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Who's running in Halifax Needham?

A Q&A with the four north end candidates ahead of Tuesday's by-election

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Needham? Gotta have ‘em.
  • Needham? Gotta have ‘em.


A by-election for the vacant Halifax Needham riding is just around the corner, and we wanted to give readers a chance to better know each candidate before hitting the voting booth on August 30. We emailed a series of questions to Rod Wilson (Liberal), Lisa Roberts (NDP), Andy Arsenault (PC) and Thomas Trappenberg (Green). Here’s what they wrote back. Note: Some answers have been edited for clarity and space.

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ROD WILSON

Liberal

What made you decide to run?
I know the community and its concerns. As a family doctor in the North End Community Health Centre, I see the proud and resilient people of our community on a daily basis. I believe there are so many opportunities waiting, but to achieve them, Needham needs to have a seat in government.

What are three major concerns you think residents in this area care about?
Health care is number one. People are looking for same-day access and quality care, and that’s exactly what we will accomplish with the collaborative care model. Housing that people can afford is another critical issue, I’m hearing. Jobs are also an important issue. New businesses are booming in the area, but people are still looking for jobs that best suit their skills and needs.

In a nutshell, what are you promising residents?
To listen to all residents and advocate for the community’s needs. I am not afraid to respectfully challenge the status quo when it needs to be challenged to get things done.

What’s your favourite spot in the area?
Under a tree in Needham Park. It’s the best-kept secret in Halifax.

What is your personal connection to the riding?
From working in the community for 19 years. I have a close and personal connection with residents from all across the riding. Being a member of the queer community, Needham has been a safe and supportive place for me.

What are your hobbies?
Coffee! Also triathlons when I have time to train. My goal is to just cross the finish line in one piece! And of course my partner Chris and our boys (Labrador retrievers), Jake and Cole.

What grinds your gears?
Negativity and naysayers. A positive attitude makes for endless possibilities!

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LISA ROBERTS


New Democratic Party

What made you decide to run?
I live and work in the community and knew I wanted to represent it politically at some point. I voted for Gary Burrill to be the new leader of the Nova Scotia NDP and felt excited about joining his team. When Maureen 
MacDonald retired, it became clear that now was the time.

What are three major concerns you think residents in this area care about?
Access to primary health care, especially family doctors; the high cost of housing; opportunities for young Nova Scotians.

In a nutshell, what are you promising residents?
To listen to them and collaborate with them. The MLA should be a champion of the community, and there are many organizations in Halifax Needham that could benefit from real partnership from the Province of Nova Scotia.

What’s your favourite spot in the area?
Wonder’neath Open Studio: A place to make art with my kids.

What is your personal connection to the riding?
It’s where I live. I’ve lived on Creighton, Fuller Terrace and now I’m north of Lady Hammond. It’s also where I do almost all of my work, shopping and socializing.

What are your hobbies?
Hand-sewing—whether it’s replacing buttons or doing something more creative.

What grinds your gears?
Watching residents of Halifax Needham move elsewhere in the city because they can’t find affordable housing. And the infrequency of the number nine bus!

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ANDY ARSENAULT


Progressive Conservatives

What made you decide to run?
I have some wonderful friends who approached me and asked me to consider running for the PC party in Halifax Needham. In the back of their minds and mine, they knew I’ve always had a very keen interest in politics and was passionate about the pursuit of good governance.

What are three major concerns you think residents in this area care about?
The economy and the lack of quality job opportunities in Nova Scotia; healthcare concerns for seniors and the lack of adequate long term care facilities across the province; the affordable housing crisis on the Halifax peninsula.

In a nutshell, what are you promising residents?
Fight to address the many concerns of the rapidly growing senior population in Halifax Needham; work with law enforcement and community groups to help make our streets, homes and our community safer; fight to reinstate the film tax credit and rebuild the once world-class film industry in Nova Scotia, which has directly affected so many people living in Halifax Needham and beyond.

What’s your favourite spot in the area?
The many quality restaurants in the Halifax Needham area.

What is your personal connection to the riding?
I lived there for three years; worked in Halifax Needham district for nearly 20 years. I owned a flower store in the Hydrostone market between 1998 and 2002, but couldn’t compete when the large retail stores all began selling flowers.

What are your hobbies?
Entertaining the seniors at Northwood Manor in the north end, at Ivany Place in Bedford and the Abbie Lane Hospital; recreational hockey and golf.

What grinds your gears?
Bad government; thoughtless people; people who prey upon the less fortunate in our society.

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THOMAS TRAPPENBERG


Green Party

What made you decide to run?
The future of our kids, my kids, the opportunities for this region and working with the people of the district to build more resilient communities.

What are three major concerns you think residents in this area care about?
This is a question that residents should be asked. If the question is what I think the residents should be concerned with, then I would say large business interests that will put increased pressure on our neighbourhoods and will make living in the north end unaffordable; the level of mistrust in our government; our state of health care, and the lack of folks with vision in places where their ideas will be heard and implemented.

In a nutshell, what are you promising residents?
I am tired of promises. I believe more in listening to the concerns of residents and working hard to represent them in the legislature. I have been running in elections for the last 10 years and heard from all the other parties that they will solve all the problems. But more often than not these promises have failed to be realized. I have a clear vision of what our future should look like and how we can build a sustainable society for everyone.

What’s your favourite spot in the area?
There are many very nice areas! I biked though this area extensively during the last federal election, and enjoyed my time getting to know the district and its diverse population. I love the vibe of the Hydrostone market.

What is your personal connection to the riding?
I’ve been a resident of Halifax since 1992 and this riding is a great example that combines residential, small and large businesses.

What are your hobbies?
Karate, building stuff, politics, travelling and learning about new things.

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