Inside The Library: Tearing down the status quo with Dave Meslin

According to Dave Meslin, activist, organizer, and writer, our democracy is a trainwreck.

Our elections feel hollow and our legislatures have grown toxic. Partisanship and distorted election results have led voters to turn towards the angriest candidates, or to turn away from the political process entirely. Rather than advocating for a specific set of policies, Meslin’s focus is instead on making democracy more open to the people and better reflective of their will.

Meslin is the author of the new book Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy From The Ground Up, He’s now on a book tour that will bring him to the County, where he’ll speak as a fundraiser for the Picton Branch Library’s Expansion Campaign at the Armoury Mess Hall June 13th at 7 p.m.

Joining him will be a panel of locals to discuss and debate his ideas. Unafraid of conflict, Meslin expressed enthusiasm in encountering differing viewpoints onstage for all to see.

Our guests will be Linda Conley, Krista Dalby and Hilary Fennell, along with moderator Thomas Harrison.

Dr. Harrison is a farmer, lawyer and a long time County resident. He is also a part-time academic, who teaches at Durham College and at the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University in Kingston. Tom has long been involved in politics, and has worked at all levels of government. His new book, with Carlton University’s Dr. Rebecca Bromwich, focuses on access to justice and alternative resolution in criminal law, and looks at community engagement to support restorative justice approaches in Canada.

Linda Conley has lived in the County since 1971. Over her long teaching career she gravitated towards adult education, working with adults with intellectual disabilities, and spent 17 years as the executive director of the Prince Edward Learning Centre.

Krista Dalby is a multi-disciplinary artist with a passion for community building. She is the Artistic Director of The Department of Illumination, which has been producing the annual Firelight Lantern Festival since 2013, and this past February launched the epic public art project ICE BOX at Macaulay Heritage Park. Krista is one of the brains behind Creative Rural Minds, bringing the County’s creative community together for fun and networking.

Hilary Fennell is a born and raised County kid and the proud mom of 7-year-old Haimish. She spent much of her childhood in the community theatre scene and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Dramatic Arts. She spent 5 years as the Youth Centre Director for the ROC (Recreation Outreach Centre), and currently works as the Community Development Coordinator for Loyalist Township.

Whether or not you agree that a “teardown” is in order, I think we can all agree that this panel will spark a thought-provoking conversation that we can continue as a community. Tickets are available at peclibrary.org/dave-meslin. The panel discussion will be followed by an informal question period during which you can share your opinions and challenge Meslin’s arguments. Trust us, he’ll welcome it.