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Upcoming Saskatoon conference to challenge fracking and extreme energy

Next week in Saskatoon, the Council of Canadians will host Groundswell: Grassroots Power in the Age of Extreme Energy. The conference takes place in the midst of a groundswell of coast-to-coast solidarity with fracking opponents in Kent County, New Brunswick, where the Elsipogtog First Nation and allies have been facing repression and arrests. Academy Award-nominated director Josh Fox will help kick off the conference with a special screening of his two documentaries about fracking in the U.S., Gasland and Gasland II.

The four-day Groundswell conference will highlight the power of communities in Saskatchewan and across Canada to stand up to corporations and governments to protect our environment, our jobs and our democracy.

WHAT: A film screening, public forum, and full-day conference including workshops, panels, and more.

WHEN & WHERE:                

Thursday, October 24:

  • Tree planting: 2:00 p.m. on the Meewasin Trail behind the Water Treatment Plant. Guests include Mayor Don Atchison, city councillors, and Council of Canadians Executive Director Garry Neil.
  • Film screening of Gasland and Gasland II: 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Broadway Theatre. Josh Fox will answer questions during intermission.

Friday, October 25

  • Press conference: 10 a.m. in the Spadina Boardroom, Mezzanine Floor at the Delta Bessborough Hotel. Featuring Maude Barlow, Josh Fox, and Larry Hubich.
  • Book signing: Maude Barlow will be signing copies of her new bestselling book Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever in the Convention Floor Foyer, Delta Bessborough Hotel, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m and 9:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Public forum: 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Adam Ballroom, Delta Bessborough Hotel. Information about keynote speakers below.

Saturday, October 26

  • Conference: 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Adam Ballroom, Delta Bessborough Hotel. Registration available on site. Information about conference panelists below.
  • Presentation of the Council of Canadians System Change Legacy Award to Saskatoon’s Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op: 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. in the Adam Ballroom, Delta Bessborough Hotel
  • Gala dinner and awards presentation: 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Adam Ballroom, Delta Bessborough Hotel. Awards will be presented to Nettie Wiebe (Professor of Church and Society at St. Andrew's College, University of Saskatchewan), The Committee for Future Generations (a campaign to raise awareness of the real risks of the nuclear waste repository being proposed in northern Saskatchewan), and Idle No More (to be accepted by the co-founders Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean).

Sunday, October 27

  • Youth forum. 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in Salon Batoche, Delta Bessborough Hotel.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS AT THE PUBLIC FORUM: Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and author of the new bestselling book Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever; Josh Fox, documentary filmmaker, environmental activist, and director of Gasland and Gasland II; Erica Lee, student and Idle No More activist; Larry Hubich, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour; and a welcome from Tribal Chief Felix Thomas.

CONFERENCE PANELISTS: There will be three panels during the conference on October 26, on creative activism, grassroots power, and the way forward, featuring Dave Mitchell, Co-editor of Beautiful Trouble; “Rogue Page” Brigette DePape; Candyce Paul and Dale Smith, members of The Committee for Future Generations; Valerie Zink, Editor/Publisher of Briarpatch Magazine; Susana Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation; Dave Coles, President, Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union and co-founder of Unifor; Heather Milton Lightening, Co-Director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign out of the Polaris Institute; Tracey Mitchell, Community Facilitator and Next Up Saskatchewan Coordinator.