Welcome to CWP’s four new Board members!


Canada Without Poverty is pleased to announce the appointment of four new members to its Board of Directors: Derek Cook of Calgary (for an At-Large seat), George Lessard of Yellowknife (for the NT seat), Wayne MacNaughton of Halifax (for the NS seat) and Brenda Thompson of Annapolis Royal, NS (for an At-Large seat).

Derek Cook grew up in a poor household in rural Ontario and experienced first-hand the impacts of exclusion that results from a lack of access to the resources of society.  Learning of the value of social justice, Derek has dedicated the past 20 years to social change – including assisting in the drafting of a living wage policy for the City of Calgary and organizing the group Poverty Talks which engaged over 500 low-income Calgarians in the development of a local poverty strategy.  Derek is currently the Executive Director of the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, a community-based effort to reduce poverty in the municipality.

George Lessard is a bilingual communication and media specialist that has travelled the world helping others learn how to use both traditional mass media and new digital media.  George grew up in a working class family in Montreal, and since then has lived in some of the poorest and remote parts of Canada following his studies in journalism.  He also trained many of the founding members of the first wave of community radio in Québec.  Currently he distributes relevant information on social and environmental justice in the circumpolar region via Northern Clips. Experiencing poverty first hand has taught him that there are many ways to survive and many wonderful successes to not only learn about, but to help others learn about.

Wayne MacNaughton has had personal experience trying to make ends meet on social assistance.  A firm believer in the motto of the disability rights movement – “nothing about us without us” – Wayne recognizes that solutions to poverty require engagement of the low income population.  He has shared his message over the past few years as a Volunteer Inspirational Speaker with the United Way of Halifax Regional Municipality.  Wayne is a bilingual community activist.  ‘He is a member of the Community Advocates Network in Nova Scotia, a founding member of the Community Society to End Poverty in Nova Scotia, and has been involved with the human rights network ATD Fourth World.

Brenda Thompson experienced life on welfare as a single mother, resolving to be resourceful and stand up for herself.  This experience led to the publication of the book The Single Mothers Survival Guide in 1988, and the article The Violence of Welfare and Single Mothers on Social Assistance in Nova Scotia.  Brenda has a BA in Women’s Studies and an MA in Sociology. She has spent the past six years as the Chair of the Board of the Women’s Place Resource Centre, and is currently helping others find jobs in a high unemployment area of Nova Scotia.

*To read about all of our current Directors of the Board, click here.