The Canadian Conference for Dialogue and Deliberation
A night cap session after the days workshops and plenaries
On November 12-14th I attended The Canadian Conference for Dialogue and Deliberation, affectionately known as C2D2. This was the second C2D2 conference, the first I also attended in Ottawa 2005. At this year's conference in Vancouver with some 300 participants, I presented a poster session on "The Reality of Communal Councils in Venezuela" (Download the poster PDF) and gave out copies of my Dotmocracy sheets.
The conference is modelled after the conferences held by the US National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. The participants tend to be consultants, facilitators, government staff and academics. You can read about the experiences and perspectives of participants on the conference blog.
For me it was a great opportunity to meet and share with some of lthe eading folks in the field. It became apparent to me how few large organizations are doing this work. Most practitioners are independent with a few groups like Ascentum and CPRN, doing a lot of the national projects out of Ottawa..
The tone of discussion was of enthusiasm for the work but without a clear vision for where were want to go as a field. Talks about formalizing an association, certification or anything in that direction did not seem to be common. My impression is that The International Association for Public Participation and The International Association of Facilitators already address that need. C2D2 is more about convening and sharing. It will be interesting to see how the organization evolves. I’d like to see us doing more collaborative projects to raise the profile of citizen deliberation as a better model of governance. Deliberative democracy success stories like the Ontario and BC citizens’ assemblies on electoral reform and the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (aka the Romanow Commission) need to get higher profile and help create new expectations of government when it comes to public involvement, and I think C2D2 could help make this happen.
Thanks to Miriam Wyman, Sandra Zagon, Melissa Abramovitz, Dr. Joanna Ashworth and all the organizers and volunteers for producing such a great event.