Americans in Canada invited to volunteer in swing districts

Democrats Abroad Canada has been approached by campaigns in critical swing districts in border-states asking for volunteers willing to travel help on the ground in a number of ways. The need is especially great on the weekend of Nov 2nd-4th and on election day, Nov 6.

While we’ve had dozens of volunteers across Canada phone-banking Americans living abroad, our proximity to the border states provides a unique opportunity among our diaspora in that most of us can travel relatively short distances to participate on the ground to possibly tip the balance in certain very tight races.

Here are comments from someone working with Danny O’Connor who came within 1,600 votes in the special election in Ohio’s 12th District and is running again:

We have moved onto organizing Get Out The Vote canvass parties across the state with a focus on the last weekend before the election, although we have events every weekend. Lining up volunteers from in state and out of state as well as places for people to stay. In addition, we have phone banks set up but boots on ground is focus. This election is going to be won by whoever gets the base plus the tiny group of independents who usually stay home off the couch.

Due to liability risks, Dems Abroad can’t officially organize car trips to the States. However, we know that several people are planning to travel to critical swing districts over the next couple of weeks to volunteer in campaigns. Dems Abroad will collect information for those who would like to join one of these trips. We will then share the information with those who indicated a specific canvassing opportunity and the campaign coordinator in the district. At that point it’ll be up to the group to coordinate activities.

The comments about the opportunities in Ohio’s 12th District are representative of what’s available if you’re wanting to get more involved.

To indicate your interest please click here and complete the form. We plan to distribute group details by Oct. 26th to coordinate plans. You’ll see 3 specific districts who are seeking volunteers however if you have another district you’re planning to travel to or would like to volunteer for, you can indicate that on the form.

Democratically yours,

Steve Nardi
Chair, Democrats Abroad Canada 


Canada Opens GOTV Office in Toronto! Volunteers Needed!

Join the team in making sure we vote them out! We are phoning Democrats in Flippable states - our votes can be the difference!

Click here to join the team!




Viet Nam Project: 50 Years of Striving for Peace and Justice

                                                                              July 24 2018

In its Vietnam War history project, Democrats Abroad Toronto is gathering the stories and personal reflections of members who moved to Canada from the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Links to these stories can be found below and we will update this article as meetings happen and stories are added.

The motivations for these moves were often related in some way to the social upheaval caused by U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.

Ken Sherman discusses his anti-war activism in an interview with him that appears under the News tab on the Democrats Abroad Canada website. Ken has held a number of roles in DA, including that of International Chair. He is currently the chair of the Hamilton chapter and a member of the Democratic National Committee.  Click here to read the article: Views from Canada: Apocalypse Then - Looking Back at the Vietnam War after Half a Century.

Long time DA volunteer, Beverly Fay looks back on her family’s move from the U.S. to Canada in 1969. Click here to read the article:  A Cross Border Journey

 We realize that not everyone who has a story about the era is comfortable sharing it authored. This story was submitted with the ask that it be posted anonymously. We are honored to share "A hard decision to defy the draft"  with you. 

**New story added Setp 24, 2018** A Momentous Border Crossing 

The project has had two meetings up to now, in late April and late May. Planning is now under way for a public meeting in the fall.

Many Americans who came to Canada put down roots in the country and became permanent residents. At the same time, they remained loyal to their identities as Americans and never lost their hope that the U.S. would fully realize the belief of its founders that "all men are created equal."

Half a century after the eruption of the Vietnam War as major conflict, members of Democrats Abroad want to talk about ways to gather some of the stories of those who came to Canada during that period. We want to do the gathering in a way that reveals events and motives, but at the same time protects the privacy of the story tellers. There are two purposes for this initiative: to develop a record of our personal and political lives, and to discover the contemporary relevance of resistance to the Vietnam War and other wars.


If you would like more information about this project, please contact Virginia Smith at

Below is a list of articles in the order that they were posted. You can click on each link to read each article.  

Apocalypse Then - Looking Back at the Vietnam War after Half a Century. (Ken Sherman) 

 A Cross Border Journey (Beverly Fay)

A hard decision to defy the draft (Anonymous) 

A Momentous Border Crossing (Anonymous)




Views from Canada ~ Apocalypse then: Looking back at the Vietnam War after half a century

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       by: Virginia Smith Feb 13 2018

Many members of Democrats Abroad Canada arrived in Canada during the Vietnam War era, from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. A number of them, including Ken Sherman, were involved in efforts to stop the conflict.

Ken Sherman is the chair of DA Canada’s Hamilton – Burlington chapter and a member of the Democratic National Committee. He has also served as the global chair of Democrats Abroad and the chair of Democrats Abroad Canada.

Ken first became involved in anti-war efforts as a member of Clergy Concerned About Vietnam. He was a founder of the Draft Counselling Centre in Buffalo, New York, and was jailed at least seven times for his resistance activities. He was landed in Canada in 1996 and became a dual citizen soon after.

Ken started spending time in Canada in the early 1970s when his wife, a French national, started living in Ontario. At that time, he helped many Americans to find a place in Canada. After President Jimmy Carter’s amnesty for draft resisters was enacted, Ken drove a friend back to the U.S. The border crossing was publicized on national television as the first return home of an American after the amnesty.

DA Canada recently asked Ken to share some of his reflections about that tumultuous era.

● Tell us about a couple of the ways the Vietnam War changed your life.

The war made me a political activist. I and others began using the electoral system to raise issues to end the Vietnam War and redirect its resources to the urban infrastructure. I ran as a peace candidate for Buffalo City Council in 1969. I worked to support peace candidates in the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Federal elections. In the end, it was Congress that ended the war by not funding it.

The war also made me aware of the role of globalization. My wife to be was a French citizen who moved to Canada. She was looking for progressive politics that matched her views for world peace. We worked out an interpersonal relationship across borders and cultures to raise three children. I think about 90% of the Americans who came to Canada did so for similar reasons of love.

The movement of so many Americans at that time into Canada also changed the Canadian cultural environment and Canadian society.

How did the war affect your commitment to your responsibilities as an American?

The global context of the Vietnam War woke me up to the situation in the Americas. I learned of the realities of U.S. imperialism in Central America / Nicaragua, for instance, and later in Afghanistan. I did coffee picking in Nicaragua in 1984 as part of a peace delegation. I realized then that the U.S. economic engine must have a war to feed its military machine.

Before he left office, President Carter warned that the battles of the future would be focused on the petroleum economy. I organized an energy coop in 1976 as energy conservation was becoming the new political framework. I supervised a staff of ten insulating inner city homes.

At the time of the first Iraq war in 1990, there was a movement to boycott the use of gasoline. I joined a peace demonstration to oppose the invasion. After, I turned to riding my bicycle where I could. My bicycle slipped on ice when returning from church one Sunday, and I broke my hip. I had to have three pins put into my hip. They remind me of the futility of that war.

What has been the ongoing impact of the Vietnam War on U.S. political life?

The war taught me the key role that grassroots political organizing has on social change. Those who have come through the anti-war experience make up much of the progressive base of the Democratic Party today. They form a bloc that has been mobilized by the progressive wing of the party in response to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is now a permanent anti-war movement. The church-based and other political groups that came together in a movement continue to be funded and have support.

This movement is much more diverse now though. Such was noticeable recently in the assembly at the Washington Women’s March the day after the inauguration of President Trump. Everyone’s cause was on display at this march with great joy. The march was so full of love and respect. The movement to end the Vietnam War was composed largely of liberals and the college left.

I was so proud to be a Canadian and an American at the Women’s March.

Are there similarities between the activism of the 1960s and today’s activism?

It is still true that social change comes through grassroots and political organizing. There is no social change without grassroots organizing.

Is U.S. society as polarized now as it was then?

Yes, the country is as polarized now as it was in the 1960s. The war was wound down when the most people realized that there was no redemption in continued fighting and no victory to be won. Right now, Middle America is propping up Donald Trump. Political activism is again needed to mobilize the grassroots citizenry.

What action is needed right now?

The progressive sector of the Democratic Party needs to focus on getting out the vote for the 2018 mid-term elections. We need to turn back the Republican Party from any more gains accomplished by gerrymandering districts in advance of the next U.S. census.



A Cross-Border Journey

June 18, 2018

A cross-border journey 

By Beverly Fay

I personally did not know anyone who went to Vietnam, but my husband and I and our three children did host a number of American draft dodgers who arrived in Toronto during the Vietnam War. The Toronto Anti-Draft Program (TADP – I used to call it “Tadpole”) came into being in the late 1960s. Since we had been protesting the Vietnam War in the Boston MA area, we gravitated to that group when we immigrated to Toronto on November 8, 1969.

During our first trip to Toronto in August, 1969, to visit my husband’s brother, who was attending the University of Toronto, we investigated the possibility of transferring within my husband’s company from Boston to Toronto. With our three children, at that time in grades one, two, and three, we drove a U-haul filled with our belongings, including a bowl of goldfish, to the Canadian border. Since we had arranged for the transfer, rented out our home, and said our “goodbyes,” it seemed like the thing to DO. Determined as we were, we did not even take the exit on the NY Thruway that day in 1969, when we could have gone to Woodstock instead of to Toronto. In August, we visited our sites and, after our stay with my husband’s brother’s family, we rushed back home to plan our return by November 8, the date of my birthday. At the border, the Canadian agent proclaimed: “We have a landing! We have a landing!” They also gave us little slips of paper; mine is still in my wallet.

As we settled into our rented home in Mississauga, we continued to support efforts against the war, especially by accepting the draft dodgers who were more and more arriving from the U.S. I remember one couple who arrived on our doorstep in the middle of a winter storm with only a black garbage bag filled with their belongings. I’m pretty sure that they said that they were fromGeorgia. They stayed with us for a couple of weeks until more permanent arrangements could be made. Years later, I met a lawyer who had been one of the thousands who came across the border during those times. He then went to school at Dalhousie in Nova Scotia. He said that coming to Canada had been the best thing that he had ever done. As a family, we did what we could to end the war. I’ve read that approximately 50,000 Americans came to Canada during the Vietnam War. “If everyone would light just one little candle…”

I met Ken Sherman when there were only about five of us on the Democrats Abroad Toronto board of directors group. At that time, he had already spearheaded efforts that today have so magnificently evolved. When we handed out literature outside a Bill Maher show at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, he was costumed as Uncle Sam, and I was the Statue of Liberty. Bill used the “f” word in his show many times, but he was still hilarious. I went on to become a Canadian in 1986, and I hold two current passports. I and my three children are citizens of both countries, as are my two grandchildren. I am able to vote in both countries, and I DO!

In the 1990s, I got involved in demonstrations in Maine, specifically, at Bath Iron Works in Brunswick where Aegis destroyers are built – they launch nuclear warheads. Philip Berrigan spent time in jail because of those activities and was put on trial. I remember that a high-profile lawyer came from the Hague to defend him, but the lawyer was not allowed into the courthouse. I became motivated to engage again in anti-war work because of a friend of mine who knew Mr. Berrigan. My later anti-war work was against the Iraq War. As a New Englander born in New Hampshire, I still believe in this motto: “Live free or die.” As Ken Sherman recently told an interviewer: “It is still true that social change comes through grassroots and political organizing.”

In the biography I wrote for the 50th anniversary of my graduation from Laconia High School, I said: “In other locations (such as Boston in the 1960s, Portland and Bath, Maine, in the 1990s, and Orangeville, Toronto, and Hamilton, Ontario, in the 2000s, she might have been seen demonstrating for peace. That work includes promoting absentee voter registration of Americans worldwide.” 

A hard decision to defy the draft

In 1969, I was a University of Toronto student sharing a house in the Kensington Market area of Toronto with other students. All of us were Americans. I was not yet a landed immigrant in Canada, but I soon became landed. The Vietnam War was shaking up our lives in very unpleasant ways, and we believed – implicitly most of the time – that little short of a revolution could restore our lives to a state of domestic tranquility. The world was developing in ways that made it unlike the comfortable milieu we had seen in shows like Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best. What if it turned out that Father didn’t know anything?

The rich colours and flavours of the Kensington Market ensured that our lives were full of colors and a variety of rich flavors, and, most of the time, I enjoyed the neighborhood and did not worry a lot about the turbulence of the wider world. There were wonderful Portuguese and Jewish bakeries like Permutter’s and Lottman’s and lavishly supplied cheese emporiums on Kensington Ave. Grossman’s Tavern served as a local beverage house. The transformation of Baldwin St. into an interesting cultural center, which would happen because of initiatives by U.S. draft dodgers and their friends, had not yet occurred. There were still shows at the Victory Burlesque at the corner of Spadina and Dundas. I went once myself because, even though I was a woman who supported “women’s lib” (as it was often called then), my consciousness was still not really raised.

For a while, we provided temporary housing for draft resisters and people who had left the U.S. armed forces (usually referred to as “deserters”). We did not talk very much about whether provision of housing to people we never met before was a good idea. We just took it for granted that this was an action that people living in Toronto should take. Most of the people we housed were deserters, not draft resisters. We didn’t talk much to the people who stayed with us. They were quiet and cooperative, and moved on within days. An RCMP officer did come to our house once because he wanted to talk to one of our guests, and I found this occurrence quite alarming. Nothing negative happened to our guest or to us as a result of the visit, however.

One of the residents of the house was a draft resister. My friend did not have to uproot himself and move across the border when he was drafted because he was already a student in Canada when he was drafted. His situation was easier than the plight of many draft resisters who had to make an abrupt move. Still, his decision was not at all easy because he had to turn down an attractive offer from a U.S. graduate school. He had to give up the idea of going home to see his parents across the border. Any idea he might have had about a bright professional future had to be shelved, at least temporarily, and reshaped at a later date.

Then there came an occasion when he felt that he had to cross the border to see his family. He borrowed someone’s ID to cross the border. At the time, borrowing ID did not seem a crazy or impossible step, though of course it would be now. Most people of our age had had some experience of borrowing ID to purchase alcoholic beverages, and using ID to cross the border did not seem very different, though of course it was completely different! I believed that it was very unlikely that anything could go wrong. As it turned out, I was mistaken. His father ended up driving him back to Canada very quickly when his family members got the impression that inquiries were being made.

As I reflect on this experience now, a couple of insights occur to me. One is that the people who crossed the border were courageous. Draft resisters, whose only previous infractions may have been high school demerits and traffic tickets, made the choice to become law breakers. This choice drastically changed the course of their lives, at least for a while. Many draft resisters and deserters settled permanently in Canada and developed rewarding personal and professional lives. Their resistance has become a distant bump on the horizon as they look back on their lives. Still, it was a very big bump at the time.

As I look back, I am also surprised at how little people who resisted or deserted seemed to agonize about their decisions. I suppose that this ability to take swift action is one of the advantages of youth. We never asked ourselves: “Suppose this is a just war that can be won?” Maybe it is just as well that we did not ask the question, because it turned out that we were right that the Vietnam War was not a war that we should support.

The author of this story wishes to stay anonymous.


A Momentous Border Crossing

I met Cliff in 1970, when I was a grad student at a university in Ohio, and he was an undergrad. We were singing folk songs in local clubs. I inquired about how he could be staving off the draft call, since he was only a part-time student, and he said that he was going to go to jail rather than go to serve in the military, which would likely have sent him to what we all considered an illegal war in Vietnam. I had graduated from a college in the midwest, in music, and a few of my colleagues had moved to Canada to perform in film and concerts. They loved their lives in Canada. My closest friend, Janet, kept writing about what a great place it was to live and about the opportunities in music. So I suggested to Cliff that we drive north. Canada was accepting draft dodgers with no questions asked, we were told. And we did!

We loaded all of our worldly belongings into Cliff's parents' car and drove north towards Toronto. We got to the Canadian border and, in our naiveté, said: "We want to move to Canada." We were two young hippies with no money or documents. We went through the immigration process and were turned down. One of the questions was regarding our employability. At the time, I was a TV and radio producer in Ohio. When I was assessed for employment points, I was only given one point because they classified me as a "clerk." They didn't have a classification for TV producer!

Anyway, we drove back to Ohio from the Windsor border, unloaded everything except clothing in a suitcase, and drove to a different border. We decided to return as tourists and visit, so they welcomed us.

We stayed in a seedy motel on the Lakeshore in Toronto. The next day we went to the offices of Toronto Anti-Draft Program (TADP), an organization of Canadians and Americans that was dedicated to helping the tens of thousands of young men escaping the U.S. draft. The TADP people helped us to get organized. They gave Cliff a job letter from a library. It was a fake job offer, but actually written by the library, which supported what we were doing. They explained how to be successful at immigration and were willing to give us cash to show at the border so that we would appear to be solvent.

We found a flat in a house on Clinton Street. For five weeks I commuted to Ohio to finish my course work. Each week I would bring more of our stuff and never had border issues. Cliff looked for work. In July, 1971, we decided to try to immigrate. By then, we had gotten married (we thought that would help with immigration), cut our hair, bought suits, gathered reference letters from clergy and employers, obtained copies of our degree certificates, assembled birth documents, raised a bit of money, and, with the help of TADP, put together an impressive portfolio.

We then had to get back to the U.S., but Cliff was now a wanted man. The FBI had shown up at his apartment the day after we left for Canada! So we borrowed ID from a nice Canadian who resembled Cliff (at that time there was no picture ID), went back to the U.S., claiming that Cliff was "Gordon," and then drove to a Canadian border to apply for immigration. This time my credentials didn't count because I was "the wife." However, we had enough going for us that we were given landed immigrant status.

We reported back to TADP. They ask us to help the next wave. For two years, we housed draft dodgers and deserters who arrived in Toronto. Every three days, there would be a new guy or couple. We helped them understand Toronto, gave them refuge and food, and assisted them in finding permanent housing. And we continued to sing in coffee houses in Toronto. I got a job with Screen Gems TV, working as a Production Assistant on the popular show "Under Attack." Cliff worked in a library.

Cliff eventually returned to Ohio under the amnesty program. We had split up, and he was very close to his family. I stayed. I loved Canada and still do. I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to us by those caring Canadians. I went on to open a successful entertainment business that created job opportunities for thousands of performers over the 32 years I had the company. I sold the company in 2011 and now work with individual artists to develop their careers. I've spent decades "giving back" to the community in a myriad of ways, and, because of my volunteer work, was recognized as "Citizen of the Year” by my local community.



Democrats Abroad Canada mid-term Election Results

The DA Canada Nominations and Elections Committee is pleased to provide the results of the 2018 Annual General Meeting & Election.

Secretary: Marnelle Dragila

IT Manager: Julie Buchanan

Click here for the draft minutes of the AGM

The Teller of Elections tabulated the results of the 156 valid ballots cast. (Out of the 156 ballots submitted, 3 were spoiled and not included in the results) Click here to view the election results. Any questions about vote tallies may be directed to the Teller of Elections at:

The membership is informed that any member of DA Canada who wishes to challenge any election result may do so by submitting an email to George Spiegelman, Chair of the NEC, at: All challenges must be submitted by July 15, 2018.

Democratically yours,

DA Canada Nominations and Elections Committee

George Spiegelman, Chair
Annie Parry
Ed Ungar
Heidi Burch, Teller of Elections


Notice of 2018 Democrats Abroad Canada Annual General Meeting

Notice of 2018 Annual General Meeting & Election & Bylaws Amendments

The Board of Democrats Abroad Canada invites you to attend your Annual General Meeting




To inform you about 2017 activities and the accomplishments of your country committee + amendments to the bylaws + to elect the following Board Members to complete a one-year term due to vacancies: Secretary & IT Manager.

The AGM agenda and registration link will follow at a later date.



16 June 2018

2:00 – 4:00 pm Eastern Time


Via WebEx and possibly in-person at some chapters. Look for announcements from your chapter or contact your local chapter chair. Address all other enquiries to Chair, Democrats Abroad Canada:


All Members of Democrats Abroad Canada


For Members not yet signed up to WebEx, the video conferencing system used by Democrats Abroad, you will receive information at a later date for a WebEx tutorial and for downloading the necessary software. WebEx has a total capacity of 200 participants so space online is limited.


The electronic ballots will be emailed to members on 01 June. Submit your completed ballot by 11:59PM EDT 15 June. To vote you must have joined Democrats Abroad by 11:59PM EDT 31 May 2018, you must be a member of DACA, a US citizen of voting age and a resident of Canada. A list of nominees and candidate statements can be found on the Democrats Abroad Canada website by clicking here.


Current ARTICLE 4 Officers

4.1 The Officers of the Organization shall be the Country Chair, Executive Vice Chair, two (2) additional Vice Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, and Counsel. The Executive Vice Chair shall be opposite in gender to the Country Chair. These Officers constitute the Executive Committee of DACA, which shall meet at least quarterly.

The Officers offer an opportunity to broaden representation of the regions of the country. In addition, experience working with the Board or at the national level is an important qualification. Officers are voting members of the Board.

Proposed ARTICLE 4 Officers

4.1 The Officers of the Organization shall be the Country Chair, Executive Vice Chair, two (2) additional Vice Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Counsel and IT Manager. The Executive Vice Chair shall be opposite in gender to the Country Chair. These Officers constitute the Executive Committee of DACA, which shall meet at least quarterly.

The Officers offer an opportunity to broaden representation of the regions of the country. In addition, experience working with the Board or at the national level is an important qualification. Officers are voting members of the Board.

Current Article 13 Chapter Representatives

13.1 Each chapter that has a Chapter Chair elected biennially in odd numbered years by the chapter membership and which has one hundred (100) or more verified members may be entitled to one Chapter Representative (“CR”) on the Board. A chapter, which exceeds any of the following thresholds of verified members, shall be entitled to one or more additional CR’s:

400 verified members = 1 additional CR

1,200 verified members = 2 additional CR’s

2,400 verified members = 3 additional CR’s

3,600 verified members = 4 additional CR’s

13.2 If a chapter is entitled to one CR, it shall be the Chapter Chair. If a chapter is entitled to two or more CR’s, the additional CR’s shall be elected at the biennial chapter AGM at which chapter officers are elected. Chapter Representatives so chosen shall take office at the next Board meeting following the DACA AGM and shall serve a two-year term.

Proposed Article 13 Chapter Representatives

13.1 Each chapter that has a Chapter Chair elected biennially in odd numbered years by the chapter membership and which has one hundred (100) or more verified members is entitled to one Chapter Representative (“CR”) on the Board, who shall be the Chapter Chair. A chapter which exceeds the following thresholds of verified members shall be entitled to additional CR’s:

2,000 verified members = 1 additional CR (Total of 2)

4,000+ verified members = 2 additional CR’s (Total of 3)

Proposed 13.2 If a chapter is entitled to two (2) or more CR’s, the additional CR’s shall be the Chapter Vice-Chair(s), elected at the biennial chapter AGM at which chapter officers are elected.

Chapter Representatives so chosen shall take office at the next Board meeting following the DACA AGM and shall serve a two-year term.

Candidate Statements for Officer Elections at the June 16th AGM

Below are the Candidate Statements for the individuals who are standing for election to the Dems Abroad Canada Board at the upcoming AGM for Secretary or IT Manager to fill mid-term vacancies. Additional details will be provided in the AGM Meeting Notice to follow.





· Marnelle Dragilla

· Jacquelyn MacKnight


· Julie Buchanan

· Greg Nelsen

· Tim Smith

Name: Marnelle Dragilla

Nomination for: Secretary

Marnelle was appointed DACA Secretary in August 2017 to fill the vacancy when the elected secretary resigned.

She is a proud Washington State voter and has resided in Canada, in both BC and Ontario, for over 20 years. She currently lives in the London, Ontario, area and is actively involved in the London & Area DA chapter. Her chapter Chair enthusiastically endorses her for DACA Secretary.

Marnelle attended the May 2017 DA Global Meeting in Washington, D.C. and was instrumental in the planning discussions to form the new global Progressive Caucus (ProDA) within DA for which she now serves as a founding steering committee member.

Marnelle represented DA as an attendee at both the 2017 People’s Summit in Chicago and the inaugural Women’s Convention (associated with the Women’s March in D.C.) in Detroit.

Marnelle also represented DA Canada and ProDA at the 2018 DA America’s Regional Meeting in Costa Rica, where she presented on both ProDA and the Women’s Caucus, of which she is also a member.

Marnelle has participated in numerous marches, talks and special events with DA in Toronto, including the 2018 Women’s March. She also participated in the bus trip from Canada to Washington, D.C. for the March for Our Lives.

Marnelle’s favourite DA-related activity, however, would have to be liberating the DA donkey from a warehouse outside Philadelphia in a sketchy cargo van with Ed Ungar - and transporting it across the Canadian border without any issues! The DA donkey can often be found at GOTV events in the Toronto area.

Marnelle has a background in social work centred on an anti-oppression framework, and she is also a lawyer. Her legal practice has focused on child protection law for the last 12 years, including representing children, as an agent of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.

She is a past Regional Director, Vice-Chair and Acting Chair for the Organization of Counsel for Children’s Aid Societies. She is Chair of her local cycling club and sits on the Board of the Ontario Cycling Association.

At present, Marnelle is actively involved in organizing the 2019 Democrats Abroad Global Meeting in Washington, D.C.


Name: Jacquelyn MacKnight

Nomination for: Secretary

I have been living in Ontario Canada since November of 2000. I became a citizen of Canada in 2002.

I maintain my nursing license in both Minnesota and Ontario. I have been active in the democratic party since 18 years of age and served as campaign staff for the Minnesota Jesse Jackson campaigns along with Senator Paul Wellstone.

Experience which is pertinent to this position is listed below.

• LHIN Health Professional Advisory Committee

• Council of the College of Nurses of Ontario, elected member assigned to the Registration

Committee, finishing my term in June 2014

• Rehab/CCC Advisory Committee member at CNO in 2014

• RPNAO member and serve as VP of the IB SIG group, current

• Gerontological Nursing Association Ontario, President NE Chapter

• Gerontology Professionals of Canada LinkedIn Group, Manager

• White Mountain Academy Board of Directors, Secretary

• Elliot Lake Library Board, Vice President


Computer: MS Office, Google Chrome & components, Outlook, Personnel and client records intake and maintenance, database maintenance, charting, data collection for records, setting up initial and ongoing scheduling.

Work style: Confidentiality ensured, honest, loyal, superb organization skills, goal oriented, ability to prioritize independently, adaptability - efficient under pressure, always meet deadlines, multitasking - competent handle many assignments, willing to stretch extra hours if needed to complete extra assigned work, critical thinking, decision making and problem solving skills.

Communication: Great at interpersonal communication - effective coordinator, excellent verbal and written communication skills, an effective listener, accuracy and punctuality, superb customer relations, good judgment, negotiating skills, conflict resolution, strong presentation skills

Other information which may be important: I live in Elliot Lake Ontario, a northern community.


Name: Julie Buchanan

Nomination for: IT Manager

I am writing to nominate Julie Buchanan from Alabama, currently of Brampton, ON for the position of IT Manager.

Julie Buchanan has been an active contributing member to Democrats Abroad Canada for nearly ten years, participating and volunteering at the local, national and global levels.

Currently Julie has been Acting IT Manager since the position became vacant, stepping forward when the person elected was unable to serve the full term. Julie had previously served as the IT Manager and brought a technical aptitude plus an understanding of the technology utilized by Democrats Abroad, which enabled her to immediately be effective.

This is not the first time Julie has stepped up or raised her hand to take on a challenge. On two separate occasions when vacancies occurred unexpectedly, Julie stepped into the Acting Chair position for the Toronto Chapter, leading the chapter to increased growth and member engagement.

Julie also gave her boundless energy and optimism for the Democratic Party to be a driving force for Democrats Abroad Canada's participation in the Women's March on Washington and the March for Our Lives.

Julie has been successful as the Acting IT Manager and I'm proud to nominate her to complete the term. Julie was born in Alabama and votes from Tennessee. Julie has agreed to serve if elected.


Steve Nardi


Name: Greg Nelsen

Nomination for: IT Manager

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Greg Nelsen and I am a registered Democrat living in Toronto Ontario. I have lived in Canada for nearly 20 years and reside here as a permanent resident. I am originally from Houston, Texas (a native son!) and actively participate in the happenings of my home state. I am registered to vote in the state of Texas and have never missed an election, be it local or federal. I have been a member of Democrats Abroad for many years.

I am an Information Technology professional and have more than 30 years' experience. As an IT consultant, I am always seeking opportunities to grow a business or organization by leveraging my knowledge of technology with the needs of the client organization. I have experience in various markets ranging from public to private including banking/finance, insurance, medical, R&D, government, and military.

Through my years of experience, I provide a wide range of expertise from the nuts-and-bolts, such as managing institutional domains, e-mail and list servers, and databases, to the "soft skills" needed to manage people. I have direct experience managing teams of people, including software development teams and volunteer social organizations and know the need for that "special something" required to coax the best performance from all.

A leadership role is critical to the effective functioning and good governance in any organization. Communication is critical to break down barriers and remove obstacles. As such, I also provide training and written documentation -- from technical design documentation to end-user "how to" guides.

I am currently in a position where I can devote time to the organization and feel that now, more than ever, the need to do so.

Please consider this note as my self-nomination to stand for the position of IT Manager for Democrats Abroad Canada. I am not an incumbent for this position.


Name: Tim Smith

Nomination for: IT Manager

• I care deeply about your privacy and the security of our membership data and infrastructure. 

• I believe advancing a progressive agenda is crucial to securing environmental, economic, and social justice for all Americans. 

• I work as a data scientist supporting a Web browser that you've heard of, and I have a deep understanding of how Internet technologies and platforms work.

I would look forward to maintaining a professional and effective Internet presence for Democrats Abroad Canada while helping chapter leaders communicate with their members. Since recent events have made clear that parties around the world have nefarious interests in Democratic infrastructure, I will apply a common-sense approach to best practices for information security to help maintain the integrity and privacy of your membership data and our information resources.

My past political engagement includes volunteering on phones and at doors for Democratic presidential campaigns and progressive referendum campaigns. I've worked as a staff field organizer for Hillary Clinton in Nevada in 2008, and as a field intern in DC for Human Rights Campaign. I hold BS, MS, and PhD degrees in engineering.

I reside in Vancouver, BC; vote in Irvine, CA; and I am not an incumbent.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can email me at, you can find my LinkedIn profile at, and Vancouverites can catch me swimming with the English Bay Swim Club. It would be an honor to have your support.


Watch for the registration details to attend via WebEx and the electronic ballot to be distributed on June 1st.

George Spiegelman, NEC Chair
Annie Parry
Ed Ungar