Mental Health Speakers

Speaker


Michael Bryant

Former Attorney General | Bestselling Author of 28 Seconds

A night that began with a dinner to celebrate his twelfth wedding anniversary ended in a jail cell for Michael Bryant―the Former Attorney General―when he was charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. Speaking publicly about how his entire life changed in just 28 seconds, Bryant’s is a dramatic story of inspiration, survival, tough choices, and transformation.

In 2003, Bryant became Ontario’s youngest ever Attorney General.  A Harvard-trained lawyer, he had clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada, taught law at King’s College, London, and at Osgoode Hall Law School. He had practiced law on Wall Street and Bay Street, was a Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament for a decade; and was a Cabinet Minister for six years.

The tables turned for him forever, soon after leaving politics in 2009, when Bryant was charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. A Special Prosecutor dropped all charges against him in 2010, but more adversity followed. In 2012, Bryant authored the #1 Canadian bestseller, 28 Seconds:  A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy and Hope. 

Bryant now practices criminal defence law, mostly in mental health courts, defending the unrepresented and unrepresentable as a public defender in the Greater Toronto Area. He also serves as a director on charitable boards — one serving inmates, another treating young people struggling with mental illness and addiction.

Bryant has also worked in indigenous affairs since 1988, as a litigator, negotiator, scholar, teacher and Cabinet Minister. He was Ontario’s first Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, and recently served as a First Nation’s Chief Negotiator on an historic $100 Million Ontario land claim settlement.


28 Seconds

A night that began with a dinner to celebrate his 12th wedding anniversary ended in a jail cell for Michael Bryant. He was charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. Ironically, he had helped write the legal text for the same charges sixteen years earlier. The charges were eventually dropped, but nothing could undo what had happened to cyclist Darcy Sheppard – or Michael Bryant. In this gripping presentation, Bryant chronicles the fateful aftermath of that late summer evening in August 2009, an evening when everything changed for the Harvard-educated lawyer, politician, and CEO. Bryant speaks publicly for the first time of personal challenges and his own battle with some of the very demons shared by Darcy Sheppard. Michael Bryant is the ultimate insider, and his perspective is a fascinating assessment of what happens on both sides of the law

The Justice System: From Pedestal to Pillory

Never before has a Canadian Attorney General faced criminal charges in the death of a man (the charges eventually dropped), and never before has someone been willing to share such a unique perspective of a system most of us take for granted — until we’re in it involuntarily. Perhaps most compelling is Bryant’s reckoning with a justice system that so utterly failed the man who lost his life that night, after a lifetime spent in and out of the criminal justice system. Bryant provides a searingly honest account of the legal system’s tragic — and sometimes unforgivable — shortcomings

Crisis Management From the Inside-Out

Michael Bryant shares a very different take on crisis management and communications, drawing from his political experience spanning over a decade, and his own crisis of a lifetime.