Of choices and butterfly nets….

We are quickly coming to the decision point, you know Voting Day for the Halifax Regional Municipality. I thought I would give you some insight into my decision process on who I will vote for in the race to be the next Mayor of Halifax.

Firstly, for those of you who have lost track of who is running in which election the contenders for the job of Mayor are; the incumbent Peter Kelly and his challengers Sheila Fougere & Dave Boyd.

Right off the bat I can reduce the selection by one – Dave Boyd doesn’t have a chance. I knew Dave years ago in Clayton Park, long before his mail order bride “flue the coop” [I wonder why] & I have to admit that my prior knowledge pretty well eliminates Dave from serious consideration. There is a guy in a white lab coat with a large butterfly net running around Halifax trying to catch Dave… wait a minute if my memory serves me I seem to recall that he was caught twice and locked up but he escaped. I’ll give him credit for having the guts to run and propose some rather interesting but unrealistic ideas. I hope he gets more support than in his first attempt at being elected [three votes] but I really cannot see anyone taking his bid seriously.

That leaves Peter and Sheila. Each has solid support in their own turf; Peter in Bedford and Sheila in peninsular Halifax.

Peter has history on his side, as incumbent it is his race to loose, and this time that might be easier than he or his supporters might think. History is history … there is not much you can do to rewrite things that happened in the recent memory. In Peter’s case history is not his best friend and has some telling stories.

There is a reason that organizations like Citizens for Halifax and Build it Right have grown out of the frustration of dealing with the Mayor’s Office. Need I mention the way HRM handled the widening of Chebucto Road or the Mainland Common Recreation Center or the Cat bylaw or the dissension in the council?

They are the tip of the ice burg, for Peter to campaign on a platform of strong leadership, vision and a history of success in furthering Halifax’s image is almost laughable. Find me one proven case where a leopard has actually changed his spots & I might accept that Peter will change his attitude and practice. Realistically history will repeat it’s self if he’s reelected; the lack of decisive decision making, lack luster leadership and internal clashes in council will continue for another four years.

Then there is Sheila. I will tell you up front that I have known and respected her husband for more than 25 years, watched Sheila grow as a councilor, supported her in her run in the last federal election and have been impressed with her growth and consistently solid approach to this campaign. She has solid support from her constituents and is well respected within council.

From what I have seen, Sheila’s history would suggest that a council headed by Mayor Sheila Fougere would be significantly different from that headed by Peter for the past eight years. Much more productive, more proactive and more of what this city needs at this time.

So are you getting the hint? When I mark the X on my ballot for the position for Mayor my choice is going to be Sheila Fougere. Halifax needs a change in direction, attitude, and in political will.

Sometimes change isn’t easy but as in any situation where teamwork is required for success and if the team is not working the quickest way to fix the team is to change the leader.

On a related side point, I will be one of those brave soles casting my vote this weekend electronically… because it is neat!

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