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District 10

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

15 questions with District 10 candidate Mohammed Ehsan

“City government is the grassroots-level government and my job is to bring this government back to the citizens.”

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Ehsan can be reached at 902-292-6426 and ehsan.district10@gmail.com, or via Facebook. - LENNY MULLINS
  • Ehsan can be reached at 902-292-6426 and ehsan.district10@gmail.com, or via Facebook.
  • LENNY MULLINS

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Mohammed Ehsan from Halifax—Bedford Basin West sent back.

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Why should residents of your district vote for you?

One of the main reasons I am running in this election is the mere fact that there is a disconnect between us, the residents and the city council. The majority of us do not know what’s going on; we are not consulted on policies that affect our day-to-day lives. I would like to change the way we interact with the city government. Rather than giving our residents a “to-do” list for the next four years and expect them to be happy about it, I am proposing the opposite. We plan to have four monthly town-hall meetings in different neighborhoods of our district because different neighborhoods have different challenges. It is the residents who would instruct me what needs to be done. My responsibilities are to listen to them, work on those issues, work with the rest of the team at the city council and get things done. City government is the grassroots-level government and my job is to bring this government back to the citizens. It is the only way we can make the government more transparent, open and accountable. This is ‘the’ way we can empower citizens.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

Diversity matters. I wish our respected residents throughout HRM were talking more about diversity in the council. I wish we were talking more about representation of minority issues in the city council, not in the sense of visible minority only but more about voices we don’t hear often. For instance, how can we make sure that our respected seniors’ or differently-abled peoples’ voices are regularly heard in the decision-making processes? There should be established avenues through which we can reach out to everyone in the HRM on a regular basis. I am very excited that our residents are responding very positively on these fronts.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Review of the book Mayors Gone Bad. The book gives you an account of how to not do things at the city halls. Just so you know anti-corruption and public sector conflict of interest issues are the focus areas of my PhD thesis.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

As my wife always says, give a little more time to your family!

What was the first concert you ever went to?

Miles in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1992.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?

Finish them all!

What pisses you off?
When people do not treat others well.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

Lots of development with consequent effects on traffic.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

In politics, I regret that I didn’t run in the elections earlier. In professional life, I regret that I couldn’t design and teach a course on anti-corruption yet.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

When my twin six-year-old boys go mischievous trying to convince me to buy more toys for them!

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Salmon-salad-rice or chicken biriyani.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

HRM is doing its fair share but it needs a shake-up as well. It can be more innovative with entrepreneurial spirit. To become a smart city delivering smart services, it needs to do more. I would like to see more of multilevel governance in HRM. Planning-wise, it needs to look beyond its four-year election cycle. Winning elections is important, but winning the hearts of the residents are more important. Working hard to protect the public interest is even more important. It needs to involve residents in different stages of policy making.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Undermining opponents is not a trait of my personality. I thank Mr. Curran for throwing his hat in the ring, running in the elections and becoming part of the democratic process of our wonderful country. I acknowledge the long-term services of Mr. Walker and thank him for his contribution to our community.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

I have always wanted to learn many more languages.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise not to ignore residents in any way. I’ll always be visible in the community and irrespective of the nature of residents’ challenges, I’ll work hard to resolve those issues.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

15 questions with District 10 candidate Andrew Curran

“I can't let another four years slip by and continue to watch the deterioration of our community.”

Posted By on Sat, Oct 1, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Curran can be reached at 902-210-1201 and info@andrewcurran.ca, or via Twitter and Facebook. - VIA CANDIDATE
  • Curran can be reached at 902-210-1201 and info@andrewcurran.ca, or via Twitter and Facebook.
  • via candidate

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Andrew Curran from Halifax—Bedford Basin West sent back.

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Why should residents of your district vote for you?

It's time for change! As a proud resident of District 10, I can't let another four years slip by and continue to watch the deterioration of our community. It feels like we've been overlooked and forgotten. Our infrastructure and resources are falling apart, or have been taken away. Residents should vote for me because these are the key issues I want to address: making our neighbourhood more walkable by fixing our infrastructure—where sidewalks and bus shelters are non-existent; improve the environment and traffic flow by adding Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes, networked bike lanes and commuter rail; an outbound Bedford Highway lane with steady green lights; bring back the affordable HRM recreational programming into our district for families, youth, seniors, newcomers, along with a new community centre or hub for community space. Through these, I'd also like to bring back HRM Recreation in-service and summer day camps for school aged children. I will create a seniors' club, as many seniors have become disengaged with the loss of Northcliffe and Rockingham Community Centres. Youth, in particular, need a safe place to hang out and to be positively engaged. I will bring Participatory Budgeting to District 10, where the community directly decides how to spend a large part of the district councillor's discretionary fund, each year. I'm not accepting any donations from developers. I strongly believe that developers should give back to community and therefore, if I'm approached, I will redirect them to the many community groups in my district.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

Walkability for each neighbourhood. The concept of complete communities is based on the idea of living within a convenient walking distance to everything you may need in order to help the environment, your health, and to help you enjoy a higher quality of life. Example: living close to public transit, bike lanes, shops, grocery centres, neighbourhood hubs and parks with recreation, work, schools, churches and entertainment, to name some. Living in complete communities, we can reduce our environmental footprint and live a more healthy lifestyle.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

“Fusion Halifax Little Easy.”

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

I've been burning the candle at both ends a little too much lately and need to take more time for myself, and relax.

What was the first concert you ever went to?
Richard Marx with Wilson Phillips opening, in Halifax.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
Gods of Egypt

What pisses you off?

The traffic mess on the Fairview overpass every morning. What peeves me even more is having to do it all over again at the end of the day, on the drive home.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

The boundaries and demographics of our district, along with the explosion of development with a lack of community consensus. Our district is facing very LARGE development; Rockingham South and Seton Ridge to name a couple. When I'm elected, I will ensure there is proper community input into all the projects that affect our community.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

I regret not being involved in municipal politics earlier. If I had of, we would already have the groundwork done for a replacement community centre or hub with affordable HRM recreational programming in our district.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

My dog, Snoopy! When human food is involved, all of sudden, it's as if he can do basic arithmetic by adding or subtracting from five, by tapping his paw on the floor to give his answer. If bacon is the reward, he taps his paw even louder and loses count. He's such a ham! I really should make a video.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

My mother's homemade curry sauce over rice recipe with apples, onions and raisins—cooked in the sauce made with margarine/butter, flour, curry powder, milk, a drop of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of salt and sliced in hard-boiled eggs. Add crushed chili peppers for heat. My cooking never tastes quite as good as my mother's!

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

The environment, transportation, and development are among my top worries for HRM. Finding a balance between these three issues will allow HRM to better handle any future growth.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

With all due respect to the incumbent's almost quarter century in office, it's time for fresh ideas and new energy. As for the other candidate, so far, he's kept a low profile.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Navigation

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

I promise not to stay in office for nearly a quarter century.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

15 questions with District 10 councillor Russell Walker

“I want to be assured that we always keep a balanced budget and pay down the debt.”

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Walker can be reached at 902-497-7215 and russell.walker@halifax.ca, or via Facebook. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Walker can be reached at 902-497-7215 and russell.walker@halifax.ca, or via Facebook.
  • via Facebook

The Coast sent all 53 candidates running in HRM’s municipal election the same 15-question survey in order to help their residents and our readers know a little more about who’s running for council. Here’s what Russell Walker from Bedford Basin West sent back.

———

Why should residents of your district vote for you?

Because of the representation I have provided in this newly expanded district since 2012. I work closely with the two area MLAs and also meet regularly with individuals and groups in the district. I am always well prepared, having studied the reports before discussing them and my attendance record at council meetings and boards and commissions to which I have been appointed.

What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?

Tax reform.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Halifax Moosehead game results.

What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?

My wife criticizes me for devoting too much time to city work on weekends.

What was the first concert you ever went to?
Anne Murray.

What was the last movie you didn’t finish?

Finish all.

What pisses you off?

When people disregard proven, documented facts.

What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?

So much development throughout the district.

What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?

I've always been up front and done what I felt was best so I personally have no regrets event though I have made mistakes.

What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?

A sports bloopers program.

What’s your go-to meal when cooking?

Fish. Haddock/halibut/salmon.

What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?

I want to be assured that we always keep a balanced budget and pay down the debt.

How would you describe your opponents in this race?

Having only met them briefly during the last few weeks, I don't know what involvement they have had in community organizations and volunteer work within the area.

What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?

To play the guitar.

What do you promise NOT to do if elected?

Work less hours than I have been working in the last four years.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The fight for Bedford Basin West

All the candidates and issues facing District 10 this election.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 4:00 AM

This district includes Rockingham, Kearney Lake, Fairview, and sections of Clayton Park (including Mount St. Vincent University). Click here for HRM’s boundary description. - AKRIA ARRUDA
  • This district includes Rockingham, Kearney Lake, Fairview, and sections of Clayton Park (including Mount St. Vincent University). Click here for HRM’s boundary description.

  • AKRIA ARRUDA
Bedford Basin West spans Halifax areas like Fairview, Clayton Park and Rockingham, with a constituency largely populated by families, seniors and folks who commute into the downtown daily. It's also an extremely diverse community—the most ethnically diverse east of Montreal, according to candidate Mohammad Ehsan.

Eligible voters: 18,578 (as of 2014)
(Down a few hundred people from 2012)
Past voter turnout: 30.54 percent

The Candidates
If incumbent Russell Walker wins the election in October, his term will mark a quarter of a century representing the area at City Hall. Standing in his way are two new opponents trying to heat up the race: Andrew Curran, Halifax Public Libraries employee and former NSUPE local vice president; and Mohammad Ehsan, a Dalhousie faculty member who is about to defend his PhD in political science. All three candidates say they have been spending their days knocking on doors, (or in Walker's case, meeting residents at Tim Horton’s) to absorb local concerns. Walker, as would be expected, is running his campaign based off his past experience as councillor. Curran is focusing on community development, and Ehsan says he wants to fix the disconnect between residents and regional council by promising to hold monthly town hall meetings every four months if elected.

The Issues
District 10 has some of the same HRM-wide issues everyone else is dealing with, but one element it’s lagging behind on is community spaces. Partially the void in community spaces is the result of the Northcliffe Community Centre’s demolition in 2011. All three candidates have told us residents in Bedford Basin West could use a new hub to come together for recreational and social programs. Curran was inspired to run after meeting a senior who moved out of the area due to isolation, and from this problem he built his platform. Walker says residents have been calling for a new centre in Fairview; he is also concerned about traffic congestion and transit. Ehsan, aside from his town hall pledge, is philosophical about some of his promises, telling The Coast he wants to empower residents. We agree the next councillor for Bedford Basin West should make sure everyone in their district has the space to forge a strong, shared sense of community.

Click here to find out more info on how, where and when you can vote in HRM’s election.


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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 7
July 11, 2019

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