Councillor elect Richard Zurawski plans to highlight green issues
Former Green Party of Canada candidate described his approach as environmental, kind, ethical and fact-based
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The councillor elect for District 12 is known in HRM as a talk show host, educator and environmentalist, and he plans to ensure green issues aren’t swept under the rug.
“My perspective is an environmental perspective and I will listen to you and I will hear your concerns. My task is to make life better in HRM, however that comes about, and not hurt the environment. And that means not hurting people,” Richard Zurawski said in an interview on Tuesday.
“That means making decisions based on facts…That means ethical decisions. It means communicative decisions and it also means kind decisions. If you choose to disagree with me, we can be passionate about the disagreement but it’s not going to be personal.”
Zurawski, a former Green Party of Canada candidate, was reached in between teaching classes at St. Mary’s University.
He described being elected to represent Timberlea-Beechville-Clayton Park-Wedgewood as a privilege.
“I don’t ever want to lose touch with the fact that I am so privileged to walk into City Hall and to make decisions that are going to affect not only my constituents, but the people who live in Halifax,” he said.
Zurawski said most people who answered the 9,000 doors he knocked on during his campaign were “incredibly kind” and didn’t have any particular issues.
“The bulk of people said ‘Ok what are we doing? What kind of dance are we doing here? Are you honest? Can I trust you?,’” he recalled.
“When you start looking at the engagement or lack of engagement in politics, I think that politicians have become too much like politicians…I’d like to be a councillor without being a politician.”
Zurawski said he’s like to see an end to most in-camera sessions. He also wants a moratorium on election signs and limits placed on the amount candidates are allowed to spend during municipal election campaigns.
“We’re getting into the realm of most people can’t afford it, especially people who should be having a voice cannot have a voice because it’s expensive,” he said.
Zurawski also called on the media to play a stronger role in holding government accountable. He described most of the media coverage on election night as insufficient, and said media in general needs to provide more in-depth coverage.
“You must hold politicians to task because they cannot be the spokespeople for big business. We have warts and I expect you to call us on those things,” he said.
When it comes to the issue of climate change, Zurawski said it’s past time that all levels of government step up.
“We consume too much, we produce too much effluent, and this cannot go on,” he said.
“It’s going to end. And it’s either going to end badly or it’s going to end worse than badly. And so we need to plan.”