CIC Victoria Branch Executives’ Biographies

Chris Kilford


Chris Kilford served in the Canadian Army 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 Fellow at the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy and a Research Fellow with the Canadian Defence Associations Institute.

Marc Lortie


Marc Lortie was, before retiring to Victoria in 2012, Canada’s Ambassador to France. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1971. He served abroad in Tunisia and Washington, and was seconded to the Prime Minister’s Office in 1985 where he was in charge of relations with the international media until 1987 when he was named Press Secretary. He was Ambassador to Chile in 1993; in 1997 he was nominated Fellow at the Centre for International Affairs at Harvard University. He was Ambassador of Canada to Spain from 2004 to 2007.

Roger Love


Roger Love 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.

Paula Skippon


Paula Skippon 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.

Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret’d) Clive Caton

Membership Co-ordinator

Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret’d) Clive I. Caton, CD joined the RCN in 1965 as a ROTP cadet and graduated from Dalhousie University with a BSc in 1969. Served in a variety of flying and staff tours overseas and in Canada until retirement, in 1996. Flew just under 4000 hours, principally in the CF-104 and CF-18. Career highpoint was command of 421 squadron in Germany from 1989-91. As an Air Reserve officer and civilian, from 1999-2011, worked as Directing Staff (DS) and Senior DS at Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, Toronto. Married to Dr. Susan Turnbull Caton.

Alan Breakspear


Alan Breakspear 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 Brown 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.

Hon. Mary Collins


The Hon. Mary Collins, PC has spent her career in public service and not-for-profit organizations. She retired in 2018 after ten years as Executive Director of the BC Alliance for Healthy Living. Prior to that she worked for five years in Russia on health policy and with the World Health Organization. From 1984-93 she was a Member of Parliament for the Capilano-Howe Sound and served in the federal Cabinet including roles as Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, as well as Minister of Health and Welfare.

She has been actively involved in the promotion of women in political life in Canada and has also undertaken projects to support women in political roles in Vietnam, Ukraine and Mongolia. Her current community activities include serving on the Saanich Police Board and as President of the BC Association of Police Boards, as well as on the Board of Pacific Opera Victoria.

Margaret Cornish


Margaret Cornish 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 MacLean Denton 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 Manthorpe 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. At the moment, he writes weekly columns for Ottawa-based iPolitics, and Vancouver-based Facts and Opinions. He also writes regular sections on Asia-Pacific for the Business in Vancouver newspaper. Manthorpe 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.

Gerald (Gerry) Thompson


Gerald (Gerry) Thompson 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. He also led a successful initiative to develop a full program division of the McMaster School of Medicine on the UW Campus, which necessitated adaptation of general hospitals into teaching hospitals. Among other board appointments, he was for several years Chair of the Board at Renison University College where he was granted an Honorary Senior Fellowship. Gerry also held the position of Adjunct Professor, Department of Political Science at Western University. Mr. Thompson 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. In this latter capacity, with an annual budget of approximately $1B, he had carriage over all operations including land use and policy planning, transportation, housing, heritage resources, public works and services, airport, social services, public health, finance, IT, legal, human resources, secretariat, emergency planning and library, among other responsibilities. Also during the latter period he served as Chair of the Regional Chief Administrators of Ontario.

A MA.Sc. from Waterloo, Gerry is a professional engineer and urban planner. He attended the Kennedy School of Government and in 2003 was awarded the Ontario Lt. Governor’s Medal of Distinction for Excellence in Public Administration. 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.

Now retired, Gerry is an Executive Committee Member of the Victoria Branch of the Canadian International Council.

Chris Chan

Student Representative

Chris Chan is a political science student currently studying at the University of Victoria. In addition to his studies, Chris has been heavily involved with the University’s Model United Nations Club and over the past year in supporting CIC Victoria’s efforts to expand its student membership. This summer he was employed with Dr. Jim Boutilier’s International Engagement division, Royal Canadian Navy as part of a co-op program run by the Department of National Defence. His interests include following geopolitical developments and understanding the underlying market implications. In addition, Chris plays guitar in a local band and frequently play shows around town. As the current and on-going CIC Victoria student representative and now as part of the Executive Committee, Chris’ aim will be to assist and advise the Executive Committee on the holding of CIC events on campus and how best to increase our student members. In addition, Chris will assist with our new outreach program with Camosun College.