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On the phone with community advocate Mohammad Ehsan, District 10 

“For me, making lives better for the whole District 10 is the purpose.”

  • Mosy Photography
Bangladesh-born community volunteer Mohammad Ehsan is running for councillor for District 10 (Halifax–Bedford Basin West) because he wants to do more for his district. “There is limitations on you on how much you can do from the sidelines.”

He’s passionate about senior citizens in the district: He spearheaded a project called the Stronger Together Initiative to help seniors affected by COVID-19. He thinks they should have affordable transit buses “and the seniors property tax rebate has to go up to 12.5 percent,” he says. “I want more senior services. More opportunities for them to get together and do stuff in the community.”

Going door-to-door campaigning, Ehsan constantly hears complaints about traffic and speeding issues. “Traffic needs to be calmed in local areas,” says the 44-year-old.

He cares about the environment and thinks there needs to be a formal entry point for hiking in Blue Mountain, and “we need to renew our schools’ parks and schools’ facilities too in the community.”

He says the city needs to have responsible developments. “Responsible in the sense that maybe we’d have to think about what impact it has on the school and bus system and transit.”

Ehsan, who lives on a street with no sidewalk, says District 10 needs to be a safer and more accessible place to live. “I see seniors and kids dodging cars and taking really serious risk sometimes to even walk up and down.”

He thinks affordable housing is a buzzword that comes up especially during elections, but no one actually does anything about it. “The government is not necessarily into affordable housing, so we have to create a space so that small and medium entrepreneurs can invest and work on affordable housing.”

Ehsan also says there needs to be a form of rent control in the city. Although it’s a provincial responsibility, as a councillor he will advocate for the province to pilot a rent control program. “Especially for those who are low income and vulnerable among us,” he says. “For me, making lives better for the whole District 10 is the purpose.”

Although Ehsan ran during the last municipal election and didn’t win, he’s encouraged many other people of colour to run for election. “I have my friends running in different places and I have friends who are thinking of running next time.” He says he even has the support of the outgoing councillor, Russell Walker, who is retiring. “He himself signed my nomination paper going into the election.”

He hopes to be the first Muslim man to be elected in council. “I’m proud of my identity and I’m proud of my background as a first-generation immigrant,” he says. “If I get elected”—unless of course immigrant candidates running in other districts win, too—“I’ll be the only one who was not born in Canada.”

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