The candidates for District 3 (from left to right): Vishal Bhardwaj, Clinton Desveaux, Lloyd Jackson, Becky Kent, and George Mbamalu.

With four-term incumbent Coun. Bill Karsten bowing out, District 3 is anyone’s race.

The district, covering Russell Lake, Portland Hills and Estates, Eastern Passage, and Cow Bay, is home to 20,927 eligible voters — more than any of the other 15, based on the 2016 numbers.

There are five candidates vying for the seat: Vishal Bhardwaj, Clinton Desveaux, Lloyd Jackson, Becky Kent, and George Mbamalu.

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:

Vishal Bhardwaj

Clinton Desveaux

Lloyd Jackson

Becky Kent

George Mbamalu


Vishal Bhardwaj

(vishalb.ca)

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

Affordable and accessible housing in HRM is causing growing concern year-over-year. It is important for all levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal, to partner together and move forward proactive and effective solutions. On a municipal level, it is important to work closely with developers to ensure a minimum of 20% of new residential developments are reserved for affordable housing. In addition, currently, there are no rent control regulations. I will demand a speedy review and an action plan with attention from all levels of government is necessary for modern rent regulation.

I want to reassure residents of District 3 and all of HRM that affordable and accessible housing is a basic human right and is an issue I am taking very seriously. I will push forward solutions to protect renters and low-income families, and demand attention at both provincial and federal levels. 

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

In addressing police funding, resources, and our expectations of our HRP, we need a holistic approach. An open-minded review of how effectively the budgets are being used, as well as how the current systems in place are meeting the needs and expectations of all our communities. As a more holistic approach to address the important issues pressing on funding reductions for HRP, we can look to increase police accountability, training, and review of our systems as a whole to better understand where other resources and services can be invited to offer support. This is just the beginning of these conversations, and there is much more to come surrounding our current systems and policing practices.

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

Yes. As the cost of living continues to rise each year, we need to ensure all workers are paid a decent living to support themselves and their families. It is important to offer equivalent pay for similar work across the board – from temporary contractors for full-time employees. The status of one’s role does not deviate from the rising costs of living across HRM. I believe in equal pay for equivalent work. 

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 fully support HalifACT 2050. We need to change our habits from relying on carbon emissions as primary energy sources and create more infrastructure to drive green technology and sustainable energy solutions. The ideas range from how we commute to how we grow – and each new decision from the City Council needs to be viewed through a lens of green, sustainable solutions. Our city needs better bike lanes to support active transportation, electric buses and more charging stations for electric vehicles. We need to encourage our city buildings to embrace green and sustainable building operations. There is much to be done in the fight against climate change, and I know I can bring a fresh and creative perspective to the table at City Council.

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

I do not take transit often, with the reason being, I do not live on a main bus route. I know this is an issue for many living outside the city center, and it is an issue that directly impacts me and my family daily. I understand the importance of access to transit for all residents of HRM and will work diligently to help improve the accessibility and reliability of our transit system.


Clinton Desveaux

(clintonfordistrict3.com)

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

Halifax needs to speed up the approval process for new development. This will encourage more supply to help reduce demand thus driving pricing down and making it more affordable. Halifax also needs to work better at communicating housing issues with the provincial government.

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

No I don’t support cutting the police budget. 

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

Labour laws are governed by the province; I believe however municipal wage regulations for contract workers would lose in a court challenge.

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 believe the marketplace & society is shifting to EVs. The city can examine the possibility of working with the private sector to have additional high speed level 3 charging locations in key strategic areas. This can encourage a quicker transition to help the city reduce its carbon footprint. The city can also examine more tree planting options which can also help reduce its carbon footprint.

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

The nature of my employment (work from home a lot with significant international travel) means I use public & private rail transit in other cities (London, Bristol, Southampton, St. Louis, New Orleans, Seattle, Dublin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver)


Lloyd Jackson

(facebook.com/lloydjacksonfordistrict3hrm)

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

Halifax like all other municipalities must work with the Provincial government to ensure we can provide more affordable and accessible housing.  There are other municipalities facing the same challenges as HRM throughout Canada, North America and the EU. Let us examine their failures and successes to see what we can learn that will help us reach our agreed upon goals. There are solutions and we should access Lessons Learnt from other jurisdictions.

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

No. My understanding is the budget was set to provide a fair wage and monies for a proper number of officers for the requirements to provide adequate policing for our communities. I believe HRM negotiated in good faith with the Police union and I do not support reneging on that.  However a review of capital purchases and their purchase at this time understanding the impact of COVID 19 financially on HRM should be conducted on a case by case basis.

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

Yes. Every working person should be paid a living wage. Every person should be proud of their profession and the role they play in our society.  HRM should lead by example and provide contracts that allow contractors to pay their workers a living wage.  We can not pass on the requirement for people to be paid a living wage by the contractors then starve the contractors.

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 yet to read the HalifACT 2050 action plan.  I acknowledge climate crisis as real.  I acknowledge that we must do or stop doing things now to ensure we pass on something future generations can work with.

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

Rarely.  I would like to address some concerns about service by Metro transit in District 3 with the proper decision making authorities.


Becky Kent

(votebeckykent.com)

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

  • should be working with the Province of NS to create a rent control system. 
  • should revisit the definition of affordable in policies related to affordable housing units/developments.  The cost of housing in NS has always been too high for many people, now with the increase of costs of living due to Covid 19 and the economy, we must revisit this.
  • should be revisiting the Affordable housing policies for developers to create affordable housing units that include rent increase caps on these kinds of units.
  • should be engaging more with organizations that work with homelessness more deliberately and recognize their expertise on these matters in all consultation and ideas considerations.

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

Police Services are still vital in our society and in our communities, but I will be looking for changes in priority funding to include local crime prevention and partnerships with local agencies and in our Districts.

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

I believe HRM should consider all mechanisms that help support HRM residents thrive in their lives, which includes wages that allow safe and affordable housing and provision for their family and their life.

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 will consider all recommendations that come before Council and support good policies that make sense in this economic climate that we are currently in.

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

At the present time I do not use Halifax Transit. I had used it for many years 


George Mbamalu

(facebook.com/georgembamaluhfx)

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

In Nova Scotia, when it comes to rent and affordable living, housing is the responsibility of the provincial government. If the province has decided against rent control, an option to investigate could be a rent subsidy program for low-income earners. The only opportunity for rental supplements in the private sector is under the discretion of landlords or through welfare assistance.

Homelessness is a major and growing concern in Nova Scotia. Appropriate government bodies must investigate this matter with haste as the winter months approach.

Homeless shelters and transitional homes in Nova Scotia are overwhelmed and under-funded, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We can address this matter at all levels of government, even on a municipal level. The municipal government must work alongside organizations for the prevention and resolution of homelessness. This includes homeless shelters, like the Metro Turning Point and Adsum House.

Councillors may use a portion of their discretionary funds towards the development of additional and improvement of established shelters and transitional homes.

In 2018 an inclusionary zoning bill was introduced. Unfortunately, it did not pass the first reading. Inclusionary zoning can help to increase the percent of “Rent-Geared-to-Income” (RGI) or affordable living units’ developers must include in developments. One way the municipality can assist developers in creating these affordable-living units is via cost offsets. Cost offsets include, but are not limited to, density bonuses or fast-tracking approvals.

Identified needs for Dartmouth include improved access to food, affordable housing, and mental health and addiction services.

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

Yes, I agree that in terms of public safety the police play an important role. However, the police should not be the sole option for public safety available to the people. 

I believe effective change can occur by re-prioritizing some police budget to other non-police agencies that can act as first responders to specific crises. 

I would support a reinvestment of a portion of the Halifax Regional Police budget. The reinvestment should be allocated to the development of non-policing forms of first responders such as mental health responders, social works, and other peace officers like bridge patrol. 

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

Yes, Halifax should require contractors to pay workers a living wage. The poverty level income for a family of four for the year 2020 is $26,200, about $12.60 per hour for a full-time worker [Department of Health and Human Services]. I will support the Municipality contractors paying workers a living wage above the poverty level.  

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 will work with the other councillors to make sure the municipally governed portions of the HalifaACT 2050 action plan are on schedule and do everything in a councillor’s power to ensure the plan is executed. 

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

I use Halifax Transit approximately once a month.


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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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