November 16-18, 2018, University of Alberta

Alberta 2019


Parkland Institute’s 22nd Annual Conference – Alberta 2019: Forces of Change – takes a deep dive into our history, economy, and social conflicts to better understand Alberta’s past, present, and future within Canada, North America, and the world.

In 2015, Alberta elected a New Democratic government for the first time. It was a stunning moment in Albertan – and Canadian – history. For some, it was a wrenching experience; for others, a moment of exhilaration, the results of which have continued to reverberate ever since. Four years on, we examine the forces at work that will determine Alberta’s and Canada’s future – forces of change and forces that resist change – and the means by which progress and resistance are themselves changing for 2019 and beyond.

Parkland Institute seeks to provide ways to understand forces of change, forces that resist change, and conflicts of interest in our society. This understanding identifies the decisions that must be made if these forces are to be harnessed for social change and the greater good.

Register for the 2018 Fall Conference » 


Full Conference

Parkland Supporters: $140 / $100 Low Income
Regular: $190 / $125 Low Income

Keynote and Single Sessions

Tickets: $20 / $15 Low Income


Opening Keynote

Lynne Fernandez

In the Eye of the Storm

with Lynne Fernandez

Alberta is in the eye of a storm that has been brewing around the planet. Climate change, migration, and the residual impact of global economic austerity measures – stemming from the 2008 financial crisis and from which the world is still reeling – are just a few of the forces at play in a tempest that has seen the appetite for hard right politics grow in Europe, the US, and here at home in Canada. What do changes in global trade, the oil industry, inter-provincial relations, and the labour market mean for Alberta? Could we have four contiguous provinces run by conservative governments that are decidedly opposed to government intervention on climate change? If so, what will be the effect? What remains after the storm has passed?

Lynne Fernandez holds the Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues at the Manitoba Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She holds an MA in Economics from the University of Manitoba where she studied with the department’s heterodox economists.

Closing Keynote

Andrew Nikiforuk

Petro Politics and Bitumen’s Volatile Legacy

with Andrew Nikiforuk

Oversupplying a global market that doesn’t need more bitumen (a cheap refinery feedstock) will lower prices for bitumen. That’s Economics 101. Incompetent governance by the NDP and the Conservatives has shielded industry from market forces and created a supply glut. Pipelines can’t secure higher prices in such an environment. Adding value and curbing production remain the only solution. Meanwhile Alberta continues to ignore Lougheed’s principles on resource development in a world where volatility dominates oil pricing and the dysfunctional politics of oil exporters.

Andrew Nikiforuk reports on energy and environment for the Tyee and is an award-winning author. His most recent books include Slick Water and Energy of Slaves.

Please note: B.W. Powe unfortunately had to cancel his closing keynote for personal reasons, and his presentation has been replaced with this one by Andrew Nikiforuk.


Janet Brown
Saturday Morning Plenary

The Values, Attitudes, and Motivations of Alberta Voters

with Janet Brown

In the lead-up to the 2019 provincial election, pollster Janet Brown has been closely tracking the values, attitudes, and motivations of Alberta voters. Through this research, she’s identified four clusters of Alberta voters. Janet will take us through the numbers, and help us understand the mindset of Alberta voters and what matters most to them.

Emily Riddle
Saturday Afternoon Plenary

Thoughts from a Traitorous Albertan: Treaty Feminism in 2019

with Emily Riddle

Both Treaty and gender are relevant to all major policy debates, from pipelines to education. From the perspective of an Alberta ex-pat and Treaty 6 feminist, this presentation will provide a report card on where we are in Treaty relations in the province and imagine a future in which Indigenous peoples can live safely in our homelands beyond Alberta 2019.

Fred Stenson
Sunday Morning Plenary

Understanding Alberta: Why Are You Laughing?

with Fred Stenson

After 21 years of writing humour columns for Alberta Views magazine, Fred Stenson asks himself the ultimate question: “Do I understand Alberta?”