Last Tuesday I attended a talk at the Brookings Institute - a DC based non-profit think tank - titled US Alberta Energy Relations: A Conversation with Allison Redford. I attended with the full intention of having a conversation about Tar Sands extraction and the climate consequences with Premier Allison Redford - the lead government official from Alberta, Canada. When I arrived I quickly realized that I was not going to be having a conversation with anyone. In this form of "conversation" the Brookings Institute asks audience participants to write down their questions on a card that get passed up, then a woman chooses which questions get asked and the Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Association, Daniel Yergin get's to talk to Premier Redford about the question.
|My viewpoint looking at Premier Redford and Alex Yergin|
According to the dictionary the definition of conversation is "The informal exchange of ideas by spoken words." Instead of having a conversation -which by everyone's connotation implies an exchange of ideas with voices - the Brooking Institute chose to assault and kick-out anyone who sought to use their voices to have a real conversation with Premier Allison Redford. By the end of my time at the hearing, I would be assaulted by security guards and removed from the room for attempting a conversation about the climate impacts of tar sands extraction and proliferation. Here's the video and below is my story. Here's a link to a major news outlet that covered "the interruption." Here's a link to the entire conversation via webcast made available by the Brookings Institute.