Sunday, 18 May 2008

Recognizing our Challenges

The first step towards realizing a positive vision for the future of Nova Scotia is recognizing where we stand right now. Our strengths and weaknesses must be considered, and our vision must be rooted in a real understanding of the world of the 21st century.

No one wants to hear hard truths. Speaking clearly about the major challenges we face is difficult, particularly for a politician. Asking people to confront a future that calls on us to examine some of our fundamental assumptions is not easy. But for better or worse, that is exactly what we must do.

We have incredible resources in this province, and I believe that our future is bright. But we face major challenges as well. The great opportunities for lasting prosperity for Nova Scotia will not be realized under a business-as-usual paradigm, because the business-as-usual paradigm is built on assumptions about the world that no longer hold true.

We can no longer assume the perpetual availability of cheap fossil fuel energy. For our own sake, the sake of our global community, and the sake of our children, we can't continue to pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere at this shameful rate. With financial turmoil shaking economies across the world, the global economic system no longer appears to be as reliable as it has in the past. With skyrocketing food prices, the short-term dependability of food supplies is also being called into question.

These are fundamental systemic shifts, and they call on us in Nova Scotia to make matching shifts in our approach to economic management and our strategies for the future of our province. An ability to see the looming obstacles clearly and exploit the incredible opportunities that they present to us is the crucial leadership challenge of our times.

What our government needs most is a voice that represents economic realism for the future. The Green Party is that voice. We do not need to throw the traditional parties out of government for meaningful change to occur. Now is not the time to discard their years of leadership experience and the centuries of democratic political culture that they bring to the table. But it is time to bring in fresh energy and new ideas. Our challenges call for a dialogue between the old and the new, a conversation between generations and across perspectives.

As leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia, I will bring the Green perspective into the government of this province. We represent a movement that has essential contributions to make to our future, and by working with other leaders in government, business, and the not-for-profit sector we can have a huge positive impact for our communities.

There are great challenges facing this province, but the opportunities for sustainable prosperity are even greater. A culturally vibrant, economically prosperous, and environmentally sustainable Nova Scotia is being built at this very moment. The leaders of this movement are everywhere, and the work is just begun. The Green Party represents the political element of this vision, and bringing this voice into government is crucially important for our future.

In posts to this blog over the coming weeks I'll be outlining the approach and some of the policies that I believe are essential for moving Nova Scotia forward. I'll also explore some of the emerging challenges in greater detail. Check back soon!