“Deepening Democracy” Conference Summary, March 22 and 23


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.