Meet peninsula Halifax’s new MLAs; Ali Duale2 min read
The third new face among the peninsula’s MLAs is Ali Duale, a firefighter who won under the Liberal banner in Armdale, the area connecting the peninsula to the mainland. Duale and his wife fled Somalia in 1991, then spent seven years in a Kenyan refugee camp before arriving in Canada. Duale is the father of eight kids and works at the Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency department.
When reached on the phone by The Coast, Duale had just returned to the Halifax fire station on University Avenue on his last day working as a firefighter. He spent the day responding to the bizarre situation at Little Albro Lake where a robbery suspect dove into the weed-filled water in Dartmouth.
The suspect fled police in the water while the police pursued him in a pedal boat, a canoe and paddleboard; the low-speed chase ended when the suspect was retrieved with help from the fire department.
“I’ve been in this job 17 years, and a day like this is how I’m going to end my career?” Duale says with a laugh. Duale’s community involvement includes membership on the Maritime Muslim Academy’s board, and the basketball and swimming programs he’s coordinated for kids in HRM. He credits the kids from these programs with inspiring him to make the run for politics. As well as being one of the four Black members of the legislature,
Duale is Nova Scotia’s first Muslim MLA. Duale says he was also encouraged to run by Liberal leader Iain Rankin, whom he met in the wake of the murder of a Muslim family in London, ON. “I have a wife and daughter who wear headscarves. This shook me. It showed me how certain communities are so vulnerable. When this happened I spoke to the premier, he was around for solidarity,” Duale says. “In that discussion he told me that I needed to be involved and sit at the table.”
The firefighter beat NDP candidate Julie Melanson by about 450 votes. The Armdale riding had been held by Liberal MLA Lena Metlege Diab since 2013. Like Lisa Roberts, Metlege Diab retired from the provincial seat to run for federal politics—in Metlege Diab’s case as Liberal candidate in Halifax West.