Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor

[Principal and Vice Chancellor]
[Principal and Vice Chancellor]

Commissioner biographies

For the Principal’s Commission on the Future of Public Policy at Queen's


Michael Horgan

Michael Horgan is a senior advisor with the law firm Bennett Jones LLP, where he advises clients on a range of economic, financial sector, energy, and environment issues. Before joining Bennett Jones, Mr. Horgan enjoyed a 36-year career in the public service of Canada, where he served as deputy minister of four departments, including the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Indian and Northern Affairs, and Environment Canada. He retired from the public service in April 2014 after five years as deputy minister of finance.

As deputy minister of finance, Mr. Horgan led the department responsible for federal fiscal and tax policy, the legislation and regulation of the financial sector, tariff policy, international economic and financial relations, and major transfers to Canada’s provinces. He provided strategic advice to the government on a wide range of economic and financial issues, and he led the preparation of six federal budgets.

Much of Mr. Horgan’s career has been spent on energy and environment issues for successive governments. Over the years, he has had extensive dealings with the oil and gas sector, and he was the federal government’s chief negotiator for the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline. As deputy minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, Mr. Horgan helped negotiate the Kelowna Accord and worked on such issues as First Nations education, residential school reconciliation, treaty rights and land claims, and Aboriginal economic development.

Mr. Horgan has also held the positions of G7/G20 finance deputy for Canada and executive director for Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean on the board of the International Monetary Fund. He has served on a number of Crown corporation boards, including those of the Bank of Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, and Export Development Canada.

In addition to his position with Bennett Jones, Mr. Horgan sits on the boards of a number of not-for-profit organizations, including the Canadian Ditchley Foundation, the Centre for Studies in Living Standards, the Gairdner Foundation, the Ontario Brain Institute, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.


Margaret Biggs (Vice-Chair)

Margaret Biggs is currently chairperson of the Board of Governors for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Matthews Fellow in Global Public Policy at Queen’s University. Ms. Biggs served as the president of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) from 2008-2013 and was responsible for overseeing Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance efforts worldwide. Previously, Ms. Biggs served as deputy secretary to the cabinet, and assistant secretary, priorities and planning, in the Privy Council Office (Government of Canada).

Ms. Biggs has represented Canada in numerous international fora and served as Canada’s alternate governor to the World Bank, international executive co-chair of the China Council on International Cooperation on Environment and Development. Ms. Biggs is chair of the International Advisory Committee of United Nation University’s Institute on Water, Environment and Health, and on the board of World University Services Canada. 

Ms. Biggs is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

Kevin Costante, Artsci’78, MPA’79

Having retired after 35 years with the Ontario and Saskatchewan public services, Kevin Costante joined Queen’s School of Policy Studies in November 2014, as an adjunct professor. Prior to joining the School of Policy Studies, Mr. Costante had served for two years as deputy minister of government services, associate secretary of the cabinet, secretary of management board, and chair of the Public Service Commission in the Ontario Public Service. From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Costante was Ontario’s deputy minister of education.

First appointed a deputy minister in 1999, Mr. Costante also served in that role in the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, Cabinet Office (Policy), the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Prior to joining the Ontario Public Service in 1988, he worked nine years in the Saskatchewan Public Service in the Department of Education, the Department of Advanced Education, and the Department of Finance (Treasury Board).

Mr. Costante attended Queen’s University and has a BA (Honours) degree and a Master of Public Administration degree (1979). He lives in Toronto and is also on the board of directors of several not-for-profit organizations.

Jeannie Dempster, Artsci'93

Ms. Dempster possesses more than 20 years of federal government experience, including advisory positions in all three primary central agencies and in ministers’ offices. In her role as a director at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, amongst other achievements, she led the policy team responsible for the creation of the Investment in Affordable Housing, a multilateral, multi-year policy and funding agreement between federal and provincial/territorial governments. More recently at the Public Policy Forum, she has led several projects spanning public policy issues as varied as cybersecurity, cross-sector career mobility, and social innovation. Her focus on projects promoting good governance practices have included, for example, health-care governance and Crown corporation governance.

Ms. Dempster has both a BA (Honours) degree and a Master of Public Administration degree from Queen’s University. Her wide-ranging experiences to date have included significant work in policy development and analysis, as well as honing skills in leadership, strategic planning, and project management. Ms. Dempster is currently on an interchange assignment with the federal government, as executive director of the Canadian Science Review Secretariat.

Bridget O’Grady, Artsci’03, MPA’05

Since graduating from Queen’s School of Policy Studies with a Master of Public Administration degree in 2005, Bridget O’Grady has enjoyed a rewarding public sector career spanning the federal, territorial, and international spheres. Ms. O’Grady currently works as a manager within the Office of the Comptroller General at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in Ottawa. Prior to that, she held a number of positions over a decade-long career at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, where she was responsible for conducting and managing performance audits across a variety of sectors, ranging from national security to health care to Canada’s North. During that time, Ms. O’Grady spent two years living and working in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she contributed to advancing a culture of accountability in her role as a manager in the internal audit function. She also served as Canada’s representative at the Australian National Audit Office, where she worked to share best practices and support collaboration between those jurisdictions.

Ms. O’Grady is strongly committed to lifelong learning, as evidenced most recently by her participation in the Comptrollership Leadership Development Program (Government of Canada, 2016); other in-house development programs spanning her career to date; as well as the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan (2008).

A current member of Queen’s University Council, R.S. McLaughlin Fellowship recipient (2003), Gold Medal recipient (Bachelor of Arts Honours, History, 2003), and Chernoff Family Award recipient (1999-2003), Ms. O’Grady is a proud alumnus whose ties and sense of service to Queen’s University runs deep. She credits her career progression and professional success in large part to her Queen’s University education, and is aiming to bring her personal and professional perspectives to bear on the work of the commission, in order to ensure the continued success of the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University and its place as a training ground for leaders of today and tomorrow.

Peter Wallace, Artsci’83

Peter Wallace is currently the city manager for the City of Toronto, Canada’s largest city and the sixth largest government in the country. As the city manager, Mr. Wallace has overall responsibility for more than 53,000 staff, an operating budget of about $12 billion, and a 2015-24 capital plan of $32 billion.

Mr. Wallace’s career in the public service spans over more than 30 years. He became secretary of the cabinet, head of the Ontario Public Service, and clerk of the executive council on December 17, 2011. Before his appointment as secretary of the cabinet, Mr. Wallace was deputy minister of finance for three years. He also served as deputy minister of energy. Earlier, he was deputy minister and associate secretary of the cabinet with responsibility for policy in cabinet office.

Mr. Wallace began his public service career in 1981 after completing a BA (Honours) in Political Economy and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Toronto.

Bob Watts

Bob Watts has been involved in many major Indigenous issues in Canada over the past 20 years and led the process, with support from across Canada and internationally, to establish Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined and made recommendations regarding the Indian Residential School era and its legacy. He was interim executive director of the commission and was a member of the team that negotiated the historic Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

His current activities include working with Mediate BC to recommend ways for Aboriginal communities to respond to changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act and working on the Siting Process with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. He is an adjunct professor and fellow in Queen’s School of Policy Studies and a frequent speaker on Aboriginal issues.

Mr. Watts is also a former CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, served as the chief of staff to the Assembly of First Nations’ National Chief Phil Fontaine, and is a former assistant deputy minister for the Government of Canada. He is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and fellow at the Harvard Law School. Mr. Watts is from Mohawk and Ojibway ancestry and is a member of the Six Nations Reserve.

Cam Yung, Artsci’16

Cam Yung is currently the Rector at Queen’s University. Mr. Yung was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He is currently completing his studies in biology. Before being elected rector, Mr. Yung focused his efforts in Queen’s residences, serving as a floor representative, a Residence Facilitator, the Vice-President of Judicial Affairs for the Residence Society, and as a Residence Don. This year, Mr. Yung is also volunteering his time for the Alma Mater Society's FoodBank as the Sustainability Coordinator. 

Ex-officio members

Michael Fraser

Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations), joined Queen’s in May 2013 after more than 20 years of experience in the public affairs and communications field, including a variety of positions in both the federal and provincial governments. He has served as a chief of staff and senior communications advisor to federal cabinet ministers, members of parliament, and a provincial premier, and has a wealth of experience in developing and executing strategic communications and issues management, stakeholder engagement, and policy development. His portfolios have spanned government, public and media relations, and internal and external communications.

As VP (University Relations), Mr. Fraser oversees the Communications, Marketing and Government and Institutional Relations departments at Queen’s. This portfolio works to enhance the overall reputation of the university and supports its vision and academic mission in a variety of ways. It tells Queen’s stories through the Queen’s Alumni Review and the Queen’s Gazette, serves as a resource for members of the media, and strives to build Queen’s profile both nationally and internationally. The portfolio is also tasked with developing Queen’s name and reputation through the stewardship of relations with governments at all three levels, higher learning institutions, which includes a special emphasis on improving relations with the Kingston community.

Mr. Fraser holds a degree in Economics from Glendon College and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where he was also a junior fellow of Massey College.

David M C Walker, Meds’71, MD, FRCPC

David Walker is currently Stauffer-Dunning Chair and Executive Director of the Queen’s School of Policy Studies. He is professor in the departments of Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine in the School of Medicine and professor in Queen’s School of Policy Studies.

A native of Great Britain, Dr. Walker attended Harrow School then immigrated to Canada in 1965. He graduated MD from Queen's University in Kingston in 1971, was certified in internal medicine and was awarded fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1975.

A career in academic emergency medicine at Queen’s, Kingston General and Hotel Dieu Hospitals led to roles as associate, vice-dean, and, from 1999-2010, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, and CEO of the Southeast Academic Medical Organization (SEAMO).

Dr. Walker has been president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and chair of the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine. He has served government (by order in council) as chair of the Expert Panel on SARS and Infectious Disease Control, as inaugural board chair of the Ontario Agency for Health Promotion and Protection, and as advisor to ministers of health in Ontario on policy areas concerning public health and aging.

At Queen’s Dr. Walker chaired the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health and the coordination and planning for the university’s 175th anniversary.

Dr. Walker and his wife Emily share six adult children and, currently, nine grandchildren.