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Presentations: "Bringing it Home: Reclaiming Democracy"

Click the name of one of the presenters from the list below to access their abstract and an .mp3 recording of their presentation. To start the audio, click the play button below the abstract.

Is this Democracy? - Debate
Rebick, Judy; Coyne, Andrew

The idea of democracy is frequently invoked in Canadian society in the press as well as in private conversation. As Canadians we identify with democracy, and we associate our state and civil society with it. But unfortunately it is also a concept that is rarely defined or thought about explicitly. This year's Parkland Conference is aimed at doing just that by raising key questions concerning democracy and the different conceptions of it. Crucial questions will be addressed to Ms. Rebick and Mr. Coyne's questions concerning the difference between electoral and participatory democracy, voter apathy, the place of advocacy groups in a democratic society, corporate culture vis-a-vis civil society, the relationship between democracy and the economy, anti-terrorism laws and the relationship between freedom and security, and issues about Canadian sovereignty. This debate promises not only to be exciting, but also to provide valuable assistance for average folks in the definition and clarification of their own ideas about democratic freedom in Canada.

The Criminalization of Dissent
Laxer, Gordon; Pue, Wesley; Singh, Jaggi

Gordon Laxer: Many Canadians have been shocked by the recent police treatment of protesters in our country. First we saw the images of 'Sergeant Pepper' gleefully spraying student protestors at the University of British Columbia campus to protect the Indonesian dictator, Suharto from seeing dissenters at the anti-APEC demonstrations in 1997. Then we saw police battling protestors in Quebec City at the FTAA, Free Trade of the Americas, summit in the spring of 2001. The myth of Canada as a 'peaceable kingdom' was shattered. In my talk, I briefly discuss some highlights of earlier rounds of the criminalization of dissent in Canada. Then I discuss pressures on Canada to join 'Fortress North America' since the tragic events of September 11 in New York City. Will Canada adopt U.S. security, refugee, immigration and other laws? What would such a move do to Canadians' rights to protest against globalization and corporate rule? Wesley Pue: "Yearning to be Free: Criminalizing Dissent after September 11, 2001." This talk will address disturbing recent revelations regarding the criminalization of dissent in Canada in its historical and constitutional context. Jaggi Singh: Jaggi will be talking about the "Criminalization of Dissent" in the context of the anti-globalization movement and the new challenges faced by social justice and radical activists after September 11.

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