Democracy in a time of Social Distancing

This Webinar occurred on Thursday, March 26 11:00 AM PST / 2:00 PM EST

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As we grapple with the COVID19 crisis and settle into a new normal, local and Indigenous governments are struggling with what this will mean for their activities over the coming months. 

Join Andrea Reimer and guests for a webinar to explore the opportunities for engaging communities and democratic decision-making in a time of social distancing.

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  • Learn from some of the leading thinkers of engagement in Canada about the values and principles that should guide the development and use of democracy tools in the social distancing era.
  • Talk with other civil servants in local and Indigenous governments about the current on situation to hear how they are coping and what they see the needs as moving forward.
  • Learn about tools that are available to assist municipalities with online engagement and decision-making meetings.

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Meet our guests

Lindsay Poaps

Lyndsay Poaps

Lyndsay is the former executive director of Leadnow, a national organization that uses digital tools and proven organizing techniques to help hundreds of thousands of people take action. Lyndsay was also previously elected to local government and has worked as a civil servant in Toronto and Metro Vancouver.

Ginger Gosnell Myers

Ginger Gosnell Myers

Ginger is a member of the Nisga'a and Kwakwak'awakw Nations and was recently appointed as Simon Fraser University’s first Indigenous fellow. Prior to her appointment she served as the City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous Relations Manager and led the national Urban Aboriginal People’s Study with Environics.

Peter MacLeod

Peter MacLeod

Peter is the co-founder and principal of Mass LBP, and one of Canada's leading experts in public engagement and deliberative democracy. Under his leadership, Mass LBP has led some of Canada's most original and ambitious engagement efforts, pioneering the use of Civic Lotteries and Citizen Reference Panels on behalf of a wide array of clients.

John Richardson

John Richardson

John is the founder and CEO of Ethelo, and has worked to support local governments and public agencies in a broad variety of public engagement processes across Canada. John invented the Ethelo algorithms, which enable groups to find broadly supported solutions to complex and contentious decision problems.

Meet our host

Andrea Reimer

Andrea Reimer

Andrea Spent four terms in local government including 10 years as the lead on public engagement on Vancouver City Council, where she also served as Deputy Mayor and Chair of Policy and Strategic Priorities. She recently completed a fellowship at Harvard in recognition of this work and is currently teaching about power, policy and engagement at UBC and SFU.

Background

COVID19 response, and particular social distancing, has created very difficult barriers to democracy and public engagement. For example, the obvious challenge of holding an election is playing out in the US right now and closer to home the provincial government has made the decision to postpone three local government by-elections scheduled in BC. 

At the same time, while there has been a tremendous amount of innovation in response to increased public demand for broader public engagement over the past decade, local government structures for democratic engagement were largely created in the 19th century and still presume that people have 19th century lifestyles when accessing largely evening meetings. 

There are better ways to engage residents and better ways to practice democracy. Social distancing is a moment to help introduce these needed changes. 

Why you should attend

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What are the new engagement opportunities?

We'll discuss what the most effective strategies and tools are to ensure public input is still being heard.

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Learn from engagement experts

This conversation between five engagement experts aims to offer answers in what has been a time of disruption and confusion for us all. 

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How can we adapt to the new normal?

We'll go through ways to make your community feel connected and supported, despite the physical distance.

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What is Ethelo?

Ethelo is an online platform that empowers groups to collaborate on decisions. Ethelo helps communities focus collective intelligence to reach the best decisions quickly and fairly.

Ethelo's unique technology enables groups to analyze millions of decision possibilities, producing smart results that everyone can support. Ethelo enables organizations to break the ceiling on the maximum size of effective groups, scaling group intelligence with group size.

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