Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

November 03, 2009 11:49 ET

Face to Face With Canada's Best at Rideau Hall: 25 Members of the Order of Canada Meet With 25 Young Canadians

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 3, 2009) - The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, is pleased to announce the official launching of the second edition of the Order of Canada Mentorship Program, on November 5, 2009, at Rideau Hall. She will host an event to introduce 25 young participants to their respective mentors. Together, they will take part in a round-table discussion on important current issues. This discussion will be open to the media.

Following this initial meeting in Ottawa, mentoring will take place online and by e-mail, depending on the dynamic that emerges and the rhythm that is best suited to each pair, while maintaining the spirit of reciprocity and exchange. The mentors and young participants will also be invited to submit blogs and take part in discussion forums at

For one year, this program pairs 25 youth from across Canada with 25 members of the Order of Canada who share the same passions and interests. The members of the Order of Canada are illustrious Canadians who, because of their impressive career paths, have a great deal to offer to young adults who are looking for inspiration and guidance. For more information about the Order of Canada Mentorship Program, please visit The list of participants and a short biography are attached.

Media interested in covering the round-table discussion, held in the Tent room on November 5, 2009, at Rideau Hall, are asked to contact the Rideau Hall Press Office and must arrive at 1:30 p.m. Media interested in following the pairs over the next months are also welcomed to contact the Rideau Hall Press Office.

A list of all participants of 2009 Order of Canada Mentorship Program is available at this address:



David Berkal, Age: 21

Toronto, Ontario

David Berkal is the founder and executive director of Operation Groundswell, which raises funds for projects in Africa, Cambodia and the West Bank. His interest in fostering cross-cultural understanding in Canada led him to found an organization that runs exchanges for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth across the country.

Shire Brandi, Age: 21

Mississauga, Ontario

His experience fleeing the civil war in Somalia and coming to Canada as a refugee has helped to shape Shire Brandi's passion for social activism. He helped to found Youth in Power, a group dedicated to breaking down stereotypes about social housing communities, as well an organization that focuses on clean water initiatives both at home and abroad.

Salina Dharamsi, Age: 18

Vancouver, British Columbia

Though only 18 years old, Salina Dharamsi has organized various events to assist young people, both in her community and internationally. She has contributed her time and talent to numerous causes, and her passion and dedication have been recognized with numerous awards.

Pierre-Andre Doucet, Age: 21

Moncton, New Brunswick

Pierre-Andre Doucet is proud of his Acadian roots and addresses the challenges associated with maintaining the French language and promoting Francophone culture in Canada with great enthusiasm. He is involved with youth organizations that focus on developing minority Francophone communities, as well as theatre and music.

Megan Drodge, Age: 19

Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador

Megan Drodge's commitment and motivation are evident through her community work. Highly involved with the Scouts/Girl Guides movements, Megan strives to promote the exchange of ideas among youth and to increase the progress of social change in Mount Pearl.

Laura Marie Drudi, Age: 21

Montreal, Quebec

Laura Drudi is following her dream of becoming an astronaut as a mission specialist medical officer. She is passionate about understanding human-environment interactions and continues to feed her thirst for knowledge as a medical student and as a researcher in preventative medicine.

Suzanne Dunn, Age: 25

Whitehorse, Yukon

A proud northerner, Suzanne Dunn is an artist, activist and community organizer who is interested in helping young people in the North to develop into strong leaders, as well as in bringing women together to express important issues through the arts.

Youssef El-Khoury, Age: 24

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Youssef El-Khoury is a storyteller and social change agent who uses his talent to share his experiences through cinema. He has worked on many short films and documentaries and shares his passion with others as a peer mentor and volunteer.

Marie Greig, Age: 25

Whitby, Ontario

Marie Greig has been active in her community since she was 11 years old. Her varied, long-term involvement includes diverse leadership roles with the community service organization Junior Civitan, both in Canada and internationally. She hopes one day to serve as that organization's international president.

Kanika Gupta, Age: 23

Ottawa Ontario

Kanika Gupta has a strong desire to help bring about social change. As the founder of Nukoko, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping youth lead local development initiatives, she is overseeing a project that is helps 500 girls in West African villages get an education.

Kyra-Lynn Kaminawaish, Age: 19

Weagamow Lake, Ontario

Kyra-Lynn Kaminawaish is determined to help improve the quality of life for youth in remote northern communities. Currently working in community development with the North Caribou Lake First Nation, she has volunteered in a number of roles in different Native communities and hopes to foster economic development by founding a retail chain.

Ashley Lam, Age: 24

Winnipeg, Manitoba

A pharmacist currently working towards her law degree, Ashley Lam has a long history of service in her community, notably as vice-chair of the United Way of Winnipeg's youth relations council. She hopes, eventually, to use her professional credentials to help shape health policy in her province.

Emmanuel-Ricardo Lamour-Blaise, Age: 25

Laval, Quebec

A composer-songwriter-performer of urban music, Ricardo Lamour tries to touch people with songs that speak to them and encourage them to push themselves further. He has also celebrated and helped people to discover the cultural wealth of popular Montreal neighbourhoods through song.

David Leung, Age: 22

Vancouver, British Columbia

David Leung is a medical student who initiated an annual fundraiser that brings together undergraduate students and healthcare professionals. He is in the process of launching a program that will provide piano lessons to inner-city children as well as a social enterprise that will benefit the BC Children's Hospital.

Joanna MacDonald, Age: 20

Stratford, Ontario

Joanna McDonald is an environmental science student with an interest in climate change and its impact on Inuit communities. She has been a member of numerous organizations relating to the environment, human rights and student activism.

Victoria Mason, Age: 19

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Victoria Mason plays a multitude of instruments and combines her love of music with her aptitude for engineering science. She has volunteered with large groups of children and seniors of her community, offering them cultural and educational activities.

Candice McBeath, Age: 21

North Bay, Ontario

Candice McBeath has a long history of volunteering her time in support of projects for the developing world. Notably, she co-founded a grassroots, non-profit organization that works with communities in West Africa to support women's cooperatives, provide clean drinking water and promote sustainable development.

Jennifer McCumber, Age: 25

Riverview, New Brunswick

Jennifer McCumber is passionate about working with individuals who have a physical or intellectual disability and improving, one step at a time, their access to essential services. Through her volunteer work, she organizes respite programs and promotes social justice within her community.

Celine Philippe, Age: 25

Ottawa, Ontario

Celine Philippe has great passion for theatre, culture and her community, Vanier. She has strong ties to her Francophone roots and she helps promote the French language in Canada through her studies and volunteer work.

Rehana Rajabali, Age: 24

Calgary, Alberta

Rehana Rajabali is an engineer who has a passion for the arts. She has taught dance to young people whose families have recently immigrated to Canada and is a poet and writer who has lent her skills in support of charitable events.

Stephen Reid, Age: 24

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Stephen Reid is an inquisitive and energetic Islander with a broad range of interests, from music and the promotion of the performing arts to future studies in medicine. A professional musician, Stephen helps put the spotlight on others through his leadership as a board member of the PEI Jazz and Blues Festival.

Jerome Turcotte Routhier, Age: 22

Quebec, Quebec

Jerome Turcotte Routhier is an excellent basketball player and has used his love of sports to promote the benefits of physical activity to young people. A law student, he tries to be a positive influence to the young people in his neighbourhood in terms of life choices and social involvement.

Kyle Warkentin, Age: 19

Ingramport, Nova Scotia

An air cadet who owns an aerial photography business, Kyle Warkentin has always aspired to become a pilot. He has a passion for volunteering abroad and cares deeply about the health issues of our time, namely HIV/AIDS. He hopes to someday practice medicine.

Zabrina Whitman, Age: 21

Ottawa, Ontario

Zabrina Whitman carries with her the richness of her Mi'kmaq heritage and a strong desire to show the youth of her community that the sky's the limit. She believes that, through capacity building, First Nations people can work together towards the development and success of their communities.

Aviva Zimmerman, Age: 25

Calgary, Alberta

Aviva Zimmerman is a theatre artist who views the arts as an important tool for social justice. She teaches drama to members of the homeless community at a shelter and has also taught high-risk and ESL students at a family shelter. She is also involved in "guerrilla theatre," which features surprise performances that highlight social issues.


Wilton Littlechild, C.M., Q.C., LL.B.

Hobbema, Alberta

He is an accomplished lawyer whose many achievements serve as an inspiration to people of all ages. He has worked to build bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people through athletics, politics and law. He is the creator of the North American Indigenous Games which build self-esteem and bring together First Nations youth from across the continent. A source of pride to his people, he also brought Native issues to public attention while serving as one of the first Indigenous Members of Parliament.

Alex Neve, O.C., LL.M.

Ottawa, Ontario

A lawyer who now heads Amnesty International Canada's English branch, Alex Neve is at the vanguard of the drive for a safe and just world. Admired for his ethics and commitment, he has helped bring positive change to law and policy at home and abroad. In the 1990s, he helped persuade the Tanzanian government to end the deportation of Burundian refugees, many of whom were being killed on their return. He has fought for the rights of Native peoples internationally and, in Canada, has shone a light on violence against Native women. As well, he has drawn critical attention to individual human rights cases such as that of Maher Arar, helping to precipitate government action.

Gerald K. Helleiner, O.C., Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S.C.

Toronto, Ontario

Gerald Helleiner has enhanced our country's reputation as a caring and compassionate nation. An eminent development economist, he has worked in Canada and Africa to promote the interests of developing countries. Well known for his scholarly writings on trade, finance and development, he has shared his expertise with numerous international bodies and non-governmental organizations, as well as with foreign governments. He has also lent his leadership to the International Development Research Centre and to the North-South Institute. Professor Emeritus of Economics and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, he has been a role model for many young economists.

Antonine Maillet, C.P., C.C., O.Q., L., LL.D., F.R.S.C.

Montreal , Quebec

Acadian writer nationally and internationally renowned for the character of La Sagouine, a creation that is at once universal and typically Acadian. Her novel Pelagie-la-Charette earned her the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1979, the first time this award was bestowed on a non- European author.

Kathy LeGrow, C.M., B.A.

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Community service is the driving force behind Kathleen LeGrow's voluntarism. With determined and principled leadership, she actively participated in the reform of various public services in Newfoundland and Labrador. Deeply committed to education, she has served on numerous local, provincial and national boards, and was chair of the first nondenominational school board in St. John's. In addition to her responsibilities as president of a family-owned business, she served on the Premier's Council on Social Development, the Primary Health Care Advisory Council and co-founded a soup kitchen and outreach centre in her community.

Thomas Brzustowski, O.C., Ph.D., D.Sc., F.R.S.C., P.Eng.

Ottawa, Ontario

Throughout his multi-faceted career, he has made unique and lasting contributions to post-secondary education, science and technology. Professor of mechanical engineering and a renowned researcher, he served in several senior administrative positions during his 25 years at the University of Waterloo. Joining the Ontario government in 1987, he served first as deputy minister of Colleges and Universities and later on the Premier's Council. He has also served as president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He is currently Professor at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.

Sophie Leung, C.M., M.S.W.

Vancouver, British Columbia

A social worker by profession, she has distinguished herself as a family counsellor, writer and lecturer, and consultant in Asian culture, art and business. Her research on the impact of adolescent learning disabilities on their behavioural problems, and on the cross-cultural differences in patterns of child abuse, has effected positive changes in therapeutic approaches in both China and North America.

His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, C.C.

Ottawa, Ontario

A filmmaker and writer, he brings to Rideau Hall, alongside his spouse, his extensive experience in cultural activities and his profound belief that the development of creativity and the arts is part of a social cohesion and identity project that is vital for Canada's future.

The Honourable Edward Roberts, C.M., O.N.L., M.A., LL.D., Q.C.

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Edward Roberts oversaw the establishment of the medicare scheme in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the creation of a new hospital in St. John's and a faculty of medicine at Memorial University. He also served with distinction as lieutenant governor and has been widely lauded for his support of veterans, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Dennice Leahey, C.M., B.A.

Pugwash, Nova Scotia

Leading by example, Dennice Leahey has shown how corporate leaders can positively impact the voluntary sector. Former senior vice-president and ombudsman of RBC Financial Group, she has lent her expertise, energy and enthusiasm to organizations such as Mount Saint Vincent University, the North Cumberland Hospital, Manitoba A.L.I.V.E. and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. Highly respected for her integrity and determination, she has mentored women in the banking industry as well as young volunteers and has actively promoted business and civic endeavours in Aboriginal communities.

George Zukerman, O.C., O.B.C., B.A.

Surrey, British Columbia

An ardent promoter of Canadian arts, this world-celebrated bassoonist founded Overture Concerts in the 1950s to bring classical music to new audiences in Western Canada. Since that time, he has introduced Canadians in more remote regions to noted foreign performers, as well as to hundreds of our own gifted artists from across the nation.

The Honourable Monique Begin, P.C., O.C., Ph.D., D.Sc., F.R.S.C.

Ottawa, Ontario

Professor Emeritus at the University of Ottawa, she has influenced developments in the applied social sciences across the country, especially in the fields of health and education. As a teacher, federal minister, and university professor and administrator, she has always been concerned with the rights of those less fortunate, especially women, senior citizens, Aboriginal people and children. Two of her initiatives, the Canada Health Act and the Child Tax Credit, will endure as models of progressive policies for the welfare of Canadians.

Gisele Lalonde, C.M., O.Ont., D.h.c.

Ottawa, Ontario

Gisele Lalonde has spent her life championing and promoting Francophone society in Ontario. As president of the Association francaise des conseils scolaires, she worked to establish school governance by and for Francophones. Twice elected mayor of the City of Vanier, she also founded the Association francaise des municipalites de l'Ontario and served as its first president. More recently, this woman of deep conviction turned her efforts to saving the Montfort Hospital, the province's only Francophone teaching hospital. The hospital's survival represents a historic victory for Francophone communities across the country.

Michael Clague, C.M., M.Ed.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Compassionate, innovative and committed, Michael Clague has been tireless in his efforts to improve the lives of society's most disadvantaged members. For decades, he worked in community development at the local, provincial and national levels. He is perhaps best known as the driving force behind Vancouver's Britannia Community Service Centre, and as the creative, resourceful former head of the Carnegie Community Centre, in the troubled Downtown Eastside. Bringing diverse interests together, particularly through arts programming, he supported the efforts of residents to strengthen their sense of community and possibility.

Lawrence Mysak, C.M., Ph.D., F.R.S.C.

Montreal West, Quebec

In pioneering work as a climatologist, mathematician and oceanographer, he has developed new scientific strategies for improved fisheries management, offshore development and navigation. Through his research, our understanding of the complex issues surrounding global warming, and environmental and climatic change has been enhanced. A gifted team builder, he is the Founding Director of the Centre for Climate and Global Change Research at McGill and he served as President of the Royal Society of Canada's Academy of Science.

Margaret A. Armour, C.M., Ph.D., F.C.I.C.

Edmonton, Alberta

Margaret-Ann Armour is untiring in her quest to encourage young Canadian women to pursue careers in science and engineering. Associate dean of Science (Diversity) at the University of Alberta, she is internationally recognized as an expert on bio-safety and the disposal of hazardous waste. A gifted communicator, she has given scores of talks in schools across the country, imparting to her audiences her enthusiasm and passion for her vocation. Her achievements as a teacher, scholar and founding member of WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology) are igniting a new interest in the world of science and sculpting the next generation of budding scientists.

Chris Harris, C.M., O.Ont.

Ottawa, Ontario

For more than 40 years, Christopher Harris has advocated for the equitable treatment of visible minorities. A founding member of the Jamaican Ottawa Community Association, the Community Police Action Committee, and the Ottawa-Carleton Immigrant Services Organization, he has assisted a myriad of social agencies in becoming more reflective of the communities they serve and protect. As a volunteer, he works in collaboration with the Ottawa Police Service and the RCMP to promote compassion, understanding and mutual respect between police and visible minorities.

Joanne MacDonald, O.C., O.N.L.

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

A powerful role model, Joanne MacDonald has spent decades fighting to improve accessibility for disabled persons and to making Canada more inclusive. After achieving outstanding success as an elite wheelchair athlete, she became an outspoken advocate for people with disabilities, helping to empower her peers by challenging stereotypes and promoting equality. As a member of various organizations at the provincial and national levels, she has been a key contributor to the development of the independent living movement.

Suzanne Pinel, C.M., B.Sc.N.

Gloucester, Ontario

One of the great ambassadors of French-Canadian culture, this Franco-Ontarian teacher has helped promote bilingualism among both the younger and older members of the two language groups. Her success in hosting the television show "Marie-Soleil" and the support she gives to many community and national activities are evidence of her contribution to the education of people of all ages.

George Elliott Clarke, O.C., O.N.S., Ph.D., LL.D.

Toronto, Ontario

A writer of courage and conviction, George Elliott Clarke has reclaimed the voices of his ancestors and introduced their stories into contemporary Canadian literature. As a poet, novelist and scholar, he relates the cultural and historical experiences of African-Nova Scotians with provocative, lyrical and rich language. Also a professor at the University of Toronto, he has been instrumental in establishing African-Canadian literature as a field of study. His profound connection to Nova Scotia extends to his volunteer work with local schools, where he is influencing and mentoring the next generation of writers.

Raymond LeBlanc, C.M., M.D., F.R.C.S.C.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Raymond LeBlanc is highly respected for his innovative approaches to eye care. A professor and former head of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Dalhousie University, he developed the department's international reputation for academic excellence and was instrumental in the creation of a clinical eye care centre for the Maritimes. He also played a leading role in the development of an integrated and comprehensive eye care program for Nova Scotia. Moreover, his voluntarism has benefited organizations such as the Canadian Glaucoma Society and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Bernard Voyer, O.C., C.Q., Ph.D., F.R.G.S.(C).

Montreal, Quebec

In his opinion, people grow by challenging themselves. This explorer and mountaineer has some extraordinary achievements to his credit, including the world first of skiing across Ellesmere Island. He is also one of the few people to have accomplished the feat of reaching both the North and South Poles and the top of the world, Mount Everest. He contributes to the exploration and promotion of Canadian geography, and uses his expeditions to foster scientific research and the development of new products. A much sought-after speaker in Canada and abroad, he is also involved with youth, notably through the Young Canadians Challenge.

Mark Wainberg, O.C., O.Q., Ph.D.

Montreal, Quebec

An internationally renowned scientist in the field of HIV/AIDS, he has made major contributions to the study and treatment of the infection. He was the first to identify the anti-HIV properties of the drug 3TC that is used in the treatment of AIDS and among the first to recognize the concept of HIV drug resistance. Scientific Director at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital, he is also Professor and Director of the McGill AIDS Centre. Former President of the International AIDS Society, he was instrumental in the founding of the Canadian Association for HIV Research.

Mick Mallon, C.M.

Iqaluit, Nunavut

Mick Mallon has played a pivotal role in preserving and revitalizing the Inuktitut language. As a respected teacher and linguist, he has created various learning materials that are widely used to facilitate the teaching of one of the world's most challenging languages to students of all levels and abilities. He has also been devoted to making Inuktitut a living language by advocating its use in the home, where it can be naturally transmitted from generation to generation. Over the last four decades, Inuit and non-Inuit people alike have benefited from his commitment to safeguarding the culture and traditions of the people of Canada's North.

Thomas Peacocke, C.M., M.F.A.

Edmonton, Alberta

A professional actor and director who has played numerous roles on stage, in film and on television, he is also a drama professor at the University of Alberta who has influenced the careers of countless students over the past three decades. He has contributed immensely to the development of Canadian theatre talent in young actors and playwrights and has also supported the wider arts community of Edmonton.

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