Every Sunday I've been hosting Open Circle Zoom calls, inviting folks from across rural Canada to talk about the issues on their mind that week. This was recorded just ahead of Ontario's municipal elections and leaks to media that suggested the Ontario government might impose changes to the powers of municipalities AFTER the Ontario municipal election.
Erik was calling in from Union, Saskatchewan and is concerned about the divisiveness and apathy that exists in rural spaces as our democracy gets chipped away. He also started a Facebook group called Seeds for Change and is hosting his own open Zoom calls for folks wanting progressive change across Canada.
Anne runs an online newspaper, the Owen Sound Hub out of Owen Sound, Ontario. She is concerned about municipal and county councils going unchecked because there is a lack of journalists to cover local issues in rural communities across Canada, and that there are right-wing groups dropping newspapers in rural restaurants and cafes.
Hollie lives 'off grid' in rural Ontario, near Drumbo. She's starting a new business, concerned about the land, Indigenous rights and the Indigenous fur trade. She also comes from an American family and fears Canada is becoming more and more like the US in its political divisiveness.
We all talked about echo chambers, confirmation bias and the need to hold space for being uncomfortable and for getting things wrong/being vulnerable. That we need to be able to listen to folks who don't necessarily agree with us. We all agreed that young people are our future and that we need to engage them to help enact positive change.
We talked about the possibility of hosting virtual gatherings across Canada in an effort to bring the left and right together to find some common ground in rural Canada.
Have some ideas? Feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org .
Want to talk about the issues you're facing in your rural community?
Open Zoom calls every Sunday:
1:30 p.m. NT
1:00 p.m. AT
12:00 p.m. ET
11:00 a.m. CT
10:00 a.m. MT
9:00 a.m. PT