Matt's Platform

From listening to residents over the past 8 years, I’ve established a
platform that sits on 3 pillars—past, present and future

Past: Celebrating history & heritage
Present: Protecting your tax dollars
Future: Planning for sustainable growth

Past: Celebrating history & heritage

Our municipality will be its best when all people feel safe and respected.

My vision is that all of our communities have understanding, empathy and kindness toward each other. For this to be achieved, we must honour the history, culture and traditions of all of our residents. 

Past: Celebrating History & Heritage

"Our municipality will be its best when all people feel safe and respected. My vision is that all of our communities have understanding, empathy and kindness toward each other. For this to be achieved, we must honour the history, culture and traditions of all of our residents." 

I proudly served a term as member of the Heritage Advisory Committee and learned a great deal about how our diversity enriches our municipality and our lives. I firmly believe in collectively celebrating each other’s past. Become curious, learn and join in on cultural ceremonies and events. I’ve participated in the My Halifax Experience events which celebrate the vibrancy and victories of our new immigrants. I have attended and supported the African Heritage Month events such as the Halifax Black Film Festival (HBFF). And I’m a member in good standing of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce. These are just a few ways that I engage in our local multiculturism. 

I am a big proponent of protecting important assets. I am a member of The Halifax Military Preservation Society. I enjoy visiting Royal artillery park and learning about our history through listening to stories. And I have been fully engaged in protecting and preserving the memorial library site and was instrumental in the development of the #noshovels campaign. I’ve been vocal about my stance on the importance of public consultation and transparency when it comes to decisions and actions related to how we commemorate our history through statues, monuments, buildings and streets. These are important decisions; in many cases they have to do with our identity. That’s why HRM residents’ voices must be heard - I will always stand for that. 

Something that is very important to me is honouring veterans for their selfless actions that afford us our rights and freedoms. I will continue to advocate for our heroes and do what I can to acknowledge their contributions and support their present-day quality of life. I voted in favour of adding the dates of the Afghanistan conflict on the cenotaph in HRM’s grand parade. And I am always up for a coffee with a vet or active serviceperson. 

Present: Protecting your tax dollars

Our municipal government needs to balance its budget. This means that every spending decision we make must be made through the lenses of impact to residents, impact to the environment and cost relative to other priorities.  

Present: Protecting your tax dollars

"Our municipal government needs to balance its budget. This means that every spending decision we make must be made through the lenses of impact to residents, impact to the environment and cost relative to other priorities."

For 8 years I have been consistent in watching the dollars. I have been and will remain the voice of reason when it comes to spending wisely. Protecting your tax dollars means investing in areas that matter to you like - affordable housing and accessible transportation.

Affordable housing is a serious challenge in HRM. One in four HRM households face housing affordability challenges where they are spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. And that number seems to be worsening. While the Province is ultimately responsible for housing, there are steps our municipal government should and will take under my leadership. 

Consider this: every dollar HRM spends influences the tax rate, as the tax rate increases so does the cost of development, as development costs raise so does rent and as rent increases, we leave people behind. To address this, read above! I will do all I can to influence smart spending. It’s important to remember - affordable housing is directly impacted by our spending at City Hall.

Next, I will work to increase efficiencies at City Hall. And this starts with me. As Mayor, I will commit to freezing my salary for as long as I am Mayor. My hope is that this will inspire all HRM departments to tighten their budgets. We are approaching a billion-dollar budget at City Hall. In the 8 years I’ve been a City Councillor, the budget has grown almost $200 million. This is an inflated number compared to the population growth in HRM. My voting record shows that I have voted against portions or all of the budget in previous years. This is evidence of my confidence that we can do better. 

Another way I plan to increase affordable housing is to speed up the permitting process by reducing red tape. I will work to reduce unnecessary delays and confusion in the permitting process. We need to make it easy for developers to do the right thing. We have some excellent examples of the private sector designing and building affordable housing. I will make it easier for these projects to be replicated by reducing steps in the approval process.

I listen to taxpayers and I’m constantly learning about your priorities. In addition to the above, here’s what I’ve heard. You expect us to be excellent at our core services like filling potholes, ensuring safe, reliable transportation (transit and ride sharing!), offering art, culture and recreation programs and venues and delivering on field maintenance and snow removal. You want to be able to trust that City Hall is ensuring value for tax dollars through sound procurement processes. Your priorities are my priorities.

HRM is a big area with urban, suburban and rural communities whose residents all pay taxes. As Mayor, I will work to ensure priorities and spending are determined with all HRM residents in mind. I will join your local Councillor in representing the realities and needs of your community.

Future: Planning for sustainable growth

HRM is growing at an unprecedented rate. This requires a leader who has passion, energy and focus – I have all of these traits.  Our municipality will be its best when all people feel safe and respected.

My vision is that all of our communities have understanding, empathy and kindness toward each other. For this to be achieved, we must honour the history, culture and traditions of all of our residents. 


Future: Planning for sustainable growth

"HRM is growing at an unprecedented rate. This requires a leader who has passion, energy and focus – I have all of these traits."  

As Mayor, I have three sustainable growth priorities.

First, I will be supporting sustainable choices through design and procurement. Starting at City Hall, we must consider our buying power and its impact on the environment. Whether leveraging solar energy in our operations or increasing our fleet of electric/hybrid vehicles, every decision matters. I plan to work with our developers, partners and contractors to encourage them to do the same. I’ll be looking to them for innovative ways to conduct their business that respects the environment.  

Second, I am keen to see a reduction in the number of single occupancy vehicles in HRM. The solution to this is multi-faceted and includes aspects of HRM’s Integrated Mobility Plan such as public and community-based transit, active transportation and carpooling. I am an avid cyclist and use CarShare when a vehicle is needed but I know not everyone has the desire, ability or circumstances to commute on a bicycle or to not own a car. In finding ways to motivate people to lessen their reliance on single occupancy vehicles, we need to understand their needs, attitudes and behaviours. All ages, abilities and circumstances must be considered when designing transportation infrastructure.  

Finally, in addition to the environment, sustainable growth needs to include building an economy that is vibrant and lasting. As Mayor, I’m focused on growing HRM to be able to withstand external pressures like natural disasters, health crises and fluctuating economic conditions. We all want a future where our next generation can work and thrive. My job will be to promote HRM as a desirable business destination which generates employment opportunities for all.



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