David Matas received his B.A. at the University of Manitoba in 1964, and is a graduate of Oxford University with a Bachelor of Arts (Jurisprudence, 1967) and a Bachelor of Civil Law (1968). Since 1979, he has maintained a private practice in refugee, immigration and human rights law. He was a member of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly (1980), a member of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations Conference on an International Criminal Court (1998), and a member of the Canadian Delegation to the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust (2000). From 1997 to 2003, he was Director of the International Centre for Human Rights & Democratic Development (later, Rights and Democracy).
In addition, he has been a frequent member of the Canadian delegation to the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe Conferences on Anti-Semitism and Intolerance (Vienna 2003, Berlin 2004, Bucharest 2007).
He has been active in a number of associations and organizations for human rights: Amnesty International, B’nai Brith Canada, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Canadian Jewish Congress. He acted as an election observer in the following countries: South Africa (1994) for Canadian Bar Association, Ukraine (December 2004) for Canada Corps, Haiti (February 2006) for International Election Observation Mission, the Congo (October 2006) for the Carter Centre.
Mr. Matas has been active in Canadian politics. He was a candidate for the federal Liberal Party for Winnipeg South Centre (1979, 1980, 1984), and a member of the national policy committee for the Liberal Party from 1973 to 1978.
He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards including: the Governor-General’s Confederation Medal in 1992, the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Manitoba Association of Rights & Liberties in 1996, the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada Midwest Region Human Rights Achievement Award in 1999, and the Vancouver Interfaith Brotherhood Person of the Year 2006. Mr. Matas was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2008.
David Matas is the author of a number of books: Justice Delayed: Nazi War Criminals in Canada (Summerhill Press, 1987) with Susan Charendoff; Closing the Doors: The Failure of Refugee Protection (Summerhill Press, 1989) with Ilana Simon; No More: The Battle Against Human Rights Violations (Dundurn, 1994); Bloody Words: Hate and Free Speech (Bain & Cox, 2000); Aftershock: anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism (Dundurn, 2005). He is also the co-editor of The Machinery of Death (Amnesty International USA, 1995).
David Kilgour graduated from the University of Manitoba with a B.A. in Economics, and received his L.L.B from the University of Toronto in 1966. He was admitted to the bars of Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba. After graduating from law school, he articled with a Vancouver law firm and then worked as an assistant city prosecutor for the City of Vancouver. He then worked for the federal Department of Justice and later became Crown Attorney for the Dauphin Judicial District in Manitoba. From 1972 to 1979, he served as a senior agent of the Attorney General and a constitutional advisor to the Government of Alberta – a position he held until being elected to the House of Commons in the spring of 1979.
During his over 26 years of service in the House of Commons, David held a wide variety of portfolios, including Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader, the Minister of External Relations, the Minister of Indian Affairs and the Minister of Transport. In 1990, after voting against the Goods and Services Tax, he was expelled from the Conservative caucus. He briefly sat as an independent Progressive Conservative before joining the Liberal Party in 1991.
He has served as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committees of the Whole House, and was appointed Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa and, later, Secretary of State for Asia Pacific. In April 2005, he chose to become an independent Member of Parliament.From 1990 1994, Mr. Kilgour served as the Chair of the Canadian chapter of the International Committee for a Free Vietnam, and he continues to shed light on the plight of political prisoners in Vietnam. In December of 1994, his efforts to promote human rights in Vietnam were acknowledged by the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Vietnam.
He is the author of several books including: Uneasy Patriots: Western Canadians in Confederation (Lone Pine Publishing, 1988); Betrayal: The Spy Canada Abandoned (Prentice Hall, 1994); Uneasy Neighbours: Canada, the USA and the Dynamics of State, Industry and Culture, with David T. Jones (Wiley, 2007).
Visit David Kilgour’s website.