Blanch says Canada showing lack of leadership by skipping climate change conference
Green Party candidate Jason Blanch (right) sits with his son Cael and official agent Zach MacDonald listening to the choir performing in Joggins Saturday as part of International Day of Climate Action. Dave Mathieson Amherst Daily News
AMHERST - Jason Blanch wants Stephen Harper out of the country.
Surprisingly, the Amherst-born Green Party candidate's wish to get the Prime Minister out of Canada has nothing to do with gaining an edge in his bid to win the federal byelection for Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley.
So determined is Blanch to wave goodbye to the Prime Minister from the tarmac, and alter Conservative environmental policy, he has issued a direct challenge to Harper: If Blanch triples the traditional Green Party support by garnering 15 per cent of votes in the Nov. 9 poll, the Prime Minister hops on a jet across the ocean, headed to climate-change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"The whole reason in my running is a mix of concern and outrage," says Blanch. "Outrage that the government is not taking this issue seriously."
The challenge, issued in the form of a video message to the Prime Minister via the Internet on Youtube, comes in reaction to reports Harper is again planning to skip global climate talks hosted by the United Nations. Following the failure of the Kyoto Accord, world leaders are again meeting to devise a planet-saving treaty.
"I wanted to send a message to Stephen Harper that people care about the environment and climate change," says Blanch, who himself rides his bicycling wherever he can - including to campaign interviews. "If three times the normal number of people vote for me it shows that people really do care."
The married father of two, who, until the byelection call was an addictions counselor, says 15 per cent is attainable.
"I'm hearing a lot from Conservatives who are still angry over how Stephen Harper treated Bill Casey."
But it's not just the votes of former Tories he's after.
"One of the most upsetting things for me is the amount of people that tell me they are neutral and that they don't vote," Blanch explains. "Not voting is not neutral. Not voting is supporting the Conservatives.
"The lower the voter turnout, the better the Conservatives do."
He is hoping to turn anger toward Conservatives and support from traditional non-voters into an election win.
"Even if we don't win the election, if a traditional party adjusts its policy based on the support they are seeing for the Greens in a way we are winning."
Blanch says the issue of climate change is too important to ignore and not so bad that it cannot yet be stopped.
"I want to be able to look into my children's eyes in 30 years time and honestly tell them I did everything I could to stop this."
For now, though, the Green Party hopeful just wants to make sure the Prime Minister gets the message. Uncertain if Prime Minister Harper or anyone in his office has seen the video, Blanch will launch an email campaign this week.
The video can be found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GirIvRFCScU.