Since 2013, Mark Coffin and a small team of volunteers have been exploring how best “to reconnect Nova Scotians with the democratic process and imagine ways of doing politics differently.” They call themselves the Springtide Collective, a non-profit and non-partisan group who want our democracy to work better for people.
The Springtide Collective started up at the Hub and has been operating as a social enterprise, working hard to balance both a strong social mission and a their pocket book. One of their first projects was developing a series of short, fun, educational videos that “put politics in simple images and plain language.” These videos are now being licensed and used across Canada.
On Wednesday evening, Springtide hosted the first ever Better Politics Awards at Saint Mary’s University “...to honor politicians, public servants, journalists, and members of civil society who have demonstrated the ability to inspire others as citizen role models.”
The evening’s guest speaker was Michael MacMillan, co-author of the 2014 best-selling book Tragedy in the Commons, and co-founder of Samara, a national organization researching and promoting greater political engagement. Michael began his intro with great praise for the work Springtide is leading. Springtide is doing tactical work within a system that is not working well, such as running events like the Better Politics Awards, while also playing the “long game” towards a better democracy.
Springtide founder Mark Coffin shared open criticism he received on a local radio talk show about giving anything to ‘evil politicians’. Mark believes that we need to recognize some of the good in our system in the short term, and encourage more of this behaviour, while on the road to greater repair in the long term.
There were fabulous candidates nominated for the awards, such as Jayme Melrose of Common Roots Urban Farm and Hilary Beaumont, a well respected and followed journalist. People enjoyed Gordon Stevens contribution of Lost Cod t-shirts and the winners humbly accepted their awards. We look forward to next years event!