Order of Canada members, youth leaders stop for Island Walrus Talk

Fredericton Walrus Talks event includes 2 N.B. writers

Charlottetown is the next stop on the Walrus Talks national tour, bringing Islanders together with Order of Canada members and youth leaders to talk about how to make a better country.

Shelley Ambrose is the executive director and publisher of Walrus Magazine, the publication which organizes the events. She said this tour is using the Canada 150 celebrations, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Order of Canada as platforms for conversations.

"We decided that the members of the Order of Canada are kind of like our elders and they have a lot of wisdom to impart," Ambrose told CBC's Mainstreet P.E.I.

8 speakers, 7 minutes each

"But for the next 150 years, it won't be them running the country, it will be our young people. So we chose 100 talkers, 50 members of the order of Canada and 50 youth leaders."

Using the Order of Canada's Desiderantes meliorem patriam motto, which translates to "We desire a better country," the Charlottetown Walrus Talk will otherwise be formatted as usual. There will be eight speakers who will each take the stage for seven minutes.

Ambrose said this special tour features four Order of Canada members and four youth leaders at each stop.

Event followed by 'speaker petting zoo'

Islands will get a chance to hear people like actor Graham Greene, author and War Child Canada founder Samantha Nutt, member of the Prime Minister's Youth Council Chris Zhou and agroecology PhD student Jeff Liebert.

Rounding out the lineup is Clifton van der Linden, founder and CEO of Vox Pop Labs, writer David Helwig, international speaker and artist Teyotsihstokwáthe Dakota Brant, as well as author Charlotte Gray.

Ambrose said the talks are always followed by a "raucous reception" and what she calls "the speaker petting zoo," filled with conversation between the audience members and speakers.

"Canada is such a diverse country, and I don't mean just diversity of people. It's regionally diverse, geographically diverse. Whitehorse is not like Charlottetown and St. John's is not like Winnipeg and the arctic is not like anywhere else," she said.

'Our job is to get people thinking'

"So, this idea of bringing people that are from the spot we're in and then bringing people from away and hearing all of these different perspectives, your brain is just sort of on fire all the time."

In partnership with the Canadian Heritage department, the event is free. Ambrose said they wanted the event to be free and accessible for all Canadians.

"The way we look at it is we want the audience to leave thinking, 'I never thought of it that way.' Our job is to get people thinking."

The Walrus Talk is happening Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Confederation Centre of Arts. Tickets can be ordered via Eventbrite.

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