The first session of seminars took place weekly on Friday afternoon from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The first hour featured Guest Lecturers who are former elected officials. They shared their insights and experiences, successes and failures and lessons learned. The lecturers were mostly former public officials, but also included campaign professionals and engaged academics.
The last hour featured campaign professionals, academics and journalists who support, observe and critique those in elected public office.
March 1: Ujjal Dosanjh and Mike Wilson
Ujjal Dosanjh served as a Liberal Party of Canada Member of Parliament from 2004 to 2011. Prior to being involved in federal politics, he spent ten years in provincial politics. He was elected in the VancouverKensington riding in 1991 as a member of the BC NDP and re-elected there in 1996. He also served as the Attorney General of British Columbia from 1995 to 2000. When the leader of his party resigned in 1999, Dosanjh put himself forward as a candidate and won the leadership vote. With the win he became Canada’s first IndoCanadian provincial leader. He served as the 33rd Premier of British Columbia until June 2001.
Mike Wilson is a communications and political strategist, Principal at Dampier Consulting and CEO of In Language Advertising. He has played leading roles in numerous political campaigns including the 2008 Obama campaign, the Vision Vancouver municipal race and David McGuinty’s Ontario Liberal election. Mike played a role in Christy Clark’s leadership bid and then moved in to the BC government where he managed polling and advertising. His recent work includes Bruce Hayne for Mayor of Surrey and the NO PR referendum.
March 15 2019: Suzanne Anton and Kareem Allam Suzanne served as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of British Columbia representing the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview. Following her service in elected office Suzanne played a major role in the “no” side opposing electoral reform. Prior to entering provincial politics, Suzanne served on Vancouver City Council and the Vancouver Park board. She has served as a crown council lawyer and as a mathematics teacher overseas. Kareem is a public affairs director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, one of Canada’s largest public affairs firm. With more than a decade of private and public sector experience in public affairs, Kareem has fostered a unique understanding of Canada’s Chinese, South Asian and Indigenous communities while developing policy expertise in the energy, health and transportation sectors.He has successfully levered his knowledge into successful political campaigns at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
March 22 2019: Renu Bakshi and Colin Hansen
Colin served as MLA between 1996 and 2013 and held the portfolios of Minister of Health Services, and Economic Development responsible for the Asia Pacific Initiative and the Olympics. After retiring from politics Colin became president of AdvantageBC, an organization dedicated to promoting BC as a place for international business. Renu Bakshi began her career as a journalist and is now one of Canada’s leading communication strategists. She served as a TV anchor for CTV news and now heads her own communication firm where she executes high-level public relations and crisis management strategies, news conferences, and media training boot camps. In 2008, the Vancouver Sun named Renu one of BC’s Most Influential People
March 15 Vancouver City Council Visit
Pete Fry spoke about life as a city Councillor and gave a tour of the chambers and offices.
March 22: Andrew Saxton and Barb Justason
Andrew Saxton, former Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, and Barb Justason, experienced pollster and strategic advisor, shared their thoughts on polling, campaigning and political life. Ken Sim, candidate in the 2018 Vancouver municipal elections, also briefly took the POP stage to share his experience with campaigning.
March 29: BC Lee and Mark Marissen
Strategist Mark Marissen spoke about the importance of supporting a candidate you believe in. Former Councillor BC Lee shared his thoughts on public life and leadership in multicultural communities.
April 5: Greg Lyle and Hector Bremner
Greg Lyle spoke of the advantages of teams that have worked with each other for an extended period of time, and of having a clear idea what one wishes to accomplish in elected office. Hector Bremner spoke of 4 principles: bring people together, take good ideas, don’t fall into political distractions and be results oriented.
Former mayoral candidate Ken Sim gave insights into the pressures of running for Mayor and the connections between business leadership and politics.