"I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm in the Progressive Conservative Party."
It's an old joke, but Halifax Chebucto's Constituency Association is meeting this fall to reorganize, regroup, and reboot. The institutions and people that hold power are rarely as organized or as united as they first appear. This creates wonderful opportunities for people advocating for positive change.
Whether you're a long time member, past member, or new to politics, we'd love to have you join us.
The next meeting is September 20, 2017, 7-9 pm at my place… 6484 Jubilee Road in Halifax.
What is a political party?
A political party is a group of like-mined people who come together to contest an election by organizing a platform of ideas and positions on issues. The winning party in an election gets to put their philosophies and policies into effect. Halifax Chebucto Progressive Conservatives will organize for the next Nova Scotia provincial election.
The New Independent
In the past political socialization influenced party identification. Family beliefs, education, and socioeconomic conditions determined political party affiliation. Today most people in Nova Scotia identify as independent and perceive little difference between the various political parties. In fact, political parties, politicians and politics are held in high suspicion and low regard. Much of the decision-making and even policy making responsibility is spread across a vast unelected army of bureaucrats, agencies, boards, commissions and departments. This has the impact of distancing people from decision-making, making it difficult to hold anyone accountable or responsible, and holding most things in stasis where there is little room for new ideas, change, or different ways of looking at things. Fear is the main influence on government and economics.
It's Your Party
I believe that political parties, though deeply atrophied today, are the basic building block of what’s good about our political system. They are the main way that new ideas, philosophies, paradigms, and regular people can influence and change our politics, government and economics. The potential of our politics will not be made whole until the majority of people waiting on the sidelines for something to happen exert some kind of effort, and I believe from my experience joining a political party, any party, is the place to exert the most influence.
One thing we heard clearly in recent elections is that people are interested in rethinking how parties are organized, how policies are made, and how elections are run. There are lots of great ideas out there such as diploma level training a qualification for political candidates; here's ten ideas I've collected. This fundamental change is easier than imagined. Political parties are surprisingly small organizations and even a few people with new ideas can have a huge impact.
Let's Begin Again
It’s time to start again with political parties, with new end goals in mind. In the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative party Constituency associations are organized by political riding. The Halifax Chebucto Association has only a few active members and is ready to begin again. It’s a true underdog organization. The party has not won the riding in over 50 years. But there’s reason to believe. In the last election the PC’s found the most strength among voters who where women, youth, and students and change is in the air. The next election may seem far off but this is the time when a party begins to put new ideas together. The day to day business of an opposition party is holding the government of the day to account, but the party itself must be assembling new ideas, new people, new organizing principles and new ways of looking at the concerns of the day now. It’s about planning for the future all of Nova Scotia is waiting for. It's the power of culture that helps people see beyond themselves and improve the larger community. This makes like-minded groups more powerful than the individuals who make them up. Specialization of labour, scale and sharing ideas, further amplifies the effort.
If you are the kind of person whose conscience will not release them from the problems of the day, particularly the concerns facing the poorest and most vulnerable among us, you are an everyday political citizen and you might find it a positive experience to get together with other likeminded citizens and begin the work to influence our political system at its most foundational level. There’s lots of work to be done and new ideas are needed to build the party people are waiting for. There’s room for everyone of all backgrounds, experiences and aspirations. The only requirements are: a willingness to contribute effort and a sense of responsibility for the shape of things to come.
If this describes you I encourage you. You may find the sense of purpose you are looking for by helping find the opportunity and promise of Nova Scotia’s future through grass roots politics. Come on out and join the discussion.
Do you live in Halifax Chebucto? Here's a map to work it out. It's the area roughly bounded by Coburg, Robie, Young, Bayers and The Northwest Arm.
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.