Towards a Sustainable Rural Alberta

Creative Solutions for Strong Rural Communities | Camrose, Alberta

About the symposium

 Download the registration form for the symposium

The Rural Caucus of the Alberta New Democrats is pleased to have organized a public one day symposium highlighting issues faced by rural communities, affording participants an opportunity to chart a course of action to remedy them. A series of experts will present current information on a variety of topics of importance to rural Albertans, and discussions will generate suggestions to policy makers and elected officials to remedy the issues. The day will include lectures by experts on health care, rural economic development, property rights, and en- vironmental and social opportunities and responsibility. A panel of experts will summarize the days’s discussions, with suggestions for action. There will be opportunities for discussion, questions from the floor, and directions will be given to policy makers and elected officials.

The symposium is suited for individuals who:

  • notice the adverse effects of urban drift and rural depopulation
  • have seen erosion of social infrastructure and agricultural vigor in rural communities
  • see the Provincial political agenda dominated by urban issues
  • worry that the provincial economy is too closely tied to fossil fuel extraction
  • have seen Health Care options in rural Alberta diminish
  • are troubled by recent Land Steward Legislation
  • realize adverse social and environmental effects in rural Alberta of the Global Market economy

If you believe that policy makers need to consider long term implications of short term decisions, bigger is not always better, and grassroots movements need a voice in our Governance structures, then this is a wonderful opportunity to be enlightened, and to have your voice heard.

Dr. Donna Wilson
Dr. Donna Wilson

Dr. Donna Wilson is a Registered Nurse, tenured Professor at U of A, business owner, and the President of the Faculty Association at the U of A. She has been a nurse, a teacher, a supervisor, and researcher in Alberta, New Zealand, British Columbia, Texas, Northern Ireland Belgium and England. Her expertise is in Health Services utilization in relation to aging, ageism, and end of life care.

Natalie Gibson
Natalie Gibson

Ms. Natalie Gibson is President of InnoVisions and Associates Economic Development. She is an economic development professional, with extensive experience in the Agriculture sector. She is a highly regarded public speaker with the Economic Developers Association of Alberta and strives to strengthen communities through community engagement, leadership development, strategic planning, and the creation of community development plans and tools.

Brenda Barritt

Ms. Brenda Barritt is a facilitator and project manager with a passion for developing nourishing food systems rooted in healthy relationships. After a decade of working abroad in Asia and Europe, Brenda completed her MSc in Holistic Science, focussing on how nature organizes to be resilient and what we can learn from that for our rural communities. Brenda has been involved in several rural initiatives in central Alberta related to community building and sustainable food systems.

Jan Slomp
Jan Slomp

Mr. Jan Slomp is a farmer, community activist, environmentalist, and supporter of the family farm. He is a co-ordinator and board member of the National Farmers Union in which capacity he promotes environmentally and socially responsible agriculture, defends supply management and orderly marketing (former Canadian Wheat Board). He maintains traditional values learned from First Nations like property rights being determined by the needs of future generations.

Gil McGowan
Gil McGowan

Mr. Gil McGowan is a long-time political and labour movement activist. As President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, Gil has been recognized Nationally for his work in communications. Before joining the AFL, he was a journalist for the Canadian Press and the Edmonton Journal. He is a member of Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Local 1118 in Edmonton.

Andrew Nikiforuk
Andrew Nikiforuk

Andrew is an internationally recognized author and journalist. His work with many Canadian publications includes exposes of environmental impact of oil extraction, the impact of global trade on disease exchange, the effect of the pine beetle on the geography of the west, and the connection between the energy institution of slavery and our careless use of fossil fuels. Andrew is recipient of seven National Magazine awards and many book awards. His books Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwigs’s War Against Big Oil, Pandemonium, The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the future of the Continent, Empire of the Beetle, an The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude show him as a person of conscience, integrity, and earned him recognition as a an exemplary Canadian. His opinions on social change, and energy consumption and the creation of a Petrostate in Alberta, generated substantial economic and social debate.

Schedule of Events
Time Session
08:30 Registration
09:00 Introductory remarks from Committee, David Eggen, City of Camrose, County of Camrose
09:30 Health Care Delivery in Rural Alberta – Challenges and Opportunities (Dr. Donna Wilson Faculty of Nursing)
09:30-10:00 Body Break (R.N., University of Alberta)
10:45 Economic Development in Rural Alberta (Natalie Gibson) and Rural Resiliency (Brenda Barritt)
12:15 Lunch Break (please enjoy the posters, displays, and music during breaks)
13:00 Alberta Property Owner Rights (Jan Slomp)
14:00 Social and Environmental Effects of Northern Gateway Pipeline (Gil McGowan)
14:30 Body Break
14:45 Expert Panel with Alberta NDP Caucus, Donna Wilson, Natalie Gibson, Brenda Barrett, Gil McGowan, and Jan Slomp and available members of the
15:30 Keynote Address: Environmental Issues and Social Responsibility (Andrew Nikiforuk). Introduction by Brian Mason, Alberta New Democratic Part
17:00 Closing Remarks and safe journey home (Committee)

Register online »

You can also use paper forms to register. Print out your required forms, fill them in, and send them with payment to party office.

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Getting here


Venue: Camrose United Church (4829 50th Street, Camrose, AB)