On the phone with actor Bill Carr, District 9

One of his many plans for the city is to take a pay cut to help HRM staff laid off due to COVID-19.

Kelsey Smith
Bill Carr is running for the District 9 (Halifax West Armdale) council seat in hopes of restoring humanity to Halifax. He aims “to truly lift up representative—but more importantly participatory—democracy,” he says. “So that we can have a safe and equitable community.”

Carr says the systemic racism in Halifax is real and deeper than many think. “The incident that happened at Walmart”—Santina Rao’s encounter with the police—”that’s unacceptable.”

Residents are telling the candidate that they are concerned about racism. “I’m hearing a lot of people say, ‘how do we make anti-racism a foundation of what we’re doing in this city?’ And I am a thousand percent behind that.”

Carr says these issues need to be tackled quickly. “We need to seriously have discussions, we need to seriously make decisions and then we seriously need to act.”

He also thinks there needs to be police reform in the city, “hand in hand with social reform and social program reform. And we can’t do that if we don’t have control of our situation.”

He says the police are not trained to handle many of the social issues they are encountering. “So we need to integrate more social programs and more training in mental health, social health. We need all sorts of other supports for them to do their jobs properly.”

Carr says people need to stop thinking that defunding the police means leaving the city to chaos. “Defunding the police is actually properly funding the police, properly funding the social programs, properly integrating the social programs with the police systems.”

The actor, whom you might recognize from the Halifax-made feature Spinster or Chester-shot series Haven, is also passionate about the eco future of the city. If elected, he would set up a citizen’s advisory council and a science council to research and discuss the impact of the climate crisis on Halifax. “The sky is actually in trouble. The oceans are in trouble. The land is in trouble. We are in trouble,” says Carr. “And that’s going to impact our city.”

As someone who’s been in the entertainment industry for most of his life, Carr would like to see summer art and music festivals set up in HRM districts, where residents can express themselves through art. “We need to always re-explore, and that’s what the arts do,” he says. “Re-explore relationships, re-explore experience and re-explore our humanity.”

Carr plans to ask councillors to take a 15 percent pay cut, to help city staff whose jobs suffered because of COVID-19. “I just think we need to say to the people that work so hard for this city, that we too are going to share the pain until we can share the benefits.”

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