Citizen Dialogues on Canada's Energy Future | SFU Centre for Dialogue
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A pan-Canadian conversation


The Citizen Dialogues on Canada’s Energy Future are an attempt to approach the energy conversation differently. This is a rare opportunity for citizen views to be delivered to decision-makers in government and other sectors. Results will inform pathways on Canada’s energy future.

Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue has been selected by Natural Resources Canada to independently design and implement five regional citizen dialogues as part of the Generation Energy public consultation. See the April 27 project proposal to Natural Resources Canada.

During September and October 2017, these dialogues will engage 150 Canadians in a deep conversation on energy. Coming from different hometowns, perspectives and backgrounds, these randomly selected participants will sit down at the same table to learn about each other’s lives, ideas and aspirations.

The regional citizen dialogues will reflect Canada’s diversity and promote dialogue around difficult conversations on energy. These events are intended to produce high-quality citizen input into how Canada can balance energy issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, jobs and international competitiveness.

Together, participants will seek a shared path forward in shaping Canada’s energy future, informed by the best evidence-based information available and the spirit of curiosity.

Recruitment and preparation

Image courtesy of Flickr user glassghost:

Participants will be selected using randomized recruitment methods that reach beyond “the usual suspects” to identify individuals who reflect the geographic, attitudinal and demographic diversity of all Canadians. Forum Research has conducted a national opinion poll to provide a baseline on the diversity of opinions on energy issues for this project and is managing initial citizen recruitment.

Prior to attending their regional citizen dialogue, participants will receive an informative and easy-to-understand discussion guide for their review, which provides an evidence-based resource. The discussion guide will include context about energy issues in Canada and pose questions for participants to consider.

Importantly, the discussion guide will outline different approaches to shaping Canada’s energy future. These approaches reflect both expert solutions and a range of common positions identified in consultation with a diverse cross-section of stakeholder groups.

These approaches will be presented without censorship so that Canadians can consider them in relation to their own perspectives and compare the trade-offs associated with each approach.

The discussion guide has been reviewed by stakeholders from different sectors including in academia, civil society, and industry. It will be accompanied by an “explainer video” that provides the information from the discussion guide in an additional accessible format.

Regional dialogues

The five regional citizen dialogues will be sequenced to take place between September 8 and September 27, 2017. Each two-day dialogue will include between 30 and 40 participants who together reflect the diversity of their region.

The Institut du Nouveau Monde, a Québec-based non-partisan organization whose mission is to increase citizen participation in democratic life, is a project partner and will be convening the French regional dialogue in Montreal.

The regions and workshop locations are:

  • British Columbia and Yukon: Vancouver, September 10-11
  • Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwest Territories: Calgary, September 15-16
  • Québec: Montreal, September 17-18
  • Ontario and Nunavut: Toronto, September 22-23
  • New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador: Halifax, September 24-25

Each Regional Citizen Dialogue will include both plenary and small-group discussion formats where participants will discuss evidence-based information about the issues, hear each other’s stories and build understanding for each other’s needs.

Together, participants will review a range of known approaches and trade-offs in deciding Canada’s energy future. Each regional citizen dialogue will end with participants generating recommendations for Canada’s energy future.

Winnipeg forum

A subset of participants from each regional citizen dialogue will attend Natural Resources Canada’s Generation Energy pan-Canadian forum, which takes place from October 11-13, 2017 in Winnipeg.

These participants will have the opportunity to join stakeholder discussions and share recommendations for Canada’s energy future based on the deliberative citizen dialogues.