Working Hard to Safeguard Paddling Assets for All Canadians

All about Whitewater

All about Whitewater
A Blog about River Preservation and the need to protect our free flowing whitewater resources

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Alternative Meeting Formats - A presentation to the PMIOVOC breakfast meeting 2014 02 12

Alternate Meeting Formats

Our role is to get the best out of our project teams.  A project’s success is achieved through its team members.
People  relating to people through written, verbal and non verbal communication is the means by which project managers achieve their goal of successfully managed projects.
How we can use the tool of  “conversation” make our project meetings more effective in our communications strategy and execution.
This is what this talk will explore

The Basics
Basic meeting preparation.

We are familiar with this:
Meeting invitations, agendas, pre meeting handouts.
Basic meeting conduct
Minute takers familiar with recording  key points, issues and action items.
The role of the project manager may be to chair the meeting but this is not always the case.

The Traditional View

Participants will talk and there will be some action taken as a result

Alternative Meetings

World Café Format
Talking Circle format
Online /Remote Meetings

The World Café Format

Scepticism is normal.  Understand that you are merely establishing a different context for the meeting to facilitate conversation thereby establishing alternate methods of communication that will be useful to all.

The idea is that conversation is a core process consisting of six components:
Reflection and Exploration
The Gathering of collective insights
Harvesting of discoveries
Action planning
Feedback and assessment

The meeting convener has to have faith in the process.  This may be gained by either having been a participant or by having led the process in the past.  If you, as convener do not BELIEVE in the process or at least have an open mind about it, you will likely fail in hosting an effective World Café Formatted meeting.
The World Café is a tool for creating a conversation and dialogue
The format is flexible but the purpose is collaborative dialogue, active engagement and constructive possibilities for future action
The CAFÉ format is designed to support conversations that matter both in corporations, government and community settings.
The CAFÉ format is provocative. The method is powerful as it is seen as innocuous, natural and almost invisible but will lead to sharing of collective knowledge.

Set the Container

Table Cloth
Candles/ lighter
Doodle pads/paper with colored pens
Art piece/flowers
Apron and towel
Cake or baked goods with forks and plates
Teapot with Mint tea/cups, Tea Cosey
Poem (something inspirational such as High Flight

Set the Meeting Purpose

Establish the Purpose for the meeting and use of the world café Meeting Format
This is still a business meeting.  The format is different and has a specific purpose.
The purpose may include:
Problem solving
Removing blockages in process or procedure
Team building

Create the Meeting Container

The meeting container is both safe and inviting where participants are encourage to be themselves.

 Consider how this can be achieved in

Inviting participants to the meeting, and upon entering the meeting
Using the container set up to create both a hospitable space which also signals things are not business as usual
Focus initial attention on the art piece, informality
Explain the meeting format to the participants
Establish, and frame the question that matters
Give the CAFÉ a name – ie Knowledge Café or Project Café

Frame a question that matters
The exploration of important questions may be as valuable as finding solutions.
The question optimally begins with
“What would it look like if…
The best questions
Do not have a yes / no answer
Energizes the group, sustaining interest, focusing on the essentials
Thought provoking
Open up new possibilities
Make previously unconscious assumptions more apparent
Focus inquiries, discovery, and advocacy where people realize they may have “something” to offer

When planning meetings it may be wise to test market potential question structure and content

Encourage participation and contribution

Participants will recognize that this will not be an “ordinary” meeting
The meeting container will provoke feelings of informality and intimacy
This can be achieved by
Use of natural light
Use of small tables for four or five people arranged as though in a small cafe
Use of candles (electric), flower vases, table cloths, use plants and greenery
Cover table cloths with sheets of scratch paper, making colored pens available
Encourage people to jot down their ideas right on the table paper cover
Display art work or posters
Provide food and refreshements/beverages and snacks to complete the café experience

Check in

Participants are asked to introduce themselves if this is a first time meeting
If this is a group who know each other, the participants do a “check-in” where they tell the group their current state of mind, their personal goals or expectations for the meeting

Facilitating Meeting Flow

The ideal set up includes four or five people per table group.
Up to 3 different “Rounds of conversation” of 20 to 30 minutes
Encourage doodling as a means of tapping into right brain/creative thinking
Encourage participation
Rephrase in the most positive way
Tap into the wisdom of the group
If multiple tables are used, encourage movement between groups
Tap into themes, patterns and insights
Encourage whole group conversation
Be the keeper of the rules of engagement
Faciliate migration of table traveling groups and table hosts

Rules for engagement

Focus on matters of importance, avoid digression
Contribute individual thought and experience
Speak openly from the heart but with wisdom
Listen first to understand, to gain insight and formulate deeper questions
Support each person’s TRUTH as their TRUTH
Release feelings of defensiveness, (what stands in the way)
Link and connect ideas
Play, Doodle, Draw – writing on the table “cloths” is encouraged
Have fun

Gathering the collective wisdom

A graphical record with flip charts, or murals illustrate the conversation patterns
Use post-it notes to allow ideas to emerge and be reviewed. Post-it notes allow insights to be “clustered”

Connect Diverse perspectives

Handle conflict,
Keep the energy positive
Reframe ideas

Listening for Insight and to share discoveries

Be a guide
Gently guide discussion back on track, encourage participation
Ensure ideas are written down
Thank people for their contributions, and call out significant contributions
Check Out

Participants are asked to describe their personal takeaway and commitments.
They tell the group their current state of mind, whether their personal goals or expectations for the meeting were met.

Talking circles

The purpose of talking circles is to establish dialogue and consensus
Many of the same techniques used in the World Café Meeting Format are used in the talking circle.
Set the Context
Establish the Purpose of the meeting
Set the Meeting Container
Framing a question that matters
Encouraging participation and contribution
Connection of diverse perspectives
Listening for insight and sharing of discoveries

Process and flow
The container includes a circle of chairs, with no central desk, rather a small center tribute possibly with table cloth, flower, book or piece of sculpture, perhaps a candle.
Music may be played while participants convene
Participants may require the use of a talking stick or piece to control cross flow of conversation.
Use meeting check in and checkout
The facilitator participates as well.


Communications is usually considered 7% words (content), 38% voice quality, 55% non verbal. What happens when you take away the 55%?

VIDEO : Skype
AUDIO: Teleconferencing
TEXT: Lotus Connections/WIKI

Can any of these ideas be applied to remote meetings? More and more meetings must be held remotely as teams are globally situated.

What would it look like if conversation and dialogue were implemented in a remote meeting format?
Recognize that language differences create nuanced problems and push buttons
Rules of Engagement are more rigid : participants are encouraged not to overreact, take anything personally, or rush to judgement
Every meeting must have a certain amount of ‘small talk’, none at all is considered RUDE
Some meetings allow visuals, many do not.
As project leader interface with participants enough outside the meeting to establish a relaxed communication style
Spend more time in preparing the meeting container
Written agendas with minutes sent in advance
Use of a check in may help: what’s going on?
CHECK IN: speakers identify themselves, speak slowly and clearly
Conveners summarize and confirm – they maintain control yet display thoughtfulness and courtesy/consideration that any good host would display
All participants practice active listening
The first person to the teleconference becomes the host – the role is to greet people and make them feel comfortable
Know where your mute button is: and whether it is on or off!
Set a time, or set of times that are best for the global team.

Classic Meeting Chair vrs. Convener vrs. Faciliator
Avoid Slang, clarify accronyms
Speak slowly or at the very least at a comfortable cadence
Use a chat window to confirm in writing what you are hearing


Jim De Piante

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

George Orwell, The Fair Elections Act and DoubleSpeak

George said in his classic, 1984, "war is peace", "Freedom is slavery, and Ignorance is strength" You say one thing, you mean another....

 Take for example, The Navigable Waters Protection Act. Sounds like it protects navigation rights on waterways right?

 No, actually it gives the government the right to take away navigability.

 Now here we have the recently introduced Fair Elections Act. Does anyone doubt that the result of the act will be to make elections less fair?

 Take this item from CBC...

 The change would essentially increase the amount parties can spend during federal elections, aside from a separate measure that would increase the cap for national and local campaigns by five per cent. Election reforms include end to blackout on early results Read the Fair Elections Act The measure would exempt as election expenses "the commercial value of services provided to a registered party for the purpose of soliciting — by mail, telephone or other electronic means — monetary contributions." The exemption would apply to services soliciting donations from each person who has donated $20 or more to the party, any of its riding associations or candidates, or leadership candidates in the five years before an election. 

 Double speak is an endeavor to systematically change the meanings of commonly understood terms in order to manipulate and control society and society's popular opinions.

Canadian Rivers

Canadian Rivers
I speak for river users too!

The Queen is not amused!

The Queen is not amused!

The Damned Dam - 2005 -

The Damned Dam - 2005 -
22nd Annual Kipaw Rally has modest turnout. - 23rd does better

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

Whitewater Ontario

Whitewater Ontario
Working Hard to Protect Canada's Paddling Resources

Whitewater Ontario - Mission Statement

It is Whitewater Ontario’s mission to support the whitewater paddling community through the promotion, development and growth of the sport in its various disciplines. We accomplish this through the development of events, resources, clubs, and programs for personal and athletic development, regardless of skill level or focus, to ensure a high standard of safety and competency; We advocate safe and environmentally responsible access and use of Ontario’s rivers. Whitewater Ontario is the sport governing body in the province, and represents provincial interests within the national body Whitewater Canada and the Canadian Canoe Association

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican
If Hydro Quebec is not actively pursuing Tabaret what is that bite out of Opemican for?

Kipawa Dam: After

Kipawa Dam: After
Laniel Dam at 2006 Rally

Where is the Kipawa

Where is the Kipawa
Kipawa flows into lake Temiskamingue, running from Kipawa Lake, under hwy 101 in Quebec

Kipawa Dam

Kipawa Dam
laniel dam at 2004 River Rally

Tabaret is a Bad Idea

About the Kipawa

The best thing paddlers can do to help the cause of the Kipawa:

1. attend the rally and bring others including non paddlers to attend and buy beer and have fun

2. write your MP /MNA and raise the issue and post your objections -1 letter = 200 who didn't write

3. Write Thierry Vandal the CEO of Hydro Quebec strongly opposing the 132 MW standard decrying the use of "diversion" as the most environmentally inappropriate method of power production

4. Write Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec protesting that either the algonquin or the tabaret project will eliminate all other values on the Kipawa River by turning it into a dry gulch.

5. See if you can get other allied groups interested by showing your own interest, ie the Sierra Defense Fund, Earthwild, MEC, and so on.

6. Demand further consultation

7. Currently we are at the point where we need to sway public opinion and raise awareness.

However, if all else fails, don't get mad, simply disrupt, foment, and protest . The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Have you read Edward Abbey?

Important Addresses
CEO,Hydro Québec, 75 boul René Levesque, Montreal, P.Q., H2Z

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Two)

Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa is poised to use an application to the Federal Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to ensure the Minster does what he is supposed to do, protect the public's right to navigate the water control structure at Laniel, Quebec using the Navigable Waters Protection Act. (see

In the now gutted Navigable Waters Protection Act lay the means by which the Minister of Transport could keep the public right of passage down our great Canadian Heritage, our rivers and streams which are threatened especially by resource corporations and power brokers such as Hydro Quebec.

These powerful entities continue to petition that 'this' river or 'that' stream is not navigable and therefore not protectable.
I don't say that dams and bridges should not be built, only that if they are, historical navigation rights should be considered and preserved by making reasonable accommodations for recreational boaters.

It is the Minister of Transport, in exercising the right to allow or disallow work on or over a navigable waterway is what keeps boats and recreational boaters plying our waterways.

To many recent cases launched in the Federal Court concerning the Navigable Waters Protection Act, most recently the case of the Humber Environment Group of Cornerbrook Newfoundland versus the Cornerbrook Pulp and Paper Company indicates that the important oversight is not being faithfully performed. Have we really come to the point now where we must say "such and such a stream is one foot deep, possessing so many cubic feet per second flow and so on?" The answer to this is... YES!

The honourable Mr. Justice John A. O'Keefe, ruled that it had not been shown that the river was navigable. How convenient was that to the Minister? But either the Minister of Transport acts to protect our rivers and streams as a public right or he does not and that means rivers and streams currently enjoyed by kayakers and canoists.

Enough of the cheating, and double-talk. Canadians! our rivers and streams are our own, lets urge the Minister of Transport and the our government to protect them.

Peter Karwacki

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Three)

10 Reasons WhyTabaret is a Bad Idea1) Tabaret is too big. The station is designed to useevery drop of water available in the Kipawawatershed, but will run at only 44 percent capacity.We believe the Tabaret station is designed to usewater diverted from the Dumoine River into theKipawa watershed in the future. 2) The Tabaret project will eliminate the aquaticecosystem of the Kipawa River.The Tabaret project plan involves the diversion of a16-km section of the Kipawa River from its naturalstreambed into a new man-made outflow from LakeKipawa. 3) Tabaret will leave a large industrial footprint on thelandscape that will impact existing tourismoperations and eliminate future tourism potential. 4) The Tabaret project is an aggressive single-purposedevelopment, designed to maximize powergeneration at the expense of all other uses. 5) River-diversion, such as the Tabaret project, takinglarge amounts of water out of a river’s naturalstreambed and moving it to another place, is verydestructive to the natural environment. 6) The Kipawa River has been designated a protectedgreenspace in the region with severe limitations ondevelopment. This designation recognizes theecological, historical and natural heritage value ofthe river and the importance of protecting it.Tabaret will eliminate that value. 7) If necessary, there are other, smarter and morereasonable options for producing hydro power onthe Kipawa watershed. It is possible to build a lowimpactgenerating station on the Kipawa river, andmanage it as a “run-of-the-river” station, makinguse of natural flows while maintaining other values,with minimal impact on the environment. 8) The Kipawa watershed is a rich natural resource forthe Temiscaming Region, resonably close to largeurban areas, with huge untapped potential fortourism and recreation development in the future.Tabaret will severely reduce this potential. 9) Tabaret provides zero long-term economic benefitfor the region through employment. The plan is forthe station to be completely automated andremotely operated. 10) The Kipawa River is 12,000 years old. The riverwas here thousands of years before any peoplecame to the region. The Tabaret project will change all that.

Problems on a local River?

  • There is more to do as well but you have to do your research and above all, don't give up.
  • IN the meantime prepared a document itemizing the history of navigation of this spot and its recreational value. Use the Kipawa river history of navigation as a guide: see
  • Under the Ministry of Environment guidelines you have a set period of time to petition the change under the environmental bill of rights, you may have limited time to take this action. But it involves going to court for a judicial review of the decision.
  • 4. contact the ministry of natural resources officials and do the same thing.
  • 3. contact the ministry of the environment and determine if they approved the project
  • 2. determine if the dam was a legal dam, approved under the navigable waters protection act.
  • 1. research the decision and timing of it to determine if an environmental assessment was done.

Minden Ontario

Minden Ontario
Gull River Water control at Horseshoe lake

A History of Navigation on the Kipawa River

Prior to the environmental assessment there was no signage at the Laniel Dam

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!
Send $25 and a stamped self addressed envelop for the Tshirt, and for the bumper sticker, a stamped and self addressed envelope with $5.00 for the bumper sticker to Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa, 80 Ontario St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 1K9 or click the link To purchase a Les Amis "T" contact Doug with the following information: Number of shirts:Sizes: Ship to Address: Method of Payment: cash, cheque and paypal, Shipto address:

Bumper Stickers Now Available

Bumper Stickers Now Available
Get your bumper sticker and show your support for the Kipawa Legal Fund ! - send $5.00 in a Stamped, self addressed envelope to: Peter Karwacki Box 39111, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 7X0