October's municipal elections in N.S. to go ahead as planned

ÉLECTIONS

Municipal elections in Nova Scotia, scheduled for October 17th, will go ahead as planned.

Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities (NSFM) President Pam Mood sent a letter to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Chuck Porter on April 7th questioning whether Nova Scotia will be able to uphold a fair and democratic election.

She says preparing for an election under the current circumstances will increase the operational burden already faced by municipal staff across the province.

Mood, also the Mayor of Yarmouth, says COVID-19 has forced municipalities to take measures including holding virtual meetings, revising budgets in anticipation of decreased tax revenues, and developing new staffing plans, all while maintaining essential services.

She says, "Enumeration is not possible in this current COVID climate, nor is canvassing; candidates can’t go door to door. Polling stations will be hard to book, and staff and voter outreach efforts will be complicated."

In a reply on Wednesday, Porter says the request to postpone the elections "was examined," but the decision was ultimately made to go ahead.

He says the department is aware of a number of municipalities with vacancies on council who are holding off on filing those vacancies pending the October election.

Porter says if the election was delayed beyond October, thousands of Nova Scotians will not have a representative at the table when councils make important decisions on the future of their communities.