Grassroots Power in the Age of Extreme Energy

This conference took place October 2013. Please see current/upcoming conference »

Activism for Dummies
What is an activist? Pull apart the stereotypes and learn more about being active in your community. This workshop will give participants applicable and tangible ways to find a meaningful role locally. Bring ideas, stories, concerns, and questions – your experiences will help make this workshop come alive.
Presenters: Melissa Gan and Andrea Cessna, University of Saskatchewan students and community activists.

The 2014 Health Accord: Standing up for better public health care
The 2004 Health Accord expires in March 2014 and will leave Canada without new national standards on care, a national aging strategy, or plans to cover services such as pharmaceuticals, continuing care, dental and mental care. The Harper government is abdicating its responsibility for health care and provincial and territorial premiers are letting this happen out of fear of further funding cuts. Canadians have been left on their own to stand up for public health care. Come to this workshop and learn more about a campaign being piloted by the Council of Canadians and CUPE that will bring the health accord to doorsteps across the country. Join the coalition to protect, strengthen and expand public health care.
Presenters: Adrienne Silnicki, Health Care Campaigner, the Council of Canadians and Leo Broderick, Council of Canadians Board member.

What the F$#@ is a FIPA? Corporate “rights” in Canada’s investment treaties and free trade agreements
What is a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA)? A few years ago, very few people would have been able to answer that question. But the situation is changing. Public opposition to the Harper government’s FIPA with China is growing. Members of the Hupacasath First Nation of Vancouver Island have drawn even more attention to the issue by legally challenging the government’s ability to sign such far-reaching investment treaties without consulting First Nations. And Canada continues to be clobbered by high-profile NAFTA lawsuits that challenge environmental, resource conservation and other public interest policies, laws and decisions. This workshop will give activists a detailed view of how investment treaties like the FIPA and NAFTA work by reviewing emblematic Canadian and international cases. Participants will hear details of the Hupacasath First Nation’s legal challenge to the Canada-China FIPA and how to support it, as well as explore international opposition to investor-state dispute settlements. An important goal of this workshop will be to develop national strategies for pushing back against investment treaties like the FIPA, and making sure Canada cannot include similar corporate “rights” in free trade agreements with the European Union (CETA), or in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Presenters: Stuart Trew, Trade Campaigner, the Council of Canadians and Steven Shrybman, public interest lawyer and Council of Canadians Board member.

Frack ‘N’ Roll: Grassroots organizing to build an anti-fracking movement
In May, the Council of Canadians joined Rising Tide for a tour of B.C. communities impacted by fracking, and connected with activists and organizers fighting these projects. While seeing firsthand the devastating impacts fracking has on people’s water and land, the tour also helped unite people at the grassroots level. Come hear about how communities across Canada are being impacted by fracking, what they are doing about it, and how we can work together locally, regionally and globally to build the movement against fracking.
Presenters: Emma Lui, National Water Campaigner and Maryam Adrangi, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

North-South Solidarity Against the Corporate Takeover of Water
The Blue Planet Project is part of a global movement and has worked in solidarity with grassroots groups around the world for many years. Hear from Blue Planet Project staff Claudia Campero Arena and Meera Karunananthan about the challenges and opportunities facing the global water justice movement, and learn more about how you can be a part of it.
Presenters: Claudia Campero Arena, Blue Planet Project Organizer for Latin America based in Mexico City and Meera Karunananthan, International Water Campaigner for the Blue Planet Project.

The Commons and Self Determination: Strategies for a new framework for activism
What would happen if water was managed based on principles and practices that empower communities to become stewards and if there was local and collective decision making? These principles inform a commons approach that water must be carefully managed and protected while prioritizing the basic needs of communities and the sustainability of the land. We will examine how indigenous struggles can be better supported through a framework that is more complimentary to an indigenous worldview. The lens of the commons can act as a political framework for many social justice campaigns including trade, food, climate change and health care.
Presenters: Harjap Grewal, Pacific Regional Organizer and Emma Lui, National Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

Energy East: Another broken pipeline plan
Big Oil companies are trying to find a way to send tar sands crude to the Atlantic Coast for export – and they are counting on the Energy East pipeline to do it. TransCanada Corp. is actively promoting plans for the pipeline, which would carry up to 850,000 barrels of crude per day from Alberta to New Brunswick. The 4,400 kilometre pipeline is expected to lead to massive tanker exports from Atlantic Coast to send crude to the much larger and more profitable markets of India, China and Europe. But communities along the pipeline’s path are saying “no.” Join us and learn more about the alternatives to Big Oil’s corporate energy strategy and how we can stop this broken pipeline plan.
Presenters: Andrea Harden-Donahue and Maryam Adrangi, Energy and Climate Justice campaigners and Leo Broderick and Leticia Adair, Board members for the Council of Canadians.

Youth Force: Powering change with youth-adult partnerships
Youth are our future and our present. Adults play an essential role in empowering young people to contribute to community and system change, creating futures we can all feel good about. Facilitated by an inter-generational team, this workshop will strike a balance between story-telling and data-sharing, conceptual models and practical approaches to youth engagement. Participants will explore how to become even better “adult allies,” by reflecting on our own experiences of becoming engaged, examining our beliefs and attitudes towards young people, and identifying the roles we can play in our communities and organizations to tap into the energy, passion, idealism, and wisdom of youth.
Presenter: Bonnie Heilman, workshop facilitator and trainer for youth and community engagement.