How not to end up up with the mayor we least want


Perhaps Halifax should adopt a kinder, gentler version of the American cage match, survival-of-the-sleaziest primary system to winnow our choices for mayor. Or maybe we need to consider some variation of the NDP’s upcoming advance preferential leadership balloting system to determine who we most—and least—want as next super mayor of our supercity.

Consider. Four candidates have already declared, and at least four others are teetering on the edge. The election doesn’t take place until October.

David Boyd—cab driver, perennial political also-ran—was first out of the blocks, vowing to make Halifax “the Vegas of the east” with strip clubs and casinos. In 2008, he received 1,791 votes for mayor.

Tom Martin—celebrated former cop, manager of Sheila Fougere’s 2008 mayoralty campaign—blames “the lack of accountability, the lack of transparency, the lack of consultation with councillors and the lack of public consultation” at city hall on a mayor “without the ability to lead.”

Fred Connors—hairstylist, entrepreneur, urban chicken farmer—threw his hat in the ring earlier this month, saying he wanted to get “some real change happening in Halifax.”

Matthew Wornona—Toronto native, Dalhousie student—is running because he disagrees with Mayor Peter Kelly’s handling of the eviction of Occupy Nova Scotia protestors.

Meanwhile, restaurateur Lil MacPherson said in December she was “considering it for real,” but hasn’t formally announced. Neither has environmentalist, current MLA and former city councillor Howard Epstein, who would be a formidable candidate.

The race’s certain-to-be front-runners—former MP Mike Savage and current mayor Kelly—haven’t officially declared, but both have campaign teams and money in place.

So many candidates—all but Peter Kelly running against Peter Kelly.

Under our current first-past-the-post system, the unintended consequence of so many wannabes may be four more leaderless, wished-we-hadn’t years.

While we can’t change the system before October’s election, we can ask our preferred alternatives-to-he-who-should-not-be-re-elected to give it their best shot between now and official nomination day—Sept. 11, 2012—and then realistically reassess their chances for success.

Not to forget the chance that they may be responsible for four more years of…


  1. Thanks for speaking up for fair voting reform!

    Fair Vote Canada advocates the use of proportional voting systems at all levels of government and in civil society.

    Of course, there is only one mayor, so a winner-take-all system like Instant Runoff Voting is suitable for electing the mayor.

    But Fair Vote Canada believes that a proportional voting system like the Single Transferable Vote is more suitable for electing a city council.

    More info: http://FairVote.Ca

    Stephen: Send me your contact info and I will put you on our media list.

    Wayne Smith
    Executive Director
    Fair Vote Canada


  2. Let’s take a look at who has stepped up to the plate thus far, those who take this seriously enough to have already thrown their hat in the ring.

    1) A university student from Toronto. Well intended, maybe, but without any real life experience, without any Halifax experience, and without any platform aside from some shaky support of the already shaky Occupy movement.

    2) A pseudo-celeb stylist and motivational speaker. By all accounts someone who has done some good work within the community, but also the apparently proud parent of one of the most overblown and ridiculous wastes of time and manpower our city council has seen, the chicken debacle.

    3) A retired police officer with a lauded and enviable career. Has lived in HRM his entire life, did 30 years of public service there, has owned and/or operated within private business for years, owns an operating farm in rural HRM, and has a history of loudly decrying unfair practices in the upper echelon of our society.

    4) A taxi driver whose claim to fame is that he wants more strip clubs in metro – though to be fair, to each his/her own.

    I don’t think it’s difficult at all to pick the most desirable from the lot, especially considering that I’m no fan of skin bars or gambling.


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