Canada Vice Chair | DPCA Voting Representative

Electing Democrats and stopping Trumpism

  • @jmobuchanan tweeted link to Donate CA. 2022-11-18 00:08:26 -0500
    Just made a donation to Democrats Abroad for Georgia Mail Campaign

  • Watch the Election Returns in a Virtual Room!

    Watch the Election Returns in a Virtual Room with other Democrats Abroad Members, Family and Friends!

    Read more

  • published DACA & Polaris Tax Webinar March 2021 in News 2021-04-09 00:13:32 -0400

    The Basics of Cross-Border Taxes for Americans Abroad

    On behalf of Democrats Abroad Canada, we thank those who attended our webinar “The Basics of Cross-Border Taxes for Americans Abroad”, presented March 28th by Max Reed and Polaris Tax Counsel. We hope you found the information beneficial.

    This posting is to share with you links for the webinar audio recording and presentation deck, plus other useful information.

    AUDIO only of DACA and Polaris Tax Webinar March 2021

    PDF Presentation of DACA and Polaris Tax Webinar March 2021

    If you’re in need of a certified U.S. tax return preparer, please visit this link from American Citizens Abroad. Contact details for Max Reed are in the presentation deck.

    Democrats Abroad has advocated on behalf of our members for decades on the issues of taxation, which we continue to do through these challenging times. To receive updates on the work of our Global Taxation Task Force visit this page to subscribe.

    As a 100% volunteer, self-funded organization, Democrats Abroad is grateful for your generous support.

    Thanks to those who participated  - we look forward to you joining us on future webinars.

  • Candidate Statements for 2021 Atlantic Provinces' Elections

    Nominations from the floor of the AGM will be accepted and decided upon for the position of TREASURER. *


    Chair Candidate Statements 

    Michele Grant, J.D., (she/her) is a dual U.S.-Canada citizen living in St. John’s, in the ancestral homelands of the Beothuck and Mi’kmaq peoples (Newfoundland and Labrador). After living in the States all of her life, she moved to St. John’s with her spouse in 2017. She is a lawyer licensed in Pennsylvania and is pursuing her call to the bar in NL.

    Before moving to Canada, Michele last lived in Philadelphia (PA-03), where she raised her son and went to law school. She was a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the public transit provider in metro Philadelphia, advocating for city resident ridership. She also served as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the South Street Headhouse District, a quasi-municipal authority, advocating for District residents. For several years she served as Co-chair of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and occasionally as a regional vice-president of the Guild, reporting to the Guild’s national executive committee.

    A Democrat for over 20 years, she worked and volunteered at many elections in Philadelphia, in partisan and non-partisan roles: signature gatherer, poll worker, election observer/protection, data gathering, policy research on judicial elections, and litigation support in ballot access legal challenges.

    She welcomes the opportunity to build Atlantic membership and keep Democrats effectively engaged with electoral politics in the U.S.


    Luke Roman*

    I am currently Vice Chair of the Atlantic Chapter of Democrats Abroad, Canada. I would be very happy to continue carrying out this duty. My experience as Vice Chair over the last few months provided a basis for my future work in the role, and I hope to gain yet more experience if elected. As a professor at Memorial University and Head of the Department of Classics, I have acquired communication and organizational skills appropriate to the position of Vice Chair. Thank you for considering my candidacy. 


    Secretary Candidate Statement

    Rachel Brickner (Wolfville, Nova Scotia)

    I am running for the position of Secretary of the Atlantic Provinces chapter. I am originally from Detroit, Michigan (go Tigers!). I moved to Canada in 1999 to attend McGill University’s PhD program in Political Science. Despite being open to “any academic position, as long as it was in a cool urban area,” I ended up accepting a position at Acadia University in rural Nova Scotia. I’ve been here since 2006. 

    I have been involved in the DA-Atlantic Provinces chapter since it rebooted in 2019, initially in the position of Vice-Chair and before serving temporarily as Chair. In these roles I spoke to the media on behalf of the chapter on multiple occasions and gained extensive experience with the DA database. Although my work commitments do not afford me the time necessary to serve in the role of Chair, I have gained substantial knowledge about our chapter and have developed ideas for how to build momentum going into the future. I am looking forward to using these ideas in a role that allows our chapter to be up and running for 2022 and 2024. 


    Social Media Coordinator Statement

    Devbani Raha

    I am an Epidemiologist working in Cancer Care, Nova Scotia Health. I have lived in Canada and the United States, and am a dual citizen of both countries. I lived in Denver, CO and continue to vote in Denver County.

    For the past year, I've volunteered with Democrats Abroad Atlantic Chapter in an unofficial media outreach role. I have been the watch party host on Facebook for the presidential debates (2020 elections); I really enjoyed keeping my fellow attendees engaged and commenting throughout the events. I've chaired a meeting on behalf of our Chapter Chair, Dr Rachel Brickner. I've posted in the DA- Atlantic Facebook pages to remind people to vote, send links to reliable information and posted information about upcoming events like the watch parties or DA-Atlantic meetings.

    I self identify as a woman and person-of-color.


    *Please note that email notification sent March 28th had an error and stated Luke Roman self nominated as Treasurer. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

    *With apologies,
    *Julie Buchanan-Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee

  • Call for Nominations for 2021 Atlantic Provinces Elections

    The virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) and 2021 Elections of The Atlantic Chapter of Democrats Abroad Canada will take place Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. RSVP here to get the Zoom link to join the meeting

    The Nominations and Elections Committee is seeking nominations for the following offices: The Executive Committee consisting of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Social Media Coordinator, and Treasurer. The Vice Chair elected shall be a member who is of differing gender to the Chair, as per the by-laws of Democrats Abroad and the rules of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Review the office position descriptions for each here

    Nominations open March 8, 2021 and will close on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.  

    Please send us an email with a Candidate Statement supporting your nominee, or yourself if you are self-nominating. In 200 words or less, describe skills and experience pertinent to the office position for which you or your nominee is running. A nominee must be a Democrats Abroad Canada member, a US citizen, a resident within the boundaries of the Atlantic Provinces Chapter. 

    As a Board member you will be expected to actively participate in the management of the Chapter, including attendance at monthly board meetings, either in-person or virtually.

    Online ballots will be emailed Monday, April 12, 2021 with instructions on how to complete and submit the ballot by Monday April 26,  2021, 12:00 midnight.

    We greatly appreciate your assistance and look forward to receiving your nominations.

    Best regards,

    Sara Joyce MacDonald, Julie Buchanan and Ed Ungar
    Linda MacDonald, Teller
    Atlantic Provinces Nominations & Election Committee
    email: [email protected]

  • Officer Position Descriptions for 2021 Atlantic Provinces Elections

    As of the close of nominations, the position of Treasurer remains open. **

    Treasurer: The Treasurer shall manage the finances of the organization, maintain its monthly financial reports to members and make and maintain such financial reports as may be required by law (including without limitation the laws and regulations of the United States and the several States applicable to political parties and contributions to them). All such records shall be open for inspection by members. The Treasurer shall prepare and present to the Annual General Meeting of Democrats Abroad Canada a Statement of Income and Expenses and a Balance Sheet.



    The following are brief descriptions of the other positions on the Board:

    Chair: The Atlantic Chair shall be the legal representative of Democrats Abroad Canada and the Chief Executive Officer of the organization, and shall preside at all General Meetings and all meetings of the Board. The Chair shall have Membership responsibility for the day-to-day activities of DA Canada - and for execution of all activities approved and undertaken by the Board. The Chair may appoint such ad hoc committees as necessary for the execution of the activities of DA Canada. The  Chair shall be a voting member of all Standing Committees and ad hoc committees. The Chair shall be a voting member of and attend meetings of Democrats Abroad Canada. 

    Vice Chair: In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall call and preside at meetings of members and of the Executive Committee. The Vice Chair shall have other duties such as chairing one or more committees. The Vice Chair shall work with the Chair to ensure all responsibilities approved by and on behalf of the organization are supervised and executed appropriately. The Vice Chair elected shall be a member who is of different gender to the Chair, as per the by-laws of Democrats Abroad and the rules of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

    Secretary: The Secretary shall attend and produce minutes for all Board and Executive Committee meetings. The Secretary shall maintain all files and administrative records of the organization. All of such records shall be open for inspection by members. Minutes of all meetings shall be sent to the Executive Committee once approved by the Country Chair and/or Vice Chair. The Secretary shall schedule and coordinate participation for all Board meetings. 


    Social Media/Communications Coordinator: The Social Media Coordinator makes posts for upcoming events, moderates live viewing parties, and assists with membership communication, outreach, and involvement. This person will oversee our social media accounts, coordinate media appearances, and work directly with the Canada Communications Officer.


    **Please note that email notification sent March 28th had an error and stated Luke Roman self nominated as Treasurer. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

    **With apologies,
    **Julie Buchanan-Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee

  • published Candidate Statements for 2021 DAVI Elections in News 2021-02-15 23:31:11 -0500

    Candidate Statements for 2021 DAVI Elections

    Democrats Abroad Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands 

    There are currently no candidates for the positions of Membership Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator. Nominations and/or appointments for these positions will take place on the floor of the online Annual General Meeting, March 20th, 1-3 pm. Please contact the Nominations and Elections Committee if you are interested. 

    Candidates were asked to make a short statement of interest, which follow here.

    Read more

  • Lights for Liberty: Democrats Abroad Joins Others to Protest Detention of Migrant Children

    On July 12, about 100 people, including members of Democrats Abroad (DA), gathered near the U.S. Consulate in Toronto to protest the detention of thousands of migrant children in overcrowded settings in Florida, Texas, and elsewhere in the U.S. 

    A lawyer who visited one of these facilities has reported that a large majority of the children have U.S. based family members who could take care of them. Instead, they are sleeping on mats and cement floors, and they are not being adequately nourished. Fruit and vegetables are not provided.
    Reporters for the Miami Herald, who visited a facility in Homestead, Florida, said that children are identified by a number rather than a name and have very regimented schedules, including five-minute showers and two 10-minute calls a week to family members.

    As protestors gathered in Toronto, gatherings were happening at detention centres across the U.S. and in other countries, including Germany and Ireland. The Toronto gathering included participants in the YWCA Settlement Program, the Canadian Association of Refugee lawyers, members of the Honduran community, and other groups, as well as DA members.

    A number of speakers talked about urgent need to close these prison-like facilities:
    Irit Printz, the rabbi of B’nai Shalom v’Tivah synagogue, said that “This is not a moral gray area. Children should not be held in detention in conditions that are worse than the conditions in which people can keep animals. Parents should not be torn away from their children. Providing people with basic necessities and a safe place to stay should be obvious, not a matter of debate.”

    Karin Lippert, DA Toronto chapter Vice-chair, stated later that “Our message at the Lights for Liberty was: Close the Camps. Americans and people around the world are horrified by the images of children in cages, sleeping on the floor in their own feces, without adequate food and water. This is not reflective of American and Canadian values and must not continue. Close the Camps was both a solemn demonstration and a sacred space. Several speakers reminded us of the decades of exploitation of Central America by American corporations – supported by the U.S. government – and the general disregard there has been for the PEOPLE of Central America.”

    Ed Ungar, DA Canada Vice-chair, stressed that action is required: “If you do not provide the basics of life (toothbrushes, showers, and so on) for children in your custody, that’s child abuse – child neglect. Society removes those children from custody. This is just as society must remove children from the Trump administration’s custody.”

    The gathering concluded with candle lighting, song, and words of encouragement for the journey forward. Julie Buchanan, DA Canada Executive Vice-Chair recalled that “after moving stories and inspirational speakers, we sang John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’”: Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one. ”True, I may be a dreamer but clearly I was not the only one there that day. There is always hope,” said Ms. Buchanan.

    In her statement, Rabbi Printz noted the meaning of candle lighting: She said that Jews light candles on Hannukah “because of the principle that light should always be increased in the world, that the world is dark enough without removing what light there is. I am so proud to stand with you today as we add our light to the world with the hope that we can make the world a little brighter, a little more caring, perhaps even a little more just.”

    For DA members, the July 12 protest pointed the way toward action that is needed in 2020. Karin Lippert said that the gathering was a powerful reminder of our shared humanity. “ Going forward, the activism of Democrats Abroad living in Canada and around the world, and also our voter turnout in 2020 will be an affirmation of our values and an expression of the collective power of every vote.”

    Authored by Virginia Smith



  • Webinar: Operating a Canadian business as a US citizen Sunday April 28, 2019

    Democrats Abroad Canada is pleased to bring back our U.S. Tax Webinars for members. These webinars fill up quickly, so please register to attend today!

    Operating a Canadian business as a US citizen

    The Trump tax reforms made entirely changed the tax reforms around operating a business as a US taxpayer resident in Canada. This webinar will provide an overview of those changes and examine strategies for dealing with the complexity as a Canadian resident US citizen who wants to incorporate. Incorporation can still provide significant tax benefits — even for those with double tax exposure. Specifically, the webinar will cover at a high level:

    • Tax benefits of incorporation
    • The US repatriation tax and strategies for offsetting it;
    • The US GILTI rules and strategies to mitigate them;
    • Other tax planning ideas for incorporated business owners.

    Sunday, April 28, 2019
    3:00 P.M. Eastern / 12:00 P.M. Pacific
    Duration: 90 minutes

    This is an online webinar session and advance registration is required. Register by clicking here and we will follow up with WebEx installation/user/meeting information. Hope to "see" you there!

    About the presenter

    Max Reed is a cross-border tax lawyer at SKL tax in Vancouver where he focuses on tax strategies for those with tax issues that span the Canada-US border. Specifically, he has written a number of articles addressing the taxation of US citizen business owners who reside in Canada. SKL Tax has been helping people with double tax exposure for over 40 years.

    Watch for our email invitation to attend US Personal Tax Webinar on May 26th.

    Questions? email [email protected]

  • signed up on Tiny Actions Signup 2019-04-19 20:38:11 -0400

  • Notice of 2019 Annual General Meeting & Election & Bylaws Amendments

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




    To inform you about 2018 activities and the accomplishments of your country committee + amendments to the Bylaws + election of the DA Canada Board Members for the 2019-21 term.

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



    31 March 2019

    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: [email protected]


    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 March 16th. Submit your completed ballot by 11:59PM EDT March 30th. To vote you must have joined Democrats Abroad by 11:59PM EDT March 3, 2019, you must be a member of DACA, a US citizen of voting age and a resident of Canada.

    The Nominations & Elections Committee for Democrats Abroad Canada is proud to release the slate of candidates for election to the 2019-21 term.

    Ballots will be distributed March 16th to active members of Democrats Abroad Canada registered as of March 3, 2019. Election results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting on Sunday, March 31, 2019 at 2:00pm EDT. The link to RSVP to attend the AGM will be distributed with your ballot.

    Candidate statements may be viewed at this link


    Steve Nardi

    Executive Vice Chair

    Julie Buchanan

    Vice Chair
    (2 to be elected)

    Marnelle Dragilla

    Ed Ungar


    Lissette Wright


    Susan Alksnis

    IT Manager



    Danielle Stampley

    Membership Secretary

    Susan Brennan

    (3 to be elected)

    Louis DeLamarter

    Sofia Misenheimer

    David Mivasair

    Darius Pruss

    Chris Shaw

    DPCA Voting Representatives
    (24 to be elected)

    The first 12 DPCA Voting Rep positions will be filled by those elected to the positions from the slate above. Anyone whose name appears above as a candidate for a board seat who is elected will have their name removed from the slate on the right. The remaining 12 will then be elected from the remaining DPCA Voting Rep slate, following Article 15 of DA Canada Bylaws establishing a balance of sexes on the board.

    Female slate:

    Gena Brummitt

    Heidi Burch

    Earlene Busch

    Ivelisse Castillo

    Rachel Eugster

    Tracy Hudson

    Denise Roig

    Heidi Schneiderman

    Brooke Scott

    Male slate:

    Louis DeLamarter

    J. David Markham

    David Mivasair

    Robert J Petrusa

    Engin Polar

    Darius Pruss

    Chris Shaw

    Kenneth Sherman

    Democratically yours,

    DemsAbroad Canada Nominations & Elections Committee


    Bodil Geyer, NEC Chair [Vancouver, BC]
    Starla Goggins [Toronto, ON]
    Randi Weitzner, NEC Teller of Elections [Montreal, QC]

  • AGM Information, Nominations and Election Commitee (NEC) Report, Candidate Statements

    Toronto Chapter AGM
    Center for Social Innovation
    192 Spadina
    Sunday March 17th
    3-4 pm

    We will tallying ballots and finalizing the election, taking nominations from the floor if necessary, reviewing our many accomplishments over the last term.

    We are planning to celebrate after the AGM at a nearby pub so stay tuned!

    RSVP here to attend in person

    You may also attend virtually by Web Ex on your own device! RSVP here to receive those instructions.



    NEC Toronto Report 2019

    The NEC held conference calls and evaluated the 2019 Nominee Statements.  We kept minutes, sent agendas, and worked towards filling all positions.  Our final report will be given at the AGM.

    Erin Campeau, Teller
    Reg Charney
    Star Goggins, Chair




    Danielle Stampley

    Chapter Chair

    I am the outgoing Co-Vice-Chair of the Democrats Abroad - Toronto Chapter, and I am running for Chair because I would like to build on the momentum we created in 2018 by increasing engagement in 2019 and getting out the vote in 2020. I am also the current Counsel of Democrats Abroad Canada.

    Before joining Democrats Abroad, I worked with other small volunteer projects. In the short time I have been with DA (since 2017), I have learned a lot about organizing and how to best deploy the resources we have available. We are all volunteers, which means we have limited time and have to be strategic in how we invest that time. We are getting better and better at this, and our enthusiasm is limitless.

    As a Vice Chair, I helped plan meetings and chair them in our Chair's absence. I organized volunteers, sent out communications and planned events. I also worked to organize chapter resources online and train volunteers. I have attended our international DA Meeting and have developed a good understanding of the organization's resources and rules.

    When I'm not working with DA, I'm a lawyer. I started out practicing in a large law firm in New York, and now I represent workers and unions in an employment and labour practice. In both settings, organization, planning, and leadership are key to a successful practice. I rely on these skills in my work with DA.

    I am a Missouri voter, and I won't be satisfied unless we do everything we can to turn out every overseas Democratic vote in 2020.  I would very much appreciate your support.


    Karin Lippert


    We need people like Karin Lippert who inspires the people with hope and
    justice in their heart to devote enough time into changing the world.

    She has devoted hundreds of hours to voter outreach events, hitting the
    streets and handing out literature, working in voter outreach booths at
    street fairs, organizing events like debate watches and producing a voter
    outreach video at Second City.

    In the last term she co-chaired the first ever Women's Caucus in Toronto and has been fighting for womens' rights for 50 years.

    As our media contact, she sent out press releases and organized at least 3o interviews with various board members. The key in terms of media is establishing good relationships, providing accurate information and putting forward spokespersons who can put the
    issues and Democrats Abroad role in getting out the vote to as wide an
    audience as possible. Building the media relationships is especially
    important in a large media market like Toronto.

    She has the experience, expertise and is an inspiration to us all

    Julie Buchanan


    George Polak



    I am a retired sales and marketing leadership professional with some 44 years of doing the work and leading the work of others in a team-oriented setting.

    I am committed to the ideals of the Democrat party who, I firmly believe today more than ever needs to take back the White House and Senate while retaining the House.

    I am an Army veteran of 3 years which included a tour in 1970 in Vietnam Nam and feel I did not make this sacrifice so that our thin skinned, no nothing, egomaniac could become leader of the US and the free world.
    It would be my honour to serve!


    Mari Rutka


    I have enjoyed my duties as co-secretary for the Toronto Chapter and am willing to continue in that role.  It has been a pleasure to be around so many who are dedicated to making a difference by helping to support Americans abroad, both in their ability to vote and in supporting matters of particular concern to Americans living in Canada.   Hope I can still help.



    No nominee

    Kathleen Leuschen

    Member at Large

    Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska with stops in Virginia and Maryland along the way, I have been a Toronto resident for over 20 years.  I have served as a Member-at-large for the Toronto Chapter for the last two years and as the Treasurer for the last few months.  I bring to the position my experience in the non-profit sector, including various roles in high profile private and public foundations.

    Currently my passions include gender equity and parent engagement in education.  I volunteer in various roles that blend my own love of social justice with being a policy nerd and strategic planner.

    This year, I hope to use my background in organizational governance and strategy to engage our younger, progressive members in our get out the vote efforts. Toronto has an amazing number of Americans living abroad that simply need the right reason to join us.


    Arielle Loeb

    Member at Large

    I’ve been living outside of the US since 2006; first in Europe and now in Canada. While a proud resident of Toronto, I continue to be a fiercely proud American. I have chosen to submit my candidacy for Member-at-Large at Democrats Abroad Canada because I believe the upcoming 2020 elections are too important for me to remain a bystander and voter only.

    While living in Canada, I want to do whatever I can to ensure fellow Americans living here are registered to vote. I want to show how easy it is to vote absentee from Canada and the importance of doing so. The midterm elections have demonstrated that every vote truly counts.

    I have worked in marketing my entire career. First at General Mills in the US, followed by stints in Europe and Canada. Currently, I am the EVP of Marketing for Spark Power, an independent power company based in Oakville.

    I would like to bring these experiences to Democrats Abroad Canada. While I am a relatively new member of Democrats Abroad, I think the upcoming elections offer a great opportunity to increase awareness about the organization, its cause, and how Americans living in Canada can engage and ensure their votes are counted and their voices are heard.

    To the position of Member-at-Large and the Board overall, I will bring my passion for making positive change happen—as well as over 20 years of persuasive marketing and communication know-how—in any way that can serve the organization and its members.

    Some races in the midterms were decided by as little as a percentage point. “With America’s elections increasingly decided by far less, participation in early voting can decide races from Congress to school boards” (Quartz article, After 2018, the US should stop calling it election day), I want to do my part to ensure that every American living in Toronto/the GTA have the chance to participate in a way that works for them. 


    Lewis Luo

    Member at Large

    I'll say thank you to Julie for her email at the beginning. Julie said "We need you to volunteer to be a member of the Board of the Toronto Chapter".

    I've known Julie, Star, Sherry, David, Ed, Bennett, Lissette and many other fellow Americans here and among Expat American abroad friends for some years now. Frankly, I've learned a lot from YOU and obtained both your helps and your friendships as well in many aspects. I feel grateful to your friendship, in particular David, Ednar and Starla 'Star'.

    Participating DA branch organized "Register and vote abroad" community event, to advise citizen students in Toronto area to sign up online and to demonstrate the privilege right vote from abroad; attending Tax seminar in local library and tele-conference workshop on overseas American TAX issues and concerns; assisting in election-watch party, pub night and election debate, handling vote from abroad postings and accepting training in Toronto Consulate General etc. I've been a pretty active participant in the local branch community.

    I'm passion of public service, obligated to voice people's concerns about their responsibilities verse their legal rights. i fully understand the role that DA can play in community and in electoral democracy process. Too often, I told myself it's not always about to win or to lose, but to show your passion and your care across the party line.

    Ten years went through and gone by, since I left home state. I crossed over day by day and another, while missing home, friends and family relatives, too painful to tell. I never have such kind of feelings in my life!

    Member-At-Large position can be a fit to fulfill my passion and to be ALWAYS ready on-call to GO HOME.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    Janette McCabe

    Member at Large

    Although my family and my roots are in Toronto, I have spent almost 25 years of my adult life living in the United States and my husband and I raised our three children there. When then candidate, Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee in 2008 I became highly energized to become an American citizen so that I could vote in this historic election. I was ecstatic with his victory and felt that the values and causes for which he and the Democratic party stood aligned with mine. Throughout my adult life I have been involved in social justice issues; in particular those related to Latin America, human rights/refugee rights and in the latter part of my professional life worked with a refugee resettlement agency in Louisville, Kentucky as the Special Medical Needs Coordinator. I have an undergraduate degree in Nursing and an M.A in Political Science. In the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections I did some door to door canvassing in Cincinnati for Democratic candidates as well as some phone banking and most recently worked as a volunteer in the Toronto office assisting with phone banking for the 2018 mid-term election. In December I was invited to join the Toronto Board as a Member-at-Large and was happy to accept this position. I am deeply concerned about the events I see happening in the U.S. and feel a responsibility to work to bring about the changes necessary to reverse the course taken by the Republican government over the last two years. I am committed to working diligently with other Board members and volunteers with the goal of engaging and increasing the membership of Democrats Abroad, getting out the vote and ultimately, ensuring a Democratic victory in the 2020 Presidential election which by almost any measure will be the most consequential election of our time. I would be grateful for your support in this effort. Thank you.


    Stephanie (Sarah) Perry

    Member at Large

    I am a retired lawyer, age 62, and as a phonebanker during the recent mid-terms I was one of the most committed (in terms of hours worked, not in terms of the fervour we all shared) volunteers in the Toronto campaign centre. I believe I may have been the "top-producer" for the Toronto chapter, and I know we all had a great time working together on a project we passionately believed in.

    I'm really, really OLD, so I've done volunteer work for many organizations, dating back to handing out anti-war -- that's the VIETNAM War -- flyers every day after middle school, without my GOP parents' knowledge.

    Most relevant for this position is that I chaired a non-profit community organization, The Cabbagetown Tour of Homes, here in Toronto. I had started as a one-day volunteer, then for a few years thereafter served as the volunteer co-ordinator and was responsible for organizing over 200 volunteers at multiple locations and in varying functions, for the weekend of the event, and eventually I got stuck running the whole damn thing for 5 years as chair.  We raised tens of thousands of dollars annually ( at a time when that was LOTS of money)  for local charities, including an after-school arts programs for at-risk kids in Regent Park which combined counselling with creativity, and an English literacy group for new Canadian women , many of whom couldn't read and write in their own languages and who were socially isolated.

    I am grateful to DemsAbroad for keeping me informed on the issues most relevant to Americans abroad (of ANY political denomination) and for the help voting over the 25 years I've been here in Toronto, but I only got involved, came out to an event, and signed up to work for the organization as a phonebanker,  after Trump came in.

    There is no cause more important to me at this time than 2020, and I understand that the Toronto Chapter is looking for competent and committed members with the time to step up and do more. 

    If you can use me, I'm available.


    Sam Rowan

    Member at Large

    I am self nominating myself to be a member-at-large for the next election cycle because as the posting on the website states, this is probably the most important election of my lifetime and want to help Democrats Abroad in any way possible. I recognize the importance that having an engaged base for the in the Toronto area as Democrats Abroad play a massive role in holding the Democratic Party to a progressive platform. Having volunteered municipal and provincial political parties in Canadian elections I have gained valuable experience talking and working get members and potential members of political parties to engage in the electoral process and look forward to doing the same in this coming election.

    As a current student at Ryerson University, I feel that I'm an ideal candidate to be a member at large as I can help recruit fellow students who are eligible to vote yet haven't been engaged in American politics before to vote in this upcoming election. Being in a University environment ensures that I've been writing consistently over the past year in a way that will be considered professional and competent for this position. Additionally I find my current enrollment at a local University to be important because issues like climate change and financial equality are the most pressing issues of this next election and considering the enthusiasm that politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ro Khanna , show that mobilizing a young and progressive vote in Toronto will help assure that the party runs a optimistic campaign in order to combat the Neo-Fascist platform the Republicans will be running on the next election. As the last election proved a lesser of two evils platform is simply not good enough to beat Donald Trump's populist appeal.


    Brooke Scott

    Member at Large-York Region

    My name is Brooke Scott and I am running for Member at Large-York Region. For nearly the past two years I have been the Member at Large for York region attending monthly Toronto board meetings both in person and online. I have participated in and run several events to engage US eligible voters. Beginning in 2018, I began became co-chair of the Women's Caucus Canada and recently have begun running the Women's Caucus Canada. I believe in grassroots activism and the power of our vote to create progressive change.


    Virginia Smith

    Member at Large

    I think that I have made some significant contributions to the work of Democrats Abroad during my current term on the Toronto board as a member-at-large, and I would like to be able to continue those contributions. I may also start contributing in new ways if I am elected again.  My worked has been focused in two areas: as a mover of Democrats Abroad Vietnam project and as a writer of articles for the DA website.
    A primary goal of the Vietnam project has been to tell the stories of DA members who moved to Canada from the U.S. during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The turbulence caused by the Vietnam War was a factor in the moves made by many Americans at that time. The project also aims to discover the contemporary relevance of the experiences of those who moved. Some of the stories told to DA can be found on the Democrats Abroad Canada website.
    I have written a number of articles for the DA website, including articles on Hillary Clinton's visit to Toronto, on DA Toronto's response to the Parkland shootings, and on DA's efforts to get out the vote for the 2018 election.
    My professional experience includes writing, editing, and community organizing. I have worked with a number of community-based initiatives, for example, the Out of the Cold program. I am currently a member of the council at my church. I have been involved in effort to develop bonds of friendship with Muslim organizations and families in Toronto.
    I came to Canada as a student and became a permanent resident in the late 1960s. I am from New York, and I continue to vote from there.


    Ed Ungar

    Member at Large

     I've been on Toronto's ExCom since Toronto was effectively Canada's Ex Com. Among other activities. It's been wonderful to see Democrats Abroad Toronto and Canada grow to where we are. It is also important to keep in mind how far we have to go. Along with attending and organizing our reach outs at street fairs and labor day parades I'm proud to, along with Adrian Jones, to have  organized the first DA phone bank in the world right here in Toronto. Right now, I am a member emeritus. But that does not carry voting privileges nor does it allow me to help contribute to a quorum. I am running for member at large so I can further contribute in the next crucial years.

    Ed  Ungar







  • Membership Verification 2019-We hate to see you go!

    Every January all of DA's country committees must report the numbers of their verified members as a part of our internal governance. 

    Verified members are those who we can confirm are still living in Canada. A large number of our members move back to the States every year and are no longer abroad, which means they can no longer be a member. Verification is determined by members' RSVPs to our events posted on the website, requesting ballots through, contact through phone banking, snail mailing and email exchanges with local committees. 

    Membership profiles risk being deleted if we cannot verify, at least every four years. 

    We recently sent 1700 emails to non-verified members and are attempting to phone those for whom we no longer have a good an email address.  If you received this email or a phone call,  and are still in Canada wishing to stay in touch with us, please send us an email today!to let us know that you want to stay with us! [email protected]



  • Nomination Deadline Jan 31, 2019 - Volunteer for the election that will save America

    Use this link to self-nominate for a position on the board, or contact the Nominations and Elections Committee with any questions at all about running (volunteering) Email [email protected]

    Chapter Chair

    The Chapter Chair shall be the legal representative of DA Canada-Toronto and the Chief Executive Officer of the organization and shall preside at all General Meetings and all meetings of the Board. The Chapter Chair shall have responsibility for the day-to-day activities of DA Canada-Toronto and for execution of all activities approved and undertaken by the Board. The Chapter Chair may appoint such ad hoc committees as necessary for the execution of the activities of DA Canada-Toronto. The Chapter Chair shall be a voting member of all Standing Committees and ad hoc committees. The Chapter Chair shall be a member of and attend meetings of Democrats Abroad Canada.


    In the absence of the Chapter Chair, either of the Co-Vice Chairs shall call and preside at meetings of members and of the Executive Committee. The Co-Vice Chairs shall have such other duties as chairing one or more committees. The Co-Vice Chairs shall work with the Chair to ensure all responsibilities approved by and on behalf of the organization are supervised and executed appropriately. One of the Co-Vice Chairs elected shall be a member who is of different gender to the Chair.


    The Treasurer shall manage the finances of the organization, maintain its financial reports to members and make and maintain such financial reports as may be required by law (including without limitation the laws and regulations of the United States and the several States applicable to political parties and contributions to them). All such records shall be open for inspection by members. The Treasurer shall prepare and present to the Annual General Meeting of Democrats Abroad Canada-Toronto a Statement of Income and Expenses and a Balance Sheet.


    The Secretary shall attend and produce minutes for all Board and Executive Committee meetings. The Secretary shall maintain all files and administrative records of the organization. All of such records shall be open for inspection by members. Minutes of all meetings shall be sent to the Executive Committee once approved by the Chapter Chair and/or either Co-Vice Chair. The Secretary shall schedule and coordinate participation for all Board meetings.

    Member-at-Large (8 positions including 3 regional)

    Members-at-Large bring to the organization special gifts and talents. Members-at-large should expect to spend time receiving and keeping informed by multiple emails from our list serve. You will work to engage area members by organizing events, such as Tax Seminars, Debate Watches in 2019 and 2020, Global Primary Voting Centers in early 2020, participate in phone banking events in 2020, pub nights, round circles, movie nights and speaker nights. We also need special skills with Nation Builder and folks to devote time to database work: phoning members whose emails bounce, contacting new members when they join, and contacting members whose memberships are expiring. Other responsibilities may include: posting events on our website, writing articles for our website, writing and or sending emails.

    Member-at-Large Durham Region

    Member-at-Large Durham Region works to engage area members by hosting events, such as Tax Seminars, Debate Watches in 2019 and 2020, a Global Primary Voting Center in early 2020, phone banking events in 2020, pub nights, round circles, movie nights and speaker nights.

    Member-at-Large Peel Region

    Member-at-Large Durham Region works to engage area members by hosting events, such as Tax Seminars, Debate Watches in 2019 and 2020, a Global Primary Voting Center in early 2020, phone banking events in 2020, pub nights, round circles, movie nights and speaker nights.

    Member-at-Large York Region

    Member-at-Large Durham Region works to engage area members by hosting events, such as Tax Seminars, Debate Watches in 2019 and 2020, a Global Primary Voting Center in early 2020, phone banking events in 2020, pub nights, round circles, movie nights and speaker nights.

  • Save the Date! Women's Caucus Event-'She the People' at Second City

    When: Sunday, March 10, 2019
    Time and Payment details coming the week of Jan 18th! Stay Tuned!

    March 8th is International Women's Day. This day became a global organizing day for women and workers in America when young women in the New York garment workers district began the tradition of marching on this day. It has always been a day when union workers around world march and women globally have joined in celebrating this day and demanding gender equity. This seemed like a perfect weekend for the Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus to launch our 2019 activities.

    So we're starting the new year together at Second City! We have so much ahead, but we won't accomplish our hard work without solidarity and laughter. That's why we chose "SHE THE PEOPLE" at Second City is the perfect event for us begin 2019. The women in the cast the show are "fearlessly funny" and DA women are just as fearless and we all like to laugh! Toronto Co-Vice Chair Danielle Stampley, says this show is "Hilarious!" The critics agree with her:
    *"This is an essential show." - NOW Toronto
    *"Not only are The Second City women capable of writing, directing, acting, singing, dancing, and putting a show together with male input, but they are equally capable of making the audience shrieked with laughter while making cutting political statements." - Melania Motta, women's Post
    *"If the future is female, then 'She the People' is a welcome introduction to the new world. Whether you're female, male, transgender or whatever, go and laugh and have a good time." - Jeff Cottrill, Digital Journal
    *Broadway World - "Incredibly witty-often subversive-and constantly hilarious"

    The Future is here and it's Female! She The People! 

    Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus Toronto & Canada
    Karin Lippert, Co-Chair WCToronto & Brooke Scott, Chair WCCanada

    See you at Second City!
    Karin and Brooke


  • published Democratic Women March for Passage of ERA in News 2019-01-27 18:53:41 -0500

    Democratic Women March for Passage of ERA-Toronto

    The January 19 Toronto Women’s March brought together hundreds of women and their supporters for a brisk walk on a stormy day to proclaim that “We Will Not Go Back!” The central goals for the Democrats Abroad contingent in the march were approval of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and an end to violence against women. The march was the third organized since the inauguration of Donald Trump as President in January 2017. “That moment was a wake-up call for women. It showed how far we still need to go to achieve equality,” said Danielle Stampley, Vice-chair of the Toronto chapter of Democrats Abroad.

    The Democrats Abroad (DA) contingent in the march from City Hall to Queen’s Park included about a dozen DA members based in Toronto and also in London, Ontario. DA Canada Secretary Marnelle Dragila and Gena Brumitt, the Chair of DA’s London and area chapter, made the trip from London despite the severe conditions. Ms. Dragila, who wore a Handmaid’s Tale costume for the occasion, said that “I’ve attended the Toronto Women’s March every year since that incredibly inspiring first march in 2017. Since Trump was elected and due to his subsequent additions to the Supreme Court, it has felt to me that women’s rights have never been more at risk during my life time (I was born the same year that Roe v Wade was decided). As a result, I decided to wear a Handmaid’s Tale costume to the march this year. It seemed like an appropriate choice given what’s so clearly at stake now.”


    The crowd included representatives of trade unions, church-based groups, and political parties as well as members of women’s organizations. The proceedings at City Hall were launched by a group of drummers, who were followed by a number of speakers, including Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. Ms. Wong-Tam told the crowd that women need to make sure that their voices are heard on issues such as gender equality, poverty, and violence against women.


    The Women’s March this year was an international event that featured marches in many U.S. cities, Canadian cities, and London, UK. “It is upsetting to women everywhere that someone who has animosity toward women holds power,” said Ms. Stampley. Karin Lippert, the Co-chair of DA Toronto’s Women’s Caucus, summed up the day’s events this way: “It was cold, but we were loud. We cheered for all the speakers and marched for women’s equality again in Toronto. Our DA Women’s Caucus members wore their ERA signs proudly not only in Toronto but also around the globe. We have an opportunity to ratify the amendment written by Alice Paul in 1923 this year. Like countless numbers of women, I have marched for the ERA for decades. We need ERA to move forward on a myriad of women’s rights. I believe that we are almost there.”


    Many members of Democrats Abroad assert that this is the era when the Equal Rights Amendment has to be reintroduced and finally approved for inclusion in the U.S. Constitution. The amendment, if approved, would guarantee equality under the law for men and women, and, in so doing, provide a powerful tool that women can use in legal and other contexts to secure their just claims.

    Many people find it hard to believe that the U.S. Constitution does not already protect women’s rights, but it does not. A constitutional amendment was already needed to extend the right to vote to women, and that did not happen until 1920 in the 19 th amendment. “I thought that this had been covered,” said Toronto chapter Chairperson Julie Buchanan. “I know that society does not treat us as equals, but I thought that my government had my back.”

    The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced into Congress in the early 1920s and then reintroduced in 1971, when it was approved by both houses of Congress. It was then ratified by 35 of the 38 state legislatures that needed to approve it by a deadline. The amendment seemed to be headed for adoption, but movement toward that goal was stopped through the organization of a conservative campaign that argued that women need special protection under the law. One of the campaign’s claims was that adoption of the ERA could lead to measures such as the drafting of women for the military.

    Since then, the ERA has remained an unachieved goal.

    Now there is new momentum to approve the ERA and new evidence that women still need its protection. “The Equal Rights Amendment makes possible and makes constitutional laws we don’t have now,” according to Catherine A. MacKinnon, a law professor at the University of Michigan and a pioneer in the field of sexual harassment and sex discrimination law.

    In 2000, the Supreme Court struck down the federal civil remedy portion of the Violence Against Women Act, holding that Congress lacked the power to create it under the 14th amendment. If the ERA had been adopted, that law would have had much stronger constitutional footing, according to MacKinnon.

  • Fifty Years

    Fifty Years

    J. David Markham

    October 2018


    Can it really have been that long? Half a century? It was then that I was drafted into the US Army and eventually sent to Vietnam. Paul Simon says there must be 50 ways to leave your lover but I can think of no way to forget the summer of 1968 and the year or so that followed. Remember, this was the year we lost MLK Jr. and RFK. There were riots in the streets as the war escalated. There was Tet.

    What happened?

    Young and Stupid

    There is an ironclad rule that when people not in school are being drafted, you stay in school. So of course for a number of reasons, including a certain lack of success at the University of Iowa, I ended up driving a cab for a while. I applied for the National Guard, hoping to avoid the worst. Not gonna happen. Uncle Sam sent me his invitation to engage in some Fun, Travel and Adventure, aka FTA.

    Decisions, Decisions

    In college I had been very much against the war, and once drafted I really had a tough decision to make. Many of my fellow young people in a similar situation were moving to Canada to avoid the draft. Some people called them cowards and even traitors, but I never bought into that. They were going to a very different place (at least it seemed so then) with a very uncertain future. Their ties to their home country might never be restored. While I took a different path, I have always admired their courage.

    I could also have burned my draft card, but that always struck me as a futile gesture.

    I finally decided that I would answer the call to serve the nation, even though I thought the war was a distinct disservice to the nation. I had ideas of a political future. I also believed that somehow, some way, I would come through it fine. In that I was certainly proved correct.

    A Blissful Experience – Or Not

    I was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, outside of El Paso, in January of 1968. Never was there a more misnamed fort! Basic training took me an extra couple of weeks, due to hospital time with double pneumonia. But hey, I got to tell a nurse, a lieutenant, to please move so I could mop where she was. Yes, sick as a dog but they had me mopping the floor!

    Basic training was interesting. Lots of PT (physical training, i.e. running with full gear), marksmanship, crawling under barriers, etc. Up really early. Because our sex drives seemed to be missing in action the general feeling was that they were putting saltpeter in our food. The drill sergeants said it was just because we were not used to such exercise. I suspect he was correct. Our main drill sergeant was Sgt. Seabrease, a short thick man with whom you did not want to tangle. We often heard that he would always win fights at the enlisted men’s club or the local pubs. We had no trouble believing that. But I really respected the work he did. He was up before dawn and with us off and on all day until bedtime. If I recall he was an E-6 staff sergeant, though he might have been an E-7.

    During my time there we had two excursions. One was into Mexico to see a bull fight. The other was an evening at someone’s home. I drew a very nice couple whose rec room was full of guns. I have no use for bullfights or rooms full of guns unless it is the local arsenal.

    There was one time that a colonel was retiring and they wanted some drummers to bring in the colors. I volunteered to be one of them. There were four of us, and the other three were almost certainly better than I was. But I did know how to do a simple cadence well and managed to go first. The captain liked my style and the other better drummers had to follow my lead. An important lesson: if you do something well, make sure it becomes the standard over something you don’t do as well. We got to wear white belts and chrome helmets. Fun.

    I could tell you more interesting stories, but I can already see the editor of this project tearing out her hair. Over 700 words and you are just leaving basic training. Arrrgh!

    Go (Further!) West, Young Man

    After basic training, I was shipped to Ft Huachuca, Arizona, for Advanced Individual Training (AIT). My MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was 05B20, which was signal corps. That meant that there was a very real chance that my job would be to carry a PRC 25 (commonly known as a prick 25) on my back in the jungle. Not good. But I made the best of it. A friend and I worked a scam for a while that got us out of some duties. We claimed to be processing for OCS (Officer’s Candidate School), but would spend most of the time shooting pool or wandering around. Another time they wanted someone to teach Morse Code. I learned just enough to make them think I knew what I was doing, so I got to be the teacher using a manual rather than actually having to learn the stuff. I also got a long weekend in Phoenix with the Sergeant Major to play in a bridge tournament.

    I did learn some things there, though, and generally made a good impression on the staff. One thing I learned was that if you didn’t want your fate decided elsewhere, take the initiative. I moved up in rank from a private (E-1, or Enlisted-1) to a Private-E2 with one stripe and then to a Private First Class (PFC, E-3). I was then sent to a holding company for a few weeks, and soon received orders to go to Vietnam.

    Way Up North

    Well, not that far, actually. Before going to ‘Nam I had 30 days leave. So first to Iowa City and Peoria, where I married my first wife, Nancy. We took a short honeymoon in Chicago. We stayed a few nights in a hotel on Lake Shore Drive and then stayed with our friends Chris and Karen Ely further north. Do you remember what was happening in Chicago in the summer of 1968? Yep, we were there just in time for the Democratic National Convention! We saw the demonstrations, the flag pole climbing, and numerous politicians. One night when it got really bad, Chris and I drove to help people who had been beat up by the cops. It was a unique political experience. The next DNC I would attend was in New York City in 1976 as an Honored Guest (and local candidate for office in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin). It was quite a different experience, to say the least!

    Good morning, Vietnam

    In August, I went to Vietnam. We flew commercial (TWA I think) with a stopover in Hawaii. They actually let us go into the airport where we –wait for it—got lei’d by some young lovelies! Hey, I never promised I would have no bad puns in this piece!

    I was assigned to the 9th Signal Battalion in the 9th Infantry Division, located in Dong Tam, way south in the Mekong River Delta. I was to be a radio operator, and my biggest fear was being assigned to carry a PRC-25 (prick 25), which was on your back with a long antenna that served as a target while you sloshed through the jungle. I could also be assigned to a base radio (ANGRC 95, “Angry 95”), which would have been much better.

    When we lined up for assignment, I remembered the early lesson: take the initiative! So when I got to the Specialist 5 (E-5), I pointed out that I was married, had three years of university and could type. Glory be, he made me the Company Clerk for B Company! There would be, at least for now, no jungle duty! After some time I was assigned as a clerk for S-2 (military intelligence, and no jokes about that being an oxymoron) where I received the security clearance of ‘Secret,’ which was actually not that high. In due course I moved into the battalion HQ, but more on that later.

    We lived in two story wood buildings called ‘hooches.’ The ground floor was protected by sandbags piled outside, the top floor by the wood walls. You will be shocked to learn that the higher ranks were assigned the ground floor. A few steps outside, toward the river, were the latrine and the shower. We usually had hot water, for there were only two seasons there: hot and dry, hot and wet. We could see lots of boat traffic on the river, including the famous swift boats and also the ones you saw in Apocalypse Now. I still think that is the best movie on the war, though Platoon is excellent as well.

    Young and Stupid, Part Two

    Because we were on a base camp of some 50,000 men (and some women, most notably the nurses in the hospital next to us), we were generally not worried about being attacked on the ground. Luckily, I arrived long after the Tet Offensive of 30 January 1968. Our only real fear was the rocket and mortar attacks that we had to deal with routinely. When I was first there, we had some sandbag bunkers to which we ran when the siren went off. In due course, however, we built a very sturdy wooden bunker with four feet or so of dirt in the walls and roof. It even had electricity. It was built right next to my hooch, so was very convenient for me. Out on the river was a small island that we called VC Island for the obvious reason. VC was short for Viet Cong, who along with the NVA (North Vietnamese Army, or their regular army) were the enemy.

    Although we generally assumed that the VC went underground immediately after firing a few rounds in our direction, spotter helicopters were sent up to see if they could find anyone. Flares were fired into the air, and they would slowly descend with the help of small silk parachutes. These parachutes became collector’s items, and we would often try to track them down if they came our way. I never got one, but not for lack of trying. We would also leave the bunker to see the sound and light show. That would be the tracer bullets fired from the Cobras if there was something to be fired at. The Huey Cobra helicopter was the best fighting machine we had, and I think was the main reason we could reasonably expect to defeat the VC or NVA in the field.

    By the way, there was at least some fear that we would be targeted by the VC. We had two really tall radio antennas in our area, just like two goal posts, to use as a target. We did get hit, but I don’t recall ever losing anyone.

    Let Me Entertain You

    The top brass understood the importance of morale and provided a variety of entertainment opportunities. We had our enlisted men’s club, a miniature golf course and a library. There was a PX to buy things. They also brought in live entertainment, usually musical, and we had movies all the time. At first they were outside, but later moved into the more secure bunker mentioned above. Two special examples of entertainment do come to mind.

    One night I had decided to turn in a little early and pass on whatever movie was being shown. Sure enough, the sirens sounded, and I quickly got dressed and grabbed my M16. When I went into the bunker I discovered, much to my amusement, that they were showing The Green Berets, starring John Wayne. We didn’t need to fight at all, for he would win the war for us!

    The other entertainment example that comes to mind was when Bob Hope came to town. That was quite the spectacle, to say the least. He had others with him, including (of course) some Playboy Bunnies. It was great fun, and I can assure you it did not end like the similar event in Apocalypse Now.

    ET Call Home!

    Communicating with loved ones back home is very important to morale. I am often amused when I talk with veterans of American actions going back even to the Iraq War or Kuwait, to say nothing of more recent actions. When the conversation comes to keeping in touch back home, they can only complain if the Wi-Fi is down, hurting their ability to video talk on Skype. In ‘Nam, we had two ways to communicate in person. We could sign up for the one phone they had that provided free calls back home, sort of a WATTS line. You could wait weeks for that opportunity.

    The other way was to record audiotapes. At the PX you could get a small recorder that took a totally enclosed in plastic tape. After making your recording you could then mail it home. In a week or two it would arrive. They could then record a message over it (or in the case of my parents, use a new tape) and send one back.

    Wi-Fi indeed!

    The War

    While it may not seem so, the war did sometimes come to our base camp. One night I had to pull perimeter guard duty. A couple of other guys and me were in a bunker with our M16 rifles, an M-60 machine gun and an M-79 grenade launcher. There was a very large clear ‘killing field’ in front of us. We were to fire on anything that moved.

    Another time we were actually attacked on land. We had to scramble rather quickly to get to our assigned posts, prepared to blast away if necessary. In some parts of the base it was necessary, but our area was relatively uneventful.

    On a side note, I think it was that night that I stepped on some broken glass while getting dressed, drawing some blood. Someone later told me that I would probably qualify for a Purple Heart (wounded while under combat conditions). I figured it would be an outrage for me to get the same medal that some guy who got his nuts blown off (or worse) got, so I didn’t pursue it. It would have helped on civil service exams and looked good on the uniform, but I have never regretted that decision.

    Another time the VC managed to hit our main ammo dump. We heard explosions all night. I was recording a tape to my parents or my wife and you could hear them on the tape.

    The ‘Travel’ in FTA

    By now I am certain that you are all waiting with baited breath to learn just what was it that I did when not engaged in these other activities. In due course I was transferred to the HQ detachment where I became the R&R NCO (non-commissioned officer). Ironically, I replaced the fellow who made me a company clerk in the first place! Now, R&R stands for Rest and Relaxation. There were two kinds of R&R’s that you could get. The most important one was out of country for one week, all expenses paid. Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Hawaii were among the favorites.

    The other kind was in-country at the former French resort city of Vung Tau on the South China Sea. There you could relax for a long weekend at a very secure location. I ended up with two to three of these, though not out of my allocation for the unit. I was able to combine them with visits to our field unit near Vung Tau.

    My job was to determine who would go. Each month I had a certain allotment for Vung Tau, which I filled on a first come first served basis. The out of country situation was more complicated. Each month I would get a certain number of seats for different locations. Let’s say if I got 10 seats one month, I might get three for Bangkok, three for Hawaii, and four for assorted other destinations. But often I would have requests for that month that simply did not match what I was given. My predecessor would simply leave those seats unfilled if they didn’t match the requests he had in hand. I had a better idea.

    I managed to get a jeep assigned to me for a once a month excursion to my fellow R&R NCO’s around the base (each battalion had one). Whenever possible I would trade seats, giving one that I didn’t need in exchange for one I could use. This brought my fill ratio from somewhere between 50 to 60% to well over 90%, which made everyone, including the command Lt. Colonel, quite happy. My Staff Sergeant, Sgt. Jenkins (how do I still remember that name?) was also quite pleased, and when he was happy, we were all happy.

    But wait, there’s more! Sometimes I had tickets to give, but nobody had tickets I could use. So I would trade for X number of SP Packs, or Sundry Packs. These were large boxes filled with pens, paper, cigarettes and other necessities of life, which I then made available to the men in my unit. I was a pretty popular guy.

    Speaking of cigarettes, I actually quite smoking (I had been a fairly heavy smoker) while I was over there, the reverse of what you might expect. I stayed off for 5.5 years until my divorce from Nancy got me started again. But in 1982, before I married my second wife, Barbara, I quit again and have been off ever since. I also never smoked any weed while over there, something that quite a few could not say.

    I did end up going to Bangkok and really loved it. I went with a friend of mine. Upon arrival, he rented a car and a woman for the week. Due to the second, he seldom needed the first and offered it to me. I went all over town, seeing the zoo, the capital building, countless shops and temples. I went to TIM Land (Thailand in Miniature), where I saw elephants at work and other interesting things. I also saw a young woman who I thought was the most beautiful I had ever seen. She was an employee and I never even got her name. Oh, well.

    All of my work must have impressed those above me, even at the highest levels. In April of 1969 I was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for my work. The Lt. Colonel pinned it on me. In June I was awarded the Bronze Star, this time given by the commanding general. I was also given the Good Conduct Medal, much to the amazement of many! During this time I was also promoted to Specialist Four and then to Specialist Five, the administrative equivalent of a Sergeant E-5 (three stripes). I know that some folks have talked about award and rank inflation in Vietnam, and perhaps there was some of that. But I feel I richly deserved the honors and am very proud to have them, as I am very proud of the work I did to help improve the morale of my fellow soldiers.

    I had other jobs to do, of course. I did the daily bulletin on our mimeograph machine (!). During my days in university before and after ‘Nam, people who were organizing demonstrations or rallies considered it the most revolutionary invention ever, as you could almost immediately post or pass out information all over campus!

    Other Activities

    It was not all work and no play, of course. We had parties and some played cards. We had a non-denominational church. On some Sundays I played the organ. One Sunday the commanding general and his senior staff sat in the pew right beside the organ. To say I was nervous was an understatement! I adopted a stray puppy, whom I named Troop. He was the cutest thing you ever saw. I often wondered what happened to him after I left.

    My most interesting activity, and the one that gave the most satisfaction, took place on some Sundays. There was a Catholic orphanage in the nearby village. As I am adopted, it was a natural to get involved. A group of us would take a two and a half ton truck (deuce and a half) and maybe a jeep or two, and bring important supplies like food, toys and clothing to the kids. We would stay a few hours to keep them company. I have some heartwarming photos of me with some of the cute little kids and the stoic old ladies who took care of them. Of all of my memories of my time there, this is my favorite. But war reminders were never far away. The metal gate was pock-marked from machine gun fire during Tet, and I was fired on once when driving my jeep.

    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

    Those words by the Animals (1965) were the basic theme for all of us who were there. The song was played in every concert, and the GIs like me lustily sang along. Career soldiers also were glad to go home, even if they knew they would be back. We all took the attitude expressed in the movie Platoon: All you have to do is make it out of here. For most of the war leading up to mid 1969, going home generally meant a 30-day leave and then some assignment stateside to finish out your two-year obligation (the normal tour in ‘Nam was 12 months).

    Then President Nixon instituted what was called an ‘early out’ program, meaning if when you left ‘Nam with 150 days or fewer to go for your two year obligation you were simply released from the Army while still being given full credit for serving two years (important for such things as the GI Bill, for example). He then began to draw down American forces. I guess they didn’t want a bunch of bored short-timers hanging around bases getting into trouble. My unit was soon ordered to stand down and prepare to leave.

    Homeward Bound

    But there was a problem.

    We were scheduled to leave two weeks before I would hit the magic number of 150 days left! I took quick initiative and arranged to be transferred to another unit that was leaving two weeks later. Whew! This meant I would arrive home in time to return to the university in the fall! When the day came, we all lined up to be carried by Chinook choppers to the Saigon airport and then home via military transport. There was a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ but in the end, off we went. We refueled in Tokyo and then landed in Alaska. After a long delay there due to mechanical problems, we flew to Seattle. When we got off the plane around 3:00 in the morning, they had a military band playing to welcome us on the tarmac. Even today it brings tears to the eyes.

    I am often asked what, if any, effect the war had on me. I think of the comment by Chris Taylor, the character played by Charlie Sheen in Platoon. The war is over for me now, but it will always be there, the rest of my days… Am I glad I served? Yes, I think so. It certainly gave me new insights into life and a new determination to do well in life.

    The Rest of the Story

    That determination seems to have worked, though there were lots of ups and downs along the way. I did go back to school and graduated with high grades, then on to the University of Northern Iowa for a straight-A Master of Arts degree. We went to Southern Illinois University to work on a PhD. Nancy fell for an Iranian who was a friend of mine. He gave me a beautiful Persian rug. Turned out it was a trade for my wife. I ended up going to Wisconsin to teach, followed by a number of government administrative jobs. While working in the Wisconsin Department of Veterans affairs I fell in love with a staff lawyer, Barbara Munson, and we married. I accepted a job with a union in Phoenix, eventually ended up getting a Master of Education degree, and began a long career teaching high school. Her job took us to West Palm Beach, Florida, and Olympia, Washington. We traveled the world and I got very involved in writing books on Napoleonic history and organizing international history congresses. Eventually I became president of the International Napoleonic Society. I’ve written a number of books, been on TV shows and received many awards, including France’s highest civilian-only award.

    Oh, Canada

    As you can tell, we are nearing the end of the story, much to the relief of the editor! One of those conferences that I organized was in Montreal in 2009. There I met a woman with whom I had been in some contact with through email. Edna Mueller was a geophysicist but also had a serious Napoleonic hobby. I encouraged her to present a paper, and I and others encouraged her to attend another upcoming conference in Charleston, SC. One thing led to another and we soon decided to be together. Leaving Barbara was extremely hard, but happily we decided to remain the best of friends, a bit like a sister/brother relationship, a situation that delighted Edna. We bought a condo in downtown Toronto and married on 2 December 2011 (a very important date in Napoleonic history. Coincidence? I don’t think so!). On March 15, 2018, I became a Canadian citizen, so now have two passports. While I cannot stand the cold winters and am not much of a hockey or poutine fan, I do love living in Toronto.

    A Final Thought

    I am on the board of directors for the Toronto chapter of Democrats Abroad (I can still vote in Olympia and do so at every opportunity), and it is the Toronto chapter that asked me to write this essay (though they asked for a far shorter version. Be careful what you ask for!). The original project was to get stories of guys who came to Canada to avoid the draft. That got me to thinking. I have met quite a few American expat guys around my age (I’m also involved in an expat meet-up group), and I have never once found myself wondering if they were one of those so-called draft dodgers. Finding they were a fellow Yankee fan would be far more important! And with a further thought, it occurred to me that I don’t really care and would certainly not even think of holding it against them. But this project does remind me once again that, as Chris Taylor said, the war is still with me. Those who know me know I cannot resist this quote from Hotel California -- to say it a different way: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!


    And I guess that thought is a good way to close.



    Today, December 5th, is International Volunteer Day. International Volunteer Day was designated by the United Nations in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism.

    This year dedicated DA Canada volunteers have shown their power and potential in many ways.

    Democrats Abroad is 100% volunteer run, we could not do any of our great work without you. We are very proud and grateful for the dedication and time that our volunteers contribute.

    In 2018, through street festivals, rallies, pop-up events, and phone-banking, across Canada hundreds of volunteers contributed over a thousand hours of time to support GOTV. The GOTV Campaign Office in Toronto was a unique opportunity for us to see volunteers in action. We were amazed by the dedication, skill and enthusiasm of the volunteers who made this office a success!

    We overcame insurmountable odds and your hard work made an impact on many historic Democrat victories. You helped to flip the House Blue!

    Thank you!

    There are some outstanding volunteers who we would like to give some special recognition for going above and beyond this year to get out the vote!

    Debra Lazar was nominated by her chapter. She is a long time member of Democrats Abroad and has been critical helping to organize chapter activities. Thank you Debra!

    Cameron Mitchell was nominated by his chapter. Cameron stepped forward and filled a critical role as a bilingual media contact. He also created and led a successful “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” media event. We are grateful that he worked so hard to get out the word that Americans in Canada can vote in the US elections!

    Riley Nielson-Baker was nominated as an outstanding volunteer by their chapter for helping to get out the student vote this year. Riley is a university student and has worked hard to get Democrats Abroad visible on campus. Thank you Riley!

    Danielle Stampley was nominated by her chapter. Danielle's leadership, knowledge and caring personality make her and an invaluable member of her chapter. We are grateful that even with her busy schedule she can give so much time to DA.

    Michael Stevenson was nominated by the GOTV Team for his outstanding dedication to phone-banking. Michael made thousands of calls and had 1422 conversations with members during this year’s election!

    Tracy Hudson was nominated by DA Canada IT. Tracy has dedicated many hours as our national Facebook Page Administrator. Her amazing work on our page has been praised by the DA international social media team.

    Tracy was also nominated by her chapter as a skilled communicator who ensures all chapter events are posted and promoted to members. She is a talented photographer, her photos are regularly published in local media promoting Democrats Abroad. Tracy also was the co-lead for a voters information table at the American Women’s club.

    Phone-banking is the most effective way Democrats Abroad can reach out to Americans living overseas to get out the vote! The following are volunteers who went the extra mile this year, and their incredible GOTV conversation totals!

    Stephanie Perry 964
    Mari Rutka 774
    Lorraine Scott 720
    Allenna Leonard 481
    Janette McCabe 379
    Melek Ortabasi 357
    Elizabeth Shropshire 340
    Kenneth Sherman 339
    Carol Donohue 313
    Erin Campeau 281
    Letitia O’Connell 259
    Nargess Khosrowshahi 248
    Reg Charney 247
    Beverly Wellman 235
    Carol Ricker Wilson 212

    On this International Volunteer Day, the leadership of Democrats Abroad Canada wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to all of our volunteers. Your efforts truly helped in making the difference in these midterm elections.

    Democratically yours,

    Jamey Shick, 

    Director of Volunteers DA Canada 

US citizen living Canada