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Your 2024 Director Candidates

Election Ballots Insta

We received 11 nominations for our 2024 Board of Directors! Three will be elected into their positions, and the current Board of Directors may acclaim three.

Meet the candidates!

Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario had 2 or more nominations each, these regions will see a vote. Instructor members in good standing are eligible to vote for the province in which they reside. These members should have already received their ballot, if not, please reach out to [email protected] with your Paddle Canada member number.

Voting is open now and closes on April 12, 2024


Karla Handy

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Karla has been a Paddle Canada canoe instructor since 2003 and has been the Program Service Coordinator/Executive Director of Paddle Alberta since 2011.

Vision for Paddle Canada

My ultimate goal is to contribute towards fostering a community culture that promotes safe, enjoyable, and accessible paddling experiences for as many people as possible. With my extensive background in the Alberta paddling industry as a participant, instructor, and Executive Director of Paddle Alberta, I am well-equipped with the knowledge, time, and experience to work with the PC board and committees to help achieve this goal.

Tanner Fisher

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Tanner is a canoe (soon to be an IT) and river kayak instructor who has been teaching Paddle Canada courses for the past ten years.

Vision for Paddle Canada

As a director at Paddle Canada, my primary goal is to make canoeing more accessible to Canadians across the country. Accessibility, in my view, encompasses not only the physical availability of resources and programs but also the creation of an inclusive, welcoming environment that invites individuals from all walks of life to participate in paddling activities. I envision a future where Paddle Canada leads by example in breaking down barriers to entry, whether they be financial, physical, or socio-cultural, thereby enriching our community with a diverse range of perspectives and experiences.

I also wish to use my extensive background and connections in Alberta to significantly increase the Paddle Canada network by introducing more courses within the province. Alberta’s vast natural landscapes offer unparalleled opportunities for paddle sport recreational activities. By fostering partnerships with local schools, universities, and outdoor centers, and by tailoring our offerings to meet the unique needs of the Alberta community, we can set a new benchmark for provincial engagement.


Alexander Martin

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Alexander is a Sea Kayak instructor who primarily teaches in Indigenous communities in rural Manitoba. He has taught clinics and courses for WAV Paddling, Deep Cove Canoe And Kayak Centre, and the Sea Kayaking School of Manitoba. He has sat on various national and international board of directors for environmental NGOs, including chairing the Canadian Tree
Research & Education Endowment Fund. He has previously partnered with the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, CPAWS Manitoba, and Pimachiowin Aki to popularize paddling in Manitoba. In addition to instructing kayaking, Alexander works in academia, researching professional associations and environmental governance. He currently sits on the Paddle Canada Equity,
Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Vision for Paddle Canada

With a commitment to fostering a vibrant and inclusive paddling community, my vision for Paddle Canada is deeply rooted in my background and passion for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), environmental stewardship, and engaging youth. As the Manitoba director, I would focus on these imperatives in my home province while working alongside the other Paddle Canada directors to foster a national culture of DEI, youth engagement, and
environmental stewardship within our paddling communities. This includes incorporating further EDI principles and practices into the policy manual of Paddle Canada and in the updating of the Strategic Plan. To support instructors across all disciplines, I will work with conservation authorities to develop teaching resources about invasive species, environmental protection, and waterbody health. Nationally, I will work with the Paddle Canada board and staff to develop further programming to introduce more youth into paddling sports.

Donna Kurt

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Donna has been a Paddle Canada member since 1990 and a Canoe Instructor member since 1996 and has delivered hundreds of canoe courses and clinics over the years. She has served on various committees and boards of directors for Nature Manitoba for 3 years, Rainbow Resource Centre for 4 years, and Paddle Manitoba (MRCA) for 14 years including a term as President of MRCA

Vision for Paddle Canada

I am interested in representing Paddle Manitoba and Manitoba paddlers in general and promoting Paddle Canada in the Province as I always do in Paddle Canada courses I instruct. I will listen to paddlers and try to represent them to address their concerns and interests in an unbiased manner. I will organize regular meetings with instructors and attend community paddling events and meetings to represent Paddle Canada. Address issues surrounding courses, instructors, and maintaining instructor certifications. Continue to work on the Adaptive Paddling Committee as it evolves, having assisted many people with various abilities who want to paddle and enjoy paddling activities. Donna served previously on the Program Development Committee to update the Canoe Program Manual in the late 1990s and has applied to serve in the Canoe and Camping committees.


Barry Butcher

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A Sea Kayak instructor for the past 15 years, Barry spent over 20 years working for the military (Navy) and 16 with Transport Canada in marine regulations.

Vision for Paddle Canada

My goal in becoming a director for Paddle Canada is to continue the great work this organization has done in providing opportunities for all members of society to find the benefits of paddlesports.

I am committed to working with members in developing programming that includes all demographics and experience levels while providing a positive learning environment.

The use of technology in our programming is something I would like to investigate to streamline our programs while providing a forum of openness.   It is always a great moment when participants succeed and being a representative for those participants and members would be an honor, thank you for this opportunity.

Jim Butterworth

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A paddler of all, Jim’s main focus and instructor certifications lie within our canoe and camping programs. He has been teaching Paddle Canada courses for over 25 years, mostly with outdoor centres hosting school groups, and college students. Jim has served on multiple boards over the years, has had success in securing funds for projects, and aided Paddle Canada on a grievance investigation.

Vision for Paddle Canada

Paddle sports are health care for Canadians. I also feel that the best ideas do not come from the boardroom but from the paddler community and committees.

I am applying to be a director with Paddle Canada to honour the good work of past boards and to continue building the quality resource that is this organization through increased membership, risk management, and continual linking with groups, organizations, and paddlers.

Like the waters we paddle, Paddle Canada should be known by all as the gold standard in our industry. I believe that people who are interested in starting a new paddle sport would be more likely to stick with it once connected to the Paddle Canada community a benefit for any business selling/renting paddling gear. There are creative and original ways to get the word out to diverse communities: One way might be when you rent/buy gear there is a QR code tag connecting you to this knowledgeable organization (perhaps through introductory videos).

I would like to help Paddle Canada stay on track with long-term planning, insurance, policies, etc. Sifting through data is a personal interest! It is safe to say that insurance is a big concern for a majority of businesses in the paddling industry. In Ontario if you use winter tires you get a reduction on your insurance costs. I would like to see if a company teaches Paddle Canada courses they get a reduction similar to winter tires. Reduce risk – get a better deal.

Finally, I have experience working on ONCA (Ontario Non profit Corporation Act) compliance and policies with other boards and committees.
With a deep passion for teamwork, networking, education and building client-focused environments I would enjoy representing the Paddle Canada community.

Dan Bezaire


Dan holds certifications in both camping and sea kayaking and has been teaching the Paddle Canada Sea Kayak program for over 20 years. He has had a long career with the Royal Canadian Navy, has been a youth care worker and is invested in getting more youth paddling.

Vision for Paddle Canada

First and foremost, understand the PC board’s current status which projects are underway, and where I can help with these. From there my main goals during the term as a director would be to build, and maintain relations with other paddling organizations and youth organizations (ex. Get Kids Paddling, Cadets Canada, CKC, ORCKA) and where possible work together on projects to help build the paddling industry.

Being a point of contact for members from mainly Ontario to bring ideas, concerns, concepts, etc forward to the board to improve PC and paddling communities throughout Ontario and Canada. To look at options to allow PC to better serve businesses, outfitters, and instructors in the paddling industry. Overall, I would like to see PC continue to grow and develop a program that improves safety, skills, understanding, and connections in the paddling industry

Kelly Park

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Kelly is a Sea Kayak Instructor who works on Ontario’s Great Lakes. She has over a decade of experience working with a Board of Directors through her work for an environmental charity as a Communications and Project Manager. 

Vision for Paddle Canada

I want to represent and help address Paddle Canada members’ hopes, concerns, and goals for the organization and make sure their voices are heard. I aim to encourage more folks, from seasoned paddlers to curious beginners, to dip their paddles into Canadian waters. I also plan to uphold Paddle Canada’s vision and standards, ensuring the board of directors help to steer the organization forward.

  • I’m committed to maintaining and improving the high standards set by Paddle Canada. Our certifications should represent safety, excellence, and a commitment to environmental stewardship.
  • I propose ongoing collaboration with members, instructors, and industry partners. We’ll ensure every paddler gets great instruction and foster a culture of safety and respect on our waterways.
  • Let’s engage with underrepresented communities, including newcomers and youth programs. We can introduce more Canadians to the joys of paddling by removing and reducing barriers like costs, access to equipment, locations, and instruction.
  • Paddling is for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or background. I envision Paddle Canada as a symbol of inclusivity.