About me

Director Of Communications, New Democratic Party of Canada

Apr 2018 – Mar 2019

Ahead of mov­ing to the U.S. I was hired on an inter­im basis by Canada’s only fed­er­al social demo­c­ra­t­ic polit­i­cal par­ty, new­ly led by Jagmeet Singh, the first per­son from a racial­ized com­mu­ni­ty to lead one of Canada’s three major fed­er­al par­ties and run for Prime Minister. My man­date was to strength­en cau­cus com­mu­ni­ca­tions lead­ing into a fed­er­al elec­tion. That included:

  • Managing a 25-mem­ber team work­ing in media rela­tions, research, dig­i­tal media, writ­ing, design, and translation;
  • Recruiting deputy direc­tors and their team mem­bers and build­ing a more pos­i­tive work envi­ron­ment, lead­ing to high­er morale, bet­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion, and a more pro­duc­tive workflow;
  • Leading com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­e­gy on press­ing nation­al issues includ­ing sys­temic racism and anti-immi­grant attacks, Indigenous rights, and cli­mate change;
  • Writing opin­ion pieces for the par­ty leader;
  • Managing cri­sis com­mu­ni­ca­tions on sen­si­tive issues; and
  • Implementing a dis­ci­plined mes­sag­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions strategy.

National Director, Communications Canadian Labour Congress

Sep 2014 – May 2018

Working for the nation­al labor cen­tral body — the AFL-CIO’s Canadian coun­ter­part rep­re­sent­ing mil­lions of work­ers — I man­aged all aspects of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and many cam­paigns. That included:

  • Modernizing the CLC’s dig­i­tal and online pres­ence, imple­ment­ing a social media strat­e­gy, and over­haul­ing the website;
  • Recruiting and man­ag­ing a team of pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in dig­i­tal media, media rela­tions, mar­ket­ing, pub­lic rela­tions, and graph­ic design;
  • Building cam­paigns that won con­crete vic­to­ries, includ­ing an his­toric fed­er­al ban on asbestos, gov­ern­ment com­mit­ments to enforce crim­i­nal lia­bil­i­ty for work­place deaths and injuries, and paid leave for women fac­ing domes­tic violence;
  • Producing web, social media, and video con­tent address­ing wage dis­crim­i­na­tion against Indigenous, racial­ized, and immi­grant women and women with dis­abil­i­ties; sex­u­al harass­ment and vio­lence; and Canada’s child care crisis;
  • Writing opin­ion pieces for the CLC president;
  • Project man­ag­ing dig­i­tal and print media cam­paigns, includ­ing a mil­lion-dol­lar tele­vi­sion adver­tis­ing cam­paign to improve labor’s image; and
  • Providing strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions and cri­sis man­age­ment advice to senior leadership.

Campaigns and Public Engagement Strategist, Public Service Alliance of Canada

Jun 2011 – Aug 2014

I coor­di­nat­ed cam­paigns for the Public Service Alliance of Canada — the union rep­re­sent­ing most of Canada’s fed­er­al gov­ern­ment work­ers — at a time when they were the tar­get of an unprece­dent­ed assault by the most right-wing Conservative gov­ern­ment in Canadian his­to­ry. A high­light was devel­op­ing and run­ning a cam­paign against the shut-down of vet­er­ans’ front­line ser­vice cen­ters that:

  • Mobilized peo­ple across the polit­i­cal spec­trum, cham­pi­oned pub­lic ser­vice work­ers, forced out the Veterans Affairs Minister, and helped defeat the Conservatives in Canada’s 2015 fed­er­al elec­tion; and
  • Left the incom­ing Liberal gov­ern­ment with no choice but to re-open the offices, restor­ing crit­i­cal front­line ser­vices for mil­i­tary vet­er­ans liv­ing with PTSD and oth­er men­tal health and phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties and oth­ers who served in Canada’s armed forces, navy, and nation­al police force.


Campaign Strategist, The Torture Files

May 2003 to December 2009

After the 9/11 attacks in the United States, a Canadian nation­al secu­ri­ty inves­ti­ga­tion tar­get­ed and false­ly accused four Canadian Muslim men of ter­ror­ist ties, lead­ing to their over­seas tor­ture in the CIA’s “extra­or­di­nary ren­di­tion” pro­gram. I coor­di­nat­ed the years-long cam­paign that gar­nered inter­na­tion­al media atten­tion, won their release and return to Canada, forced the res­ig­na­tion of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner, and cul­mi­nat­ed in the cre­ation of two Royal Commissions of Inquiry.

  • One of the men, Maher Arar, was the first per­son to sur­vive the CIA’s post 9 – 11 tor­ture pro­gram and tell the world his sto­ry, mak­ing him one of the most sought-after inter­view sub­jects for inter­na­tion­al media.
  • Arar was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007. His case was high­light­ed in a New York Times edi­to­r­i­al and caught the atten­tion of President Obama. His U.S. civ­il suit is still before the courts.
  • Because of that cam­paign, all four men have received pub­lic apolo­gies and com­pen­sa­tion for Canada’s role in their deten­tion and torture.

Author, Dark Days, Viking Canada (Penguin), 2008

I authored Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror, pub­lished by Viking Canada (Penguin) in 2008. The book grew out of chronolo­gies I wrote when inves­ti­gat­ing and cam­paign­ing on the tor­ture files.

  • Dark Days won pub­lic praise from spy­mas­ter and author David Cornwell (John le Carré) and inter­na­tion­al­ly acclaimed jour­nal­ist Robert Fisk. It won the 2009 City of Ottawa Book Award for Non-Fiction, was a Quill and Quire “Book of the Year”, and was one of the “Best Books of 2008” cho­sen by Amazon.ca.

My com­plete resumé on LinkedIn.