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 an Associate Faculty member at Royal Roads University.

Marilyn MacLean Denton

Vice President

Marilyn MacLean Denton retired in Victoria after 27 years working for the federal government. Among her assignments with Global Affairs Canada were five years as Trade Commissioner for Vancouver Island, Senior Trade Commissioner for Pakistan and Afghanistan, and International Education Marketing officer Asia Pacific branch. 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, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Associates Wholesale Book Initiative, on the Board of Directors for Rogers Court (a 24-unit low-income seniors’ housing), gardening and music.

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.

Jim Boutilier

Member at Large

Dr. James Boutilier was the former Special Advisor (Policy) at Canada’s Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters in Esquimalt, British Columbia and retired in 2020. He was responsible for advising the Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific on matters of defence and foreign policy and maritime security in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to his appointment at MARPAC, Dr. Boutilier spent twenty-four years on staff at the Royal Roads Military College in Victoria as Head of the History Department and then as Dean of Arts. Dr. Boutilier’s field of expertise is Asia-Pacific defence and security. Some of his recent lectures have focused on the Canadian Navy’s role in the Asia-Pacific, the new Asian security architecture, Northeast Asian security issues, and the new naval order in Asia. Dr. Boutilier lectures frequently at the NATO Defense College, the Canadian Forces College, the Australian Defence College, and the National Defense University of the Philippines.


Alan Breakspear

Member at Large

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.


Jennifer Button

Member at Large

Jennifer is an independent justice and governance consultant, following a 28-year career as legal counsel with the British Columbia Ministry of Justice. During her tenure at the Ministry of Justice, Jennifer provided legal and policy advice particularly on constitutional law, but also environmental law, gender issues, human rights law, judicial independence, rule of law, and intellectual property. She has also volunteered with the Canadian Bar Association (chiefly, the International Law section), the American Bar Association-UNDP International Legal Resource Center (ILRC) in Washington, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, and the Canadian International Council, among other organizations.  Her international work includes working as a Visiting Professional with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, providing advice as a gender expert to UNDP Belarus, conducting training on principles of constitutional law for the judges and senior staff of the Supreme Court of Somaliland, and writing reports for the Commonwealth Secretariat and Canada’s Department of National Defence.

Phil Calvert

Member at Large

Philip is a Senior Fellow with the China Institute of the University of Alberta, a Senior Research Associate with the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria, and an Honorary Research Associate at Vancouver Island University. He served in Beijing as a Trade Commissioner (1984-87), Economic Counsellor (1994-1997) and Minister & 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.


Member at Large

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 Goward House.

Heather Currie

Member at Large

Heather has been a member of the Canadian International Council (CIC) since 2018 and has volunteered for several CIC projects, the most recent supporting the Foreign Policy By Canadians effort. She has twenty-four years of experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors and in 2019, earned a BA (history) with Distinction from the University of Victoria with a focus on the Middle East. Her most recent publication appeared in Afkar: The Undergraduate Journal of Middle East Studies (2020) which focused on the Partition of Palestine in 1947-1948. While completing her BA, and with the support of the Royal United Services Institute – Vancouver Island, Heather also conducted an oral history project, which involved interviewing former members of the Canadian Armed Forces about their roles as former military attachés in various countries. Heather also plans to pursue graduate studies in the fall to continue to explore questions on the effectiveness of the UNSC as a mechanism to uphold world peace.

Arlin Hackman

Member at Large

Arlin is a conservationist with local-to-global experience in developing and implementing programs related to land and resource management. In the 1990s, he mobilized the Endangered Spaces campaign, helping more than double Canada’s parkland in just a decade and fuelling the growth of WWF-Canada where he went on to serve as Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer for 10 years. In that position, he guided programs in the circumpolar Arctic and Cuba and helped forest products companies secure FSC certification for one third of Canada’s commercial forest, while also serving on WWF’s International Programme Committee. Now retired, Arlin is a past board chair of Nature United, the Canadian affiliate of TNC, and a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. He served on the board of the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency, as well as the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute. He holds a B.A. (Hons.) in Geography and a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University.

Jenna Hrechka

Student Representative

Jenna is going into her fourth-year majoring in Political Science at the University of Victoria. This year she will be completing her honours thesis focusing on COVID-19 policy. 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 is active in campus clubs, serving as the President for the Undergraduates of Political Science. After completing her Undergraduate Degree, Jenna hopes to attend graduate school with the goal of a future career developing public policy.

Mallin Jiang

Member at Large

As an individual who cherishes education and international experience, Mallin grew up in-Shanghai before first moving to the Cayman Islands, after which she moved to Canada and became a Canadian Citizen. Mallin’s time in Shanghai, an international trade and financial center, where she witnessed the ascension of modern China and its economic miracle taught her the value of free-market principles and global trade. While in the Cayman Islands, a British Commonwealth country, she was exposed to the value of a strong legal and judicial system, as evidenced by the world’s confidence in its banking system. Canada gave Mallin citizenship as a refugee fleeing hurricane Ivan, but more importantly, it continues to demonstrate the value of a strong democracy which has provided the freedom and stability to establish her career, advance her education with a Master’s degree in international business, and assists her in launching her future endeavours.

Mallin is currently managing the International Contract Training unit at Royal Roads University (RRU) and is responsible for developing and implementing international customized training programs for a diverse range of international students and professionals from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. Prior to joining the Professional and Continuing Studies team in February 2019, Mallin managed onshore international recruitment partners across multiple markets, both domestic and international, hosted delegations and visiting scholars, and liaised academic collaboration projects for the University. During her 14-year career at RRU, Mallin has been instrumental in developing and cultivating strategic relationships with key international partners, such as acting as the key liaison for China-Canada relations and supporting trade missions.

Above and beyond her career at RRU, Mallin is engaged in facilitating international trade and investment opportunities, and community service such as fundraising events with the potential to bring diverse and vibrant culture to local communities. She strives to influence real change in the world through her advocacy in education, entrepreneurship, and cross-culture exchange while continuing to advance her professional career, expanding her leadership capacity, and developing more opportunities for the global community. Mallin’s near-term goals include further expanding her knowledge in the digital industry by acquiring new computer coding skills, supporting the development and launch of a new tech company, and becoming more involved in international trade in regions beyond Asia. Mallin earned a Master of Global Management Degree and a Graduate Certificate in Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment from Royal Roads University. She is a successful recipient of the Irving K Barber One World Scholarship in 2019.

Seamus Lim-Heley

Student Representative

Seamus a fourth-year Honours student in Political Science at the University of Victoria. He was born and raised in South Australia before moving to the Canadian prairies when he was eleven. After high school, he came to Victoria to be by the ocean once again. He is the newly elected President of UVic’s Model United Nations club, and also serves as Director of Finance for the Undergraduates of Political Science course union. In the past, he has run for the UVSS in addition to helping to establish UVic’s first European Studies course union. He’s excited to meet new people and to expand his horizons through involvement with the CIC. Outside of work and school, Seamus enjoys hiking, running, stand up paddle-boarding, and spending time with his friends and family

Jonathan Manthorpe

Member at Large

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 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. His third book, Restoring Democracy in an Age of Populists and Pestilence was published in 2020.

Brenda Schoepp

Member at Large

Brenda brings a global perspective on food system leadership and in her decades of independent farming has developed regenerative practises and served in leadership roles provincially, nationally and internationally in agriculture and agri-food, finance, policy, research and animal health. She was awarded the Lord Nuffield Scholarship in 2012, which allowed her to investigate and develop mentorship programs for women and girls in global agriculture. In 2019, she earned her Master of Arts in Global Leadership from Royal Roads University (RRU), researching Global Food Systems Leadership and completed her United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) courses on Food Security and Rural Community Development. She is the recipient of awards in leadership, diversity, communication and as an author. An active advocate for equality and acceptance and an inspiring speaker, she fosters her global reach by focusing on youth, mentoring young entrepreneurs and providing leadership training through Global Food Lead. Her book Three Times a Day: Leadership to Feed Our World will be published in 2021. Brenda has also represented CIC Victoria at RRU addressing Critical Questions toward a New Dialogue in Canada’s Food & Ingredient Trade and at the University of Victoria as a panelist for United Nations Day: Conversations on Climate Change. She was recently appointed to the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council, which is tasked with co-creating the nation’s first food policy.

LCdr Paul Seguna (retired)

Member at Large

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.

Anna Tsurkan

Young Professional Representative

Anna moved to Canada from Russia where she obtained all her degrees, including a Ph.D. in Political Science. Her career path has included public service, election observation and administration and research. In Russia, Anna worked for Moscow City Heritage Committee, OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Missions and Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In Canada, she has been employed by Statistics Canada, Elections BC and Elections Canada. In addition, as an independent researcher, Anna writes and gives presentations on a broad range of security and political topics linked to Canada-Russia relations. Since last year, she has been Vice President, Research and Content Development, with the CIC Young Professional Network.