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PowerShift Atlantic!!

I am so grateful to have been part of this past weekend’s PowerShift Atlantic!!

I can only offer a brief reflection given all that has happened this week (PowerShift Atlantic action Monday along with the national day of action for health care/last day of the Health Care Accord; #Bill37 here in NS, essential worker legislation), including a lot of time on my part spent preparing for the Atlantic Regional Meeting of the Council of Canadians, happening in Saint John this weekend.

But, here goes: 

PowerShift Atlantic was a super-respectful and creative conference. The start of every session recognized that we are on unceded Mi’kmaq territory. They have some great pictures from the whole weekend on their Flickr account, and you can still check out the amazing agenda for the weekend on their website, to get a sense of all that was discussed.

I spoke on the Frack Off: Panel and strategy session alongside some strong women fighting fracking / shale gas in their communities (Jocelyn Burr of the Kennetcook area of NS, Willi Nolan of Kent County, NB, and Rebecca Parkins of Lake Ainslie NS). Everyone spoke about their community struggles against fracking, and I shared a few examples of successes in these struggles in the Atlantic region. Willi made the valid and very powerful point that it is not about targeting the government or the corporations in this struggle, as they are simply part of the system, a system that is failing us.

On Sunday, I attended the Energy democracy and energy security session during which panelists offered different definitions of each term and some thoughts on our current situations in NS and NB specifically. Also were reminded that electricity is only 50% of our energy consumption; the others (transportation and home heating being the biggest ones) often get overlooked in this discussion.

Following this, the strategy session from the Energy (B)East conversation continued from the previous day so I was able to participate in this as well. There is a lot of energy and interest in starting a campaign in the Halifax area but also some folks in the Annapolis Valley, so follow-up meetings are already being planned on this issue.

[Big thanks to Meghan who volunteered her time during an amazing conference to offer childminding, which allowed me to participate in sessions!! I am very grateful to her and this service! (The kids had a blast in the ArtSpace and got to silkscreen tshirts and help build a giant puppet along with playing tag and building a fort…)]

The action Monday morning to challenge NS Energy Minister Andrew Younger was great too; lots of youth there so the mood was energetic and the visuals were creative. A banner drop at the Westin was without incident, and Starchild (also known as Eliza Knockwood, a Mi’kmaq woman from what I would call PEI) disrupted the meeting he was having with the Maritime Energy Association.

Congrats to everyone who worked so tirelessly to pull off the amazing events of the weekend!!