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Hey Canada. Got a minute to chat?

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Scott Cameron by: Scott Cameron

President/CEO at bassa Social Innovation

Hey Canada. Got a minute? I think we need to chat.

It’s not really about the election last night, but more about what the election means and how we’re feeling about one another. As an Albertan, I watched #CBC and #CTV until about 10:00 pm and failed to see even one poll reported from Alberta. Sure, you might see a sea of blue and think…”typical”, but you might not see what’s happening below the surface.

For the first time in my life, I voted Conservative. Not because I believe in their platform, appreciate the leader or believe in economy above all else. I voted Conservative because I thought they’d be the only chance that Ottawa might begin to understand the depth of hurt, frustration and sadness that is being felt here.

Let me be clear, I’m not whining. I’m trying to communicate that there’s something else going on here in Alberta that the rest of Canada doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate. I don’t want to separate – I love this country. I’m just sad that my fellow Albertans continue to be out of work, that the social programs I’ve worked the past couple decades to support are being overwhelmed with people experiencing poverty and emotional distress, that families are breaking apart, and that addictions continue to trap more and more good people.

I’m sad that the hard work happening on the front lines and in the offices here in downtown Calgary to make Canada’s energy sector the most environmentally conscious around the world are being overlooked. I’m sad that we are having conversations about a 16 year old European girl as if that’s the most important conversation to be had. We are allowing ourselves to become entrenched in political soundbites as opposed to taking the time to understand that there are multiple perspectives around people, progress and the planet that don’t have to exist as polar opposites.

I care about whales and it would be tragic to see a news story about a whale lost to a shipping accident. I also care about people, but we don’t do a news story each night about the lives lost to addiction, homelessness or suicide – in many cases due to an economy that isn’t providing for the needs of people across the country. It’s not an either/or and we have to stop treating these issues as such.

I am Albertan, but first and foremost I am Canadian. I think it’s time that we set down our ballots, step off our platforms and meet with one another to truly understand our shared values. We might have different ways of expressing those values, but I refuse to believe that a shouting match between East/West, Indigenous/non-Indigenous, wealthy/poor, immigrant/non-immigrant, gay/straight, man/woman….is going to move us forward.

Let me suggest a starting point for this conversation. It’s one based on respect, a willingness to listen for understanding, and curiosity. It’s a conversation grounded in trying to understand and finding possibility in diversity. It’s a discussion about solutions…not problems. It’s about making Canada the best it can be for the most Canadians – and for those that are struggling, a recognition that they’re not left to go it alone.

Is that too much to ask? I’m inviting you to this conversation.

Originally published October 24, 2019

Scott Cameron is the former Social Planning Manager at The City of Red Deer, and before that he was Executive Director of The United Way of Central Alberta.   He now lives in Calgary.

bassa Social Innovations is a values-based and principled consulting firm committed to positive social well-being for people, their families and their communities. We can help navigate the shared, and sometimes divergent perspectives of government, corporate, non-profit and community organizations to unravel social complexity, and explore collaborative and sustainable social change.

The term ‘bassa’ comes from the world of music, and basically means to play or sing an octave below what’s written. That’s how we describe our work – we work collaboratively to understand what isn’t obvious on the surface. The metaphor goes one step further…the bass note is the foundation of the chord and we seek to create foundational work that serves our clients in the present and future.

 

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#visionCanada2119

Alberta father irked by charity group (The 3% Project) that targets fossil fuel industry

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David Durda

With bassa Social Innovations Todayville recently introduced #visionCanada2119

#visionCanada2119 engages Albertans and Canadians in the types of conversations we need to move ahead as a province, a country, and an economy serving both.   Please consider posting your comments at the end of this article, or in the social media thread.   In some cases we will use these comments in future posts.   
Thanks for taking the time to make our province and our country just a little bit stronger!
#visionCanada2119
This article originally appeared on EnergyNow.
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PHOTO David Durda at his office with the Three Percent Project handout that was given to his son in school in Airdrie, Alberta, December 5, 2019.

David Durda is normally happy to have his 15-year-old son exposed to as many points of view as possible.

But the Airdrie, Alberta dad was deeply troubled when he learned an environmentally-focused non-profit, the 3% Project, was given the green light by school administrators to deliver what he believes is a misleading presentation to some 400 students at his son’s high school in October.

Some of the educational materials provided as part of the presentation contain what he considered to be misleading or incomplete information, and appear to directly target the fossil fuel industry and Alberta’s oil sands.

In just under two years, the 3% Project, the flagship campaign of the Toronto-based Foundation for Environmental Stewardship, has made presentations in 355 schools in more than 250 communities – from Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, to Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John’s, Nfld. – delivering the message that students represent “the final generation” who can solve a potentially “apocalyptic future.”

By next year, the project, according to its website, aims to make presentations in 600 high schools and ask 1 million Canadian youth (representing three per cent of Canada’s population) to sign the following pledge:  “I am more certain that climate change is happening right now, that it is mainly caused by human activities, and that we’re the final generation who can solve it.”

In its stated goals, the group says it also aims to “identify and heavily invest in three youth climate leaders,” cultivate a further 20 “youth advocates” to spread its message, and plans to have 200 youth identified by name in local media outlets sharing the group’s message.

After hearing that his son was required to go to what he called a mandatory presentation at his school, Durda, who works for a Calgary oil and gas firm, began digging into the group, founded by a 25-year-old climate activist who, according to the group, attended climate leadership training led by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.

“They have pretty ambitious plans and I believe the school was misled about what the presentation was about,” Durda said.

“In my mind, they just presented one view.”

Much of the information in the campaign is straight-forward.

But some of the educational materials being provided to children as young as Grade 6 contain questionable information.

A review of the 43-page 3% Project handbook, available through the group’s website, finds several questionable statements and data points:

  • In making its case to battle “climate indifference” over Alberta’s oil sands, the non-profit suggests the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated Canada is subsidizing its fossil fuel industry to the tune of $46 billion annually, which would account for 13 per cent of Canada’s entire 2019 federal budget. Not mentioned in the literature is the fact that that figure came from an IMF working paper, which according to a prominent disclaimer accompanying the report, doesn’t “necessarily represent the view of the IMF.” According to a 2016 study conducted by Canadian climate advocacy group Environmental Defence, annual subsidies from both provincial and federal governments amount to about $3.3 billion annually.
  • The 3% Project also suggests that between 2003 to 2010, the fossil fuel industry “invested $558 million in climate denial groups.” The source of that information, a 2013 study from Drexel University, only reviewed donations from the United States during that period, and of the 140 foundations identified as funding these groups, the “overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations,” while the fossil fuel industry itself barely warrants a mention in the academic paper. The literature provided to students suggests industry fosters campaigns of misinformation, with one of the project’s key rationales suggesting: “Public education for youth influences their parents and is the best weapon against disinformation by the fossil fuel industry.” The document also makes no mention of the millions of dollars invested by U.S.-based environmental charities to help disrupt Canada’s energy industry as well as derailing some critical pipeline projects.
  • The report vilifies Canada for being “one of the most environmentally destructive populations per capita on earth,” citing, in particular, its globally high per capita rate of CO2 emissions. The literature fails to mention the fact Canada is middle of the pack when it comes to G7 countries, according to the World Bank, and its 537,000 kilotons generated are a bare fraction of those produced by the world’s top three emitters: China, the United States and India, which in 2014 contributed about 18 million kilotons between them. As well, Canada is quickly becoming a world leader in cleantech oil and gas development while making significant progress in lowering the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta’s oil sands.
  • The literature also talks about “the possible apocalyptic future we may inherit.” While the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent special report on climate, released in October 2018, highlights several risks associated with climate change, including increasing global temperatures, potential droughts, increased flooding, incremental sea level rising and significant risk to some ecosystems, participating scientists consider many of its predictions to be “medium confidence,” compared to other designations of low and high confidence used by the scientists who make up the panel.

A 3% Project spokesperson, through its website messenger system, declined to make anyone available to comment on any of the concerns raised prior to the publication deadline.

In a statement, the Calgary Catholic School Division said individual school principals are encouraged to invite external groups, and are given guidelines to aid in making those decisions.

“The Calgary Catholic School District recognizes the value of external agencies and organizations to provide information to enhance the curriculum and benefit student learning,” it read.

“Principals are encouraged to invite various external organizations to present information that strengthens the curriculum. Principals are given guidelines to assist their decision-making regarding the circulation of any balanced, approved materials or information at the school level.”

However, correspondence from the school’s principal to Durda included an apology for how the presentation came to be, suggesting it wasn’t thoroughly vetted beforehand.

“I did … apologize and agreed with you that we learned from this, that we need to vet the presentation more thoroughly, but also shared the 3% presentation wasn’t one we would bring back because it didn’t hit home with the kids,” read an email, in part, sent to Durda following the presentation.

Durda said he had recommended a separate presentation from Modern Resources CEO Chris Slubicki, who has emerged as a measured voice from industry touting the innovations and benefits of Canadian energy, which could educate students on the positive improvements that continue to be made, including a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity of oilsands crude since 1990, and producing increasingly cleaner burning natural gas.

However, he was told such a presentation should be initiated by his son and like-minded peers, and would only be in front of a much smaller assembly of students who showed an interest in attending, which Durda feared would put his son in an unfair position.

According to documents from Revenue Canada, as a registered charity, the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship received some $545,000 from other registered charities in 2018. Among their sponsors are the Butterfield Family Foundation, Lush Cosmetics, the City of Vancouver and Service Canada.

In the group’s handbook, its authors suggest children are not being given all the facts about climate change and the fossil fuels industry. And it aims to mobilize kids as a conduit to influence their elders.

“Children engaging their own parents and grandparents most effectively cultivates behavioural change. Parents start taking action on climate out of love for their children, not of principle,” the handbook reads.

“And they can’t be lied to. Public education must engage youth with the facts before they are thoroughly confused with climate disinformation.”

For Durda, the fact the group was able to get into his son’s school has left him concerned about how many other Canadian students will be influenced by the 3% Project’s message.

“They only presented one view and I thought that view was pretty misleading.”

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Canadian Energy Centre launches with mandate to promote Canadian energy

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

The Canadian Energy Centre (CEC) starts operations today with a mandate to promote Canada as the supplier of choice for the world’s growing demand for responsibly produced energy.

In the coming weeks, the website canadianenergycentre.ca will share with the rest of the world the true story of Canada’s energy sector. It will push back against incorrect narratives and begin to respond to the lies and myths targeting Alberta in real time.

The CEC has three units that will work together to tell Canada’s energy story:

  • A rapid response unit to issue swift responses to misinformation about Canadian oil and natural gas.
  • A pro-active energy literacy unit that creates original content to elevate the general understanding of Canada’s energy sector and help the country take control of its energy story.
  • A data and research unit that centralizes and analyses data targeting investors, researchers, and policy makers.

Tom Olsen, Chief Executive Officer, said the CEC will offer a fact-based narrative to reflect a truthful picture of the existing and future energy mix of fossil fuels, renewables, and other forms of energy.

“Demand for oil and gas will increase for decades to come. Canada, with its world-leading, environmental, social and governance standards, should be the first choice for consumers around the world. We will no longer apologize for our industry or be ashamed of our industry. Canadian energy makes the world a better place.”

“The Canadian Energy Centre is a key part of Alberta’s new, proactive strategy to tell the truth about our responsibly produced resources. Alberta has been a great motor of jobs, prosperity, and social progress because of our natural resources, and increasingly we are world leaders in technology that reduces the environmental output of our oil and gas,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. “We will no longer passively accept a campaign of defamation seeking to landlock one of Canada’s greatest assets.”

“Today is an important milestone in our efforts to set the record straight and tell the true story of Canadian energy,” said Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage. “The narratives about Canada’s energy sector are simply untrue and unacceptable. Our energy sector operates with the highest environmental, social and governance standards in the world.”

The Canadian Energy Centre will also feature a mix of stories to re-introduce Canada’s energy sector and lead advertising campaigns throughout key markets in Canada. As of today, a number of narrative stories have already been published to the CEC’s website including:

  • “Canada’s natural resources can be global catalyst for a greener future”
  • “Indigenous leaders bring energy message to Japan”
  • “Fossil fuel misinformation presented to students in Alberta”
  • “Prosthetics derived from petrochemicals allow athletes to stay in the game”

The CEC is an independent provincial corporation that has a $30-million annual budget — $20 million derived from industry through the Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund, $10 million re-purposed from advertising spending earmarked by the previous provincial government.

Follow the Canadian Energy Centre on Twitter and Facebook @CDNEnergyCentre

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february, 2020

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG(january 12) 2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

sun02feb(feb 2)7:00 pmsun15mar(mar 15)8:00 pm7:00 pm - (march 15) 8:00 pm Festival Hall, 4214 58 St, Red Deer, AB Event Organized By: Country Pride Dance Club

tue25feb5:30 pm7:30 pmDiabetes Discussion Drop InLearn about Type 2 diabetes5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

wed26feb7:30 pm11:00 pmCeltic Illusiion7:30 pm - 11:00 pm

thu27feb5:30 pm7:00 pmMonthly Mindfulness Drop-In5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

fri28febsun01mar54th Annual Sport & Outdoor Show4:00 pm - (march 1) 9:00 pm

fri28feb6:00 pm11:00 pmFriday Family DanceFamily Dance6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

fri28feb7:00 pm11:00 pmBattle of the Bands for Crime Prevention7:00 pm - 11:00 pm Burgundy's Food & Stage, 5008 48 ST Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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