Mandate and Primary ActivitiesThe mandate of the Education and Outreach Committee was to raise public awareness both about the impact of G-7 policies, and about the existence in Halifax of an alternative forum (the P7); and to help build links between the P7 and other groups in the community.
The primary activities which this committee organized were: the design and mailing out of pamphlets; the three popular education workshops on issues relating to the G-7; the three 20 minute educational activities, presented during the monthly People's Forums during the Spring; and the kick-off picnic. The P7 communique was an idea that emerged within this committee, but was eventually overseen by a separate working group. The June 10th picnic was this committee's last activity, and so the committee wound up operations at the time that the People's Summit opened.
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Workshop SeriesThree public workshops were held on Saturday mornings at the North Branch Library:
Formats used included: role playing, video presentation, simulation game, and open discussion and debate.
- How is our quality of life affected by the G-7? (April 29)
- Deficit Cutting: What is the agenda of the G-7? (May 13)
- Sustainable development or the G-7 agenda? (May 27)
Each workshop was deemed to be successful. However, there was some disappointment concerning a lower than expected turn-out. Part of this was a result of a lack of early publicity (public service announcements, for instance, were sent out too late for the first workshop). Nevertheless, more interest from the various groups working with the P7 had been expected. Perhaps a more active campaign of recruitment and pre-registration might have helped here.
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The PicnicThe June 10th kick-off picnic was organized by a sub-committee of the Education and Outreach Committee, and was conceived as a fun, family oriented social event. This was a large undertaking made possible due to the efforts of a large number of volunteers which went beyond the membership of the Education and Outreach Committee. Luckily, the weather was perfect, and the turn-out was large . By all accounts, this was a highly successful event, and a good, energizing start to the week of the People's Summit.
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Problems and Set-backsMany of the original ideas concerning what the Committee might be able to do had to be abandoned due to limited human and financial resources. These ideas included: the development of information packs, fact sheets, and/or video presentations on the G-7, for use in popular education activities; and the active development of links with other grass-roots organizations in the community (e.g. by making presentations in schools, churches, etc.). Even the educational activities presented at the People's Forum ended up being more entertainment than popular education on specific issues relating to the G-7 (with guest speakers and so on), again due mainly to lack of time for preparations.
top of documentThe Accommodations Committee was lucky. It was formed much later than it should have been; and even had it been formed earlier, the limited supply of accommodation available in Halifax would likely already have been eaten up by the G-7. - Not to mention that funds for booking rooms were also extremely limited.
A few spaces were acquired in bed & break- fasts and university dormitories, and a good deal of effort was put into recruiting billets (Thanks to all those who offered billets!). This provided enough spaces to establish a "last resort" policy; i.e., come to us if you can't find anything on your own, or through your host organization. An information sheet was compiled to help people make their own searches, as this task was beyond the means of the 4 (then 3) woman committee.
Fortunately, most visitors were taken care of by their host organizations, and the rest were able to find rooms or billets through us.
Unfortunately, however,the lack of interest in camping meant we were unable to direct anyone to the tent city in Africville.
Other than this, our problems were pretty stan- dard; too few people to do too much work, a late start, little money, and no idea how many people we'd need to find accommodation for.
A fairly serious problem arose when all calls regarding accommodations inquiries had to be handled through one of the homes of the committee members, making it "accommodations central", and making it impossible to delegate work.
However, we, like the rest of the committees actually managed to fulfill our function (we sometimes had our doubts), and somehow, the P7 actually came off. I don't know how we did it, but we did...