Nova Scotia

Checkered past dogs Halifax candidate

Vince Hall, a controversial figure in Cape Breton politics, has resurfaced in Halifax as a candidate for mayor.

Former Cape Breton councillor wants to be mayor of HRM

Former Cape Breton councillor Vince Hall announces his candidacy for mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality. (Preston Mulligan/CBC)

Vince Hall, a controversial figure in Cape Breton politics, has resurfaced in Halifax as a candidate for mayor.

He announced his intention to run for mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality today.

"If you want status quo, support Mike Savage. If you want bold, assertive leadership, support Vince Hall," he said Tuesday.

Hall was on Cape Breton Regional Municipality council from 1997 to 2008.

He left under a cloud of controversy, after he was twice convicted of drunk driving. One of those arrests was in the Halifax area.

Hall also used $8,000 in municipal professional development money to cover the cost of university courses.

He was notably absent from CBRM meetings in 2007 and later revealed he was teaching part-time in Halifax.

But Hall says he's made a number of changes in his life and is now ready to get back into politics. He says he completed a master’s in public administration at Dalhousie University, and has been working in mental health and addictions counselling for youths at the IWK Health Centre.

Hall says friends and associates encouraged him to run for municipal council, "but I’ve been there, I’ve already done that. I figured in order to make a contribution at the level I would want, it would have to be at the mayoralty level. So I decided I would go big or stay home." 

Hall says he doesn't think his past will hurt his chances in the election.

"People appreciate that I'm human and I made mistakes," he said. "But they're focusing on the message that I'm trying to get across in terms of the different style of leadership that I will bring to this municipality, and that's what I hope they continue to focus on."

Hall says his "baggage" is all out there already, and he has nothing to hide.

"No doubt it gives my critics an area to exploit and if they get off on that, good luck."

Hall says his record includes more than just the controversy.

"My past performance includes 12 years of successful runs in Cape Breton," he said. "That shows I must have been doing something right."

Voters in HRM will choose a new mayor in the municipal election in October.