Delta Ottawa City Centre

The Progress Summit is the largest annual progressive politics conference in Canada - dubbed as one of the “most important events on the Ottawa calendar" by iPolitics

Leading thinkers, policy experts and organizers brought together at Progress Summit 2016: Shaping the Future.


Program Schedule

Thursday, March 31

7:00 am - 9:00 pm


1:30 pm - 4:30 pm | Main Ballroom

Organizing 101 featuring Sara El-Amine

Sara El-Amine

Executive Director, Organizing for Action, President Barack Obama’s grassroots organizing movement

Open to all Summit registrants but limited seating; separate sign-up required at no additional cost.

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm | Lift Lounge

Welcome Reception

Hosted by the Government Relations Institute of Canada (GRIC) and Music Canada

8:30 pm

After Parties

Hosted by: Progress Alberta and Vision Vancouver

8:30 pm | Penthouse


Dave Meslin

Creative Director, Unlock Democracy

Friday, April 1

7:00 am - 9:00 pm


7:30 am - 8:45 am

Coffee & Continental Breakfast

8:45 am - 9:15 am

Welcome Remarks

Welcome and Opening Ceremony from First Nations’ Chiefs Kirby Whiteduck and Jean-Guy Whiteduck
A welcome from Ed Broadbent: Shaping the future

9:15 am - 10:15 am | Main Ballroom


Bridging movements: feminism, anti-racism and the intergenerational fight for equality

Gloria Steinem

Feminist author and activist

Q&A with Desmond Cole, Toronto Star columnist
Closing reflections by Michele Landsberg, journalist and feminist

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

10:15 am - 10:30 am

Coffee Break

10:30 am - 11:45 am | Main Ballroom

Morning Sessions

Old Stock: Xenophobia and the Future of Canadian Pluralism

Remarks by:

Jeet Heer

Senior Editor, The New Republic, and 2016 Scotiabank Giller Juror

Response Panel:

Jeet Heer

Haroun Bouazzi

Co-president, Association des Musulmans et des Arabes pour la Laïcité au Québec

Monia Mazigh

National Coordinator, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Moderator: Francine Pelletier, columnist, Le Devoir

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

10:30 am - 11:45 pm | Grand Salon

Morning Sessions

From Campaigner to Legislator: Can You be an Activist on the Inside?

Matthew Green

Hamilton City Councillor

Javier Valdés

Co-Executive Director, Make the Road New York

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet

NDP Housing Critic and MP, Hochelaga

Catherine McKenney

Ottawa city councillor

Moderator: Avi Lewis, filmmaker and journalist


10:30 am - 11:30 am | Penthouse

NationBuilder Master Class - Lead your supporters to action

Peter Wrinch

Director of politics and advocacy for Canada and the Pacific, NationBuilder

Victoria Cross

Community Strategist, NationBuilder


11:45 am - 1:15 pm


Speakers' Lunch (ticketed): Penthouse

Summit Lounge: Electoral lego with Dave Meslin, founder, Unlock Democracy

1:15 pm - 2:30 pm | Main Ballroom

Afternoon Sessions

Increasing Privatization and the Future of Medicare

Remarks by

Dr. Alain Vadeboncoeur

Chief, Emergency Department, Montreal Heath Institute

Response Panel:

Dr. Alain Vadeboncoeur

Ryan Meili

Founder, Upstream

Line Larocque

First vice president, Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec

Moderator: Antonia Maioni, Professor, Department of Political Science and the Institute of Health and Social Policy, McGill University

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

1:15 pm - 2:30 pm | Grand Salon

Afternoon Sessions

Shovel-ready vs Shovel-worthy: Getting Infrastructure Right

Brock Carlton

Chief Executive Officer, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Geoff Meggs

Vancouver City Councillor

Colette Murphy

Executive Director, Atkinson Foundation

Robert Blakely

Canadian Operating Officer, Canada’s Building Trades Unions

Adam Vaughan

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs) and MP, Spadina - Fort York

Moderator: Corey Hogan, Chief Strategy Officer, Northweather


2:30 pm - 2:45 pm

Coffee Break

2:45 pm - 4:00 pm | Main Ballroom

Afternoon Sessions

Turning the Corner on Climate For Real?

Catherine McKenna

Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Shannon Phillips

Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks

Andrea Reimer

Vancouver City Councillor

Moderator: David Akin, Parliamentary Bureau Chief, Sun Media

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm | Penthouse

Up Close and Personal Series

How to Make Persuasive Political Ads with Barack Obama's Ad Maker John Del Cecato

One of the best progressive ad makers in the world, in conversation with Marie Della Mattia, president and CEO of The Now Group


4:00 pm - 4:15 pm

Coffee Break

4:15 pm - 5:15 pm | Main Ballroom


Hope and the Fate of the Left in Europe

Owen Jones

Guardian columnist and best-selling author of The Establishment

Q&A with Elizabeth Renzetti, Globe and Mail columnist

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.


4:15 pm - 5:15 pm | Penthouse

Up Close and Personal Series

The left’s Diversity Failure: Using Brain Science to Understand and Fix the Problem with Shakil Choudhury

In conversation with social justice activist and writer Judy Rebick


5:15 pm– 5:30 pm | Main Ballroom

Remarks by Andrea Horwath, Leader, Ontario NDP

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm | Main Ballroom

Beer and Politics

What the Bernie-Hillary race means for progressive politics

Doors and bar opens at 7pm

Mitch Stewart

Founding Partner, 270 Strategies, and senior strategist, Ready for Hillary Super PAC

Rafael Navar

National Political Director, Communications Workers of America, the largest union in the United States to endorse Bernie Sanders

Sally Kohn

CNN Political Commentator

Moderator: Tim Harper, national affairs columnist and former Washingtion correspondent, Toronto Star

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

9:00 pm

After Parties

Hosted by: Urban Workers Project and Broadbent Institute Quebec

Saturday, April 2

7:00 am - 1:00 pm


7:30 am - 9:00 am

Coffee & Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:25 am | Main Ballroom

Bringing Justice to Indigenous Communities

Cindy Blackstock

Executive Director, First Nations Child Family Caring Society of Canada

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

9:25 am - 9:40 am

Awards Ceremony

Charles Taylor and Olivia Chow announce winners of the Jack Layton Progress Prize and the Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research.

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

9:45 am - 10:45 am


The Responsibility of the Left and Giving the Last Word to Ethics and the Law

Christiane Taubira

Former minister of justice, France

Q&A with Michel Désautels, host, Désautels le dimanche, Radio-Canada

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

9:45 am - 10:45 am | Penthouse

Partner Programming

Urgent Delivery: How Canada Post could catalyze economic and energy transition

Friends of Public Services

10:45 am- 11:00 am

Coffee Break

11:00 am - 12:15 pm | Main Ballroom

The TPP Free-Trade Charade

Michael Geist

Professor of Law, University of Ottawa, and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law

Ianik Marcil

columnist, Journal de Montreal

Pia Eberhardt

researcher, Corporate Europe Observatory

Angella MacEwen

Senior Economist, Canadian Labour Congress

Moderator: Andrew Jackson, Senior Policy Advisor, Broadbent Institute

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

11:00 am - 12:15 pm | Grand Salon

Being green: Can Canada really deliver on clean technology?

Curtis Probst

Managing Director, Rocky Mountain Institute

Celine Bak

CEO, Analytica Advisors

Leah Lawrence

President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Moderator: Tyler Hamilton, journalist


11:00 am - 12:00 pm | Penthouse

Partner Programming

Highlighting the Disability Rights Agenda

Council of Canadians with Disabilities

12:15 pm - 1:45 pm


Lunch with Facebook (Main Ballroom)
Let's Talk Food Policy: Lunch with Food Secure Canada (Penthouse)

1:45 pm - 3:00 pm | Main Ballroom

The Great Debate

Be it Resolved, Canada needs Proportional Representation


Andrew Coyne

columnist, Postmedia News

Alex Himelfarb

former Clerk of the Privy Council


Michelle Rempel

Official Opposition Critic, Immigration, and MP, Calgary Nose Hill

Tasha Kheiriddin

columnist, National Post and iPolitics

Moderator: Evan Solomon, broadcaster and journalist

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm | Penthouse

Partner Programming

Universal child care: What will it take to make it a reality?

National childcare groups

3:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Coffee Break

3:15 pm - 4:30 pm | Main Ballroom

Afternoon Sessions

Progressive Economics in the Age of Inequality and Slow Growth

Remarks by

James Galbraith

Economist, University of Texas

Response Panel:

James Galbraith

Chi Onwurah

UK Labour MP and Shadow Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy

John Horgan

Leader, BC NDP

Moderator: Peter Bleyer, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

3:15 pm - 4:30 pm | Grand Salon

Afternoon Sessions

Securing the Next Generation of Social Programs

Aurélie Lanctôt

Author and journalist

Patrick Turmel

Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Laval

Jane Jenson

Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Montreal

Moderator: Miriam Fahmy, columnist, Journal Métro


3:15 pm - 4:15 pm | Penthouse

Partner Programming

Social Progress and Health: Tools for working across movements


4:30 pm - 5:00 pm | Main Ballroom

Lightning Talks

Shaping the Future: Priorities for a Progressive Agenda

Hosted by Opreet Kang, Manager, Global Connections, Immigrant Employment Council of BC

Sukanya Pillay

Executive Dirctor, Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Tzeporah Berman

Environmental activist

Jagmeet Singh

Deputy Leader, Ontario NDP

Ghislain Picard

Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

Eve-Lyne Couturier

Researcher, Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques

Session will be webcast. Sign up for notifications.

5:00 pm

Closing remarks

Rick Smith

Executive Director, Broadbent Institute