2019 At-Large Election Candidates

Voting opens Monday, April 15 at 8:00 AM and closes Monday, April 22, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

Here are the steps to vote: 

  1. First, please check your email - we sent an email from info@nsbs.org to all members titled Vote in the 2019 At-Large Election from Monday, April 15 to Monday April 22, 2019.
  2. If you do not see the email in your inbox please check your junk mail - if the email is not in your junk mail or inbox please contact us at email elections@nsbs.org.
  3. In the email you will find your unique username and password.
  4. Go to https://eballot.vote/nsbs – this will bring you to the voting platform.
  5. Login using your unique username and password 
  6. Vote for the candidates of your choice (you may vote for up to three candidates).
  7. Once you cast your three votes the system will not accept another vote.

Please note that you cannot use any login credentials from previous elections. You must login using your unique At-Large Election username and password sent to you via email from info@nsbs.org on April 14th.

2019 At-Large Election Candidates

Brian K. Awad 

Brian K. Awad is a partner at McInnes Cooper in Halifax. He was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1996 and the Ontario Bar in 1995. His current practice focuses on commercial and financial disputes, including contracts, investments and securities, shareholder issues, tax, estates, and the conduct of financial services professionals. Prior to joining McInnes Cooper in 2015, Brian practised with Burchells LLP in Halifax and also worked in the public sector in Toronto.    

Elected to Council in 2017 as a Member At-Large, Brian is also a member of the Society’s Finance Committee. An active member of the legal community, he is a CLE instructor and organizer for The Advocate’s Society and has been involved in various capacities with the Nova Scotia branch of the Canadian Bar Association. Brian has formerly instructed civil procedure courses at Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law.

Outside of the office, Brian is married and the father of three school-aged children. He is a serial volunteer with music and sports organizations in Nova Scotia, having served as the volunteer legal advisor to the boards of Music Nova Scotia and the Halifax Pop Explosion. Brian is a former board member of the Chebucto Minor Hockey Association and he participates in the annual Rock for Dimes battle of the bands fundraiser for March of Dimes.

Read Brian's Election Platform

Cheryl A. Canning QC

Cheryl A. Canning QC is co-Managing partner and a member of the litigation team at Burchells LLP in Halifax. Her practice primarily focuses on insurance related-work in the areas of personal injury, professional liability, construction, property damage, commercial liability and institutional abuse. She also takes a special interest in providing coverage opinions to insurers. 

Elected to Council in 2017 as a Member At-Large, Cheryl has volunteered in various capacities both at the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia (LIANS) continuously over the past 16 years. She is currently the Chair of the Credentials Committee and sits as a member of the Fitness to Practice Committee. Before joining Council, Cheryl served on a number of LIANS committees including Chair of the LIANS Board, and as a member of the LAP Committee, Governance Committee, Nominating Committee, Claims Review Committee and Investment Committee.

Cheryl has also been an active volunteer with the CBA, including serving as the Atlantic Representative and later the Chair of the CBA Wellness Subcommittee, as well as the Chair of the CBA Insurance Section.    

Called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1998, Cheryl is also a member of the Law Society of PEI. She is currently a member of the Advocates’ Society and Canadian Defence Lawyers. Since 2016, Cheryl has been named to the Best Lawyers list in the area of Insurance Law. Through her firm’s membership, Cheryl has been involved in various capacities with The ARC Group Canada, a national network of insurance defence firms, including serving as President.

Cheryl is an enthusiastic community member, having managed minor hockey teams and volunteered at the Banook Canoe Club. Over the years she has also dedicated her time to the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, the Kidney Foundation and Athletics Nova Scotia.   

Read Cheryl's Election Platform

Mark Everett

Mark Everett graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1992 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1996. He was admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1997 and worked in private practice before relocating to Halifax. In 2006, Mark was called to the Nova Scotia Bar and obtained his Master of Business Administration from Saint Mary's University.

Mark's legal experience extends across private, government and in-house practice. Having first joined its legal department in 2006, Mark is currently the Senior Solicitor with Nova Scotia Power, a position he has held since 2015. In his role, Mark is responsible for the day-to-day management of the department. He has also served as Legal Counsel with Justice Canada working with the Legal Services Unit at Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Mark has been actively involved in a number of committees at the Society. He has been a member of the Credentials Committee since 2007 and has served as the Chair of its Internal Review Subcommittee since 2010. He also sits as a member of the Legal Services Regulation In-House and Government Lawyers Working Group and served on the Professional Standards (Real Estate) Committee from 2010-17.

Mark is a past Chair of the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Section and the Real Property Section of the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. He currently serves as a member of the Legal Committee of the Canadian Electricity Association.

Read Mark's Election Platform

Christine Nault

Christine Nault is in-house counsel with Intact Insurance in Dartmouth. Having been called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 2009, Christine practiced with the Federal Department of Justice in Ottawa in the civil litigation section of the Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces Legal Advisors. Since returning to Halifax in 2012, Christine has practiced exclusively within the field of insurance litigation, first with Ritch Durnford, then Stewart McKelvey, before joining Intact Insurance in 2017. She is familiar with the distinctive issues and challenges that practicing in each of these environments entails and has appeared before all levels of Court in Nova Scotia.

Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Royal Military College of Canada and served with the Canadian Forces before attending Dalhousie Law School. Upon graduation in 2008, Christine articled with McInnes Cooper and then served as Law Clerk to the Honourable Justice Thomas Cromwell at the Supreme Court of Canada in 2010-2011.

Christine sits on the Veterans Legal Assistance Foundation Board of Directors, has judged moot courts at the Schulich School of Law, and has delivered numerous CLE presentations to both lawyers and insurance professionals.

Read Christine's Election Platform

Melanie Petrunia 

Melanie Petrunia is a partner at Nijhawan McMillan Petrunia, a feminist litigation boutique in Halifax, where she practices civil, commercial and tax litigation. Called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 2007, she began her legal career at Stewart McKelvey before joining the federal Department of Justice, Tax Law Services, where she spent eight years practicing tax litigation. During that time, Melanie appeared in the Tax Court of Canada in locations throughout Canada, the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal. She joined her current firm after a brief period as a sole practitioner. Melanie also serves as a part-time member of the Social Security Tribunal of Canada and a member of the Review Board under the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act.

Melanie co-taught a course on the administration of the Income Tax Act at Schulich School of Law and has also coached the Schulich team at the Donald D. G. Bowman Moot Court competition for many years. She is a member of the Canadian Tax Foundation and is frequently asked to speak on current issues in tax litigation. Melanie has been actively involved with the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association previously serving as Chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Section.

Melanie has served as a board member with many community organizations including Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Khyber Institute of Contemporary Art and Women's Wellness Within. She’s also a parent to three wild and wonderful children who always keep her busy.

Read Melanie's Election Platform

Diane Rowe

Diane Rowe is a Senior Solicitor with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice where she provides advice on administrative, commercial, resources, and indigenous law. Prior to working as a public sector lawyer, she began practice in Halifax in civil litigation and then in Newfoundland with primary practice in Indian Residential schools litigation. Diane was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1998.

Diane is a member of the Society’s Truth and Reconciliation Working Group, a past member of the Racial Equity and Qualifications & Bar Admission Committees, and she served as a Council member from 1998-1999.

As a member of the Canadian Bar Association, Diane was Chair of CBA Nova Scotia’s Corporate Counsel Section and National Secretary of the CBA’s National Aboriginal Law Section. Diane was Co-Chair of the CBA’s Aboriginal Justice Initiative, a member of CBA Nova Scotia's Ad Hoc Committee on the Recommendations of the Task Force on Racial Equality in the Legal Profession and Co-Chair of the CBA's National Racial Equality Implementation Committee. She is also a former Co-Chair of the National Steering Committee of the National Association of Women and the Law. 

Diane is a “60’s Scoop” survivor and was raised in Atlantic Canada, or Mi’kma’ki, far from traditional Anishinaabe territory. She is fortunate to become a member of her wife’s community, the MicMacs of Gesgapegiag, Quebec. She is an active member of her Indigenous communities, in Quebec and the Halifax urban Aboriginal community, and in her non-Indigenous community

Diane’s past community board activities include Mainland Nova Scotia Elizabeth Fry Society, St. John's Native Friendship Centre, Newfoundland and Labrador AIDS Committee, and Planned Parenthood. She was a member of the Halifax Presbytery of the United Church of Canada.  Diane is a member of the Wabanaki Two Spirit Society, and participates in activities at the Mik’kmaq Native Friendship Centre with her family.

Read Diane's Election Platform


Jack Townsend

Jack Townsend is a lawyer with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice. Prior to joining the Department of Justice in February 2019, Jack practiced with Cox & Palmer in Halifax for eight years. He is a civil litigator with experience in administrative law, insurance/personal injury defence, health law, and commercial litigation. He has appeared before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, the Utility and Review Board, and other administrative tribunals. Jack is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick, having received his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2005, and Bachelor of Laws in 2010. He was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 2011.

Jack is the Chair of the CBA-NS Equity Committee and he sits on the CBA-NS Branch Executive, Professional Development Committee, and Nominations Committee. He also sits as a member of the Nova Scotia Judicial Advisory Committee, which reviews applications for federal judicial appointments and makes recommendations to the Minister of Justice.

Jack chaired the CBA-NS Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity from 2016 to 2018. In that capacity, he helped to organize the CBA-NS/NSBS Pride Week Reception, as well as the joint CBA-NS/NSBS entry in the Halifax Pride Parade.

Jack joined the Society’s Gender Equity Committee in 2019. He volunteers as a mentor for the NSBS Pride Mentorship Program, as well as a judge and workshop facilitator for the mooting program at Dalhousie Law School. He frequently volunteers his time for OUTLaw, a 2SLGBTQIA law student society and acted as pro bono counsel in their intervention in the NSBS v. TWU proceedings before the Court of Appeal.

Read Jack's Election Platform