Halifax Media Co-op

News from Nova Scotia's Grassroots

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!
Not reviewed by Halifax Media Co-op editors. copyeditedfact checked [?]

Halifax Mayor Fails Occpy Nova Scotia

by Inverness County Council of Canadians

In the 2008 municipal election in Halifax, fewer than four out of 10
eligible voters cast a ballot, a voter turnout of just 37 per cent.
With the next municipal election less than a year away - it takes
place on October 20, 2012 - one would think that Halifax Regional
Municipality Mayor Peter Kelly would be looking for ways to ensure
that Haligonians are more engaged in political life.

Occupy Nova Scotia did just that. It provided the space to hundreds to
express their views, take a stand, raise awareness, and highlight the
large gap between the rich and poor. These are just a few of the
reasons noted by the 55.3 per cent of Atlantic Canadians who expressed
support for the Occupy Wall Street movement in a recent Nanos poll.
This stands in contrast to the much smaller 28.5 per cent in Atlantic
Canada who view Occupy unfavourably or somewhat unfavourably.

But instead of nurturing civic engagement, the mayor decided to take a
hard line with the municipal bylaw that prohibits camping in a
municipal park without written consent from the city. He opted to
enforce the 'no camping' bylaw, despite constitutional law experts
suggesting in media reports that the rights to freedom of expression
and assembly, within reasonable limits, may overrule such a bylaw.
Significant leeway by cities is advised by University of Alberta law
professor Peter Carver, given the 'significant possibility' that a
court could rule against cities, especially if the tents and gear of
the protesters is confiscated.

The mayor himself is hardly a symbol of one who upholds every
municipal bylaw, given the city's auditor general finding that Kelly
violated the city charter and city financial controls with a loan
scandal involving a concert promoter, arguably a much more serious

And Kelly decided on his crackdown even after Occupy Nova Scotia
agreed to vacate - and scrubbed clean - Parade Square in advance of
the Remembrance Day ceremonies that take place there. What a sad way
for the mayor to mark a day that commemorates the struggles against
authoritarianism and the victims of all wars.

It is no wonder that more than 300 people marched in Halifax yesterday
demanding his resignation.

The Council of Canadians continues to proudly stand with the Occupy
movement across Canada and around the world and their demand for a
fuller and more participatory democracy. Maude Barlow has stated,
"These occupations have created a space to talk about a new economy
designed to serve our common goals and aspirations. As the Occupy
movements grow and gain momentum, it is clear that our communities are
engaged and demand to be included in the political process. These
occupations are providing a venue for that engagement. We hope that
municipal leaders can be as inspired as we are to see this civic
engagement and that they can agree that minor inconveniences aside,
cities can only benefit from supporting these citizens in their
attempt to build, protect and improve their community. We call on all
cities to allow these encampments to continue and to ensure the safe
and inclusive participation of occupiers and residents."

Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
477 words

The site for the Halifax local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.