Meet our Speakers

MDD 2011 is thrilled to present more than thirty exciting, thought-provoking speakers. Here’s some more inf0rmation on all of them:

Keynote And Plenary Speakers:

Judy Rebick is the founding publisher of, Canada’s most popular independent online news, and continues to blog and podcast on the site. She recently helped lead a fight against the intense police repression during the G20 in Toronto. Her most recent book is Transforming Power: From the Personal to the Political. Judy’s other books include Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution (Penguin 2005) and Imagine Democracy (Douglas and McIntyre 2000).
Dr. Sut Jhally is a professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amhearst. After receiving his Ph.D from the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, Jhally founded the Media Education Foundation (MEF), a non-profit organization that aims to inspire critical reflection on the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media. He is the producer of the film Dreamworks: Desire/Sex/Power and Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire. Jhally is the author of numerous books and articles as well as an award-winning educator.
Dr. Robert Hackett is a professor of Communication at SFU. Bob co-directs NewsWatch Canada, a media monitoring program at SFU, and has co-founded several community-oriented media advocacy and education initiatives, including Media Democracy Day. His collaborative publications include Expanding Peace Journalism (2011), and Remaking Media: The Struggle to Democratize Public Communication (2006).
Peter Steven is the author of Media in the About Canada series (Fernwood Publishing, 2011). The book introduces major issues facing Canadian media and Steven argues that we are facing a crisis of quality in most media sectors, despite a wealth of talent and abundant resources. He holds a PhD in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University, Chicago, and is Professor of Film Studies at Sheridan College, in Oakville, ON.
Dr. Kathleen Cross is a Lecturer in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University and Chairs the Media Democracy Day organizing committee. Her teaching and research interests include democratic communication, news media analysis, and political campaigns and elections. She is also the National Coordinator for the Global Media Monitoring Project, an international project focused on gender representation in news media, and a co-director of NewsWatch Canada.
Dr. Stuart Poyntz is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University whose research interests include the relationship of children and youth with media culture, public sphere theory, with specific concern for the work of Hannah Arendt. Most recently, he is the co-author of Media Literacies: A Critical Introduction.

Panel Speakers:

RESISTANCE & RENEWAL: Unions and Public Opinion in a “Crisis Economy”

Irene Lanzinger is a long-time union activist and teacher. She began her teaching career in 1978 and taught in Vancouver and overseas. Irene was very active in the B.C. Teachers’ Federation serving as president of the Vancouver Secondary Teachers’ association. Irene served as an Officer of the B.C. Federation of Labour from 2007 to 2010. Irene was elected to the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the B.C. Federation of Labour in 2010.
Vincent Mosco is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Queen’s University where he was Canada Research Chair in Communication and Society and member of the faculty union executive. Since writing Labor, the Working Class, and the Media with Janet Wasko in 1983, he has carried out research and worked to advance the interests of labor. His most recent book is Getting the Message: Communication Workers and Global Value Chains (with Ursula Huws and Catherine McKercher, 2010).
Lorene Oikawa is the first Asian Canadian vice president for the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), and was re-elected to her third term in 2011. BCGEU represents members who work in direct provincial government, and a variety of sectors including community health, community social services, child care, post-secondary institutions, hotels, and the Canada Line. Lorene has authored articles on a range of topics including health care, poverty, human rights and more
Mike Old is the communications director for the 43,000-member Hospital Employees’ Union. He helped the union launch in 1998 and survived three subsequent overhauls. Mike has also worked for CUPE and ACTRA — and as a freelancer. He’s interested in how unions can use social media to engage members.

THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM: Crisis & Opportunities

Linda Solomon is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Observer, which was the winner of the 2010 Canadian Online Publishing Awards for “Best online-only articles” and took second place in “Best overall online-only site”. She is also the founder and director of The Vancouver New Media Foundation and is CEO of Observer Media Group. Linda was the recipient of the United Press International award for Best Investigative Reporting.
David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee. He has won national awards for his journalism in Canada and the United States, writing for The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and many other publications. He edited the “Fate of the Strait” environmental series for the Vancouver Sun, which received Canada’s National Newspaper Award for Special Projects.
Peter Klein began his career as a radio reporter for National Public Radio, covering the Bosnian war and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. In 1999 Klein joined CBS News’ 60 Minutes as a producer remains a contributor to the program. Klein joined the faculty of UBC in 2005, and in 2008 he launched the International Reporting Program, Among other prestigious awards, his 2010 class’ Frontline/WORLD documentary, Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground, earned him an Emmy for best investigative newsmagazine.
Charlie Smith has been editor of the Georgia Straight for six years. Before that, he was the news editor at the Straight for 10 years. He has also worked at CBC Radio and CBC TV and taught investigative journalism at Kwantlen Polytechnic University for seven years back in the days when it was known as Kwantlen University College. These days, most of his writing appears on, but some find its way into the print edition.
Karen Pinchin is the founding editor of OpenFile Vancouver, a community-powered collaborative news website. She has reported and edited for The Canadian Press, Maclean’s and Newsweek, and freelanced for outlets including The Globe and Mail and The Walrus.
Gunargie O’Sullivan has been plugging First Nations arts and culture for 20 years. She started her community broadcasting experience by coordinating a radio play in collaboration with Spirit Song Theater Co. and Co op radio. Gunargie currently hosts When Spirit Whispers, The Speaker, Sne wayulh, Late Night with Savages at (102.7FM) and one show for (90.1 FM) called Nation to Nation. She serves on two boards: Co op Radio and the National Community Radio Association.
Candis Callison is an Assistant Professor at the UBC School of Journalism where she teaches science journalism and media ethics. She holds a Ph.D. from the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MSc from MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program. Candis previously worked as a journalist in Canada and the US. She is a member of the Tahltan Nation in northwestern BC.
Don Bain is the Executive Director of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), a non-profit political advocacy organization dedicated to support the recognition of aboriginal rights and respect for aboriginal cultures worldwide. From the Lheidli T’enneh community outside of Prince George, he graduated from UBC with a degree in Anthropology, worked on his community’s Traditional Use Study, organized UBCIC’s Protecting Knowledge Conference in 2000 and worked in Ottawa. For over ten years he has been instrumental in creating a media and online presence for the UBCIC
Duncan McCue has been a reporter for CBC-TV News in Vancouver for over a dozen years. His award-winning news and current affairs pieces are featured on CBC’s flagship news show, The National. Recent honours include a Jack Webster Award for Best TV Feature, and in 2011, he received a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in California, where he designed an online educational guide for reporters on covering indigenous communities. Duncan is Anishinaabe, a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario.


A former Green Party school trustee with the Vancouver School Board, Andrea Reimer was first elected to Vancouver City Council in 2008 and has championed a number of policies over the last three years including the Greenest City initiative, increasing childcare spaces in the City by 6% and establishing Vancouver as a global leader in Open Data.
Dr. Hedy Fry was first elected to Parliament from Vancouver-Centre in 1993. From 1996 to 2002, she served Canadians as the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women. As a leader in the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Fry was instrumental in initiating a range of innovations. She is the current Federal Liberal Critic on Health and Chair of Federal Liberal BC Caucus.
Libby Davies is Deputy Leader for the NDP. Her history as a strong community activist for Vancouver began over 35 years ago. She and her late partner, Bruce Eriksen, were key figures in the formation of the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association (DERA) in 1973. In ten years of community organizing, Libby developed her strong grassroots approach to working with people and diverse communities.
Elizabeth May is an environmentalist, writer, activist, lawyer, leader of the Green Party of Canada, and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. Elizabeth became active in the environmental movement in the 1970s. She became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005, was elected Leader of the Green Party in 2006, and in May 2011 became the first Canadian Green elected to Parliament. Elizabeth’s home is in Sidney, BC.

LOST IN TRANSLATION? Challenges and the Future of Inclusivity in Diverse Media

Alden E. Habacon is an accomplished diversity and inclusion specialist. He is the Director, Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development for the University of British Columbia (UBC) and previously the Manager of Diversity Initiatives for CBC Television. He is the Publisher of Schema Magazine, and the co-founder of the Asian Canadian Journalists Association in Vancouver.
Winnie Hwo was an award winning journalist who has extensive experience in Chinese language media and mainstream media. She then joined the David Suzuki Foundation a year ago to campaign for Clean Energy and Climate Solution. She was the news and current affairs director for Fairchild Television, Canada West and has won five Jack Webster Award for her work there.
Lilavati Levine is a youth dedicated to social change. She believes that anyone can change their world with poetry, film, music, photojournalism and journalism and has spent the last 3 years using these tools of media to export her messages to the world she lives in. As a young woman of colour, she has seen and experienced the effects of oppression in her life and the lives of those around her. She is co-creator of the YouthMADE film, I Am Here.

SHITHARPERDID, SLUTWALK & LEADNOW: New Directions in Civic Engagement

Phillip Djwa, MFA, is a creative artist and digital media producer. He has worked on a wide range of film, technology and online communications projects towards promoting social change. Prior to 2000, Phillip worked for 10 years as a composer for dance, film and theatre. His work was internationally recognized at Sundance.  Since 2000, Phillip has led strategy and innovative web projects at Agentic Communications, a Vancouver-based social change web design agency.
Cam Dales is interested in the way that people socialize and organize themselves online, and how it affects how they do those things offline. He has a degree in communication design from Emily Carr University, was a co-founder of, and is the Art Director and a Strageist at TruthFool Communications.
Katie Raso is a shameless agitator. She is also one of a dozen organizers behind Vancouver’s SlutWalk. A long time community activist, Katie has contributed to messaging and mobilizing for social justice campaigns across Canada. These experiences helped give shape to the SW Vancouver media campaign that included dozens of interviews, and rallied thousands of supporters.
Tria Donaldson is an experienced organizer who has worked on a variety of issues – from Aboriginal rights, access to education, childcare, anti-racism and the environment. She is the Communications Coordinator at, a national online advocacy organization responsible for the “Vote Mob” phenomenon during the last election. Tria currently works for the Wilderness Committee as the Pacific Coast Campaign, where she works on campaigns ranging from forestry to fish farms to coal mining.

Workshop Facilitators and Contributors:

Amanda Gibbs is a public engagement specialist, communications strategist and facilitator with 15 years experience supporting organizations working on issues ranging from civic participation and arts and culture to social justice and environmental change.
Reilly Yeo and Lindsey Pinto of
Irwin Oostinde of W2 Media Café
Liz Schulze of the Pacific Cinémathèque

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