The Current

Meet Lindell Smith: Halifax's first black councillor in 16 years

Halifax has elected its first black councillor in 16 years. The people in Canada's oldest black community in Halifax — District 8 —hope that 26-year-old Lindell Smith will bring change. He shares his thoughts on the historic win.
(Courtesy of Lindell Smith)
Listen8:23

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On Oct. 15, Lindell Smith was elected to Halifax city council. He is the first black councillor elected since 2000 and at 26-years-old, he's also one of the youngest.

"At a young age... 14, I kind of really took community work seriously," Smith tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

He says he realized early the importance of community and its impact and advocated for change and making a difference in his teenage years which brought him to this historic win.

Smith won District 8, Halifax Peninsula North, with about 52 per cent of the vote.

"There's not as many African Nova Scotians in the district as there used to be," says Smith.

"So that's one of the milestones of the election was that... it wasn't just black voters that voted for me, it was the whole community, from seniors, to people of all different races and heritages."

Smith says the win is bittersweet since there's never been an Indigenous person on council in Nova Scotia ever, and it's something he says needs to be talked about.

He also points to the fact that Nova Scotia's oldest black community in Canada electing its second black councillor in 2016 is "not progress"

Smith hopes the city will re-elect a future where "the next time around we're not calling it history, we're looking at it as 'oh this is what it should be.'"

Smith says he doesn't identify as a politician, he's just "a regular Joe."

"Nothing about me bleeds politician. I care about my community, I have a young child, I do regular things." he tells Tremonti.

"Politicians should not be someone that lives in the ivory tower... [they] should be someone you see on the ground."

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's WIllow Smith.

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