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Visiting scholar discusses polarization over energy and climate in Canada: How bad is it? What’s to be done?

Dr. Monica Gattinger

How can Canada chart a positive path for its energy and climate future amid polarization, partisanship and regional differences?

Dr. Monica Gattinger, Director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy, Full Professor at the School of Political Studies and Founder/Chair of Positive Energy at the University of Ottawa, will be delivering an online keynote delving into this topic on Friday, October 16 at 1 p.m. PST.

Gattinger’s talk is presented by Okanagan College’s Department of Political Science, in conjunction with the BC Political Studies Association (BCPSA). The keynote is part of the Annual General Meeting of the BCPSA.

“This talk will examine the nature and extent of polarization over energy and climate issues in Canada, and will explore possible avenues to navigate divisiveness,” says Gattinger. “The key message? There is room for optimism that Canada can align energy and climate imperatives, but there is much to be done to chart a productive path forward.”

Gattinger will draw on research by Positive Energy at the University of Ottawa, a research and engagement programme for which she is the Chair. The program involves extensive public opinion survey work, in-depth studies of energy and environmental leaders’ views, case studies of past efforts to address the challenges, and deep ongoing engagement with policy, regulatory, Indigenous, NGO and industry decision-makers.

“Oil prices underwent some of the wildest swings in Canadian history this summer, hitting extreme lows and even going into negative territory,” notes Dr. Rosalind Warner a professor in the Political Science department at the College.

“The political fallout from these economic shifts, together with a growing concern with the effects of climate change, heightened the divide among Canadians on these issues,” adds Warner. “Dr. Gattinger is one of the leading voices helping us to understand the forces behind polarization, but more importantly, Dr. Gattinger’s research provides room for optimism by identifying ways to bridge these polar divides, and so create a path forward which can lead to progress.”

The keynote and AGM are open to the public. Tickets for the full conference are $27.54 for the public and only $6.32 for students (including all fees), available on Eventbrite here. Proceeds benefit the BCPSA’s Undergraduate Competitions and Student Prizes and Awards.

About Monica Gattinger

Dr. Monica Gattinger is an award-winning researcher and highly sought-after speaker, adviser and media commentator in the energy and arts/cultural policy sectors. Her innovative research programme convenes business, government, Indigenous, civil society and academic leaders to address complex policy, regulatory and governance challenges. She has published widely in the energy and arts/cultural policy fields, with a focus on strengthening decision-making in the context of fast-past technological change and markets, changing social values, and lower levels of trust in governments, industry, science and expertise.

Gattinger is Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and serves on advisory boards for the Institute on Governance, the National Research Council Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, Pollution Probe and the University of Calgary. She Chairs the Editorial Board of the University of Ottawa Press and is a columnist for JWN Energy’s Daily Oil Bulletin. Monica received the 2020 Clean50 Award for her thought leadership in the energy sector. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy from Carleton University.



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