Robert Chisholm works hard to bring communities, people and ideas together. He believes that the solutions to the issues we face cannot – and should not – be handed to us from the outside. The answers to our most pressing challenges are right here, in our communities. The key to bringing these solutions to light – and putting them in action – is engagement. That means bringing people together to talk about issues and ideas in an honest, open and respectful way. By really listening to each other, acknowledging our differences, and finding common ground, we are better able to understand all the angles of a problem and see all the potential solutions. With a wealth of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Robert has a keen understanding of consensus and capacity building, as well as the process of collaboration. His approach is grounded in working with others to get real results. Results that make a difference in people’s day-to-day lives.
In addition to being Dartmouth-Cole Harbour’s voice in the House of Commons, Robert was asked by Jack Layton to hold the position of International Trade critic in the NDP Opposition caucus, where his priority was to make sure that Canada’s trade deals are as strong as they can be. Robert was also appointed as the NDP’s critic for ACOA (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) and the Atlantic Gateway. As such, Robert kept a close eye on the government’s regional development programs, and the important international trade-related infrastructure that has a big impact on the economy of the Atlantic Region. In the fall of 2011, Robert stepped down from those roles to run for the leadership of the NDP. Following his withdrawal from the leadership race, Robert was asked to sit as the Deputy Finance Critic, focusing his attention on the threats to Old Age Security, as well as the public sector job cuts and the upcoming budget. In April of 2012, newly elected NDP leader Tom Mulcair announced his shadow cabinet, appointing Robert as the Critic for Fisheries and Oceans, the Atlantic Gateway, and Deputy Critic for Intergovernmental Affairs. In the summer of 2013 the Atlantci Gateway and Intergovernmental Affairs files were moved to another MP to make room on Robert’s plate for the very active file of Employment Insurance. As your Member of Parliament, Robert is deeply committed to hearing about what matters most to you, and to representing the best interests of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour in Ottawa. As a strong proponent of equality and social justice, Robert is also committed to ensuring that all people have a voice in our democratic system. At the community level, Robert believes that an MP should work to actively connect people with the right resources, with all levels of government, and with each other in order to share ideas and information, and help the whole community grow stronger and healthier.
Robert is probably best known for leading the Nova Scotia NDP from 4 to 19 seats – and into the role of Official Opposition – in the provincial election of 1998. He served as an MLA for 12 years, and earned a reputation as an active leader, and a strong voice for Nova Scotia families and the issues they faced. After leaving politics in 2003, Robert continued to apply his commitment to fairness, respect and problem-solving in the private sector. He worked as Atlantic Regional Director for CUPE, and later founded Simon Chisholm Consulting with his wife, Paula. He also served as co-chair of the Nova Scotia provincial government’s transition team following the 2009 election. Contributing to the community is important to Robert. He has been honoured to serve on the Board of Governors at Dalhousie University, as board chair of the Prior Learning Centre, and as board member and 2010-2011campaign co-chair for the United Way of Halifax Region. Robert hails from Kentville, Nova Scotia. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie, and a Masters in Sociology from Carleton University. In October 2012, CPAC profiled Robert in an episode of Beyond Politics. Watch it here.