Allan Thompson is seeking the federal Liberal nomination in Huron-Bruce for the upcoming federal election.
Thompson, 54, is a former political reporter for the Toronto Star newspaper and most recently has been a journalism professor at Carleton University. He is now on a sabbatical from the university and recently launched a strategic communications firm based in Goderich, called Market Street Strategies.
Thompson was the federal Liberal candidate in Huron-Bruce in the 2015 election that brought the Justin Trudeau Liberal government to power. In Huron-Bruce, Thompson raised Liberal support by more than 23 percentage points and with more than 23,000 votes, placed a close second to the incumbent.
Thompson currently resides in Goderich but was born and raised in the village of Glammis in southern Bruce County and also has a home in Ottawa. His parents Ron and Eleanor Thompson ran a family farm, with beef cattle and pigs. He studied Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa before completing his master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Kent at Canterbury, England. After working at the Kincardine Independent and the Teeswater News, he became a reporter for the Toronto Star newspaper. He worked as a political reporter in The Star’s Ottawa bureau from 1994 to 2003 when he took up a position as a professor in Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication.
For 15 years he was also a columnist in the Saturday Star, writing about Canada’s immigration policy. His work as a reporter with The Star gave Allan the opportunity to travel extensively across Canada and around the world and also to spend a lot of time observing and analyzing federal politics, often traveling with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. He spent time as a reporter in the tiny central African country of Rwanda after the 1994 genocide and as a professor at Carleton, launched the Rwanda Initiative, a five-year partnership between Carleton’s journalism school and its counterpart in Rwanda. The project sent more than 175 Canadian volunteers to Rwanda as teachers, trainers and media interns and also brought Rwandan journalists to Canada to study.
Allan is the editor of the upcoming book Media and Mass Atrocity: the Rwanda Genocide and Beyond and also The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. He is the co-author of The Canadian Reporter, the standard journalism text for Canadian journalism students. He also founded Carleton’s Centre for Media and Transitional Societies (CMTS), which sends about 20 journalism students to the developing world each year on summer internships. He is the President of the Gordon Sinclair Foundation, which annually gives a bursary to aspiring young journalists.
In 2010, Allan was presented with a Governor General’s medal by Michaëlle Jean in recognition of his work promoting press freedom in Africa. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Gov. Gen. David Johnston for his work fostering journalism education and human rights in the developing world. He was nominated for the medal by Roméo Dallaire, commander of the ill-fated United Nations mission in Rwanda in 1994.
After the 2015 election, Allan was chosen to lead a Liberal party task force called ProjectRURAL that examined how the party could better serve rural ridings. He has also remained very active with the Huron-Bruce Federal Liberal Association, handling the riding association’s communications and also organizing such key events as town halls on climate change, electoral reform and Canada’s international trade deals.
Thompson is an active member of the congregation at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, in Glammis. He has also served as a guest speaker for various community groups and organizations, with presentations on such topics as fake news and journalism ethics, the role of the media during the genocide in Rwanda and the influx of child migrants to Canada early in the last century, the so-called home children.
Allan is married to Roula El-Rifai, who works for the International Development Research Centre and their son Laith is heading into his second year of university.