11 replies, 11 voices Last updated by  Elizabeth Randell 2 years, 11 months ago
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  • Geoff Wilson @GWilson

    I think there are big lessons to which we need to pay attention. One of my many awakenings – or perhaps reminders – is that our public discourse and institutions have left many people without an opportunity to be heard and have their lives and struggles validated. There are a range of reasons why Trump was elected but certainly one of the biggest reasons is that he heard and then tapped into latent middle class anger and resentment with government. That feeling was so significant that many people — probably many reasonable people — were willing to hold their nose, ignore the bad, and support the idea that Donald Trump was going to fix their world and fix their lives. He created a persona that appeared not to be tainted by the same politics that created the crisis in the first place, and he delivered the right message at the right time that resonated with desperate people.

    Now I don’t believe for a second that Trump has any idea or even any plan of how to address the litany of challenges facing the American middle class but his message certainly tapped into people’s anger and sense of betrayal they feel related to government. I think Canada is in as much danger as our southern neighbours of this kind of populist sentiment taking hold, and I think the conditions in Nova Scotia might lend themselves to this same kind of manipulation. There is a huge political divide between Halifax and everywhere else, and there are big differences in perspectives on many major policy issues that track along rural-urban lines. The political parties see this divide as an advantage to be exploited rather than a growing risk to be mitigated. My concern is that we will reassure ourselves that Trump can’t happen here until it does, because we have ignored the failure of our politics to truly listen, understand multiple perspectives, and bring people together around a common mission.

    • Michael Chender @mchender

      Thanks Geoff; I completely agree, and hope that what we’re experimenting with with Wayside can create opportunities to let people who currently feel invisible be seen, and to open up real conversations where they are currently hard to come by.

    • Elizabeth Randell @erandell

      I think you may be on to something Geoff. We have to create spaces to listen to dissenting POVs with an intention to hear their message – not to respond to it or to argue how “we” are right. If “we” don’t hear it, reflect on it, find commonalities, assist, or at the very minimum, respect “their” opinions or experiences, Nova Scotia will be in the same spot.

      Listening to hear is hard. It requires us to be very present in the moment and to pick up the underlying emotions and fears that might not be said directly but is shouted at us indirectly. Would love to see Wayside offer a class that would help us all do this a little better.

  • Miranda Cobb @mcobb

    I was listening to an interesting radio segment with a perspective that the Trump era will encourage and allow for Canada to re-identify itself as separate from the US. I liked that the recent Trump-Trudeau talks ended with a lot of ‘agree-to-disagree’ for example. I think this is a good time for Canada to re-develop its sense of self and make some choices that aren’t about following the superpower to the south.

  • Pam Cooley @pmcooley

    We can see values and principles that we can discuss, agree or don’t agree that seems to be provoking in the USA politics and actively work and speak up about what values we want to uphold, and speak up when they are not.

    I think we in NS can work towards a stronger regional and national approach towards more self sufficiency and what I call “province esteem”.  Not to isolate, but to become more effective. This in effect will give us more experience and confidence (in a good way) for engagement in an interdependent region , nation and world. Having increase support, experience and innovation here, to see what we can accomplish here with our wonderful resources, then we can then take our place in influence the world, to provide what we can as Nova Scotians.

    Take food for example, why not look at how the effects of what is happening in the USA might stir what we lack in our food security (protecting and supporting land and farmers). Or investing more regionally and locally – ensuring we do not inadvertently support companies in the USA that do not uphold certain values…and we can address where we are putting our human and financial resources.

    Right now we are VERY dependent on the other regions and the USA for what we need, and therefore we are cautious. Here we can create models that work on scale that manifests community and keeping us strong.


  • increase in U.S. citizens moving to NS, and therefore economic benefits, including real estate market improvements.

  • Carolyn Mandelker @cmandelker

    On first thought, I feel that current US politics are already having the effect of waking (some)  people up to participatory leadership and political activity.  Letting our leaders know who we are and what we value seems particularly important right now. Laura’s registration with the ISANS Skills Match, for instance, is a demonstration that she values a more open immigration policy and wants to do her part. This is an excellent way to let leaders know what you think! I wonder if Nova Scotians would be interested to engage in some sort of values exploration, and possibly express that to the country, like California did, or the sanctuary cities in the US? Would that help Nova Scotia recognize its own sanity and richness further ?

  • Gabrielle Donnelly @gdonnelly

    I resonant with cultivating a Nova Scotia as a “beacon of sanity.” I wonder how we can best do this without disregarding how political, constructed borders (national and provincial borders, in this case) are not impervious to the migration of the intense emotions and political beliefs and perspectives that inform the US context right now. Acknowledging that we are not immune feels crucial as we also cultivate Nova Scotia as a possible sanctuary.

  • Laura Simpson @LSimpson

    I just registered my company with ISANS Skills Match program. You can post jobs and hire new immigrants and also provide mentorship. This is a concrete way to ensure smoother transitions for new residents who are looking for meaningful work.

  • The need to consider actions of solidarity and/or protest with groups in the US. This could include boycotts of products and firms, sanctions, divestment movements.

  • Laurie Cook @lcook

    Opportunity to be even more adamant about the value of newcomers to Nova Scotia & to showcase stories of newcomer success, and the value of diversity and inclusion for all.

  • Michael Chender @mchender

    …and how should we preparing/planning/readying for them?  I can see, for starters, possibilities of more immigration, of attracting particularly interesting and capable people to our province, of serious economic and trade challenges, of catching the populist virus, and of an opportunity for Canada in general and Nova Scotia in particular to be a beacon of (relative) sanity.  What am I missing? Lets think this out together, and see what opportunities for action it suggests.

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