Parkland Fall Conference 2020
November 16-21, 2020, University of Alberta

After the Contagions

After the Contagions explored the complex environmental, medical, racial, economic, political and other contagions that challenge this moment - and, more importantly, what must be done to construct a future world that is more just, democratic and sustainable than the one being left behind.

Parkland Institute's 24th annual conference was online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, the conference was free for current Parkland Institute supporters.

Full conference registration for non-members was $50, and $20 for students and people on low-income. Individual keynote sessions were $15.

Register for the conference →

Download the poster ↓


Full Conference

Parkland Supporters: free
for Non-Members: $50
Students / Low Income: $20

Individual Keynote Sessions

Tickets: $15

GO →

Keynote Presenters

2020-11-16 Is the Canadian Federation up to the Challenge of Climate Change?

Monday speaker • Nov 16, 7PM

Is the Canadian Federation up to the Challenge of Climate Change?

with Kathryn Harrison

We know the planet will continue to warm until global emissions are returned to net zero, a target that Canada and other countries embraced for 2050. That goal will be especially challenging for Canada, which has among the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world, and an economic reliance on fossil fuel exports. The challenge is further exacerbated by regional variation in fossil fuel dependence and by a federal system where jurisdiction is shared between the federal government, 10 provinces, and three territories. This presentation will reflect on three decades of federal-provincial relations concerning climate change, including negotiation of the Pan-Canadian climate plan and ongoing constitutional challenges to the federal carbon tax. Ms. Harrison will report insights from recent public opinion research concerning attitudes to COVID-19, climate change and carbon pricing.

Kathryn Harrison is a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia and as associate professor at the University of Toronto. Before entering academia, professor Harrison worked as a chemical engineer in the oil industry, and as a policy analyst for both Environment Canada and the United States Congress. Professor Harrison has published widely on Canadian and U.S. climate and environmental policy. She is working on a book on the comparative politics of carbon taxes in Canada, Australia, France and Ireland.

2020-11-17 When Cracks Become Chasms: COVID as the great diagnostician

Tuesday speaker • Nov 17, 7PM

When Cracks Become Chasms: COVID as the great diagnostician

with Dr. Danielle Martin

During COVID-19 pre-existing challenges in Canada’s health and social systems have been painfully exposed. Far from being “the great equalizer”, our experience of the pandemic is shining light on problems that are long overdue for a fix. In her discussion, Danielle Martin will highlight three core health system issues - wait times for elective care, access to services outside of medicare, and the impact of race and class on health – and how they have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The good news is that solutions are within our grasp. In the second half of her presentation, Dr. Martin will outline some of the ways forward for a truly universal health system, using COVID as the case study for improvement.

Dr. Danielle Martin is the executive vice-president and chief medical executive of Women’s College Hospital (WCH), where she is also a practicing family physician. Dr. Martin leads the hospital's strategy to establish Women's Virtual, Canada's first virtual hospital, aimed at improving care and reducing health system costs. Dr. Martin frequently provides commentary on health issues through her work as a contributor at the CBC. Her national bestselling book Better Now: 6 Big Ideas to Improve the Health of all Canadians, was released in 2017. In 2019, Dr. Martin became the youngest physician to receive the F.N.G. Starr Award, the highest honour available to Canadian Medical Association members.

2020-11-18 Healing the Contagion of Systemic Racism: Rebuilding Relationships for the Society We Want

Wednesday speaker • Nov 18, 7PM

Healing the Contagion of Systemic Racism: Rebuilding Relationships for the Society We Want

with Justice Marion Buller

The clear evidence of social inequities, police violence and systemic racism during social media COVID times has outraged people. What happens when we go back to “normal?” Will we let the inequities, violence and systemic racism continue, or will we begin to rebuild our society? The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls sets out pathways for understanding and combating systemic racism. We will examine these pathways with the goal of making meaningful change.

Marion Buller was the first Indigenous woman appointed as a provincial court judge in B.C. She founded the First Nations Court and provided the foundation for the Indigenous Family Court. Ms. Buller was also the chief commissioner for National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She is a member of the Mistawasis Nehiyawak, a Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan.

2020-11-19 Pandemic Economics, Inequality and the Big Reset: Cause for Cynicism or Celebration?

Thursday speaker • Nov 19, 7PM

Pandemic Economics, Inequality and the Big Reset: Cause for Cynicism or Celebration?

with Armine Yalnizyan

COVID19 has unleashed the world's first she-cession. Pre-existing inequalities by age, race and gender have been dramatically exacerbated. Mathematically speaking, there can be no economic recovery without a she-covery, and no she-covery without childcare. Thus far, the path to she-covery remains blocked (by policy incompetence or policy choice) and increasingly pronounced inequalities in who's recovering, where, is spelling trouble for everyone, everywhere. Ironically, the pandemic also sheds light on ways to actively create a future for workers that works for the good of everyone. Will we seize the opportunity? Just like everything else about the pandemic, the answer is: our choice. I'll take you on a tour of the issues and the alternatives for dealing with them.

Armine Yalnizyan is the Atkinson Foundation’s Fellow on the Future of Workers. She served as Senior Economic Policy Advisor for the Deputy Minister at Employment and Social Development Canada from 2018 to 2019; was senior economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Inequality Project from 2008 to 2017; and provided weekly business commentaries on CBC radio and CBC TV from 2011 to 2018. She is past President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics.

2020-11-20 Commanding Hope: The power we have to renew a world in peril

Friday speaker • Nov 20, 7PM

Commanding Hope: The power we have to renew a world in peril

with Thomas Homer-Dixon

Frightening pandemics, terrible inequality, racism and poverty, rising political authoritarianism, the inescapable climate crisis, and the resuscitated danger of nuclear war. We know the story. Each of these crises seems so much larger than any one of us can understand or handle. Yet in 2020, they’re all going critical simultaneously. In his Parkland keynote talk, Thomas Homer-Dixon will speak to the findings in his new book, Commanding Hope, to show why and how we got here; and most importantly, show the powers we possess to renew our imperiled world. To learn more about this talk and his hopeful book, go to Commanding Hope.

Thomas Homer-Dixon is director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University, and he holds a University Research Chair in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Canada. Between 2009 and 2014, he was founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. Since joining the University of Waterloo, Mr. Homer-Dixon’s research has focused on threats to global security in the 21st century, including economic instability, climate change, and energy scarcity. He has published a number of books and writes regularly for the Toronto Globe and Mail.


Saturday • Nov 21, 2-4 PM

Alberta Solutions Panel

In follow up to the national keynote conference presenters, join us for a panel discussion about what must be done now to construct a more just, democratic and sustainable future Alberta. The interactive panel discussion features a diverse range of Albertans who will provide their insights to the complex challenges facing the province and the solutions and steps we need to take for the Alberta we need.

About the panelists →

Saturday night celebration

Saturday • Nov 21, 7PM

Parkland Party!

Join us online for a fun evening of music, spoken word poetry and good conversations.

Read more →