CIC Victoria Branch Executives’ Biographies

Chris Kilford


Chris served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 36 years.  In the latter part of his career he was the Acting Director Future Security Analysis in the Department of National Defence, Deputy Director of the team writing the Canada First Defence Strategy and the Military Liaison Officer between the Canadian Armed Forces and the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Later, he deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan as the Deputy Military Attaché in the Canadian Embassy from July 2009 until July 2010, followed by Turkish language training and a posting to Ankara, Turkey as the Canadian Defence Attaché with cross accreditation to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkmenistan from July 2011 until July 2014. Chris retired from the military in September 2014. He holds a PhD in history from Queen’s University (2009) and today is a member of the CIC national board, a Fellow at the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy and a Research Fellow with the Canadian Defence Associations Institute.



Mary has worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She was the Member of Parliament for Capilano-
Howe Sound from 1984-93 and served as Associate Minister of National Defence, Minister Responsible for the
Status of Women and Minister of Health. She has been involved in projects to support women in political life in
Vietnam, Ukraine and Mongolia and spent five years living in Russia working on health policy. Her current community activities include serving on the Boards of Saanich Police, Pacific Opera Victoria and President of the
BC Association of Police Boards.

Paula Skippon

Secretary and Membership

Paula was a Canadian federal public servant for 32 years, working at senior executive levels in both central agencies and line departments.  Five years were also spent on international exchange with the Department of Defence in Canberra, Australia.  Since retiring to Victoria in 2002, Paula has been engaged in a variety of volunteer activities, including liaison between the RUSI Board of Directors and the University of Victoria on the Military Oral History program, and serving as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Corps of Commissionaires.

Roger Love


Roger was a career banker, most recently in Asian risk management; following retirement he worked for the financial institutions’ regulator, OSFI, and – in Victoria – for the Provincial Ministry of Finance.  Roger is now definitely retired, but active with the outdoor hobbies for which he now has time.

Alan Breakspear


Alan was a federal public servant for 30 years, working in various departments and agencies, mainly in intelligence, and provided consulting services for several years thereafter. He moved to Victoria in 2007, where he maintains an interest in intelligence studies and is active in several professional associations.


Chris Brown


Chris was a career diplomat in Global Affairs Canada. He had headquarters assignments in international economic policy, defensive security, Asia-Pacific affairs, and international aviation. Diplomatic postings included the Caribbean, the United Nations, Chargē d’Affaires in Vietnam, and Consul General in Cape Town, South Africa. He also served as Director of International Relations at the University of British Columbia, and as Special Advisor [Policy] with the Royal Canadian Navy at Maritime Forces Pacific. An International Advisor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, he has a Master Degree in Public Administration from Dalhousie University. He has recently served on the executive of the Victoria Chapter of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. Currently, he is active at Government House in Victoria.

Phil Calvert


Philip is a Senior Fellow with the China Institute of the University of Alberta. He served in Beijing as a Trade Commissioner (1984-87), Economic Counsellor (1994-1997) and Minister and Deputy Head of Mission (2004-2008). In Global Affairs Canada he served as Director General for North Asia, Deputy Chief Negotiator for Canada during China’s accession to the WTO and as Director of the Technical Barriers to Trade Division. Most recently he spent 2012-2016 as Canada’s ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

Margaret Cornish


Margaret served as Senior Advisor (China) and Beijing Chief Representative of Bennett Jones Commercial Consulting Inc. before retiring to Victoria. Margaret began her career with the Canadian Foreign Service. Her postings abroad included Beijing, New York and Brussels. She subsequently joined the Bank of Nova Scotia where she worked on sovereign debt restructuring. Margaret later joined Scotia Capital Markets where she provided award-winning research coverage on a wide range of Canadian industrial companies in the manufacturing, automotive, steel, building products, engineering and heavy equipment industries. From 2003 to 2007 Margaret served as Executive Director of the Canada China Business Council, the leading Canadian bilateral business organization dealing with China. She has been an adjunct professor in the business schools at Queen’s University and Wilfred Laurier University.  Margaret is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Asian Research of the University of British Columbia.

Marilyn MacLean Denton


Marilyn retired in Victoria after 27 years working for the federal government.  Her final assignment was as Trade Commissioner for Vancouver Island and Head of the Victoria office of Global Affairs Canada.  Most of her career was spent in Ottawa, however she has lived abroad in Pakistan and Jamaica.  She and travelled extensively for work in the Asia Pacific region.  She also worked in the private sector on various contracts and was one of two founding staff for the Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States of America, the Fulbright Scholarship Program.  In retirement, she is active with St. Matthias Anglican Church, sings in the choir, organizes monthly Attic Treasures sales, plays with a recorder group and is on the Board of Directors for Rogers Court, a 24-unit low income seniors’ housing project.

Jonathan Manthorpe


Jonathan has worked for 40 years as a foreign correspondent and international affairs commentator for Canadian newspapers. He has been based in Europe, Africa and Asia and is the author of Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan (2008) and Claws of the Panda (2018). Jonathan has also been involved in special projects for governments and international organizations, including work for the United Nations, the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency and various NGOs.  He is currently working on a third book.

Ruth Mojeed


Ruth is indigenous to the Yoruba tribe from western Nigeria. She came to Victoria in 2015 to pursue a master’s degree in intercultural & international communication at Royal Roads University. She also holds certificates in community organizing and leadership from Harvard University and community-based participatory research from the University of Victoria.  In addition, Ruth is a Black History Month laureate (2018) and was awarded the Community Leadership Award (2019) by the Lt. Governor of BC and recognized by the Premier of British Columbia for her contribution to supporting newcomers to the region. Ruth is also a fellow with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, and a lead researcher and mentor of the UNESCO Knowledge 4 Change consortium in the Salish Sea region of British Columbia. She serves on the board of the Canadian Public Relations Society (Vancouver Island) and the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee.

Lieutenant Commander (Retired) Paul Seguna


Paul served in the Canadian Armed Forces, in both the Regular and Reserve components, for over 42 years and retired in 2017. During his career, he served at sea with the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, as the Flag Lieutenant (Aide de Camp) to the Commander Maritime Forces Pacific and later as the Public Affairs Officer for Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt. Paul transferred to the Public Affairs Branch in 1992, serving in a variety of positions, including overseas with UN and NATO missions in Rwanda, Kosovo and Bosnia and in his last four years of service he was posted to NATO’s Allied Maritime Command Headquarters in London, UK.  Paul also holds a BA in history from Dalhousie University and he has had a lifelong interest in art, especially aviation and marine themes. He is a founding member of the Canadian Aerospace Artists Association with his artwork having been on exhibit in aviation and military museums and used in aviation history books.

Gerald (Gerry) Thompson


Gerry is a professional engineer and urban planner with a MA.Sc. from Waterloo. He was formerly Associate Vice President, University of Waterloo, where he was involved in the commercialization of innovation and Founding Chair of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre. Gerry also held the position of Adjunct Professor, Department of Political Science at Western University and he also served over a period of years as Director of Planning, Director of Transportation and Facilities, Chief Engineer and Chief Operating Officer (CAO) for the Region of Waterloo. Also, during the latter period, he served as Chair of the Regional Chief Administrators of Ontario.  Gerry attended the Kennedy School of Government and in 2003 was awarded the Ontario Lt. Governor’s Medal of Distinction for Excellence in Public Administration. During his career, Gerry oversaw the planning and execution of a variety of major transportation, environmental and building projects, including the planning of a now completed Light Rail Transit System in the Region of Waterloo. He also served as Ontario Municipal Chair for two Federal Infrastructure Programs.  He participated in project work in Kenya and in 2000 volunteered for an External Affairs/FCM solo Mission to work with the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank and Gaza, pursuant to the Oslo Peace Accord.

Anna Tsurkan

Young Profressional Representative

Anna is a graduate of the School of World Politics at the State Academic University of Humanitarian Sciences in Moscow, equivalent to Master’s degree in International Relations. Anna also earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada at the Russian Academy of Sciences.  In 2009, Anna became a lecturer of the School of Politics at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences where she developed and delivered a course of lectures on Russian foreign policy. During this period, most of Anna’s work was dedicated to following and analyzing the Russian approach and position in global affairs. In 2013, she started as a research fellow at the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where her main area of interest was Islamic radicalism and extremism in connection with Russian involvement in international counter-terrorism cooperation. Following Anna’s move to Canada, she obtained associate fellowship at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society of the University of Victoria and she is an instructor at the Royal Roads University, teaching contemporary issues in communication. She also writes and gives presentations on a broad range of security and political topics linked to Russia and launched the Canada-Russia Research Initiative in 2018.

Jenna Hrechka

Student Representative

Jenna is going into her second-year majoring in Political Science at the University of Victoria (UVic). She began her degree after completing a diploma at the Northern Alberta Institute for Technology for Medical Radiological Technology and working for a year in the public health care system. She currently volunteers for the Student Food Bank at UVic and is active in campus clubs, currently serving as the Director of Communications for the Undergraduates of Political Science. Her present academic focus is on the sociological aspects of politics. After completing her Undergraduate Degree, Jenna hopes to attend graduate school with the goal of a future career developing public policy.

Alina Sobolik

Student Representative

Alina is a fourth year Political Science student at the University of Victoria. Her focus is in European Union politics. She spent the summer of 2018 in Brussels completing a research internship with the European Trade Union Institute and returned to Brussels in the summer of 2019 for an internship with the European Commission, both through the European Union Study Tour and Internship Program. She is active in campus clubs, currently serving as Vice President of the Undergraduates of Political Science, Secretary General for the Model United Nations Club, and editor for On Politics, the Political Science academic journal. This March she represented the University of Victoria at the West Coast Model EU Conference in Washington and was awarded an honourable mention for her performance as Head of State for Poland. Recently, Alina had the opportunity to present her research paper, titled Understanding the Rise of Far-Right Populist Parties in Europe, at the Claremont Undergraduate Conference on the EU, where she was awarded an outstanding paper award along with the opportunity to be published in the conference journal. After completing her Undergraduate Degree, Alina hopes to attend law school with the goal of a future career with the European Union.