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Off Script: Atlantic Canada Politics
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Off Script: Atlantic Canada Politics

Author: Springtide

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Off Script is a podcast for engaged citizens, public leaders and activists in Atlantic Canada. In April of 2019, this podcast will be dedicated to exploring the politics and possibilities surrounding the April 23 provincial election and referendum on electoral reform. Join hosts, Mark Coffin and Jesse Hitchcock, as they try to make sense of it all.

Explore our past episodes for conversations with former Nova Scotia MLAs (Season One), and conversations with active elected officials and activists in Atlantic Canada (Season 2).

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80 Episodes
In this episode of Off the Ledge, Mark and Jesse pour over the election results. They take stock of election night coverage, speculate on what's next for newly elected MLAs and the government, and consider the future of electoral reform on Prince Edward Island. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Mark and Jesse are joined by a special guest who actually lives on PEI and knows something about asking the right question. We unpack a few highlights from this week's CBC leader's debate, explore whether PEI politics is as civil as it appears, and talk about even more hypothetical election and referendum outcomes.Follow us on Twitter: @SpringtideCo / @MarkCoffin / @JesseHitchcock / @jbgreenan Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Mark and Jesse dive into the issues surrounding the Prince Edward Island referendum on electoral reform. In this episode, we explore the question, the rules, and the politics of the referendum.References Mentioned:- Electoral Systems Referendum Act- Much-amended P.E.I. referendum legislation passes (CBC)Follow us on Twitter: @SpringtideCo / @MarkCoffin / @JesseHitchcockFollow Springtide on Facebook and Instagram Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
In the first episode of the Off the Ledge series, hosts Mark Coffin and Jesse Hitchcock talk through the last several years of politics in Canada's smallest province in order to better understand how exactly we reached the current political moment. If you're not familiar with Island politics, buckle up. Here's where things are at:- The Green Party of PEI is leading in the polls, in a province that's never had anything but majority Liberal or (Progressive) Conservative governments.- A referendum is set for the same date as the general election, where Islanders will be asked to choose between a new, mixed-member proportional voting system, or to keep the first-past-the-post system.In this episode we explore how we got here, and what some of the potential outcomes of the election and referendum vote might involve. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week we bring you some important news about the future of podcasts at Springtide.To chime in on the future of this show, contact me at Support the podcast. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week we're joined by Halifax councillor Waye Mason. Waye currently serves as the Deputy Mayor of Halifax. We chat about the politician's perspective on how the new bike lane coming to South Park street came to be. We explore some of the super-powers of the deputy mayor. We also talk about how Waye makes decisions when his constituents are divided on an issue. Support the podcast Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The first time Prince Edward Islanders voted on electoral reform, they voted to keep the status quo. That was in 2005. Mark Greenan was involved in the campaign then, and ended up writing a masters thesis on the topic. The second time Islanders voted on electoral reform was in a 2016 plebiscite where 52% of voters expressed a preference for a mixed-member proportional system. The voters were ready, but the government wasn't. Citing low voter turnout, the Government is choosing to hold another vote. When the upcoming provincial election happens (at a date of the Government's choosing between now and next October), Islanders will be asked to choose between the current system and a Mixed Member Proportional one. Mark Greenan has been at the forefront of the movement for proportional representation on PEI since it began. On this episode of the Off Script podcast, we speak with Mark about the Island's lengthy journey towards electoral reform (and his own journey). Support the podcast. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
We all know the importance of getting more people engaged in elections, politics, and civic life, but it can be challenging to know how to do so effectively. Mark moderated a panel discussion between three Halifax-based activists as a part of an event hosted by Springtide called "Engaging the Disengaged - A Workshop for the Already Engaged".- Jalana Lewis is a Social Justice Lawyer who is passionate about championing voices that aren’t often heard. She was the campaign manager for Halifax councillor, Lindell Smith.- Steve Estey is an advocate for persons with disabilities who works with the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunity. Steve is a former candidate for MLA in the riding of Dartmouth east.- Jenna Brookfield is a Health and Safety activist who is a part of the labour movement in Nova Scotia. Jenna has a background in projects that engage traditionally underrepresented segments of the population in politics and government more broadly.Support the podcast. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Last Tuesday, Halifax municipal councillors voted in favor of approving a 1.5 kilometer stretch of protected bike lane on South Park Street in Halifax. Today on the podcast, Mark speaks with Kelsey Lane who is the executive director of the Halifax Cycling Coalition (HCC). The HCC has been leading the charge for more (and better) bike lanes in Halifax.We talk about the changes coming to South Park Street, and (as we often do) we explore the ‘how’ of what happened. We unpack the kind of behind the scenes, online, and (quite literally) on-the-street work that goes into getting politicians to make the streets safer for cyclists.Support the podcast Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
On Thursday March 1st - the Nova Scotia Government is expected to introduce its education reform bill that will dissolve all English Language School boards in the province.Cindy Littlefair is one of the members of the Halifax Regional School Board grappling with the challenge of how to serve the public in the dying days of School Boards in Nova Scotia. In this episode of the podcast we speak with Cindy about this. We use the remarks she shared at last week's HRSB meeting as a starting point for our conversation. What is a conscientious board member to do in this moment? Go away quietly?Resist the dissolution?Carry on their duties as a school board trustee in exile?Support the Off Script podcast. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
On January 25th, PEI Progressive Conservative Leader James Aylward released a discussion paper about the need to reform the way that the Prince Edward Island legislature works. It's a topic that is unlikely to catch the attention of many newsreaders on the best of days, but we think it's an important one, so one month after the fact we're bringing him onto the show to talk about it. Read the discussion paper. Share this episode using the shortlink: the podcast: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week we're sharing an episode from our other podcast, Govern Yourself Accordingly. - Most of us have not sat in the backrooms of politics, the places where decisions are really made. But today’s guest on the Govern Yourself Accordingly podcast has. And, he’s done the rest of us a favour - especially those of us who try to have an impact on the decisions being made in our communities, states, provinces, and countries.  Graham Steele is the former finance minister for Nova Scotia. In his new book, The Effective Citizen: How to Make Politicians Work for You, he has drawn a road-map of the politician’s brain. He’s codified the thought-patterns, the behaviour, and the patterns of speech that even the best of our politicians use as crutches. He’s done this so that we (as citizens) can understand them. Beyond that, he’s taken it a step further and mapped out how citizens can use that information to be more effective at advocacy to influence policy change. He explores the big picture: how patient and persistent advocacy can have a major impact, but he also talks about the granular: like how to follow-up on a meeting with a decision maker so they’re more likely to do what they told you they’d do. Follow @steelegr on Twitter--- Share this episode using the shortlink from this episode: Graham’s new book: The Effective CitizenGraham’s first book: What I Learned About Politics Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week we’re talking about the power women in Canadian politics have begun to wield over the last seven days. Michelle Coffin joins the show to help us unpack last weeks news, including the sudden resignation of Nova Scotia PC Party Leader, Jamie Baillie. Michelle shares some of her personal experiences from her time in politics, and we explore what the broader implications of the #MeToo movement hitting Canadian politics. Michelle worked for several different leaders of the Nova Scotia Liberal party, including its current leader before he became Premier. She’s a professor of political science at Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s universities in Halifax and is a regular commentator on Nova Scotia politics for CBC Radio in Halifax. - Share this episode using the shortlink: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
We're taking this week off from producing Off Script while we focus on some planning for the upcoming year. In the meantime, here's an episode from our other podcast, Govern Yourself Accordingly. It’s not often you hear of someone who is not a lawyer representing themselves in a federal court. It’s even less often that you hear of someone who has done so more than a dozen times. And won. Gabor Lukacs has been taking airlines to court and filing regulatory complaints with the Canadian Transportation Agency for the last nine years. He’s filed twenty-six successful regulatory complains and has more or less paved the way for many other airline passengers to do the same. Resources Mentioned in this EpisodeAirPassengerRights.caAir Passenger Rights (Canada) Facebook Group Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
This week on the podcast we try something new. In addition to this week’s feature interview with Halifax-Needham MLA, Lisa Roberts, we add a new segment where we unpack stories in Atlantic Canadian politics with a rotating co-host. This week, Lisa Buchanan (also co-host of LOL UR GAY - A Gay Comedy Podcast) joins Mark as co-host to help him unpack some of the stories of Atlantic Canada politics last week. In the first half-hour of podcast (0:00 - 28:00), Mark and Lisa explore the following stories: Justin Trudeau’s town hall tour of Canada, which started in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia last week; and specifically what Trudeau’s style of public conversation, empathy, and crowd-work means for activists, advocates and Trudeau himself (4:00 - 13:20)PEI Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s Cabinet Shuffle, how it’s being interpreted as a signal that MacLauchlan won’t stick to the legislated fixed election date, and what that means for women (13:20 - 26:30)In the latter half hour of the podcast (28:30 - End), Mark sits down with Halifax-Needham MLA Lisa Roberts (NDP) Some of the things they talk about include: Lisa shares her big takeaway from our interview with former PC Environment Minister (and Church Minister) Mark Parent (30:20) Mark learns what superpowers Lisa has discovered she has as an MLA (33:40), and Lisa shares how constituency concerns can better translate into legislation and policy change. Lisa shares how she focuses her efforts in opposition on amplifying the voices of the unheard, using her public platform to shape the public consciousness on issues, and how PTSD legislation is an example of parties working together to do important work. (40:00 - 52:00).Mark floats the idea that the problem with legislature politics isn’t necessarily that it’s all theatrical, but that it’s pretty bad theatre (52:30).Stories Referenced:Trudeau turns to Seinfeld tactics to tame town hall hecklers (CBC)PEI: Female MLA view on cabinet shuffle (Actual CBC Headline)When will Islanders head to the polls? Preparation, speculation aboundsOff Script's interview with former PC Environment Minister (and Church Minister) Mark Parent Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The PEI Green Party has experienced unprecedented success over recent years, and on this episode of On the Record, Off Script Mark speaks with the party's leader to learn more about what's happening behind the scenes in the party.In the 2015 general election, Peter earned the party its first seat. In late November of 2017, Green candidate Hannah Bell won the by-election in Charlottetown-Parkdale to earn the party its second seat. Bevan-Baker has been Islanders top choice for Premier in CRA's quarterly opinion polling for the last three quarters and is the only party leader on the Island to experience growing public support over the past year.Some of the things we explore during our conversation:What Peter learned over the ten elections he competed in before he was elected;How he approached getting things done as a caucus of one;How his party will tackle the upcoming general election, perhaps the first election in Canada where a Green Party has a shot at becoming the government; andWe unpack what happened when Peter was removed from the PEI House of Assembly for saying a word that starts with the letter F on it’s final day of sitting before the holidays.Share this episode using the shortlink: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
A companion piece to today's Off Script podcast. Raw feed from CBRM council floor. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Last week’s meeting of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality council was nothing routine or ordinary, especially for Mayor Cecil Clarke and Councillor Amanda McDougall. Members of council knew what was coming at the end of the meeting, but anyone who was watching would have been caught by surprise by what happened for the final half-hour of the meeting. On this week's episode of On the Record, Off Script we're going to take a deep dive into all that happened in those last thirty minutes of the CBRM council meeting. Share this episode using this shortlink:  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
The Pulp and Paper Mill at Abercrombie Point at the tip of Boat Harbour in Pictou County is the subject of a new book by Joan Baxter. The book is called ‘The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest’. And it is her book that is at the centre a now-national media story.A signing for her book at a local bookstore was cancelled due to pressure the store was under from what a Chapters/Indigo spokesperson described as concerns that customers' "joyful and safe experience" might be compromised.So today on the Off Script podcast, I’m chatting with Joan Baxter about her new Book ‘The Mill’, the 50 years of community activism protesting the pulp industry’s practise in Pictou County and the politics surrounding it all.-- Share this episode using the shortlink: along on Twitter: @SpringtideCo | @MarkCoffin | @Joan_BaxterResources mentioned in this episode: Joan's Book: The Mill: 50 Years of Pulp and ProtestJoan's Book: Seven Grains of Paradise: A Culinary Journey in AfricaJohn Demont's Column: Journalist, miners shabbily treated by big business  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
Govern Yourself Accordingly is the new weekly Springtide podcast for engaged citizens and public leaders who want to shape the future through politics – with their integrity intact. Subscribe now in Apple Podcasts or wherever you find podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
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