This Great Country of Ours... Nova Scotia, May 2010

I had the great pleasure of spending some time recently on the campus of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The first item on the agenda was a tour of the extraordinary new buildings of The Coady International Institute, graciously hosted by the Institute’s engaging Executive Director Mary Coyle. If you’re not yet familiar with the work of the Institute, please have a look. It is a beacon for what Canada has done and continues to be able to do internationally, focused not so much on helping others, as on helping others learn to help themselves. The Coady has been promoting community self-reliance since it opened its doors to educate leaders from around the world 50 years ago. Established by St. Francis Xavier University in 1959, the Coady International Institute is world-renowned as a centre of excellence in community-based development and leadership education. The Institute was named in honour of Rev. Dr. Moses Coady, a prominent founder of the Antigonish Movement - a people's movement for economic and social justice that began in Nova Scotia during the 1920s.

I also participated in the Nova Scotia Liberal Party AGM. In Nova Scotia, unlike most other parts of the country, the provincial and federal wings of the Liberal Party are together as one, big, happy family (and with every kitchen party I attend, I can vouch for the “happy” part). A highlight was the overwhelming continued mandate Stephen McNeil was given as Leader of the Liberal Party in Nova Scotia (a whopping 83% support!) I had a great time in particular speaking with the Nova Scotia Young Liberals—both in an official session, but also at greater length during some of the more informal get-togethers. We always learn a great deal whenever we take the time to engage with people of a different age than ourselves—for the same reason, I love political discussions with my 86 year-old mum, Betty. I just wish I could get my mum together with a group of these terrific Young Liberals—what a discussion there would be!

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