Previous Memorial Presents Public Policy Forums
Doing Good & Doing Well: How communities can benefit from social enterprise (Harbour Breton Lions Club, Harbour Breton, NL, October 22, 2013) Social entrepreneurship holds much promise for tackling a number of societal challenges, from climate change to reviving rural communities. While businesses are primarily designed to generate profits, and non-profits focus mainly on solving social and environmental problems, social enterprises offer the opportunity to do both: doing good (for society) while also doing well (financially). But balancing social and economic goals presents a number of challenges in addition to opening up some important possibilities.
Pushing Back From the Edge: Education in Difficult Times (Bruneau Centre, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, August 21, 2013) “Violence is a message that needs to be understood.” –Jean Vanier. Bullying—a very fraught term itself—is not a problem restricted to children or youth, nor is it their invention. This culture of violence is something they inherit from adults. It is something that permeates our personal relationships and our entertainment. It is found in our leisure activities and on our roads. It lives in homes, in prisons, in schools and hospital and eldercare homes. It is played out by day in the House of Assembly and by night in George Street bars. The consequences of this—disconnection and hopelessness, loneliness and despair—impact everyone, but are borne disproportionately by young people—young people whose voices are often ignored or not heard by the very institutions designed to serve them, particularly schools. Creating more caring, safe, peaceful and just schools is part of a larger project to create a more caring, safe, peaceful and just society. A project that begins, as Jean Vanier prompted, with working to understand where violence comes from and what it means.
Growing Gains/Growing Pains: The Opportunities & Challenges Facing the SW Avalon (Placentia Bay Cultural Arts Centre, Placentia, NL, June 6, 2013) The Southwest Avalon—including the Placentia Area, the Cape Shore and St. Mary’s Bay North—is facing a period of remarkable growth. Many heavy industries are now operating in the region, including a new hydrometallurgical plant in Long Harbour, a possible construction site for offshore structures in Argentia, a petrochemical plant in Come By Chance and another heavy construction site in Sunnyside. This growth provides tremendous economic benefits for the communities and their residents, but it also places stress on regional and municipal infrastructure, housing, public services, and the environment, as well as drawing workers away from more traditional industries, such as retail, tourism and the fishery. How can citizens and communities best take advantage of these opportunities and contend with these challenges? How will communities prepare themselves for the fall-off of activity once the construction phase of these mega-projects ends? How can communities and industry work together to make sure that development benefits everyone? And who will speak for the region as a whole now that the regional economic development board is no more?
Community Resiliency: Navigating Boom & Bust Cycles (Labrador West Arts & Culture Centre, Labrador City, March 25, 2013) Resilient communities are better able to cope with the growing pains of boom times and adapt to changes during bust times. How resilient are Labrador City and Wabush compared to other mining towns? And what can be done now and into the future to ensure that when the mining slows the communities continue to thrive?
Engaging Citizens: The Power of Collaboration in Democracy (Bruneau Centre, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, February 13, 2013) Complacency, comfort, wealth, and apathy have left our society more fragmented, and our democracy more beleaguered, than ever before. While our parents and grandparents were more likely to start or join social and civic groups and vote in elections, today, these types of civic participation are dwindling. The result is a growing disconnect between individuals and their community—between our day-to-day lives and our civic rights and responsibilities as citizens. The result is a squandering of social capital and a weakening of democracy.
On the Move: Long-Distance Commuting and its Consequences (Bruneau Centre, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, December 4, 2012) Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are travelling long distances to get to work – and often living away from home for long periods. Some people spend two or more hours a day in their cars getting to and from work; others are absent for weeks at a time living in remote camps, rental accommodations, with friends, in their trucks and onboard ships and planes. A growing number of workers from elsewhere are commuting into the province for work, often staying for prolonged periods. Our aging labour force, increased housing costs, anticipated labour shortages and related megaprojects are likely to accelerate reliance on employment-related commuting in coming years. What are some of the potential costs and benefits for employers of reliance on commute workers? Who is more or less likely to engage in extended commutes? How do different commute patterns affect workers and their families; home and host communities?
Regional Development Without Zone Boards (Marystown Hotel, Marystown, NL, November 28, 2012) Since their creation in the 1990s, the province’s Regional Economic Development (RED) Boards have played a crucial role in stimulating and coordinating economic activity, especially in the rural areas of the province. The Boards serve as a vehicle to harness volunteer energies, to establish development priorities and to attract investment. The future of the RED Boards is in jeopardy given both levels of government withdrew their funding earlier this year. RED Boards face an uncertain future, many may soon cease to exist. How will economic development be facilitated in Newfoundland and Labrador in the absence of the RED Boards? Who will take up the task of coordinating development efforts at the local level? Will we rely on existing organizations or do we need to create a replacement for the RED Boards?
The Regionalization of Public Services and Economic Development in Rural NL (Riverwood Inn, Springdale, NL, September 26, 2012) Community leaders, residents and senior government officials alike look to the region as an appropriate scale for organizing public services and local development. For some, this is driven by financial realities or increasing service standards that individual communities are no longer able to meet on their own. For others, regionalization is seen as a way to respond to a current or impending shortage of human resources, or simply as a reflection of the geographic patterns of resident’s lives. Still others recognize the benefits of pooling their assets to attract residents and business investment. Despite all of these potential benefits, working regionally also comes with challenges. Common concerns include equity in decision-making and in sharing both the costs and benefits of regional services. The success of regional approaches to planning and service delivery requires open dialogue about the pros and cons of these efforts, openness to change, learning from others and creative solutions that foster a sustainable future for rural regions and communities.
What is the Future of the Inshore Fishery? (Bruneau Centre, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, September 5, 2012) The inshore fishery is the backbone of rural Newfoundland and Labrador, but it is under pressure from various sides: an aging workforce, rural depopulation, economies of scale which favour large industrialized operations, and depleted fish stocks, among other factors. How are these pressures likely to affect our small-scale fishery, and in turn, the rural parts of the province? This event is presented in partnership with Too Big to Ignore, a new research network and knowledge mobilization partnership established to rectify the marginalization of small-scale fisheries in national and international policies, and to develop research and governance capacity to address global fisheries challenges.
Why the Divorce? The Merits and Shortcomings of a Fleet Separation Policy (St. Christopher's Hotel, Port aux Basques, NL, April 24, 2012) In the inshore fishery sector, one of the objectives of licensing policy is to separate the harvesting and processing sectors of the industry. Under this policy, new fishing licences may not be issued to corporations, including those involved in the processing sector of the industry. (This policy applies to fisheries where only vessels under 19.8m or 65' are permitted to be used.) There has been a recent debate as to whether this policy should be reviewed or eliminated. In this presentation, we examine the merits and shortcomings of a fleet separation policy. We explore the positives and negatives of vertical integration as a strategy for both harvesters and processors. Watch Dr. Tom Cooper and Mr. Earl McCurdy as they explore both sides of this issue.
Business Clusters and Regional Development: Fact or Fashion? (Tricentia Academy, Arnold's Cove, NL, March 15, 2012) It's the best of times and the worst of times! Some industries are restructuring and fewer jobs are available. Other industries are experiencing major developments and they can't find enough eople with the right education and skills for what they need. Infrastructure requirements, transportation needs, opportunities for supplies and services, are all affected by these changes. Private, public and community-based organizations in these communities and regions need to grapple with the complex and sometimes conflicting challenges and opportunities. This session will provide a way of understanding regional development and how businesses and communities need to collaborate to succeed. It will also demonstrate a new on-line tool, the Regional Economic Capacity Index. to highlight interactions between communities and how an understanding of their relative strengths will enhance the chances for all to succeed.
Grand Banks Natural Gas: A Source of Electricity for the Island of Newfoundland (Innovation Hall, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, March 28, 2012) As the debate over Muskrat Falls continues, many people in this province have questions about the potential of natural gas as an energy source. Could natural gas be brought ashore to Newfoundland and used as fuel to generate electricity? Are there sufficient supplies of natural gas to meet the anticipated long-term energy demands on the Island? What are the approximate costs of constructing a pipeline from the Grand Banks to the Island, and of building and operating natural gas turbines? What are the barriers to bringing gas onshore? Watch Dr. Stephen Bruneau, Assistant Professor of Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland, as he outlines the issues involved with bringing natural gas onshore, and join him in a moderated discussion session.
Muskrat Falls: The Best Option? (Innovation Hall, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, January 17, 2012) Newfoundland and Labrador needs a stable and dependable source of energy in the future to meet the expected residential, commercial and industrial growth into the middle of the 21st century. The solution proposed by Nalcor, the Province’s energy corporation, is to construct a dam at Muskrat Falls in Labrador. This $6.2 billion project would connect the hydroelectric resources of Labrador with the Island of Newfoundland, and possibly furnish surplus electricity to Mainland Canada and beyond.
How the Media Deal with Mental Illness (Innovation Hall, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, November 8, 2011) Mental illness is often at the root of media stories related to policing and justice. Is there a tendency to stigmatize people with mental health issues, especially those involved in violent activity? To what degree do the media inform and explain, and to what extent do they misinform and prejudge? Our panel tries to make sense of the issues surrounding mental illness and how these issues are reported in the media.
Regional Cooperation in Southern Labrador: What Does the Future Hold? (Bayside Academy, Port Hope Simpson, NL, November 4, 2011) The Southern Labrador region is changing rapidly, and municipal council and voluntary organizations are struggling to keep up. Existing organizations work within boundaries put in place for good reasons, but population growth, commuting patterns and commercial catchment areas don'e respect boundaries.
How should governments, zone boards, municipalities, recreational groups and other organizations better plan their activities amid all this change?
A Prosperity Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador (Innovation Hall, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, June 8, 2011) Over the past ten years, Newfoundland and Labrador has gone from poverty to prosperity, all due to revenues from non-renewable natural resources, especially petroleum. How should we spend this new-found – but temporary – wealth? Should we pay down the debt, invest in infrastructure, increase program spending in health, education and other sectors, or create a heritage fund for future generations?
Regional Cooperation in the Northeast Avalon: What does the future hold? (Marian Hall, Conception Harbour, NL, April 14, 2011) The Northeast Avalon is growing by leaps and bounds, and municipal councils and voluntary organizations are struggling to keep up. Existing organizations work within boundaries put in place for good reasons, but population growth, commuting patterns and commercial catchment areas don't respect boundaries. How are new regions emerging based upon these trends? How can communities and organizations work together to make the most of available resources and keep up with development pressures and opportunities? Who decides how to work together?
Heath Care in 2020: Can Newfoundland and Labrador Lead the Way? (Angus Bruneau Lecture Theatre, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, February 15, 2011) We need to act today to meet the needs of 2020 and beyond, but this raises some significant questions: What kind of healthcare will our province be able to afford, and who will decide? From the issues of personal responsibility and preventive care of geographic-based health disparities, we need to be prepared to face the future.
Human resources will also be a major concern: will we have enough doctors and nurses and other professionals? As Wealthcare becomes more complex, will we need to change our approachs?
Whose Pine-Clad Hill? Forest Rights and Access in Newfoundland and Labrador (Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, Corner Brook, NL, January 26, 2011) The forests of this province mean different things to different people. For some they're a livelihood, for others, a welcome break from the working week: so, who should get to decide who they are used in the future?
It is a question that has become more and more pressing with the decline in the province's pulp and paper industry. In order to move forward with confidence, the issues of private vs. public access and how these impact long-term sustainability must be addressed.
Harnessing the Internet for Regional Development: Creating a Stronger Economy and Society (Delta Hotel and Conference Centre, St. John's, NL, October 13, 2010) Newfoundland and Labrador is a world pioneer in distance education. This pioneering attitude evolved to address geographical challenges in educational delivery. Now that the Internet reaches into every school and government office throughout the province, can this technology be used for regional development? Can the capabilities of the public education sector be leveraged for wider community use? Can we develop and empower a learning attitude in every community of this province? Can we envision a community that has equitable access to all learning opportunities available in the province? Finally, what would be the value or impact on communities if this vision were achieved?
What's for Dinner? Building a Healthy, Reliable Food Supply for Newfoundland and Labrador (Angus Bruneau lecture theatre, St. John's, June 9, 2010) From a short growing season and limited farmland, to depleted fish stocks and high transportation costs, Newfoundland and Labrador faces many challenges related to food security. These issues contribute to a host of problems, including lack of food availability in many rural communities, dependence on outside suppliers, and some of the highest rates of diet-related chronic illness in Canada.
The Atlantic Accord: A New-Found Vision? (Angus Bruneau lecture theatre, St. John's, February 11, 2010) The 1985 Atlantic Accord is one of the most important documents in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. As a direct result of the Accord, the province is experiencing a historical level of prosperity, the Provincial debt has been significantly reduced, and the province is poised to become the hub of oil and gas exploration in Eastern Canada and the Arctic. How did this agreement come-to-pass after decades of fruitless attempts? Who were the major players in negotiating the Accord? How does the Canadian situation compare to Australia's? How should we now alloate revenues? And most importantly, does our new-found prosperity change our self-confidence in shaping our own future?
Teacher Education in Canada: The Issues & Challenges (Sheraton Hotel, St. John's, October 14, 2009) Teachers are key resources in society. We need great teachers to motivate and to educate our children and young adults and to prepare them to face an ever-more complex world. But how well are we preparing our teachers? Do different teacher education methods prove better than others? Are we doing a good enough job in preparing them for the challenges of the classroom and to meet the needs of society?
The Artist as Rural Entrepreneur (Bonne Bay Marine Station, Norris Point, May 19, 2009) As rural Newfoundland and Labrador attempts to diversify its economy away from the fishery, many regions are looking at tourism – and especially cultural tourism – as a means of generating employment and income. As a result, artists and tradition bearers have become entrepreneurs, creating businesses which both celebrate our culture and cater to visitors.
Not a Nation? (Or Does Newfoundland Nationalism Make Historical Sense?) (Inco Innovation Centre, May 13, 2009) Nationalistic fervour is awakening in Newfoundland and Labrador. Buoyed by oil wealth and encouraged by Federal-Provincial wrangling, some are waving the Pink-White-and-Green flag and envisioning a future unencumbered by Confederation. Is this neo-nationalistic rhetoric useful, or does it instead distract us from the main issues? Does it provide a useful vehicle for mobilizing public support, or can it unleash an unhealthy division within society? Does it even make sense in a historical context?
Our Energy Resources: for export only, or also for development? (Inco Innovation Centre, IIC 2001, January 19, 2009) Andy Fisher was the main presenter, from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, along with Sarah-Patricia Breen, a Masters student in the Department of Geography and Nick Burnaby, Energy Coordinator with the Atlantic Canada Chapter of the Sierra Club. What would the Energy Plan look like if regional development and the environment were front and centre? Is it possible to have a distributed approach – that is, have a large number of locally-directed, small-scale generation facilities spread across the province? What is the potential for this alternative strategy, and how could it work alongside the current provincial plan? Finally, what should be the links between energy supply and sustainable community development?
The Churchill Falls Contract: What's to Come? (Inco Innovation Centre, December 3, 2008) The Churchill Falls hydroelectric contract, signed in 1969, has proven to be extremely unfair toward Newfoundland and Labrador. The contract will be renewed in 2016, until 2041 and under even worse conditions, and its negative impacts might be felt as far as the year 2159! Dr. James Feehan of the Department of Economics reviews the evolution of this infamous contract and advances some ideas regarding a possible solution more to this province's advantage.
From Ivory Tower to Regional Power: the role of universities and colleges in development (Inco Innovation Centre, January 14, 2008)
Universities and colleges produce highly-skilled workers, they conduct research which can lead to innovations, and they are a portal to the global community. They are a unique resource available to the entire community. And yet their contribution to social and economic development often goes unnoticed. Dr. Wade Locke, professor of Economics, and a panel of experts address the role of higher-education institutions in raising the quality of life and growing the economy of regions.
Building a Healthy Tomorrow (Mount Peyton Hotel, Grand Falls-Windsor, November 23, 2007) What are the challenges in delivering quality health-care services in Central Newfoundland? What can be done to improve the system? What is the role of post-secondary educational facilities, health-care professionals, the regional health board and citizen groups in ensuring a high level of health care?
How to Make the Irish Loop a Leader in Environmental Sustainability (Celtic Rendezvous, Bauline East, November 8, 2007) The Irish Loop is justifiably proud of its Irish heritage and wears its green with pride. But can the region become “green” in another way: can the Irish Loop become a leader in sustainable development? What do the citizens of the region need to do in order to create jobs without destroying the region’s pristine nature? How can governments, volunteer groups, business people, families and ordinary citizens work together to create a sustainable region? Can collaboration help solve issues dealing with waste management, alternative energy, resource management and other issues?
Are Rural Areas Receiving Second-Class Health Care? (Inco Innovation Centre, June 20, 2007) In rural parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, access to physician services can be tenuous. What can be done to improve rural practice and rural health care? Are Canadian medical schools doing enough to encourage students to choose rural practice? What can provincial governments do to ensure that rural areas are adequately serviced by physicians? Is the recruiting of immigrant physicians the answer? Does the regionalization of health care boards allow for the sharing of medical services, or does it simply centralize services in major centres? And, finally, what can communities do to entice and retain physicians?
What is Nature Worth: Looking at Our Natural Resources Through New Eyes (Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook, April 2, 2007) What happens when people don’t value nature in the same way as we do? We get confrontations on the ice, boycotts of restaurants, protests at the Canadian Embassy. It’s like we’re talking two different languages. The field of “environmental economics” gives us a new way to resolve these disputes. This new approach can help Newfoundlanders and Labradorians deal with people who don’t see nature the same way we do.
Offshore Oil and Gas: Is Newfoundland and Labrador Getting Its "Fair Share"? (Inco Innovation Centre, November 15, 2006). The economy of Newfoundland and Labrador is among the fastest growing in Canada, mainly due to its oil and gas industry. Yet, questions have arisen as to whether the province is getting its fair share of benefits from exploiting its oil and gas resources. Who benefits the most from exploiting Newfoundland and Labrador’s oil and gas resources – petroleum multi-nationals, local suppliers or the people of the province? How does our royalty regime compare with that of other oil-producing regions, such as the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska? Is “fallow-field” legislation a viable or appropriate option for Newfoundland and Labrador, given the current state of development of the industry? Just how strong is the province’s bargaining position in the global oil and gas industry?
Getting Connected: Can Communications Technology Transform Your Community? (Bird Island Resort, St. Bride's, November 7, 2006). How can rural regions use information communication technology – such as the Internet, mobile phones, computers and satellite systems – to support economic development and improve their quality of life? These technologies can improve education and healthcare, lead to more competitive businesses and industries, and bridge the divide between rural and urban economies. This session looked at the changes required to the communications infrastructure, such as access to high-speed Internet, to allow the Avalon Gateway Region to tap into the potential of connectivity.
Meeting the Challenge of Regional Economic Development: Lessons from Ireland (Inco Innovation Centre, May 30, 2006). The “Celtic Tiger” is often cited as a classic example of how a small economy can prosper. What is less well known is that the Irish economy is currently going through a period of transition as it continues its efforts to attract inward investment while at the same time redressing the imbalance in economic development between Dublin and rural Ireland. These challenges are very similar to those faced by Newfoundland and Labrador. Are there any lessons which can be learned by studying what Ireland is doing to address these challenges?
Rural: Is It Worth Saving? (Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, April 24, 2006).
Rural areas throughout the developed world are experiencing a crisis, and Newfoundland and Labrador is no different: loss of services, youth out-migration, economic collapse, environmental challenges, struggles in governance and a culture of poverty. The crisis of rural communities is not simply an economic or structural crisis, but also a social and cultural one. Can rural Newfoundland and Labrador be saved? Should we even bother? Dr. Ivan Emke, associate professor and program chair of Social/Cultural Studies, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, outlines some ways in which we can think more broadly and holistically about the nature of rural areas in a modern, globalizing era.
Fisheries Policy and Rural Revitalization: An Integrated Approach (Holiday Inn, Stephenville, March 28, 2006). What is the future of the fishery – and by implication, of rural Newfoundland and Labrador – given the changes in the resource, in the markets and in technology? Eric Dunne, interim executive director of the Canadian Fisheries Innovation Centre at the Marine Institute, explored the options available to tackle the challenges ahead.
Teacher Stress and Working Conditions: Implications for Teaching and Learning (Inco Innovation Centre, February 6th, 2006). A stimulating presentation was given by Dr. Lynda Younghusband, assistant professor at the Student Counselling Centre at Memorial University. Three panelists discussed Dr. Younghusband's research from various perspectives: Dr. David Dibbon, associate dean for Undergraduate Programs with Memorial University's Faculty of Education; Ms. Denise Pike, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils; and Ms. Glenda Cluett, a teacher recently retired from the Eastern School District.
Rebuilding the Grand Banks Fisheries: An Action Plan (Marine Institute, December 15th, 2005). The Marine Institute and the Harris Centre hosted a public lecture by Dr. Arthur May, president emeritus of Memorial University and chair of the Advisory Panel on the sustainable management of straddling fish stocks in the northwest Atlantic. Dr. May's lecture described the action plan presented by the Advisory Panel to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Reaction to Dr. May's lecture was from Dr. George Rose, professor and chair of Fisheries Conservation; John Joy, Q.C., marine lawyer and chair of the Fisheries Institute for North Atlantic Islands; and Francoise Enguehard, a journalist, communications consultant and writer. The report of the Advisory Panel to the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans can be downloaded at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/overfishing-surpeche/documents/advisory_e.pdf.
Fisheries Policy and Rural Revitalization: An Integrated Approach (Barbour Premises, New-Wes-Valley, November 30th, 2005). A presentation by Alastair O'Rielly, Manager of the Canadian Centre for Fishery Innovation at the Marine Institute was held at the Waterfront Premises, Barbour Living Heritage Village. He was joined on this vital issue by George Feltham, council member with the FFAW, David Vardy, former president of the Marine Institute and former deputy minister of the Provincial Department of Fisheries, and Gabe Gregory, vice-president, Quinlan Group of Companies.
A Dialogue on Social Innovation: Regional Approaches to Governance in Health, Education, Municipal Government and Economic Development (Inco Innovation Centre, October 6th, 2005). A presentation was given by Dr. Stephen Tomblin, a professor of Political Science and Medicine. Members of the panel were Joan Dawe, chair of the Eastern Regional Integrated Health Authority and former Deputy Minister of Health and Community Services; Dr. David Dibbon, professor and associate dean in the Faculty of Education; and Kelly Vodden, geographer.
Fisheries Policy and Rural Revitalization: An Integrated Approach (Marine Institute, May 26, 2005). This forum examined the seismic changes facing the province's fishing industry and suggested ways in which the fishery could survive into the 21st century. It was organized in conjunction with the Marine Institute. The main presentation was given by Alastair O'Reilly, Manager of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation. Members of the panel were Dr. Barbara Neis, Dr. Doug May and Bernard Bromley.
Untangling the Accord: the Atlantic Accord, Equalization and Offsets, an Independent Assessment (Inco Innovation Centre, February 2, 2005). The purpose of this forum was to achieve greater awareness of the public policy and financial issues surrounding the equalization / Atlantic Accord debate. It was organized in cooperation with Memorial University's Oil and Gas Development Partnership and the Department of Political Science. The main speaker was Dr. Wade Locke, Professor of Economics, who made a presentation on the new federal-provincial agreement, describing the key features of a very complex negotiation process and the agreement which resulted. A panel discussion followed the presentation and featured political scientists Drs. Chris Dunn and Stephen Tomblin and economist Dr. James Feehan.