Parkland Fall Conference 2021
This conference took place November 19-21, 2021
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Taking Action Workshops

Sunday, Nov 21 • 1:00–2:15 PM

E  - Queering the Revolution! 

Join activists Gary Kinsman and Kathryn DeLucia-Burk for a rad envisioning of what it could mean to queer the revolution! How do we make revolution an object of desire and that which we cannot not want? How do we do the work of transformative social change in this particular historical moment? What insights from past and contemporary queer struggles can we bring to urgently "build the future we need?" Come with your queer dreams, solidarities, and insurgencies!


Suzanne Lenon (she/her) is associate professor in the Department of Women & Gender Studies at the University of Lethbridge. She teaches and researches in the areas of critical race feminisms, and law, gender and sexuality. Her current research focuses on the topic of inheritance as a way to apprehend the workings of social inequalities and to imagine their transformation. 


Gary Kinsman lives most of the time in Tkaronto, and is in solidarity with Indigenous struggles. He is a queer, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist activist involved with the No Pride in Policing Coalition, the Anti-69 Network and the AIDS Activist History Project. He is the author of The Regulation of Desire, co-author of The Canadian War on Queers, an editor of We Still Demand! and many chapters and articles on sexual and gender politics. He is currently working on a third edition of The Regulation of Desire.

Kathryn DeLucia-Burk is a 4th-year undergrad at the University of Lethbridge in the Bachelor of Social Work program. She is a student organizer and president of OUTreach Southern Alberta Society. Katie is an equity, diversity and inclusion consultant and educator for the University of Lethbridge on issues that impact transgender and gender non-conforming students.

F  - Taking Action to Build the Cities We Need

Join Public Interest Alberta and activists from across Alberta to develop actions and networks for how we can create effective tactics for change now that the municipal elections are over. Public Interest Alberta engaged hundreds of candidates, in partnership with allies including the Parkland Institute, to promote the public good at the municipal level and we learned some important lessons. This workshophalf lessons learned and half planning for whats nextwill help get us out of the backroom and retool for the struggle ahead in the next four years. While this municipal election saw a sea of change at the level of representation across the province, it is imperative for workers and activists to build and leverage power in creative ways to ensure this shift results in significant policy change. If you want to organize and mobilize for the cities we need in the future,then this workshop is for you. 


Brad Lafortune is executive director of Public Interest Alberta, a position he has held since April 2021. He previously worked as the director of campaigns for Western Canada at Point Blank Creative (2019-2021); chief of staff to Labour Minister Christina Gray (2016-2019); and as the director of government relations and political action for the Alberta Federation of Labour (2014-2015).

Laura Kruse is the Director of Communications and Organizing for Public Interest Alberta. She is also a facilitator, an educator, and one of the co-founders of Climate Justice Edmonton's grassroots free transit campaign. Her writing has appeared in The Edmonton Journal, Progress Alberta, and Jacobin magazine.

Lucas Costello is an organizer with Point Blank Creative. Lucas spent years getting progressive candidates elected at every level of government across Canada – from school boards to the House of Commons. Most recently, he was the Digital Organizer for the Calgary's Future municipal campaign.

G  - Mobilizing Workers: Building Stronger Worker Organizations

Alberta has never been an easy place to organize and mobilize workers, and COVID has made the task even harder. This workshop will look at some innovative strategies and tactics workers and unions are trying today and will engage participants in a conversation about what workers and their allies can do in the future to more effectively mobilize workers in Alberta.


Jason Foster is Director of the Parkland Institute and an associate professor of Human Resources and Labour Relations at Athabasca University. He is the author of Defying Expectations: The Case of UFCW Local 401, and co-author of Health and Safety in Canadian Workplaces. His research interests include workplace injury, union renewal, labour and employment policy, and migrant workers in Canada.

Mike Dempsey has been a vice-president for the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees for seven years. Prior to that, he worked for the Government of Alberta as a forest officer, timber management specialist, compliance assurance officer, and environmental protection officer. Representing AUPE's members in the northeast region of the province, Mike chairs the union's Committee on Political Action and sits on the Board of the Parkland Institute. 

H  - Standing Up for the Public Healthcare System We Need

The COVID19 pandemic has demonstrated how critical investments into our public healthcare system and how important front-line healthcare professionals are. Yet the Jason Kenney government is continuing to push for greater privatization of our public health services and threatening to scale back the salaries and benefits of Alberta’s care providers at the same time that they are disinvesting in broader social determinants of health that operate outside of the healthcare system to keep people well. Rather than just trying to stop the UCP attack on our healthcare system, it is important that Albertans envision the public system we need for the future. One that will address the social determinants of health and expand public health to pharmacare and dental care. Join other conference participants in this important discussion about what standing up for a better public system for health and healthcare would look like.


Mike Parker is President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA). He has been a first responder since 1992 and graduated as a paramedic in 1999. He has been involved in the labour movement for many years, serving as a steward and as vice-president of his local with the Canadian Union of Public Employees. He became a member of HSAA in 2009 and served on the board before being elected as vice-president in 2015. The following year, he became president.

Lindsay McLaren is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary where her research and teaching focus on healthy public policy and social and ecological determinants of health. She is also a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - National Office. Lindsay is past-president (2014-18) of the Alberta Public Health Association, and currently serves as Senior Editor for the Canadian Journal of Public Health and Co-Editor for the international peer-reviewed journal, Critical Public Health.