Labatt Presents

The Walrus Talks Water

Victoria Monday, September 21, 2015, 7 p.m.



  • “Who Owns the Water?” by Judith Sayers, University of Victoria
  • “Canada’s Unappreciated Water Sentinel” by Andre Martel, Canadian Museum of Nature
  • “Troubling Waters: The Effect of Climate Change on Freshwater” by David Schindler, scientist
  • “The Fluid Identities: Waterway(s) to Reconciliation” by Danika Littlechild, Maskwacis, Treaty 6, Alberta
  • “The Future of Water Law and Governance in Canada” by Oliver Brandes, Polis Project
  • “Sea Sick” by Alanna Mitchell, science journalist and author
  • “Secret to a Sound Ocean” by Rob Williams, Oceans Initiative
  • “The Hidden World of Water” by Stephen Leahy, international environmental journalist

Oliver Brandes, an economist and lawyer, co-directs the University of Victoria’s Polis Project on Ecological Governance and leads the Polis Water Sustainability Project, where he focuses on resource management, policy development, and ecologically based reform. He is a founding member of the Forum for Leadership on Water, which he currently co-chairs, and the leadership team of Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. In 2009, he helped write Making the Most of the Water We Have, about the first international water-soft-path study. In 2012, he co-developed and taught BC’s first water-law course, at the University of Victoria.

Stephen Leahy has written for National Geographic, the Guardian, the Sunday Times, New Scientist, Vice, the Toronto Star, and the Inter Press Service news agency. In 2012, he won the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation / UNCA Global Prize for climate change and environment reporting. Stephen is the author of the critically acclaimed book Your Water Footprint: The Shocking Facts about How Much Water We Use to Make Everyday Products.

Danika Littlechild, a Cree lawyer from Maskwacis, in Treaty Six, works with Indigenous peoples in Alberta and around the world. She focuses on Indigenous, international, and environmental law (including water governance). Danika is vice-president of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and consulting legal counsel with the International Indian Treaty Council, through which she engages with various United Nations mechanisms, treaty bodies, and special procedures.

André Martel is a research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature and one of the country’s leading experts on molluscs. He is a member of the Canadian Society of Zoologists, the Institut québécois de la biodiversité, and the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society, and he contributes to the University of Guelph’s Barcode of Life project. He devotes much of his time to researching and supporting the conservation of freshwater mussels in Canada’s lakes and rivers.

Alanna Mitchell, an international award-winning science journalist, turned her most recent bestseller, Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, into a one-woman Dora Award–nominated play, which she is performing across Canada. Her new book, Malignant Metaphor: Finding the Hidden Meaning of Cancer, is due this fall from ECW Press.

Judith Sayers is a strategic adviser to First Nations and corporations on issues such as relationship building and negotiating equitable agreements. She is an adjunct professor with the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business and an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law. Judith served fourteen years as chief of the Hupacasath First Nation, where she focused on capacity building and sustainable development.

David Schindler is the Killam Memorial Chair and a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences. He was the founding director of the Experimental Lakes Area, where he helped to develop international policies to control algal blooms and acid rain. He has won thirty-six national awards, including the NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering; and nineteen international awards, including the Stockholm Water Prize, the Volvo Environment Prize, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the NatureServe Conservation Award.

Rob Williams is a marine conservation biologist and co-founder of Oceans Initiative. He serves on the editorial boards of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Journal of Zoology, and Animal Conservation and has been a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission since 2000. Rob is a former Marie Curie Fellow at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and in 2015 he was named a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation.

The Walrus
Aimia Logo (k)

The Walrus Talks is a national series of events produced by the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation as part of an educational mandate to provide forums for conversation on matters vital to Canadians. The Walrus Foundation produces The Walrus magazine, the most awarded publication in Canada, as well as producing content at, on Walrus TV, and on stages from coast to coast to coast.

The Walrus Talks format features eight speakers for seven minutes each on various themes relating to a single topic. Each event offers lively, thoughtful, inspiring, riveting, smart, new thinking from scientists, writers, performers, scholars, and leaders of business and the arts. Each Talks event is followed by a spirited reception with attendees and participants.

The Walrus Talks delivers fresh ideas and new ways of looking at big issues. The Walrus has no “wings.” Our speakers are chosen to reflect a range of experiences and viewpoints, but they all have one thing in common: the desire for real conversation about issues that affect the future of Canada. Our goal is for audience members to think “I never thought about it that way” when the Talks are over.

In 2015, The Walrus Talks will be held in Calgary, London, Winnipeg, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, and Victoria. They will address themes including vice, creativity, the Arctic, the animated city, the Aboriginal city, being human, play, and water.

The Walrus Talks 2015 will feature more than 100 speakers from all walks and from across the country. The Walrus Talks are sponsored by forward-thinking members of the private and public sectors whose support enables the Canadian conversation and encourages dialogue on a wide range of issues.

Dates, details, and ticket information are available at