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Advisory board

The Advisory Board will provide advice to The Leaders’ Debates Commission on how to carry out our mandate.



Biographical notes

Chad Gaffield

Chad Gaffield is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Ottawa (Canada) where he holds the University Research Chair in Digital Scholarship. His publications include studies of socio-demographic change during the 19th and 20th centuries, childhood and family history during the initial decades of mass schooling, and the emergence and development of Canada’s official language communities. In this work, he explores how digitally-enabled approaches enhance research, teaching and knowledge mobilization. Dr. Gaffield’s awards include the Royal Society of Canada’s (RSC) J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal and the Antonio Zampolli Prize given by the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations. Dr. Gaffield has served as President of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences (1996-1998); as President of the Canadian Historical Association (2000-1); as President and CEO of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2006-2013); and is currently the President of the Royal Society of Canada (2017-2019). Dr. Gaffield was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017.

Deborah Grey

Deborah Grey grew up in Vancouver, BC.  She moved to Alberta as a young woman and was a high school English teacher before her election to the House of Commons as the Reform Party’s first Member of Parliament in 1989.  She served in Ottawa for over 15 years with the Reform Party/Canadian Alliance/ Conservative Party of Canada.  In 2000, she was Canada’s first-ever female Leader of the Opposition.  She left public office in 2004.  Some years later, Deborah was appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee.  She is a member of the Privy Council, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and enjoys acting as Presiding Officer, swearing in new Canadian citizens.  Deborah spends some of her time traveling as a professional speaker.   She is semi-retired on Vancouver Island, and she and her husband, Lewis, continue to enjoy riding their Honda Valkyrie motorcycles. 

Craig Kielburger

Craig’s incredible journey started in his parents’ living room. From visiting the most poverty-stricken and war-torn parts of the world to sitting on Oprah’s couch to building a global organization, Craig has helped change millions of lives and inspired millions of others to make a difference.

Over the past two decades, he and his brother, Marc—fellow WE co-founder—have grown the WE global community to engage over 4 million people in service, including 250,000 students who volunteer to earn their ticket to WE Day, the greatest celebration for social good in the world.

Their innovative social enterprise model, ME to WE, sustains the work of their charitable mission with socially conscious products and experiences. Their work has resulted in a holistic development model, WE Villages, to empower more than one million people in developing communities.

Craig is also the youngest-ever graduate of Kellogg’s Executive MBA program and has received 16 honorary doctorates and degrees for his work in education and human rights. He is a social entrepreneur, a powerful and internationally acclaimed speaker, and has authored 12 books, including his newest, WEconomy: You can find meaning, make a living, and change the world.

Today, he continues to inspire and empower people of all ages to take steps toward making a meaningful difference.

Jean LaRose

Jean La Rose is a First Nations citizen from the Abenakis First Nation of Odanak in Québec. He was raised in Ottawa where he studied Journalism at Algonquin College and obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Social Communication at the University of Ottawa/Université Saint-Paul.

Since November 2002 Jean La Rose has been the Chief Executive Officer of APTN. Since joining the network he has established it on a strong financial position for long-term growth. Mr. La Rose moved the network to a full high-definition platform, and now employs more than 150 people nationwide and provides production opportunities for over 100 Indigenous producers in Canada. He established APTN service in eastern, western and northern communities, became a founding member of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (WITBN), and as partner of 2010 Olympics led the first ever broadcast in eight different Indigenous languages, 14 hours per day.

Preparing APTN for future growth, he has developed the organization into an IP-based, multi-platform broadcaster. He has also overseen the purchase of the buildings APTN occupies in Winnipeg and the renovation of one to house the new state-of-the-art news studio. Moreover, two regional studios have been established as well as home offices for video journalists to broaden the network’s news reporting capabilities across the country.

Mr. La Rose sits on the Boards of Directors of Indspire, the National Screen Institute, Media Smarts, Mother Earth Recycling (a social enterprise located in Winnipeg). He was awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement Award (now known as Indspire Awards) for Media and Communications in 2011, and the CEO HR Champion of the Year Award from the Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba in 2015. He was also named “2016 Alumnus of the Year” by Saint-Paul University and received an Honorary Diploma in Journalism from “La Cité Collégiale” in Ottawa in 2015.

Megan Leslie

Megan began as head of World Wildlife Fund Canada in December of 2017 after nearly two years at the organization, first as a consultant on oceans governance, then as head of ocean conservation.  

 Before joining WWF, Megan was a Member of Parliament, representing Halifax for two terms, during which she was deputy leader of the official Opposition, environment critic and vice-chair of the government committee on environment and sustainable development.

In Ottawa, Megan introduced a motion and guided its unanimous passage to add plastic microbeads to the list of toxic substances under the Environmental Protection Act.  She also worked across party lines to successfully expedite the passage of a bill to create Sable Island National Park Reserve. 

 Megan was raised in Kirkland Lake, Ont., where in high school she helped organize against toxic waste coming to her hometown, with placards reading “No, no. We won’t glow.” 

 After university and before entering politics, she was a community legal worker and presented at the 2005 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Montreal on the issue of energy poverty. 

John Manley

Mr. Manley is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. He was first elected to Parliament in 1988, and re-elected three times. From 1993 to 2003 he was a Minister in the governments of Jean Chrétien, serving in the portfolios of Industry, Foreign Affairs and Finance, in addition to being Deputy Prime Minister.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Mr. Manley was named Chair of a Cabinet Committee on Public Security and Anti-terrorism, serving as counterpart to Governor Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. In recognition of the role he played following 9/11, TIME Canada named him “2001 Newsmaker of the Year”. 

After a 16-year career in politics, Mr. Manley returned to the private sector in 2004.

Since leaving government, Mr. Manley has continued to be active in public policy, as a media commentator, speaker and adviser to governments of differing political stripes.

From 2010 to 2018, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of Canada. In addition Mr. Manley serves on the boards of several publicly traded companies and is active in the not-for-profit sector. He is Chair of CIBC, CIBC Bank USA and CAE.

An Officer of the Order of Canada, Mr. Manley has received honorary doctorates from Carleton University, the Universities of Ottawa, Toronto, Western Ontario, Windsor and York University.

Louise Otis

Louise Otis is an active judge, arbitrator and mediator in administrative and commercial matters. She is also Adjunct Professor at McGill University, Faculty of Law (McGill) and a Distinguished Fellow at the International Academy of Mediators (IAM), which sets the standards and qualifications of professional mediators in commercial disputes.

She is the President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), and Deputy Judge of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites Administrative Tribunal (EUMETSAT).

Louise Otis regularly participates in international governance and justice reform missions. At the international level, she has been involved in the reform of justice systems in different countries and international organizations.

Madame Otis worked as a lawyer between 1975 and 1990. In 1990, she was appointed a Judge to the Quebec Superior Court. Between 1993 and 2009, she was appointed a Judge at the Quebec Court of Appeal. The Quebec Court of Appeal has general appellate jurisdiction over all courts in Quebec and also performs judicial review in relation to all administrative tribunals. It is one of the two largest appellate courts in Canada, and hears matters governed both by civil land common law principles. Ms. Otis participated in over 3000 judgments in civil, commercial, administrative and criminal law.

Louise Otis instituted one of the world’s first programs of integrated judicial mediation. In Quebec, all the courts and tribunals have since developed a judicial mediation program, integrated into the traditional justice system. Since 2004, at her instigation, a program of facilitation in criminal matters has also been launched in Quebec.

In 2009, Louise Otis founded the Canadian Conference for Judicial Mediation (CCMJ). In 2010, she co-founded the International Conference on Mediation for Justice (ICMJ). Since 1997, Louise Otis has conducted over 700 mediation sessions in civil and commercial matters and since 2009, she has presided over 50 arbitrations also in civil and commercial matters.

In 2017, Louise Otis was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in recognition   of her extraordinary contribution in the field of Justice.

In 2007, Louise Otis was appointed by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to a 5-member panel of independent international experts, in charge of redesigning the United Nations system of administration of justice. In 2008, the recommendations of the experts were approved by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

She has been mandated by the Government of Canada to establish strategic priorities for the development of the Rule of Law in Mali. She participated in linkage projects with China, Russia and Haiti.

She has created and facilitated intensive training courses in different countries. These courses focus on developing skills in dispute resolution, mediation, communication, especially how to overcome impasses in difficult and complex conflicts.

Louise Otis has spoken on Dispute Resolution Mechanisms at: the Council of Europe, the Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the International Academy of Mediators, the American Bar Association, Section of Dispute Resolution, the Masters’ Forum of Mediators at Pepperdine University, the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, the European Conference of Judges, the Brazilian Judicial institutions and various other national courts and tribunals.

Date modified: July 15, 2019