Keynote speakers

Conference speakers

Maude Barlow is the Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She serves on the executive of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council. Maude is the recipient of fourteen honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”). In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 18 books, including her latest, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis.

Anjali Appadurai is a Climate Engagement and Communications Specialist with West Coast Environmental Law. Trained as a Human Ecologist – a transdisciplinary philosophy focusing on the relationship between humans and their natural, social and constructed environments – Anjali has long been involved in the world of social and environmental advocacy. Her work has specialized in the intersection of international environmental governance and social movements. She has worked as an activist, campaigner and strategic communicator at a local and international level around issues of climate change and environmental governance.

Dr. Elaine Bernard is a Senior Research Associate and Fellow at Harvard University’s Labour and Worklife Program. She has a BA from the University of Alberta, an MA from the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University. Elaine has conducted courses on a wide variety of topics for unions, community groups, universities and government departments. Her current research and teaching interests are in the areas of international comparative labour movements and the role of unions in promoting civil society, democracy and economic growth.

Linda McQuaig is a journalist and has been a rare voice of dissent in the mainstream media. She is author of seven national bestsellers, including Shooting the Hippo: Death by Deficit and Other Canadian Myths, which was recently selected one of the 25 most influential books of the past 25 years by the Literary Review of Canada. Her latest book (with Neil Brooks) is The Trouble with Billionaires: How the Super-Rich Hijacked the World and How We Can Take It Back.


Hannah McKinnon is the Energy Futures & Transitions Program Director working on Oil Change International’s efforts to bring about a managed decline and just transition of the fossil fuel industry. She has worked on climate change and energy issues for over fifteen years, with experience in national and international climate policy and advocacy in North America, Central America, and Europe. Hannah studied at Pearson College, Mount Allison University, and the London School of Economics. She is currently living in Freiburg, Germany.

Marion Moore is a member of the South Shore Chapter of the Council of Canadians and chair of the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS) from drilling. CPONS is raising awareness and speaking out about how a deepwater drilling disaster would devastate Nova Scotia’s waters and its multibillion-dollar fisheries and tourism industries, which drive the province’s economy and provide people with good, sustainable jobs.

Martin Lukacs is an independent investigative journalist. He writes for the Guardian, the Tyee, Dominion magazine and more. He has broken explosive stories about the government spying on First Nations, oil company cover-ups, the world’s biggest geo-engineering experiment, and Canada’s tar sands lobbying in Europe.

John Clarke is an anti-poverty activist and an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), an anti-poverty group based in Toronto. OCAP works on issues that affect people across Ontario and in solidarity with similar movements across the country and around the world. In addition to mobilizing people in resistance to government and corporate policies responsible for widespread destitution, OCAP also fights alongside individuals navigating social assistance, public housing and other bureaucracies.

Beze and Vanessa Gray are sisters who have dedicated themselves to protecting the land and water of Aamjiwnaang, an Indigenous community of 800 residents, from being smothered by Canada’s petrochemical industry. The chemicals produced by the 57 petrochemical factories that surround their community are known to have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of residents in both Aamjiwnaang and the surrounding Sarnia-Lambton County. Beze and Vanessa are grassroots organizers, land defenders and educators. They work to decolonize environmental justice research by linking scholarly findings to traditional teachings.

Karen Cocq has been organizing for two decades in migrant justice, labour and anti-poverty struggles in Toronto, Kingston, and Ottawa, where she currently lives. She helped launch and remains active as an organizer with the Fight for $15 & Fairness, a grassroots alliance of non-unionized and unionized workers that won the most comprehensive and historic improvements to workers’ rights in Ontario in over a generation.