Speakers 2017

David Bouchard


Canadian Métis author and literacy advocate, David Bouchard, has produced more than fifty books for readers of all ages, including two guides on reading for parents and educators.  An erstwhile teacher and school principal, he is particularly concerned with Aboriginal-related issues and is a sought-after speaker for conference keynotes and school presentations on topics of reading, literacy and aboriginal well-being.

David Bouchard’s books have won numerous awards, including a Special Mention for Non-Fiction in the 2010 Bologna Ragazzi Awards for The Drum Calls Softly, a Gold Medal in the 2008 Moonbeam Award for I am Raven, the 2004 Governor General’s Award for The Song Within My Heart, the 1999 Red Cedar Award for The Great Race and the 1997 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Voices from the Wild. An Aboriginal Carol was included in the 2008 White Ravens Catalogue.  In April 2009, Bouchard was named as a Member of the Order of Canada “For his contributions as an author of children’s books, an advocate who has championed the cause of reading and writing, and who has shared his pride as a member of the Métis community through his stories.”  Most recently, David has received a remarkable honour:  In 2013, the David Bouchard Public School opened its doors in Oshawa, .

David lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with his wife Vicki and their daughter Victoria.

You can access his web page at www.davidbouchard.com

Justice Edward J. Kelly

Graduate of Queen’s University (1984) and Osgoode Hall Law School (1988). Called to Ontario Bar in 1990. Acted as Duty Counsel (Criminal) on behalf of the Ontario Legal Aid Plan in Toronto, Ontario from 1990 to 1992. Practiced independently as criminal defense counsel in Toronto from 1993 to 2013, specializing in the representation of persons with mental health disabilities at the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Review Board. Appointed as a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in 2013. Currently presiding in criminal courts including the Youth Community Reconciliation Court (Youth Mental Health Court) at the Toronto West Courthouse. Member of the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee. Lecturer/panelist at various legal education programs sponsored by organizations including Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Ontario Court of Justice, Health  Services Justice Coordinating Committee  and the Advocates Society.


 Ann Walmsley


Ann Walmsley is the author of The Prison Book Club (Penguin Canada), which won the 2016 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. It was also longlisted for the 2016 RBC Taylor Prize, the 2016 BC National Award for Canada Non-Fiction and named as a best book of 2015 by the National Post. Published also by One world in the UK and Commonwealth, and by Kinokuniya in Japan, the book has a forthcoming edition in China. Ann is a magazine journalist whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine, Maclean’s, and many other publications. She is the recipient of four National Magazine Awards, a Canadian Business Journalism Award and two International Regional Magazine Awards. She started her first book club at age nine

Jessica Thompson


Jessica Thompson is the Clinical Supervisor of the Corrections Transition Team-Calgary with AHS. She received her Master’s in Counselling Psychology at the University of Alberta in 2008 and is a registered psychologist. She has been with the Corrections Transition Team since 2010, initially as a front line clinician then taking on the role of Clinical Supervisor in early 2014.In her role she has sought to understand the barriers offenders face as they transition from the corrections system to the community and has been an advocate for collaboration across systems to enhance success in offender reintegration.

Walter MacDonald Whitebear


Walter has over 25 years of experience working within the education system-social services sector working with First Nations Youth and Families. Walter has earned his BA in General Studies from the University of Calgary and has been following traditional teachings for more than 25 years. Walter brings a wealth of experience and workshop skills that are respectful of all world views. Facilitated in a positive approach and delivered in a highly educational and theatrical style. Utilizing contemporary as well as traditional music.

Matthew Hinshaw


Matthew Hinshaw is a Crown Prosecutor with the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service. He received a B.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Lethbridge in 1999 and graduated from the University of Calgary Law School in 2003. Between 2004 and 2013, Matthew conducted criminal prosecutions in Calgary, working in a variety of units, including adult pre-trial, trial, summary conviction appeals and youth. Between 2008-2013 Matthew was the team leader of the youth unit in the Calgary Crown Prosecutors office. In 2013, Matthew joined the Appeals, Education and Prosecution Policy Branch of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service where he currently works in the role of Policy Counsel.

Pamela Spurvey


Pamela has been on a recovery journey for the past 9 years. Having spent many years feeling emotional
pain and hopelessness, she believed there was no way out. Her fear of judgement prevented her from
seeking help. In time, through self-help groups and guidance from counselors she was able to gain a
sense of hope and access the services she needed to turn her life around. During this session, Pamela will
share her story, her journey and her success.

She is a survivor and example of what can happen with the right services, resources, professional
intervention, and the dedication and commitment from folks like you.

Maria Illes, PhD, GDMI


Dr. Illes holds a Masters degree in Educational Programming and a PhD in History from the University of Comenius. Following a teaching career of 12 years in Slovakia, Maria qualified as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. She worked in the field in Slovakia prior to relocating to Edmonton with her family in 1999. Since her arrival, Maria has been training and placing dogs in all of the program areas ordered by DWW. She has also conducted Puppy Class, working with volunteers. Maria is fluent in 4 languages.

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