Who we are

The Institute is headed by a president, is governed by an executive committee, and is supported by an expert advisory board and several academic advisors.

The Institute also appoints a College of Fellows.


The Hon. Margaret McCain, CC, ONB

Margaret McCain

In 1994, Margaret Norrie McCain was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, the first woman to hold this position. She served in that role until 1997, when she moved to Toronto. Mrs. McCain has been active in organizations that promote education, music, and the arts at the provincial and national levels. She served as chancellor of Mount Allison University from 1986 to 1994 and was a member of the board of Canada’s National Ballet School for 18 years, serving as board chair from 1998 to 2000. She is currently chair of the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation. In 2019, Mrs. McCain became patron of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada at Massey College and served as honorary chair of its fourth conference in Toronto.

Executive Committee

D. Michael Jackson, CVO, SOM, CD (Regina)


D. Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was chief of protocol for Saskatchewan from 1980 to 2005. He is author of The Crown and Canadian Federalism (Dundurn, 2013); co-editor of The Evolving Canadian Crown and of Canada and the Crown (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012, 2013); editor of The Canadian Kingdom: 150 Years of Constitutional Monarchy (Dundurn, 2018) and Royal Progress: Canada’s Monarchy in the Age of Disruption (Dundurn, 2020). He is a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order and Member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.

John Fraser, CM (Toronto)

Founding President

John Fraser

Author and journalist John Fraser is president and CEO of the National NewsMedia Council of Canada. He was Master of Massey College from 1995 to 2014. Previously he was the award-winning editor of Saturday Night. He is author of eleven books, including the internationally-acclaimed The Chinese: Portrait of a People (1980), Eminent Canadians (2000), and The Secret of the Crown: Canada’s Affair with Royalty (House of Anansi, 2012). A Member of the Order of Canada, he is founding president of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada at Massey College.

Nathan Tidridge, MSM (Waterdown, Ontario)

First Vice-President

Nathan Tidridge

Nathan Tidridge teaches Canadian history, government, and Indigenous studies at Waterdown District High School, Ontario, and is author of Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy (Dundurn, 2011), Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (Dundurn, 2013), and The Queen at the Council Fire (Dundurn, 2015).  He is a board member of the Ontario Heritage Trust and a member of the national advisory council for Prince’s Trust Canada.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2018 for his work in educating Canadians on the role of the Crown and its relationship with Indigenous communities.

Barbara J. Messamore (Vancouver)

Second Vice-President

Barbara J. Messamore

Barbara J. Messamore, professor of history at University of the Fraser Valley, is the author of Canada’s Governors General, 1847-1878: Biography and Constitutional Evolution (University of Toronto Press, 2006), co-author of Narrating a Nation: Canadian History Pre-Confederation (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2011) and of Conflict and Compromise: Pre-Confederation Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2017), and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Historical Biography. With a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, she is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK).

John Gross (Toronto)


John Gross

Working in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario since 2011, John Gross is a practitioner with firsthand knowledge of machinery of government in Westminster systems, advising senior officials on constitutional, communications and protocol matters.  A writer and researcher, he helped pioneer the use of social media within the Canadian viceregal community. He has an MA in public policy and administration from Ryerson University.

Advisory Board

Sigma A. Daum Shanks (Toronto)

Sigma A. Daum Shanks

Dr. Signa A. Daum Shanks is a Métis from Saskatchewan who is trained as a lawyer and historian and is a faculty member of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Her research interests include constitutionalism, legal history, law and economics, and history. In 2017, the Canadian Association of Law Teachers awarded her the Scholarly Paper Award for her article “Why Coywolf Goes to Court” and the Office of the President at York University named her a 2018 York Research Leader.   Dr. Daum Shanks has also been appointed by the United Nations to be a Participant in the annual UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Mary Dawson, CM, QC (Ottawa)

Mary Dawson

Mary Dawson was the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in Ottawa from 2007 to 2018.  Prior to her appointment as Commissioner she had a long and distinguished legal career within the Department of Justice and was Associate Deputy Minister from 1988 to 2005.  She played an important role in relation to constitutional matters, including the drafting of the patriation package (Constitution Act, 1982) and all subsequent constitutional amendments and proposals. Ms. Dawson was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1978 and was named to the Order of Canada in 2007.

J. William Galbraith (Ottawa)

J. William Galbraith

J. William (Bill) Galbraith is the author of John Buchan: Model Governor General (Dundurn, 2013).He retired as Executive Director of the Office of the CSE Commissioner in 2018, after a career of 30 years of federal public service involving investment review, intelligence, national security policy and intelligence review. Prior to joining the federal government, he was with The Conference Board of Canada. He was a volunteer for over 25 years with St. John Ambulance, first as a member of the Brigade and subsequently many years on local and national governing boards. He is a Commander of the Order of St. John.

Carolyn Harris (Toronto)

Carolyn Harris

Author, historian and royal commentator, Carolyn Harris received her doctorate in European history from Queen’s University and teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.  She is author of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada (Dundurn, 2015), Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting (Dundurn, 2017).

The Hon. Serge Joyal, PC, OC, OQ (Montréal)

Serge Joyal

Serge Joyal was a Senator from 1997 to 2020. He had been an MP, a Minister and Secretary of State, and in 1980-81 co-chaired the Joint Committee that recommended the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A collector and patron of the arts, he is the author and publisher of several articles and books related to parliamentary and constitutional law, as well as essays in social and political history. Mr. Joyal is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec, and Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur (France).

Christopher McCreery, MVO (Halifax)

Christopher McCreery

With a doctorate in Canadian political history, Christopher McCreery is the author of more than a dozen books, including On Her Majesty’s Service:  Royal Honours and Recognition in Canada (Dundurn, 2008), The Canadian Honours System (2nd edition, Dundurn, 2015), Fifty Years of Honouring Canadians:  The Order of Canada, 1967-2017 (Dundurn, 2017), and The Order of Canada: Genesis of an Honours System (University of Toronto Press, 2018). He is private secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, a Member of the Royal Victorian Order and served as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of History from 2012-2018.

The Hon. David Onley, CM, OOnt (Toronto)

David Onley

David Onley was Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 2007 to 2014, following a distinguished career as a broadcaster.  He served as chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council of the Government of Ontario.  As Ontario’s first Lieutenant Governor with a physical disability, Mr. Onley adopted accessibility as the overarching theme of his viceregal mandate.  He expanded the Aboriginal Youth Literacy Initiative to include computer literacy programs.  He is a Member of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Ontario.

Michael Valpy (Toronto)

Michael Valpy

Michael Valpy has been a member of the Globe and Mail’s editorial board, Ottawa political columnist, Africa correspondent, deputy managing editor, and columnist on social and political issues. He is a continuing Senior Fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto and a Senior Fellow in Public Policy, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He taught for nine years in the University of Toronto’s book and media studies program at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough’s School of Journalism.

Academic advisors

Ralph Heintzman

Ralph Heintzman

Ralph Heintzman is a senior fellow of Massey College in the University of Toronto and an honorary senior fellow in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. A former editor of the Journal of Canadian Studies and a former executive director of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, he also served as Vice-Principal, Research at the Canadian Centre for Management Development. In the Government of Canada, he held senior executive positions in a number of departments and agencies, and is a recipient of the Vanier Medal, Canada’s highest honour in public administration. He has contributed to learned journals across a variety of disciplines and his writing has been included in a number of edited collections, including two manuals of prose style. His books and monographs include From Research to Results: A Decade of Results-Based Service Improvement in Canada (with Brian Marson); Tom Symons: A Canadian Life; and Rediscovering Reverence: The Meaning of Faith in a Secular World.

Philippe Lagassé

Philippe Lagassé

Philippe Lagassé holds the William and Jeanie Barton Chair at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University (2016-2021). His research focuses on defence policy and procurement and on the roles of Parliament, the Crown, and executive power in Westminster states, notably in the areas of foreign and military affairs. His work on these subjects has appeared in leading international and Canadian journals, including West European PoliticsParliamentary AffairsThe Round TableBritish Journal of Politics and International RelationsReview of Constitutional Studies, and Canadian Public Administration.

Dr. Lagassé is currently completing a project comparing legislative oversight of the military in fifteen countries. As part of this project, he conducted extensive fieldwork in Australia, Belgium, France, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. He is also beginning a new project on royal prerogative reform in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, leading an international team of political scientists and public lawyers working on executive power and constitutional reform. Prior to taking up the Barton Chair, Philippe Lagassé was an associate professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. He has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Study of Parliament Group and been a visiting professor at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. He regularly publishes op-eds and speaks with print and broadcast media on defence issues and the workings of the Westminster system.

Anne Twomey

Anne Twomey

Anne Twomey is a professor of constitutional law at the University of Sydney. She previously worked for the High Court of Australia, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Research Service, the Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, and the Cabinet Office of New South Wales. She is author of The Chameleon Crown: The Queen and Her Australian Governors (2006)on the Crown’s role in the decolonisation of the Australian States, and The Australia Acts 1986: Australia’s Statutes of Independence (2010). In 2018, Cambridge University Press published her book on the exercise of vice-regal reserve powers in the Realms, The Veiled Sceptre: Reserve Powers of Heads of State in Westminster Systems. She was an expert witness in the recent litigation concerning changes to the rules of succession in Canada. Dr. Twomey gave presentations at the conferences of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada at Victoria (2016) and Toronto (2019).