The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
Politics Panel: Bhutila Karpoche, Lindsey Park, Mike Schreiner, Jess Spindler, Moderated by Adrienne Batra
Bhutila Karpoche is the Member of Provincial Parliament for Parkdale High Park. In June 2018, Bhutila made history by becoming the first person of Tibetan heritage to be elected to public office in North America.Bhutila is active on issues around social justice and public health. She is a longtime advocate of affordable housing, workers’ rights, and public healthcare.An epidemiologist by training, Bhutila is a public health researcher focusing on the social determinants of health. Most recently, she co authored the report A Public Health Crisis in the Making: The health impacts of precarious work on racialized refugee and immigrant women.Bhutila holds degrees from University of British Columbia and University of Toronto and is a PhD candidate in public health policy at Ryerson University, where she received the RBC Immigrant, Diversity, and Inclusion Project Award.Bhutila has presented at many academic conferences and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.Lindsey Park is the MPP for Durham and Parliamentary Assistant for the Attorney General, Ontario. Before her election in June 2018, Lindsey was an experienced and successful civil litigation lawyer representing clients across Ontario, including in the Durham Region.As a young woman, Lindsey played elite hockey for the Durham West Girls Hockey Association and went on to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at Wayne State University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science. While completing her law degree at the University of Ottawa, Lindsey worked as an advisor to the federal Minister of Environment.Although retired from competitive hockey, Lindsey still puts the pads on to play goalie in men’s and women’s recreation leagues. Whether it is on the ice or in the court room, Lindsey Park is a tireless and proven fighter with legislative experienceMike Schreiner was elected leader of the Green Party of Ontario on November 14, 2009 and has led the GPO through two provincial elections. Mike received nearly 20 percent of the vote in his riding of Guelph in the June 2014 election, and has provided leadership on important legislation such as Campaign Finance Reform and funding the Experimental Lakes Area. A leading advocate for independent businesses, local food and sustainable communities, Mike is well known for his leadership in co founding the award winning Local Food Plus organization and the award winning WOW Foods. He brings a proven track record in business and non profit leadership roles to the Ontario political scene. Mike has served as a volunteer on boards and committees such as Lakeside Hope House Fundraising Committee, the Board of Directors of the Guelph based FarmStart, Green Enterprise Ontario Steering Committee, a governor for the Canadian International Peace Project, the Toronto Food Policy Council, among others.Jess Spindler is a lawyer, human rights advocate, and dedicated volunteer. She is a knowledgeable public servant who has played a key role in implementing policy initiatives at Queen’s Park, ranging from women’s health programs to consumer protection measures.Jess has advised on complex legal and public policy challenges through her work at a major international law firm, the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Family Responsibility Office and most recently as the Director of Legal Affairs for the Liberal Party of Canada.She dedicates her time to important social causes at the local and international level. Jess has volunteered with the St. John Ambulance, providing canine therapy visits to long term care home residents. She offers pro bono legal advice to groups involved in sponsoring refugees in coming to Canada, and she prepares human rights reports for an international NGO. This work has taken her to the frontlines of the refugee crisis in Greece, where she advocated for asylum seekers.Jess was the Ontario Liberal Party candidate in the riding of Toronto St. Paul’s the most recent provincial election. She has completed her law degree at Queen’s University. She holds a BA from the University of Guelph and a Master’s degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.Panel ModeratorAdrienne Batra was born and raised in Saskatchewan. She has an undergraduate degree in political science and a Masters in Public Administration. Ms. Batra worked at the Saskatchewan Legislature as a researcher with the opposition caucus office. She then moved on to be the Manitoba Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canada’s largest taxpayer advocacy group.In 2010, Ms. Batra was the Director of Communications for the Rob Ford for Mayor campaign and moved on to serve in the Office of the Mayor as Ford’s Press Secretary.Upon leaving City Hall, she became the Comment Editor and columnist for the Toronto Sun and political commentator on Newstalk 1010.Ms. Batra hosted her own TV show on Sun News Network, focussed on political, social and economic issues. In June of 2015, Ms. Batra was appointed as the Editor in Chief of the Toronto Sun and 24Hours Toronto.She has appeared on Fox Business News, CNN and BBC and is a frequent contributor on Global News and CTV News Channel, CBC, CP24 and AM640.Ms. Batra also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, obtaining the rank of Lieutenant, and was nominated for a YWCA Woman of Distinction award. In 2013 she was awarded with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and serves on the Board of Governors for the National Newspaper Awards and the Canadian Journalism Foundation.