Directors and Senior Advisors

Board of Directors


Michael Byers

Michael Byers holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Global Politics and International Law. Prior to 2004, he was a Professor of Law and Director of Canadian Studies at Duke University; from 1996 to 1999, he was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University. Dr. Byers’ work focuses on the interaction of international law and politics, particularly with respect to human rights, international organizations, the use of military force, the Arctic, and Canada–United States relations. He has published six books, dozens of academic papers, and more than 100 op-ed articles in international newspapers, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, and the Ottawa Citizen.

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell has been the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives since 1994. He is the author of many articles and reports on national and international public policy issues, and is a frequent media commentator and conference presenter. He has appeared regularly as a witness before Commons and Senate committees, and before the U.S. Congress.

For many years Bruce coordinated the Centre’s flagship Alternative Federal Budget. He is co-author or editor of five books, including Straight Through the Heart: How the Liberals Abandoned the Just Society (with Maude Barlow); Living with Uncle: Canada-US Relations in an Age of Empire (with Ed Finn); and Medicare: Facts, Myths, Problems & Promise (with Greg Marchildon).

Peggy Mason, President

Peggy Mason’s career highlights diplomatic and specialist expertise in the field of international peace and security, with a particular emphasis on the United Nations, where she served as Canada’s Ambassador for Disarmament from 1989 through 1994. Since 1996 Mason has been involved in many aspects of UN peacekeeping training, including the development of groundbreaking principles on the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former fighters. As a regular trainer and exercise developer, she also brings the UN political/diplomatic perspective to a range of NATO and EU training exercises to help prepare military commanders for complex, multidisciplinary peace and crisis stabilization operations. Since 2002 Mason has been a Senior Fellow at The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University, where she also chairs the Advisory Board of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance (CCTC). Since 2004 she has been Chair of the Board of Directors of Peacebuild, a network of Canadian NGOs engaged in all aspects of peace-building. A graduate and gold medallist of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law, Peggy Mason was inducted into its Honour Society in September 2003.

Jack Layton and Kathleen Ruff (R), Rideau Institute Board Member

Kathleen Ruff

Kathleen Ruff is a former director of the Court Challenges Program and a former director of the BC Human Rights Commission. She was the founding editor and publisher of the Canadian Human Rights Reporter and host of the CBC TV program Ombudsman. She is presently Coordinator of the Rotterdam Convention Alliance, which represents environmental and health organizations around the world that are working to defend and promote the Rotterdam Convention. She is founder of and Senior Advisor on Human Rights to the Rideau Institute.

Steven Staples, Vice-President

Steven Staples is the Vice-President of the Rideau Institute. In the past 20 years, Steven Staples has acted as the Director of Security Programs for the Polaris Institute, the Issue Campaigns Coordinator for the Council of Canadians and the Coordinator for End the Arms Race. He is well known for his work on international defence, disarmament and trade issues. In 2006 he published his first book, Missile Defence: Round One (Lorimer), which chronicled the citizen-based campaign that succeeded in persuading the Paul Martin government to announce that it would not join the U.S. ballistic missile defence program in February 2005. In 2008 he co-edited with Lucia Kowaluk the anthology Afghanistan and Canada: Is There an Alternative to the War? (Black Rose Books). Steven Staples is a member of the Canadian Pugwash Group and the Group of 78.

Mel Watkins,

Mel Watkins is a Canadian political economist and activist. He is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is Editor Emeritus of This Magazine and was the chief author of the 1968 federal government report on Foreign Ownership and the Structure of Canadian Industry. His main area of research has focused on economic history and the contemporary political economy of Canada. He was a founder and co-leader with James Laxer of the Waffle, a left-wing political formation within the New Democratic Party that advocated an “independent socialist Canada” and Canadian nationalism. He is also former President of Science for Peace.


Steven Shrybman, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP

Steven Shrybman’s practice focuses on international trade and public interest litigation, including issues concerning the environment, health care, human and labour rights, the protection of public services, natural resources policy, and intellectual property rights. Steven frequently speaks, and has written extensively, on the impact of international trade law on diverse areas of Canadian policy and law. He has also been involved in drafting and promoting conventions on cultural diversity and access to water as a human right.

Steven obtained his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. After articling with SGM, and organizing SGM’s articling students, he was called to the Bar in 1981.


Senior Advisors

Nipa Banerjee, PhD., Visiting Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of International Development and Global Studies (new)

Peter Coombes, co-founder of and Job Evaluation Representative for CUPE

Murray Dobbin, political commentator and author

Walter Dorn, Professor of Defence Studies, Royal Military College of Canada

Mel Hurtig, author, former publisher, and founder of the Council of Canadians

Peter Langille, PhD. Director, Global Common Security (new)

Dominic Leger, public relations professional and social media expert, researcher for Chaire Raoul-Dandurand in Strategic and Diplomatic studies (UQAM)

Anil Naidoo, International water policy analyst and Project Organizer of the Blue Planet Project

Gar Pardy, former Ambassador and Head of Consular Affairs

Douglas Roche, author, former Ambassador for Disarmament, parliamentarian and senator (retired)

Bill Robinson, former Program Associate, Project Ploughshares

Erika Simpson, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Western Ontario

Scott Sinclair, Director of Trade and Investment Research Project, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Alice Slater, Director, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, N.Y.

Junior Advisor

Meera Chander – Former Progressive Public Policy Intern (The Rideau Institute), Current MA law student at the University of Bristol