Home Leaders in politics, journalism, and the arts announced as speakers for the inaugural Charlottetown Forum

Leaders in politics, journalism, and the arts announced as speakers for the inaugural Charlottetown Forum

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July 13, 2023 – Passes are now available for the inaugural Charlottetown Forum – a national event that brings together artists, leaders, and the public to convene for discussions on matters of importance to Canadians.

Meeting at Confederation Centre of the Arts next to the site of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, the Charlottetown Forum seeks to promote open learning and sharing of diverse perspectives about the evolving identity of Canada. The Forum is part of the Centre’s wider revitalization plan, which includes the creation of a national culture leadership institute housing new spaces for the creation of art, cultural learning, and public discourse.

This year’s event features three panel discussions and public roundtables on the topics of immigration, economic reconciliation, and finding shared national narratives in a fractured time. Panelists are identified below and include leaders from politics, journalism, and the arts.

“As Canada continues to learn and grow, Confederation Centre of the Arts has a duty to do the same. Leadership is about listening and genuinely considering perspectives other than our own,” says Centre CEO Steve Bellamy. “The Charlottetown Forum is an opportunity for the Centre to demonstrate its role as a convenor for the interpretation of an evolving Canada; at a time of increasing divisiveness, we are providing opportunities for intercultural understanding, and learning from one another, so that we can make real progress on real issues.”

The inaugural Forum is presented and curated by Confederation Centre of the Arts, in collaboration with senior curatorial advisor Devyani Saltzman, a Canadian writer, curator, and arts leader in-depth experience in multidisciplinary programming at the intersection between art, ideas, and social change.

“The Charlottetown Forum is an incredible opportunity to bring Canadians together for important conversations on how we can move forward together as a country,” says Saltzman. “We are thrilled to facilitate these engaging discussions with this impressive group of speakers, all of whom are leaders in their fields.”

The Charlottetown Forum will be held at Confederation Centre of the Arts on November 9 and 10, 2023, following the Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture on November 8. Passes are on sale now to Centre members, and to the public on Saturday, July 15. A Forum pass is $50 (plus taxes and fees), or $25 (plus taxes and fees) for students, and can be purchased online at confederationcentre.com, via phone at 1-800-565-0278, or in person at the Centre’s box office.


Newcomers, Immigration, and the Needs of a Rapidly Changing National Community
Canada consistently ranks as one of the most desirable destinations of immigrants and refugees from around the world, and our federal immigration policy includes 500,000 newcomers arriving by 2025. This rapid shift in immigration creates swift demographic change, opportunity, and increased diversity, but newcomers face challenges like lack of housing and affordability. This panels dives into Canada’s immigration systems, the challenges faced by newcomers, and what belonging and integration looks like in a rapidly changing nation.

Nicholas Keung, immigration reporter for the Toronto Star
Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville

Moderator: Elamin Abdelmahmoud, journalist and author

Economic Reconciliation
Eight years after the 2015 final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the continued economic disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous prosperity continues to persist. Economic reconciliation refers to the economic redress of historical injustices to Indigenous peoples, and this panel will discuss the growing field focused on increasing intergenerational wealth creation and prosperity in Indigenous communities.

Kateri Coade, executive director of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. (Abegweit First Nation)
Jonathan Davey, vice president of Indigenous financial services at Scotiabank (Haudenosaunee from the Lower Cayuga First Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River / non-Indigenous descent)
Keith Martell, former CEO of First Nations Bank of Canada

Moderator: Harvey McCue (Waubageshig), consultant specializing in Indigenous issues (Anishnabe from the Georgina Island First Nation)

Shared National Narratives in a Fractured Time
In a quickly changing global landscape, including rising populism, the war in Ukraine, and a domestic landscape seeking recovery post-pandemic, Canada is negotiating its own story both at home and on the world stage. What is our collective identity, if any, and whose stories do we tell? In a moment of changing dominant narratives, new policies that legislate Canadian content, rebranding as a clean energy leader, and shifting foreign policy, we delve into our national narratives and what they may look like going forward.


Shamira Madhany,Managing and Deputy Director, of WES, a global education service firm
Naheed Nenshi, political commentator and former mayor of Calgary
Tanya Talaga, journalist and author
Jesse Wente, journalist, author, and chair of the board of the Canada Council for the Arts

Additional speakers will be announced soon. Visit confederationcentre.com/charlottetownforum for more information on the Charlottetown Forum.

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Media Contact: Emily McMahon, Communications Manager, Confederation Centre of the Arts
[email protected] | 902-628-6135