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On the phone with renewable energy advocate Jamie MacNeil, District 4 

Bringing 25 years of political experience to the table, this candidate says he’s ready to get things done.

PAUL ADAMS
  • Paul Adams
Jamie MacNeil says running for the District 4 (Cole Harbour–Westphal) seat on council was an easy choice: after all, he says he’s been training for this role for 25 years. Before starting a career in the renewable energy sector, taking a country-wide management job with a company called Big Moon Power in 2017, he worked as an advisor to premiers and other senior government officials. “I understand the inner workings of all levels of government,” he says. “How to navigate that labyrinth and how to pull together coalitions of support to actually get things done.”

As a candidate, one of MacNeil’s top priorities is looking at traffic safety in the district. “It's something that we have to address in Cole Harbour—Westphal for sure, and there are a number of different things I think we can do that we can do to address that,” including building more sidewalks and adding traffic lights to Bisset and Cole Harbour Roads.

Another issue he’s hearing about from residents is affordable housing, and even though that’s a provincial responsibility, he believes there’s a way the city can get involved. “A lot of people think the municipality doesn't have a big role to play in affordable housing, and I couldn't disagree more,” says the 44-year-old MacNeil. “The municipality has the ability through their purchasing power.”

MacNeil also wants to make changes to Halifax Transit, increasing the number of express bus routes in the district, as well as advocating for equal access to municipal services—such as snow removal—for all. And he’d like to see more investment in arts and culture on the municipal level.

To accomplish these things, MacNeil says he has what it takes when it comes to getting people on board with his ideas. “I have to be able to build a compelling case that other members of council and staff can get around,” he says, “and I've spent most of my adult life making those same cases to bureaucrats and elected officials.”

For all candidates, election day marks the end of the campaign. To MacNeil, it should also be when a politician’s important work begins. “Regardless of who wins—I hope it’s me—I’m working to make it me—but I want people to stay engaged and continue to raise their voices,” he says. “Elections are great things to kickstart the conversation. I just hope it continues after October 17th.”

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