The candidate filing deadline has passed, so the list is complete. These are my random thoughts on the Halifax councillor races, as I'm unwinding from tonight's council meeting. I'm sure I'll have more intelligent things to say over the next few weeks...
Unopposed candidates: Gloria McCluskey, Andrew Younger, Bill Karsten, Russell Walker I don't know what to make of this. McCluskey, Walker and Younger are strong candidates, Karsten less so. But however strong the candidate, it's never a good thing to have unopposed candidates; if nothing else, being tested every so often keeps councillors in touch with the constituency. And without election campaigns, issues fail to get defined from one election to the next, so when the councillor finally does move on, the next set of candidates has to start from scratch---this can not be good for the district.
District 1: Bridget Ann Boutilier, Steve Streatch. the incumbent Streatch comes from a long-time political family. I don't know Boutilier, but her name at least is also an old-time Nova Scotia name; she was a member on the disbanded Halifax School Board. My citified perspective tells me Streatch has entirely too much negative baggage, but what do I know?
District 8: Jackie Barkhouse, Christa Webber, Calland Wells. Barkhouse handily won a four-way race in a December byelection for this seat, taking nearly half the votes cast, and she's done a passable job thus far, so it's something of a surprise to see this many candidates come out against her.
District 11: Jerry Blumenthal, Patrick Murphy. Blumenthal was a councillor for the old city of Halifax, and has come out to run against the incumbent Murphy.
District 12: Jerome Downey, Cameron Ells, Dawn Marie Sloane, James Stuewe. I'm going to have to get more into this race in a later post. Stuewe comes from Fusion, a networking group for the ambitiously young. That's neither a good or a bad thing, necessarily.
District 13: Beverly W. Miller, Sue Uteck. Uteck, the incumbent, has the family name and a strong history as councillor in her own right. Miller has worked in defending the Halifax Common from encroachment, and has spoken in favour of preservation efforts.
District 14: Katie Campbell, Glenn Dodge, Bill Forbes, Andrea Hilchie-Pye, Ross McLaren, Sean Phillips, Jennifer Watts. This seat is being vacated as Sheila Fougere runs for mayor. It's a heck of a lot of candidates, and so the candidate with the best organizational skills will likely win. At least, I haven't seen a lot of differentiation among them at this point.
District 20: Bruce DeVenne, Bob Harvey. Harvey is spectacularly popular, winning 54 percent of the vote in a three-way race for the seat in 2004. DeVenne gained notoriety as an outspoken critic of the Commonwealth Games bid, and events proved him right. My take, though, is that DeVenne is pretty much against all government spending, regardless of the merit. It'll be interesting to see if that kind of anti-tax sentiment can catch hold in Sackville.
District 21: Matthew Christie, Tim Outhit. Outhit handed defeated Christie in a May byelection for the same seat. Outhit had the better organization, and made himself more available to the press. I've seen nothing to suggest that Christie has improved his situation.