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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The ‘Halifax’ ‘election’

Posted on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 4:00 AM

I have a confession to make: I have never voted at the ‘municipal’ level, since the province dissolved that level of government in 1996. It's a kangaroo court of a top-down, city-county amalgamation that I can't will myself to participate in, since doing so would represent an acceptance by me of what occurred, and its legitimacy. Perhaps ironically, more than 350,000 citizens in Halifax County had their cherished local government—traditionally the level of government most accessible, most accountable and closest to the people, most democratic—dissolved without so much as a non-binding plebiscite to indicate support or consent, and replaced it with a county wide ‘municipal government’ that devotes none of its time to my community, except in some dictatorial sense. To cap it all of, the districts are gerrymandered to cut through traditional urban neighborhoods and communities in an effort to ‘guide’ our transition to serfdom. We're down to 16 councillors now, for a landmass the size of Lebanon. Twice as many households in my district in my community than in many others in the ‘municipality.’ Thirty-five percent turnout in the last election? Only 16 percent bothered turning out to elect the last councillor? That's a crisis of legitimacy, not engagement. I know and have gotten in touch with councillors, prospective or active. I'm concerned with issues and I have love for my community. But my city no longer exists and so, I no longer have any vote to give. The province needs a wakeup call when it comes to best practices in democracy, regional governance and regional resource sharing. HRM is, and always will be, a failure. —Nova Scotia, the New Uzbekistan

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