Better Politics Trump All

Posted Friday, March 04, 2016

Sarah Simpson

  • Trump-Nova-Scotia-Politics

In the aftermath of Super Tuesday, “how to move to Canada” searches were reportedly up by over 1,000% south of the border, CNN had a crew in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and the Canadian immigration website experienced significant delays. While we can’t be sure what caused the site delays, Canadians are connecting with their American neighbours, and quietly making up the spare room. 

In the meantime, the Trump Train roles on. Those who didn’t believe that his antics would continue to play a role on the electoral stage have been disproven over and over again. Through it all, I choose to maintain my disbelief, though my faith that more rational heads will prevail occasionally finds itself on shaky grounds. In the meantime, I’m choosing to be thankful for our (relatively) low-key processes and politicians we have here at home. But I believe they deserve some spotlight too.

Serendipitously, I’m attending Springtide Collective’s Nova Scotia Better Politics Awards on March 8. The Springtide Collective (full disclosure, I’m on the board and co-chairing the awards) is an organization dedicated to making democracy better in Nova Scotia through education, research and public engagement. And the Better Politics Awards is an event designed to celebrate people who demonstrate the dedication, determination and ability to think outside the box to make our democracy the best it can be. Our provincial MLAs vote for their peers, within and cross-parties, and members of the public are nominated for their roles as public servants or for their advocacy work.

Last year was the inaugural event. As with any new venture, we were thrilled that people participated and supported the Awards. My personal highlight came at the end of the evening. After we had gathered award recipients together for a group photo, I noticed two MLAs from different parties calling to each other as they left. Their exchange boiled down to, “You have my cell number now, right? Give me a call so we can talk more.” It is this kind of action that these Awards celebrate. People working together, no matter their party or position, to improve their community, region, province or country.

While it’s entertaining (in an often terrifying way) to watch the circus that is the nomination process in the US, let’s take it as inspiration to acknowledge, embrace, and improve on our own democracy. Engage in a conversation, celebrate someone working hard, and if you see an area that could improve, speak up. It’s more important than ever that we stay alert, work together, and encourage action.

And who knows, we may have a new batch of neighbours to welcome come November 2016.