I attended an annual conference at Harrison, sponsored by the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance, titled “Deepening Democracy.” A variety of workshop choices and plenary sessions were offered, including such topics as:
- Rural Communities and Low Carbon Future
- Access to Public Education
- Climate Change
- Mobilizing Community Assets
- Youth and Democratic Engagement (kindergarten to grade 12)
- Community Planning with First Nations
- Tools for Fair Taxation
- School Board and Sustainability
- Women Transforming Cities
I participated in some of these sessions, as well as attended a banquet dinner featuring keynote speaker Jamie Biggar, Executive Director of LEADNOW. During this two-day conference, various elected representatives such as Mayors, Council members, Regional Directors and School Trustees, put their heads together with non-elected representatives from all over the Province, in roundtable discussions that focused on community planning and priority-setting.
There was also an impressive group of young leaders representing their communities and non-government agencies and organizations. The synergy created by bringing together such a diverse group was positive and underscores what I believe are key ingredients to the democratic process — communication, cooperation and collaboration. Working together across organizations and systems means that community planning, partnerships and development remain more effective and inclusive.
It was a great conference and I enjoyed meeting so many energetic people who share a passion for excellence in community and public service.