Skip to content

Groundswell 2016 conference to call for a different “way forward” in NL


In the wake of the provincial government’s announcement on its “Way Forward” plan, Groundswell 2016 will take place in St. John’s this weekend. The conference will challenge the NL government’s plans for more public spending cuts and expansion of fossil fuel extraction, as outlined in Premier Ball’s recent announcement.

Groundswell 2016 will highlight the power of communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada to stand up to corporations and governments, and to protect our communities and economies for people and the planet.


WHAT: The Council of Canadians is presenting the people of St. John’s with a young maple tree and an engraved stone as a legacy gift to the community.

WHO: Mayor of St. John’s Dennis O’Keefe, City Councillor Dave Lane, and Council of Canadians board member Groundswell 2016 Co-Chair Andrea Furlong and other supporters and staff.

WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Thursday, October 13, 2016.

WHERE: Garden of Memories, Bannerman Park (Military Road), St. John’s, NL.

The Council of Canadians would like to thank Parks Canada staff in St. John’s for the continued care of the tree.


WHAT: Keynote speakers will hold a press conference to launch Groundswell 2016.

WHO: Maude Barlow, Avi Lewis, Greg Malone, and Member of European Parliament José Bové (following intense public pressure, a recent decision to expel José Bové from Canada has been reversed).

WHEN: 9 a.m., Friday, October 14, 2016.

WHERE: Fort William room, Sheraton Hotel, St. John’s NL.


Book signing: Maude Barlow will be signing copies of her new bestselling book, Boiling Point: Government neglect, corporate abuse and Canada’s water crises, in the Atrium.

When and where: 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Atrium, Sheraton Hotel, St. John’s NL.

Public Forum: Groundswell 2016: Toward a Healthy Economy for People and the Planet

When and where: 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Dieppe Room, Sheraton Hotel, St. John’s NL.

  • Traditional Indigenous welcome and performance by Innu group Strength of the Drum.
  • Maude Barlow – National Chairperson, The Council of Canadians.
  • Avi Lewis – documentary filmmaker and journalist.
  • José Bové – farmer, Member of European Parliament from France, and anti-globalization activist.
  • Elizabeth Penashue – Innu Elder, environmentalist and Indigenous rights activist.
  • Moderated by Greg Malone – impressionist, actor and environmentalist.


A series of panel discussions will take place on Saturday and Sunday on creative activism, grassroots power, and building a better world. The program on Saturday morning will begin with a welcome and announcements from conference hosts and local Council of Canadians activists and board members Ken Kavanagh and Andrea Furlong.

Big Pharma and Health 8:35 a.m. – 9:45 a.m., Saturday, October 15, 2016

  • Joel Lexchin – Emergency room physician, University Health network, Professor, School of Health Policy and Management, York University.
  • Debbie Forward – President of Registered Nurses' Union Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Robert Chernomas – Economics professor, University of Manitoba.
  • Lana Payne (moderator) – Atlantic Director, Unifor.

The New Economy 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Saturday, October 15, 2016

  • Adam Cormier – Journeyman electrician and writer, Iron and Earth.
  • Rob McLennan – Director of Social Enterprise and Career Development Services, Stella’s Circle.
  • Diana Gibson – Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
  • Avi Lewis (Moderator).

Plenary panel: Mobilizing for a New Economy 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Sunday, October 16, 2016

  • Mary Shortall – President, NL Federation of Labour.
  • Jenny Wright – Executive Director, St. John’s Status of Women Council.
  • Wayne Lucas (Moderator) – Regional VP, CUPE.


WHAT: NL Rising rally for people and the planet to say no to cuts to public services.

WHEN: 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Saturday, October 15, 2016.

WHERE: Participants will gather at Harbourside Park (Map) and march through the downtown.

WHO: There will be remarks from the Council of Canadians, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, Canadian Federation of Students, and Common Front NL.


WHAT: Presentation of the Council of Canadians System Change Legacy Award to Iron and Earth. The award will be presented by Andrea Furlong. Adam Cormier will accept the legacy award on behalf of the organization.

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Saturday, October 15, 2016.

WHERE: The Atrium, Sheraton Hotel, 115 Cavendish Square, St. John’s, NL.


WHAT: The Maude Barlow Founder’s Award will be presented to Council of Canadians Board Members and chapter activists Andrea Furlong and Ken Kavanagh. Activists of the Year Award will be presented to the Newfoundland and Labrador – Fracking Awareness Network.

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, October 15, 2016.

WHERE: The Rooms, 9 Bonaventure Ave, St. John’s, NL.

SPONSORS: Groundswell 2016 is sponsored by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Unifor, Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation, PSAC Atlantic, Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE), the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), CFS Local 35 – MUN Student Union (MUNSU), the NL Teachers’ Association, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Region of the Communications Workers of America (CWA/SCA Canada), the Canadian Federation of Students, the City of St. John’s, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association (MUNFA), the National Pensioners Federation (NPF), the Newfoundland & Labrador Public Sector Pensioners’ Association (NLPSPA), Development and Peace, and  the Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland and Labrador (RNUNL).