'Encouraged' by removal of Patrick Moore, U of R prof calls for more diversity at conference

While pleased with the decision to remove a controversial climate change skeptic, one University of Regina professor is calling for more diversity among speakers at an upcoming sustainability conference. 

Britt Hall, a biology professor, first raised her concerns about Patrick Moore attending the Reimagine Conference 2020: Roadmap to Sustainable Cities conference when he was announced as one of the event's keynote speakers.

Moore, a former Greenpeace director, disputes that there's a "climate emergency" or that man-made carbon emissions are harmful. His appearance at the event was cancelled by the city on Friday. 

Coun. Mike O'Donnell said the committee organizing the conference wanted to re-shift the focus of the discussion around the event back to sustainability rather than climate change.

Hall said she's pleased with the city's decision to cancel Moore's speech. She was also "encouraged" to see the city wasn't seeking someone to replace Moore's viewpoints on the topic.

"I think that's a real move forward for the committee," Hall said.   

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But she wants to see gender parity and more diversity among the other speakers set to speak at the conference in May.

The City of Regina website for the conference lists five men, including Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme, under its "speakers" category. 

"[It is] not a very diverse slate of speakers," she said. 

O'Donnell said with Moore gone as a speaker, there are now more opportunities to explore additional speakers. 

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He noted that while the keynote speakers may not yet include women, some of the municipalities presenting during the two-day conference will likely have presentations led by women. 

"This opening gives a chance to readjust some of those [keynote speakers], and maybe, can we repeat some of the very meaningful [presentations]," he said. "I know there are some women speaking, I know that… [municipalities] haven't told us who is speaking. We know there are women."

O'Donnell said more information about the agenda will be rolling out in "the coming weeks."