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  • 22 Jan 2018 12:40 AM | Anonymous

    How long have you been in P2, and where have you worked?

    I have practiced P2 for more than 20 years – the first instances took place while working as Business Development Manager for a rehabilitation agency offering services to adults with mental and developmental handicaps. The inclusion of our clients’ voice was not common practice at the time. As Senior Aboriginal Relations Advisor at TransAlta, I’m not only in charge of relationship-building and negotiations with Treaty 6 and 7 First Nations in Alberta, but any other Aboriginal group that might be near our present assets in Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, BC, etc. Since the company went through re-structuring a year and a half ago, I’ve also been in charge of stakeholder relations, which is a more generalized position, but still connected with P2.

    What turned you on to P2 in the first place?

    In few words – the lack of participation opportunities given to Indigenous groups by companies running projects in their traditional territories. Around 20 years ago I was working in Mexico for a huge communications company, doing some green-field operations – basically, starting from “zero”.

    The head office was in Quebec – the project itself was in central Mexico, and part of my job was to take different executives to Mexico to sign papers and approve things. The hotel we stayed in cost $600.00 a night. While that was going on, I found out through the project template that the aboriginal people working on the project – many of them with college educations — were making five to six dollars a day.  In other words, for these people to spend a night in the hotel where we were staying, these people would have to work 100 days and not spend a cent of that money! I realized there was something intrinsically wrong with what we were doing.

    It was a fairly common practice among foreign companies, that instead of paying a person’s salary all in cash, they would give coupons to buy food. And they could only spend it on food because “if you don’t, they’d drink it”. So we managed to get that practice changed, and then we started developing housing projects and other initiatives to make the jobs they were doing more valuable.

    It was through that, that I realized nobody was talking to the Aboriginal people about what they wanted and what they were hoping to get out of the project. Was it just a job, or was there something else?

    As we moved forward in that direction, the profile of the company went up, and so did the importance of being an aboriginal person working for that company.

    One day, I was chatting w/a friend about how badly I felt about the situation in Mexico, and his comment was, “let me take you to Africa”. So I went to some projects in West Africa and I got to see how much worse things were for aboriginal people in that part of the world. So for the next 6+ years I did sustainable development work with people in Africa, in Southeast Asia and in Latin America.

    Then one day, I realized I was not 35 anymore and had a family with young kids who were wondering who this stranger was who was showing up once a month. That’s when I decided to settle down in Calgary and work with disadvantaged groups locally.

    Have you had a “Golden Learning Moment”?

    To understand the values of any given group, one must immerse oneself in their culture. This strategy assists in identifying those individuals that best represent the common voice of the communities they are a part of.

    There is a nugget that always keeps on popping up … as one of my best friends in africa would say … education is the answer … can’t educate oneself unless you listen … so making sure the message is transferred in both directions … including the voice of the people you’re working among will always give you the best results in the end.

    What “big wins” have you had?

    Any approval to run an educational project in Vietnam is a big win. Including your apparent enemy in the early conversation, usually turns the discussion in the right direction.

    Some of the bigger successes are being able to get through to governments — like the Communist govt in Vietnam, convincing them that it would be OK for a company from a Christian country, with Christian values, to build a school. I was working for Samaritan’s Purse, the organization headed by Franklin Graham, working with orphanages and programs that grabbed kids from the streets and trained them to get jobs in hotels or the tourism industry in general.

    So in our conversation with the Vietnamese government, we had to spell out how the government would benefit from what we were doing. They knew it was important to have schools in the northern mountain areas; we were able to demonstrate how, when it came time for us to leave, all the programs would be in place to be run locally.

    In Canada, one project that left an impression on me is one that didn’t get built according to the original idea. TransAlta planned to build a high-voltage power-line through a reserve. That idea is way more intricate than asking “how much do you want in compensation?”. You can’t just work with one person or group on a First Nation: you have to also work with elders and those with traditional knowledge, who will tell you things and raise issues you might not have been aware of. Some of the documents the government gives you may be out of date. Migration routes, for example, may have changed since the documents were written seven years ago. You have to adapt the plans to fit the environmental needs of those who live on that land.

    In the case of this high-voltage line, the First Nation we were consulting with wanted us to run the power line right through their schoolyard. I couldn’t understand why they wanted that, but it turned out that if it was running through the school yard the government would have to pay them a higher grant. We had to convince them that if they wanted to fund the school there were other ways to do it than doing something to jeopardize their children. In the end, the govt didn’t build the line through there so it didn’t affect the First Nation.

    Through that, the people in the community learned a lesson they could apply in future development plans.

    In every community, there’s always people who do things without considering how their actions will affect others in the community, so I make sure I deal with others in the community and that I bring in people whose views aren’t necessarily the same as those of the leadership.

    We tend to hear about First Nations that oppose development; but we hardly ever hear about the FNs that try to manipulate the system to make money for the community .

    Here’s an off-the-wall question: you’re a trained opera singer. Has that ever factored into your P2 work?

    When I worked with Samaritan’s Purse, I was supposed to be on-call, because you never know when there might be a natural disaster and you have to rush away/ So because I was traveling so much, I had to give up my operatic career for that time: I couldn’t book many concerts in advance. The positive side was that in many cases I was able to use my singing as a means to establish good relationships with other people and to fund-raise for the projects that needed money.

    If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the P2 business …

    Public Participation is not a business – it’s a set of ethics essential to the true success of any project or activity. Listen, listen, listen…

  • 22 Jan 2018 12:29 AM | Anonymous

    Jeff Cook is a two-time IAP2 Canada Core Values Award winner for Indigenous Engagement. In 2015, he received the award for “Working It Out Together” – a partnership with the Pikangikum First Nation in northwestern Ontario under the leadership of Pikangikum Health Authority. This three-year project set up a planning framework for addressing complex mental and physical health issues in the community, using a community-driven, “home-made” approach based on local Anishinaabe values. The Comprehensive Community Health Plan was also named Project of the Year.

    In 2016, Jeff was part of a group that received the Indigenous Engagement award for SCARP, the School for Community and Resource Planning; a partnership of the University of British Columbia and the Musqueam Indian Band, traditional owners of the University Endowment Lands. SCARP is a Master’s Degree program in which candidates spend practicum time on First Nations and Reserves, helping residents develop their own community plans.

    What got you into P2 in the first place? I finished an undergraduate degree in human geography and political studies at Queens with a focus on Latin American studies. I was interested in working in Guatemala on land rights. But close to graduation, I was reluctant about pursuing work in Central America and I started thinking about where I could go in my home country to pursue land-rights issues. The closest context I could think of was the Yukon’s Comprehensive Land Claim process. So I had this notion that I would go up north and find a job with land claims – just find a way of supporting Yukon First Nations and indigenous issues.

    A good friend of mine and I were looking for adventure, and we decided to travel to Canada’s frontier. Another friend gave us his 1976 Toyota Corolla as a joke and wished us luck in making the journey. He said, “it should get you there.” We had no money (a couple of credit cards) so we just hit the highway and took 7 days to get up there. We worked a couple of seasons in Whitehorse to make money for university and as I was finishing my degree I applied for a job while living in Dawson City, Yukon.  A job opportunity came open with the Tr’ondek Hewchin (pron. TRON-dek hWITCHin) – Han people of the River – as Community Economic Development Officer. I spent 3 years with First Nation, running their Economic Development Office.

    As an Economic Development Officer I got to watch the Land Claim process advance – I didn’t actually do any negotiating – but through that position, I fell in love with participatory community planning, and that became my context for P2. It was when the Nation hired a consultant to complete their economic development strategy, that I was struck by the lack of process: an outsider was coming in and creating a plan for the Nation; I felt the planner should be creating a plan with the Nation.

    This was the whole colonial model (of planning and development) that Nations were trying to break away from, and this experience energized me to say, No – community planning has to be done way differently if Nations were to restore community self-governance under the land claim.

    I ended up moving to Whitehorse after three years, getting invitations from First Nations individuals and communities to assist with their various planning needs. I built this network of relationships and in 1994, decided in launch Cook and Associates, later incorporating as Beringia Community Planning in 1998 to focus in Indigenous Community Planning. In 2002, I completed my Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning at UBC to increase my own understanding and capacity as a community planner to support Aboriginal communities in respectful ways.

    What are some challenges you’ve faced, working with First Nations? One of the biggest challenges is understanding the cultural complexity, and working in a different world view and how to relate to Indigenous societies. I quickly learned how western planning and development systems, in my mind, were dysfunctional in their own ways – in the way they imposed authority, structure and processes on Nations. I really related to the Indigenous paradigm and ways of being and knowing and connections to the land and the interconnectivity of all things.

    The other challenge is working within the Indian Act system and all governments levels. You’re working with oppressed societies that have been marginalized, and see community planning and public engagement as a means to support Nations to re-write their own history. It is an opportunity for First Nations to revitalize and rediscover their cultural systems and identity – an internal reconciliation if you will as part of Nation rebuilding process. It’s very exciting to be part, in a very small way, of this grassroots community-based movement.

    And I probably have just as much fun and pleasure teaching the non-Indigenous world – mayors and councils, politicians and bureaucrats – what they don’t know about implications of Indigenous history. A lot of people are just naïve and unaware of how Indigenous values, knowledge and decision-making systems.

    Community planning is just one mechanism for supporting First Nations needs in mobilizing themselves to rise up against the western systems and authority structures.

  • 22 Jan 2018 12:23 AM | Anonymous

    How long have you been in P2, and where have you worked?

    I spent the better part of twenty years in newspaper media as well as travel media relations before landing at Altalink, a transmission utility that provides power to 85% of the province in Alberta.  Six months ago, I was hired to lead the Engage Resources team at the City of Calgary.

    What turned you on to P2 in the first place?

    I was attracted to the field of public participation first and foremost, as it is a field where one can effect meaningful and sustainable change and direction to the region where I live and work and raise my family. Bringing stakeholders along on the journey from early stages — visioning, planning and finally execution and reporting back — provides an unequaled opportunity for dialogue and deliberation that is transparent and inclusive.  Forming a partnership with stakeholders lets them know that their input is appreciated and valuable in providing direction for the programs, infrastructure and services we might provide.

    Have you had a “Golden Learning Moment”?

    Prior to connecting with them on a planned project on their traditional lands, we focussed on developing a relationship and rapport with one of Alberta’s First Nation communities. This took some time and financial resources, but the Nation was extremely appreciative of this approach. They said it was the first time anyone from industry had engaged them without having a project or agenda in mind.  It let the Nation share their history, their hopes and aspirations for the community. This in turn helped inform our approach to engagement on the project. Another learning from that relationship, especially when dealing with infrastructure {rail, road, pipeline, transmission, etc.} is that the project’s schedules and timelines are NOT representative of what First Nations communities feel is appropriate, so prepare to build a significant buffer into your engagement schedules.

    What “big wins” have you had?

    Surprisingly, some of the successes I’ve been most proud of have been within my own company’s four walls. Getting regulatory lawyers, project managers and senior engineers on-side to recognize the value of early and frequent engagement and participation was and is to this day a challenge, but once they have that ah-hah moment, the P2 field of supporters grows exponentially.  In some cases, we were able to achieve these wins through organic conversations, in other situations, having some of these folks go through IAP2 Foundations, EOP2 or Decision Makers workshops did the trick.

    In terms of public wins, there were a few occasions where very vocal opponents of some contentious projects that had gone on for years eventually came around, even to the point of receiving some hugs for being patient with stakeholders, while they took the time to sort through key factors and considerations in their own minds.

    In the regulated world, big wins can be reflected in the number of interveners who speak in opposition at a hearing.  One memorable project saw over three hundred stakeholders register with the regulator as an intervener, but when the hearing came around, only three chose to speak in opposition.  This showed significant progress had been made through the life of the project leading up to the hearing with these stakeholders, none of which could have been possible without inviting them to the table to participate in the process with us.

    If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the P2 business …

    It is an industry that will likely see significant growth over the coming years, as citizen expectations for meaningful participation and engagement increase. Stakeholders and stakeholder groups are better prepared, educated and have strategies in mind to achieve outcomes that are most favorable to their interests.  P2 professionals will be front and centre in helping build a bridge between the two sides.

    I would say to take every opportunity to learn, and to connect with long-term Public Participation professionals, to seek out their counsel and advice.

  • 22 Jan 2018 12:20 AM | Anonymous

    photo_PaulineLambtonHow long have you been in P2, and where have you worked?

    I’ve been working in the field for over 5 years. I studied urban planning at the Masters level at McGill University in Montréal where I was instantly drawn to human-scale and participatory urban planning processes aimed to increase the appropriation of space by the user. I spent four years at Acertys, which specializes in community relations and public participation (now Hill + Knowlton). Currently, I’m a project manager at the Institut du Nouveau Monde, an organization whose mandate is to increase citizen participation in democratic life.

    While working with Acertys, I had the chance to present (in collaboration with Ipsos Public Affairs) at the 2015 IAP2 North American Conference in Portland, on why Millennials are seem to be MIA (“Missing In Action”) from P2. We discussed research results regarding Millennials from different backgrounds to explore what young people consider to be P2, what factors influence their involvement, and how to better adapt our processes to hear young voices.  I learned a great deal from the experience and have applied some of those key ideas in my own work. For example, if you want in-person consultation, go where the millennials are and blend with their busy lives; you have to empower them to be leaders in the P2 process by making information and expertise available and creating room for authentic, open dialogue.

    The Institut du Nouveau Monde is recognized as a leader in youth engagement and debate on political and social issues. I’m looking forward to exploring new approaches to bring Millennials into the P2 processes.

    What turned you on to P2 in the first place?

    A lot of things. I have always been interested in seeing people become active in their communities and take ownership of their own neighbourhoods. Whether it’s developing a local walkability plan, looking at new ideas on urban agriculture or re-imagining the area around a Metro station, seeing citizens take part in those changes makes a city come alive.

    I did my undergraduate studies in the School of Community and Public Affairs at Concordia University, and I had the opportunity through my courses and projects to work with organizations that value community mobilization and social change. That opened my eyes to the idea of dialogue between citizens and officials; between experts and the users of a space.

    220px-Mackay_StreetMacKay St., Montreal, seen from Concordia’s
    Sir George Williams Campus

    One of the first P2 related projects I got to work on was a proposal for a project called “The Greening of MacKay”. This would have seen part of a street that runs through the Concordia campus turned into a green space for use by students during the summer. I did door-to-door consultation and interviews with local merchants and residents to see what the people involved felt about the proposal.

    Did the plan go ahead?

    Not entirely, but there have been initiatives to make the street more pedestrian-friendly – green spaces and vegetable planter boxes have been introduced where people can just sit and “be”. So seasonal “pedestrianization” didn’t happen, but the people had their say, and who knows what the future holds for that space?

    Did the idea of “users as experts” seem new at the time?

    My studies at the McGill School of Urban Planning served to legitimize the “user as expert” idea.  It’s a very hands-on school and uses the city of Montréal as an urban laboratory, so we had many field-work projects in the city. One of my teachers, Lisa Bornstein, a pro-P2 mentor made sure that user-expert dialogue was a critical component of any urban planning process during our studio field work.

    In the past decade, rapid development of social media and other technologies is also providing opportunities for citizens to take part in a whole new way. I think the expectation of the community to be meaningfully involved in decisions and projects that affect them has never been higher.

    Have you had any “big wins”?

    Just before I left Acertys, I carried out a mandate within the framework of a Programme Particulier d’Urbanisme (PPU – Specific Urban Redevelopment Project) for the Assomption neighbourhood in Montreal. We organized the preliminary consultation process entitled “Dessine-moi un quartier” – “Draw me a Neighbourhood” for which set up “drop-in” kiosks in busy places such as the Metro Station, local schools, and pedestrian areas. We used iPads to survey people on their ideas for the development they’d like to see.

    We heard different ideas regarding public space, pedestrian and bike paths, the scale of new buildings, neighbourhood amenities, and employment.

    There was a lot of potential for conflict around proposals for densification between long time property-owners and new investors. However when we ran two stakeholder design workshops, we were pleasantly surprised to see people having very constructive conversations. We underestimated the power of getting together face-to-face in a hands-on consultation process.

    Right now, the process is in the hands of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (Montréal Public Consultation Office). There was a public opinion session earlier this month and a report should be coming out in April.

    I also had a personal “big win” with an exciting opportunity a couple of years ago teaching a Master’s level class at McGill – the same program I had been in. McGill’s Planning school offers various principles and practices courses taught by professionals in the field, and a few of us at Acertys were invited to teach a class on stakeholder engagement, public participation and conflict mediation. We guided students in exploring some methods, techniques, and tools that are used in P2 process design and implementation.

    It was interesting to see students whose shoes I was in a couple of years before, to walk them through hands-on practical course work, and to witness the growing importance of P2 in the academic world of Urban Planning.

    If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the P2 business … 

    I would say that the P2 field is one that can always be innovative. Like any profession, you can fall into old habits by “copy-pasting” a process that worked one time. P2 has to be approached case-by-case, always with fresh eyes and an open mind. It’s important to always adapt the process to different situations and audiences and to make the process accessible. An accessible process means not just physically but also open and adapted to those who have different ways of learning and different interests. Also, P2 should be fun!

  • 19 Jan 2018 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    was initially hired as Manager of Strategic Development in October 2013, working on a variety of things, including economic development initiatives and the budget review process. Before that, I was with the federal government, dealing with employee engagement, among other things.

    Before I went to work at the City, P2 was done as part of the regulations process – on an ad-hoc basis, project by project. The City decided to move towards a more formalized process, so part of my role was to build a public engagement framework. You might say that P2 came with the job.

    We did a jurisdictional scan and created a public engagement task force chaired by a member of Council. We looked at other cities and best practices and did a two-month intensive exercise in spring of 2014. I drafted a report to Council that included an engagement policy and recommendations on tools and training, as well as more opportunities for people to take part outside of specific projects. The position I now have was created in December 2016.

    We’ve used the guiding principles of P2 and modified them a little bit in our framework. I created my own capacity and brought in trainers to give the Foundations course to about 21 employees. I’ve taken my own skills in needs assessment, strategic planning and communications planning and applied those to P2.

    One project we’re currently working on is around the implementation of an automated garbage collection program for the city. There are lots of considerations around that, including the need to reduce the amount of material going to the landfill, as well as occupational health and wellness issues.

    The P2 portion is to capture the residents’ key concerns. It’s probably the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve used a focus group process before going out more broadly to the community. This has helped us to determine their concerns and our communications staff has used that to develop FAQs and communications plans.

    ENGAGE ST JOHN'SAutomated garbage collection is probably the biggest P2 project in terms of people wanting to talk about it, so we set up a robust process with a variety of tools. Aside from focus groups, we set up a project page on our online engagement community — engagestjohns.ca. There’s a mapping tool, and we’re rolling out a survey that will be open to everyone to take part. We know there are fears and misconceptions about anything new, so we have ten pop-up locations where have people a chance to look at and touch the new bins and ask questions of staff – how much do they cost? how big are they? Right now, we’re looking at accessibility issues, so we have a seniors’ committee and an environmental committee; we connect with landlords. We look at the whole stakeholder spectrum.

    We’re using as many different tools to reach as many different people as we can. We might get a hundred people out to an open house, but when we rolled out our web page, we had 350 people sign up in the first week and we’ve now had about 2,500 visits, with people reading the page and engaging.

    When we did the budget consultations in 2016, we had forums to increase people’s awareness of the budgeting process. We sent out fact sheets and held an online forum to find out their priorities; we held ward-based sessions to talk about decisions and update people on where the process was.

    When you think about the effectiveness of an organization, getting public input is one of those data sets or elements of that informed decision-making process. What’s been surprising for me has been that some of the good practice in P2 is such good common sense, prior to having a policy and framework public engagement was not really saying what was done with the input. So one of the things we’ve instituted has been a “what we heard” document that we put out after every P2 project, where we spell out the input we received. That document goes to Council or project lead for consideration. Ultimately, they are the decision makers.

    Another part that’s been rewarding for me has been the chance to help build capacity in people so the organization see the value in P2 – how it can help them implement a program or meet the needs of the residents more effectively.

    This is all very new in St John’s and we’re doing an evaluation this year of our P2 work. So far, there’s been a lot of validation for P2: anecdotally, people say they see a difference in the way the City engages with the public. There’s a greater understanding now of what it is that’s new, different or changing. People also recognize that it takes time and that we need to do it well and do it right.

    There’s also more support within the organization as they see the importance of P2, connecting with the people and involving them in some way. There’s outside help for the growth of P2 in our city, too. A grassroots group called “Happy City” builds awareness and interest in civic engagement.

    When people are involved in the discussion, they tend to take on more ownership of the initiative or project.

  • 19 Jan 2018 4:26 PM | Anonymous

    2017 marks 25 years since the first Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. At the time, it was called IAP3 – the International Association of Public Participation Professionals – but in a few years, it had become a worldwide organization supporting both P2 practitioners and those interested in good P2.

    lonny gabinet

    What has been your involvement with P2?

    My career and the fledgling International Association for Public Participation Practitioners (IAP3) began together in 1992 at the first conference in Portland OR.

    Actually, I was thrown into the arms of the new association by default: if you’re the communications person working for the City of Calgary then you probably know how to do a plan to involve the 800,000 + citizenry (the engineers didn’t know how to do it nor did they care) in developing a new city-wide transportation master plan. One member of City Council was hell bent on asking people what they wanted, to which I replied, “Why would you want to ask people what they think? They don’t know what you guys know …” It seemed pretty far-fetched that we would go out and ask people who had no education in transportation planning, and doing the unthinkable of setting up expectations that we would actually listen to them!

    What turned you on to P2 in the first place?

    I was coerced. It wasn’t the ‘what’ at all, it was the ‘who’. The boss said, “go take some courses” as he didn’t really know what P2 was, either. He just knew we had to do it. And our recently retained P2 consultant experts from a high flying international engineering company in Phoenix AZ (well-known IAP2 vets Marty Rozelle and Barbara Lewis) took me aside one day and suggested I go with them to the first IAP3 conference in Portland – and the rest, as they say — is history.

    What ‘big wins” have you had?

    Both the “big wins” and “tough lessons” categories are loaded. If you’re competitive and looking for the “big wins” all the time, this isn’t the field for you. It’s one of the most ambiguous and destabilizing, confidence-dashing careers out there, full of both humbling and glorious experiences.

    Twenty-five years later I walk through vital, bustling re-developed and developing new neighbourhoods and varied districts in Calgary and look back on the epic discussions involving all the best professionals in the business.

    As the only P2 person at the table for years, my fortunes vacillated between being tolerated as “the communications person”, to suspicious “whatever value, except taking our time, is this advisory group going to bring to the project?”, and eventually, “Well, it seems we can educate them to the extent that they can provide us with real insights on the options we present to them … after all they are the ones that live there and know it better than anybody else”.

    How has P2 in Canada changed since you first started?

    180 degrees. Barely on the radar screen and born of the activists of the 60s through 80s, my observation of citizen involvement in the early 90s is that IAP3 came into being because governments at all levels and organizations of every stripe were starting to realize that they needed some kind of social license from the folks affected by their decisions to move their agendas and it didn’t have to involve radicals throwing themselves in front of bulldozers.

    Increasingly, educated citizens wanting involvement in their communities to maintain a) their steadily growing quality of life, or b) their aspirational quality of life against the backdrop of the economic post WWII expansion, expressed their willingness and desire to offer up their time to get up on the issues and come to the table to enrich the very decisions that were affecting them. What they also realized was, just like in any sport, there needs to be a referee, and that’s where the P2 professional came in.

    Coming into the 21st century, governments and organizations were struggling to involve their people as there was little consistency as to how they did it. IAP3 had become more inclusive in its focus and devolved to IAP2, showcasing the practice itself instead of a narrow band of folks that were practitioners. P2, pervasively and respectfully done was becoming a movement and a belief of heads of organizations and governments especially. But “how to do it” with organizational consistency was becoming a very big question.

    Having been through over a decade (1992-2002) of total P2 ‘on my feet’ immersion and guided by so many wise and experienced P2 folks, I felt ready for that question. In 2002 Calgary City Council wanted a consistent, effective and efficient policy for all City departments to follow so that Council could evaluate proposals that were formally run through the City’s adopted public participation process.

    Bingo – for the leader of the City’s process to develop an overall civic engagement program (me), I ran back into the arms of IAP2 and the likes of the Rozelle/Lewis team. By this time, they and other IAP2 visionaries, academics and practitioners across the world were developing accredited courses and full training sessions were first offered in 2002. What fortunate timing for me and my team as we could tailor the new City of Calgary Engage! program around many of their training principles. Over the following decade I assisted other jurisdictions in creating their own engagement programs. Ten years after I began in the P2 field it was transitioning from rag-tag to principled, effective, organized – and demanded.

    (Note: the City of Calgary won Core Values Awards for its engagement plans and practices in 2014 and 2015.)

    Have you had a golden learning moment – when something went sideways but you learned from it?

    You don’t have enough space here!

    If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the business…

    Leave your control freak at the door. You are consulting with people that usually have a stake in the outcome or decision. It may affect their lifestyle, family, health, safety, environment and many more aspects of their lives that often draw emotional and not necessarily rational reactions. Be flexible. You can’t control the consultation but there are tools and techniques that you can acquire from IAP2 training that will help you help the stakeholders to bring the very best of themselves to the table so that decisions are improved by their very involvement.

    Project proponents must support the profession’s assertion that “decisions are improved if those who are affected by them are involved.” They must be prepared to modify, to some degree, their proposals to take into consideration the stakeholders’ perspectives. Why do we assert that decisions are improved? Because nobody knows their community (or fill in the blank) better than the members of the community themselves. If I get the sense that the proponent’s intentions about incorporating stakeholder views are inauthentic, I will back away. Participate in mentorship programs; there is no substitute for experience.

  • 19 Jan 2018 4:21 PM | Anonymous

    As we continue to mark 25 years since the first conference of what is now IAP2, we meet Jacquie Dale, who has been with IAP2 since 1997.

    What has been your involvement with P2?

    My early days of public engagement grew out of work in foreign policy and how to engage Canadians in meaningful conversation about it. It began in the early 80s, through development education (dev-ed). As part of their international cooperation work in Canada, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) always tended to have programs to help the Canadian public understand development and think about global citizenship. I started doing dev-ed in 1983 when I worked with the YM/YWCA in Victoria.

    I worked on a lot of projects, running seminars and programming for youth and children, as well as cross-Canada exchange programs with youth. Then I moved to Montréal to lead the international development program at the YMCA there, and covered projects and exchanges in Central America, Tanzania and Ecuador.

    Over time, I got interested in the issue of foreign policy and when I went to work for the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) – the umbrella organization for Canadian NGOs working in international cooperation – we asked, how do we engage the Canadian public in meaningful conversations about shaping Canada’s foreign policy?

    In 1995, the Federal Government made significant cuts to international development funding, and we were surprised given the years of dev ed in Canada, that there was no public outcry about the cuts. Why was so little importance placed on international development? So, we set up a task force that went across the country, talking to NGOs, volunteers, experts and involved communities; and we realized that our approach had been a bit too proselytizing. We had talked about human rights and social justice, but in a way, that was more preaching (“if you have the right information, you’ll think the ‘right’ way, i.e. our way, about this”), than engagement.

    So around 1997, we started to play around with the idea of deliberative dialogue (DD) (also called deliberation). I took part in a Kettering Institute training program. We started with a small pilot – a series of dialogues focused on poverty eradication.

    From that, we went across the country, training people in facilitating deliberative dialogue on foreign policy and development issues and bringing the results to various policy tables. Many people were excited about it and became good facilitators, but others found becoming an objective facilitator on issues they were very passionate about just didn’t work for them. I also worked closely with the Canadian Policy Research Network at that time. They were also piloting DD, but on domestic issues, e.g. “The society we want”. This shared learning approach for how to use deliberative dialog proved to be fruitful – and exciting.

    During that period, our work at CCIC gained recognition and won two national awards. People started to ask us to do this deliberative dialogue work for them, so we set up One World, Inc. It was originally owned by CCIC, with myself as the CEO and we ran dialogues for NGOs, governments, not-for-profits. It was “deep engagement”. When the CCIC had its funding from CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) cut, I and three associates of the firm purchased it. Since then our work at One World Inc has expanded to include all types of public and stakeholder engagement.

    What turned you on to P2 in the first place?

    I joined IAP3 – now IAP2 – because I was interested in finding out what others were doing in public engagement and how to engage the public in a more meaningful and better way. It was a good opportunity to learn from others and make connections. IAP2 was also a good way to connect with others in the US and elsewhere in the world for mutual learning.

    Something that I was very interested in from the early days was evaluation. We as a P2 community have to get better and be more consistent at evaluating engagement processes and as a consulting firm, we do a lot of work to assess the impact and results of public engagement (PE).

    What “big wins” have you had?

    I think pioneering deliberative dialogue in Canada was one of them. Back when I started, the word dialogue was not nearly so common as it is today (even though it is often mis-used, the notion has gained currency). The idea of good, meaningful conversations that can impact program and policy choices has grown substantially and I like to think I played a small part in that.

    Another win has been in the area of pushing forward good citizen engagement – the idea that citizens need to be engaged on important questions their communities and societies are dealing with. For example, we’ve worked with the city of Edmonton on two citizen panels. The first was around the budgetary process, which was a demonstration project that helped to consolidate the foundation of the Centre for Public Involvement. The second was on energy and climate challenges facing the city, and new policies emerged from those discussions that were accepted by the City Council. I did that project with Alberta Climate Dialogue, which worked with government and civil society partners to convene citizen deliberations on climate change in Alberta -possibly the last province where one would expect that to happen.  A new book on that experiment is coming out this fall.

    I facilitate the Citizens’ Council of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, which began in 2009, again contributing to policy particularly in the area of the public drug program. We do a lot of work in the health field, where patient engagement has been on the rise. We’ve just finished working on a patient engagement guide for the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. It was a real co-design project with groups across the country, including patients themselves.

    How has P2 in Canada changed since you first started?

    Hugely. When I started, we didn’t have any online platforms – there was no technology at the time. In the late 90s, I started working with a group to develop an online platform, because there was nothing that moved beyond the traditional survey. That aspect has been evolving continually, complementing face-to-face participation.

    Of course, there was no social media, either, and that’s changed the landscape. Considering the ways people use it, this change has been both positive and negative.

    And as I said, the rise in patient engagement has been remarkable. We see now how seriously it’s being taken and how it’s being integrated into the operation of the health care system – not just a tick-off-the-box engagement, but something meaningful that is improving health care  I’ve also worked with organizations involved in health research, like the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, which is stimulating a process across the country in patient-oriented research.

    The big thing is, governments at all levels are more serious about P2, and there are some real leaders at a municipal level.  Federally, P2 has tended to come and go, with the current phase being an increased interest. Health Canada had an Office of Consumer and Public Involvement, which got cut the same day it won an award for its high-quality work.  The Consultation Secretariat at the headquarters level of Health Canada changed from a capacity-building focus to stakeholder relations but is now trying once more to improve engagement practice. Other areas of government have taken it on, too, but it’s still a struggle to build and maintain the internal capacity (and infrastructure) for good P2.

    Internationally, some of the global bodies are also increasing their involvement. But there’s something else to note for those in the consulting world. In the past five years or so, the big consulting firms have been getting interested in that area and have been taking on more and more P2 work. In some cases, the way they’ve done that is by buying up PE companies, like Hill + Knowlton did with Ascentum. It’s an indication that P2 is getting integrated into their work and is gaining important recognition that it is a field of expertise. It also means it can be tougher for independent consultants and smaller “boutique” firms, because the big companies already have their connections with governments and private sector.

    Have you had a “Golden Learning Moment” – when something went sideways, but you learned from it?

    I’ve always thought of P2 as a social change ingredient for participatory democracy. As citizens, we need to have spaces to dig into and work through together the tough choices facing our communities and society in today’s world. DD and PE can help to provide those opportunities to engage across perspectives and potentially develop common ground to move forward. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with others who share this dream – for example, the Canadian Community of Dialogue and Deliberation and the National Coalition for Deliberative Dialogue (NCDD).

    But sometimes organized citizen action and advocacy groups work against the idea of P2, even though they value democratic values such as freedom of expression. One example I lived through occurred in a community engagement process around a proposed addition to an existing plant in the town. A strong environmental group was opposed to it.

    We set up a process to allow people to talk in small groups and meet with experts to ask questions. The first part of the day went well. But when we broke for lunch, the environmental group decided they didn’t want the process to work and didn’t want the public to really discuss the issues for themselves. So, they came back in the afternoon with the goal of shutting the process down. Other citizens had good questions to ask, and this group shut them up with name-calling. It was a source of disappointment that an environmental group that should be interested in citizen engagement created such an ugly situation.  For me it highlights the “shadow” side of citizen action and advocacy. Perhaps another approach, where the group had been invited to co-design the process might have worked, but at the core I think their only interest was in stopping the development project, no matter the cost in social capital.

    This level of animosity was new to me as I have found working primarily in Canada that people are for the most part willing to listen and consider alternative viewpoints and perspectives if given a well-structured and facilitated process. The polarization has been so much stronger in the US and NCDD (National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation) has had to work out how to deal with antagonistic stakeholders and create that safe space for dialogue.

    Where do you see the P2 profession going, in the future?

    I would flag three things as I think about the future of our collective P2 work:

    1. Over the next few years, we need to build more sustainable P2 capacity and infrastructure within institutions like government. Otherwise PE will not be integrated into the program and policy development and instead will remain primarily in the hands of consultants. Edmonton is a promising example of a city where this is beginning to happen. See for example, the Council Initiative on PE.
    2. A key tension in all of our work, and which we have to keep on the forefront, is depth/breadth for engagement. (Another term is thick/thin.) Because we have social media and online tools, we have a tendency to gravitate towards “thin” engagement – for example, getting lots of people to answer a survey. Governments like it because you get manageable quantitative data fairly quickly, but does little to help policy-makers understand where citizens arrive if they have a chance for informed discussion to work through together the possible choices and the trade-offs incumbent in these. We need to figure out how to better balance those two, to develop policy that really resonates with citizens and that encourages us all to step up to our responsibility to be active in that process.
    3. Finally, I think as a P2 community we need to think more deeply about the issue of power in the work that we do, and I include in that our “hidden” power as process designers, issue framers and facilitators. Our role can influence discussion and outcomes and we need to be aware of that and work to try to provide objective processes as much as possible. For more on that, see a recent paper I had to chance to write with an academic colleague.

    If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the P2 business …

    It’s a very interesting and exciting area to work in: you become a bit of a renaissance person, because you learn a lot about many different topics. There’s more opportunity than there ever was, with patient engagement and municipal and provincial governments integrating engagement into their work: it makes for more scope for more people.

  • 19 Jan 2018 4:15 PM | Anonymous

    Terry Koch has been an IAP2 member for 24 years and is a founding member, past President and regular volunteer with the Wild Rose (Alberta) Chapter. He was also honoured to serve on the International IAP2 Board as the Treasurer from 2008 – 2010.

    What has been your involvement with P2 over the years?

    I started with the City of Edmonton in the mid-1980s, working in Community Relations for the Parks and Recreation Department, then moved to Calgary’s Parks and Rec. Then a job came open at Calgary Transit, where they had fewer community relations people (two versus 26), so with that came more opportunity and responsibility.

    The GoPlan was being developed at the time, and that opened my interest in doing public engagement. This was the largest transportation master plan and growth plan the City had done to date. Lonny Gabinet (profiled in the June newsletter) was the Corporate Communications person and needed help from a city employee, and luckily, I was it.

    We were given a million-dollar budget for public engagement – in 1991! That was ten times what anyone had seen before: it was a lot of money for going out there and talking to the public. The former Dames and Moore firm was the successful engagement services provider and fortunately Barbara Lewis and Marty Rozelle were assigned to lead the design of the public and stakeholder engagement program.

    The City saw the value in P2. Yes, it generated controversy for some: why were we bringing in consultants from Denver and Phoenix? What was wrong with our planners or city staff? People even asked what the problem was in the first place; why did we need a plan? At the time, there was nowhere near the transportation challenges we now have in Calgary, so we had to be the “doom-and-gloom” people and tell them, “It’s coming, folks!” No, we didn’t have a transportation problem at the time – but then, we didn’t have 1.25-million people at the time, either.

    Barb and Marty brought in great ideas for getting the message across – innovative workshops, an active Citizens’ Coordinating Committee, guest speakers and with Lonny’s creative ideas, like staging a TV program, we were successful at getting people excited about the future.

    I didn’t go to the Portland conference (in 1992), but I got involved in IAP2 in ’93: that’s when I joined and learned about techniques like the Samoan Circle – which has nothing to do with Samoa, by the way – and how it could work for engaging people in Calgary’s transportation plan.

    In the Samoan Circle, you look at comparisons of different viewpoints. We designed a workshop for the 1993 Kananaskis IAP2 Conference using the GoPlan as the case study. What role does the politician play? What role does the senior city staff person, or the consultant or the ordinary citizen play? People would sit on chairs in the middle of the room and play those particular roles, verbalizing their position on the project.

    It all proved to be a great example of politicians and staff willing to try new techniques – and that was 25 years ago, and through that I became the GoPlan’s day-to-day P2 guy.

    That experience got me excited about marrying long-range transportation and growth planning. The two really go together as it’s all about growth and change with those two areas coming together with good dialogue. The trick is, start early and engage often. Calgary was a big ship going in one direction and it was a matter of taking the ship on a new course – not a total 180, but a course correction so that it’s a smarter-growing city.

    I then went to work for then-Mayor Al Duerr as one of his executive assistants. I was taken on there because of my experience with the Go-Plan. My first job there was as Administrative Liaison. There would be letters and calls to the Mayor’s office – because that’s often the place people go to first when they have a complaint – and I had to make sure they went to the right departments. I was supposed to be there on a year’s secondment, but they kept me for four years.

    I then went to ENMAX, the City-owned utility company, where I worked as a government and communications relations manager for five years. Following that, I went off on my own and set up Terrydele Consulting. I figured this gave me more flexibility. My first real task was to work for ENMAX as a private consultant. They needed someone to do day-to-day engagement on a project to replace power lines in Mount Royal – one of the older and wealthier areas of the city.

    There were these big, beautiful old and new mansions with power lines running past them and that distribution system needed to be replaced.

    I mainly wanted to be a private consultant was because I wanted to get into the private sector to assist where needed. I enjoyed the variety: I wasn’t the Calgary Transit or utility guy anymore, and could branch out into health care, energy, utilities, planning – all different fields.

    A lot of my clients have been sourced through engineering companies with a strong Alberta presence where I was the engagement lead and worked with the project team.  Lately, I’ve been working with the provincial government on regional plans. Eventually, there’ll be seven master plans based on the watersheds in Alberta. That started in 2008 and it’s still going on today as those regional plans are approved and being implemented.

    One of my favourite projects in the past couple of years is the Green Line – the now-approved new LRT line in Calgary. It’s costing $6.5-billion to do 60 percent of the project – getting it tunneled through the downtown into the Bow River and then going north so it will run from the north end to the southeast – eventually 46 kilometres of new LRT line, nearly doubling the current service.

    The dialogue for that started 30 years ago and there’s lots of passion about the project. In 2012, we started working on the final stage – the part where we get serious about building it. The Federal government has committed to contributing $1.5 billion; the City of Calgary $1.5 billion and the Province hopefully will be kicking in its share; but it’s going to need a lot of transit-oriented development to get the commercial and retail base to support it.

    Have you had a “Golden Learning Moment”?

    Mainly, getting to what is the role of the public in a project and determining the appropriate amount of engagement. It could be just at the “inform” level, so people can digest it well before decision-making and you don’t pressure them to come to the table with input until it is the right time.

    A lot of the time we haven’t been clear, and people have gotten fired-up about engagement – and then they get disappointed. Part of the “Foundations” training is to decide how to involve people without wasting their time. Even if people don’t like the outcome, if you’re honest with them about their involvement, they are more likely to be good with it.

    Recently we were at the final design stage in a highly controversial project and brought forward four or five options for input. But we had to make it clear: we’re not going back to to the budget … or station locations … or bus schedules. We’ve been realistic and honest with people, because if we go off that course, we find we’ve wasted people’s time and raised expectations we couldn’t meet.

    I owe a lot of that learning to the Foundations course, which I took in the late 90s after 10 years of jumping in with both feet.

    You brought the “Question Quilt” to the Denver Conference. Tell us about that.

    QUESTION QUILT-2Yes! In the mid-90s, the Wild Rose Chapter was looking for something to give to IAP3. We simply gathered questions and that generated a lot of dialogue about IAP2’s guiding principles, and it was the evolution towards the Core Values: answer the questions and you get into a good dialogue about what good P2 should look like. Wild Rose had those questions sewn onto a quilt that’s about 8’ by 8’.


    If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the P2 business …

    Definitely, come out to a coffee klatch, a lunch-and-learn or any local IAP2 social and networking event. Meet the people who have been in the profession and give them a good listening to. Learn about what resources there are. Save your pennies and take the Foundations Course and the EOP2. Get a good understanding of the basics and real-life case studies, and do some reading: there’s more literature out there than there ever was and lots more online.

    And I always have time for the mentorship program – in fact, I have a phone call later today with my protégé.

  • 19 Jan 2018 4:13 PM | Anonymous

    Ken Hardie joined IAP2 in 2001, about 10 years before IAP2 Canada was formed. He has a unique distinction: a life member who’s a non-practitioner. After a career in radio, he went into communications and media relations, with lengthy stops at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink).

    Then, having “retired”, he was elected to Parliament in 2015 as the Liberal Member for Fleetwood-Port Kells in Surrey BC.

    What attracted you to IAP2 in the first place?

    I was looking for new tools for the toolbox. When I was at ICBC, we had a policy decision coming up that affected a lot of people, but a survey had just been released that showed we had a very poor public image. So I set about rebuilding the public trust, going to all the communities and meeting with people.

    When I looked into IAP2, what I saw was interesting and I saw that there would be practitioners available to do this job, so I made the strategic decision to get someone in from IAP2 who knew what they were doing.

    At TransLink, there were two projects that come to mind. One was the early work on the Evergreen Line (a mass transit system linking the Northeast Sector of Metro Vancouver with the rest of the transit network). This used more of the “officially sanctioned” P2 tools, like charrettes and open houses to consult with the community on the technology.

    The technology came down to a choice between at-grade LRT or grade-separated LRT – SkyTrain. Through the public engagement process, which included “origin-destination” research, it was determined that at-grade would do a good job of meeting the community’s needs. The streetscape design and station locations all emerged from that process.

    Was the community surprised at being consulted?

    People warmed up to the process: if someone had walked in halfway through the process, they would have been intimidated at the length and breadth of the activities underway. We took everyone through iterative steps and people organically came to understand what was going on. The results and the output started to flow as things progressed.

    My role was mainly in media relations, keeping tabs on what was going on and I left it to the public consultation team – the people who knew what they were doing.

    What have you learned about P2?

    The real key is to make the public engagement genuine. We see examples where it’s not done very well, where organizations think that it’s only about putting up art boards and telling people what they’re going to do. But more and more, people are asking to be engaged. IAP2 folks have known for a long time that communities have been looking for a genuine seat at the table.

    The most notable right now is the First Nations. They’ve been treated as colonials for 150 years, and now they’re seeing a process where they can see what the issues are, co-own the solutions and co-enjoy the results; but it’s taken the Canadian government a long time to see that they’re not a colonial power and the First Nations are not colonials.

    Have you had any “golden learning moments”?

    There was a similar situation (to the one involving First Nations and P2) a few weeks ago when we held a townhall on autism. A young woman who had autism stood up and was highly critical of the process. The source of her displeasure was the same: there were very well-meaning people coming up with a process to help autistic people, but the autistic people weren’t being included in the discussions. This isn’t to say that the people trying to come up with solutions weren’t earnest and didn’t have their best interests at heart … but the autistic people wanted to be part of the conversation.

    There was an episode in my early days at ICBC and then at TransLink where the power of genuine communication and genuine engagement paid off. I mentioned that ICBC’s approval ratings were poor, right when we had a major policy decision to make. I went around the province, meeting with people in their communities, then playing back “what we heard”. I focused on Chambers of Commerce, too, which helped build the reputation among their members.

    At the end, public confidence had moved to an “acceptable/high” level and we had a very good chance of getting approval for those policy decisions.

    The decision was photo radar, as a means of keeping auto insurance rates under control.

    At TransLink, there was a long and bitter bus drivers’ strike in 2001, and afterwards, we were voted as having the worst reputation of any public agency in BC. So we launched a public involvement campaign that included “Front Room Forums”. We’d have citizens host a “forum” in their home. We’d buy the pizza and people would hash out the transit issues.

    It was a very overt way of signalling that we were prepared to employ methods that were effective in getting people engaged in the discussion. We found that the same kind of stresses and forces that we as an organization had to deal with were at play in the neighbourhoods. The people were not all on the same page, so having forums like those helped people understand the challenges involved in coming to public policy decisions. A year later, TransLink got the tax increase it needed, enabling it to expand services.

    Having been around Ottawa for a few years now and making some valuable mistakes along the way, I know that we have to ensure that the communication we’re involved with is indeed genuine. You know that, as a politician on the government side, you have to make decisions; some will like it and some won’t.

    You have to mind your tone with the ones who don’t like it and not make anybody “wrong”. If you can start with something that gets both sides nodding in agreement, you have something to work with and build on. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll win them over, but you build a connection that allows for further dialogue. And that’s the key: a two-way flow that can be candid, so that at the end of the day, although the person may not vote for you, they can say, “I can talk to this guy”.

    I’ve been involved with radio and much of that job is to put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other side of the microphone and add something that’s useful or stimulating. Back in the old days, we found a way to do that without being nasty or contrary: we wanted to be ‘that nice guy on the radio”, and if you look at the world through their eyes you build that critical element in a relationship, which is affinity. Once you have built affinity with somebody, you have trust and you can have difficult conversations and come out the other end with something maybe that’s brand new, synthesized from your combined thoughts and ideas.

    As it was then on the air, so it is today on social media and your constituents’ doorsteps.

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