Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill says when he talks to constituents these days, they say “they’re scared of Trump.”
“I’m scared too,” he says. “But I’m also scared that concern for the markets and the economy is taking precedence over concern for human beings — and that is the foundation of the policy we are discussing today.”
Burrill spoke on Tuesday at Dalhousie’s Student Union Building, during the launch of a new book about the Nova Scotia NDP. The event also included a talk from Burris Devanney, the book’s editor.
Titled Always a Work in Progress — Policies of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party (1962-2016), the book describes past and present NSNDP policy in a way that is accessible for everyone. The book has multiple authors, but Devanney was recognized as the editor and primary writer at the event.
“This text describes comprehensive strategies put into practice by the NDP,” said Devanney.
Glenn Walton, a citizen in attendance who clutched a well-marked and dog-eared copy of the book, called the new tome “encyclopedic” in terms of understanding NSP policy.
Devanney explained that the platform could be confusing, even to members within the party. He hopes the new book can explain NSNDP policy throughout history and provide a blueprint for what’s next for the party.
The NDP first came into power in Nova Scotia following the 2009 election. Following the 2013 election, which resulted in a Liberal victory, a new leadership race ousted former leader Darrell Dexter, who had been criticized for the NSNDP’s poor showing in the polls.
Burrill became leader of the Nova Scotia NDP in Februrary 2016.
Speaking from the podium, Burrill offered praise for Devanney’s work.
“I admire the tenacity of authorship that went into this book,” he began, prompting chuckles from the crowd. “Sometimes at the end of the chapter you have to go, ‘woah, that’s a lot of work that went into this.'”
Devanney and others meticulously documented decades of NSNDP politics and mandates, and reiterated key values held by the party.
The speakers then opened the floor to criticism.
Stella Lord, of End Poverty Nova Scotia, asked the leader and editor about the book’s chapter on poverty: “What can you say is being done for the poor of Nova Scotia?”
The two speakers treated this assessment genially and reiterated the goals of the text.
“What this book states, and what the NDP stands for, is that the abolition of poverty and the elimination of exploitation are not dreams, but rather the goals that the NDP strives for,” said Burrill.
“In short, we are always a work in progress,” Devanney concluded, referencing the title of the book, “And that is the starting point for us.”