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Open dialogues on democracy, climate, health care to be held in Red Deer by Council of Canadians

The free sessions encourage a respectful exchange of ideas
Brad Lafortune, executive-director of Public Interest Alberta, will be leading the first idea-exchange session on changes in health care and education on Feb. 9 at the Snell Auditorium at the Red Deer downtown public library. The series of presented by the Council of Canadians. (Contributed photo).

In a bid to unite and inform Central Albertans about various topics — from health and education to climate change and democracy — the Red Deer chapter of the Council of Canadians is holding a free, four-part series for an exchange of ideas.

At this polarized time, people are estranged from each other with their ideas and opinions, said council member and social justice advocate Janet Walter. She believes the best way of helping bring people together is opening up a free and respectful dialogue.

“Politics are in a dreadful state,” she added, “there’s never been a better time for people to communicate with each other.”

The Red Deer Chapter of Council of Canadians is presenting a four-part Public Conversations series about current topics of concern: Public Health, Public Education, Climate Crisis, and Democracy. Walter said each session will be led by a knowledgeable conversation leader and equal time will be allotted for comments and questions.

The first topic will be Priorities for Change in Public Health and Public Education with Brad Lafortune from Public Interest Alberta. The opening session will be held in the Snell Auditorium of the Red Deer Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 9.

The second discussion, on Thursday, Feb. 16, also at the Snell, is about Funding Our Public Services: a Revised Alberta Economy. Ricardo Acuna from Parkland Institute will lead the conversation.

For these first two sessions, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for coffee and snacks and the session will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The third and fourth part of the series will be held at the Margaret Parsons Theatre at the Red Deer Polytechnic.

On Thursday, March 9, Juan Vargas from the Climate Emergency Unit will lead an evening conversation about, Our Response to the Climate Crisis. And on Thursday, March 16, David Baugh, the local retired Chair of the Political Science Department at Red Deer College, will close the series with a conversation about Democracy in Alberta.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the Red Deer Polytechnic events and the conversation sessions will be from 7 until 8:30 p.m.

Walters said members of the public are invited to “come, listen, learn, and speak up for a better way forward for Alberta.” But she cautions speakers are expected to be courteous and show respect to others and for their opinions.

There’s no admission charge, but donations for expenses will be appreciated. For more information call 403-406-9111.