Today the Nova Scotia legislature heard a throne speech from Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable J.J. Grant. While the speech was short on specifics, we’re intrigued by a number of commitments made in the speech to review the electoral process with Nova Scotians, address the erosion of voter participation, restore trust in the legislative assembly, increase(…)
The Springtide Collective is a grassroots, non-partisan public interest group committed to empowering Nova Scotians to be masters of our own democracy. We believe strongly in the power of democracy and the people of Nova Scotia. We think that by combining the two, together we can make this province a better place to call home.
If politics worked more like the whale watching business, more of us would want to do it.
Missed the event? No worries! The footage and recording from our September 17th event, The Afterparty, is now available on YouTube and Soundcloud for those who couldn’t make it. If you’re interested in the future of parliamentary democracy in Canada, party discipline, and expert opinions on the party system itself, this is the place for you.
Most Nova Scotians voted for candidates that lost and parties that won’t be a part of the government. It’s clear that every vote does not count, that some votes matter much more than others, and that majority does not rule in Nova Scotia elections.
WHAT WE'RE UP TO
THREE MINUTE CITIZEN
Springtide has created 10 videos explaining democracy in Canada
Click here to see all of the Three Minute Citizen videos on our YouTube Channel!
This project is made possible with the support of the Democracy 250 Youth Engagement Legacy Trust
NOVA SCOTIA YOUTH POLL
The first political poll of young people in Nova Scotia
Political polling plays a huge role in influencing the actions of players in the political system. At best, political polls are used as a means of identifying the general priorities of the electorate during and between elections. At worst polls are used to figure out the right spin to sell the public a policy or a politician they really don’t want. Young people, however, are often ignored in these polls. Traditional polls target landline telephones, which most young people have replaced with mobile phones that are not solicited by pollsters in Atlantic Canada.
The Springtide Collective has undertaken the first ever series of political polls of young people in Nova Scotia using field surveyors and online sampling. The polls provide community leaders, the media, political parties and the Springtide Collective with a better understanding of young people’s political opinions, issue priorities, understandings of the democratic process, and voting intentions. Click here to see the results!
This project is made possible with support from the Democracy 250 Youth Engagement Legacy Trust.
PURPOSE AND DIRECTION
Democracy needs a reboot
Around the world citizens are risking their lives to uproot dictators – fighting for the right to participate in a free democracy like ours. As citizens of one of the most respected democracies in the world, we have a responsibility to work to improve democracy so that we may continue to be a model for emerging democracies.
In Canada, however, participation rates in elections are at an all time low, confidence in parliaments and elected officials is dropping, and the people who have been the most engaged and interested in politics, also tend to be the most cynical about the effectiveness of the political process to solve public problems.
At the same time our governments are facing incredible challenges:
- irreversible climate change,
- ever-increasing levels of public and private debt,
- quickly escalating health care costs,
- income inequality is rising, and
- today’s youth will be the first generation in many to inherit a planet and quality of life that is a lower quality than that of their parents.
While many groups are working to tackle these issues with direct policy solutions, the Springtide Collective addresses a much more foundational challenge – improving the state of democracy in Nova Scotia by empowering our fellow citizens to fix it.
We believe in a world where democratic process is an effective way to solve the problems many citizens face, but are incapable of overcoming alone
We empower Nova Scotians to fix our own democracy
WHAT WE BELIEVE
COLLABORATION • Conventional democracy functions at its best when elected representatives can freely deliberate on major decisions. At present, however, it is often reactive and theatrical, assuming that for every proposal there must be an organized opposition. This prevents citizens and our representatives from having collaborative discussions on issues where there is overwhelming public interest in moving forward • EMPATHY • We take an empathetic and non-judgmental approach to working with politicians and with people who don’t vote or participate in politics – recognizing the cause of many of the problems we see in politics to be systemic • FAIR VOTING • In our current electoral system every vote gets counted, but not every vote counts. We envision an electoral system where every vote counts and affects what our
legislatures look like. • OPEN GOVERNMENT • Decisions that happen in secret raise suspicion. Sunlight is one of the best antiseptics known to humankind. Wherever possible, our governments should operate on a principle of openness • EQUALITY BETWEEN GENERATIONS • Intergenerational equity in public process means doing politics in a way that does not privilege current generations at the expense of future ones • EMPOWERMENT • We value processes and tools that empower all citizens to participate in the democratic process • POLITICS BASED ON ISSUES, NOT PARTIES • Parties aren’t the problem, unwavering partisanship is. We imagine a world where citizens and the issues we face are more important than the partisan dialogue that dominates public debate in legislatures.
WHAT WE DO
CHAMPION DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL
The democratic system can work better for citizens than it does. A better system will naturally draw more participants into the process. We will stimulate and initiate conversations around doing politics differently.
EDUCATE ABOUT DEMOCRACY
When citizens understand the way democracy works, we create a foundation for informed political and democratic action. Our educational initiatives will focus on new media and experiential learning opportunities to create an educated citizenry.
ENGAGE CITIZENS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
We will take a proactive approach and meet citizens where they are in order to encourage and promote political engagement.
The Board and Collaborators at the Springtide Collective are young professionals and students working and living across Nova Scotia who imagine new and better ways of doing politics and are passionate about creating a more democratic Nova Scotia.
We are inviting Nova Scotians of all backgrounds who share these concerns to join us.
President & Founder
Communications and Engagement Officer
Illustrator, Three Minute Citizen