Where was Lindell Smith: Halifax councillor back from cross-U.S. trip
Smith was selected by the U.S. Ambassador to Canada as the only Canadian representative on the trip, paid for by the U.S. government.
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A Halifax councillor is back in town after a three-week long trip across the United States as part of an international professional exchange program.
Coun. Lindell Smith was nominated by the U.S. Consulate in Halifax, and then selected by the U.S. Ambassador to Canada as the only Canadian representative on the trip, paid for by the U.S. government.
Canada was one of 18 countries represented, including Kuwait, Slovenia, India, Vietnam, and Belgium on the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program trip, observing and learning about arts and social issues.
Smith travelled to Washington, D.C., then to New York, NY, to Cleveland, OH, Santa Fe, NM, San Diego, CA, then back home to chilly Halifax.
“For me, it was kind of something I’ve never had the opportunity to do,” Smith said after council’s meeting on Tuesday.
“I almost didn’t go because of the length of time. It really took some convincing myself.”
Smith said he made some new friends, and learned about how arts and social issues are funded differently in the U.S., where he said philanthropists do more of this kind of work than government.
“I learned some really cool things that cities are doing, not only in arts and social issues, but in architecture and streetscaping,” Smith said.
“I still had my councillor hat on while talking social issues and arts.”
As part of the program, he also had dinner with a pair of U.S. families. He brought them some Canadian gifts: a bottle of Nova Scotian maple syrup and a copy of Hand Drawn Halifax by Emma Fitzgerald.
The North End Halifax councillor missed some big votes while he was gone, but he said he hasn’t heard any complaints from constituents about his absence.
“That’s the first time I’ve really had an extended leave from council since I’ve been elected,” he said.
Most notably, Smith missed the debate over what to do with the Edward Cornwallis statue.
Smith said he drove by Cornwallis Park after he got home just to see where the statue used to stand. He said he would’ve supported the motion to take it down and he’s happy with the outcome, though he would’ve preferred to see more of a dialogue first.
“I don’t know if I’m happy with the way the process worked out, in terms of not being able to establish a dialogue,” he said.