He had us going for awhile, but yesterday Mayor Peter Kelly made it official, though he did so just minutes before the 5pm deadline for candidates to get their names on the ballot for October's municipal election. Kelly will not be a candidate. The mayor claims he thought about running up until the last minute, then decided against re-offering for the mayoralty or taking a run at a council seat. Kelly did tell my News 95.7 afternoon radio show yesterday polling results indicated he had a chance of winning either race. He wouldn't close the door either on a political future of some kind, either federally or provincially, but it looks like his days in municipal politics are done, ending nearly 30 years as the mayor of Bedford, a city councillor and finally 3 terms as Halifax's mayor. It was the right decision to make. 3 terms and it's time for a change.
We were surprised to learn there will be 6 candidates in the race for the Halifax mayoralty. Along with Mike Savage, Tom Martin and Fred Connors, there are 3 newcomers to the race. I doubt Aaron Eisses, Steve Mackie or Robert McCormack are serious candidates however and are likely in the race for reasons other than having any hope of winning the mayoralty.
One other quick note on the October 20th election, all 16 council seats will be challenged. No one this time gets in by acclamation. That's healthy for democracy. The question now is will voters turn out that Saturday. Saturday elections were introduced back in the early 80s as a means of attracting a larger turnout. Instead, each election has seen fewer and fewer voters. I think it's time for a review with an eye to returning municipal elections to weekdays.
As Kelly says goodbye, many are wondering about the political future of Premier Darrell Dexter. A Corporate Research Associates poll last week put the Liberals in first place, ahead of Dexter's NDP, and this week an Angus Reid national survey ranked the Nova Scotia premier at the bottom of approval ratings for Canada's premiers. Saskatchewan's Brad Wall was tops with 66% approval while Dexter was dead last at 26%. He's got only a few months to turn things around or we could be saying so long to another political leader.
The level of violence is frightening. Those words from RCMP Cpl Scott MacRae in describing the on-going turmoil in North Preston. An 18 year old man was shot Monday on Downey Road and rushed to hospital where he's in serious condition today. It happened around 6pm, just a couple of hours after the new RCMP office in Preston closes for the day. It's open from 8am until 4pm and some are questioning those hours. MacRae also says police do need witnesses to come forward to help them solve this crime and other shootings in the community, but there continues to be a reluctance by residents to do so, perhaps out of fear of retaliation.
CBC's supper hour news with an exclusive last evening. They talked with Christopher Whittle, the Halifax man now facing charges after a pepper spraying incident outside the Halifax Shopping Centre Friday. A 14 year old girl was sprayed with the noxious substance. Whittle admits he did it, but says he did so because she's been harassing his partner for the last 6 weeks. He says it was a response to homophobic slurs directed at his partner. Whittle tells the network he regrets how he handed it, but says he was upset and had to take a stand. I understand his anger, but there were clearly better ways to deal with the situation than resorting to pepper spray. Still, I hope the court takes some pity on the man. He has no criminal record. Community service would be an appropriate punishment.
Have a great day. Get involved. And if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.