What's Left - 2015 Parkland Institute Conference

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by Sarelle Azuelos (Next Up Calgary 6)

How do you sum up a weekend of speakers and discussions on Alberta’s future? 

What’s Left?, this year’s Parkland Institute conference, was focused on the next steps for Alberta’s political landscape now that change seems like an honest possibility. Next Up’s Calgary and Edmonton contingents were invited to attend. 

Launched by Alex “Austerity is Toxic” Himelfarb, Friday night’s keynote provided context for the popular history of tax cuts across Canada, and set the stage for more conversations on responsible taxation. Saturday and Sunday’s sessions were dedicated to organized labour, citizen engagement, climate change, health care, education and other issues important to progressive Albertans. 

“I never cease to be amazed by the sophistication, awareness, and engagement of not just the conference speakers but also of the conference attendees,” said Ricardo Acuna, executive director of the Parkland Institute. “This year, however, those qualities seemed to be accompanied by a genuine aura of hopefulness and optimism that was palpable throughout the conference.”

Almost exactly one month after a new federal government was voted into office, many conversations and question periods were focused on reorganizing with higher goals in mind. Kathleen Monk wrapped up the conference with a look at which forces came into play during the last election, just in time for attendees to tune into Alberta Premier Notley’s announcement about Alberta’s new Climate Leadership Plan. Change is in the air, but as was oft repeated over the course of the weekend, “Don’t celebrate, organize.”

Video from the conference is available on the Parkland Institute conference website. 

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