Moncton, February 6, 2019 – The next Public Dialogue organized by Dialogue New Brunswick will take place on March 21st in Miramichi, a Dialogue Community since November 1, 2018. The City of Miramichi is strengthening its action plan in favour of social cohesion. In this regard, Dialogue NB has been assisting the City, which, together with its partners, is seizing all available opportunities to hold meetings and discussions with local residents so each community member feels listened to, understood and accepted.
Dialogue New Brunswick will organize its first Public Dialogue of the year in Miramichi. Opened to everyone, this event, which will take place on March 21st at 6 pm at Carrefour Beausoleil, is part of a long-term action plan. A Dialogue Community since November 1, 2018, Miramichi has been seizing all available opportunities, including organizing discussions, public meetings and student exchanges, for community members to meet, talk and build the city of tomorrow together, regardless of their age, language or culture. In this regard, Dialogue New Brunswick is providing key assistance. The City is relying on a network of longstanding committed partners working to promote new ways of living together. They include Carrefour Beausoleil, the Miramichi Chamber of Commerce, Miramichi Regional Multicultural Association, and the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.
The issues at hand are certainly daunting! Over the years, Miramichi has welcomed a wide array of cultures, including First Nations, Acadians, Irish and Scottish. In more recent years, they have been joined by growing numbers of newcomers from around the world. The City intends to use its diversity as more than means of defining its identity: it will also serve as a strategic driver of social and economic development.
” We want to be proactive “
Miramichi’s mayor, Adam Lordon, explains: “Everyone who decides to live in Miramichi should feel at
home, listened to and respected! Even though most community members share this sense of open-mindedness, with the current provincial climate we want to be proactive in bringing people together for a conversation, and bringing down barriers through dialogue! »
Putting together a dialogue committee
“In practical terms, Dialogue NB is providing on-the-ground assistance by mapping out a solid long-term strategy and providing organizational tools, advice and ongoing support,” explains Nadine Duguay-Lemay, Dialogue NB’s Chief Executive Officer.
During the initial stage of the Dialogue Community program, Miramichi appointed its Dialogue Leader: Craig Silliker, who also serves as Executive Director of the Miramichi Regional Multicultural Association. With the assistance of Dialogue NB, in particular during the training day held back on November 17, Mr. Silliker is tasked with putting together a social cohesion committee and undertaking community-level initiatives. According to Mr. Silliker, “The committee will be discussing needs and challenges specific to the community of Miramichi. We will also be undertaking initiatives in four main areas: fighting exclusion and marginalization, creating a sense of belonging, building trust and giving all community members a chance at upward mobility.” M. Silliker states: “The Miramichi Dialogue committee is still seeking members. Those interested can contact me by phone (506 773-5272) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)”
The committee will be building on Miramichi’s reputation for high-energy inclusiveness, which has already led to a number of successful events that have forged new links above and beyond language and culture. They include the Acadian Games finals last summer, the August 15 festivities in conjunction with National Acadian Day, the welcome barbecue for newcomers, the Irish Festival, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival, the Fishermen’s Pow Wow and the local dance festival, whose 2019 edition is slated for March 28-31.
Organizing public discussions
Among the initiatives backed by Dialogue NB in Miramichi feature a number of major projects, that involve a series of public discussions, like the Public Dialogue organized on March 21st. According to Marc Allain, Executive Director of Carrefour Beausoleil, these town hall-style forums will give rise to new reflections on how we live together in Miramichi, as well as throughout New Brunswick. “The municipal issues we are dealing with are similar to those at the provincial level, such as maintaining a balance between multiple communities. Answers to important identity-related questions are being found right here by discussing and exchanging ideas!” In Mr. Allain’s view, it is very important to hold meetings within a spirit of listening and idea sharing, similar to the public forum organized by Carrefour Beausoleil on November 20 following the provincial election, in collaboration with the New Brunswick Acadian Society (SANB) and Dialogue NB. “Setting aside the diverging opinions we heard that night,” notes Marc Allain, “it seems clear that the 75 people in the room were connected by a strong sense of belonging that went above and beyond language or culture! It was an inspiring experience and certainly bodes well for the upcoming public discussions!”
March 21, 6 PM
Carrefour Beausoleil, Miramichi
Chief Executive Officer, Dialogue New Brunswick
The Miramichi Dialogue committee is still seeking members.
Interested parties are asked to contact Craig Silliker, Dialogue Leader.