There’s no debating the first event featuring HRM’s mayoralty candidates was a tame one.
Fusion Halifax hosted the “Mayor on the Spot” event Thursday, sitting three contenders down, one at a time, for five standard interview questions about experience and qualifications.
Tom Martin, Mike Savage and Fred Connors all expressed concerns about the city’s current governance, and a desire to make Halifax more vibrant, more desirable or more safe.
Tom Martin, first to take the stage, trotted out his frustrations with police brass, citing his public criticism of the force as an example of his qualifications.
“That was the sign of a good leader, a leader who wasn’t afraid to rock the boat,” he said, as the sizeable crowd applauded. “I would do it again tomorrow.”
Martin says he’s focused on improving government transparency and community engagement, promising more power for community councils.
Savage suggested his parliamentary experience taught him how to work across party lines to achieve consensus.
He says he wants council to set aside regional concerns to focus on long-term strategy and vision, and leave day-to-day operations to city staff.
“In two years, hopefully, you’ll no longer have people saying, ‘That’s a dysfunctional council,’” he said. “You’ll start seeing people saying, ‘That’s a council that’s working with focus…that’s getting stuff done.’”
Fred Connors, the last to take the stage, emphasized his entrepreneurial experience and focus on grassroots, community-oriented solutions to high business taxes and social problems.
“Business success in Halifax right now…is about the ability to just stay open in spite of all the difficulties we have to face in HRM,” he said. “I would like that not to be the situation for the next generation of leaders.” — Metro Halifax