A group of social activists are holding a counter-summit to the Conservative Party's annual convention — which is taking place today in Calgary — and the event is drawing prominent headliners like David Suzuki.

For weeks now, tickets for the event have been sold out. It is expected to focus on discussing government policy and what needs to change.

"Even if you support those policies, you want to know what part of those policies is being discussed," said Maude Barlow, national chairperson for the Council of Canadians.

The counter summit will be public, unlike the Conservative convention which is open to select party delegates and members. 

It's not clear exactly what policy will be discussed at the Conservative convention, which is one of the big problems for those at the counter summit.

'This government runs a closed shop.' - Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians

"This government runs a closed shop," said Barlow.

"That's why the Senate scandal has been so upsetting for the prime minister, because he got caught. This usually doesn't happen."

It's expected the recent Senate scandal involving former senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau will be fodder for backroom conversations. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to address it in his speech Friday night.

But the focus of his speech will likely be on the economy and a tentative trade deal with the European Union.

Meanwhile, the counter summit will be taking a look at Tory policies on the environment, aboriginal rights, water protection and a host of other topics, including resource development.

"[They're] turning the milk of our mother and turning it into a commodity, trying to sell what was never [theirs] in the first place," said Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, one of the many aboriginal Canadians taking part in the counter-summit.

Chief Theresa Spence, who made headlines last year for her six-week hunger strike, was scheduled to attend the counter-summit but will no longer be attending.

One of the confirmed speakers at the sold-out event will be David Suzuki.