Off Script: Atlantic Canada Politics

Off Script: Atlantic Canada Politics
Community Leadership

Off the Ledge #4: If you don’t know … form a government!
Apr 25, 2019 • 44 min
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…
Off the Ledge #3: Leaders debate, civility contests, and waxing hypothetical
Apr 18, 2019 • 60 min
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…
Off the Ledge #2: ‘If you don’t know, don’t vote’
Apr 11, 2019 • 41 min
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-…
Off the Ledge #1: The politics and possibilities of the PEI Election
Apr 4, 2019 • 49 min
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…
Springtide and the future of our podcasts
May 4, 2018 • 8 min
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. See for privacy and opt-out information.
REPLAY: Women in Nova Scotia Politics - Former MLAs reflect on their experience
Apr 20, 2018 • 40 min
This week, we have some questions for our listeners. Why do you listen to this show? What need does it serve for you? And how can we serve that need better. Answer us at or tweet @SpringtideCo.And in honour of April of 2018 being…
#31: Interview with Waye Mason: “Cars are the least important thing - that’s the law in Halifax!”
Apr 12, 2018 • 27 min
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…
#30: The Battle for Proportional Representation on PEI - Interview with Mark Greenan
Mar 28, 2018 • 30 min
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…
#29: [LIVE] Engaging the Disengaged (A podcast episode for the already engaged)
Mar 21, 2018 • 48 min
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…
#28: How Halifax cyclists won a 1.5km protected downtown bike lane
Mar 14, 2018 • 30 min
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…
#27: How to serve the public on a dying school board | Interview with Cindy Littlefair HRSB Member
Mar 1, 2018 • 27 min
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…
#26: PEI PC Leader wants to change the way the legislature works
Feb 21, 2018 • 22 min
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…
Special Episode - The Effective Citizen with Graham Steele
Feb 16, 2018 • 43 min
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.…
#25: Justin Trudeau’s Criticisms of Proportional Representation vs. Actual Research
Feb 8, 2018 • 39 min
It’s been just over a year since Justin Trudeau’s government announced it would not be pursuing its platform commitment to make the 2015 federal election the last Canadian election held using first-past-the-post. This week we compare what Justin Trudeau…
#24: #MeToo hits Canadian Politics: Interview with Michelle Coffin
Jan 31, 2018 • 30 min
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…
Special Episode - Flying Solo and Representing Yourself: Interview with Gabor Lukacs
Jan 25, 2018 • 42 min
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…
#23: Trudeau’s Town Halls, PEI’s Cabinet Shuffle and an Interview with Nova Scotia MLA Lisa Roberts
Jan 17, 2018 • 59 min
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…
#22: PEI’s Most Popular Politician: An Interview with Peter Bevan-Baker
Jan 10, 2018 • 45 min
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…
Raw Audio - CBRM Council - December 14th 2017
Dec 20, 2017 • 33 min
A companion piece to today’s Off Script podcast. Raw feed from CBRM council floor. See for privacy and opt-out information.
#21: What happened last week at CBRM council? Feat. Interviews with Tom Urbaniak and Coun. Amanda McDougall
Dec 20, 2017 • 46 min
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…
#20: What’s happening at bookstores in Pictou County? Interview with Joan Baxter author of ‘The Mill’ (First episode of Season Two)
Dec 13, 2017 • 40 min
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…
INTRODUCING: Govern Yourself Accordingly
Dec 6, 2017 • 11 min
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. See…
#19: Advice for future MLAs - The Final Chapter
Nov 29, 2017 • 31 min
This is the final episode in our journey through the experiences of former MLAs. In this episode, we share what we heard when we asked former Nova Scotia MLAs to share the advice they would offer to a future political candidate. This episode is just that,…
#18: What former MLAs would change about politics
Nov 22, 2017 • 32 min
By the end of this episode, you’ll hear one very solid recommendation that was echoed by a number of MLAs from various parties. While this recommendation was by no means a consensus amongst former MLAs, nobody told us that it wasn’t worth trying. And in…
#17: One Government Place
Nov 16, 2017 • 41 min
In this episode, we unpack how a meeting of the Nova Scotia Cabinet works. We explore the tension between Cabinet and the Premier’s Office, and how the Premier’s offices has grown to wield more and more power from the days of John Savage and John Hamm to…
#16: Ministers
Nov 8, 2017 • 24 min
This week, we’ll unpack how a minister’s office works, and dig into:- how people who held that office who we spoke to approached making decisions, and the kind of decisions they had to make.- how they did (or did not) involve caucus in their decision…
#15: How a Government vs Opposition MLA gets things done
Nov 1, 2017 • 24 min
Just how exactly does an MLA get anything done at Province House? In this, and the next few episodes of the Off Script podcast, we’re going to explore the nitty gritty of who has what kind of power to make things happen within the governmental structures…
The Future of the Senate: Wanda Thomas Bernard & Grant Mitchell
Oct 18, 2017 • 28 min
On this episode, we’re sharing talks from two members of the Canadian Senate: Senators Grant Mitchell (Alberta) and Wanda Thomas-Bernard (Nova Scotia). Both talks are an excerpt from a larger event called “Independent or Partisan? The Future of the…
Perspectives on Ivany: Danny Graham & Karen Foster
Oct 11, 2017 • 23 min
On this specioal episode of the Off Script podcast, we’re sharing two diverse perspectives on the Ivany report, drawn from a discussion held by the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy at Dalhousie. The discussion was called “All for One Nova Scotia?…
#14: Our House
Oct 5, 2017 • 25 min
This week: we explore the dynamics of the Nova Scotia LegislaturePeople always seem to draw comparisons between politicians and school children when they visit the House of Assembly. We have a couple of stories that relate to that:the story of an MLA who…
Andrew Younger: becoming an indepedent MLA and prioritizing policy-making
Sep 27, 2017 • 28 min
Andrew Younger is the only former MLA we’ve interviewed who sat as an independent. In our interview Andrew describes some of the unsung, unknown advantages of being an independent in Nova Scotia politics. He also tells us what he’s up to now, and talks…
#13: The press gallery talks about the special relationship between the media and politicians in Nova Scotia
Sep 20, 2017 • 32 min
We spoke with members of the press gallery at province house to hear what they had to say, about what MLAs had to say about them. See for privacy and opt-out information.
#12: Ex-MLAs talk about the special relationship between the media and politicians in Nova Scotia
Sep 20, 2017 • 28 min
We never set out to ask MLAs about their relationship with the media, but it was a topic that came up regularly when we asked them one question in particular. See for privacy and opt-out information.
The legislature returns, and a new podcast series
Sep 13, 2017 • 5 min
Next week the legislature returns, and next month we’ll have a new podcast series.Sign up for an update when the new podcast launches: See for privacy and opt-out information.
Party discipline is ‘political immaturity’ - Interview with Howard Epstein (SE #27)
Sep 6, 2017 • 51 min
Howard Epstein was elected seven consecutive times to serve his constituents on the Halifax peninsula. Twice as a municipal councillor and five times as an MLA. Howard, an NDP member, was not afraid to speak out when he felt the party was not living up to…
SPECIAL NEWS: Our next podcast series
Sep 2, 2017 • 4 min
In the near future, Springtide will be launching a new podcast: a brand new series completely separate from Off Script.The trouble is, we’re evenly split on what to call the podcast, and the people we’ve asked for feedback are equally split. We have two…
“Courtesy isn’t always reciprocated’ - Interview with Michele Raymond (SE #26)
Aug 30, 2017 • 48 min
This week, we share our interview with Michelle Raymond, who is a former NDP MLA for the riding of Halifax Atlantic. She served from 2003 to 2012. Michelle held a relatively low profile during her career as an MLA - she served on the backbenches of the…
“[The other side] is not Attila the Hun” - Interview with George Archibald (SE #25)
Aug 23, 2017 • 54 min
George Archibald was the seventh generation of the Archibald family to serve in the Nova Scotia legislature. His time in the legislature spanned two decades (the 80s and 90s). In this interview with Louise Cockram from the Off Script team, he describes…
Francene Cosman Interview - Former Bedford Mayor and MLA, Liberal Executive Director (SE#24)
Aug 16, 2017 • 49 min
Francene has worn many political hats in her day: first Mayor of Bedford, PC Party Candidate, Liberal Party Executive Director, Liberal MLA and Minister of Community Services just to name a few of them. Here’s our extended interview with Francene where…
“Corrosive - that’s probably the best word.” - Graham Steele Interview (SE #23)
Aug 9, 2017 • 51 min
Graham Steele was the Finance Minister in Darrell Dexter’s NDP Government. In this podcast he talks about his personal path in and out of politics, and why (if he could do it over again) he’d run for city council instead of the provincial legislature.…
Mark Parent’s journey from Church Minister to Environment Minister (SE #22)
Aug 3, 2017 • 58 min
This week’s featured interview is with Mark Parent, a former PC Party MLA and environment minister. Mark spoke to us about a range of his experiences in public life: - his transition from being an NDP supporter, to backing Flora MacDonald’s ‘red toryism’;…
Negotiating with Texans, closing the Teacher’s College and co-writing an election platform - Interview with Eleanor Norrie
Jul 27, 2017 • 56 min
Eleanor Norrie shares stories about her time in politics, including her negotiations with Texan oil tycoons as Natural Resources minister, chairing the failed attempt at running a leadership convention by telephone voting, taking part in the cabinet…
Interview with Yvonne Atwell: Former Preston MLA and Restorative Justice Activist
Jul 20, 2017 • 57 min
Yvonne was the NDP MLA for the riding of Preston for just 18 months in the late 90s. Despite having a relatively short career in elected public office, she has plenty of reflections on her time as an MLA, and the state of politics in Nova Scotia. See…
#11: The job nobody else can do
Jul 12, 2017 • 25 min
MLAs have a great deal of choice when it comes to the kind of work they focus on, but there is one job that nobody but the elected MLAs can do: the creation of law. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Deep Democracy with Sera Thompson (SE #19)
Jul 6, 2017 • 28 min
Sera Thompson teaches and practices Deep Democracy, a psychology-based practise for resolving conflict among groups. In this special episode of the podcast, we share a conversation where she gives us a sample of what participants learn on one of her…
#10: You’re Hired; Responsibilities for the job of MLA are negotiable
Jun 28, 2017 • 29 min
There are very few written rules that outline what is expected of MLAs once they take their jobs. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant expectations placed on them once they take office. See for privacy and opt-out…
#9: Mi’kmaq representation in Province House: The 52nd Seat
Jun 10, 2017 • 26 min
There has never been a Mi’kmaq MLA in Nova Scotia, despite the fact that a seat has been reserved for one in the House of Assembly Act since the early 1990s. This week on Off Script, Sandra Hannebohm explores why. See for privacy and…
Coming up next… the 52nd Seat (SE #18)
Jun 3, 2017 • 7 min
This week, we explore some of the background for next week’s episode, which explores the seat that has been reserved for Mi’kmaq people in the legislature, but has never been filled. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Being an independent MLA in Nova Scotia - Andrew Younger (SE #17)
May 26, 2017 • 27 min
Andrew Younger recently gave a talk to the Rotary Club in Dartmouth on the realities of being an independent MLA and candidate. The talk was scheduled before he withdrew from the race to be the independent MLA for Dartmouth East for health and family…
#8: Ready, willing and able: running for office with a disability
May 20, 2017 • 40 min
This week we explore the stories of the people who have run, and in some cases won, elected office as Nova Scotians living with disabilities. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Basic election stuff we should all probably know about, but don’t (SE# 16)
May 11, 2017 • 12 min
There is an election happening on May 30th. In this special episode, Mark explains why writ drops are different than mic drops, how continuous ballot collection can dampen the impact of changes in the polls mid-way through the campaign, and how we have a…
#7: The Experience of African Nova Scotian MLAs: Percy Paris, Yvonne Atwell, Wayne Adams
May 1, 2017 • 37 min
In the 259 years of responsible government in Nova Scotia there have been just five African Nova Scotian MLAs. This week, we speak to three former MLAs who each sat as the sole African Nova Scotians in the legislature during their time. See…
Sexism and misogyny in Canadian provincial politics (SE #15)
Apr 20, 2017 • 13 min
In this week’s episode of Off Script, research lead and Carleton PhD candidate Louise Cockram speaks with Sandra Hannebohm about how the experience of Nova Scotian female politicians compares to those across Canada. See for privacy and…
#6: Women in NS Politics: The Experience of Female MLAs
Apr 13, 2017 • 36 min
This week on Off Script, we explore the unique experiences of the women who ran for and won seats in the Nova Scotia legislature - the challenges they faced in getting there, and the challenges awaiting them once they arrived. See for…
Partisanship and resisting ‘the urge to wear a jersey’ - Bob Mann Shares his story (SE #14)
Apr 5, 2017 • 16 min
Bob’s father was a cabinet minister in John Savage’s liberal government, but most of Bob’s friends are ‘on the orange team.’ Bob shares the story of the ‘strong and, frankly, bizarre reactions’ of people from the red, orange and blue teams when he starred…
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi Explains his ‘Politics in Full Sentences’ Strategy (SE #13)
Mar 29, 2017 • 54 min
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is one of Canada’s most well known political figures. Regardless of how close your own politics are to his, most people can probably agree he has been a powerful voice for the importance of local government. One of the ways…
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage: “We are not a box full of puppies” (SE #12)
Mar 23, 2017 • 9 min
Mike Savage has something to say about negativity in politics, and he wants you to tell you what ‘togetherness’ has to do with Van Gogh, itchy sweaters, imperfect families and a box full of puppies. See for privacy and opt-out…
The Politics of Togetherness - Andrew Black - Pecha Kucha (SE#11)
Mar 14, 2017 • 8 min
Andrew Black has been an active progressive conservative party member for over a decade, but his most successful campaign was the one that got an active member of another party elected to the mayor’s office in Halifax. See for privacy…
SE #10: Meet Sandra, Off-Script Co-Host
Mar 8, 2017 • 20 min
Starting in April, Sandra Hannebohm will be a regular co-host, writer, and contributor to Off Script podcast. On this week’s Off Script podcast, listen in on Mark’s ‘interview’ with her. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Howard Epstein and Graham Steele Debate their Books - 2 of 2 (SE # 8)
Mar 2, 2017 • 48 min
The second part of a discussion shared between former NDP MLAs and authors, Howard Epstein and Graham Steele. Howard explains why he never crossed the floor to sit as an independent, and Graham outlines why (despite all his gripes with the system)…
Howard Epstein & Graham Steele debate their books - 1 of 2 (SE #8)
Feb 25, 2017 • 35 min
This week we share the recording from a discussion with two former members of the NDP caucus, who have written books on their experience in Atlantic Canada’s first NDP government. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Off Script - Important Update
Feb 25, 2017 • 4 min
We’ve got some news to share with our listeners. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Panel Discussion on Partisanship (Part 2) - Elizabeth May, Graham Steele, Danny Graham and Brent Rathgeber (SE#7)
Feb 14, 2017 • 57 min
This is the discussion period from a conversation Springtide hosted in the middle of the last Nova Scotia election campaign. In Special Ep #6, you heard the opening remarks from the panelists in this conversation. In this episode, you’ll hear their…
#5 Road Politics in Nova Scotia
Feb 8, 2017 • 32 min
In this episode, we explore the issue former MLAs told us they heard more about than anything else from their constituents. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Panel Discussion on Partisanship - Elizabeth May, Graham Steele, Danny Graham and Brent Rathgeber - Part 1 of 2 (SE #6)
Feb 1, 2017 • 53 min
This week, we share tape from a discussion Springtide hosted in the middle of the 2013 Nova Scotia election campaign. We invited current and former politicians spanning the political spectrum to talk about the future of political parties in Canada. Each…
#4: How MLAs experience their own political parties
Jan 25, 2017 • 37 min
This week on Off Script, we talk to former MLAs about their experience with their own parties. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Off Script: It’s flu season.
Jan 10, 2017 • 3 min
It’s flu season, and the Off Script team was not spared. A short message about another Springtide project you should be aware of, and a plan to be back to the regular show by next week. See for privacy and opt-out information.
New Year’s Resolutions for Elected Officials and Citizens (SE #5)
Jan 3, 2017 • 10 min
Could New Year’s resolutions for better civic administration from 1921 still apply in 2017? In this week’s episode, you be the judge. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Better Politics and Watchdogging Parliament Hill - Kevin Page Keynote (SE #4)
Dec 27, 2016 • 32 min
In this week’s episode : we look back on Kevin Page’s speech from the 2016 Better Politics Awards in Halifax. See for privacy and opt-out information.
#3: How do you learn to be an MLA?
Dec 20, 2016 • 34 min
This week, we talk about the days and weeks immediately following a new MLA’s election and ask the question: how do you learn to be an MLA? See for privacy and opt-out information.
How I got kicked out of Nova Scotia’s province house - Nelson MacDonald (SE #3)
Dec 13, 2016 • 23 min
In this week’s episode : an update on our production schedule, and a story about learning how the legislature works by protesting what happens inside. See for privacy and opt-out information.
#2 Casting Call: Becoming a Nova Scotia MLA (Ep #2)
Dec 1, 2016 • 41 min
What do a lawyer, a baptist minister, a farmer and a nurse have in common? At one point, they’ve all walked into the legislature to serve as MLAs. In episode two of Off Script, hear the stories that turned regular citizens into lawmakers, and the…
Interviewing Canada’s former MPs - Extended Conversation with Alison Loat (SE#2)
Nov 25, 2016 • 29 min
What’s it like traveling across Canada to talk to former MPs about their life in politics? In last week’s podcast, you heard from Alison Loat, one of the co-authors of the book “Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out on Canada’s…
Former MPs speak out: Tragedy in the Commons - Michael MacMillan Keynote (SE #1)
Nov 24, 2016 • 25 min
What do former MPs have to say about the health of Canadian democracy? Not much good news, accoriding to Michael MacMillan. In last week’s podcast, you heard from Michael MacMillan, one of the co-authors of the book “Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members…
#1: Road Map: the journey of a Nova Scotia MLA
Nov 18, 2016 • 36 min
The first full episode of the Off Script podcast is here. It plots the path for where this podcast is taking you, and gives you a peak at some of the key findings from the MLA Exit Interviews. See for privacy and opt-out information.
For the brokenhearted (Parker J. Palmer)
Nov 9, 2016 • 19 min
Today, we were planning on releasing the first full episode of the podcast. But, our hearts and minds are somewhere else today, and we suspect yours are too. We’ll pick up where we left off this time next week, and this week we’ll share some of the…
Off Script: How an MLA gets involved in ‘those kinds of things’ (Clarrie MacKinnon)
Nov 3, 2016 • 8 min
Clarrie MacKinnon recounts the kinds of things he would end up doing when government services fell short of his constituents needs. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Off Script: “Where’s the minister?” (Eleanor Norrie)
Oct 26, 2016 • 7 min
In this week’s story, former cabinet minister, and Truro-Bible Hill MLA, Eleanor Norrie, remembers what she describes as the all-too-frequent experience of showing up as a woman when the people she was scheduled to meet were waiting for a man. See…
Off Script: “Three cheers for the lady” (Francene Cosman)
Oct 19, 2016 • 4 min
The Off Script Podcast will officially launch soon. Until then, here’s our first ‘prepisode’ - short anecdotes and stories that kept us laughing, captivated, and in suspense during the interviews, meant to keep you doing the same until we launch full…
Off Script: Podcast Promo
Oct 2, 2016 • 4 min
We’ve collected over 75 hours of recorded content, from interviews with more than forty former MLAs. This fall, we’ll begin releasing a weekly audio-documentary podcast. Each week we’ll unpack one small piece of politics. See for privacy…