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 Shawn Cleary from Halifax West Armdale sent back.
Why should residents of your district vote for you?
Fresh ideas, new energy, and experience! The incumbent councillor has been at city hall for 16 years and it's time for a change. I'm a business professor, entrepreneur, community volunteer, husband and father. Already, I have worked hard on the future of this city: I sat on the Halifax Public Libraries Board for three years and helped develop the case for our new and amazing Central Library.
What’s something you wish people were talking about more this election?
Accountability, transparency and democracy—especially in the media. I hear these issues on the doorstep, articulated in different ways, but I don't see much in or on the news. Halifax needs campaign finance reform, democratic updating, term limits and input from residents that is heard and respected.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
Halifax Integrated Mobility Plan consultation—because I went to the consultation at Cole Harbour on September 21.
What’s the most accurate criticism someone’s made about you?
I have too many ideas, so I'm starting to prioritize those great ideas into a platform that can be reasonably implemented over the next four to eight years. Check out some on my website.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
The first real concert I attended was U2's “Joshua Tree” in October 1987 at Toronto's CNE stadium.
What was the last movie you didn’t finish?
What pisses you off?
That most councillors seem to pit one district or region against another. Councillors need to push for the needs of their area residents and consider the needs of all parts of HRM. We all need and benefit from vibrant downtowns and main streets, complete communities in our suburbs and sustainable and prosperous rural areas.
What’s changed the most in your district since 2012?
There hasn’t been significant positive change over the last four years, which is one of the reasons I'm running. There are, however, a few (less than positive) changes: more drivers are speeding; our roads are less safe for pedestrians; sidewalk snow clearing was brought in and the service has been terrible and the development process seems even more removed from the average citizen.
What’s a specific moment in politics or your professional life that you really regret?
I regret not putting myself forward four years ago. I think of the progress that could have been made in District 9 and I won’t let this opportunity pass by.
What’s the last thing that made you really laugh?
I re-watched the Ricky Gervais live stand-up show, Animals, a little while ago. I was rolling on the floor through most of it.
What’s your go-to meal when cooking?
Chicken and apple curry with a rice pilaf, especially when I harvest the fresh vegetables in our front garden on Quinpool.
What worries you the most about the Halifax Regional Municipality and the issues it's facing?
That many of the decisions staff and council make are not based on facts or evidence. An example is the transit plan. HRM is looking to change routes and move to more of a transfer-based system, which I applaud, but since we don't have card readers or similar technology (as some other jurisdictions do) we don't know where people get on buses, where they transfer, where they get off, what time of day people are on the bus, and how many are on at any given time. We don't actually have reliable data to base these decisions on. As someone with a long background in research and policy analysis, I would bring evidence-based decision-making to council.
How would you describe your opponents in this race?
Linda Mosher is sincere in her efforts to work for the community. I feel it's enough that I define the difference between us through the ideas I put forward, while letting the public form its own opinion of my political opponent.
What’s something you don’t know, but want to learn?
I want to know the secret to getting corn to grow here in the city. I've talked to gardeners all over the urban core and none of them can get corn stalks to grow more than a few inches. Plus tons of stuff about how our city can work better for the residents of HRM.
What do you promise NOT to do if elected?
I promise not to implement major programs like snow clearing without public consultation.