News / Halifax

Halifax Votes 2016: Mayoral candidates put on the spot at Dalhousie

Incumbent Mayor Mike Savage and lone challenger Lil MacPherson were separately asked eight questions each in front of 30 to 40 people at Mayor on the Spot.

The two candidates for mayor of Halifax, Mike Savage and Lil MacPherson, at Fusion's event on Thursday night.

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The two candidates for mayor of Halifax, Mike Savage and Lil MacPherson, at Fusion's event on Thursday night.

The two candidates for mayor in Halifax were on the spot Thursday night, but they weren’t exactly grilled.

Incumbent Mayor Mike Savage and lone challenger Lil MacPherson were separately asked eight questions each in front of 30 to 40 people at Mayor on the Spot, an event put on by Fusion Halifax at Dalhousie University to talk about issues that matter to young Haligonians.

The interview started out easy: why are you interested in the role of mayor? Both candidates said they believe they can make a difference.

It ended in similar fashion: how will we know we’ve made the right decision by electing you? Savage said there’d be a mood in the city that it’s on the right track, and he believes there already is. MacPherson said people would be talking about what a happy, healthy city it is.

On transit, Savage pointed to the redesign already underway by Halifax Transit, and work towards commuter rail. MacPherson took a different tack, saying she’d move for a brand of bus rapid transit where the rapid lanes would also be used for motorcyclists and electric cars – something she called the “lane of change.” She also said the municipality isn’t taking cyclists seriously, and called for more and better bike lanes.

Asked about affordable housing, Savage highlighted the municipality’s contribution to the United Way’s Housing First program. MacPherson said the municipality should’ve used St. Pat’s Alexandra to create affordable housing.

When asked about food security in the municipality, both candidates brought up the Mobile Food Market. Savage took partial responsibility for its existence, and MacPherson said she’d spent time on it. She also said food security is why she started her restaurant, and said that more urban agriculture could solve the municipality’s problem.

Asked how they’d expand services for newcomers, Savage talked about his efforts working with other levels of government to bring in more refugees last year, and MacPherson said she’d work with other levels of government to streamline the process.