Howard Epstein’s Rise Again: Nova Scotia’s NDP on the Rocks is part idiosyncratic political memoir and part bitter philippic from someone who was both in the Nova Scotia government from 2009 until 2013, in the sense that he was an MLA of the governing party, but also never really part of the government during the Dexter years due to his exclusion from cabinet – something that clearly still rankles Mr. Epstein, despite his frequent assertions to the contrary.
The book does contain information and perspectives that historians will find useful, and for that reason alone it merits a spot on the shelf of anyone interested in Nova Scotian political history, but when it comes to his central thesis Mr. Epstein singularly fails to make the case that he prosecutes against the 2009 – 2013 NDP government as a sell-out of progressive values. Furthermore, the vision that he offers for rebuilding the party is one rooted in the ideological battles of the 20th century, and not the realities and the very exciting possibilities of the 21st. In a no doubt unintended irony, this self-defined champion of “true” progressive values actually emerges from Rise Again as the most reactionary of all the former members of the NDP government. He is looking backward with a mixture of bitterness and self-righteousness, as opposed to forward with the hope and optimism and spirit of true cooperation that Nova Scotians need now more than ever.Read more