Participant Evaluations

The 52 Evaluation Sheets are collated here

1. One thing I found useful about this Symposium...

Knowledgeable speakers.  Met new people of similar views
The ability to network with like-minded people
A congregation of thinking, knowledgeable people is encouraging.
Introduction of workshops in the morning session.  Keynote speaker provided sound context.
There is widespread shared concern about abuse of power by the PM/PMO.
Diversity of ideas.
Suggested actions/collaborations.
To hear people speaking about all the things I’ve been thinking.
Learning more about cross party co-operation.
I realize I need to learn more about financial, fiscal and monetary policy.
Shared information on what different people are doing.
New resources and ideas.
Others are concerned about our democracy reduction.
It’s gratifying to know there are some progressive people in the GTA who are interested in democracy change.
All speakers x 2
Many useful bits of information. Great support for PR.
People of good will can have a meeting of minds to effect grassroots change vs tinkering with parliament.
We are all reading from the same pages.
Keynote speaker - very thorough and workshops.
Great speakers.
Speakers open our eyes to deepness of the problem.
Meeting others who feel the same as I do.
Connecting with others who like myself want to reclaim our democracy NOW - SOON.
Hope with the possibility of increased public involvement and pressure for “people’s” interests.
Hearing the Thoughts of many will eventually lead to the solution.
Breadth of info, speakers.
It was a wealth of information.
The breakdown back to back about what Harper has done and changed to the detriment of Canada from the main guest speaker.
Good - educational.
Hearing the thee speakers address the audience before the lunch break so you had a chance to form questions, etc. and get an idea of the other speakers.
Notes taken and shared.
Nice to see so many people interested.
Networking, new contacts, communicating with like-minded individuals.
The presentations were good.  The musical interlude was good.
Lots of additional info and talking points when speaking to others.
The afternoon discussion.  Education - finding out some suggestions on how to fix this mess.
Panel’s different approaches to topic.
All the people who came and the connections I made.
Communing with progressive-minded people who are committed to a democratic Canada.
Discussing the issues - joining forces.
Excellent speakers.
Learning about other groups also involved in these issues.  Seeing activists as concerned as I am about the state of Canadian democracy.
Trivial maybe but a well organized kitchen! 
Exchange of ideas, the germ of a plan to oust Harper. (All was useful and very thought-provoking.
The gathering itself - inspiring?  Please give us summary presented by last speaker.
Sharing of ideas and information - spirit - a real boost to the morale - organization and creativity.
The great speakers.
Great to meet/see/hear so many other people actively engaged and involved in addressing justice issues in our communities.

2. One thing I found not useful about this Symposium...

Discussion sessions
The afternoon breakout session was too short.  In our case, the seeker talked for 25 minutes and time for group discussion was reduced.
More than one mike for questions
The usual lack of planning for specific actions to achieve the goals.
Talk without action plan.
Tendency for well-intentioned individuals to monopolize the group.
All useful - Congratulations!
People need to learn how to use a microphone!!
Speakers, presentations could have been longer.
Diffuse discussion in this session.
Speakers listing the warts but no solutions and apparently wanting to tinker not change.
General information made available.
Group with Nick kept bringing in other outside issues.
Afternoon small groups needed stronger guidance.
Not enough on changing our system or how others (80 countries) changed theirs.
Group discussions in splinter groups lead to too many fragmented issues - keep topic narrow.
Not developing a clear focus for us so that we do what must come next.
Not enough opportunity to speak.
Part of the Q and A portion in the seminars.  Became frustrating at lack of knowledge/purpose/organization of thoughts vs actions.
We were rushed through he afternoon session upstairs only to find the downstairs group still in session.
I wish we had some concrete actions to reflect on and choose from.
We did not accomplish the goal, sidetracked by political differences.
Discussion was ended too soon.
A lot of talk but need more action - “echo chamber”
Not facilitated towards action - I wonder if that would have been possible though.
Would like to see a written summary.
Report back session - mind-numbing litany.  Better to ask each report back group to give back its key 1 - 3 points.
Echo chamber - dissenting viewpoints were shut out - a “right-wing” true progressiveness is accepting whichever policies will help even if not “left-wing.”

3. The strengths of this Symposium includes ...

Participants interested.   Touch of humour with G & S
Quality of the speakers 
Great choice of speakers.  Great lunch and snacks.
Attracted strong speakers but also diverse participants with much to share.
Well informed speakers.  Opportunity for networking.
Skilled, knowledgeable speakers.
People from many different backgrounds
Great organizers and participants.
Group discussions.
Cross group participation
Excellent speakers
Ability to network with like-minded individuals.
Interesting speakers - great subject.
Spirit and commitment.
Participants - good dialogue.
People knowledgeable and passionate.
Exchange of ideas.
Interaction among groups.
The day was extremely well planned and very productive.
Great information - a chance to meet different people.
Good participants with energy and ideas.
Well organized.  Good speakers, food and locale.
Guest speakers, meeting others with similar interests.  Food was very good, nice location.  Loved the musical number and Tina’s summary at the end of the day.
Hearing what is wrong with our government; and what good government could look like and how to encourage others to act.  Bonnie Brown helped me the mot because she knows how to do good government!
Great speakers.  Variety of ideas discussed.  Great opportunity for networking.
The speakers - variety.
New ideas.
The opportunity to meet others of similar mind and learn from excellent speakers.  I thought it went very well and I really liked the plan for the day.
Most people are on the same page - high caliber of speakers and audience.
Good speakers.  Good organization.
Information Sharing, contacts.
Good speakers, good food, good venue.
The speakers - especially of course Laurence Marin and Bonnie Bron.  Chance to talk with like-minded people.
Strong speakers - thanks.
Creating a space for common minds to come together and feel part of a larger movement.
The passion of speakers and registrants.  The belief in our ability to influence change.
Great speakers, beautiful venue, amazing food very well organized.
Speakers who made the situation clear.
The marvellous summary by Tina Agrell
Program well-balanced and run smoothly.  Ample, good food.  The inevitable learning.
Good speakers - Martin Hennessey and Brown were all fantastic.
Informative presentations.  Well managed dialogue.  Opportunities to network.

4.   Something I would change about the Symposium...

At the start clarify what the deliverables will be at the end of the day - and who/how they will be accomplished.
Increase ways of networking personally.
Not accessible for all small groups.
Resolutions or Action Plan
Good balance as it is.
Put web sites mentioned up on the flip chart for people to see i.e. Council of Canadians, COMER, FairVote.  Also videos that can help us.
Content of presentations was good; videos to support were hard to see.
Have facilitators in small groups.
More open discussions with speakers less with “table talk.”:
Next session in Toronto.
More emphasis on how to effect change and for hat objectives.
Better process for arriving at actions.
More on changing the system.  Not sure Harper only problem.  Same situation very likely with any majority government when all have to toe the line.
Short introduction of people at each table to find others with things in common.
Control the amount of time that individuals can talk.
The groups for discussion should be smaller to facilitate more voices being heard.
Groups were too big.
Have a smaller break-out session following the thee groups gathering.
At the end I wish the discussion had continued to see if a concrete action might be proposed.  But Ms Brown was wise.  Maybe we are not ready.
Would have had more discussion about action items at the end.
Less speakers, more open space, more dialogue and ability to contribute.
Increase speaking times for panel members
Facilitated group discussion.
Have written comments by each participant for ideas for action.  Plan for follow-up meetings 
How can we connect with participants of this forum?  Names listed good but limited.  Steering Cttee e-mails - list?
More at a public forum - perhaps implement debate that forces people to explore ideas they may not agree with personally.  Harper bashing at every turn isn’t productive.  He has some legitimate policy positions and we should recognize that he is doing what he thinks is best for Canada, even if we don’t agree.

5.   Feedback about the venue...

Excellent x 16
Lovely!  The sunlight was a problem.  But getting here is hard and breakout rooms not accessible x 2.
Great x5
Sunlight through windows creates uneven temperature/poor visibility of screen (wrong time of year?) X 5
Good venue x 3
Good location, parking, etc.  Food excellent.
Great facility ut off the beaten path for the poor who rely on transit from outlying areas e.g. Brampton.
Ideal place x 2
Nice bright venue, great location, easy to get to.  More people would require a larger venue.
Great location, lots of parking, very amenable.
It was a beautiful venue.  The paper divider wall between the groups was not adequate for noise.
Beautiful - Main space is excellent and open kitchen.  Upstairs - divider made it hard to her because of two groups.
A great location - large and bright room.  Break out rooms upstairs were noisy between the two rooms, but we made it work.
Very nice.
Very good but main room got very uncomfortable for some
Other than sun always being in my eyes, I liked the space.
I loved it - the light, the design, eco-friendliness.
Splendid in every way.
Excellent facilities - mtg. Rooms, kitchen, etc.  Great example of sustainable     planning.  Accessible easy to get to via road or public transit.

6.   Feedback about Lawrence Martin’s address...

First class - willing to stay and discuss with attendees
Excellent! X 7  (very enlightening with good facts)(very informative & engaging.
Learned much I did not know.
Set the stage well.
Well informed, dynamic, factual.
Excellent - want to have a look at his book
Good - added detail re his book (which I read)
Very interesting to hear a journalist who agrees with us.
Very good.
A treat to hear the opinions of a seasoned professional.
Excellent background.
Useful review, though we knew it already - depressing but motivating to try to bring about change.
More suggestions for solutions would be helpful.
Informative and interesting - could have been longer.
Depressing but very good.
Funny, informative - his talk was well planned with good examples and a reminder to us all of our losses - small and large to our democracy.
Excellent list of warts of ruling parties.  But change ideas except musical chairs.  Yet he is a powerful communicator.
Excellent - do have another.
Good speaker - very informative.
Superb, informative.
Very informative, would love to hear him speak further.  Interested in reading his books.  Great seeing the media perspective.
He gave us HOPE!
Well done summary of main points.
His years of expertise make him a wonderful resource.
It was fascinating to see all the things I knew laid out in one big list.  There were some good examples of food for thought.
Made me angry! I believe that we as a group need a way to alleviate the tension when confronted by the angst a list of negatives cause.
Excellent presentation and some information I as not aware of.
A fine speaker; lots of ammunition against the Harper Govt.
Good history.  I think he’s not aware of the connections between economics and democracy.
Thought his comments re including people of all parties to renew democratic process.
Good speaker, lots of interesting info.  All things I have heard before.
Good summary of his book with interesting asides.
A first-rate account of the Harper government’s assault on democracy in Canada.  The attack on different aspects of checks and balances made an excellent framework for the talk.
Summarized the issues but gave no hints for tackling them.
He dismissed my point about Quebec participation in the VAAZ organization against the proposed treaty with China as an opposition to China, whereas I see it s opposition to the terms of the treaty.  Is there some way we can address the problem of governmental power to commit all citizens to disadvantageous treaty terms?
Excellent outline of the outrage of current disrespect for the democratic process.
Excellent precis of current concerns about unravelling of democratic practice.
Thank you!  A remarkable summary.

7. Break-out session:

Trish Hennessey: Economic Inequality

Educational - good participation.  Trish very knowledgeable
Very good
Key points - she knows Canadian history and Canadian values.  Directions and objectives for the group might have been more specific.
Trish is excellent - good background
More direction for topics of discussion might have been useful
Good ideas and some action suggested.
Good discussion in group.
Content excellent but not enough time for table feedback and we would have liked to have her come to our table.
Good input.
Useful information shared re resources and ideas to communicate concerns to public.
Informative and really stirred up the pot intellectually wise.
Trish was good - more information than in a.m. would have liked her to circulate more.  I think she only hit one table.  Tables can be hijacked by one vocal person with one idea.  Would have liked more general questions to the speaker - that’s much more useful and informative.
Fulfilled expectation.
(individual changed groups) more substance here.
Well organized.

Nick Filmore - Cooperating for Canada

Very good
A bit scattered but with a few good ideas
Fragmented - wanted to hear Nick speak further.
This did not go far enough.  We didn’t talk enough about how to fix the government.
Very pleased especially with Nick’s point of view on action and neo liberalism.
Many great comments - great education.
The speakers were speaking over one another.  It could have been better organized.
He had interesting information, unfortunately the audience wanted to talk that his
“Ideas” were not fully explored.
Need to get active.
Interesting discussion - learned about the huge new umbrella organization fronted by Council of Canadians to address these issues.
Nick is very aware of groups and actions current.
We chose to stay in large group.  Perhaps it is harder to get focussed but we did okay I think.  Harder to get to actions - we don’t know what to do about our dilemma.
Waste of time mostly, nothing was accomplished or agreed upon.
The Common Causes is a good idea, but the facilitation of the group could have been better.  The recorder ran off with (his?/ her?) own agenda.
Interactive(?)  and participatory but rather fragmented and often strayed from issue/intended focus of the day.
(Individual moved from Bonnie to Nick) - seemed too futile Nick’s moe looking at the roots of the problem

Bonnie Brown - How Parliament Could Work

Slow start because someone wanted to pull it off topic.  Still I found it interesting and am so encouraged that people want to do something.
Bonnie’s information about guidelines and traditions for Federal Government processes were very enlightening - need this to be better understood by public i.e. all ages need education re above.
I was confused about what the goal was.  Bonnie did a lot of talking, I was hoping others could have talked more.
(one person left to go to Nick’s as it was felt things were too futile.)
Many people at this session wanted to discuss the failings of the nomination process for candidates at the riding association level, and the ability of the party leaders to interfere in this process.  This was not the intent of this break-out session.  Nevertheless there as some good discussion on Parliament, including proportional representation.
Bonnie’s insider knowledge useful - realising speakers could reinforce rules already in place.
Too dominated by the speaker and her agenda.
A bit of wheel spinning at first, but good facilitation.

8. As a result of this Symposium, I feel more knowledgeable about issues impacting democracy in Canada:

Yes x 43

No x 1

Uncertain x 3 (I have read a lot already)(so much I need to learn to hone my own personal plan for action)

9. I would like to connect with others in my community who are also addressing democracy:

Yes      x    33
No    X   2 (one already knew)
Considering   x   1
Contact - see contact sheet   x   11
Already have connection x 2  
Already a member of RODC x 1

10. One way that I will be working to make our action plan a reality ...

Talk about the benefits of progressive taxation and higher corporate taxation to friends and neighbours.
Attending open meetings of RODC.  Researching information tip from today. 
Volunteering to assist in grassroots action.
Need more collective time to work on this.  Too many people with their own agendas.
Monitoring developments for the “big coalition” facilitated by Council of Canadians.
Bringing ideas to political party meetings/blogs
I am joining RODC.
Trying to get people to understand need for tax revision.
Through our Guelph chapter of Council of Canadians, Fair Vote and conversation cafes.
In my community to raise awareness bout the importance of government services and the need for taxation to pay for them.
Talk to and enlist my own colleagues.
Work with Council of Canadians.
Within the riding association and with friends.
More work on PR.
Writing, blogs, tweets, FB and my groups.
Communicating to my peers, friends and neighbours.
Keeping in close touch with RODC.
Check into Council of Canadians - sounds good.
Communicating with MP and local riding.
Talking to others about this issue.
Letting others know about RODC.
Will join Council of Canadians and vote liberal if necessary in my riding to oust Joe Oliver.
Working with COC, continuing my own research.  Possibly doing volunteer wotk with “One Big Campaign”
Self education and will join Council of Canadians.
Joining the Council of Canadians and continuing to support Fair Vote Canada.
Educate youth.  Join Council of Canadians.
Join the Council of Canadians and follow the movement of the new organization.
Working with my own support groups.
Running forums on Democracy in congregations across Canada.
We do not have an action plan so this is irrelevant.
I will encourage Science for Peace to join Common Causes.
See if I can play a helpful role with RODC.
I work for a library.  I am looking at ways to promote information - e.g. factual research or party platforms (nonpartisan) for next election.
Organizing a Democracy Summit - get more engaged with the movement.
Talking to people in my community.
Trying to build alliances with/thru COC, education, social networking/organizing and attending rallies.
Searching fo some common approach involving the Liberals and the NDP to bring together progressive voters.
Talking to others in various groups.
Work to get my organizations to join “Common Causes”
Participate in tasks recommended in follow-up.  Spread the word in my network - Council of Canadians Peel, Peel Poverty Action Group. Canadian Peace Initiative.

Other comments:

Feeling encouraged.  I am not the only one feeling frustrated.  A posting on the Blog of events in community of similar interest - speakers, documentaries, etc.
Promote RODC better - more widely.  Well organized - food.  Promote People’s Citizenship Guide: A Response to Conservative Canada by Elysitt Janes and Adele Perry.  
Put the Gilbert and Sullivan on Youtube x 2
Well organized.  Informative.  Motivating.
Wasn’t feeling well but still found it interesting.
Please circulate the following to all attendees:
As a chapter rep for Council of Canadians Guelph, I am sorry we did not have a table of info here.
           Come to Guelph?  We need to do this there for K/W, Cambridge and Guelph.
Do it again next year.
Well organized, kept to time.
It was a great day.  Kudos to RODC for their first Symposium - big success!
Many, many thanks.  Can I help you more?
I would like my political party (policy committee) to read the final report of this Symposium.
Would like to be on an e-mail chain to be alerted to events, issues in our communities, guest speakers, etc.   Have a once a month meeting and encourage members of RODC to bring a friend - invite different speakers to create awareness.
Don’t let this Die! We can DO this!
More Symposiums for evolving ideas.
We need to be better at turning ideas into action.
Congratulations to the Planning Committee!  Great Symposium.  Please put Tina’s summation on the website.
Thank you for bringing us together.
Well done -  congratulations to all.
Great job - Thanks! I understand the desire for clear action statements ut we may still be t the education and opinion gathering stage.
Groups were too big.  Have online registration if you want to engage young people.
Thanks for organizing his symposium.
Thank you for all the hard, loving work you all did.  It’s wonderful to be with so many committed people who care about Canada.
Thank you to the organizers for all your work in planning this event.  And many thanks to JudyR for keeping me updated and inviting me to participate.