UPPER BIG TRACADIE – During the last municipal election cycle in 2016, Mary Desmond lost the Municipality of the District of Guysborough District 2 seat to incumbent Sheila Pelly by one vote. The near miss only served to make Desmond push harder to get the vote out during this election cycle – and it worked. On Saturday evening she was declared the winner in District 2, taking 73 votes to Pelly’s 47.
“I am very excited and glad that people have confidence in me. That they were ready for change and they have faith in me that I was the right person for that change.
“Change in our community wasn’t happening for a long time…To bring change in our community we needed a loud voice. For me, I am that loud voice. I think people in the community see that I am doing little things in the community, subtle changes in the community; they’re alright but to bring about real change you have to be at the table where the decisions are being made. To be a councillor is a great opportunity to be heard,” said Desmond.
Desmond went on to say that she will be transparent and accountable. And the first order of transparency was for people to know that she couldn’t work miracles. “There’s a lot of issues in the African Nova Scotian community. I know the role (of councillor) is going to be a difficult job. Even when I was campaigning; it is a difficult time right now with COVID. The few people that I was talking to I told them, ‘Do not look for big miracles to happen right away’…My biggest thing is that I will bring concerns to the council… their concerns will be heard.”
While fewer votes were cast than Desmond had expected, the numbers were still “higher than in the last election. I was glad about the per cent that came out.”
Speaking to the challenges she anticipates ahead in her role as councillor, Desmond said, “I am only one voice at the table. And I’m a newbie. There’s only two females on council. It’s going to be a challenge. This is my first time sitting on council so it’s going to take me a while to get my feet wet.”
Two of the biggest concerns in the African Nova Scotian communities that Desmond will now represent are transportation and housing. “Those are the things the community is worried about. Those are big things to tackle that will not happen overnight…it’s almost going to take me a year to get my feet wet and get on the ground. I am going to be practical about things and be up front with the community.
“I am going in with my eyes wide open. I’m not going in there like some politician giving them false hope – we’re going to change the world overnight – I am not giving them that. I am going to be an honest, truthful politician. I know those are very rare.”