Speakers' Corner

    The heart and soul of every ProbusPerth monthly meeting is normally the presentation by the key note speaker. It is the key ingredient that keeps members active and engaged. Over the years, the Club has been exceptionately fortunate to have so many interesting presentations.

    Many of the best speakers have been suggested by our members. If you know of a speaker who you think other members would love to hear, or a subject of broad interest, please get in touch with one of the Program Directors, David Farquharson (by clicking here), or Gardner Church, or Brian O'Connor, or Derek Cooke.

Future Speakers

  • The November speaker will be a resident of Perth, James Bartleman, career diplomat, author, and former Lt. Governor of Ontario. His writings include memoirs of growing up as a First Nations member in Muskoka, memoirs of his professional career, and three social justice novels.

Speakers In the Recent Past

  • The October speaker was Bruce Di Labio. He began birding at the age of 8 and has written about, and photographed, birds ever since. He has taught birding, lead many birding tours nationally and internationally, and worked as a naturalist. For more information on Bruce, please see

  • September 6th ~ Our speaker was Professor M. Lindsay Lambert who presented his MAGIC LANTERN SHOW, a travel back in time to a century ago before the development of the cinema. Members' attention was riveted by patter, song, sound effects and tricks of action as the Professor’s authentic Magic Lantern displayed images for their entertainment.

  • June 7th ~ Our speaker was Fred Hitchens with a talk entitled "Eye In The Sky: The Hubble Space Telescope". It was a look back at the history of the greatest of the orbiting observatories and how astronomers have used it to decipher some of the most fundamental mysteries of the cosmos. Fred was born the year the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, was launched. Twelve years later as a young boy he watched astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take humanity's first steps on another world, the Moon. He has been hooked on astronomy and space exploration ever since. Currently he spends many a night exploring the dark country skies from his home at Rideau Ferry. Through public speaking, newspaper columns and radio interviews he says that "he feels fortunate to be able to share his fascination with the Cosmos with others". This was  a return engagement as Fred previously presented at the May 2016 meeting ~ read the account in the May 2016 edition of the Probian.

  • May 3rd ~ Our speakers were Jayne Munro-Ouimet, President of the Lanark County Genealogical Society and Karen Prytula, Director of Communications and Marketing, who talked about the tools available, and methods of using those tools, to assist people in tracing their family trees.

  • April 5th ~ Our speaker will be, Brock Godfrey, volunteer with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) who will speak on the subject of Fraud Awareness. Brock has learned a lot about scam and fraud in his years with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). A former employee of the Ontario Ministry of Education, he joined “PhoneBusters” in 1997 as a volunteer, and since then his mission has been to bring awareness of scams, fakes and frauds to seniors, service groups and businesses across the country.

  • March 1st ~ Our presenters were Rob Rainer, Janet Coward and Mary-Lou Carroll, who presented a musical account of the "The First Sixty-five Years of St. Patrick's Days Celebrations in Perth", a historical musical account of 65 years of St Patrick's Day celebrations in Perth, up to the 1920's.

  • February 1st Our speaker was Howard Sapers who spoke on teh role Corrections play in making Canada a better, safer, healthier place in which to live. He is currently the Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform to the Ontario provincial government, having previously served as the Correctional Investigator of Canada from 2004-2016, public servant and former provincial politician from Alberta, Canada. He served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, representing Edmonton-Glenora from 1993 until 2001.

  • January 4, 2017 ~ Our speaker was Archibald (Arch) Ritter an economics professor at Carleton University, who will be spoke about "Cuba: Economic and Political Prospects?". He is focused on economic interrelations between developing countries and developedmarket economies, development issues in Latin America with particular reference to Cuba and Chile, public policy and the mineral sector, and issues of income distribution, social policy, and development.

  • December 7th ~ Our speaker was Dr. Thomas R. J. Todd, MD. Dr. Todd, along with a team of specialists at Toronto General Hospital, performed the first ever successful lung transplant in 1983. In 1986 they performed the first successful double lung transplant. Dr. Todd has written a book titled Breathless: A Transplant Surgeon's Journal, about his decades-long career as a transplant surgeon.

  • November 2nd ~ Beverly McFarlane, President and CEO of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital who spoke about “The Challenges of Building and Maintaining a Strong Community Hospital”. Beverly has a Critical Care and Emergency Nursing background with 25 years of health care leadership experience. She is a graduate of the baccalaureate nursing program at Laurentian University and has a Master’s Degree in Leadership Studies from the University of Guelph. She has also studied Quality Management at McMaster University and completed the Rotman School of Management Advanced Health Leadership program.

  • October 5th ~ A  presentation on Habitat for Humanity, including International, National and Local aspects of the organization. The three speakers will be:
    • Rick Tait ~ past Director of Habitat for Humanity Canada's Global Villages Program
    • Sandra Oey ~ Project Manager, Builds and Chapters for Habitat for Humanity for Greater Ottawa (Habitat GO)
    • Chris Hahn ~ Dean of the Perth Campus of Algonquin College

  • September 7th ~ Dr. Manuela Joannou spoke about  the moral injury component of PTSD and why it is so crucial to address it. Dr. Joannou is a family physician and emergency medicine physician practicing in Perth. She is also the Medical Director of Tay River Reflections Medical Spa in Perth. She has a specific interest in the field of PTSD in First Responders and Military Personnel and has been actively researching this field for a number of years. Her research brought her in touch with a novel program in California that would address not only the psychologic and physical symptomatology of PTSD, but also the moral injury component. Together with the team from California, Dr. Joannou offered a 5 1/2 day residential experiental program for 13 military personnel and police officers (all men) in Perth from May 8 to 13, 2016. The program was very successful and almost all the participants stated it was transformational for them. Dr. Joannou has started "Project Trauma Support" a new initiative in Canada and hopes to continue to offer this program on a regular basis in Perth. The long term plan is to teach other facilitators to offer the program across the country. You can check out the website for this project at
  • June 1st ~ Dr. Sandra Taylor, Ph.D., retired Director of the Office of Bioethics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen's and Clinical Bioethicist, Kingston General Hospital. She is the coauthor with Dr. Carlos Prado of "Assisted Suicide: theory and practice in elective death" (Humanity Press) and the author of many articles concerning suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia and other areas of health care ethics. Ms. Taylor's address was entitled "In Everything There Is A Season: a discussion of medically assisted dying”.

  • May 4th ~ Frank Hitchens presented his interesting talk "Canada in Space: A History". Members were invited to "Come and explore Canada’s space program as Frank Hitchens takes us on a journey to the stars."  Frank Hitchens is an astronomer who lives in Lombardy and, more than anything else, other than looking at the stars, he enjoys sharing his passion for the Cosmos.

  • April 6th ~ The speaker was Probus Perth member Gary Dickson. His presentation was: “Welcome to the Brave New World of Electronic Health Records.” What rights does an Ontario patient have with respect to their own health information? Are there adequate safeguards to protect your most sensitive records? Do we need to choose between privacy protection and privacy paralysis? The former Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, Gary Dickson, discussed privacy, confidentiality, access to and correction of health records. You may read more about Gary in the October 2015 Probian (Personal Profile section).

  • March 2nd ~  The presentation  was on the Community Alliance for Refugee Resettlement or The CARR for short. There were several presenters from the CARR Team who talked about how this project sprang to life in our community, the route it has taken and its success to date. You may want to check out their website to get a glimpse of the heartwarming local response to the worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, in advance of the meeting.

  • February 6th ~ Our speaker on February 3rd was Sturla Sigurjónsson, Iceland’s Ambassador to Canada, who gave an address entitled “Mutual Interests in the North: Iceland and Canada in the 21st Century,” about the shared political and economic interests of Iceland and Canada. Ties between Canada and Iceland go back over a thousand years to Leif Eriksson’s landing on the coast of Newfoundland. Today in Canada, there are almost 100,000 people with some Icelandic heritage. Apart from these historic links, Canada and Iceland share a mutual interest in the development of the North, a key initiative of the federal government of Canada.

  • January 6th ~ Our speaker was Kevin Gray who talked about “The French and Indian War and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham”. The main focus of the talk was on the Battle of the Plains, but he also discussed the French and Indian War in order to provide context. Ken spent 7 years researching and writing a novel about the subject entitled “Where the River Narrows” (copies were available for purchase). A lifelong resident of southern Ontario, the author obtained a science degree at the University of Toronto before embarking on a career as a police officer.

Complete List of Speakers 1996 to 2015

For a complete list of Speakers and their topics from the inception of the club to 2015,