The candidates for District 7 are Richard Arundel-Evans, Waye Mason (left), Jen Powley (centre), and Craig Roy (right). (No photo of Arundel-Evans available.)

Incumbents aren’t safe in District 7.

In 2012, Waye Mason beat four-term councillor Sue Uteck by 114 votes. Uteck challenged in 2016, and Mason won by more than 1,300 votes.

This time around, Mason faces three challengers for the district, which includes downtown Halifax and the south end.

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:

Despite numerous attempts through various channels, the Halifax Examiner was unable to find contact information for Richard Arundel-Evans. He provided no contact information publicly as part of his campaign.

Waye Mason

Jen Powley

Craig Roy


Waye Mason

(votewayemason.ca)

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

HRM must rapidly implement the Affordable Housing Plan 

– density bonus funded housing support

– registration or landlord licensing of residential units

– review and reduction of policy and regulatory barriers

– increased municipal funding incentives

– identify appropriate surplus municipal lands

– prioritize units in vulnerable neighbourhoods

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

I do not support cuts for cuts sake. I support the review of policing and public safety that my motion just launched. We need a plan for how to reform the delivery of public safety and policing.

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

I think that should be a goal, but I think it needs to be phased in over 3-5-7 years, otherwise the budget impacts would be severe – don’t want to cause job loss due to having to contract out radically less.

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?

Staff are finishing the implementation plan and then HRM has to fund the administration of it and the capital investments in buildings and vehicles.  A big part of it will be expanding solar city to allow for energy retrofits. Programs and grants at a provincial, federal and municipal level need to be focused on low to middle income home owners who cannot easily afford to do retrofits and energy efficiency on their own. 

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

I have an annual pass, and in the winter/spring I use it 8-12 times a week.  Summer/fall I use it 1-2 times a week.


Jen Powley

(powleyfordistrict7.ca)

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

Here are six possible solutions:

  1. HRM has asked the Province for the ability to enact inclusionary zoning. That would mean that all new buildings would have to have units that rented at different price ranges. The Province said no. I would encourage council to ask again and to halt all large-scale development approval until HRM is granted that power. 
  2. We should be asking for the power to enact rent controls at the same time.
  3. Even without the Province giving HRM another clause in the Charter, though, it already says under section 7A that one of the purposes of the Municipality is to “provide services, facilities and other things that, in the opinion of the Council, are necessary or desirable for all or part of the Municipality.” This may mean that HRM could create an office of Non-Market housing. 
  4. One of the first things that office could do is develop and distribute plans for accessible backyard suites now that HRM has given them the green light. The finishing details could be decided upon by the owners of the original houses, but having some well-considered designs available could give the program a kick-start. The owners of the units could apply for a subsidy to get them started, with an agreement to rent them at an affordable rate and not to do short-term rentals. The subsidy would need to be worked out with an agency like Canada Mortgage and Housing or the Federal government. HRM would also need to increase the number of building inspectors it employs. 
  5. Another program could be set up through the Dalhousie School of Architecture, if they agree to it. I don’t know the details of what is happening with the sale of St. Patrick-Alexandra’s school in District 8, but the City owned the land and the building is still standing. An Architecture class could design the inside of the building for a retrofit to make it into accessible, affordable units. They could go on to design net-zero buildings that could go on top of the structure if the main building could handle the load. 
  6. According to TurnerDrake, a real estate firm who compiles stats on vacancy rates, office space is now renting for only $14 per square foot —the lowest rate since 2013. In view of this, I would explore whether all the offices in the towers downtown are still being used after the pandemic. During COVID-19, some of what was traditionally done in an office was done at home. If all the office space isn’t being used, we should see if it could be converted to living space, and if the washrooms could be converted into showers and toilets. If that is possible, maybe with some redesign, some of the space in the office towers could be made into residential units. 

Affordable housing is a complex issue, but we need to start tackling it immediately, and we will need multiple approaches. 

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

Yes, I would. HRM should be asking the communities most affected by the police what they feel the police should be doing and what should be done by other groups through a series of public consultations. As part of this, I would like to invite someone from the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression to present on the Community Police Accountability Councils and see if people think that would be appropriate for Halifax. Chicago is the furthest city along North America in making reforms to the police, with nearly 40% of their council signing on with their support. 

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

Yes. Why? Because we should respect each other. HRM has to set the standard for the Living Wage – if they don’t, who will?

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 was disappointed by HaliFACT 2050. I don’t think it goes far enough. It doesn’t get to zero emissions. It merely says that with technological advances, it will be possible to get there. The technical report doesn’t require buildings to be net-zero until 2030. Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal have already declared that all new buildings must be net-zero. Why can’t Halifax join them? I propose that developers must include an accounting of every project’s GHGs – emitted during construction, embodied in materials, and operational – in their proposals, as a percentage of the 1.4 megatonnes of GHGs annually that HaliFACT 2050 declares HRM should be limited to. Without doing this, how will Halifax budget its emissions? 

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

I prefer to walk rather than take transit. This is because I have an assistant who must operate my wheelchair, and I am lucky enough to live close enough to most events I attend to make this feasible. It is difficult to manage getting two people side-by-side through the entrance on a regular bus. I use Access-a-Bus when I can, but it’s hard when you have to book seven days in advance to get a trip.


Craig Roy

(craigroy.ca)

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

Affordable housing is an extremely high button issue, but policy and funding can make a massive difference to create more affordable and accessible housing in Halifax. 

I recall reading a few posts similar to this where monies were allocated by the Liberal Government as they “pledged $11.2 billion Canadian (U.S. $8.9 billion) to create more affordable housing during budget discussions” in November 2016.  Then again, May 2018, “The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, announce $13.2 billion Fund, the federal government will have an active, sustained role in housing and draw upon up to $4.52 billion in contributions and $8.65 billion in low interest loans to ensure existing rental housing is well maintained and modernized for better energy efficiency and accessibility standards”,  but I don’t recall hearing where the funds were allocated to, who or how these funds have helped, if at all?  We, the people of Halifax need to know where all these funds were allocated, and how we can access these funds to create affordable homes for people.

Halifax has been growing quickly, which is fantastic! But this means there’s more people competing over housing, which has driven our rental vacancy rate to just 1%.

Most housing is built using private funds, meaning it’s not much more expensive for Halifax to build the same. What we need to do is to increase the amount of housing being built instead, while respecting styles, existing residents, and communities. I think the best way to do this is to focus on setting up fair, simple, and standard rules/policies for council to approval and processes for companies to follow so that we don’t have to wait for years, at great expense before new buildings get approved and erected. While enforcing the rules strictly so that only companies that follow the process get to benefit from tax breaks, etc. 

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

I do not support a reduction of the police budget for 2021-2022, I strongly believe that the police should perhaps have an increase for training, or professional development days to go over things such as how to act in certain situations without causing harm, etc.  The demands to defund the police, I believe will put people and families at risk by making police the enemy and failing to establish a serious alternative towards protecting people from violent crime(s).

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

In my opinion, I strongly believe that everyone should be paid a “living wage”.  Being paid minimum wage does not leave a lot to be desired, and in most cases, those individuals on minimum wage are working multiple jobs and living below poverty.  It’s very hard to do when you are a single parent, raising children, or needing insurance or transit to get back and forth to work, not to mention babysitters, if need be let alone the high cost of rental units where ever you are within the city of Halifax and not being able to afford them.  I used to own two very successful businesses for nearly a decade, I would pay my employees very well.  I believe you treat your employees well, and in return they will do the same.  I was never wrong!

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?

This is a great initiative, however, I personally feel this should have been done many years ago.  The climate crisis appears to be getting worse every year. If elected, I will push the agenda to review HaliFACT2050 long-term climate action plan to reduce emissions and help communities adapt to a changing climate so that we can see immediate action, regardless of what that might look like at first attempt.  HalifACT 2050’s commitment to reducing emissions, switching to clean and reliable energy sources and demonstrating local government leadership needs to be reviewed.  This municipal election for example, most people are using corrugated plastic to make and advertise their campaign for their districts.  Same goes for all the plastic bags and plastic containers used at your local grocery store, how can we be for something, but at the same time just pretend it don’t exist?  

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

I don’t use transit often.  In fact prior to Covid-19, I walked to my office daily.  I am fortunately enough to live close, however, when it rains on occasion I would take metro transit, however, it was not very often.  Halifax’s transit needs work.  The drivers are usually cranky, or delayed, or they are a minute or two ahead of schedule at which time you need to wait for the next bus, sometimes in the pouring rain.  People tend to use transit as a way to commute without worry or fear, but being delayed causes stress at work or at school/ baby sitters in the morning and being late to your job can get you in trouble.  The structure needs to be looked at and revised to accommodate the riders, not the drivers.


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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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2 Comments

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  1. I feel there should be a registry of those in need of housing and we should be looking at how many get it and in what timespan. If what we’re doing is working the waits and numbers should decrease. Much like the surgery registry it’s hard to know if strategies are working if it’s not being measured/reported.

  2. The review of policing in HRM does not anticipate any reduction in the number of police officers. The review will result in HRM nibbling at the edges of the police budget to find a few dollars here and there. The Perrivale and Taylor report is under wraps because it does nothing to placate the defund lobby from a few dozen people and the report would be a damp squib if released into the public realm.