The oil sands are one of the largest industrial complexes in the world and undeniably a central part of Canada’s economy and international identity. Despite its prominence, discussions of this subject can seem taboo and often present only two opposing narratives pitted against each other; economic development versus environmental preservation. Is it really that simple? What about the diverse narratives in between that are lost in these polarized exchanges? This public conversation will emphasize the human-side of the story, focusing on the perspectives of people directly affected by and implicated in the oil sands. How does this industrial development impact First Nations communities? What about oil workers, farmers and faith leaders? The people who actually live in Fort McMurray often feel frustrated with how issues are presented to the wider public. Can their perspectives deepen the debates around this topic? Together, we will reflect on the roles each of us play in the oil sands as we seek to take a more holistic look at this controversial subject.
Lauren Lallemand is a long time social justice advocate and very interested issues of environment and sustainability. She visited the oil sands this past summer as part of a larger conference on land and justice organized by the Anglican Church of Canada.
Helen Downie works as a community space administrator at the Loyola Chapel and wears many different hats within and outside of the Concordia community. Throughout, she seeks to bring the best out of people and their surroundings, with a focus on helping people best help themselves. Helen is currently completing her MA in Human Systems Intervention in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University.
Location: Anglican Diocese of Montreal Atrium, 1444 Union Ave.