Blog | March 17, 2017

This article was originally featured in our Spring 2017 issue of The Advocate

This year marks Public Interest Alberta’s 11th annual advocacy conference. For the past decade, we have brought speakers in from around the country and the globe to tackle important issues like public health care, progressive taxation, creative campaigning, and meaningful advocacy.

With the next election only two years away, our conference planning committee asked how we can be the most effective between now and then. Their answer? Bold and effective advocacy from a broad base of Albertans. The aim of this year’s conference is to imagine what is possible, what we want to achieve, and mapping how to get there. With this in mind, we are thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker

will be Erika Shaker, Director of Education and Outreach at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). With nearly 25 years of experience in research and advocacy on education, corporatization, privatization, and social justice, Erika will surely have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with us. She is the editor of Our Schools / Our Selves, a quarterly journal that focuses on education. She  also contributes to and authors reports for CCPA.

In the spirit of bold advocacy, this year’s conference will feature a preconference training session on March 30 on how to advocate to your MLA about issues that matter to you. The session will focus on skills-building for effective advocacy and will include tools, resources, and other useful materials.

For those attending the full conference, Friday’s schedule is packed with panels, workshops, and speakers. Friday will include an armchair discussion on the current state of the media with David Climenhaga and Mariam Ibrahim, moderated by Edmonton’s Historian Laureate, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips. 

Another panel will feature elected officials from municipal levels in Edmonton and Saskatoon sharing their experiences and insights into bold advocacy at the local level, a particularly timely topic with upcoming municipal elections across Alberta later this year.  

The Parkland Institute’s Ian Hussey and Canadian Health Coalition Executive Director Adrienne Silnicki will speak about health care and the potential for pharmacare in Canada.

We will also be joined by Claire Edwards and Reakash Walters who will share their experiences with successful community organizing.

On Friday afternoon, participants will break out into workshops around each of Public Interest Alberta’s action areas: education, seniors, human services and poverty, post-secondary education, democracy, child care and early learning, and environment. 

Join us for our 11th annual conference, BOLD Advocacy for BIG changes.  You can register online at or contact our office at 780-420-0471 for more information or to register over the phone.

Can’t make it to the full conference? Join us on Thursday afternoon and evening for the pre-conference training session and keynote presentation for $30. You also have the option of attending the pre-conference training session for $10 or the keynote presentation and reception for $20.