ARPA Staff

Executive Director – Mark Penninga

Mark counts it a joy and privilege to have led ARPA Canada since it started in 2007.

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 work has been published in the Toronto Star, National Post, Calgary Herald, Lethbridge Herald, Vancouver Sun and the Province. Mark, his wife, and their six children live in British Columbia.

Contact Mark at [email protected]

Director of Law & Policy – 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).

André 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 [email protected]

Director of Advocacy – Mike Schouten

As Director of Advocacy, Mike works closely with the Grassroots Manager to ensure that ARPA educates, equips, and encourages members of Canada’s Reformed churches for political action. Mike also serves as the Director of ARPA’s pro-life initiative, the We Need a Law campaign. The goal of We Need a Law is to mobilize Canadians and persuade our political leaders to pass laws that protect children before birth.  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.

Aside from this, 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 British Columbia with his wife Jennifer and their six children.

Contact Mike at [email protected]

Grassroots Manager – 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 [email protected]

Alberta Manager – Ed Hoogerdyk

Ed Hoogerdyk recently concluded a career in education which spanned twenty-eight years. He last served as principal of Tyndale Christian School in Calgary, AB for sixteen years. His previous teaching experience was in Coaldale, Alberta; Yarrow, British Columbia; Kelmscott, Australia; and Carman, Manitoba before arriving in Calgary. He is looking forward to embarking on a new career as the Alberta Manager for ARPA Canada.

Ed will continue to be based in Calgary and is responsible for mobilizing our grassroots in Alberta through effective political action and bringing a solid Christian perspective to members of the Alberta legislature. By God’s grace it is Ed’s hope and prayer that his experience and passion for education will motivate ARPA’s constituents in Alberta to boldly and respectfully take a stand for their parental rights to educate their children in God’s ways.

Contact Ed at [email protected]

BC Manager – Levi Minderhoud

Levi Minderhoud joined the ARPA staff in June of 2019 as ARPA’s first British Columbia Manager. He is dedicated to raising the political activity and knowledge of Reformed Christians in British Columbia, bringing a Christian worldview to members of the British Columbia legislature, and developing public policy from a Christian perspective.

Prior to joining ARPA on a full-time basis, Levi already had political and policy experience elsewhere. He has a bachelor’s degree from Dordt University in political science, business, and economics and a Masters of Public Policy degree from Simon Fraser University. He interned with a Member of Parliament (the late MP Mark Warawa) and within a federal department (Transport Canada). He also assisted in leading a local ARPA chapter (ARPA Fraser Valley East).

Levi and his wife Jillian currently live in Abbotsford and attend the Immanuel Covenant (United) Reformed Church.

Contact Levi at [email protected]

Legal Counsel – John Sikkema

John Sikkema serves as ARPA’s 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, and works on our court interventions and cases.

John earned his JD from Queen’s University in 2014 and his LLM from Emory University in 2019, where he was awarded the Gertie and John Witte Prize in Law and Religion “for outstanding work in law and Christianity.”

John’s writing has appeared in the National Post, Policy Options, Comment, the Christian Legal Journal, Law Matters, and the Supreme Court Law Review.

Contact John at [email protected]

We Need a LAW Legal Counsel – Tabitha Ewert

Tabitha Ewert serves as We Need a LAW’s full-time Legal Counsel and as a member of our Law and Policy team in our Ottawa office. She is a graduate of the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and completed her articling with ARPA Canada in June of 2018 when she was called to the Bar and became a full lawyer.

Her transition to the role of Legal Counsel will involve becoming acquainted with and involved in lobbying, making presentations, and a variety of other tasks affiliated with advancing pre-born human rights.

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

Contact Tabitha at [email protected]

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 [email protected] Administrative Assistant – Elyse Vroom

Elyse 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.

Elyse is based in Langley, British Columbia.

You can contact Elyse at [email protected]

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 [email protected]

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 [email protected]

Webmaster – Daniel Kanis

Daniel joined ARPA in April 2018 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.

Daniel has a diploma in Computer Information Science from the University of the Fraser Valley and manages his own videography and software company, Evolve Digital, on the side.

Daniel is based in Chilliwack, B.C.

Contact Daniel at [email protected]