In search of policy alternatives

CCPA holds speaker series over Zoom

Wayne Antony is a founding member of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Manitoba office. (Supplied photo)

The Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA-MB) has announced its Speaking Up Winter Series, a slate of four events focused on current public-policy issues. This self-described “independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice,” will broadcast these events for free over Zoom.

Wayne Antony, a founding member of CCPA-MB and one of the series’ organizers, says this is the fourth season of Speaking Up.

“Now that we’ve been doing it virtually since the beginning of the pandemic, we’re getting (attendees) from all over the country,” he says.

The first event, held on Feb. 10, is titled “Killing Bill 64: What Now for Education in Manitoba?” and will feature James Bedford, president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. On March 10, Katie Ward, president of the National Farmers Union, will discuss “Food Security: Corporate Control and Climate Crisis.”

Nora Loreto, a writer and activist, will speak at the third event, entitled “Spinning COVID: Politicians and the Media Kept us in the Dark” and held on Apr. 14. Finally, University of Manitoba professor David Camfield will give a talk called “Future on Fire: Is a Just Transition Possible?” on May 12.

Antony says the COVID-19 pandemic has increased public and media interest in the CCPA. “The pandemic has really laid bare the kinds of inequities and injustices that are built into our kind of colonial, capitalist society,” he says.

Jelynn Dela Cruz, a local community organizer, believes there is a strong desire for progressive policies in Manitoba.

“I think that there is certainly an appetite for evidence-based, people-focused policy, because Manitobans are watching in real time just how detrimental the after-effects of mismanagement, putting systems above the people they serve and starving our public services can be,” she says in an email to The Uniter.

“I believe the pandemic has been a harsh awakening for many of our community members who are now learning firsthand just how impactful public policy is, especially in times of crisis,” Cruz says.

“From what I’ve seen, the surge in activism over the past few years is a mix of the politically active and those with non-activist backgrounds.”

Cruz, who is running for the provincial NDP nomination for Radisson, says her personal experience has motivated her to become more politically active during the past few years.

“I come from a family that, politically avoidant as it is, has lived at the intersection of a high volume of harmful policy decisions made by the Conservative government,” she says. Her mother is a nurse, and her father is a school caretaker.

For more information on the Speaking Up Winter Series and how to access the events’ Zoom links, visit All events start at 7 p.m.

Published in Volume 76, Number 16 of The Uniter (February 3, 2022)

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