Brian Rose
Brian Rose, Vice President

During our event where Minister Peter MacKay announced the federal governments funding of Halifax’s new convention centre, the Twitter-sphere was alive with commentary on everything from the room size, to the menu, to speculations about what it all means. Entertaining?  Yes.  Useful?  Not really, but it is always interesting to hear what those who have appointed themselves “opinion makers” have to say about things they are not involved in, other than to be commentators and critics.

What I liked most was the characterizations of the audience and the hosts of the event. Ian Penney, chair of the board of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce became the “Chamber Dude”, and the balance of the audience was described as “muckety-mucks”, which I believe should be taken as at least slightly derogatory in the “capitalist running dog” sense.  A number of years ago we asked younger people to describe what they thought the average Chamber member looked like.  The composite drawing would look like the guy from the Monopoly board that we called the “old-man-with-a-bag-of-money”. Ben McRae also told me that this was what people thought of developers.  So by some mathematical law that I can no longer remember, if Chamber members are the old man with the bag of money, and if the audience are muckety-mucks, and the audience are Chamber members, then the audience must be old men with bags of money.

But I didn’t see any old men with or without bags of money.  There were no top hats and no monocles.  What I did see was 250 people who were keenly interested in the future of Halifax and of Nova Scotia and wanted to be part of the excitement of an announcement that many of them had been intimately involved in helping come to fruition.  These people are public servants, business people, young entrepreneurs, community leaders, and people who just want to be part of the effort to make us all better off.  And yes, people who were willing to pay $50 to be there.

The muckety-mucks, like the Chamber Dude, are the people who are part of the solution and who devote their time and money to helping this city and province be sustainable socially, environmental and economically.  Not everyone has to agree with their direction, tactics, or even motives, but until they are willing to do more they will be relegated to 
non-dude and non-muckety status and remain at the back of the room.