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  • Writer's pictureIan McCormack

Reflecting on Wisdom


I’ve run out of fingers counting how many episodes of our The Political Trenches podcast have been published, and I’m now having to use my toes as well. Our 15th episode of the alphabetical podcast came out recently with ‘N is for Newfoundland.’ It’s been a lot of fun speaking with deeply involved people across the country over the past nine months or so. Our viewer/listener numbers are good, and it’s gratifying that people enjoy the same topics that I do.


This all started last summer with a discussion about how we might share more of what we’ve learned. Having worked with hundreds of councils, commissions, boards, and the like, and with thousands of individuals who populate those groups, we hear a lot of what works and what doesn’t in people’s pursuit of good governance in service of a broad variety of constituencies and causes.


This podcast remains a partnership between Strategic Steps and Cross Border Interviews’ host Chris Brown. The two of us have a real rapport, and we also extend that to our guests. We have involved people who love their communities. From Canada’s Pacific coast to its Atlantic, though now that I think of it, we’ve not yet got to the Arctic coast. We will have to address that.


There are a few things I’ve either learned or confirmed during the course of the production of the podcast. Firstly, governance issues are common across the country, whether for good or bad. Role clarity is a regular topic that pops up, and it’s usually about how various people, whether they are elected, appointed, or public, often don’t realize the breadth and scope of local government and often don’t really understand the differences between what elected people can do and what municipal staff can do. We have also encountered a lack of clarity on the role of local government. While legislation varies in specifics across the country, there are general groupings of what a council can do and what falls to a legislature or Canada’s House of Commons.

A thread that runs through all the guests we’ve interviewed is a passion for what they do and the people they impact. We are looking for examples of great ideas and great people, and we always seem to find them. I really hope that the partnership, if you will, extends beyond the one that Chris Brown and I have built to include those people we invite to converse with us twice a month.


In case you’ve not tuned in yet, we produce a new episode of The Political Trenches about every two weeks. You can find it wherever you get your podcasts. If you want o see what we look like, you can find the Trenches episodes on YouTube as well.


If you’re an elected official, an administrator, or just someone who believes in their community, do you have ideas of what we should be covering during our podcast recordings? Would you like us to interview you or someone you know because of an opinion they hold or an accomplishment they’ve had? Please reach out.


As always, you can reach me at ian@strategicsteps.ca.

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