2016 - 2017 Program

JUNE 7, 2017

BRIAN BURKE, President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames

Brian Burke joined the Calgary Flames Hockey Club on September 5, 2013 in the newly created role as President of Hockey Operations.  He is responsible for overseeing all hockey operations for the Flames organization.  The 58-year-old Burke brings over 20 years of National Hockey League experience in various roles to the franchise.

In 1,145 games as a general manager in Hartford (84 games: 1992-93), Vancouver (492 games: 1998-99 to 2003-04), Anaheim (263 games: 2005-06 to 2008-09) and Toronto (306 games: 2008-09 to 2012-13), Burke has accumulated a record of 521-449-74-101.  Additionally, he worked in the NHL front office for five years as Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, under Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Away from the rink, Burke is well known for his work within the community.  He is a vocal activist against homophobia in sports, a strong supporter of first response personnel and military service members, an environmentalist and a humanitarian.  His most recent appointment was to the Board of Directors for Rugby Canada, a sport he fondly has referred to as his “second favourite sport”.

May 16, 2017

Her Honour, The Honourable LOIS MITCHELL, CM, AOE, LLD, Lt. Governor Of Alberta

Her Honour, the Honourable Lois Mitchell, CM, AOE, LLD, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

Lois Mitchell is an accomplished businesswoman and a proud, longstanding member of Alberta’s dedicated corps of community volunteers. She began her duties as the 18th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta on June 12, 2015. Her Honour has chosen to make history education a focus during her tenure in office.

Lois Mitchell has maintained a firm commitment to community service and volunteerism throughout her life. Her belief in the value of amateur sport, to both individuals and the community as a whole, prompted volunteer service as a Director of the Hockey Canada Foundation and Ambassador and Governor of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Her Honour is Chancellor of the Alberta Order of Excellence. In 2016, The Canada Institute presented the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service to Her Honour and His Honour as a team. In 2015, she received Honourary Doctor of Law degrees from the Universities of Alberta and Calgary and became a Dame of Justice of the Order of St. John that same year. In 2012, she was named a Member of the Order of Canada and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

April 21, 2017


As a former Cabinet Minister in the Federal Government, Michelle Rempel has always been a voice for cutting waste and lowering spending. During her time in government, Federal spending had been cut by roughly $19 billion a year and the Government kept its promise to Canadians to balance the budget by 2015.

This effort resulted in tax savings of nearly $3,400 for an average Canadian family of four, and made a real difference in the lives of thousands of Calgary families.

Michelle has also worked with all levels of government to promote public transit in Calgary, resulting in the federal announcement in July 2015 of a commitment of $1.53 billion toward the proposed LRT Green Line. She was the youngest female cabinet minister in Canadian history when appointed Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification by then Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Michelle earned a degree in economics from the University of Manitoba before moving to Calgary in 2004. She has also served as the Director of the University of Calgary's Institutional Programs Division and is an accomplished pianist.

She is currently a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

MARCH 17, 2017

KEN LaPOINTE, Celebrated Historian

Ken LaPointe was born in Calgary in the mission district, formerly the village of Rouleauville, and has lived all his life in Calgary. His passion lies with the protection and recognition of Calgary’s history.

Ken’s original presentation of Rouleauville, Calgary’s French Connection was held during the Historic Calgary week in 2008 and 2012 and has been presented annually since 2010. Due to his tireless research and creation of his presentation, Ken received the RVF Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013.

Ken is an active volunteer in the community and served on the board of the Vertigo Mystery Theatre Society and the Cliff-Bungalo Mission Community where he advocated for the historic protection and preservation of the Mission Community, formerly the village of Rouleauville. Ken has also served as the President for the Society for the Preservation and Restoration of St. Mary’s School and was appointed for a term on the Calgary Heritage Authority where he supported projects such as the moving of Rouleau House to its current location behind the St. Mary’s hall.

During his spare time, Ken volunteers in many capacities for genealogical research, professional society for records archiving, architectural heritage and community issues. He is currently working on contract for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in the Government of Alberta.

February 22, 2017

Dr. JAMES SILVIUS, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Calgary

Dr. Silvius is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Calgary.

He has held numerous leadership positions over his career including Division Head, Geriatric Medicine, University of Calgary; Executive Medical Director Southwest Community Portfolio, Calgary Health Region; Medical Director, Pharmacy Services at Alberta Health Services; and most recently a combined role of Medical Director, Seniors Health and Senior Medical Director, Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network.

External to AHS he has served as Chair of the Expert Committee on Drug Evaluation and Therapeutics, Alberta Health; and is the current Vice-Chair of the Canadian Drug Expert Committee, CADTH.  He maintains a clinical practice in geriatrics at Rockyview General Hospital.

Other interests include being a co-founder of the Canadian Deprescribing Network (CaDEN), participation in TREC and the DementiaNet, and distance health care delivery.  He is the Lead for Medical Assistance in Dying Preparedness, Alberta Health Services.


January 20, 2017

IRFAN SABIR, Alberta MLA and Minister of Human Services

Irfan Sabir was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, representing the constituency of Calgary-McCall, on May 5, 2015. On May 24, 2015 he was appointed as Minister of Human Services.

Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly, he practiced in aboriginal law at a national law firm in Calgary beginning in 2012. Previous to this, he worked as a research assistant with the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary (U of C).

He also worked with the Salvation Army for five years and worked as a real estate agent with the Calgary Real Estate Board between 2006 and 2007.

In addition, Mr. Sabir has volunteered with Calgary Legal Guidance and Canadian Red Cross.  In addition to holding a juris doctor degree from the University of Calgary, he has a degree in social work from the U of C and a degree in economics from the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.

Born in Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, he has called Calgary home since 2004.

December 15, 2016

TODD HIRSCH, Chief Economist at ATB Financial - Canadian Club of Calgary

Todd Hirsch is ATB Financial's Chief Economist. He holds a BA Honours in Economics from the University of Alberta and an MA in Economics from the University of Calgary. For over 20 years he’s worked as an economist at Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canada West Foundation and the Bank of Canada.

For almost a decade, Todd taught economics at the University of Calgary. He released his first book, The Boiling Frog
Dilemma: Saving Canada from Economic Decline in 2012.

Todd provides economic commentary for several Canadian media outlets and is a regular columnist for the Globe and Mail. He currently serves on the University of Calgary Board of Governors and is the chair of the Calgary Arts Academy. Todd recently received the U of A’s Alumni Honour Award.

He also writes an economic update that is sent to thousands of subscribers around the world everyday. It's called "The Owl" and you may subscribe at atb.com/economics.

November 15, 2016

LAUREEN TESKEY HARPER - Former Canadian Prime Minister's Wife

Laureen Teskey Harper was born in Turner Valley, Alberta. As a child she spent years tramping around the headwaters for the Sheep and Highwood Rivers with her father. Her grandfather built many of the original bridges and roads west of Turner Valley in what is now Sheep River Provincial Park.

From 2002 to 2015 she lived in Ottawa and Calgary when her husband Stephen Harper was Prime Minister of Canada. During that time she hiked and snowshoed all over Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. But her favourite trails are all on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
While in Ottawa she got involved with the wonderful people of the Trans Canada Trail. She has hiked on the trail in every province and is working with the group to finish the trail for Canada’s birthday in 2017.

October 19, 2016

BRIAN KEATING - Head Naturalist of goingwild.org; Honourary Conservation Advisor, Calgary Zoological Society; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Calgary

Brian’s previous job at the Zoo was to raise money and then to spend it on environmental projects around the world. Presently, he’s the Zoo’s Honourary Conservation Advisor to their outreach efforts, and a part time Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the U of C, and the owner of www.goingwild.org

He’s been leading groups on nature‑based travel for three decades, exploring some of the best wildlife areas on the Planet.  He’s a weekly guest on both Calgary and Edmonton’s CBC Radio, and for many years, was a regular on the Discovery Channel, using his own wilderness adventure and wildlife filming.  He’s in high demand as an international speaker, presenting at some 50 events a year.

Brian’s a pilot, a naturalist, scuba diver,  mountaineer, and an author of five children’s books celebrating nature. He’s an honourary chief of a West African village which supports a hippo sanctuary.  Brian has been presented with the distinguished “Canadian Hero of the Year” award from Reader’s Digest Magazine, an Honourary Doctor of Science degree from Brandon University (2009) and an Honourary Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary (2011).  All three accolades were presented in recognition of his global environmental efforts.  His latest documentary, “Going Wild in Madagascar”, recently aired world-wide on Discovery HD-TV.  His wife, Dee, is a physician and keen naturalist who always joins him on his adventures.


September 21, 2016

CHIEF ROY WHITNEY, Tsuut'ina Nation Chief 

Chief Roy Whitney has a long and distinguished career in business and community politics. As Chief of the Tsuut’ina Nation from 1984 to 2001, Chief Whitney was instrumental in improving relations between his community, all three levels of government, and the business community. Through his past and current leadership many initiatives have created numerous employment opportunities and business spin-offs for both Tsuut’ina members and Calgarians.

After a decade of Chieftainship, Chief Whitney stepped down from office for the Tsuut’ina Nation.

In his triumphant return in 2012, Chief Whitney participated in the grand opening of the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino’s hotel and entertainment centre May 2nd, 2013.  In November 2014, Chief Whitney and his Council were successful in negotiating the Calgary Ring Road project and more significantly achieving over seventy (70) percent of community approval.  Subsequently, on June 27th, 2014 Chief and Council were again successful in receiving community approval for the Tsuut’ina land designation vote for economic development for purposes of land development for commercial use.