Monday, November 01, 2010

Lots of Action for a Progressive Alberta Political Agenda in November

There are a very interesting series of events all of a sudden that go to the issues of democracy and citizen participation and open government. 

George Lakoff came to town.  “One of the most influential political thinkers of the progressive movement” according to Howard Dean gave a lecture at Grant MacEwan University Thursday night put on by the Alberta Federation of Labour.  Lakoff wrote the best-selling book “Don’t Think of an Elephant” and told me it has sold over 350,000 copies and is in translation into dozens of languages.  He was so fascinating Thursday night I talked my way into the all day Friday workshop and found.  Thanks to the AFL and President Gil McGowan for the flexibility and hospitality to include me. He gave me a plethora of blog post ideas on and around the Reboot Alberta progressive citizens movement I am passionate about.

Reboot Alberta 3.0 on Taking Progressive Action happens November 5-6 at the Edmonton Delta South.  There will be discussions on what actions progressive Albertans want to see happen to assure a responsible and sustainable development of our oil sands.  We will be looking at the state of progressive politics in the province, some new random research findings on the thinking around progressive political values and number of progressives in the province.  We will look at new measures of well-being and progress from some work done for the Pembina Institute and look at the future direction of Reboot Alberta.  You can see the full agenda and register at

Peter Senge and Marg Wheatley in Calgary  November 11 and 12 “Building a Sustainable Future Conference” at the University of Calgary.  This leadership conference will be about exploring new ways of thinking.  It will look at how individuals and organizations can work together to create a sustainable world.  It will look at collaborative revolutionary change not incremental change in isolation.  It will look at new processes to restore authentic dialogue, good thinking and wise action with perseverance for the long term point of view. 

John Gaventa is next.  The Alberta Climate Dialogue out of the University of Alberta is holding a public lecture on November 15th from 4:15 – 5:45 pm at the Engineering Teaching and Learning Centre Room E1-007 on the University of Alberta Campus.  Dr. Gaventa will talk about “Deepening Democracy through Citizen Participation” based on ten-years of collaborative work on the subject citizen action, building democracy, strengthening development and realizing human rights.  He works through the Development Research Center on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability ( a network of over 60 researchers and activitists involved in these issues in over 20 countries.

Ken Chapman (yup that’s me!) speaks at the Max Bell Auditorium at Banff Centre November 16 at 7:30 pm on Citizenship, Stewardship and Leadership.   There is a clear and present danger to democracy when citizen disillusionment and distain for the political culture of their times means that they fail, refuse or neglect to take the duties of informed engaged citizenship seriously.  The oil sands are owned by Albertans.  That make us responsible to assure they are developed in responsible, sustainable and integrated ways that deal with economic, environmental, social and political aspects of this resource.  Political leadership starts in the mirror and the world is run by those who show up.  Disengagement from political participation and citizenship is not an option any more.  In a democracy, you always get the government you deserve, especially if you don’t vote.

Alberta School Boards Association meeting in Edmonton November 23, I present two workshops to School Trustees from all over Alberta.  These will be around the power and processes of social media in meeting the principles and values of community engagement from the Inspiring Action on Education report.

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association meets in Edmonton at the Shaw Convention Centre on November 24 and I share a panel on Open Data for local government with Jas Darrah and Mack Male.  The internet has changed the rules and relationships of government to citizens.  The Open Data movement is a good example of how government is responding, especially local governments.  I will be looking at it from a philosophical; values based approach and the emerging participatory Democracy 2.0 perspective.

All in all it is a pretty full and exciting month…and it has only just begun.

If you want a progressive political culture in the Next Alberta register now for RebootAlberta 3.0 at