Jonathan Pedneault

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Jonathan Pedneault
Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Assumed office
November 19, 2022
LeaderElizabeth May
Preceded byAngela Davidson and Luc Joli-Coeur
Personal details
Born (1990-04-19) April 19, 1990 (age 33)
Greenfield Park, Quebec, Canada
Political partyGreen Party of Canada
  • Activist
  • Journalist
  • Human Rights Investigator

Jonathan Pedneault (born in April 1990, Greenfield Park, Quebec, Canada) is a Canadian activist, journalist and human rights investigator who has been serving as the deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada, under Elizabeth May since 2022..[1]

Early life

Pedneault was born the single-child of a single-mother in Greenfield Park, on the south shore of Montreal. His mother’s family hails from Dolbeau-Mistassini in Lac Saint-Jean, while his father’s from Cuba. Pedneault’s paternal grandfather, Niño Valdés, was a Cuban heavyweight boxing champion in the 1950s.

Social Activism

When he was 15, Pedneault co-founded the Soprege, or Société de Prévention du Génocide, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness about the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the crisis in Darfur. In 2006, Pedneault submitted the draft of a bill on the Canadian Responsibility for the Prevention of Genocide to his local MP, Caroline St-Hilaire..[2].

That year, Pedneault received a national scholarship from the Millenium Scholarship Program[3] and was named Personnalité de la Semaine by Québec newspaper La Presse[4] and Radio-Canada. Following his graduation from Jacques-Rousseau high school in Longueuil, Pedneault enrolled as a political science student at the University of Ottawa, beginning his undergraduate classes in the fall of 2007[5].


In 2008, shortly before his 18th birthday, Pedneault traveled to Chad and crossed into Sudan’s Darfur with rebels from the Justice and Equality movement to report on the humanitarian crisis and co-produce a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation|CBC/Radio-Canada documentary.[6]

In 2009, Pedneault left the University of Ottawa to seek the Liberal Party of Canada’s nomination in his home district of Longueuil—Saint-Hubert|Longueuil-Pierre-Boucher. Denis Coderre, the party’s lieutenant in Quebec, blocked his bid and appointed a candidate, despite then leader Michael Ignatieff’s assurances the party would hold open nominations in all ridings not represented by a sitting MP[7]. This prompted Pedneault to co-author an op-ed in La Presse calling on Ignatieff to uphold his promise to democratize the party[8]

Between 2010 and 2012, Pedneault codirected "The New Great Game," a 52-minute documentary produced for CBC/Radio-Canada, Al-Jazeera and Arte about the multipolarization of the Middle East's maritime spaces[9]. Pedneault directed filming and reporting in the region, securing access to both Somali pirates in Galmudug’s town of Hobyo and to NATO anti-piracy naval forces patrolling the Indian ocean.[10]

2011 Egypt attack

Pedneault was attacked by a large mob when deployed to cover the 2011 Egyptian Revolution for L’Actualité[11]. Injured on the head as he tried to help American journalist Greg Palkot, he was hospitalized and later detained by the Egyptian military alongside Fox News journalists. In an interview with GQ, Palkot said: “[A] Canadian guy—he's a young guy, a 20-year-old journalist, actually—had made it to that APC okay, and he actually had gotten on top of it. And he saw me, my face full of blood, my body full of blood, getting pummeled, and he tried to pull me up over the side of the APC. And for his help he got rifle-butted off of the thing and had to find his way to safety, and luckily he did.”[12]

Pedneault returned to the region later that year to cover the western and eastern fronts of Libyan civil war[13]. He traveled with James Foley (journalist)|James Foley and John Lee Anderson to Tripoli a few days after rebel forces took the capital from Muammar Gaddafi. Foley and Pedneault shared a hotel room in Tripoli with Matthew Van Dyke and a fourth journalist, sharing rides and reporting together as rebels continued to fight pockets of Qaddafi sympathizers in the city.[14]

Training local journalists

In 2013, Pedneault trained South Sudanese journalists reporting with Radio Tamazuj in both Juba and Malakal[15]. The following year, Pedneault began training journalists with the Réseau des Journalistes pour les Droits de l’Homme during the Central African Republic Civil War, then engulfed in deadly intercommunal violence[16]. That year, Camille Lepage, a close friend of Pedneault, was assassinated[17]. Pedneault brought her body back to her family[18].

As part of Pedneault’s subsequent media development work in the CAR, he convinced warlord Ali Darassa and Anti-balaka leaders in the town of Bambari to allow for the construction and operation of a multi-confessional radio station[19]

Human rights investigations

Amnesty International hired Pedneault in 2015 to report on human rights in the CAR and the shortcomings of the UN peacekeeping mission sent to protect civilians. As part of that work, Pedneault’s work led to the organization publishing a hard-hitting investigation into sexual abuse and excessive use of force by MINUSCA peacekeepers and Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon firing his representative in the CAR[20]

In 2016, Pedneault began to work with Human Rights Watch as South Sudan researcher. He reported on the expansion of conflict and abuses in the southern and western parts of the country and abuses committed during the 2016 battle of Juba. In late 2016, Pedneault moved to Svalbard, in the Norwegian arctic.[21]

Between 2017 and 2022, Pedneault worked as a researcher with the emergencies team at Human Rights Watch[22]. As part of that division, he worked under the radar of the authorities in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Belarus to document torture and excessive use of force by security forces following elections and protests. He also conducted research in conflict affected areas of Cameroon to produce the organization’s first report on the abuses committed by government and opposition forces in the context of the Anglophone crisis.

As part of Human Rights Watch|HRW’s crisis and conflict division, Pedneault also reported from Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Uganda, the United States of America|United States and Kyrgyzstan, on various abuses ranging from torture, excessive use of force and the right to mental health.

Pedneault’s last investigative work with Human Rights Watch took place in Ukraine during the first ten days of the 2022 conflict[23]. Following his resignation from the organization in late April 2022, Pedneault moved back to Canada.

Political career

On July 16, 2022, Pedneault entered the Green Party of Canada's 2022 leadership race, running with former leader Elizabeth May. After May won the election, Pedneault was announced as deputy leader of the party.[24][25]


  1. "Elizabeth May elected Green Party leader again, plans to co-lead with Jonathan Pedneault". Retrieved 2022-11-20.
  2. "Caroline St-Hilaire, "Jonathan Pedneault" on June 7th, 2006 |". Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  4. Richer, Anne (April 29, 2007). ""La personnalité de la semaine"". La Presse. p. 8. Retrieved July 22, 2022.
  5. "The Kleinmann Family Foundation Annual Cégep Holocaust Symposium". Retrieved July 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. Khan, Jooneed (August 22, 2008). "Refuge: le Darfour vu par deux Montréalais". LaPresse. Retrieved July 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Coderre gagne, le PLC perd". LaPresse. Retrieved July 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "Nous méritons mieux". Retrieved July 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "The New Great Game". Retrieved July 22, 2022.
  10. Pendneault, Jonathan (January 24, 2011). "Somalie : sur la trace des pirates". Retrieved July 22, 2022.
  11. Grandmont, Charles (February 3, 2011). "Un reporter de L'actualité agressé au Caire : le récit". Retrieved July 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. Khan, Taimur (February 16, 2011). "How I Survived an Attack in Cairo". GQ. Retrieved July 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. Pedneault, Jonathan Pedneault, photos par Jonathan (2011-10-12). "Libye : journal d'une révolution". L’actualité (in français). Retrieved 2022-07-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. Matthewvandyke (2014-09-10). "A Tribute to James Foley and Steven Sotloff". The Freedom Fighter Blog. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  15. "Analysis: A chief's death". Radio Tamazuj. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  16. Davis, Patrick. "Supporting local media in the Central African Republic". Humanitarian Practice Network. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  17. "La communauté journalistique salue Camille Lepage". La Presse+ (in français). 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  18. Håskoll-Haugen, Anne (2017-04-07). "Jonathan (27) dokumenterer overgrep i Sør-Sudan. Ville du orket en slik jobb?". (in norsk bokmål). Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  19. "A Radio "Bridge" to Peace". Information Saves Lives | Internews. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  20. "UN Peacekeepers Allegedly Raped Another Child and Murdered Civilians in the Central African Republic". Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  21. "Svalbard som fristed". (in norsk bokmål). 2017-07-14. Retrieved 2022-07-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. "Los Angeles Review of Books". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  23. Sauvé, Mathieu-Robert, Un Québécois a documenté des crimes de guerre, retrieved 2022-07-24
  24. "Elizabeth May returns to Green Party leadership with running mate Jonathan Pedneault". Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  25. "Elizabeth May elected Green leader again, to share burden with Jonathan Pedneault". Retrieved 2022-11-19.

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