ARPA Staff

ARPA Canada Executive Director, Mark Penninga

Executive Director – Mark Penninga

Mark’s job is to carry out the mission of ARPA Canada by equipping Reformed Christians with research and information on political issues and bringing a Reformed perspective on current issues to our authorities. Mark and his family live near the town of Smithers, BC.

He has a Master’s degree in political science from the University of Lethbridge,  a BA in philosophy from Trinity Western University, and a certificate in Leadership and Applied Public Affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa. Mark’s political experience includes working as a Research Analyst for Focus on the Family Canada and as an intern in Ottawa for a Member of Parliament. He also started local ARPA’s in Smithers, Langley, and Lethbridge. Mark is the author of “Building on Sand: Human Dignity in Canadian Law and Society

Mark’s work has been published in the Toronto Star, National Post, Calgary Herald, Lethbridge Herald, Vancouver Sun and the Province.

Contact Mark at

André Schutten, Director of Law and Policy - ARPA Canada

Director of Law & Policy and General Legal Counsel – André Schutten

André is Director of Law and Policy and General Legal Counsel for ARPA Canada. Based in ARPA Canada’s Ottawa office, he has the mandate of equipping the Reformed community for political action on a broad range of issues. He researches and writes on public policy, conducts regular analysis on the impact of different government bills and court judgments and also acts as ARPA’s chief Parliamentary lobbyist. He also represents ARPA in various court interventions, having made arguments before the Supreme Court of Canada three times and three provincial courts of appeal.

André completed his undergraduate degree in 2007, obtaining an Honours B.A. in Classics and Religion from McMaster University. He then moved to Ottawa to attend the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa where he completed his law degree in the Spring of 2010. He worked as an intern for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and for the Centre for Faith and Public Life, where he covered freedom of religion issues, wrote legal opinions on abortion legislation, and prepared written arguments for the Supreme Court of Canada. He was called to the Ontario Bar on June 21, 2011. In January of 2012 André started part-time studies for a Masters degree in Constitutional Law through Osgoode Hall Law School, completing the degree in the summer of 2013. André is thankful for the opportunity to research and write on important legal issues and to have been published by two peer-reviewed law journals: the National Journal of Constitutional Law (Whatcott and Hate Speech: Rethinking Freedom of Expression in the Charter Age, 2015), and the Supreme Court Law Review (Lethal Discrimination: A Case Against Legalizing Assisted Suicide in Canada, 2016).

In his spare time, André trains with the Canadian Armed Forces, Infantry Reserve. He and his wife Karyn and their son Gabriel live in Gatineau, Québec and are active members of Jubilee Church, a Canadian Reformed Church in Ottawa.

Contact André at

ARPA Canada Grassroots Manager, Colin Postma

Grassroots Manager and Policy Analyst – Colin Postma

Colin has an Honours Bachelor degree in Political Science and History Double Major which he obtained from McMaster University. His specialization in Canadian History and Politics involved research on such varied topics as Contemporary Security, Aboriginal Politics and History, Canadian Federalism, and early Canadian History.

Prior to joining the staff of ARPA Canada, Colin was involved with the Hamilton Area ARPA group since its inception in 2011 (as board chair for 2014-2015). Colin and his family live in Gatineau.

Contact Colin at

ARPA Canada lawyer, John Sikkema

Legal Counsel – John Sikkema

John Sikkema serves as ARPA’s full-time Legal Counsel and as a member of our Law and Policy team in our Ottawa office. In his role, John provides legal research for ARPA’s board and staff, conducts federal and provincial legal policy analysis, assists with our court interventions and cases, and lobbies Members of Parliament, among other things.

John is a lawyer who most recently served as Associate Counsel for the Christian Legal Fellowship. John’s writing has appeared in the National Post, Policy Options, Comment, and the Christian Legal Journal.

Contact John at


Articling Student – Tabitha Ewert

Tabitha Ewert, as a recent graduate from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, joins our Law and Policy team as an articling student. During her articling year she will be working at gaining a variety of legal skills with an emphasis on pre-born human rights, with the aim of joining the We Need a Law team once her articling is complete.

Tabitha is from Langley, BC completing her Bachelor of Business Administration from Trinity Western University prior to going to law school.

Contact Tabitha at

hannah ARPA

Office Manager and Administrative Assistant – Hannah Sikkema

Hannah is primarily responsible for managing ARPA’s new Ottawa office which includes tracking inventory, maintaining supplies and performing receptionist duties. She provides administrative support to the Law and Policy team by coordinating meetings with Members of Parliament, ministers, and Senators on Parliament Hill, booking travel, and keeping contact lists and communications (social media and newsletters) up to date.

Hannah also coordinates the logistics of 20-40 ARPA events per year (including the biennial God & Government conference, the annual March for Life, the Fall Tour and various provincial conferences).

Contact Hannah at Director, Mike Schouten Director – Mike Schouten

Mike Schouten, based in the Metro Vancouver area, has been the campaign director for the campaign since its launch in 2012. The campaign has the mission of building a groundswell of support for abortion legislation in Canada. Learn more. Mike has had a lifelong interest in politics and the sanctity of human life, and his position as campaign director blends these two passions wonderfully.

Aside from directing the day to day affairs of the campaign, Mike is regularly featured in Canada’s mainstream media, having been published many times in the National Post, Vancouver Sun, and the Calgary Herald. He also has been interviewed by Sun News, CBC News, CPAC and various radio talk shows across the country. Mike regularly speaks at community events, universities, schools, and churches about abortion and steps that can be taken to promote justice for the pre-born.

Mike lives in Metro Vancouver with his wife Jennifer and their six children. His goal for this campaign is to bury the status quo by helping to enact the first pro-life law this country has seen in 25 years. His ultimate goal is for Canada to have full legal protection for all pre-born children.

Contact Mike at

Anna Nienhuis, Policy & Research Coordinator, We Need a LAW

Policy & Research Coordinator – Anna Nienhuis

Anna joined the ARPA staff as the West Coast Assistant for the campaign in April 2015. She focuses on research and evidence to support and further the protection of preborn children in Canada.

Anna completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice at Simon Fraser University and the University of the Fraser Valley.

Anna and her husband Carl live in Chilliwack, B.C. with their five children.

Contact Anna at

Alicia Ibbitson, Administrative Assistant, WeNeedaLAW Administrative Assistant – Alicia Ibbitson

Alicia supports the We Need a Law campaign as the administrative assistant. She sends out regular communication to supporters, directs media inquiries, facilitates speaking engagements, flag displays and meetings with Members of Parliament, and is generally the first person you hear from if you contact We Need a Law.

She lives with her husband and daughter in Langley, British Columbia.

You can contact Alicia at


Controller – Karen Bandstra

Karen works behind the scenes by managing ARPA’s donors and assisting ARPA’s staff with administrative tasks. Having worked for a bank, school, and church, she brings an incredible amount of experience with managing finances, books, and communications.

Karen and her family live in Smithers, BC.

Contact Karen at


Controller Assistant – Joanne DeRuiter

With the ARPA team quickly growing, we are very grateful to have Joanne join us to assist Karen in handling donations. Before moving to Smithers she took care of the accounting and donations for her church and her family’s business, and was also a school secretary for a number of years.

Joanne and her family and live in Smithers, BC.

Contact Joanne at


Webmaster – Jonathan Hall (contractor)

Jonathan joined ARPA in January 2016 and is responsible for all things I.T. He takes care of developing and maintaining ARPA’s website, as well as video editing and production.

Jonathan has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of the Fraser Valley with a concentration in software development. He also has experience in business and e-marketing.

Jonathan is based in Kelowna, B.C.

Contact Jonathan at


Host of Lighthouse News – Al Siebring (contractor)

Al Siebring has spent more than 35 years in the media business, primarily at local radio stations in Western Canada. Over the years, he’s also done some freelance work for CBS Radio in New York and the CNN Radio network, and has had print material published in newspapers and magazines as varied as the National Post, “Western Report” magazine, various local newspapers in communities where he’s lived, and a variety of church-related publications including “Christian Renewal” and “Clarion.”

Al also spent almost two years working with the now-defunct ECP Centre, writing, producing, and hosting their daily “No Apologies” podcast.

Contact Al at