Who is Democracy Watch?
Tyler Sommers has worked as a researcher and community organizer focusing his efforts on understanding the motivations for political involvement and assisting Canadians in becoming active and effective community participants.
He is a founder of the Canadian Youth Assembly, an organization seeking to educate youth about community participation, to encourage community participation, and to strengthen the bonds between youth and community leaders.
He has been involved with several University of Toronto research projects covering democratic reform and motivations of political engagement and activity. Tyler will be part of the first Political Management Masters at Carleton University.
As Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Assistant Coordinator of the Democracy Education Network he hopes to continue the success of both organizations and further the involvement of Canadians through outreach and information. Tyler believes that his passion for democratic and community involvement will serve the organizations as he strives to develop the reach and networks of both organizations.
Directors are acting as individuals, not as representatives of any organization with which they may be affiliated
Duff Conacher, LL.B., is an internationally recognized leader in the area of democratic reform and government accountability. He is a former Ralph Nader's Raider and he has worked as a researcher, community organizer and educator, legal intern and consultant. A graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, he has a long-standing interest in democratic process and corporate responsibility issues. He was the main Founder of Democracy Watch, was Coordinator from 1993 to June 2011, and is still a Board member of the organization. He is now the Coordinator of the national educational charity Your Canada, Your Constitution (YCYC), and also heads the firm GoodOrg.ca Consulting which provides advice and services to governments, businesses and citizen organizations in the areas of good governance, ethics, responsibility, communications, stakeholder and public relations. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto.
As Coordinator of Democracy Watch, he led the organization to win more changes to laws, regulations and government policies than any other citizen advocacy group in Canada (as of June 2011, more than 110 changes strengthening government accountability and corporate responsibility measures in 16 key Canadian federal laws, 6 key federal policies, and 7 provincial laws). Many of the changes are world-leading.
Through this time period, Democracy Watch obtained national Canadian media coverage on average 10 times each month, and regional and local media coverage on average 40 times each month. As well, Democracy Watch's website, with more than 1.4 million hits annually, is the #1 citizen group website in Canada when the Internet is searched using the search words "democracy" or "government ethics" or "honesty in politics" or "money in politics" or "bank accountability" or "corporate responsibility".
Duff also led Democracy Watch to win the first-ever ethics court challenge of the federal government in July 2004, and the second-ever ethics court challenge in March 2009. Among the 40 leading good government and corporate responsibility reports he has authored or co-authored, he wrote the report on Canada for Transparency International's 2004 Global Corruption Report and wrote the first three reports on Canada for the 2007 Global Integrity Report, the 2008 Global Integrity Report, and the 2010 Global Integrity Report.
He also organized Democracy Watch's many coalitions -- the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition, (a nation-wide bank accountability coalition made up of 100 citizen groups), the Corporate Responsibility Coalition, the Government Ethics Coalition and the Open Government Coalition -- which along with the Money in Politics Coalition are coordinated by Democracy Watch and its charitable partner organization, the Democracy Education Network (DEN).
Duff has also designed and delivered dozens of civics education and organizational development workshops over the past 17 years as Assistant Coordinator of DEN.
His past work includes organizing the first chapter of Quebec PIRG (Quebec Public Interest Research Group) at McGill University in 1988, serving as a member of the Board of Directors of University of Toronto and Ontario PIRG from 1988 to 1991, and playing a key support role in organizing PIRG chapters at four other universities in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta between 1988 and 2002. He is is also co-author, with Ralph Nader and Nadia Milleron, of Canada firsts: Ralph Nader's Salute to Canada and Canadian Achievement which spent six months on Canadian best-seller lists in 1993 and was the #1 best-seller for five weeks, and author of the best-selling More Canada Firsts: Another Collection of Canadian Firsts and Foremosts in the World (1999).
Bradford E. F. Duplisea, originally from beautiful Prince Edward Island, has worked as an environmental community leader, public interest researcher and advocate on a wide range of environmental and public health issues.
He is a graduate of Algonquin College's Forestry and Wildlife program where he was awarded the Canadian Institute of Forestry Gold Medal for being the top student in his program. He was also recognized with a number of awards for his efforts in P.E.I. where he worked for several years as a watershed coordinator. In his role, he worked with governments, community leaders, landowners and business operators to protect local river systems, restore lost wildlife habitat and create environmental awareness throughout the community.
Bradford is one of Canada's leading researchers on food biotechnology issues (especially the unhealthy relationship between government regulators and the biotechnology industry) and in recent years has represented the Biotechnology Caucus of the Canadian Environmental Network at international negotiations of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Since moving to Ottawa in 1997, he has done consulting and research work for a number of non-governmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and Council of Canadians. He is currently the Director of Research and Information Systems with Canada's public health watchdog, the Canadian Health Coalition, where he has worked since the fall of 1999, and works part-time as an e-Communications Specialist for the not-for-profit organization Prevent Cancer Now.
In February 2010, Bradford was awarded the Spirit of Tommy Douglas Award by the Douglas family in recognition of his work defending and improving public health care in Canada.
Josephine Grey is a human rights activist, a widow and mother of four who has been active in the struggle for economic and social justice for more than 20 years.
She is a founder of Low Income Families Together (LIFT) in Toronto, a resource center run by and for low income people. LIFT does community education on human rights, economic and political literacy and helps provide a voice for low income people to the media and government.
She has been involved internationally as a cofounder of the Hemispheric Social Alliance, a network of over 300 national organizations working to challenge and propose alternatives to the current free trade regime which respect human and environmental rights. She became the first international member of the U.S. National Welfare Rights Union in 1994 and continues to work with them on their Economic Human Rights campaign.
She coordinated authored and presented the Ontario People's Report to the UN committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights in 1998. Josephine has served as the International Secretary for Canada Without Poverty (formerly the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO)) and continues to work at the community level with fellow volunteers on empowering people to stand up for their rights. She now also works for an international committee on using human rights treaties to address global economic policy and trade agreements.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Advisory Committee members are acting as individuals, not as representatives of any organization with which they may be affiliated
In 1975, Dan became one of the members of the first cast
of Saturday Night Live, which has gone on to
become the longest running, most highly rated late-night
comedy TV show in the world. On the show until 1979,
Dan created such memorable characters as Elwood Blues of
the Blues Brothers (with John Belushi playing brother Jake
Blues until he passed away tragically), and impressed with
his very accurate impressions of Richard Nixon and Jimmy
Carter. He was nominated for an Emmy three times for
his work on SNL
and has appeared as a guest more than 10 times.
Leaving the show in 1980, Dan went on to a successful
film (and screenwriting) career, first in The Blues
Brothers movie, then in more than 50 other films
including Trading Places, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters
II, Dragnet, Grosse Pointe Blank, Chaplin
(in which he played Canadian Mack Sennett, the legendary
silent film director), Sneakers,
Pearl Harbour, 50 First Dates and Yogi Bear. His
first straight dramatic role, in Driving Miss Daisy,
earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Dan also has appeared in several TV shows, including PSI
Factor and Soul Man, which he both developed
and starred in, along with the 1990 Earth Day Special.
In 1992, Dan established in partnership with others the
very successful House of
Blues chain of live music clubs and restaurants, and
he continues to perform (often at charity events) as the
Blues Brothers with John Belushi's brother Jim.
Dan Aykroyd maintains strong ties to his family in
Ottawa, and to Canada, including starring in the 1997 CBC
TV mini-series The Arrow, about the development
and scrapping of the world-leading Avro Arrow jet airplane
by the federal government in the late 1950s, and assisting
with the fundraising efforts of several
In 1999, Dan was named a Member of the Order of
In June 2007, Dan announced a partnership with Diamond
Estates Wine & Spirits Ltd. to build the Dan Aykroyd
Winery in Lincoln, Ontario with an environmentally
sustainable design and production process. In 2008,
Dan launched Crystal
Head Vodka in partnership with the Newfoundland and
Labrador Liquor Corp., and obtained the exclusive rights
to distribute Patrón
Tequila in Canada.
David has been involved in human rights and Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms litigation, as well as law reform in
such areas as employment equity, advocacy and income
programs for persons with disabilities, throughout his
He currently heads up a law firm in Toronto (bakerlaw.ca) focussing on human rights issues, and provided legal counsel to Democracy Watch in an historic money in politics court case, and an historic government ethics court case.
Her interest in human rights led to an active involvement
on both a professional and personal level with community
groups. She has also worked as a senior consultant
with multilateral institutions and has been retained as an
advisor on the integration of women in development by a
variety of firms and organizations.
Lyse served a four-year term as the Executive
Director of CUSO from 1993-1998, a non-governmental
Canadian organization committed to social justice around
the globe, whose goals include developing alternatives
that allow all people to participate in making decisions
that affect them. Since then she has worked as a
consultant on gender equity, management and organizational
Recently, Lyse has been a member
of the Faculty Team for the Leadership Program at The
She was a volunteer member of the Ad Hoc Committee of
Canadian Women on the Constitution which led to the
successful campaign to change the Canadian Constitution in
1982 to include in the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms the "Equal Rights Amendment" on gender
equality, which she helped to draft.
Marilou is a founder and continuing volunteer Vice-Chair
of METRAC (the Metro Action Committee on Violence Against
Women and Children) and Chair of the Board of the LEAF
Foundation for the Women's Legal Education and Action
She is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, has been a
Member of the Order of Canada since 1985 (awarded for her
leadership on the Ad Hoc Committee on Women and the
Constitution), and in 1992 was awarded an Honourary
Doctorate of Laws by the University of Winnipeg, and the
Canada 125 Medallion for community service.
Marilou completed a term as the Corporate Director of
Healthy City Toronto for the City of Toronto in 1994, and
was then the Corporate Director of the Women's Health
Partnership at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, and is
a former member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
She is the Founder and was the first Director of the International Women's Rights
Project from 2003 to 2007 and still serves as an
Advisory Partner for the Project. In 2007, she was
appointed Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human
Rights Commission, a position she left in April 2008 when
she was named is the first Principal of the new Global
College at the University of Winnipeg.
Democracy Watch homepage