The candidates for District 8 (from left to right): Virginia Hinch, Dylan Kennedy, and Lindell Smith.

Lindell Smith won his seat in District 8 in a crowded field of seven candidates in 2016.

Four years later, he’s looking for a second term from the voters of the north end of Halifax, and facing two challengers: Virginia Hinch and Dylan Kennedy.

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:

Virginia Hinch

Dylan Kennedy

Lindell Smith


Virginia Hinch

(virginiahinch.ca)

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

I just want to say I am tired of politicians making affordable/accessible housing a large part of their campaign and, once they are in, we hear very little. 

There is no enforceable requirement for developers to include affordable or accessible housing in new builds, let alone any broader community benefits. If they decide not to add (subjectively) affordable units, they pay a modest fee to a fund for a program that doesn’t exist. 

The housing crisis is real and it’s happening now. This continued inaction will only make it worse while people are being forced out of their homes and communities every day. 

Halifax needs to make all levels of government accountable and demand action. Find land and build. Buy properties and rebuild affordable/accessible housing. Adopt stricter regulations around short-term rentals.  Make Landlords accountable by adopting rent control into legislation.

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

Yes. I support defunding the police/re-allocating significant portions of police budgets toward community and preventative programs and services. 

A significant portion of these budgets would be better used addressing the sources of societal issues like housing, education, mental health, addictions, and closing the gaps in employment and business ownership. 

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

Yes. The Social Procurement Policy ended up being stripped down to the point where contractors are only encouraged to ‘consider’ paying a living wage. This is a half-measure and, like so many other policies, it relies on others (in this case the contractors) to take action. 

We need to demonstrate leadership, empathy, and assertive action. We can’t build our city’s progress on under-paid labour. 

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?

When I’m elected, I will continue to support HalifACT 2050 by making sure that mandates are being met to reach the goal for 2050. 

I’ll focus on addressing the items that can make the biggest impact both environmentally and for employment such as retrofitting existing residential and commercial buildings. These contribute 70% of community-wide emissions and these retrofits have the largest impact on employment generation. 

These next 10 years are crucial in turning the tide of climate change and we cannot afford to be indecisive. 

We’ll also have to gather public and private support for some of these items such as municipal energy retrofitting. Being able to bring a diverse group of stakeholders and partners together will be crucial to achieve much of the action plan’s goals. 

We’ll also ensure that we regularly check in with the many groups and organizations that supported HalifACT 2050 to ensure that we’re on track and on time. 

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

If I’m not walking, I’m on the bus, so about 70% of the time. I purchase bus tickets monthly.


Dylan Kennedy

(dylankennedy.ca)

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

I am looking towards Vancouver and Toronto, Canadian cities which experienced this real estate bubble well before we did. As such I call for a 2% annual cap on rental increases and a foreign buyers tax(FBT) with exceptions for work visas. With that FBT revenue, I would like to see incentives for cooperative housing solutions and bylaws surrounding nepotism in rental property maintenance contracts.

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

I support a reduction of the HRP budget in the next fiscal year. The past two budgets have allocated an average of 100 million dollars of taxpayer dollars to the department, with no negotiations or alternatives being presented. These numbers are publicly available and shocking. In order to move forward in other areas of community safety, we need to redistribute taxpayer dollars in an equitable and efficient way. I am also calling for implicit bias testing, body cameras, and a community led oversight committee with the ability to reprimand. Based on my, admittedly rushed, math we should be able to achieve this and keep our fully operational force with approx 50 million per year. Regardless of opinion, these discussions needs to be transparent to the taxpayer so we can be involved in an equitable solution.

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

With the current Uber situation, I believe certain contractors need to be defined as employees with the labour rights that title provides. The global labour arbitrage is a global race to the bottom in terms of employee wellbeing. We do need to distinguish between these app based contracting services, and more traditional contractors. However in both cases, as in all employment, a living wage is mandatory. Contracting regulation is an important step to keeping costs low. This would include strict end dates, conflict of interest bylaws, and lobbying for recognition of status by the NS Labour Board.

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 am strongly committed to meeting our Paris requirements, and HalifACT2050 is a great step in the right direction. I hope to take additional precautions. I believe that promoting sustainable energy microgrids is the best way to cut down on emissions while also preparing for increasingly unpredictable weather. It is my hope that the Council can work with our various engineering experts to make this as affordable as possible. I would also like to see recurved walls with slope revetments placed 3m from sea level to prevent storm surges. 

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

I rely on Halifax Transit like many others in this city, and see many areas it can be improved. The council began installing heaters in select bus stops, this is a measure that should be expanded. The MetroTransit app needs improvements, and bus times should be better spaced out to avoid clustering. I would also suggest investing 3 million dollars to establish a second route to isolated districts like Timberlea, North Preston, and Sackville to better connect the Municipality. This would allow rural residents a more comfortable 30 minute interval, while allowing residents in the city better access to our national, provincial, and municipal parks. 


Lindell Smith

(lindellsmithhfx.ca/vote2020)

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

It is crucial that HRM is given more authority from the province to be able to make meaningful change and movement to address our affordable and accessible housing crisis. Having the authority to implement Inclusionary Zoning would be a significant start. This would allow us to require developers to provide affordable housing as a condition of development approval. We also have an opportunity with the newly approved secondary and backyard suites by-law, which approves secondary and backyard suites. This will add more available rental units to the housing market and also contribute to making homeownership more affordable. It is also important for us to put in place regulations that could affect future housing stock, this includes regulations for short term rentals. 

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

Yes, I would support a reduction if it meant that the money that is being reallocated is going to initiatives that support community which includes mental health/wellness, community building, anti-racism initiatives, social service supports etc.

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

Yes, Halifax should require all contractors to pay a living wage, this is why I put forward a motion that would address this within our procurement process. 

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?

If I am re-elected this October, I will support our climate goals by continuing to champion related initiatives that come to Council. Our HalifACT 2050 plan is very ambitious and it will require the leadership of Council to continue to push to achieve those goals, this includes allocating resources needed to meet the objectives.

How often do you use Halifax Transit?

As an annual pass holder I use Transit frequently. Since COVID 19 began to impact us as all, I have used transit less than usual but I have taken the bus a few times within the last four months.


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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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