2009 grade: C+
2008 grade: C+
I’ve long thought Jackie Barkhouse has tremendous potential, and sure enough, here she is coming into her own, and starting to define herself politically.
A union organizer, Barkhouse has a natural distrust for administrators and managers, but also understands that changing organizations takes planning, purpose and time. She quite rightly gets upset when council takes up what should be much-investigated policies on the fly---for instance, when late one night some councillors wanted to abruptly change the name of HRM, with no feedback from citizens, no research, no testing the new names out for potentially naughty limerick rhymes. (“There once was a man from Greater Halifax...”)
Barkhouse was adamantly opposed to “tax reform.” That wasn’t a hard sell, as her district would’ve seen the highest average dollar increase in taxes in all of HRM, but she worked hard on the issue, and became more vocal than usual. She then stepped that newfound loquaciousness up a notch or two during budget debates and fought to streamline the CAO’s office. That battle has been put off for another day, but it will be interesting to see if Barkhouse keeps up the good fight.