interVivos continues to be committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. For us, this is an ongoing commitment to establishing respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We need to be aware of the true history of Indigenous peoples, the harm that has been inflicted, then take action to make things right. 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission defines reconciliation as “establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. For that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgment of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behavior.”

On September 30th, 2021, interVivos joined millions of Canadians in marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. Unfortunately, so many more terrible things have happened to Indigenous peoples in Canada, beyond Residential Schools. For example, the Sixties Scoop,  forced adoptions, and theft of land.  

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation got us thinking more about our relationship with Indigenous peoples in our community and why it’s essential for us as an organization to continue to inform ourselves about colonialism and systemic racism. Colonialism attempts to transform Indigenous identities to conform to the governing society. As a result, colonial systems cause damage to Indigenous economies, laws, spiritual traditions, politics, and gender relations. Systemic racism, also known as institutional racism, refers to how whiteness and white superiority become embedded in the policies and processes of an institution, resulting in a system that advantages white people and disadvantages Indigenous and racialized people, notably in employment, education, justice, and social participation.

We are always looking for ways to amplify Indigenous mentors and showcase the impressive work in our community.  Indigenous peoples are generally underrepresented in leadership positions. It is important for us to create an environment that values diversity. Our Fall 2020 mentorship program was focused exclusively on Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (or BIPOC) mentors. Check out another blog post about two Indigenous mentors from that program and their experiences as leaders in the community: https://intervivos.ca/meet-the-gwin-sisters/.  We’ve also held community engagement events with Indigenous leaders, such as a non-partisan discussion on the Idle No More movement. Please reach out to us with names of potential Indigenous volunteer mentors or guest speakers for our community events at connect@intervivos.ca.

Working with Indigenous peoples means allyship, prioritizing advocacy, and above all, participating in the justice of reconciliation that supports a resurgence of Indigenous sovereignty. In dealing with the effects of colonialism, we are obligated to seek reconciliation for wrongs done. So what will we do? 

  • Be fiercely committed to concrete actions because this is an act of reconciliation, returning what is owed for past and ongoing injustices inflicted on Indigenous peoples.
  • Include anti-colonialism practices in our work. 
  • Participate in Indigenous-focused anti-oppression and colonialism training.
  • Continue to intentionally include and support Indigenous peoples in our mentorship programs and community engagement events. 
  • Continue to amplify Indigenous voices, fiercely support equality, and be an ally for Indigenous causes and issues. 

Continue to follow our blog to find out more about our journey of reconciliation. Are you looking for a pledge to get you started on your commitment to reconciliation? Check out this personal pledge with some commitments you can weave into your life.  

Edmonton’s municipal election race is about to end after almost a year of campaigning, scores of Zoom debates, millions of dollars spent, and many high-profile candidates. The next step is up to you, the voter. You’ve to make your decisions on Monday, October 18, 2021. 

Usually, this time of year is a busy one for interVivos. As you know, we organize nonpartisan municipal election events to have deep discussions on issues that matter. Our board of directors is still concerned about everyone’s safety, so arranging an in-person event was not the right thing to do during the fourth wave. We also know that our audience has severe Zoom fatigue! If you’re nostalgic, you can click here to watch a short video debrief from our last municipal election event in 2017 and to read a “What We Heard Document.” Many of the top-of-mind issues from 2017 remain the same this election—housing, homelessness, transit, and diversity on council.  

This election is your opportunity to shape the direction of your community by choosing our leaders for the next four years. Sadly, it is a responsibility that too few electors have taken up in the past. Only around 30 percent of Edmonton’s eligible voters went to the polls in the last civic election. 

It is heartening that 10 percent of voters have already voted in Edmonton’s advance polls. That could herald a significantly healthier participation rate among electors. However, the pandemic might deter others who aren’t sure about the public health measures in place despite preparations to deliver a safe election: thttps://www.edmonton.ca/city-government/edmonton-elections/voting-election/safe-election

Anyone concerned about moving past the pandemic and other issues such as better urban transit, climate change, fair taxes, clean streets, efficient garbage collection and recycling, recreational facilities, and well-maintained roads has good reason to vote. So, too, does anyone who cares about the quality and future of local schools. Click here to find out more about where to vote: https://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/municipal_elections/find-your-voting-station

Electing the wrong people to the local office could trigger long-term damage in all these areas of the public sector. That’s why it’s so important for voters to be informed and take the time to cast a ballot and act on their best judgment for the mayor, councilors, and school board trustees. Our friends from Taproot Edmonton have put together this handy survey to help people decide: https://edmonton.taproot.vote/2021/surveys/peoples-agenda/match. Find out who you agree with most before you go to vote!

The 2021 Edmonton Election also includes the senate nominee election and two referendum votes. We have pulled some links together to help those still struggling with their decisions on the two referendums.

Good luck making your decisions, and thank you for your commitment to democracy. The City of Edmonton has suspended election fares on October 18, making it even easier for you to cast your ballot. 

Make sure to check us out for in-person dialogue events in 2022 on issues that matter to Edmonton and area residents. If you are interested in collaborating with us on an event, please contact the board at connect@intervivos.ca

On the one year anniversary of our event, A Provincial Affair, we decided to look back at the event and its impact on attendees.

interVivos’ Provincial Election event, A Provincial Affair, was a sell out in April 2019.

We welcomed a diverse crowd of attendees, all of whom share a passion for political action in our community. We were also fortunate to have many first time attendees, including Derek Volker.

Derek was the first person to register for the event. We caught up with him to ask for his thoughts on the event; this is what Derek had to say:

 

Q: This was your first time attending an interVivos event, and you were the first to register. What prompted you to attend the event?

A: An invitation from a board member and also an awareness of events from following interVivos social media.

 

Q: What do you think is the most important political issue facing Albertans?

A: I think the topics selected at the event were a good representation of the important issues.

 

Q: How can others get engaged in the democratic process, and what can we all do to encourage others?

A: Write your MLA or elected official, follow the democratic process in the news, watch Assembly feeds online (including bill debate and not just Question Period), and join an advocacy campaign for an issue you are passionate about. Having conversations is critical, even if just high level. Politics shouldn’t always be avoided as a topic of conversation. That can lead to further polarization and/or lack of engagement if there are never discussions about it.  Respectful conversations can be both informative and engaging.

 

Q: This was your first time at an interVivos event. What did you think?

A: The event was well planned and had good discussions with varying perspectives. I’m looking forward to attending other events in the future.

 

Q: What was your biggest take away from the event?

A: That there are a lot of people who want to engage in policy discussions on matters that may not be the top ballot issues at any given time, but are still important to discuss and for people to be aware of. I.e. getting past the rhetoric of politics and into real policy discussions/debates.

 

Next up for interVivos is our Summer 2020 Mentorship Program launch that will take place virtually on July 14, 2020! Stay tuned for more information and make sure to check our events page often.

Would you like to submit a blog post to interVivos? Email connect@intervivos.ca.

We are expanding the interVivos board! We are currently looking for people who are civic minded and also have a background in one or more of the following:

  • Strategic planning
  • External communications
  • Fund development

If you have experience with one or more of the above, we invite you to apply before noon on March 15, 2020 to become an interVivos Board Member!

Why should you be an interVivos board member?
Why not? Being an interVivos board member will allow you to connect with engaged leaders, complete tasks that are not part of your normal routine, and get further involved in the community!

A former board member had the following to say of her experience on the board:
“I learned valuable lessons during my time with the board. My understanding of board governance and board accountability developed substantially. I also had the opportunity to meet an incredible amount of people and my network grew. I attribute this to the array of topics and professional paths that intersect at this organization. I was given many chances to try so many new roles and responsibilities. I am so grateful to interVivos and its board members for new friendships, many laughs and diverse experiences.”

What is expected of board members?
Board members are expected to complete a two year term during which they attend monthly board meetings, bi-weekly working sessions, interVivos special events, as well as other ad hoc activities which mostly fall on evenings or weekends. They also complete a variety of administrative tasks to keep a small nonprofit with no staff going. Also, they are interVivos ambassadors who strongly believe in our vision of a generation of inspired and informed leaders.

Interested in applying?
To apply, click here and fill out the application form and upload your resume. Applications close March 15 at noon. We will contact you on the 16th if you have been selected for an interview. Interviews will be taking place only during the evening of March 19 at Incite (10507 Saskatchewan Drive).

Successful candidates MUST be available during the evenings of March 31 and May 7 to attend the Annual General Meeting and the Spring 2020 Mentorship Launch.

Questions? Please email connect@intervivos.ca.

In April 2019, A Provincial Affair returned to Edmonton for the 2019 general election. interVivos offered engaged Edmontonians a wide range of nonpartisan expert-led discussion. We covered economic diversification, education, employment, environmental issues and healthcare.

The panelists have a photo-op with Peg!

 

We asked our attendees at the end of the evening to answer the following question on a Post-It:

“What issue should the provincial government prioritize within the first year of being elected?”

 

An attendee browses the responses on our Post It Wall

Here is what was written on the Post-Its:

Economic Diversification

  • “A concrete plan to start marketing and moving Alberta towards being a leader in innovation to move us beyond our current oil/gas identity.”
  • “Change perceptions around our resources, jobs.”
  • “Invest within Alberta and its businesses rather than outsourcing our work.”
  • “Self driving car innovation.”
  • “The provincial government should prioritize economic diversification which can lead to innovation in healthcare, environmental initiatives and improved employment opportunities.”
  • “Upskilling or re-training labour force to support economic diversification.”

Employment

  • “Enabling businesses to find efficiencies to support minimum wage but address understaffing stresses.”
  • “Livable wages for an average family.”
  • “Maintain minimum wage.”
  • “Poverty reduction.”
  • “Workers’ rights.”

Education

  • “Protect kids’ rights.”
  • “Curriculum release.”
  • “Fund education in alignment to the enrollment growth.”
  • “Increase funding for education.”
  • “NO snitch line for teachers! GSAs <3.”

Environment

  • “Carbon levy – keeping.”
  • “Climate change priority #1 for the new provincial government.”
  • “Free public transit.”
  • “Make sustainability easier and more accessible for all Albertans. No pipelines :(.“

Healthcare

  • “Continued support for safe injection sites.”
  • “Free dental care and pharmacare.”
  • “Increase healthcare efficiency reduce waiting time.”
  • “Mental health recognition.”
  • “Healthcare innovation as a model of economic diversification and development!”

interVivos thanks all attendees, speakers and volunteers who participated in the wonderful discussions at the event!

The Speech from the Throne is on May 22, 2019. We look forward to hearing if any of these ideas are featured by the governing United Conservative Party. Our next issues event will be in October on the federal election. Stay tuned to our site and social media for more information.

In less than a week we’ll be engaging in passionate discussions on several important topics that impact Albertans: economic diversification, education, employment, environmental issues and healthcare. A Provincial Affair provides young professionals with access to experts on these topics to provide their perspective and answer burning questions.

Shafraaz Kaba is one of our speakers on environmental issues and is a former interVivos mentor. He was previously known for his work at Manasc Isaac Architects, where he focused on the development of buildings that strive for net-zero energy and carbon-emission reducing goals. In his new venture—Ask—Shafraaz now endeavors to facilitate the creation of regenerative, NetZero energy, and carbon neutral architecture using Lean culture and design thinking.

We asked Shafraaz a few questions on what Albertans need to pay attention to this upcoming provincial election to get people thinking about what to ask him during the event.

interVivos: What are the biggest environmental issues facing Albertans?

Shafraaz Kaba: Meeting the Paris Agreement and reducing carbon emissions as soon as possible for us to have a world that is habitable for our children to live in. We need to become carbon neutral as soon as possible.

interVivos: What are some of the ways you think we can accomplish this?

Shafraaz Kaba: From my perspective, it’s helping our society understand how that will change and affect the way we live but not compromise our standard of living. There is an economic opportunity here to really work within our carbon budget. If we prolong action or if we hesitate we’re going to make the planet worse for our children.

interVivos: How do you think we can deal with this on a broader scale?

Shafraaz Kaba: There can be a very large opportunity—if you look at buildings, they consume a lot of our natural resources and they basically produce a third of all our carbon emissions. Buildings have a huge impact on whether we can meet our climate goals.

interVivos: What are some of the provincial policies that either need to continue or be dealt with by the provincial government?

Shafraaz Kaba: Full disclosure, I’m on the board of Energy Efficiency Alberta so we set carbon reduction targets and provide incentives for people. This can be residential, commercial or in businesses to make changes for all of us to live in a lower carbon environment.  We need to look at how we wrap that up even further. Energy Efficiency Alberta and our emissions agency have made some good headway—and it’s a start—but it needs to wrap up significantly within the next decade for us to make a lasting impact.

interVivos: Why are events like A Provincial Affair, and more broadly, citizen engagement events still important for people to participate in?

Shafraaz Kaba: In this day and age, the news has been very shaky at best in terms of how we can get the right information from the right sources, or even understand what information we need to know. I think this event is an opportunity for certain experts and industry folks to speak to their issues, what they know, and how they can inspire others to act. Right now, I think people are turning off news media, and even social media to a certain extent, because it’s becoming biased and negative.

interVivos: How else can Albertans get more informed about issues and party platforms before heading to the polls on April 16?

Shafraaz Kaba: As simple as talking to candidates. In my mind if people can talk directly to their nominees in their own riding to ask them questions they’re concerned about—depending on what information the candidate can tell them will help them decide. Just that conversation alone will show if that candidate is looking into that topic or issue or if they’re simply not engaged. That’s the best thing to do in my opinion.

You can find Shafraaz Kaba on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Limited tickets remain for A Provincial Affair on April 2nd. Get yours before it sells out! We’ll see you there.

This year, #girlbossyeg 2018 had more male attendees than any other year before. We reached out to the first male attendee to register, Mike Kluh, for the event to provide some feedback on the event and a male feminist perspective.

Mike had this to say: Read more

Read more

The interVivos board has been working hard with four amazing interns in the past few months. This is your chance to get to know them better! Read more

Tonight’s the night for #girlbossyeg 2018! We have an incredible group of female leaders from the Edmonton community on our panel this year. Here’s a chance to get to know one of our awesome panelists a little bit better: Grace Cleveland! Read more