If regional council is the political minor leagues, we might soon see some politicians making the jump to the majors.
Four Halifax Regional councillors have offered for the June 9 provincial election. Eastern Shore – Musquodoboit Valley Coun. Steve Streatch and Rockingham – Wentworth Coun. Debbie Hum are running for the Progressive Conservatives.
Albro Lake – Harbourview Coun. Jim Smith and East Dartmouth – The Lakes Coun. Andrew Younger have thrown their hats in for the Liberals.
It’s a low-risk move, as councillors can keep their jobs while campaigning. But they say being tied to council and committee meetings can be a disadvantage while on the campaign trail.
“Absolutely it does (make things harder),” Younger said. “Certainly I can’t get out of the doors as much as I otherwise would.”
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Any councillors who do get elected will see a hefty raise from their current salary of $65,500 up to $86,619 (plus another $40,000 if named a cabinet minister). But all four candidates said it’s not about the money.
“Whether it’s as a municipal representative or as an MLA I’m still getting paid less than when I was in the private sector," Younger said. "If I was in it for the money I’d be going back to the private sector."
The councillors are all promoting their municipal experience in their campaigns. They also all agree that moving to provincial politics would give them more power to help their constituents.
“I’ve always had public service at heart,” Streatch said. “I thought that the time was right and the opportunity presented itself to serve the people in a greater capacity.”
And while the four have divided among party lines, none of the Tory or Liberal candidates have taken any shots at each other.
“I admire them tremendously at the municipal level,” Hum said. “They work very hard as district councillors and I wish them all the best.”