The Muttart Consultations process is an example of the Foundation’s view that it can make contributions through convening people.
Since 1997, the Foundation has hosted periodic discussions to allow the sector and government to discuss regulatory issues. Topics have ranged from advocacy and business activities to the role of ethnocultural organizations and think tanks.
In many cases, the topics under consideration do not relate to the Foundation’s funding interests. Rather, the Foundation’s contribution is bringing together a group of people to solve a common problem.
These consultation processes are marked by several traits that participants have said make them useful and often successful:
Participants are asked to leave their agendas at home. These are not negotiation sessions, they are attempts to use problem-solving techniques to resolve a common issue.
No one is asked to commit to any decision. The object of the consultations is to have a full discussion about the nature of an issue and alternatives to dealing with it.
Participants spend two full days concentrating on the one issue, something one participant termed “an incredible gift.”
Discussions remain confidential.