by Lindsay Wiginton 23/06/2012
As the second day of ICRPS closes, it feels as if we’ve been here for ages already, given all of the learning, bonding, and engaging we’ve already done.
Yesterday, we packed in a lot of sessions, as we had to hear from our Montreal guest speakers before the holiday weekend began. Today, we took a few steps back academically and attempted to frame and theorize the ICRPS summer school and comparative rural policy in general.
We heard from Bill Reimer and Bruno Jean about the basic state of rural affairs in Canada and in Québec. Especially for those who are not from the province or the country, this was an important start to the discussion.
Next, Judith Stallman took us through a neat group activity that reminded us that policy is very different from one jurisdiction to the next, and that we should constantly question why we do things the way we do. She also engaged us in a very intense discussion about the definition of “government,” reminding us that this is a blurry, dynamic concept!
Finally, John Bryden and Ray Bollman provided some frameworks for thinking about policy, rural policy and comparative rural policy. The overlaps and contrasts in their presentations provided a lot of food for thought. It’s already clear that in ICRPS, there’s as much learning to be done from discussion than from formal presentations!
Speaking of food for thought, our day ended with a fabulous picnic at the Atwater market orchestrated by our amazing organisers – Sam, Luc, Anais, Lesley and Bill. Participants didn’t have it all laid out for us, though – we had to purchase our own meals by speaking with producers and learning about where the food came from, what the relationships are between producers and distributors, and what policies affect their enterprise. In groups of seven amid the Saturday crowds at the market, this was no small task! But, in the end,everyone had more than enough delicious food to eat and had learned a lot. My personal favourite new discovery were a tiny sour green fruit introduced to us by Mika – I forget the name now, so if anyone can remind me that would be great
It’s an interesting time for all of us to be in Montreal, between the heat and humidity, the student movement presence and the festive air on this St-Jean weekend. I think we’re all looking forward to another busy day together tomorrow.
Photos by Bill Reimer
Lindsay Wiginton grew up in a small town in southeastern Ontario, Canada. She holds an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering where she specialised in municipal and environmental design. Following a desire to engage more deeply with people and policy, she is now I the process of completing a Master’s in urban planning at McGill University. Lindsay’s planning focuses include community engagement, immigration and diversity, and rural/regional planning. Recently, she co-led a five-month community planning exercise in the small village of Mansonville, Québec. Her Master’s research project, which is currently underway, investigates the changes and challenges associated with new, employer-driven immigration to small communities across Canada. She has worked as a student planner with MMM Group Limited, a private consulting firm, and the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, where she engaged in exciting regional planning projects.