By Chevi Rabbit, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Brooks Arcand-Paul, born and raised on Alexander First Nation is currently the in-house legal counsel for his home community and vice president of Indigenous Bar Association. Arcand-Paul was selected to participate in a study group which is part of the prestigious Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference (GGCLC).
The goal of the GGCLC is to broaden the perspectives of future leaders in business, unions and public administration, provide an opportunity for them to examine the relationship between industry and the community around it, and enhance their leadership qualities.
“I am really hoping to look at the role industry plays within Indigenous communities but also the role we have as potential leaders to work with our communities and expand our experiences,” said Arcand-Paul. He said that his GGCLC group will be studying issues related to Nunavut.
He explained, “One of the main elements of getting into the conference was focusing on how systemic racism operates in Canada and how we can dismantle that system because that is what we as Indigenous folks struggle with, in these spaces. We don’t really have the opportunity to talk about the systems that perpetuate racism.”
Arcand-Paul was selected as a member of the 2020 leadership conference however as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Conference was postponed to June 2022. To fill the gap between the onset of the pandemic and the 2022 Conference, the GGCLC launched a virtual presentation program with prominent Canadian leaders as guest speakers “to share their thoughts/perspectives on topics that have, are, and will continue to impact Canadians as we look forward to the future.”
The 2020 GGCLC participants, including Arcand-Paul will now join the 2022 leadership conference, scheduled to meet in Ontario for a three-day Opening Plenary Session from June 3-5, 2022. The theme for the 2022 GGCLC is Leadership for the Future.
Members will be addressed at the plenary by high-profile Canadian and international speakers on key issues that provide focus and substance to the Conference theme. Sessions will be organized to prepare members for participation in one of sixteen study groups.
The members of each study group will work together to explore first-hand the relationships between leadership and community, and the individual members will share their own beliefs, values and preconceptions.
Each study group will then travel to a set location and spend nine days observing and debating their findings. The locations for the tours have been selected because of their potential usefulness as learning sites.
At the close of each day, participants will meet with their fellow group members to discuss the issues that are raised during the day. These lengthy sessions will allow intensive exchanges of opinion among peers with vastly different backgrounds. The emphasis in these debates is not placed on finding solutions to the issues raised, but rather on increasing the members’ personal exposure to the views and perspectives of others.
All study groups will meet again in Ottawa from June 15-17. Each group will prepare a report reflecting their perceptions and insights on the complex concerns of the communities they have visited, and presents its findings to Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General, Mary Simon and other members of the Conference.
The purpose of the study group reports is to record members’ reactions to the key issues highlighted by the study tours in the context of the conference theme and to comment on the lessons learned to the full conference. These reports are not intended as criticisms or calls for action, rather they are intended to provide all conference members with an opportunity to share some of the key experiences and observations of each study tour group.
Conference organizers explain that through fifteen days of engaging presentations, exploratory visits and meaningful conversations, the 2022 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference will study the role that leaders play in addressing today’s challenges in order to stimulate sustainable change and build a promising future for all.
“As part of this examination, new and collaborative decision-making systems that draw upon wider skills, networks, and a deep understanding of local conditions will be explored. Disruptive technologies that have impacted many of Canada’s core industries and their workforces will be experienced first-hand. Throughout the Conference, participants will have the chance to meet, exchange and debate with Canadians from all walks of life – people who are dedicated to building a prosperous, resilient, diverse and inclusive culture for the organizations and communities of tomorrow.
“In the words of our Governor General Mary Simon, “we are all members of a large and diverse Canadian family.” Collectively, we have to replace “hurt with hope” and “find the grace and humility to stand together and move toward a more just and equitable future.” This is what the next generation of leadership is all about and we look forward to exploring the country and its future with our exceptional group of GGCLC leaders in June of 2022.”