We are fortunate to live in HRM. We are blessed with wonderful neighbourhoods and rich in natural treasures. This year marks many milestones: Canada's 145th birthday, 20 years since the cod fishery moratorium, sixteen years since amalgamation. Also, this year brings municipal elections to Nova Scotia in October. For HRM our elections take place in October:
- E-Voting/Telephone Voting October 6-18, 2012
- Paper Ballot, Saturday, October 20th, 2012
This election also is one where we will elect 7 fewer councillors, as district boundaries have been redrawn and our current Mayor, Peter Kelly, is not re-offering. So, we have a great opportunity to evaluate all candidates and pick the best that we feel will move our region forward. Our city is growing and evolving, the typical notion of it being 'us versus them' is an old hat. We can as residents and elected officials of both districts and HRM, make positive decisions that are for the good of our region--they are not mutually exclusive. Also, we can think of what HRM means to each of us and to consider how our current governments are directing policy.
During the course of this election, I would like all HRM residents to think about all the positive things that are in our city. This year provides the means for all of us to realize our strengths, and to acknowledge what needs improvement in our city government policy. What we can do better to make HRM an even stronger, more vibrant region, that is both fiscally responsible and has a strong sense of duty to all citizens. Regardless if you are homeless, employed, white, Japanese, French-speaking, HRM born or an immigrant to HRM, Arabic speaking, Muslim, Jewish, transgender, female, a senior citizen, or a youth: every single citizen of HRM is important. You do count and you do have a voice.
HRM needs a clear vision to chart our course for the future, one built on sustainability with focus on economic, social and environmental concerns. Together, we can create solutions to address poverty, homelessness, access to education, and equality for every person in HRM. We can embrace the evolution of our region collectively and have elected officials that make positive decisions for both respective districts and HRM as a whole. We can embrace the diversity in our region, to listen, learn and collaboratively create solutions to work for all people of HRM. Also, together we can work on connecting across invisible and visible boundaries to help our region succeed and for all people to feel equal.
Together, we can propose to our government, our friends, our neighbours that we can in HRM think both with social duty and fiscal responsibility The fact there is anyone in our city that has to choose between groceries and paying a power bill, between feeding their child versus paying rent, between feeling valued and part of society versus being forgotten-requires a solution. My city, the community I grew up in and have grown to cherish is one of a people with great pride. We are a network of people caring for each other, of neighbourhoods welcoming newcomers to HRM. We are a place where people have a social morality and are ready to provide propositions to local government.
However, in HRM with our current municipal government there is a shift away from community and the importance of valuing all voices. Areas, I feel that together we can have a conversation about are:
- How can we unite as a community and enable the diversity that exists to have a voice in government?
- What can we do to mobilize as a local collective to help reduce poverty?
- What can we as HRM-born citizens do to help facilitate new comers to our region to feel welcome, valued and accepted?
- What we can do to organize and push for a local strategy on energy security and renewable energy policies?
- What will we as individuals and as collectives do to safe guard our environment?
- What is the long-term vision, for HRM that we want to leave for our children and grand-children?
- What can we do to develop solutions to deal with Affordable Housing?
This election: please consider what all candidates are offering. Please vote, and together let's make HRM the strongest, most vibrant region that we can be.