Taking the High Road: Panel Discusses How Civil Society is Working Towards a Progressive Future

High Road

Convention was pleased to welcome a panel of civil society leaders to share the work of their organizations and their insights for the future.

We had Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta; Ricardo Acuna, Executive Director of the Parkland Institute; Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull, Executive Director of the Alberta Workers’ Health Centre; and Sandra Azocar, Executive Director for the Friends of Medicare. They shared ideas about avoiding complacency, embracing activism, building partnerships, and achieving long-term change.

“We’re back to where we were, a radical shift in the short term, but in the longer term we are back to why we exist. Our organizations were started to oppose the kind of agenda we are seeing now”—Ricardo Acuna

“What we are tasked with is reviving the values of why we created public healthcare in the first place. That no Canadian would die from lack of healthcare, that no Canadian would go bankrupt from accessing healthcare.”—Sandra Azocar

“Public Interest Alberta is a do-tank, we take the information and evidence from places like Parkland and reach people.”—Joel French

“We tend to focus on the rights side of things and not the power imbalance side, how do we move forward collectively?”—Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull

“It can’t always be: who will we vote for in four years? But what are the problems we have to address and what are the solutions?”—Joel French

“We have the good luck to work with front-line workers, the people who know what we need to fix and what will improve our healthcare. Working conditions are care conditions.”—Sandra Azocar

“The way you move the Overton window is to bring ideas outside of the window and move it.”—Ricardo Acuna

We encourage all convention delegate and our affiliates to check out the panelists’ tables outside of Hall or their websites.

Public Interest Alberta--https://www.pialberta.org/

Alberta Workers’ Health Centre-- https://workershealthcentre.ca/

Parkland Institute-- https://www.parklandinstitute.ca/

Friends of Medicare-- http://www.friendsofmedicare.org/