The candidates for District 12 (from left to right): John Bignell, Eric Jury, Iona Stoddard, and Richard Zurawski.

After winning District 12 in 2016, Richard Zurawski is facing off against two of the runners up from last time and a newcomer in next month’s election.

Candidates John Bignell and Iona Stoddard both ran in the district in 2016, and Eric Jury is adding his name to the ballot for the first time.

The Halifax Examiner posed the same five questions to every candidate in this fall’s election:

  • What should Halifax be doing to create more affordable and accessible housing?

  • Would you support a reduction of the Halifax Regional Police budget for fiscal 2021-2022? Why or why not?

  • Should Halifax require contractors to pay workers a living wage? Why or why not?

  • In response to the climate crisis, Halifax regional council passed an action plan, HalifACT 2050, in June. How will you support accomplishing the plan’s goals?

  • How often do you use Halifax Transit?

We’re printing the candidates’ responses unedited, in full.

Election day is Saturday, Oct. 17, but you can vote online or by telephone between Oct. 6 and 14 or in advanced polls on Oct. 10 and 13. You can check to see if you’re on the voters’ list here. Not sure which district you’re in? Type your address into the map below to find out.

Click the candidate’s name to jump to their answers, or keep scrolling to see them all:

John Bignell

Eric Jury

Iona Stoddard

Richard Zurawski did not reply.


John Bignell

(vote4john.ca)

What should Halifax be doing to create more affordable and accessible housing?

I believe a collaborative approach with all three levels of government is needed to address this issue in our community. Affordable and accessible housing is an essential need especially for persons with disabilities. As a paramedic, I am faced with this challenge every day as we work with residents and their mobility needs to access health care. 

Would you support a reduction of the Halifax Regional Police budget for fiscal 2021-2022? Why or why not?

I believe reallocating funds to provide better education and training of the police department would be more valuable than defunding. We should have a collaborative approach with all agencies and stakeholders, such as Mobile Mental Health and Emergency Health Services, to address how to better serve the residents of HRM. 

Should Halifax require contractors to pay workers a living wage? Why or why not?

I believe that employees are more productive if they are paid a living wage and will do a better job of looking after our city. I support making sure that living wages are part of the tender when contracting services out of the city.

In response to the climate crisis, Halifax regional council passed an action plan, HalifACT 2050, in June. How will you support accomplishing the plan’s goals?

I hope to build a city my children will be proud to call home, find jobs and raise their children. Due to the climate crisis, these simple things will present a challenge for this generation if we don’t act today. My family is working to become more sustainable and always looking to find new ways to reduce our carbon footprint. I would support HalifACT 2050 and other staff recommendations to the council to reach our climate goals at a corporate level.

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

I would like to embrace Halifax Transit more, but the scheduling does not align well with shift work. I try to incorporate it when planning to spend a day downtown and take advantage of the Halifax Transit Lacewood Terminal and the free parking at the Canada Games Centre.


Eric Jury

(ericjury.z13.web.core.windows.net)

What should Halifax be doing to create more affordable and accessible housing?

With current Affordable Housing issues, we need to ensure federal assistance is being used to, pay rent to the landlords and additionally landlords should be using the federal assistance for mortgage relief programs to help off set increases of rent during this pandemic. 

As for low income housing, Social welfare programs needs to be tracked to see how income funding is utilized, and what programs are successful. Assisting for low income earners to help them creates and manage life budgets, should also be encouraged. 

For long term solutions around affordable housing, council needs to ensure low income housing is provided through the Province’s Municipal Affairs Department. 

The city council can help ensure tent encampments are not created as these camps are problematic for all residents. Although additional shelters are not a long-term solution for housing, they are urgently needed to ensure all residents have temporary shelter until a more permanent solution can be put in place. 

In addition, low-income areas in the downtown can be rezoned to allow for the creation of new businesses in these low-income residential areas to allow for additional employment for the residents in these communities.

Would you support a reduction of the Halifax Regional Police budget for fiscal 2020-2021? Why or why not?

City council should look at the current HRP budget to see if there are areas in its budget which can be re-allocated. 

Policing is important for the safety for all residents. Councillors should vote for an increase or reallocation of HRP funding for the Guns and Gang’s unit, with additional officers in the undercover unit policing in high crime areas. 

Community policing needs to be in partnership with community leaders and spiritual leaders along with addiction and offender rehabilitation.    

Should Halifax require contractors to pay workers a living wage? Why or why not?

I assume you are referencing minimum wage increases. This is a provincial issue that need to be addressed by them. 

As for city council mandating contractors to pay a certain wage, it is the responsibility of employers or unions in the province to manage this issue. The contractor’s responsibility is to ensure their employees earn a living wage for continued employment at their business is their responsibility. 

If the employees feel required to vote for unionization, the results of their choice are their responsibility. 

Council should ensure all employment laws currently developed, should be enforced, so that workers in this city are treated fairly and have a safe workplace.     

In response to the climate crisis, Halifax regional council passed an action plan, HalifACT 2050, in June. How will you support accomplishing the plan’s goals?

I have some amendment to this plan. If elected I would bring these changes to my district and outline the requirements of these changes to my constituency. I would have online polling on the purposed amendments and bring forth the changes to council. 

Council should not sacrifice business development to try and meet an aggressive plan that may or may not be achieved with the current rising debt loads from Covid 19 on the cities residents. 

We need to ensure our economic health and growth is the most important topic on the next council’s radar for the 2021-2024 years.   

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

I am not sure of the point of the question? I have used public transit, five days a week, for the last 10 years, as parking in the core is too expensive for myself.  

With the development of the new express buses, wait times have been reduced and makes the transit ride in and out of the core easier. 


Iona Stoddard

(voteionastoddard.com)

What should Halifax be doing to create more affordable and accessible housing? 

The issues around the housing and rental situation is complex because it involves all levels of government. It also involves many Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and departments within government. Having said that, I have a platform which calls for increased building of affordable housing and reduction in permit time. In addition to that, I insist all new developments contain a certain proportion of affordable units. I also believe we could benefit from handing some of the Provincial control over to Halifax. Lastly, my platform calls for best practices of other cities to be looked at and incorporated into our plan. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel to solve our issues. 

Would you support a reduction of the Halifax Regional Police budget for fiscal 2021-2022? Why or why not? 

I would like to see a significant re-work of how the Halifax Regional Police use their budget. As a woman of colour, I have experienced many forms of racism. There must be education for the police to understand systemic racism and intergenerational effects of slavery and racism on Black Nova Scotians. They must receive education regarding racism against First Nations Peoples and the effects of colonialism and residential schools on their communities. This may mean partnering with the Black and First Nations Communities. This is beyond the scope of municipal council, but I would also like to see education for the entire justice system. 

Should Halifax require contractors to pay workers a living wage? Why or why not? 

The living wage in Halifax is $21.80 an hour. Many of our City staff and contract workers are unfortunately nowhere near this number. I will lobby the government for the rights of our public service workers and fight to bring a proper living wage policy to Halifax. 

In response to the climate crisis, Halifax regional council passed an action plan, HalifACT 2050, in June. How will you support accomplishing the plan’s goals? 

  1. Green busses. We need electric busses. Sitting council passed a motion that would see Halifax Transit add 210 electric busses to the fleet by 2028. We will need cooperation from all levels, but I fully support this motion and seeing it through. 
  2. Taxis licensed in HRM would get a city concession if they are either hybrid, or electric. 
  3. Buildings should have at least 50% renewable energy. New ones must be able to generate what it uses.
  4. All new condos and apartments must include adequate electric charging stations, which will encourage electric, or plug-in hybrids. 
  5. Getting increased ridership on public transit is a priority as well as a fully integrated active transportation system. 

How often do you use Halifax Transit? 

When I lived in Upper Hammonds Plains for almost 20 years, I did not take the bus. I didn’t take it because it wasn’t serviced by bus, and still isn’t to this day. I have used the bus many times since moving to Timberlea and I would use it more if it were more time efficient. When I use Google Maps to plan trips into town, it sometimes shows riding a bike as the fastest, and walking on foot is almost as fast as the bus! Getting from point A to B, and back again, in an affordable and timely manner should be a no brainer. It will make the City stronger as a whole. We can look at resources, and best practices, from other cities that have succeeded in bettering their public transit. Like I said before, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel to find solutions.


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Zane Woodford

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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