Past SGI EDA Executive bios

(In alphabetical order, by last name)


Linda Brown – Member-at-large,
from North Saanich

I am a retired pharmacist who has always called the BC coast home, from Squamish to Vancouver and now North Saanich. My professional career spanned hospital, government and health authority jobs, most recently as an educator for family physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.  I have a healthy regard for the difference between rhetoric and evidence, am quite organized most of the time, and pay close attention to detail. I’m an avid gardener and love our precious coast.

I first became involved with the federal Green Party after attending a presentation by Elizabeth many months before the 2011 election campaign. I was hooked immediately, and have since helped with the 2015, 2019 and 2021 campaigns as well as joining the board for my first term in 2018. It’s been a pleasure to help support Elizabeth and the GPC.


Dave Charles – Former Chief Executive Officer,
from Sidney


My wife Lil and I retired to Sidney from London Ontario 14 years ago. In my previous life, I trained as a dentist, served in the military dental service, worked briefly for the PEI Department of Health, eventually completing the last 26 years of my professional career as an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean at Western University School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Until we met Elizabeth in 2010, we had been your typical political couch potatoes, voting in elections, but not involved with any party. Since then we have been enthusiastic and active supporters of SGI and GPC. I was first elected to the Executive of our EDA in 2014. It was a busy time, preparing for the 2015 campaign, dealing with the ramifications of the 2016 BGM, organizing the SGM in Calgary and participating in the Committee on Motion Development to rectify a procedural weakness in the GPC.

After serving almost three years as CEO of SGI EDA, I stepped down in June 2017 because of unresolved personal reasons. I believed strongly that the EDA must consist of members possessing the capacity and resolve to run Elizabeth’s 2019 campaign. At that time I did not feel confident that I would be able to contribute effectively. I did not want my situation to adversely affect the operation of the EDA or the upcoming campaign.

Fortunately, my personal issues have resolved to the point that when approached by the Nominations Committee to serve again on the EDA Executive, I agreed to let my name stand. I believe that my previous experience will enable me to contribute effectively to this committee. I am dedicated to ensure Elizabeth continues as our Member of Parliament and if re-elected to the EDA Executive, will work in any capacity to make that happen.


Sharon Forrester – Financial Agent for 11 years to May 2022,
from North Saanich

My role as Financial Agent includes financial reporting to the Executive and Elections Canada and preparing tax receipts for our donors. I was also the official agent for the 2015 election campaign.

I began volunteering with SGI before the 2011 election. I was so impressed by Elizabeth that I started canvassing and working in the office. After that election, I volunteered to join the Board as Financial Agent, the position I’ve held for 5 years now.

Before that I was a retired CA, and I had spent 15 years of my career with the BC Ministry of Environment. After retiring I went back to university and took environmental courses, including one from Andrew Weaver about climate change. That is the issue that motivates me to keep working with the Green Party.


Ellen Guttormson – Member-at-large,
from North Saanich


I retired in 2016 after being in veterinary practice for 40 years. I have served on a number of boards over the years including the Western Canadian Association of Equine Practitioners, Victoria Saanich Pony Club, Irish Draught Horse Society North America, North and South Saanich Agricultural Society (aka Saanich Fair board), and Victoria SPCA.

I am also very interested in issues relating to agriculture and food sustainability, and since retirement I have been concentrating on improving my small farm that I have lived on for 31 years. I have a flock of Icelandic sheep which I breed for both meat and fleece production, and I am using permaculture principles to increase the production of vegetables, fruit and nuts for family consumption. Ecological issues related to the use of herbicides, pesticides, inorganic fertilizers and the introduction of GMOs are high on my priority list of concerns.

My initial degree, before attending veterinary School at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, was a BSc in Biology from UVic.  I have always had a keen interest in both environmental and political issues.  While still working I participated as much as time allowed in both the first and second election campaigns of Elizabeth May and the first provincial campaign of Adam Olsen.

As I was retired by the time of Adam’s second campaign I was able to dedicate a lot more time volunteering in a number of aspects leading up to election time. I am very proud to live in both the federal and provincial ridings of two very inspirational Greens and I take every opportunity to let others know this.

I would be honoured to commit time to serving on the EDA of Saanich Gulf Islands.


Harald Hommel – Former Chief Executive Officer,
from North Saanich

After my retirement four years ago, my wife Cynthia and moved from Manitoba to BC. I became excited when I realized that we were living in Elizabeth May’s riding and decided that I wanted to help out in the 2015 campaign. After the re-election, I stayed on with the SGI group of volunteers because they were a passionate, professional group of people that I admired. This group of volunteers morphed into the SGI Green Media and the Green Special Events groups.

I have contributed my photography skills and time in video recording, and was also involved with canvassing. My experience with the Greens, in combination with recent political reversals by the federal Liberal government, have convinced me that, more than ever, the country needs the policies that the Green Party espouses. 

I believe that the SGI EDA is vital in supporting Elizabeth May, as well as helping other EDAs across the country become established. Not having the same funds available as other parties, the Green Party must rely on volunteers. To facilitate this, we must take on the difficult tasks of recruiting and empowering our volunteers to be truly successful. This isn’t as easy as it seems. I am up to that challenge. 

After spending enjoyable years in post secondary education (Sciences, Arts and City Planning), I started my working career in business as an insurance underwriter for a major Canadian life insurance company. I moved into the sales area and then left the insurance industry to become a stay-at-home dad for our daughter’s first year. At mid-life, I made the decision to return to school for an education degree. In this field I had the opportunity to work with immigrant students in English as Additional Language programs, and eventually worked in my favourite area, that of teaching social studies.  

It was in teaching Canadian History, as I examined the Canadian political process with students, that I came to realize that the first-past-the-post system of voting was producing poor results. A proportional representation system allows every vote to count, making the voting process more fair for all voters. Naturally, I looked for a party that supported PR, and I found the Green Party.  

With that in mind, I am wholly committed to a collaborative, cooperative process in supporting the Green Party and Elizabeth May here in the Saanich Gulf Islands EDA, as well as across Canada, to reach more Canadians and prepare for the upcoming federal election.


Shelagh Levey – Member-at-large,
from Cordova Bay (Saanich)

Since 2011, I have been actively engaged in the Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party, and would value the opportunity to work with the executive committee. I am a member of the SGI Social Media Group, and have volunteered for four candidates, provincially and federally. Canvassing more than 2,000 homes has given me an insight into the needs and concerns of the electorate.

I was born and raised in Manchester, England. After graduating in education, I taught and lived in East Africa, Jamaica and Ontario before settling on the Saanich Peninsula. John and I have four children and seven grandchildren. In 1972, I read the Club of Rome report and have been actively involved in community service and environmental action ever since. Some activities include:

  • Member of a small volunteer group that introduced and organized neighbourhood recycling – the first recycling programme in Canada.
  • Introduced and led environmental education initiatives at Gordon Head Elementary School.
  • Wrote a book on environmental education, and articles for The Green Teacher.
  • Edited Watershed Connections, a quarterly publication to provide property owners with information to protect and restore the Prospect Lake/Creek Watershed.
  • Director of the Prospect Lake Community Association.
  • Advisory committee member for the Rural Saanich Local Area Plan.
  • Lead steward in Pulling Together, the Saanich Parks restoration programme.

This is an exciting time for the Green Party and I would like to offer my time and skills to help the party move forward, both locally and nationally, in whatever way possible. I believe in transparency and grassroots democracy. I have organizational and networking skills, and as a staff member in diverse schools, I have learned the importance of co-operation, innovation, creativity, critical thinking, and the ability to reach consensus. Thank you for considering my nomination.


Karen Lindsay B.A., B.Ed, M.Ed. – Member-at-large

I began to be environmentally aware in 1970 when for a Grade 13 Biology project, I did a presentation on the carbon cycle. It was easy to convince my mother to get on board with some green actions. She grew up during the Great Depression, so reducing and reusing were as natural to her as breathing. Adding recycling – even though in those days it meant taking newspapers, bottles and tins to a depot – was an easy sell. I have never looked back.

I have been a member of the Green Party of Canada since 2013 which was an act of pure  altruism because I was teaching overseas at the time and was not allowed to vote. I have subscribed to the Sunday newsletter for years, signed numerous petitions and shared GPC articles and actions on social media. Last fall, thankfully retired, I was able to work for the SGI campaign office making scores of calls encouraging former supporters to once again take a lawn sign. On election day, I was a scrutineer. Since then, I worked with the Members for Growth and Renewal, first doing research into how other countries’ Greens grew their bases and then making hundreds of calls to validate survey responses.

I hope that my interpersonal and technical skills will be of use to our EDA. I am particularly interested in maintaining connections with our supporters between election periods so that they don’t only hear from us when we need their votes. I would be honoured to help strengthen the EDA and support Elizabeth in any way I can.


Bob MacKie – Member-at-large,
from Salt Spring Island

– Immediate Past President of the Green Party of Canada
– Executive Committee Member of Saanich Gulf Islands Electoral District Association
– Co-Manager on Salt Spring Island of Elizabeth May 2015 Campaign
– Ran multiple Webinars for Green Party of Canada across Canada
– Past Riding Association President for the Progressive Conservative Party
– Member of Fair Vote Canada (FVC) National Council

I believe that having a proportional representation (PR) voting system will improve our democracy through better representation and more consensus based governance. PR is crucial to the Green Party. It will empower progressive voters and enable the achievement of Green Party goals. My experience at the federal level within the party also leads me to believe that Saanich Gulf Islands can help show the way for other EDAs across the country to achieve success. It is important to do so both for the party and for our leader.

Bob MacKie, B. Comm, Concordia University, MBA, University of Western
Ontario, MA, Simon Fraser University


Tom Mitchell – Member-at-large,
from Salt Spring Island


In 1970 aged twenty four, I emigrated to Canada from Glasgow Scotland where I served a apprenticeship as a millwright.

I joined the Greens in 2000 approximately and became active in Provincial and Federal campaign teams on Salt Spring Island with Andrew Lewis and Ken Reulou as the candidates over three elections.

In 2011, I was privileged along with Brian Smallshaw to chair a great campaign team on Salt Spring to elect Elizabeth.

In 2015 this time with Bob McKie as co chair for the Salt Spring campaign team, we helped elect Elizabeth again with an even bigger majority. In Adam Olsen’s campaign I was fortunate to work under the leadership of Marcelle Roy and helped Adam gain his seat.

Elizabeth May, other great Greens and all the hard work of campaign and background volunteers is bringing the Green Vision before Canadians, we are making a difference.

I have been a member of the EDA for 6 or 7 years and very much enjoy the background activities that smooth the way for Elizabeth to do what she does so well. On Salt Spring I am involved in many activities, anti-pipeline, KAIROS and First Nation support groups, and have been with the United Church since arriving on Island, involved in Social Justice and Pastoral care committees over the years. At present I am retired as a self employed residential contractor, although still fixing up my own place, a lifetime project.

I also retired last Sept 2017 as a caregiver after 24 years.

I believe the Green voice both Federal and Provincial needs to be heard in Canada to change course from a disastrous climate crisis and would very much appreciate the opportunity to continue that work in the EDA.


Marcelle Roy – Member-at-large,
from Salt Spring Island

I am a mother and grand-mother and care deeply about our world. I have been a supporter of the Green Party of Canada for decades. I wish to offer my experience and skills to support the work of the EDA because I so admire Elizabeth May and see how enormous and varied her tasks are and how desperately she needs the engagement of us Canadians.

I was a founding member of an environmental group in Ontario back in the days (late 1980s) on the eve of province wide recycling. I have been involved in Elizabeth’s past 2 campaigns. I also led the charge here on SSI for Adam Olsen’s last campaign in which he gained hundreds of additional votes over his 2013 campaign numbers.

I am a good organizer and manager as well as a strong advocate for the health of our  country & planet. Having had years to educate myself, I am very aware of most environmental issues. I am bilingual and an effective communicator and team player.


Gary Searing – Chair of Events and Community Outreach,
from North Saanich

I have been voting for the Green Party since the 1990’s. As a wildlife biologist I have been an active environmentalist since the very first Earth Day in 1971. But what draws me to the Green Party is Vision Green with its broad spectrum of progressive social, economic, democratic and environmental policies.

As a member of the Saanich Gulf Islands Electoral District Association Executive for the past year, I try to bring my experience in running a small business, executive director of a national professional association, my research/critical-thinking background, and my interests in creating a “green” community in which we collectively lessen our footprint on our planet to the EDA executive in order to promote a professional yet progressive viewpoint. In this I am not unique in that I found all members of the EDA executive bring a passionate and professional viewpoint, thus providing excellent representation for SGI members.

I strongly support a “bottom-up” approach where we build a strong network of EDAs across the country to support each other and our candidates/MP(s) now and in the future. SGI typically needs to lead the way in this networking. I also believe that our Green Party needs to continue to engage our membership (and all 37,000 Green Party supporters in our EDAs) personally and continuously, not just at elections.


Nancy Searing – Secretary,
from North Saanich

Even though I had voted Green for a few elections when I heard Elizabeth May was planning to move to Sidney and run for the Green Party in SGI I was thrilled to finally have a candidate who exemplified my values and had a chance of winning the seat. In about 2009 I went to the meeting in the basement of St. John’s church with about 20 other people when Elizabeth announced her candidacy. I have been involved ever since. I have canvassed, helped with lawn signs and data entry. I have been a member of the Events Team since 2015 and more recently I co-lead the Events Team with my husband Gary.

I see myself as a ‘behind the scenes’ kind of person with decent organization skills and a willingness to help where needed. I was the secretary of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Canada for 6 years, practiced Social Work in my career and am currently an Iyengar Yoga instructor and serve on the board of the Peninsula Yoga Centre in Sidney. As a grandmother I am horrified at the prospect of a future on this planet that will be forever negatively changed if the effects of climate change are not addressed immediately. My intention is to do what I can to support the vitally important work Elizabeth does.


Michael Strumberger – Former Chief Executive Officer,
from Salt Spring Island


I grew up in North Saanich and have lived in this riding for most of my life. Currently I live and work on Salt Spring Island as a graphic/web designer, honeybee keeper and organic farmer.

Currently I have the honour of serving as CEO of this dynamic EDA. I have held this position for one year after serving as secretary for the three years prior. After chairing our new vision committee, last year, I have done my best to champion our vision, values and objectives as we prepare for 2019 and beyond.

This is a very exciting time for Greens. Our riding association—due to inspiring leadership and remarkably engaged members—is uniquely positioned to offer service to the Green Party of Canada as it strengthens and matures to be a positive game-changer to Canadian governance.

Should I be granted the chance to continue serving this EDA I would look forward to expanding on the success of our visioning work, continue my efforts of reaching out to other EDAs, and offer support as they build their own capacity—empowering our party as a whole.

I am humbled by the dedication and commitment of all the people I work with and share their dream for a brighter, more inclusive and more beautiful future.