When Haligonians go to the polls on October 20 to elect a new Mayor and HRM Council, they’re going to have all kinds of information to arm them for their decisions. Newspapers, TV and radio stations, magazines and bloggers are all preparing for the election with gusto, bombarding you with information on candidates and key races.
For a magazine like us, that presents a challenge: How can we cover the election in a way that’s unique and useful for readers? The obvious answer? Be different. We began our coverage in July by partnering with the news website OpenFile Halifax to host a series of 16 Twitter forums.
Over several days, lots of readers, councillors, mayoral candidates and ordinary folks joined us on Twitter for a series of hour-long discussions on election issues, one session for each Halifax electoral district. Politics at their most local, the discussions spanned a wide range of issues. Wild and free flowing, the conversations were a rollicking exercise in democracy.
This issue marks the start of our print coverage of the election, with a look at the sleeping giant that could elect Halifax’s new government: the student voter. Historically, students sit out municipal elections en masse. This election includes a Dalhousie student/mayoral candidate and a well known university hot-dog vendor (the “Dawg Father,” Jerry Reddick).
If student voters mobilize, and cast their ballots in a bloc, they could tilt this election in a most unexpected direction. Hilary Beaumont explores that in our cover story. Accompanying that story is a backgrounder on mayoral systems by Jon Tattrie. Not all mayors are created equal. Changing the powers of the mayor’s office could create a very different government for Halifax.
We’ll follow up in our October issue with a detailed analysis of the mayoral candidates and where they stand on key issues. Throughout our election coverage, we want to give you the information you need to elect the best government for Halifax. What coverage do you need from us? What stories should we explore? What do you want to know from Halifax’s mayoral candidates? With weeks to go, and lots of coverage to come both here and at halifaxmag.com, there’s plenty of time left to get to the heart of the issues. Let us know what we can find out for you.
Also in this issue, Suzanne Rent explores Halifax’s almost inconceivable stray-cat problem. Experts estimate there could be as many as 100,000 stray cats in Halifax, most living short, unhealthy, unhappy lives. A few tenacious volunteers are fighting for them.