Are you considering serving in non-profit leadership or municipal elected office? Do you have an interest in public service? Do you wish to expand your leadership skills? Or do you want to understand our governance system better from those who have lived it?  If so then the Public Office Seminars are for you.


New Semester, October 11-November 28 2019   

For more info please email Julian Prieto (program coordinator) info (then put[att sign]) then global

POP recognizes that formal classroom learning has important but limited value in understanding the politics of elected governance. This is a subject that is best learned from the experiences of practitioners. For this reason the Seminars will have some formal teaching but will be mostly insights and case studies from those who have experienced elected governance first hand.

Each semester of Public Office Seminars will have ten weekly sessions designed as flexible opportunities appropriate for prospective candidates who are already fully engaged in work or community service.

The last sessions took place weekly on Friday afternoon from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The first hour will feature Guest Lecturers who are former elected officials.  They will share their insights and experiences, successes and failures and lessons learned. The lecturers will be mostly former public officials, but will also include campaign professionals and engaged academics.

The last hour featured campaign professionals, academics and journalists who support, observe and critique those in elected public office.

All participants are encouraged to attend Council Meetings and consultation processes as well as engage in self study on relevant topics.

The First Semester took place Friday afternoons February 15, 22, March 1, 22, 29, April 5, 12. 

Case study sessions with former officials:

  • What led to public life
  • Lessons on winning and losing
  • Case studies on successful and unsuccessful initiatives
  • Examples of the role of mentors
  • High points and low points
  • Advice to prospective candidates
  • Balancing friends and family
  • Exit strategy

Formal class study topics:

  • Historical context on adversarial politics
  • Philosophical issues
  • Structure of government
  • Media and social media
  • GOTV getting out the vote
  • Effective public speaking
  • Ethical issues
  • Politics and the law

The cost of the program is $470.4 (inc tax) for the 10 week semester. Some sponsorships are available for full semester or portions. To inquire about registering please contact Julian Prieto with a summary about your background and what interests you about this project.

write an email by typing ‘info’ and then an ‘att’ sign and after that type ‘global’

Past 2019 Seminars:

Click here to download course notes from the first semester of 2019

March 1: Ujjal Dosanjh and Mike Wilson

Ujjal Dosanjh served as a Liberal Party of Canada Member of  Parliament from 2004 to 2011. Prior to being involved in federal politics, he spent ten years in provincial politics. He was elected in the VancouverKensington riding in 1991 as a member of the BC NDP and re-elected there in 1996. He also served as the Attorney General of British Columbia from 1995 to 2000. When the leader of his party resigned in 1999, Dosanjh put himself forward as a candidate and won the leadership vote. With the win he became Canada’s first IndoCanadian provincial leader. He served as the 33rd Premier of British Columbia until June 2001.

Mike Wilson is a communications and political strategist, Principal
at Dampier Consulting and CEO of In Language Advertising. He
has played leading roles in numerous political campaigns
including the 2008 Obama campaign, the Vision Vancouver
municipal race and David McGuinty’s Ontario Liberal
election. Mike played a role in Christy Clark’s leadership bid
and then moved in to the BC government where he managed
polling and advertising. His recent work includes Bruce Hayne
for Mayor of Surrey and the NO PR referendum.

March 15 2019: Suzanne Anton and Kareem Allam

Suzanne served as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of British Columbia representing the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview. Following her service in elected office Suzanne played a major role in the “no” side opposing electoral reform. Prior to entering provincial politics, Suzanne served on Vancouver City Council and the Vancouver Park board. She has served as a crown council lawyer and as a mathematics teacher overseas.

Kareem is a public affairs director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, one of Canada’s largest public affairs firm. With more than a decade of private and public sector experience in public affairs, Kareem has fostered a unique understanding of Canada’s Chinese, South Asian and Indigenous communities while developing policy expertise in the energy, health and transportation sectors.He has successfully levered his knowledge into successful political campaigns at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

March 22 2019:  Renu Bakshi and Colin Hansen 

Colin Hansen, Sam Sullivan, Renu Bakshi, Bradley Shende

Colin served as MLA between 1996 and 2013 and held the portfolios of Minister of Health Services, and Economic Development responsible for the Asia Pacific Initiative and the Olympics. After retiring from politics Colin became president of AdvantageBC, an organization dedicated to promoting BC as a place for international business.

Renu Bakshi began her career as a journalist and is now one of Canada’s leading communication strategists. She served as a TV anchor for CTV news and now heads her own communication firm where she executes high-level public relations and crisis management strategies, news conferences, and media training boot camps. In 2008, the Vancouver Sun named Renu one of BC’s Most Influential People

March 15 Vancouver City Council Visit

Councillor Pete Fry gives a tour of city hall

Pete Fry spoke about life as a city Councillor and gave a tour of the  chambers and offices.

March 22: Andrew Saxton and Barb Justason

Andrew Saxton, Julian Prieto, Barb Justason

Andrew Saxton, former Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, and Barb Justason, experienced pollster and strategic advisor, shared their thoughts on polling, campaigning and political life. Ken Sim, candidate in the 2018 Vancouver municipal elections, also briefly took the POP stage to share his experience with campaigning.

March 29: BC Lee and Mark Marissen 

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor
Mark Marissen, Bradley Shende, BC Lee

Strategist Mark Marissen spoke about the importance of supporting a candidate you believe in. Former Councillor BC Lee shared his thoughts on public life and leadership in multicultural communities.

April 5: Greg Lyle and Hector Bremner

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and indoor
Greg Lyle, Julian Prieto, Hector Bremner

Greg Lyle spoke of the advantages of teams that have worked with each other for an extended period of time, and of having a clear idea what one wishes to accomplish in elected office. Hector Bremner spoke of 4 principles: bring people together, take good ideas, don’t fall into political distractions and be results oriented.

Ken Sim

Former mayoral candidate Ken Sim gave insights into the pressures of running for Mayor and the connections between business leadership and politics.

Ken Sim