Liam McHugh-Russell

Former Director
Sauvé Scholars Foundation

The Sauve Scholars - Closing Ceremonies 2012Jeanne Sauvé Fellow Liam McHugh-Russell (2009-10) joined the Sauvé Scholars Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2011 as the first director to represent the Sauvé Alumni. In that capacity, he not only represented his fellow past Program participants in the Foundation’s governance, but also contributed actively to the Foundation’s strategic planning process.

In the summer of 2014, Liam moved to Florence, Italy to pursue his PhD in Law. Jeanne Sauvé Fellow Jonathan Sas (2012-13) succeeded him in this critical representative role.

Mr. McHugh-Russell’s primary research interest is in crafting progressive policy responsive to the sociological, economic and legal realities of globalization.  He co-organized two national student conferences on the opportunities and boundaries of law as a tool of progressive social change. Since 2004, he has been an active member of Canada’s New Democratic Party and was twice a New Democratic Party candidate for Member of Parliament.

While earning his degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, Mr. McHugh-Russell’s participation in the student union culminated in his election to a full-time executive position. His leadership speaking out for progressive post-secondary education policy led to his representing a national student union in a meeting with the Prime Minister, and to his Ministerial appointment to the province-wide student loan appeals board. An active participant in campus life, he was also an activist against the war in Iraq, in support of the women’s centre, and in defence of the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

Deciding to turn his dedication to social justice into a professional calling, Liam attended law school at the University of Toronto. While there, he contributed to a legal opinion on the rights of non-status immigrants presented to the Toronto Police Board (in cooperation with No One is Illegal); to a report commissioned by CIDA on access to generic AIDS medicines; and to recommendations to a parliamentary roundtable on corporate social responsibility in the mining sector. He successfully represented clients in criminal trials and civil negotiations at the low-income clinic; co-organized two national student conferences on the opportunities and boundaries of law as a tool of progressive social change; and wrote opinion pieces for the faculty paper. He was also a cofounder of the Omar Khadr Project. He completed his articles of clerkship at a top-rated labour and employment law firm and is a member of the bar of Ontario.

Mr. McHugh-Russell’s legal studies focused on international law, human rights and labour regulation. To that end, he spent a summer interning at the International Labour Organization (ILO), and studied European and international approaches to these issues while on exchange at Budapest’s Central European University. As a Sauvé Scholar, Mr. McHugh-Russell’s primary project was the completion of a book for publication on the ILO’s efforts to eradicate forced labour in Myanmar.


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