The Council of Canadians has agreed to participate in an Expansion Commission that will: “1) Inform and mobilize widely progressive organizations in each province and territory looking forward to a first General Assembly for a social forum in Canada; 2) Define the necessary conditions to host such an Assembly; 3) Contact in priority the largest number of Indigenous organizations to ensure the best possible participation in the process.”
In a document circulated by Alternatives executive director Michel Lambert, he writes, “The preparation of a social forum which will bring together the progressive forces from Quebec, Canada and the First Nations is a long term process that will take at least two years. We need to consider this process as an integral part of the forum, in particular concerning this precise case where the discussions to date have already highlighted the challenge and the importance of developing convergences between those three important communities.”
The forum’s objectives are to: “1) Bring together, assemble, combine and reduce the isolation of the progressive groups and individuals belonging to the concerned communities; 2) Promote the convergence of large strategic struggles against neoliberal and neoconservative politics in Canada; 3) Promote public debate, public expression and political education.”
“On the basis of this initial document that should circulate largely, it is proposed that we invite groups and communities to organize discussions and debates in their localities. They can invite member of the Expansion Commission to facilitate and answer questions. The Commission remains open to anybody willing to join. To keep the process functional, other Expansion Commission might be created elsewhere in the country.” Toward this, the Council of Canadians is seeking to organize a discussion on the social forum in Ottawa on December 15 or December 16.
Organizations committing to this process include: Alternatives, Centre d’écologie Urbaine, Conseil Central MM – CSN, Conseil des Canadiens/ Council of Canadians, Confédération des syndicats nationaux, Fédération Autonome de l’enseignement Fédération des femmes du Québec, Femmes autochtones du Québec, Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec, Fédération nationale des enseignants et enseignantes du Québec (CSN), Fédération des travailleurs du Québec, Indigenous Environmental Network, Institut du Nouveau Monde, JUSTE, and Syndicat canadien des communications, de l’énergie et du papier/ Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
For other blogs on Council of Canadians engagement in this social forum planning process, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11068 (on a meeting in Montreal on October 11) and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11461 (on a meeting in Montreal on October 25). On November 21, the Council of Canadians met in Ottawa with Michel Lambert and Roger Rashi of Alternatives to further discuss this process.