$365k to the super-elite of Nova Scotia's backroom boys to literally hold backroom meetings is not a path to prosperity
Confronted with enough complexity most of us shut up.
The rational elites, obsessed by structure, have become increasingly authoritarian in a modern, administrative way. The citizens feel insulted and isolated. They look for someone to throw stones on their behalf. Any old stone will do. John Ralston Saul
Second in a continuing series of posts about the shell game that is government in Nova Scotia
Three Card Monte is a “short con” confidence scam. A team of seemingly unrelated people who are actually shills, confederates and conspirators, trick a victim into betting a sum of money that they can follow a sequence of events and pick the ‘money card’ from a group of three cards.
It’s a shell game, but with cards. The victim has almost no chance of winning. The rules of the game, the players, the environment, and even when the game begins and ends, is in the control of a well-run mob that attracts the marks, sucks them in, and convinces them to put their money down.
Let’s Begin Again With a Clear End Goal In Mind
We have a lot of work to do. The future rewards effort more than any other thing.
Today, after all three parties have had an opportunity to try again, Government still can’t get a good deal going for the people of Nova Scotia. The fall of traditional media communications, the modern politics of power and divisiveness, and the re-concentration of wealth, have made things much worse. Government continues to grow with the economy. But it is growth without prosperity.
We live in a globalized world that uses our own consumerist weaknesses, our misuse of debt, our labour and resources to ultra-efficiently drain our capital – our wealth – from our own region. Our own mis-allocated efforts create growth without prosperity - massive meals of empty economic calories that drains much needed capital from our households and from our province.
“It is not our politicians who will lead the change. The only person who can change our politics is the engaged citizen.” Graham Steele
The Best Of Times and The Worst Of Times
The title quote is from Graham Steele's "Back To Balance" initiative where in 2010 the new Finance Minister traveled our rural regions and asked regular people to come out to ad hoc evening meetings and solve the problem of government spending more money than it was taking in.
I have a friend who used to ask, "How are you going to change the world if you can't find your keys?"
How did it come to this?
The Progressive Era reached its popular height in 1920 in the US, but many of the ideas continued to grow and spread.
The Beginning, The Middle and The End
The Manitoba Progressives led by John Bracken supported devolution of powers and rights to the provinces, especially over natural resources. During the depression they fostered a back to the land movement with resettlement grants that helped connect and balance interests in the province. Bracken deeply influenced provincial and federal politicians like John Diefenbaker who eventually took over his role as party leader and Prime Minister. The various provincial parties including Nova Scotia, organized separately from the federal party, adopted the Progressive title.
In Nova Scotia the Progressive idea was a natural fit with the rural life of the province, the modern urban communities built around the harbour, the independent views of farmers and fishermen, the vexations of the bootlegging era, and the household-leading role of women left to do everything in the community while men were at sea. Nova Scotians had also had it with a few very powerful men who ran the banks, shipping companies, breweries and government.
Activists, Muckrakers, Saloon Owners, Craftsmen and Technocrats
Over four blog posts I'm writing about how Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative Party got it's name, it's structure, and me.
“Never in the history of the world was society in so terrific flux as it is right now,” Jack London wrote in Iron Heel, his 1908 dystopian novel in which a corporate oligarchy comes to rule the United States. He wrote, “The swift changes in our industrial system are causing equally swift changes in our religious, political, and social structures. An unseen and fearful revolution is taking place in the fiber and structure of society. One can only dimly feel these things, but they are in the air, now, today.”
Passing Prosperity Around
As their name suggests, the Progressive party of Manitoba that John Bracken eventually led were inspired by the Progressive Movement in the United States. The early 20th century Progressive era was a time of social activism and political reform that engaged the new middle class, leery of both business elites and radical politics.
Disturbed by the waste, inefficiency, stubbornness, corruption and injustices of the Gilded Age Robber Barons, saloon owners and their political machines, the Progressives were committed to changing and reforming every aspect of the state, society and economy, but not changing what was good about America.
They were informed by Muckrakers - journalists who exposed waste, corruption, and scandal in the highly influential new medium of national magazines. Today we'd call them investigative journalists and in our digital age of corporatized media a community is lucky to have even one. They are indispensable to the well-being of society.
Why The Progressive Conservative Party
When I announced that I’d offer for a term in public service with the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives my social media feed was jammed for days with posts from people saying “Why choose them?”
Eventually an astute poster wrote, “Forget why he chose them, why on earth would they choose him?” To answer either question we have to share the history, present state, and future of Nova Scotia’s only truly provincial political party.
I love Nova Scotia. It’s almost an island, almost a million people and almost perfect to me. But there’s work to be done. In this five part essay I’m writing the story of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia, why I choose it, and why I think it chose me.
Like Mike Rowe, I don't suppose to speak for the working man. I speak for myself and all those like me who are addicted to toilets that flush and roofs that don't leak.
Mike's presentation to the house on the subject of trades and work is one of the great and most inspiring oratories of the internet age.
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.