Media releases | May 31, 2007

EDMONTON—Two advocates for the public interest who have worked for years to bring about change in Alberta will be given the second annual Public Interest Awards this Saturday.

Brian Staples is the chairperson of the Seniors Action Liaison Team (SALT) in Edmonton and a long-time advocate on many important public interest issues. 

Jackie Flanagan is the owner of Alberta Views Magazine (based in Calgary), a former educator and a strong supporter of democracy, education and the arts.

The Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 2nd from 3:30 - 4:00 PM in the auditorium of Barnett House (11010 - 142 St) at the end of the Annual General meeting of PIA (which starts at 1:30 with a panel presentation on Opportunities in a Changing Alberta).

"With a combination of infinite patience and total integrity, Dr. Staples has managed to unite a very diverse group of Alberta seniors organizations behind the concept of the Independent Seniors Advocate as an officer of the legislature," says Noel Somerville, chairperson of PIA's Seniors Task Force.  "As chair of SALT, he has kept this group focused and taking effective action on a broad range of social justice and public interest issues.

"At its heart, democracy is about dialogue, and I can't think of anyone in Alberta who has made more of a contribution to democratic dialogue in the last decade in our province than Jackie Flanagan," said Larry Booi, Chairperson of Public Interest Alberta. "It is quite remarkable what she has accomplished with Alberta Views. With no exaggeration, she has made a fundamental change to the political culture of the province by consistently providing us with this exceptional forum for a more informed and respectful discussion of crucial issues and alternatives. Anyone who cares about democracy in Alberta is in her debt, and it is an honour to recognize her with PIA's Public Interest Award for 2007."

The awards are given annually to up to two people and/or organizations making an exemplary contribution by effectively drawing public attention to and taking action on the importance of preserving and enhancing an element of public services, public institutions, public spaces, the public good or the public interest.

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