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International experts and civil society leaders rally behind public services as key to green, inclusive future


MONTREAL, June 15, 2018—In the face of social and environmental crises, public services are one of the most effective and available tools to build communities that are vibrant, green and inclusive. That’s the message of The Future is Public, a gathering of over 160 leaders from across the country and international experts taking place in Montreal on June 15-16.

"Around the world ordinary citizens are reclaiming and reimagining public services," said David McDonald, conference co-organizer and head of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University.

"What people are gathering to do at the Future is Public is to build such a pro-public movement in Canada, one that can expand the kinds of services provided, and make them more responsive to the needs of communities and workers."

Participants will be discussing, among others: public water, publicly-owned telecommunications services, expansion of long-term care, affordable or free postsecondary education, and public options for child care, energy, and banking.

Speakers include:

  • Miriam Planas, activist for L'Aigua és Vida in Barcelona
  • Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director at the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
  • Avi Lewis, journalist, reporter and strategic director of the platform The Leap
  • Ellen Gabriel, artist and activist from Kanehsatake
  • Larry Rousseau, Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress
  • Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians honorary chairperson and global water activist

The co-organizers – Friends of Public Services and the Municipal Services Project – hope that a pro-public movement can bring together workers, Indigenous communities, anti-poverty groups, feminists and climate justice activists to reclaim and reimagine public services. Sponsors include Canadian Union of Public Employees, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, National Union of Public and General Employees, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and Canadian Labour Congress. 

The Future is Public takes place from 6:45pm on June 15 to 6pm on June 16 at Concordia University Conference Centre (1600 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montréal, 9th floor).


The Tyee: Want to Fight Inequality and Climate Change? Improve Public Services

The Future is Public conference website


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Friends of Public Services is a grassroots organization dedicated to the expansion and democratization of public services. We believe in equitable and inclusive public services for all, workplace democracy, and meaningful community participation in decisionmaking. Read more...

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