Knocking in Needham

August 24, 2016


Buzz. Energy. There’s lots of both at the Lisa Roberts campaign office at 2787 Agricola St. in Halifax Needham. NDPers from everywhere are in and out all day, every day–delivering food, making donations, working the phones, and punching in and out for canvass shifts. I’ve been one of the many doing door-to-door work in the Needham by-election, and as the campaign moves now into its late innings, certain themes are emerging from these doorstep conversations.

At the top of the list is the wellspring of affection and regard for Maureen MacDonald there is amongst the North End’s people. As soon as you mention the NDP in Needham, over and over, people tell you about a time when Maureen helped them, a neighbour, or a member of their family, and then continue on to speak of their esteem for Maureen and her work.

And at the same time, as soon as you mention Lisa, people tell you about how they know her, too–that their kids go to school, or are in ball, with her kids, that they’ve been involved in this or that community enterprise together, or that she and they are (has she ever got a lot of!) friends. Going door to door with Lisa is a joy. The door opens, often, and it’s Old Home Week!  And that’s not to speak of the number of people you bump into while walking up the street with her, from whom it’s all smiles, waves, “Hi, Lisa’s,” and warm expressions of how happy they are she’s running.

And there are often very serious conversations.

Many of them are about the Film Tax Credit.  Anyone who thinks Stephen McNeil’s 2015 evisceration of the film and television industry in Nova Scotia is by now old news, should go door to door in Needham. Over and over, you hear about a person’s son or daughter, sister-in-law, niece or partner, who has had to leave Nova Scotia, or is preparing to do so, because of the Liberals’ decimation of the sector.

And people make mention, too, about McNeil and his government’s treatment of the nurses, teachers and other public sector workers in the province. People often speak with an undisguised contempt about the Liberals’ imposition of a two-year wage freeze on the province’s public sector. Nor has it escaped everyone’s notice that this is a not a wage freeze much in evidence in the Premier’s inner circle.

Something very vital is stirring on the Needham doorsteps. It’s called democracy.

Go, Lisa!

In solidarity and hope,


P.S.:  Last week, I wrote that the government had handed the Bloomfield affordable housing project over to a private developer. This is incorrect. In fact, the property is owned by the Halifax Regional Municipality, and a decision on how to proceed with the development is yet to be made. Thanks to Pat Kipping for bringing this error to my attention.