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“Building a stronger democracy”: A cross-country webinar

To bring us together to reflect on and make sense of the moment we’re in, the Council of Canadians hosted a panel discussion and webinar on February 22, 2022.

Watch the recording:

Featuring panelists:

Zexi Li

Zexi Li is an Ottawa resident and public servant. She was the lead plaintiff in a now $306-million class-action lawsuit that was launched three weeks ago against the organizers of the occupation — after enduring harassment, abuse, and torment for days on end. The lawsuit successfully led to an injunction to silence the honking.

Linda McQuaig

Linda McQuaig is a renowned author and activist. Her latest book is The Sport and Prey of Capitalists: How the Rich Are Stealing Canada’s Public Wealth.

Jackie Walker

Jackie Walker is a Registered Practical Nurse and President of the Nursing Division at SEIU Healthcare, a trade union representing more than 60,000 workers in Ontario’s hospitals, home care, nursing and retirement homes, and community services.

Alex Silas

Alex Silas is an Ottawa-based activist and one of the organizers behind Community Solidarity Ottawa, a coalition of labour unions, community organizations, and residents that came together in the aftermath of the “Freedom Convoy.” He is the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s regional executive vice-president for the National Capital Region.

Moderated by:

Anne Lagacé Dowson is an award winning radio host and journalist. Anne is fluently bilingual and has a Masters degree in Canadian Studies.

This webinar addressed the following themes: 

  • How do we make sure the government’s pandemic response puts people and communities first, not corporate interests?
  • What are the current threats to our public services, including health care, and their workers?
  • How have residents of downtown Ottawa been impacted? What have they done to organize and assert their own dignity and safety, and what can we do to support them?
  • What concrete steps need to be taken to ensure our democracy is stronger in the face of division, polarization, and hate?

As the Council of Canadians’ Chairperson, John Cartwright, wrote in a recent piece, we need more than ever to come together under the banner of “caring, social solidarity, and creating a future where everyone feels they belong.”

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