Keynote Speaker Biographies

The Honourable Jean-Marc Fournier

Jean-Marc Fournier obtained a Licentiate in Laws from the Université de Montréal in 1981 and a diploma from the École du Barreau in 1982. He worked for several years in private law offices and obtained a master’s degree in public law from the UdM in 1991. In 1994, he was elected for Châteauguay and was re-elected in 1998, 2003 and 2007. During that time, he served as Minister of Municipal Affairs; Sports and Recreation; Education, Recreation and Sports; Revenue and Minister responsible for Parliamentary Reform. He was appointed Minister of Justice and Minister responsible for the Reform of Democratic Institutions and Access to Information in August 2010. He was elected MNA for Saint-Laurent in September 2010. Re-elected MNA for Saint-Laurent during the September 2012 election, he served as Leader of the Official Opposition. On April 2014, he was re-elected and in addition to serving as Government House Leader, he is the Ministre responsable des Relations canadiennes et de la Francophonie canadienne.


The Honourable Louis LeBel

A retired justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, on which he sat from 2000 to 2014, the Honourable Louis LeBel was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1962. He obtained an undergraduate degree in law from Laval University in 1965 and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Toronto in 1966. He first practiced law in Quebec City as an associate of the firm LeBel, Letarte, Bilodeau, Boily from 1963 to 1964 and then at Désilets, Grondin, LeBel & Associés from 1964 to 1971. He subsequently became a partner at the firm Grondin, LeBel, Poudrier, Isabel, Morin & Gagnon, where he practiced from 1971 to 1984. He was a member of the board of directors of legal-aid organization Corporation du Centre communautaire juridique de Québec from 1973 to 1975, prior to which he sat on the Quebec City Bar’s legal aid committee. In addition, he was vice president of the Quebec Bar from 1982 to 1983, and the Quebec Bar’s president (Bâtonnier) from 1983 to 1984. He has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Ottawa and Laval University. He was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal on June 28, 1984 and then to the Supreme Court of Canada on January 7, 2000. Mr. LeBel joined Langlois lawyers as counsel in May 2015.


Peter Russell

Peter H. Russell is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto where he has taught since  1958 and is the founding Principal of Senior College. He has written widely on judicial, constitutional, Aboriginal and parliamentary politics. His most recent book, Canada’s Odyssey: A Country Based on Incomplete Conquests, shows how relations between Aboriginal, French and English-speaking Canada is the dynamic that accounts for the tragedies, the triumphs and the distinct identity of a country called Canada.


Speaker Biographies

Roy McMurtry

Mr. McMurtry was called to the bar in 1958 and practiced law as a trial counsel for 17 years before being elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1975. Upon election, he was immediately appointed to the cabinet of Premier William G. Davis as the Attorney General for Ontario, and served in that position until 1985. He was deeply involved in the patriation of the Canadian Constitution and the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. During that period, he also served four years as the Solicitor General for Ontario. In 1985, he was appointed Canada’s High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Great Britain, a post he held until late 1988. In 1991, he was appointed Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court and then Chief Justice of that Court in 1994. In February 1996, he was appointed Chief Justice of Ontario, a position in which he served until May 30, 2007. In 1977, as Attorney General, he founded the Osgoode Society for the writing of Canadian Legal History. By the end of the year 2016, the Society will have published more than 100 books and many have received prestigious awards. His own memoirs were published by the Osgoode Society in 2013. He also served as Chancellor of York University from 2008 to 2014.

Kathy Brock

Dr. Kathy L. Brock is a Professor, School of Policy Studies and cross-appointed to the Department of Political Studies, Queen’s University, current Past-President of the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration, and past National Research Chair for the Institute of Programs in Public Administration. She has published books, academic articles and reports on the non-profit sector, Canadian and comparative politics and government, federalism and constitutional matters, and Aboriginal governance and issues. She is currently writing a book on the operation of the Canadian federal system, and a new study called “Riding the Trump-Trudeau Wave”. She has been active in public affairs as a nonpartisan advisor to federal, provincial and territorial governments, political parties, an Aboriginal organization, and nonprofit organizations. A dedicated professor, she received the 2008 Pierre De Celles IPAC Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration and the 2009 Frank Knox Award (Queen’s University) for Teaching Excellence (Queen’s).


Annie Demirjian

Annie Demirjian

Annie Demirjian was appointed the Director of Glendon School of Public & International Affairs, York University. From 2014-2015, she was the Director of Political Affairs & Mediation Group at the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). She was responsible for the peace building and state building portfolio, including: military/civilian interface & stabilization, political reform, state formation (federal/state), conflict prevention & local reconciliation and constitutional review. From 2004-2013, working with the UN Missions in the field, she headed UNDP’s Democratic Governance portfolio in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Eastern European countries & Central Asia. At UNDP-Iraq (2004-2007), Somalia (2008-2009) and Libya (2011-2012) she was responsible for transitional administration, the constitution drafting process, elections, institutional development and capacity building, public administration reform, local governance and civil society development. In 2010, she was seconded to Haiti to lead the Post Disaster Needs Assessment for the UNDP/World Bank after the earthquake in Haiti. Annie has 20 years of senior management experience, in policy and programming, with the Federal Government of Canada (central agencies/line departments, including at the Security Intelligence & Review Committee (SIRC). For the United Nations and the World Bank she also worked in the following countries: Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria.


Mary Eberts

Mary Eberts’ legal practice concentrates on equality and human rights.  She is a co-founder of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and was legal counsel to the Native Women’s Association of Canada for 25 years. As a student with Ontario’s Federal-Provincial Affairs Secretariat she worked on briefing papers for the Victoria Conference, and subsequently did graduate work at Harvard on constitutional jurisdiction over cable TV in Canada.  She has represented the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the Ad Hoc Committee of Canadian  Women on the Constitution, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada in constitutional hearings and cases relating to the Charter of Rights, the Quebec Secession Reference, and the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords. Her current practice interests include Treaty Rights and the relationship between Indigenous law and the legal system of Canada.


Charlie Feldman

Charlie Feldman, B.A., B.C.L., LL.B., LL.M. is a Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada previously served as an Analyst at the Library of Parliament. The views expressed are his own.





Kerri A. Froc

Kerri A. Froc is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick, as well as a Trudeau and Vanier Scholar.   She is writing a book tentatively titled, “The Gendered Constitution.” It concerns gender equality in Canadian constitutional law and reviving Canada’s “Equal Rights Amendment,” Charter section 28. Dr. Froc received her Ph.D. from Queen’s University (2016), her Master of Laws from the University of Ottawa (2009); her Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (1996); and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Regina (1993).  Her research has appeared in publications such as the Canadian Bar Review, the Review of Constitutional Studies, the Canadian Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law, and in the anthologies Feminist Constitutionalism and Advancing Social Rights in Canada.  Her research interests include theories of constitutional interpretation (including originalism), access to justice, reproductive rights, rights of political representation, and complex rights violations experienced by working women, poor women and racialized and Indigenous women. Before completing her Ph.D., Dr. Froc spent 18 years as a lawyer.  She is a member of the bars of Ontario (2005) and Saskatchewan (1997). 


Francis Garon

Francis Garon is Associate Professor and received his Ph.D. from Université de Montréal. He has been at Glendon College since 2007. His research interests are in the fields of deliberative democracy and immigration and integration issues. He is teaching courses on public policy analysis and the management of diversity.





Ian Greene

Ian Greene is a University Professor Emeritus in the School of Public Policy and Administration at York University. His graduate degrees are from the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He has taught at York University since 1985, after a brief career in the Alberta public service. He was the founding Director of York’s Masters program in Public Policy, Administration and Law. Greene’s most recent book is Honest Politics Now (Lorimer, 2017, with David P. Shugarman). He is also author of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Lorimer, 2014), and The Courts (UBC Press, 2006). He has authored or co-authored five additional books, as well as more than 40 academic journal articles or book chapters. He is a frequent media commentator regarding issues concerning public sector ethics, and judicial decisions.


Richard Haigh

Richard Haigh is an Assistant Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and Director of York’s Centre for Public Policy and Law and Co-Director of the Part-Time LLM in Constitutional Law at Osgoode. He has a doctorate from the University of Toronto in the area of freedom of conscience and religion. He was, until December 2007, the Associate Director, Graduate Program at Osgoode Professional Development. He has been a Senior Lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, a Senior Advisor at the National Judicial Institute in Ottawa, and a Legal Research and Writing Lecturer at Osgoode. His research and teaching interests include Constitutional Law, Public Law, and Equity and Trusts. His recent talks and published works relate to the Alberta Press Case,  section 15 of the Charter, privacy and religion, the Supreme Court’s use of metaphor, division of powers in freedom of expression cases, freedom of conscience and whistleblowing, freedom of religion, dialogue theory and noise by-laws; he also contributed a chapter to the State and Citizen casebook on Public Law (Emond-Montgomery, 3rd ed., 2015).


Donald Ipperciel

Donald Ipperciel, PhD, began a five-year term as Principal of Glendon College, York University, on July 1, 2014. Prior to his appointment, Ipperciel served as Vice-Dean (2012-2014), Associate Dean Information Technology (2011-2014) and as Assistant Dean Research (2007-2010), as well as Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Alberta, Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ). Principal Donald Ipperciel holds a BA and an MA in Philosophy from l’Université de Montréal, and a PhD in Philosophy from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität in Heidelberg, Germany. Ipperciel’s scholarly record includes more than 60 publications (books, chapters and articles), in addition to presentations at more than 60 academic conferences in English, French, and German. He is a specialist in contemporary German philosophy, with his recent research focusing on the theory of nationalism and the nation, as well as on Canadian nationalism and multiculturalism. From 2002 to 2012, he held the Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy and Canadian Studies at CSJ. Principal Ipperciel’s teaching skills have twice been recognized by CSJ’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and he is regarded as a leader in teaching technology, spearheading initiatives in blended learning, Moodle courses, language labs, and smart classrooms. In 2011, he founded Oohoo IT Services, a spin-off company specializing in learning technologies.


Hoi Kong

Hoi Kong teaches and researches in the areas of Constitutional Law, Comparative Law, Administrative Law, and Municipal Law. From 2002 to 2003, he was law clerk to Justices Marie Deschamps and Claire L’Heureux‐Dubé at the Supreme Court of Canada. From 2003 to 2006, he was an Associate‐in‐Law at Columbia University, and from 2006 to 2009, he was an Assistant Professor of Law, cross‐appointed with the School of Urban and Regional Planning, at Queen’s University. He is a recipient of the Queen’s University Law Students Society Teaching Excellence Award (2008). Hoi Kong joined the Faculty of Law of McGill University in August 2009 and he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. In May 2013, during Convocation ceremonies for the Faculty of Law of McGill University, Professor Kong was awarded the John Durnford Award for Teaching Excellence by the Law Student Association.


Jean Leclair

LL.B. Montreal 1985; LL. M. Montréal 1990 (recipient of the Duff-Rinfret Scholarship). Full professor (Université de Montréal) since 2002; clerk to Madam Justice Desjardins, Federal Court of Appeal, 1986-1988; Member of the Bar of Quebec since 1987. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation fellow 2013. Prix André Morel 2016-2017 for excellence in teaching. Teaching and research subjects: Constitutional Law (Federalism and Fundamental Rights), Aboriginal Legal Issues, Quebec and Canadian Legal History.



Willem Maas

Willem Maas (BA British Columbia; Cert. Laval; MA Leiden; MA, MPhil, PhD Yale), Jean Monnet Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science, Public & International Affairs, Social & Political Thought, and Socio-Legal Studies, chairs the Political Science department and Faculty Council at York University’s Glendon campus. He co-founded the Migration and Citizenship section of the American Political Science Association and was recently Marie Skłodowska-Curie International Fellow at the European University Institute. Professor Maas co-edits Palgrave’s Politics of Citizenship and Migration book series and writes on EU and multilevel citizenship, migration, and politics, focusing on Europe and Canada. Author of Creating European Citizens, editor of Multilevel Citizenship, editor of Democratic Citizenship and the Free Movement of People, co-editor of Sixty-Five Years of European Governance, and author of many chapters and articles.


Audrey Macklin

Professor Audrey Macklin (BSc. (Alberta), LLB (Toronto), LLM (Yale)) is Director of the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies and Chair in International Human Rights Law at the University of Toronto. She teaches, researches and writes in the area of migration and citizenship law, business and human rights, and administrative law.   She is co-author of the Governance Gap: Extractive Industries, Human Rights, and the Home State Advantage (London: Routledge: 2014) and the Canadian text, Immigration and Refugee Law: Cases, Materials and Commentary, 2nd Edition (Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2015).  Professor Macklin has published articles in many peer reviewed journals, including the International Journal of Refugee Law, the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Human Rights Quarterly, Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Columbia Journal of Law and Human Rights, European Journal of Law and Migration, Law and Social Politics, and International Migration Review.  Prof. Macklin is a frequent commentator in Canadian and international print, radio and television media.  She also engages in pro-bono advocacy on human rights, migration and citizenship issues. 


Carissima Mathen

Carissima Mathen is Vice Dean and Associate Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa and a founding member of its Public Law Group.  She holds degrees from McGill University, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Columbia University. Her areas of expertise are Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and US Constitutional Law.  She is a widely published scholar who regularly provides legal commentary in both national and international media. Before joining the academy, Professor Mathen was Director of Litigation for the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).  In that role, she litigated and managed important equality rights cases. In recent years, Professor Mathen’s scholarship has focussed on the Supreme Court of Canada appointments process, artificial intelligence and legal reasoning, and the core wrongs of sexual assault. Currently, she is finishing a monograph on the advisory function of Canadian courts. 


Marc Mayrand

Marc Mayrand served as Chief Electoral Officer of Canada from 2007 to 2016. During his term, he established an open and consultative approach with parliamentarians and political parties on electoral matters, particularly issues related to electors who face barriers to voting, such as electors with disabilities and youth.
Mr. Mayrand launched the Advisory Group for Disability Issues (link) to provide expertise on accessibility initiatives and identify ways to make information about the electoral process more accessible. He also created the Elections Canada Advisory Board (link) to seek advice on the conduct of elections, electoral participation by voters and political participants, regulatory compliance and electoral reform.During Mr. Mayrand’s term, Parliament adopted legislation that set fixed dates for general elections, moved the Commissioner of Canada Elections from Elections Canada to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, focused Elections Canada’s public education and information programs on primary and secondary school students, and implemented voter identification measures at the polls. Mr. Mayrand contributed significantly to making voting more inclusive by increasing the accessibility and convenience of the voting process. Under his leadership, the online voter registration service was introduced, as well as the use of social media channels to communicate with electors. He advocated for improving and modernizing the electoral framework, and presented a series of recommendations to Parliament to make the administration of the voting process more flexible with a view to increasing operational efficiency while still maintaining the integrity of the vote.  


Warren J. Newman

Warren Newman is Senior General Counsel in the Department of Justice and has practised constitutional law for 35 years. He is a director of the Master’s Program in Constitutional Law at Osgoode and teaches courses in federalism, public law and comparative constitutional law at Osgoode, the University of Ottawa and Queen’s. He has appeared before trial and appellate courts and before the Supreme Court, notably in the Senate Reform Reference, the Quebec Secession Reference and the Manitoba Language Rights Reference. He instructed on the drafting of the 1988 Official Languages Act, An Act respecting constitutional amendments, the Clarity Act and the Succession to the Throne Act, 2013.  He has appeared frequently before parliamentary committees as an expert witness and has written numerous peer-reviewed articles.  A member of the Ontario and Quebec Bars, Mr. Newman holds a B.A., B.C.L. and LL.B. from McGill, and an LL.M. in constitutional law from Osgoode. 


David C. Onley

David C. Onley is the former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario 2007-2014. He now serves as Special Advisor on Accessibility to the Minister Responsible for Accessibility, the Hon. Tracy MacCharles.  Onley is also a Guest Lecturer and Distinguished Visitor in Political Science at the University of Toronto teaching two senior seminar courses. He is Honorary Patron of Canadian Business SenseAbility and a number of other charitable organizations. Prior to his appointment, Onley had a 22-year career with Toronto’s Citytv and was the first newscaster in Canada with a visible disability.  Mr. Onley is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario and was made an Honorary Witness by Justice Murray Sinclair for his support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Radha Persaud

Radhakrishnan (Radha) Persaud is a faculty member of the Department of Political Science, Glendon College, and the School of Public Policy and Administration, York University. Dr. Persaud holds degrees from the University of Toronto and Queen’s University. His principal areas of academic interests are Public Law, Parliamentary Government, American Government, Federalism and Public Policy and Administration. Professor Persaud’s publications are in the areas of Public law and Constitutional Government in parliamentary and federal systems. He is currently working on a manuscript on the advisory role of the Supreme Court of Canada in intergovernmental relations and conflict resolution during the 1979 to 2014 period. Professor Persaud provided advice to former Lieutenant Governor David Onley on the constitutional role of the head of state in parliamentary democracies. Professor Persaud has received both the York University-wide and Glendon teaching awards.


Lisa Philipps

Professor Lisa Philipps is the Interim Vice-President Academic & Provost of York University. Prior to her current position, she served as Interim Dean of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University (fall 2015), and Associate Vice-President Research at York University from 2011-14. As Interim Vice-President Academic & Provost, she provides leadership to the senior academic administrative team in the areas of academic planning, institutional change management, the alignment of academic priorities and resources, and strategic enrolment and complement planning. On faculty at Osgoode Hall Law School since 1996, Professor Philipps has published widely on topics such as registered savings plans, tax expenditures, income splitting and family taxation, balanced budget laws, judicial approaches to tax law, taxes and disability, and charitable donation tax incentives. She is also appointed as a member of the Provincial Judges Pension Board.


Lorne Sossin

Lorne Sossin became Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School on July 1, 2010. Prior to this appointment, he was a Professor with the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto (2002-2010). He is a former Associate Dean of the University of Toronto (2004-2007) and served as the inaugural Director of the Centre for the Legal Profession (2008-2010). Previously (1997-2002), he was a faculty member at Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Department of Political Science, at York University. His teaching interests span administrative and constitutional law, the regulation of professions, civil litigation, public policy and the judicial process. Dean Sossin was a law clerk to former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada, a former Associate in Law at Columbia Law School and a former litigation lawyer with the firm of Borden & Elliot (now Borden Ladner Gervais LLP). Dean Sossin served as Research Director for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Task Force on the Independence of the Bar and has written commissioned papers for the Gomery Inquiry, the Ipperwash Inquiry and the Goudge Inquiry. He also serves on the Boards of the National Judicial Institute, the Law Commission of Ontario and is a Vice Chair of the Ontario Health Professions Appeal and Review Board and Member of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. Dean Sossin served as Interim Integrity Commissioner for the City of Toronto in 2008-2009, and is currently the Open Meeting Investigator for the City of Toronto.


Gregory Tardi

Gregory Tardi, DJur. is Executive Director of the Institute of Parliamentary and Political Law and Executive Editor of the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law.  Me Tardi est diplomé des universités McGill, d’Ottawa et de la facuté de droit Osgoode Hall de l’université York.  He held various positions in the Public Service of Canada, including in particular in legal services at Elections Canada and at the House of Commons.  He now teaches Political Law at McGill’s Faculty of Law, with the course cross-listed to Political Science.  Mr. Tardi is the author of several books on issues of democracy and law.


Lori Turnbull

Dr. Lori Turnbull is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax. From July 2015 until July 2017, she was on secondment to the Privy Council Office (PCO), first as a Policy Advisor in the Machinery of Government Secretariat, then as Departmental Liaison to the Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions, and finally as a Policy Advisor at the Priorities and Planning Secretariat. Dr. Turnbull’s research and teaching focus on parliamentary democracy and governance, public sector ethics, and democratic reform. She has taught political science and public administration at Dalhousie, Queen’s, Carleton, and Acadia universities. She has published a number of articles and book chapters and has freelanced with The Globe and Mail. Her book Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government, co-authored with Mark Jarvis and the late Peter Aucoin, won the Donner Prize in 2011 and the Donald Smiley Prize in 2012.


Mark Walters

Mark Walters is the F.R. Scott Professor of Public and Constitutional Law at McGill University. He has a B.A. (Political Science) from the University of Western Ontario, an LL.B. from Queen’s University, and a D.Phil. from Oxford University. After practicing law briefly, he returned to Oxford to teach for several years and then joined the Faculty of Law at Queen’s in 1999 where he remained until his appointment at McGill in 2016. Professor Walters researches and publishes in the areas of public and constitutional law, legal history, and legal theory, with a special emphasis on the rights of indigenous peoples, institutional structures, and the history of legal ideas. He has held a number of fellowships, including the Jules and Gabrielle Léger Fellowship (SSHRC), the Sir Neil MacCormick Fellowship (University of Edinburgh), the Herbert Smith Fellowship (Cambridge University) and the H.L.A. Hart Fellowship (Oxford University). 


John Whyte

John Whyte attended University of Toronto, Queen’s University and Harvard University. He taught at the Queen’s Faculty of Law  for over 25 years and served as its Dean of Law. He served as the Director of Constitutional Law in the Saskatchewan Attorney-General’s Department  during the constitutional patriation period and, later, as Saskatchewan’s Deputy Minister of Justice. He is now associated with the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina.