On the phone with scientist Stephen Foster, District 9

He wants to restore the trust between the police and Black people.

Kelly Foster
After Stephen Foster rounded off his PhD in physics in Toronto, he moved back home to Halifax. “I love this city,” he says, “and if I could do anything to make it a better place to live, then that would be something that would mean a lot to me.”

Foster got a job as a programmer at Halifax-based cyber-engineering firm QRA Corp, but was recently laid off. Now he’s running to be the councillor for District 9 (Halifax West Armdale), aiming to make the sort of changes he’d like to see in the city. His top priorities are affordable housing, police reform, transit and traffic.

He says the current Halifax Transit system is great, but could be even better: “I would make it a priority to basically fund transit to the level that’s needed to actually service all members of the community.” Plus more bike lanes and more buses will reduce congestion on the roads.

Foster thinks the city needs to tackle the affordable housing crisis using the Zoning Code strategy that Portland, Oregon introduced to increase density and reduce housing shortages. “It’s an excellent example of how a city council can actually have a real effect on affordable housing, with the use of innovative and evident space policy,” he says.

On police reform, he wants to rebuild trust between the police and the Black community, and also “find a way to make accountability an actual thing rather than a buzz word.”

Foster says his background in science will make him approach questions differently from other councillors. “I think that gives you a certain way of thinking about things and a certain way of looking at the world. I think that could be really beneficial.”

He’s also passionate about having more green spaces in Halifax and hopes his research background on renewable energy will be useful for council’s decision making on the topic of the climate crisis. “I would like to bring that expertise that I have to council and then use it to help advocate for a greener Halifax.”

If elected, Foster says he’ll be a different kind of councillor. “I believe in listening to those that I disagree with, and listening to the arguments of those that I disagree with.”

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