52. Sonnet L’Abbe of Nanimo, British Columbia was nominated by Elizabeth Williams:

Sonnet is someone who cares deeply about Canada as a nation in terms of its past, its present and its complicated future. She supports women’s rights (past chair of the December 6th Fund), human rights and is a strong advocate for reconciliation with First Nations peoples in this country. She’s got the bravery to start and facilitate brave conversations about race, discrimination and bias on Facebook, often drawing from experiences in her own life to get the ball loading. She handles the resulting range of reactions with grace. I learn from her all the time, and suspect I’m not alone in that.

53. John Redins of Ottawa, Ontario was nominated by Susan Barr:

John is completely engage in fighting for the “little guy” giving a voice to people that don’t have one. He engages on social media and has ran as a candidate in the federal provincial and municipal election.He was taught if you have a voice use it and uses it everyday. He volunteers for many events in the community and has a big heart. He doesn’t let his disability stop him. I feel he is a voice for the people.

54. Sabina Ali of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Alina Chatterjee:

Known as the “gentle warrior”, Sabina spent years dedicated to improving community conditions, particularly for and with women, in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood. After organizing women in the community to successfully advocate for a playground in Thorncliffe, Sabina did not stop there. She founded Thorncliffe Women’s Committee. Dave Harvey of Parks People says, “You just see her at the bazaars, and she’s got the cellphone in one hand, she’s got someone’s lost kid in another hand, she’s solving a problem at the same time. She never gets riled. She just makes things happen; she’s a real inspiration. We need some more Sabina Alis out there.” Her fearless and relentless efforts to improve her community and ensure women have voice in decision-making knows no bounds. It has resulted in literacy, food security, economic development and numerous other programs, all resident-led, that animate, educate and provide much needed access to public spaces in the neighbourhood.

55. Jacqueline Fraser of London, Ontario was nominated by Mo Salih, City Councillor:

Super volunteer citizen!Helps citizens engage in politics, from ward meetings to controversial zoning applications. Runs/leads number of advocacy group from community group conversations to Fibromyalgia London Group putting in hundreds to thousands of hours in for free as a volunteer.

56. Nadine Ives of Fredericton, New Brunswick was nominated by Susan Gavin:

There’s a beautiful voice that’s often raised in song and protest for Fredericton’s environment and that’s the voice of Nadine Ives — a leader in New Brunswick’s environmental community. Nadine has advocated for the conservation of natural lands, action on climate change and currently works to connect children to nature with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. Nadine is an artistic and creative Everyday Political Citizen.

57. Julie Kusiek of Edmonton, Alberta was nominated by Iga Speur:

  1. Incredible innovative actions in the Queen Alexandra-Edmonton community.
  2. Leading a successful “Save the Scona Pool “ campaign.
  3. Pioneering a new project of neighborhood re-development:”Engage 76 Ave -106 Str”
  4. Rare effectiveness and ability to work with the City administration and the City Council. 

58. Cora and Don Li-Leger of Surrey, British Columbia was nominated by Al Etmanski:

Wife and husband Cora and Don Li-Leger are successful artists who are during their creative energy to make the socially challenge neighbourhood of Newton in Surrey better. Some suggest Surrey is the crime capital of Canada Their most recent project is a communal garden that has brought a deserted neighbourhood to life, provided a haven for the homeless, provided food and food exchange, and provided helpful insight into supporting Greater Vancouver’s most vulnerable citizens beyond enforcement and traditional human services. Citizen engagement from all walks of life is high — their projects encourage everyone’s participation because they avoid labels and victimization. Neighbourliness is growing at the PLOT as well as vegetables. Read more here:
In addition, they have curated an exhibit in Newton for a variety of artists in deserted storefronts after the tragic murder of mother Julie Paskell. Their purpose to take back the streets from violence. They also built Encyclopedia House out of encyclopedias to remind the neighbourhood of what it already knows. They have used their artistic talents to shine a light on human ingenuity and suffering in a way that invites a human response. A flexible response. A caring response. They shun the spotlight but are a perfect example of caring citizenship that makes our society function.

59. Samantha Green of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Danyaal Raza:

Samantha Green is a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and Inner City Health Associates. She also teaches a graduate level course on “Political, Social, And Scientific Aspects Of Primary Care” at the University of Toronto. Her actions as an Everyday Political Citizen extend far beyond her professional responsibilities. Most recently, she has been campaigning to extend dental care to all Ontarians and is an active member of Health Providers Against Poverty, a group that engages health providers and people living in poverty in social and political change. Dr. Green is also an avid cyclist and active member of Cycle Toronto, working to promote safe and healthy active transport for all. Sam is a tireless advocate for health and without doubt, and an Everyday Political Citizen worthy of recognition.

60. Titus Ferguson of London, Ontario was nominated by Chris Cowperthwaite:

Titus is a civic entrepreneur in London, Ontario. As the Co-Founder of UnLondon and the 121 Studios co-working space, he is providing the London creative community with a platform to explore new technologies and social platforms through the education, entertainment and civic engagement.

UnLondon’s mission, to ”Gather, Create and Improve”, sums up why he is such an outstanding Samara Everyday Political Citizen candidate.

Titus is also a founding member of the Open Democracy Project, working to launch DemocracyKit — a public services package for municipal candidates.

61. Serge Cote of Levis, Quebec was nominated by Janet Jones, City Councillor:

I am a City Councillot for the past seven years for the City of Lévis in Québec. One of my 15 co-workers is outstanding. Serge Cote has been with the City of Lévis for 7 years. He is the father of two healthy young girls. Mr. Cote does exceptional work with and for people with intellectuel dissibilities . He is on the board of directors and has raised money and awareness enabling The Ateluer Occupatipnnel to move info better facilities to ensure better working environnent to the people who work there. This atelier employs only people who have been born with a mental disability. The work that he and others do help this clientele to feel valued and proud to contribute to society. With the salaries they make they are able to live in their own apartment. I admire Serge Coté´s sincere wish to make life better for the mentally challenged.

62. Desmond Cole of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Gabrielle Langlois:

I have never met him…but his work and voice, for me, represent what citizenship is about…about taking the time to see things…talk about have conversations to reflect..with the goal to help us improve our behaviours and our social, political and economic systems.
His work that I have seen deals with injustice and inequality…very personal and difficult actual situations happening everyday in my city that should not be happening.
I admire him and thank him for his capacity to stay calm…to stand up…and to continue this important conversation. When I think of an everyday politcal citizen, I think of these qualities and hope you will consider this nomination.

63. Gary Schneider of Tea Hill, Prince Edward Island was nominated by Jamie Simpson:

Gary’s passion is bringing back native forest on Prince Edward Island. He started the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project 25 years ago to demonstrate hands-on ecologically-sound forest management. Trees he planted to restore diversity to the demonstration site are now producing their own seed. Thanks to Gary’s efforts, visitors walk through diverse native forests that were once old pastures, and see the possibility of restoring some of PEI’s forests.

Gary uses the Macphail Woods site to bring people — children and adults alike — closer to nature. He leads plant and wildlife walks, runs a native species nursery, and hosts environmental education workshops and summer-camps. Gary also teaches Ecological Forestry at the University of PEI.

When not in the woods, Gary has served on the Environment Planning and Assessment Caucus of the Canadian Environmental Network, was member of the federal Regulatory Advisory Committee for the Minister of the Environment, and currently is a member of the federal Multi-Interest Advisory Committee for the Expert Panel reviewing Canada’s environmental assessment process.

Gary’s work has been recognized by Canadian Geographic (Gold Medal Award in Restoration and Rehabilitation) and Environment Canada (National Environmental Citizenship Award).

64. Karen Wallace-Prince of Victoria, British Columbia was nominated by Jessica Prince:

Karen Wallace-Prince is a resident of Oak Bay, British Columbia. With her husband, she has cared for their heritage home for nearly 30 years.

Recently, Karen began to notice heritage homes in Victoria being demolished. She grew concerned that the historic character of the city was being lost. The issue hit home when a developer expressed interest in a heritage property in her area. Karen feared the developer would demolish this 100-year-old landmark. In response, she came up with the idea of having the neighbourhood designated as a Heritage Conservation Area, which would preserve the historic character of the area, while enabling neighbourhood participation in development and planning decisions. As part of her campaign, Karen has knocked on doors, collected signatures, and established a website ( She has met with municipal councillors and the mayor, and is appearing at municipal committees. To me, Karen is the quintessential everyday political citizen.

65. Anita Nickerson of Waterloo, Ontario was nominated by Julien Lamarche:

Anita has been incredibly hard working in mobilizing Fair Vote volunteers on the ground and building coalitions with other organizations.

66. Carol Todd of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia was nominated by Ron McKinnon, MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam:

Carol Todd is an outstanding individual who turned adversity into strength, not only for herself, but for her community. Carol suffered a tremendous loss when her daughter Amanda took her own life. However, she channeled this into an initiative that aims to educate the public on mental health and bullying while supporting those who are currently suffering from either issue. The Amanda Todd Legacy is an organization that is truly changing the youth perspective of mental health and bullying in Canada.

67. Chris Cowperwaithe of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Meghan Hellstern:

In my mind, Chris exemplifies what an Everyday Political Citizen is: highly engaged, naturally collaborative, compassionate and empathetic. Always politically involved, his newest project, DemocracyKit, is aiming to make politics more accessible to more people by creating and sharing a vital body of campaigning knowledge. Chris is deeply, visibly passionate about the role that technology plays in our political lives, and for that it is my honour to nominate him as an Everyday Political Citizen!

68. Gabe Sawhney of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Meghan Hellstern:

Gabe is a force of nature when it comes to all things civic and democratic. As a fellow co-founder of Civic Tech Toronto and the director of Urban+Digital, Gabe works everyday to harness the amazing passion, talent and skills of citizens towards the common good. Whether he’s organizing weekly hack nights or working to change systems more broadly, he’s dedicated to build a brighter, more democratic future for all and for that it is my pleasure to nominate him as an everyday political citizen!

69. Howard Tam of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Meghan Hellstern:

Howard is one of the most engaged city builders I know, and really puts the idea of political citizenship into action. Whether through his consulting work on urban planning or as a co-founder of Civic Tech Toronto, Howard is exactly the type of natural collaborator, connector and active citizen that I think we need more of in our world.

70. Ayesha Sardar of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Thi Phung Thu Nguyen:

Ayesha is a volunteer at North York Community House (NYCH) who supports programs which involve mental health, immigration and community services.

Her strength is her dedication to help people from all walks of life in any community that she lives and does volunteer work in. She has supported programs which involve health check-ups for people like eye check-ups, cancer workshops, vaccination clinics, etc. as well as working as a counselor for people suffering from addiction, depression and mental health issues. She has also facilitated a citizenship preparation program at NYCH.

This definitely helps the community become a better place while encouraging others to volunteer and give back to community.

71. Shawna Lewkowitz of London, Ontario was nominated by Maureen Cassidy:

Shawna Lewkowitz is the founder of Women in Politics, an organization dedicated to actively engaging and increasing women’s participation in politics and government. This volunteer group, mobilized through Shawna’s leadership, has proven to be a powerful force in promoting gender equality in London.

Shawna also serves as Chair of the Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Oppression Advisory Committee which reports to City Council on matters related to diversity, inclusivity, equity and the elimination of discrimination.

Shawna is a leader and champion of equality in London, and works tirelessly to ensure that the voices of women and all marginalized people are heard and celebrated. She has made significant strides to build awareness and seek change as we move towards greater participation of women in politics and government. London is fortunate to have a community leader like Shawna. She would be a most deserving recipient for this award.

72. Christopher Lambe of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Nahum Mann:

Christopher Lambe is grounded in the principle that “if it’s not accessible to the poor, it’s not revolutionary.” He engages with communities with the traits we desire from all our politicians; he is caring and listening, taking the time to meet with anyone who may have input on civics in their community. Underlying all his work is a passion for those on the furthest margins, driving him to find new ways at increasing access to broader demographics.

Christopher is always confident in knowing what he brings to the table; logistics planning, strategy, liasoning with officials, partnership development. With this confidence however, Chris never loses his humility to work with others to enhance THEIR movements and objectives.

Chris has been involved in nearly every social and civic movement in Toronto. He has demonstrated tremendous leadership as the co-organizer of Occupy Toronto and the Stop Bill C-51 movement. His work with C-51 led to a national understanding of the bill, thousands of petition signatures, and focus during the 2015 Federal Election.
His leadership is an ongoing inspiration to many, being a voice of confidence to anyone who might question if their civic engagement could have any real impact. Last year, Chris and I co-facilitated two workshops for young people (as young as grade 7 and 8) that focused on civic engagement. Both times, Christopher was able to meaningfully reach out to the participants to find out where civics matters in their lives and left them with a clear understanding of the foundations and tactics of engagement and activism that they could apply to their personal lives.

73. Elham Mominzadeh of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Graciela N:

Over the years, Elham has been involved with several neighborhood and social organizations, but in particular with a German organization called Invitar which helps mothers, children and single parents. For 5 years, Elham was in charge of sorting out donated clothes to be sold at the organization’s store to raise money.

74. Réal Lavergne of Ottawa, Ontario was nominated by Julien Lamarche:

Réal started with Fair Vote Canada as Vice-President of the National Capital Region chapter. He organized a play at the Unitarian Church on the topic of voting reform. He quickly became among the most top active volunteers to bring about an equal & effective vote for all canadians. He drafted a generic letter for reaching out to organizations. He designed flyers that went more into the details of voting systems. He built relationships with MPs from different political parties. Finally, he edited Fair Vote Canada’s submission to the parliamentary commitee.

Bringning voter equality is a challenge. If we get there, it will be in part because of Réal Lavergne.

75. Heidi Pospisil of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Karine Barrass:

Heidi Pospisil is an artist who became an activist as an extension of her parenting. Having her daughter point out the lack of recycling at her school started a journey into greening the classroom, which grew over many years into a school-wide green movement, including the committee she founded applying for and receiving the Ontario EcoSchools certification.

Heidi was the leader on community projects like painting an outdoor bench, bringing an abandoned school yard garden back to life and bringing Roots of Empathy to its first French school in Toronto. More recently, and for the second year in a row, Heidi pulled together her francophone community to celebrate the Franco Ontario Flag Day in the park.

She is currently a member of the Coalition PESQ, a group of parents advocating for their right to a French language high school in the east end of Toronto. 

76. Sandy Woolfrey-Fahey of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador was nominated by Steve Kent:

Sandy Woolfrey-Fahey is a community builder. She is active in the school communities of her three children. As a member of school councils she’s an advocate for education. She’s committed to inform, influence and engage. Sandy has supported school development initiatives, coordinated fundraising, and organized events. Additionally, she’s lent support to the Association for the Arts in Mount Pearl, organized fundraising efforts to help a sick neighbour, coordinated Christmas hampers for needy families, and more.

77. Jerry Rice of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador was nominated by Steve Kent, MHA for Mount Pearl North:

Jerry is actively involved in politics at all levels, municipal, provincial and federal. Worked on many political boards. His willingness to stick to principles and keep going even in less than friendly situations. Jerry’s work with minor sports and currently the Manager of O’Donel’s Senior Boys Basketball Program has had a positive impact in his community. Jerry is one of the most giving individuals I have met. From food drives to campaigns he is always willing to help. Our community is luck to have a citizen like Jerry.

78. Carla Mackie of Lincoln, Ontario was nominated by Brett House:

The Lorax speaks for the trees, and Carla Mackie speaks for the bricks and stones of the built history of Niagara West. Every day, Carla does yeoman’s work to engage Lincoln’s citizens in preserving their patrimony.

Carla been the volunteer leader of Lincoln’s Municipal Heritage Committee for several years and has driven its work to help Lincoln implement a proper system to designate historic sites, an innovation that will ensure my hometown finally meets its obligations under the 2005 Ontario Heritage Act. Carla has devoted thousands of hours to researching Lincoln’s history, to making the case for the benefits of historic preservation, to mobilizing the Town’s citizens to demand better from their public institutions, and to encouraging local politicians to make good on their responsibilities for Lincoln’s heritage buildings.

Carla was the first voice to call for preservation of Vineland’s provincially significant 120-year old one-room schoolhouse. While that two-year fight, chronicled here, was lost, because of Carla’s work, heritage concerns can no longer be ignored in Lincoln. Carla was given Lincoln’s ‘Good Citizen’ Award in 2015 for her efforts.

79. Gillian Smith of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by CivicAction:

Gillian Smith is a 2009 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow with extensive experience across the not-for-profit, private and public sectors. As a recognized leader, Gillian is passionate about supporting the next generation of leaders through mentorship.
Currently, Gillian leads the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s communications and marketing work as the Chief Marketing Officer and was previously the CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, a national charity that promotes inclusion and citizenship.
Gillian recognizes the importance of volunteering and engaging in the community and serves on the boards of numerous organizations dedicated to the arts and civic life in Canada. She currently serves as Chair of the Toronto Public Library Foundation, Interim Chair of Community Food Centres Canada and is a board director with Business for the Arts and the Culture Days. She has also contributed to a diverse range of community-based initiatives including Business for the Arts, Culture Days, and a Global Advisor for the G(irls) 20 Summit.

80. Che Kothari of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by CivicAction:

Chetan Kothari — affectionately known as “Che” — is a prominent artist and community organizer who is dedicated to fostering other young artists in the city. Che is also a 2009 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow who has made endless contributions to the cultural landscape on a local and global scale.
Beginning as a portrait and events photographer in Toronto, Che has worked with a diverse range of local and international artists including Ziggy Marley, Ice Cube of NWA, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Zaki Ibrahim, Common, Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Afrika Bambaataa, K’naan, Erykah Badu, Nas, k-os, and Shad. Che’s work as a visual artist and creator led him to co-founding Hightop Studio in 2001 with his business partner and long-time friend Ryan Paterson.
With a dedication to making a difference in his community, Che founded Manifesto Community Projects — a non-profit that unites, inspires and empowers diverse groups of young people through arts and culture. Che served as Manifesto’s Executive Director for seven years and now presides as the Chair of the Board of Directors. Che also co-founded sister organizations of Manifesto in Kingston, Jamaica and Barbados.
Che’s latest pursuit involves managing and supporting the work of musicians — Soca king Machel Montano, rising Reggae star Protoje & young wordsmith/singer Mustafa the Poet — in collaboration with Toronto/Los Angeles based management company Dream Machine.
Che’s civic leadership has helped provide an important platform and resources needed to advance the growth of the arts as a tool for positive change, on the individual, community and city level.

81. Adoama Patterson of Brampton, Ontario was nominated by CivicAction:

Adaoma Patterson is a 2010 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow who advocates for greater awareness about poverty and works with the community to implement affordable transit, food and income security, and economic opportunities. Adaoma is an Advisor for the Region of Peel’s Poverty Reduction Strategy where she works to influence local policies that lift people up, ensure their voices are heard when decisions are being made and advocate for proper investments in human services.
Adaoma was born in Winnipeg and, with the exception of six years which her family spent in Jamaica, was raised in that city. A respected leader in the Jamaican community, Adaoma was recently elected as the President of the Jamaican Canadian Association, a prominent 50-year old social services and membership organization. Adaoma is also the co-founder and Vice President of the Horace Patterson Scholarship Foundation, which awards scholarships to African-Canadian students in Manitoba.
With a commitment to increasing income equality and addressing precarious employment, Adaoma ran in the 2015 federal election for Brampton West. Her campaign aimed at bringing a different perspective to the political process by engaging and representing the residents of Brampton West, especially those who feel disconnected to the political system.
Adaoma continues to engage in the community through her role as a United Way of Peel Region Allocations Committee Member.

82. Lekan Olawoye of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by CivicAction:

Lekan Olawoye is a 2011 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow who is passionate about harnessing youth leadership and innovation.
Lekan grew up in Jamestown, Rexdale and his personal experience of loss led him to the social work profession. His community work began at a young age when he coached and mentored his peers at his highschool in Rexdale as a senior student.
As the Program Director of MaRS’ Studio Y, Lekan has extensive experience in youth policy, leadership development and social justice, playing a pivotal role in delivering empowering youth programs in Ontario.
Lekan was formerly the Executive Director of For Youth Initiative — a youth organization committed to creating opportunities for youth at-risk. He continues to play a pivotal role in providing empowering youth programs services that are transformational, inclusive and accessible.
Lekan has served as a board member for the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and was the first-ever Chair of the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities, where he advised the Government of Ontario on the design and delivery of its services for youth.
In 2014, Lekan ran in the Toronto municipal elections for the York-South Weston riding to advocate for the needs of low-income and underserved people in his neighbourhood.
Lekan’s civic leadership contributions include being a graduate of the United Way’s Creative Institute of Toronto’s Young Leaders, a 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference alumnus, a recipient of the Toronto Foundation’s Vital Person Award in 2012 and a past winner of the Innovation award through United Way Toronto.

83. Piragal Thiru of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by CivicAction:

Piragal Thiru is a 2011 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow who is driven by a passion to build up his community.

Piragal arrived in Scarborough as a refugee at the age of 11 with his mother and brother and moved into an apartment building across from Neilson Park, where he began his life in Canada. Since then, Piragal has contributed immensely to his community as a city-builder, transit expert and grassroots community organizer.

In a professional capacity, Piragal had led York Region’s work on a number of key files including transit planning, accessibility and diversity and inclusion.

As an active community member, he has served in many roles in charitable and non-profit organizations including the United Way, the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation and the Canadian Tamil Congress where he was an outspoken advocate for refugees and new Canadians, promoting inclusion and acceptance of newcomers. With a commitment to helping new Canadians, families and seniors thrive, Piragal ran in the 2016 provincial by-election in the Scarborough — Rouge River area.

An outstanding community leader and dedicated local volunteer, Piragal is a recipient of the Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Ontario Volunteer Service award.

84. Brent Chamberlain of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by CivicAction:

Brent Chamberlain is a 2012 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow who is a champion for workplace diversity and inclusion.
Brent currently leads Bell Canada’s diversity and inclusion work and was formerly the Executive Director of Pride at Work Canada — a leading non-profit organization supporting the LGBTQ community in Canadian workplaces.
A passionate supporter of inclusive city-building, Brent worked with six other DiverseCity Fellows to create the Pan Am Path — an 80-km multi-use path connecting Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods. Brent continues to contribute to the Pan Am Path as the Chair of the Board.
As an advocate for the LGBTQ community, Brent was the recipient of the 2012 LGBT Workplace Advocate Award by Deloitte and Out on Bay Street and recognized as a Canadian Diversity Champion by Women of Influence.
Brent continues to drive impact in communities through his role as a member of the Toronto region grant review team for the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the largest granting foundation in Canada.

85. Ravi Jain of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by CivicAction:

Ravi Jain is 2011 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow and an award-winning actor, director, producer and educator who is dedicated to shaping the future of the arts community.
Ravi is the founding artistic director of Why Not Theatre — a Toronto-based theatre company that engages socially minded entrepreneurs invested in building a healthier performing arts ecology in Toronto. Under Ravi’s leadership, Why Not Theatre embraces innovation to address systemic challenges to the development of art and sustaining of artists in Toronto.
Ravi was awarded the Ken MacDougal award for Emerging Director and the prestigious Pauline McGibbon Award for emerging director in 2012. Ravi was selected to be on the roster of clowns for Cirque Du Soliel and is also an artist in residence at Soulpepper Theatre Company, and the inaugural artistic director in residence at The Theatre Centre.

86. Alan Dutton of Burnaby, British Columbia was nominated by Jane Shin, MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed:

It would be hard to find a more outstanding political citizen than Burnaby-Lougheed constituent Alan Dutton. His work as the National Director of the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society to advocate for an end to racism in Canada, and his opposition to projects such as the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and the Vancouver port expansion in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver are all examples of his incredible drive to stand up for the betterment of our communities. Alan’s commitment to protecting public participation in our democracy has included founding the Environmental Defense Working Group, a group which advocates against Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (or SLAPPs). He has encouraged many others to become involved in Canadian politics, and I have had the immense privilege of working with Alan on his ongoing efforts to create anti-SLAPP legislation. This advocacy is essential to ensure that British Columbians’ rights to free speech and public assembly are protected from the threat of expensive, frivolous lawsuits. Not only is Alan an outstanding citizen in his own right, he has also worked extraordinarily hard to ensure that other British Columbians have the ability to participate in their democracy, and for this reason I am honoured to nominate him as an Everyday Political Citizen.

87. Patricia Chartier of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kristian Chartier:

You know those things that no one actually does, but that Canadians so proudly define as part of the Canadian identify? Volunteering. Championing human rights. Taking an active role in democracy. Well, Patricia Chartier does all of them and that is why she is my nominee for Everyday Political Citizen.

She is currently sponsoring two families of Syrian refugees working with a third family to teach them English. As if that wasn’t enough, she also acts as a liason connecting other Syrian refugees with potential sponsors in Canada. A former writer for Macleans and now a proud entrepreneur, Patricia has spent decades volunteering with a variety of community and political groups, including the NDP, People for Education, and municipal election campaigns.

In 2014, Patricia published the Awesome Book of Girls. A fantastic read about the contributions women from around the world have made to modern society.

88. Teva Harrison of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Amy Stuart:

Since her diagnosis in late 2013 with metastatic breast cancer, artist and writer Teva Harrison has been using her voice to share her experiences living with cancer and navigating the Canadian healthcare system. In addition to publishing her illustrated memoir In Between Days earlier this year, she has recently partnered with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and ReThink Breast Cancer to raise the issue to a policy level, examining how our political and medical systems can do a better job of funding research and support programs for people living with this incurable disease. I am endlessly inspired by Teva’s hope and optimism, and by the energy she pours into advocating for real and positive change.

89. Yodit Tesfamicael of Edmonton, Alberta was nominated by Kemoh B Mansaray:

Yodit was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta to Eritrean parents who arrived in Canada in the late 1980’s. She developed an interest in community work and culture from her involvement with the multicultural communities here in Edmonton and through her academic studies. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor’s Degree, double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. Throughout her university career, Yodit volunteered with non-profit organizations that served new comer and refugee populations in Edmonton. Yodit takes great interest in community development and in particular minority and ethno-cultural communities. Yodit aspires to make a positive impact for all Canadians using inclusion, understanding, and tolerence throughout her work.

Yodit currently works with the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition as a Project Coordinator and is excited to be working with a great organization that advocates for equitable access and opportunities for ethno-cultural communities. Yodit is also passionate about leadership in her community and along with five other community members, started Deki Eritrea Edmonton which serves to connect young Eritreans in Edmonton.

90. Prince Thorpe of Edmonton, Alberta was nominated by Kemoh B Mansaray:

Community Youth Activist. Prince Thorpe is a leading community youth Activist within the African community in Edmonton, and youth development. In 2007, Mr. Thorpe co-founded Friends like Brothers society with his friends. FLB is an innovative youth development agency located in Edmonton, which trains African youth to address pressing social and community problems.

Mr Thorpe is actively engaged with our community helping and encouraging youths to be politically active. He motivated the youths so much by declaring his intentions to run for Mayorship for the Freetown City Municipality in Sierra Leone, West Africa. His slogan for the 2018 election is “Better is always possible”. He was selected to be one of the electoral commissioners in our recently conducted community election. He builds his political awareness by attending workshops and seminars such as Understanding How City Council Works, Council Initiative on Public Engagement etc.

Mr. Thorpe currently serves on the Board of Directors for the African Cup of Nations which is task to provide sport activities. Additionally, he serves on various Board of Directors that addresses the interconnected challenges of environmental sustainability, educational achievement, and workforce development.

91. Maria Castellucci of North York, Ontario was nominated by Lekan Olawoye: Maria has been living in the York South-Weston (old City of York) all her life. Her passion for community develop is matched by very few. A couple of years ago, she became feed up with local municipal leadership and decided to get involved. Since then, she has been assisting in the planning and leading of local events, mobilizing community to protect local arts expression, co-founding a community alliance group, writing a monthly community newsletter and speaking boldly for her community on critical topics.

What I admire the most about Maria’s leadership is her ability to get things done, it’s easy to become complacent after years of seeing the same things happening locally, but her energy and ability move on initiatives is incredible. Due to her local engagement, others who have been disengaged are beginning to be more active. She is a local hero, and a leader that helps to catalyze change.

93. Nimmi Ramgotra of Winnipeg, Manitoba was nominated by Andrew Smith, MLA for Southdale:

They are a strong and very well respected leader in their Indian Community. They go the extra mile for fundraisers and anything else that aids their community. They take the leading charge on a majority of events in their community. They help new immigrants from India to further become integrated in the community and help generate a sense for them as to what it is to belong and be Canadian.

94. Naomi Sayers of Ottawa, Ontario was nominated by Jesse Helmer, City Councillor:

Naomi Sayers is a 2017 Juris Doctor Candidate at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. Originally from Garden River First Nation, she moved to London, Ontario when she was twenty years old. While in London, Naomi began advocating for sex workers’ right to live and work safely and she founded the South Western Ontario Sex Workers group. This group helped bring the voices of sex workers to the public sphere in the South Western Ontario region.

Naomi tackles tough issues, speaks truth to power, and advocates for her sex working community at national and international levels. She writes at, identifies as a fierce indigenous feminist, and ensures the most vulnerable voices are centered in decisions affecting their lives. As a co-creator of Between The Lines (, a public legal education initiative, she is an everyday political citizen by ensuring her community and other citizens with shared experiences have the tools to fight against systemic oppression and increasing criminalization.

95. Chris Trussell of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Carolyn Bennett, MP for St. Paul’s:

“Chris Trussell has been promoting healthier eating through his organization, AppleTree Markets Group in the Toronto community since 2008. Farmers’ markets and special events help to encourage residents to shop local, and support rural farmers, local producers and artisans. Promoting fresh food movement in a hectic fast-paced city in a fun — family friendly way!

“Chris’s work with both public and private school children on educating our future generations the importance of sustainable food systems, promoting healthier people and a healthier greener planet.”

“In addition to the weekly markets he runs in four locations around the city, Chris regularly arranges movie nights in the park and played a large role in creating the Sharon, Lois and Bram Musical garden in the June Rowlands Park. Chris is always looking for new ways to build up our community, as evidenced by what a familiar face he is to everyone in the neighbourhood. We have all felt the positive impact of Chris’ efforts over the years.

96. Nilofer Noor of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Roberta Bittencourt:

Before coming to Canada, Nilofar had several years of involvement in Pakistan’s non-profit sector. Her work involved extensive field-work advocating for legal and human rights reform for women and children. After immigrating to Canada, Nilofar continued her commitment to civic responsibilities and has voted in every election of all levels of Government. She has pursued her passion for volunteering in various projects for ethnic-minority immigrant/refugee women in Toronto. She was awarded two certificates for her “dedication and tireless effort as a volunteer in the community” by her local Members of Federal and Provincial Parliament. Nilofar is proud she has contributed to several communities across Toronto by teaching basic computer skills to South Asian seniors in Rexdale, helping isolated immigrant women understand healthy eating in the Parkdale, Gerrard, Lansdowne areas, promoting breast cancer and diabetes education in South Riverdale and Bloor/Dufferin, and raising awareness in Spadina/Kensington about violence against women. Recently, Nilofar helped collect stories of the South Asian community’s rich contributions to the Canadian society in Scarborough.

97. Amanda Stratton of London, Ontario was nominated by Jesse Helmer, City Councillor:

Amanda is always pushing herself, her fellow citizens and elected officials to do better and be better. A strong advocate for public transit and effective public engagement in decision-making, she started a social media campaign called LTC Bus People a few years ago to draw attention to the issues facing everyday riders of the transit system in London. Through attending and speaking at public meetings, and working behind the scenes by meeting one-on-one with staff and elected officials at all levels, Amanda has been a driving force in the community for better transit that improves quality of life for the people who rely on it. A past director of the Urban League of London, she is also chair of the transportation advisory committee at City Hall. She manages to do all of this while also being a mom to two kids and managing partner of Hacker Studios, a co-working space in downtown London. Oh, and she’s a full-time student finishing her degree at University of Waterloo.

98. Bianca Wylie of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Meghan Hellstern:

Bianca is a passionate, tireless advocate dedicated to equipping those around her to make change in their communities. Through her work with the Open Data Institute Toronto, her writing for Torontoist, and her organizing of Civic Tech Toronto, civic engagement and education through data and technology are the constant themes of her work.

Most recently she pulled off an incredible hackathon focused on Toronto’s poverty reduction strategy, one of several recent collaborations with the Toronto Public Library. Other events that Bianca has co-organized and supported include the 2014 Bike Share hackathon, the 2015 Accessibility Camp hackathon, and various data literacy workshops. She’s also an active open data advocate at both the federal and provincial levels. It’s my supreme pleasure and honour to nominate Bianca as a true everyday political citizen, someone dedicated to making democracy more accessible at scales both deeply individual as well as system-wide.

99. John Richardson of Vancouver, British Columbia was nominated by Meghan Hellstern:

Whether through his current work as founder and CEO of Ethelo reimagining the future of collaborative decision-making through technology or his past work as founder and Executive Director of Pivot Legal, an organization that works to make access to justice more equitable, John lives and breathes everyday active citizenship. He works not only to improve the lives of those around him through his work but also to tackle challenging public issues as a systemic level. It is my supreme pleasure and privilege to nominate John as an Everyday Political Citizen. One needs only hear the passion in his voice when John speaks about his efforts to harness the power of technology and math to enable more equitable and democratic decision-making through his latest venture Ethelo to understand that John deeply believes in the power of people to enact change together in the world around them.

100. Cindy Ross-Pederson of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Andrew Do:

To be honest, I do not recall how I met Cindy but I know I was destined to run into her. ANy international student who has been at the University of Toronto probably knows her through her epic dinner parties, in which she invites many students to her home to get to know one another.

As a student, you do not realize how critically important a mentor is to help you figure out your life and in that regard, she is incredibly generous. She is also a role model for women in tech, entrepreneurship, having cut her teeth running multi-million dollar software companies during the dawn of the internet — at a time when the technology industry was infamous for its hostile treatment of women. She retired at the young age of 49 and ever since, she has been dedicated to “strategic volunteering,” using her skills as a C-suite executive to add value.

She sits on the board of the Canada Chapter for Amnesty International and has most recently served a term as the Chair of the University of Toronto’s Alumni Association. More recently, she has been involved in her more entrepreneurial adventures of integrating a social innovation curriculum at the University of Toronto, which she has dubbed as the Agency.

For her countless hours of strategic volunteering, and hosting dinner parties to build community amongst students who would have otherwise not met, she is an Everyday Political Citizen.

101. Dave Sora of Pickering, Ontario was nominated by Andrew Do:

I met Dave when he actually hired me to be an intern at the City of Toronto. Little did I know that I would be privileged to be mentored by one of the most fiercely dedicated people to civic life. Others describe him as an “the crazy ideas guy” and if you converse with him, you would likely agree with that assessment. It’s why he currently advises pro bono to the School for Social Entrepreneurs, always offering his crazy ideas, thoughtful advice and networks.

In addition to that, he is incredibly passionate about helping people living with disabilities on their own terms. He has been coaching soccer for years for youth living with disabilities out in Pickering. He also volunteers extensively with the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. He has a natural ease with youth, which is why I am not surprised that he was rewarded with a Vital Youth Award in his previous work leading the Malvern Family Resource Centre’s programs. He’s clearly well liked by many who have encountered him as he embodies a generosity of spirit and missionary zeal, even though he insists on being all mysterious.

He is a cryptic person, who only describes himself as a “policy ninja” and would not disclose many details of his mysterious life. No matter, I will expose him. I know he would not believe that his nemesis would nominate him to be an Everyday Political Citizen but I give credit where it is due. Dave is an Everyday Political Citizen.

102. James Chan of Ottawa, Ontario was nominated by Andrew Do:

I met James Chan through my time at Studio [Y]. He is now currently in Ottawa leading programming at the Impact Hub. For as long as I have known him, I know he believes strongly in the power of social innovation, cross-sector collaboration, and civic entrepreneurship to create a brighter, more optimistic future.

It is no surprise since he was heavily involved with the Emerging Leaders Network and sat on the board of Parks People when he was in Toronto. Now he is in Ottawa helping to bring the worlds off government and social innovation together with a systems-level approach to social change. I cannot think of a person more apt to drive civic innovation in Ottawa than James Chan as when you meet him, you instinctively trust him due to his disarming genuineness. He is always eager to share resources and networks with you. Anyone I know who is at the Impact Hub would agree and that he is a critical component to what enables the ethos of the Impact Hub.

He is about community and you will not find him speaking ill of anyone, even as he may disagree with them. He is a model of civility and kindness in political engagement and it is for this that I think he deserves to be an Everyday Political Citizen.

103. Julie Cafley of Ottawa, Ontario was nominated by Ed Greenspon:

Julie is a natural-born activist, full of passion and determined to push her causes over the top. She’s on the board of Parkinson Canada and has personally raised $70k. She is involved in support services for homeless people. And she’s active in promoting women in leadership positions by mentoring, naming and shaming, organizing a woman’s leadership series at U of O and continually nominating women for external awards and recognition. She’s all about inclusion in diverse ways.

104. Betty Finley of Brantford, Ontario was nominated by Cheryl Antoski, City Councillor:

Betty has given much to the City of Brantford, but mostly in her efforts to help children rise above the day-to-day adversities that these at risk youth face. She has created programs to make sure that kids get to school to get their education despite, and sometimes in spite of, what is going on at home. She has created Christmas programs to make sure that every child can dream of having something under the tree (this is a huge help and relief to the parents too, who now have one less thing to worry about). Thereby being able to focus on being together, being grateful, and being the best you can be. She has changed many lives!

105. Kate Graham of London, Ontario was nominated by Jane Hilderman:

Kate is the genius behind The Mayors’ Project — which makes her an Everyday Political Citizen as she works to highlight how valuable and important local government is to the success of Canada. She saw a problem — the fact that, in her words, “local government has been the forgotten sibling in Canadian politics, overshadowed by the study of federal and provincial governments.” She then decided to do something about it. While working for the City of London, Kate undertook her PhD with a focus on Canada’s mayoral offices. But in true EPC fashion, Kate has also gone to amazing lengths to make her research accessible to Canadians and invite their participation. All through the month of May and June 2016, Kate updated her project’s blog about her travels to 10 Canadian cities to study the Office of Mayor. Kate is also active in the community of London, and chairs the board of the fantastic Pillar Nonprofit Network.

106. Sharon Gabison, Bruce McIntosh and Laura Kirby-McIntosh of Ontario Autism Coalition were nominated by Brad Bouffdard:

Firstly I would like to mention Sharon Gabison. She along with two other individuals are main people running the Ontario autism coalition. They tirelessly work without pay advocating for the betterment of service for children and adults with autism. Sharon has tirelessly compiling the records of people that have been short changed of service or have been denied service when it should have been provided. This is not a paid position she does it ,to bring to light the disregard Regional Service Providers have for children and adults and their families.
Secondly I would like to mention Bruce Mcintosh and his wife Laura Kirby McIntosh. They are the two most selfless people that I’ve ever met my life who are advocating for children and adults with autism. Bruce and Laura had organized and brought together this group of parents that have been denied service delayed service. They have organized a group to a cohesive effort opening dialogue with the premiere of Ontario and her cabinet.

They spend countless hours organizing rallies media events , and organizing meetings with the provincial government to affect change in policy. Which recently took place in May of this year with the demonstrations.
I decided to nominate them this way because I don’t have all of their contact information such as Facebook pictures and such. Their information can be gotten off the Ontario Autism Collation website.

I have only known him for very short time. They put so much effort into such a great cause making sure that children with autism and adults with autism are able to get services they need.

107. Bradley Wentworth of Toronto, was nominated by Jane Hilderman:

In much of his spare time, Bradley is found at BikeSauce — a volunteer-run DIY repair shop that also builds a community of cyclists in Toronto. Bike Sauce is where you go to learn how to fix your bike and take advantage of shared tools — but it’s so much more than that, too. BikeSauce is a highly inclusive and empowering space for people, which is a profoundly political thing at a moment when the dominant bike culture does not always feel so welcoming. Bradley exemplifies this spirit as a bike educator and enthusiast as well as community builder. It’s thanks to his leadership, I’ve seen the vision of a friendlier, sustainable future for biking — not only in Toronto but anywhere and everywhere!

108. Jeff Papineau of Edmonton, Alberta was nominated by Mayja Embleton:

Community leaders catalyze people by educating, organizing and inspiring other people. My nomination for Everyday Political Citizen, Jeff Papineau, does all of these things, abundantly.

Jeff is a natural leader. He presided over the Allendale Community League Executive for four years, and in that time he created an Oktoberfest celebration which even now, 6 years later, brings the community together for a great evening of socializing and which features the many community assets (sausages from the neighborhood butcher, pretzels and beer from local producers).

But it’s not all fun and games. Allendale is a mature neighbourhood situated in the middle of a number of significant redevelopment projects- and Jeff is instrumental in all of them. The collector road that bi-sects the community is currently the subject of a re-design that includes the creation of a cycle track, and many traffic calming elements. Jeff sits on a committee to ensure that the public engagement process around this project is carried out in a fair and equitable manner.

He is also the community representative on another road re-design which is attempting to make a busy arterial road into a more pedestrian friendly environment. And he assists a grassroots group that is trying to ensure that a replacement community pool and fitness facility will be built, (when the one that is near the end of its lifespan finally has to close).

Jeff leads by example- he is committed to making his community a better place. He spends countless hours in meetings, organizing, and talking to people about what would make the community more livable, viable and sustainable. And he does it without sacrificing humour (he was the Special Envoy to the International Association of Underwater Board Gamers’ review panel regarding eligibility for deep water Uno), and with remarkable self-effacement.


Samara Canada

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We’re a non-partisan charity dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics. Research & articles shine a light on how our democracy works & is working. #cdnpoli

Samara Canada

Written by

We’re a non-partisan charity dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics. Research & articles shine a light on how our democracy works & is working. #cdnpoli

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