Practitioner in Residence (January 2024)
Marci Surkes is a 15-year government and public policy leader who has served in the most senior roles as a trusted advisor. She currently serves as Strategic Advisor to Compass Rose, a public affairs firm, and is the Interim Executive Director of the Coalition for a Better Future, a public policy organization.
Prior to joining Compass Rose, Ms. Surkes served as executive director of policy and cabinet affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2019-2022. She led a team that provided strategic advice to the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. She worked on the most complex policy files and issues facing the country including the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the development of a national early learning and child care program, wildfires, heightened transparency for federal security agencies and institutions, and on issues related to justice, public safety and gender equity.
Ms. Surkes’ time in politics also includes serving as Chief of Staff to the Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for Canada; Director of Policy and Strategic Communications to the Hon. Bob Rae; policy advisor to the Hon. Michael Ignatieff and the Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh, and Manager of the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau.
Before politics, Ms. Surkes worked as a journalist for the Ottawa Citizen and CBC News.
Originally from Montreal, Ms. Surkes holds a B.C.L. and an L.L.B. from the Faculty of Law at McGill University and a BA (Hons) in politics and journalism from Brandeis University.
Ms. Surkes has been a Fellow of the Riddell MPM Programme since 2018, and a contract instructor since 2023. She also guest lectures on public policy issues and machinery of government at numerous Canadian universities including McGill, the University of Ottawa, and Toronto Metropolitan University.
Ms. Surkes sits on the Board of Directors of the Parliamentary Centre, a non-governmental organization, and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.