Program - The Road to 2017

Forum 2017 – Highlights of the Program

Read the full printed program for the week-end


Reportedly one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women and of Canada’s 10 most important people on environmental matters, Désirée has more than 20 years of experience in sustainable development. In 2015, she was named the first female President at Pearson College in British Columbia. From 2008 to 2015, Désirée has served as Executive Director for the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, which helps new generations of public leaders and entrepreneurs to lead new initiatives. Prior to that, she co-founded the Canadian branch of Al Gore’s Climate Project and served as Senior Policy Advisor to former Prime Minister Paul Martin and as Director of Policy to the Minister of International Cooperation. Graduate of the London School of Economics and trained at Harvard, Yale and McGill universities, she received several scholarships for her academic excellence and civic engagement. A youth activist in the 80s when the arms race was at its peak, Desirée is passionate about the civic engagement of young Canadians.



EMCEE: Marika Wheeler

Marika is CBC Quebec’s travelling journalist. She travels across regions of the province, sharing original stories of people for CBC Radio One and CBC News. During her career, she covered important events such as the Lac Megantic train derailment and the Île-Verte seniors home fire. She graduated in journalism and creative writing from Concordia University and she has been working as a journalist for CBC since 2008. You can follow her work at and follow her on Twitter @marikaCBC.



Peter Schiefke
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth)

Peter Schiefke is the Liberal Party of Canada’s MP for Vaudreuil-Soulanges. He was selected as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth affairs. Schiefke has recently served as National Director of Climate Reality Canada, the Canadian branch of Al Gore’s Climate Project. Also, Schiefke has cofounded the Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program now Community Empowerment Education Development (CEED). Previously, he cofounded and acted as President of Youth Action Canada, an NPO that promotes youth involvement in fighting climate change. He also created the project We Will Always Remember, that pays tribute to veterans.

Karine Vallières
Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (youth)

PIC 3 Vallières, KarineKarine Vallières has been the Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for youth since 2016 and MNA of the Liberal Party of Quebec for Richmond since 2012. Prior to her political career, Karine studied communications and worked as an administrator for large organizations such as Cascades and Desjardins. She is known for her understanding of the issues affecting her riding and is an active volunteer in her community.



Indigenous Peoples (AM):

  • Romeo Saganash is the NDP’s MP for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik–Eeyou. He is the first MP from an indigenous community to be elected in Quebec and the first Cree to obtain a Bachelor of Law degree in this province. He also founded the Cree Nation Youth Council in 1985.
  • Jenn Jefferys is a strategic communications consultant and political columnist from Ontario. This young feminist’s column at The Hill Times Millennial Suffragette, has stirred wide public acclamation.

Politics and Democracy (AM):

  • Thomas Mulcair has been the leader of the New Democratic party since 2012 following the passing of Jack Layton. He also worked in provincial politics as Environment Minister for Quebec’s National Assembly.
  • Nick Gamache is the senior producer of CBC Radio’s top rated political show The House. He’s also the face and voice of the CBC’s Parliamentary Bureau every morning on CBC Radio and News Network.

Economy (AM):

  • Heather Scoffield is the Ottawa Bureau Chief for the Canadian Press. She has published many articles covering the financial crises, fiscal and monetary policy and politics for Reuters and The Globe and Mail.
  • Marcy Grossman is a special advisor for international business development at Global Affairs Canada. She has joined the department in 2001 where she previously worked as consul general in Miami and in Denver and as senior trade commissioner at the Consulate General of Canada in Dallas and in Los Angeles.

Canadian Identity (PM):

  • Dafina Savic won the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award in 2016 for her distinctive leadership in founding Romanipe, an organization mobilizing around efforts to fighting prejudice faced by the Roma community. She is now Human Rights Coordinator at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.
  • Anne Minh-Thu Quach is the NDP’s MP for Salaberry-Suroît and the party’s Critic for Youth. Born from Vietnamese parents who emigrated after the war, she also has a teaching degree from Sherbrooke University.

Social Issues and the Environment (PM):

  • Elyse Tremblay-Longchamps is Vice-President of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ). She was recently named as a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council.
  • Mike de Souza is National Observer‘s Ottawa-based Managing Editor. A Montreal native, Mike has covered politics at the National Assembly and Parliament Hill and worked as a journalist for Reuters, Postmedia and the Montreal Gazette

Canada in the World (PM):

  • Todd Kuiack is a former Canadian ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He spent many years in the foreign service, most recently as Senior Advisor for Latin America. As an Algonquin from Pikwakanagan, he now works as Emergency Management Director Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
  • Christopher Neal works as an independent writer, journalist and communications advisor after working for 16 years in various senior communications positions at the World Bank Group in Washington D.C.