Kevin Page: I didn’t want the job. Nobody wanted that job. I swear to you: nobody. And I’ll be honest with you, I’ve said this before. I think I was the only person in the interview and in the interview I said I didn’t want the job.
Like … It was a strange interview, like if half the interview I’m saying I don’t want the job, and the other half of the interview he’s answering the questions.”
But we knew we had an experiment. It was just an experiment in the sense that ‘What happens…
What if we actually gave information – giving prime ministers and finance ministers, like just not political information, but boring numbers? This is what this could cost – wars, fighter planes, crime bills, changes to old age security.
What if we put together a team of people so we actually gave me everything like documents, like thick documents, with executive summaries and people’s names on them and they were peer reviewed…. like how would that play out what happens – would they be able to hold the executive to account…
Mark Coffin: You’re listening to a special episode of On the Record, Off Script, the podcast.
My name is Mark Coffin, and I’m one of the hosts.
On this week’s special episode we’ll share excerpts from a talk given by Kevin Page, the first ever and now-former Parliamentary Budget Officer for Canada. Kevin Page spoke at the Springtide Better Politics Awards in March in Halifax of this year.
Now before we dive into this weeks episode, we’d like to extend an invitation to you, to be a part of the special episodes on the Off Script podcast. We know Nova Scotia politics is about much more than just what we hear from MLAs, so we’re also interested in hearing your own stories.
– Have you worked in and around politics?
– Maybe you haven’t but you’ve engaged in politics enough to collect a story worth telling.
– Do you have an interesting story to tell from the war room or the campaign trail or the doorstep?
To give you a sense of the kind of stories we’re looking for, we want to stay true to the spirit of the podcast – On the record, and off script – to tell the untold, unspoken, but meaningful accounts of Nova Scotian politics. Short is good, less than five minutes is best. We also like funny – but it doesn’t need to be funny – as long as it’s something we can all learn from, and walk away feeling a little more informed about how our democracy and politics works in Nova Scotia, we want to hear it!
So – if you’ve got a story in mind, you can share it a few ways. If you share it via email, someone from the Off Script team may read it on air, and you can reach us at email@example.com – that’s all one word – firstname.lastname@example.org .
Or you can share your story over the phone, at the Off Script voicemail. Dial the main Springtide line – 902.989.3668 and select extension 101, and share away.
We can’t promise we’ll be able to do something with every story we get in response, but we will read and listen to all of them.
Alright, here’s this week’s podcast.
Oh and a heads up – In his speech Kevin makes a few references to a place just off the stage with his hands, which obviously you can’t see because you’re only listening. But if you are in the room you’d know that there is an artist from a company ‘Brave Space’, Isabel Chender who was live-illustrating his speech. So when he says ‘her’ or the ‘cartoonist’ that’s who he’s talking about.
Alright, here you go…
Kevin Page: Wow, this is amazing. Thank you; I’m humbled to be here, truly humbled. And to be part of this process, where you celebrate better politics.
And I’d like to talk about three things, tonight. Number one, I wanna, I’m here to support Springtide Collective, and I just think it’s important that we celebrate, you know, democratic politics in Canada, and particularly in Nova Scotia. I love the way they do it; I wanna talk about that. And I just, you know, I wanna be here with this party for all the nominees. And to celebrate them and this Better Politics Award. So, I came for the party.
Number two, if I could, I’d like just to share some observations, in that spirit of better politics, about you know, the state of play in Ottawa these days. You know, since October of 2015, the election. Even the context around the election, and kind of going forward. So just some personal observations about the state of politics and policies. Because I think it is kind of connected to better politics.
And finally, if it’s okay, just to share a few lessons from my own experiences as, you know, that, as Mark said, I was the parliamentary budget officer. So what was that like? And I’m sure some of these lessons are probably sound pretty familiar to the nominees. Not that I deserve any kind of awards; I don’t. But, you know, it’s just that same experience of trying to bring about positive change, and working with our political system.
So a few weeks ago, a few weeks ago, I was, I had this moment, like, I always have moments. And, well, not always, but sometimes. And you know, I just, I found myself watching TV, like you folks always do, you know, come home from work, I teach at a university, you know, marking some papers or whatever, I turn on CNN. You know, listen to Wolf or Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer or Anderson Cooper, and then, you know, obviously, they kick in and there’s the CNN Republican Debates. Which have been hard to watch, right? But it’s like, you know, for some TV, you don’t know why you watch it, but you still watch it, because you can’t believe it could be that bad. But they never surprise you. And so, I remember, you know, getting a little bit disappointed in this, again, this is well after our 2015 election, and I was worried about the country.
Honestly, I’m sure a lot of you folks were. I just didn’t like the politics. It wasn’t partisan, in the sense, like, and I voted conservative in the past. I’ve voted liberal, I’ve voted NDP, I’ve voted Green Party, and we’ll see if the Marijuana Party comes, once we legalize it, whether they have a political party, maybe I’ll vote for them. But it was just, I didn’t like the direction, and then you, you watch the stuff, they’re playing out this, this type of politics playing out on the Republican Debates, and I didn’t like it. And it almost every, the next morning I wake up, I start, I read the local paper, then I have on my iPad, I do actually have an iPad, even though I write down things on notes, and I read various newspapers.
I love reading the New York Times, and this one editorialist, David Brooks, you can always guarantee he’s gonna beat up on the Republicans. Even though he’s kind of a conservative. And he’s just not happy with the state of politics. So I read his piece, and I’m reading it, and he’s talks about this book: In Defense of Politics. Which was written by a fella named, ah, Crick, probably somebody already knows. I’ve written it down here somewhere. Bernard Crick. It was written in 1962, and he was quoting, you know, David Brooks is a good writer, he’s often on these, sort of, Charlie Rose shows; I love listening to him. He writes in a wide array, and he starts quoting from this book about how important politics is, and how we’re forgetting, you know, these lessons and what’s at stake here, and these people that actually bring about change, and he’s just, and at the same time, he’s telling, you know, basically the Republican Party, which I think is his party, this isn’t good. And you know, then so I went out, I immediately, I gotta read the book.
So, I get the book, and you know, I start reading it, and it’s starting to sink in. And then, as I find out there’s another book written, like a 50-year anniversary, it’s really more of an essay, by this fella, Matthew Flinders, who wrote this book, he wrote, called: Defending Politics in 2012. So then I’m reading that book. This is all within a number of hours, and again, these are more essays than books, so they’re not like, you know, these large books.
And then, I get an email from Sarah, Sarah Simpson and Mark Hoffen saying, hey, remember you gotta come to this event. And don’t forget. Like, it’s on such-and-such date, and you know, the typical efficiency of Springtide Collective. It’s here’s all your, you know, here’s the plane ticket. This is, you know, the hotel you’re staying at. Here’s the timeline, this is all completely well-organized. So then I said, whoa, I’ve got this event coming up, so I hit, you know, go on the website. And I’m looking at the website, and I’m seeing, well, what is like, the vision and mission of this organization? And I’m you know, reading, and said: wow. Making democracy better. I like that, you know? And then, you know, what are they about? And they’re about engagement and they’re about positive change, and about celebrating politics and going here, and then I’m actually going through some of these videos.
Now, I’ve just realized, as I’m coming onto the stage, this is the lady that contributed to those unbelievable, creative videos, which I recommend. I think, you know, if I was teaching at, in fact, I’ll make sure my students look at some of them. Maybe I’ll test them on some of these videos, which speak to really important things, there. Institutions, and how this stuff is set up.
Then I start to realize, like, everything that I was reading from those books that I really liked, like that book by, ah, by Crick and then the book by Flinders, I’m, you know, In Defense of Politics, it’s like, embedded into everything I was reading on the website. You know, both in, and so, like I said, this is something special.
So if I have like, a first message, it’s that, you know, and it’s really why I’m here, we need to support this organization. That this is an organization, Springtide Collective, and I’m looking at this group here, and I’ve already had a chance to talk with some of you, it’s pretty special. Like, you need to nurture this organization. You need to protect it. This is, like, I think, the second year of these awards. Like, I’m hoping we’re still doing these awards 10 years from now, and that this continues to grow, exactly, that was said by, in the opening address.
Mark Coffin: So here’s a question…
What do Michael Chender, Keltie Jones, and Tim Segulin all have in common?
They are all people that are responsible for bringing the podcast to your ears. Each of them are kind enough to donate to support the Off Script podcast each month, and they all started doing so over the last couple weeks.
They also have something else in common too though. Off Script is produced by Springtide, and Springtide is a charity, so at the end of the tax year they will all get a tax-receipt for the total amount they donate over the course of the year.
So if you want to donate – you have two choices – and you should pick whatever works best for you.
If you make a one-time donation of $25 or later before December 31st, you’ll get a tax receipt you can use when you file your taxes in just a few months.
The more you donate, the bigger your tax credit.
If you give $50, you’ll get $11 back at tax time.
A 100 dollar donation gets you a credit of $24 back.
If those numbers sound steep – and we know pennies are often tight this time of year – consider signing up to be a monthly donor at a much smaller amount – and pitch in $3, $5, or $8 a month. If you stick around for the whole year, you’ll get a tax receipt this time next year.
If you’d like to donate, head to OffScript.ca/Donate, and make a secure donation there.
And if you can’t donate, consider sharing this podcast with a friend who might enjoy it.
That’s our last interruption for the week – back to your podcast…
Kevin Page: There’s a few messages, a couple really big ones I’m just gonna highlight.
Number one is that you must celebrate, again this is from Crick and Flinders, we must celebrate our democratic achievements and practices; that the fruits of democratic politics are all around us, and we forget that. So even, I’m walking from the Lord Nelson, you know, just a beautiful, 20-minute walk down whatever that street’s name is. I’m going past, you know, I’m going past hospitals, schools, like, you know, Saint Mary’s. I’m going past beautiful architecture. I’m walking down these roads and you know, this is stuff that we’ve actually, can thank politics for actually bringing to our country and bringing to Halifax.
Actually, we have people here from the city of Halifax to make sure that we have this great infrastructure. But this is politics. So politics is, and this is one of the messages from Crick, and from Flinders, it makes us, it improves our lives. And again, I’m thinking like, again, I’m remembering now, in terms of that moment, why I had to read these books, why I even need to be here, because I was feeling so down after I was watching the Republican Debates. But they improve people’s lives. We wouldn’t have these great facilities, including this amazing university, if it wasn’t for people coming together, political people, making these decisions, supporting the collective, really. Because these are collective goods, right? This is what brings us together.
This is what Springtide does. And why does Springtide? It’s Springtide Collective. So I think, read into its DNA of this organization, to me it sounds positive. The second message from Crick and Flinders in these books, like we talk about Defense of Politics, or Defending Politics, is that politics needs revitalization. I mean, that was so clear to me when you watch the Republican Debate. They need revitalization. They hopefully will use this as an opportunity to revitalize. For me, that was true with our country, last fall. The fall of 2015, we needed to revitalize politics. And you know, the way to make politics, the way to shift politics, to make politics to be more optimistic, and the way to move it away from the politics of pessimism.
Or, you know, the politics of fear. Through attack politics, corrosive cynicism, is through education. That’s what, it’s always education. You know, it’s about Saint Mary’s University, but it’s about what Springtide Collective does for us. It’s about social dialogue, which is Springtide. It’s about engagement. So this is what Springtide lives for. So again, I’m thinking, this is why this organization is so important, and we need to nurture it and care for it.
There’s a great quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that I like. It was in the book. It says: better to light a candle than to curse in the dark. Better to light a candle than to curse in the dark. So when you see these problems with politics and it needs to be revitalized, you need to go to organizations that bring us together so that we can revitalize it. This is revitalization, right here. The stories, not just, it’s MLAs, but it’s also local politics. It’s public interest people trying to make our lives better. That you work with the system to make it better. This is revitalization. This is why I had to be here. Had to be here. Plus, I love coming to Halifax.
The other thing is: this is not a spectator sport. Democracy. Like, you cannot turn the other way and say: oh, everything is gonna be fine. Like, I think one of our biggest enemies is public apathy. So when I wrote that book, and I’m not forcing anybody to buy the book, but I’m sure Penguin will be happy. I promise you, I’m not getting rich on this book, but the first title I wanted to call it was: The Cost of Indifference. I didn’t want to call it Unaccountable. You know, the publisher said: no, you have to call it Unaccountable. You won’t sell any books if you call it The Cost of Indifference.
But to me, I worry about public apathy in the sight that, oh, political people, they’re, you know, they’re all like certain senators that are in trial right now, or they’re all corrupt or they can’t solve big problems. Then public apathy sets in. Then we’re in trouble. So that’s why you have to have Springtide Collective to say: no, we have so much to be thankful for.
So, I think, you know, Springtide helps us to be players in this spectator’s sport. It’s not a spectator sport.
The other point that Crick makes in his article is that democratic politics will not make every sad heart happy. He said that in 1962. We can’t solve every problem. That’s not politics. You know, we can’t make everybody happy. There will always be sad hearts. But he also said: this is the great, civilizing human activity. It is politics. It is the, you know, how we come together on these really tough issues, and we compromise. And I thought that was beautiful.
So I think it helps us. I think we need these organizations. We need them more than ever, right now, because they tell us that, as we face some of these bigger challenges, and I’m gonna talk about them very briefly, like, you need to be reminded that this is not gonna be solved by Monday. Republicans are not gonna fix their problems by Monday. And so, it’s gonna take time. And we need to work with it, and we can’t become disengaged. So just a few, an observation about the state of politics and policy in Ottawa, because I had that experience, again, as Mark said, I was a public servant for decades.
You know, worked in different places. I was actually the Prime Minister Harper’s, in fact, his assistant secretary for macroeconomic policy. So I would work, like, the Prime Minister’s office is in the Longman building, they were on the first and second floor; I was on the third floor. And so we briefed the prime minister every day on the economy. And I did that for two years, before I became the parliamentary budget officer. But I still, I didn’t like the way things were unfolding. I didn’t like the, you know, I mean, I really was honored to be parliamentary budget officer, but I didn’t like when I was watching the politics. I was not a politician. I was just, I had a calculator. I provided numbers on issues, but I didn’t like the way things were playing out in the city.
I’ll talk about that briefly. But I just have this sense, right now, and this is not a partisan comment, but I think we are on, potentially, on the cusp of positive change. Like, it’s not there yet. You can’t taste it, but you can see it. At least, it’s in the language of some of our political leaders. The liberals are bringing it, and it, but just, I hope the conservatives revitalize. I hope the NDP revitalize. I hope the Green Party grows. But then I hope we don’t lose something that we’re starting to talk about, right now.
You know, it was, for me, remarkable when Prime Minister Trudeau said: I’m bringing back cabinet government. Whoa. Cabinet government. So it’s not just, like, the prime minister and the prime minister’s office making all the decisions, but we’re gonna have respect for every cabinet minister, and what they get to bring to the table. So it’s really government by the executive, and not just the prime minister. Little less authoritarian. I gotta be careful, because the last time I was in Halifax, it was for a fundraiser, and I said our prime minister was Putin-esque. And I didn’t realize it, but a cartoonist took that. And said, and there was a cartoonist and it had like, a typical page, bald head, boring, looking in front of a computer, secretary comes in with a newspaper, or not a newspaper, the telephone, saying: it’s Mr. Putin. He wants to talk to you. Says he doesn’t like the comment.
That’s Nova Scotia, right? Hard hitters in Nova Scotia. And the cartoonists are the best, obviously, in the world. The website’s amazing. Now I can see the connection, you know. And I can’t even see what’s going on. I’m sure I don’t wanna see.
So finally, just like, a few lessons learned from the PBO. The parliamentary budget office job. I didn’t want it, I actually didn’t. Yeah, I didn’t want the job. Nobody wanted it, honestly. I was, again, I was the prime minister’s assistant secretary at PCO, nice job, I knew, you know, I felt comfortable. Had a great, you know, looked out the window, I could see the Peace Tower. I got to do the briefing, had, could pick up the phone, you know, ask if we were working on a budget issue, I could phone any department. They’d say: how can we help the prime minister? You know, just that kind of, there’s nobody wanted to be, ‘Okay, now we’re gonna work for parliament. We’re gonna give parliamentarians information they’ve never seen before, and we’re gonna see how that plays out.’ Nobody wanted that job. I swear to you: nobody.
And yeah, I’ve said this before, I think I was the only person in the interview. And in the interview, I said I didn’t want the job.
Yeah. And you know, there’s people that were there in the interview, like, one of my former bosses, Don Drummond, who was a great economist, way better than me, and like, he, it was a strange interview. Like, in half the interview I’m saying I don’t want the job. And then, for the other half of the interview, he’s answering the questions from the…
But it was, for me, it felt like, we knew we had an experiment. It was just an experiment in a sense like, what happens, what if we actually gave information we were giving prime ministers and finance ministers, like, just not political information, but just like, boring accounting, you know, numbers. This is what this could cost. Wars, fighter planes, crime bills, changes to old age security. What if instead of, you know, in the past, we would just give that to the finance minister and the prime minister, and they would decide what actually would trickle out to members of parliament.
What if we put together a team of people? So we actually, we gave ’em everything. Like, documents. Like, thick documents. And you know, with executive summaries and people’s names on them, and they were peer-reviewed. Like, how would that play out? What happens, would they be able to hold the executive to account? And what happens if you were, like, creating an organization that the next generation, I was talking to some of them, here, before you know, just the fellas that just graduated, they actually looked at this organization and say: whoa, that’s like, my generation organization.
That’s not, like, an old-guy generation, or an old-woman generation, this is, like, transparent. This is like they’re putting work out, they’re putting it on the website, you know, they’re talking to people, and on every big issue, they would try to be on every big issue. They didn’t decide what the issues were, but they would provide information on these issues. And what happens if we try to build a culture within our organization that we weren’t cynical? It’s not our job to say: go to war, don’t go to war, buy a fighter plane, don’t buy a fighter plane.
But we just provided the analysis. And we didn’t opine on whether this was a good decision or not, but at least give them something that they could, they could use, you know, in the context of political accountability. Is this the right priority for the country? Is this the right policy direction? What kind of national defense system do we want? What kind of retirement system do we want? What kind of correctional system? That’s not our job; that’s a tough job. That’s a political job. And like I said: I didn’t want the job. You know, with great humility, I needed to be totally, 100 percent pushed to do the job. And it was through people that I had worked with that I started phoning, I said: well, what do you think? Like, if I took this job, would you come?
And you know, these people have names, like Mustafas, Scary, who I used to mark papers for ’em at university, like 40 years ago. He was finishing his PhD while I was a student. And then, Sahir Khan, who had like, I had worked, I had hired to work, basically, was a you know, a private sector guy in New York City, that wanted to come to Ottawa to raise a family. Was tired of traveling. And just, just a terrific kind of sense for costing and things like that. So they said: no, you’ve gotta do it. We can do it. You know, and Mustafa was an Iranian. I remember when I was studying at Queens, that he had part of his family stuck in Iran. And he said: you know, Kevin, I’d like to do something for my country, if that’s okay with you. That’s what he said. I don’t care if I get fired. N.C. Harris said: you know what? I’m Indian, my dad came here, we just wanna do something for our country. I’m a private sector guy, but I’ll make money. I don’t care. And for me, to be honest, like I, even then, I wasn’t convinced, but I had suffered this amazing, like, this loss in our family. I lost a son in an accident, while I was doing that privy council office job. And I was, like, really struggling. Like I, you know, and I didn’t feel like I fit anymore in the public service. And our family was really hurting. I wasn’t sure if I should take the job, because my family was hurting so much, or I should take the job, and maybe, like, I could help the family somehow.
By saying: you know, we’re not kneeling down, here. Like, we’re gonna get back on our feet. And you know, I had two younger kids that lost a brother. So I think the lesson that I learned from my son, Tyler, was that there’s no security. Like, you just disappear like that, anyway, so what are we fighting for? Like, why don’t you go there and give it a try? Which I’m pretty sure everybody that’s getting an award here like, they’re trying for something that they feel is really important.
So there were three lessons that I often think about in terms of quotes; I love quotes. They just sort of stick in my head. And there’s one from this British historian, Fuller, Thomas Fuller, who said: everything is difficult before it is easy. You always know when you start something, it’s gonna get hard at the beginning.
Like, in the interview, I was saying: I don’t want the job. I don’t wanna build an office where nobody’s gonna pick up the phone; I get no information. I don’t wanna go in front of those committees. They’re nasty. You know, I’m not gonna get used to that. And I don’t wanna write reports that everybody’s gonna read. Like, that’s a hard thing to do. Like, you’ve gotta nuance every word. You gotta see whether or not, can you actually do that? I didn’t wanna do that.
But once we got started, and this team came, thanks to Mustafa and Sahir, and these people are really smart, like I’m not. These people, like, they know what they’re doing and they hired, everybody wants to work for these people. So they brought together this good team. And then I got, you can start getting used to it. Like, wait a minute, I can go to committee. And Sahir was this type of person, he was, like, literally worked on Wall Street for the better part of 10 years. Like, his line as we left the building is: man, Kevin, I can smell napalm. Like, this is gonna be a great meeting. I said, well, yeah, I have to answer all the questions. Like, you’re just sitting next to me. He says: oh, this is fantastic. He was quoting from Apocalypse Now. But there was no apocalypse; no apocalypse. Well, at least I didn’t think there was. Maybe Prime Minister Harper thought there was some.
And then I love the quote from Einstein: in the middle of difficulty, you will find opportunity. That was almost a mindset for the office. So we would start, you know, we would start looking at every issue like secrecy, like, there was a complete, like, the whole town was shut down, it seemed like, under Prime Minister Harper. Information, like, they knew if the prime, and I asked for information, it was like, news within the privy counsel office and the finance department and they had to manage it, and we got nothing. And so we said, like, oh, this is gonna be really cool. Like, we’ll just find a way to be like, they’re secret, we’ll be like the most transparent anybody’s ever seen. Like, everything we actually do, we’ll put on the website. Even if we write a letter to a deputy minister saying we need information, he comes back and says: you can’t have it. It’s going on the website. Like, we’ll be so transparent, everything we do. That you went for a trip, we’re putting it on the website. Every paper had to go on the website. And it’s still there. We never took it off. So for us, like, you got secrecy? We’ll give you transparency.
There’s a Seinfeld program like that. George does it, you know, George is like, he just finally admits in Seinfeld that, you know, his life isn’t really working, so he’s just gonna try the opposite. And it turned out, like, telling really attractive women that you live at home and you have no job really was gonna work, and it actually did work for George. And then, that complexity is a tough issue. Like, how do you cost a war? What’s behind your calculations for death and disability? Like, how do you cost an airplane? Like, how do you, what do you estimate for, like, acquisition costs, operations sustainment cost? What’s the difference between that and a CF-18? Like, how do you cost a crime bill? You know, a truth in sentencing act, where you have more people that are, you know, they lose this re-manned system. So then, all of a sudden, we’re seeing, like, that’s complexity, that’s scary. But then you say, you know what?
This is an amazing opportunity. We’re gonna have to learn how to write. We have to have executive summaries that explain this stuff to people. Like, what’s behind these numbers? And we can never pretend that we know the number. So this is like, even for economists, this is an opportunity to talk about putting numbers out, ranges of numbers on certainty. So we said, ah, complexity, that’s actually, we could work with that. We could, we’ll fight it, you know, with good descriptions. Minority parliament, which is scary, because every financial bill is a vote of confidence. A government could fall. In our very first year, Prime Minister Harper had to prorogue parliament so it didn’t fall. And you know, so that’s just the nature. So you gotta be on your game, in a minority parliament. You can’t put out crap that somebody’s gonna use and say: well, sorry, got the number wrong. But the government just fell. Like, you can’t do that. So it’s like, a minority parliament were even an advantage.
We had a big recession in 2009. Like, a world financial crisis. All of the sudden, we started saying: this is great. The economy is collapsing; they need us! Like, everything kind of turned around, saying we’ll find some way. They cut our budget by a third. We’re saying: this is awesome. They cut our budget, now we’ll get to go to committee and say: we’re shutting down the office. Like, they don’t want information. You don’t want it. If I don’t have any clients, we’re outta here. I’ll go do something else.
We have a really strong team; they all have other jobs. And then we had like a budget 2012, when the government said, now that they had a majority, you know, we could freeze spending for like, five years, and there’s no impact. We could freeze spending in veterans. There’s no impact.
And we’re saying: whoa, show us how you do that. They say: we’re not giving you that information. So you’re job is not to see how money’s not spent. We’re not, we’re taking that money away. We said: no, no, we did stimulus analysis. We’re gonna do austerity analysis. No, you can’t do that. So we’re saying: okay, we’ll see you in court. Because my mandate isn’t the act of parliament. That’s the law of the land. We can even test them. Everything. So, Einstein: in the middle of difficulty, you see opportunity.
A hundred years ago, Einstein thought, maybe if we had two black holes, and they came close together, we’d have something called “gravitational waves”. That guy was smart. He wasn’t even an economist. Just think of what kind of economist he could be. I would have hired him. Then there’s this last quote. I’m getting to the end, I promise you. George Bernard Shaw: there is no progress without change. Like, you know, these folks that are here today, that are getting these awards, all the nominees, they want change. They know they have, they’re trying to fix stuff. You know, and we have, we have to fix things.
We need to revitalize politics. We have systems in Ottawa that don’t work. We have documents that are gutted. There’s no information in them. You know, even like the legislation for the parliamentary budget office. It’s not like a big deal, but you know what? We have a government now that says it wants to strengthen the office. Make in an officer of parliament, give it better access to information, get help, use this office to help cost opposition platforms. And it plans, they say they’re gonna do this over the next, you know, their mandate, in the next four years. So maybe that’s changed, right? Maybe there’s this opportunity of progress.
So I like this other quote, and I’m done. I like this: you try, you fail. You try again. You fail better. You just keep going. You don’t know whether there’s gonna be success, right? Not everybody’s gonna win. There’s all the nominees are heroes, here tonight. So let’s work to support Springtide Collective. That’s one of the reasons why I came here. Let’s celebrate democratic politics in Nova Scotia. You know, otherwise, you can have the Republican Party in the States. Alright?
Let’s thank all our nominees.
The best times are ahead. If you revitalize politics, I think the chances of the best times ahead for the next generation are much better. Thank you very much.
Mark Coffin: That was Kevin Page, speaking last March at the Springtide Better Politics Awards in Halifax.
You can hear his full speech, as well as lots of archived content from Springtide on the Springtide YouTube channel – YouTube.com/SpringtideCo.
Thank you for listening to the off script podcast, we are back next Tuesday with another special episode, and we’re back with a new full episode of the regular podcast on January 10th.
You can find shareable versions of any episode you hear of the podcast by visiting On the Record, Off Script Podcast. Those versions share right in Facebook where your friends can play them straight from their newsfeed.
Until next week!