Tim’s attempts to eject Green candidate

Darrell Cole
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Blanch canvassing at South Albion Street donut shop

Local Green Party candidate Jason Blanch and a supporter are asked to leave the Tim Hortons parking lot by a member of the Amherst Police Department. Darrell Cole - Amherst Daily News


AMHERST – It ain’t easy being Green.

Jason Blanch, the man carrying the Green Party banner in Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley, stood his ground Wednesday when asked to stop campaigning at a popular Amherst donut shop.

“It’s a tough position to be put in when you have to talk to police to exercise your right to run for office,” Blanch said. “We’re about allowing people to exercise their rights and I feel I did what I had to do. It’s not a nice feeling to be asked to leave, but I did what I think is right.”

Blanch and a small group of supporters were standing near the drive-thru entrance to the South Albion Tim Horton’s store just before 9 a.m. when the store manager came out and asked him to leave.

This was after the candidate supplied store officials with a copy of the Elections Act, which he claims allows him to canvass for votes on store property.

Blanch said he carried a copy of the Act because the same thing happened at two other businesses during the 2009 byelection campaign and he decided to arm himself this time to prevent a similar incident.

When police arrived, Blanch told the officer he was within his rights to be on the property. The officer went into the restaurant to read the letter Blanch supplied to the store and left without taking action.

“I’m very disappointed with this and I’m a little surprised because I have seen others here canvassing for votes,” said Blanch, adding the store manager said he was asked to leave because of his signs. “It’s no different than Elizabeth May not being invited to participate in the federal leaders debate, we are getting no respect.”

Tuesday Green Party Leader Elizabeth was told her legal bid to be included in a national televised would not proceed before the date of the debate.

Section 81.1 (1) of the Canada Elections Act says “no person in control of a building, land, street or any other place that is open to the public may prevent a candidate or a representative from campaigning in or on that part that is open…”

Blanch said he didn’t do it as a publicity stunt and he no idea he would be asked to leave.

“While Tim Hortons doesn't permit election canvassing to disrupt guests coming to our restaurants, we have allowed party leaders to make brief visits. Every candidate is extended the same courtesy regardless of political affiliation. Mr. Blanch was canvassing in the drive-thru of one of our restaurants which goes against our policy due to safety reasons,” Alexandra Cygal, Tim Hortons public affairs manager, said in an email to the Amherst Daily News on Wednesday afternoon.

The franchisee of the Amherst store was out of the office on Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. 



Organizations: Green Party

Geographic location: South Albion Street, Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley

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Recent comments

  • lb
    April 08, 2011 - 20:41

    who realy wants to be spamed by any of them??

  • Paula
    April 07, 2011 - 09:33

    I quess it's OK for the Liberals to campaign at Tim Horton's. I was just to the Springhill location as a customer and had to wait while Burrows and his partner talked to staff and went around to customers. Instead of carrying his sign in his hand as Blanche did, he had it pasted to the side of his car in the parking lot! So why the different treatment?

  • Robert
    April 07, 2011 - 09:12

    Okay… I’ll concede the fact that they can enter the property to canvass, as stated in the legislation… fine… but that doesn’t make it right. No Politician should enter a business, whether it’s the Greens, Cons, Libs… whomever, without seeking permission from the owners. Do I want canvassers wandering into my business whenever they feel like it to bother my customers? No.. I don’t. Just because you can… doesn’t mean you should and if the owner asks you to leave, you should do the right thing and leave… not put up a stink waving a piece of paper as your *right*. I stand by my opinion, and yes… it’s simply *my* opinion, that this was strictly to gain publicity. Get an interview with the paper to state your platform and why we should vote for you… don’t simply use it as a means to stage protest.

  • Jack On The Rocks
    April 07, 2011 - 09:05

    To BATMAN,I won't retract my comment.I have the right to say what I want,just like Mr.Blanche has the right to disrupt business and traffic.PS,if they don't oil from the tar sands,you won't be using your 4 wheeler or your truck,now will you???As for a threat,take as you wish.But it sounds like a statement to me???

    • JJ
      April 07, 2011 - 19:24

      So what you are saying is that Mr. Blanch has just as much of a right to campaign as he did, as you have the right to make your comments on this page. Therefore, you are both simply exercising your rights. Thank you for clarifying that, I now can rest assured that Mr. Blanch did nothing wrong. Furthermore, I would love to know if anyone actually moderates these comments, as I think a few would fall under the category of "insulting, discriminatory, and inappropriate" which as unacceptable under the conditions of use.

  • Ken Agar
    April 07, 2011 - 09:01

    I am very happy to see all of the points of view and the start of a great public debate However Jack on the Rocks as crossed the line. His comment is an example of negative advertising. If you have a point make it about the policy not the person.

    • Jack on the Rocks
      April 07, 2011 - 10:43

      To Ken Agar,crossed the line???In what way,please inform me....Negative advertising,the Green Party has done that very well wouldn't you say?Political stunt...Look at me,Look at me...Then make the ADN,give me a break.He has about as much chance of getting 5% of the votes as the price of gas getting back to $1.00 before August...LOL

  • Bridget Curran
    April 07, 2011 - 08:20

    It seems to me that Mr. Blanch took prudent steps to ensure there wouldn't be a fuss. Having run into the problem before, he brought a copy of the Act to protect his rights. He provided Tim Hortons with a copy beforehand in order to avoid any problems. Tim Hortons called the police and made the fuss, not Mr. Blanch. I don't know how this can be read as a publicity stunt except by people who simply despise the Green Party. Candidates canvassing outside the drive-thru of the Tim Hortons is no more invasive than canvassing at your front door.

  • Batman
    April 07, 2011 - 07:52

    What kind of respect are we talking about here? A local candidate trying to campaign and gain some publicity? You are right that is so terrible. NO other candidate has ever done anything like that before. This act makes pro-roging federal government twice, and having the RCMP escort CITIZENS away from several campaigning events seem like child's play. Whats next campaigning at McDonald's? Come on folks, TRY and contextualize things.

  • Ron Jeremy
    April 07, 2011 - 07:45

    RE: Robert The Elections Act 81.1(1) states: No person who is in control of a building, land, street or any other place, any part of which is open without charge to members of the public, whether on a continuous, periodic or occasional basis — including any commercial, business, cultural, historical, educational, religious, governmental, entertainment or recreational place — may prevent a candidate or his or her representative from campaigning in or on that part when it is open without charge to members of the public. Since the parking lot is without charge and the officer did his job by reviewing the legislation, I don't see your point. While I am a devout Conservative, I don't see why Mr Blanche cannot campaign. It is his right as a nominated candidate. The reason he brought a copy of the legislation is because he had the foresight knowing some people will be presumptuous in asserting that he had no business to campaign on a public business property. I would have done the same.

  • Ken Agar
    April 07, 2011 - 06:34

    the issue in this case is the right to political action and the right of free speech. Please look at the legislation. The area in question in dispute is deemed as public. What is the issue of respect. Clearly Jason has a stated position. Is it your assumption that by challenging the status quo is an act of disrespect. I assure you that our constitution and law enshrines the right of dissent. This is not disrespectful this is his right to put forward his point of view in a legal manner. Or is this the assumption of the conservative party that the only "correct speech" is that of the "harper government" as compared to free speech as given by the Canadian Government. The last, and perhaps most significant issue is the accusation that: because Jason was exercising his rights in an open democratic society and had the proof that he was correct then this is a stunt. It is not a stunt to campaign. It is not a stunt to stand for what you believe. It is not a stunt to protect yourself from intimidation, harassment, and the threat of being jailed for a legal act. It is an offence to limit free speech

  • Laila Moysey
    April 07, 2011 - 06:28

    I think it is sad that politics is becoming a closed game...if you don't have money, and you want to be heard, you are screwed. It used to be a few hundred dollars to put your name in for nomination, now it's $1000... And when your opponent has knowledge of the upcoming election WEEKS before anyone else in the country is aware we are going into another election already (I witnessed a member of their party looking for a HQ at least 2 weeks before it was announced), and litters the highways with plastic signs paid for by OUR tax dollars, even if he made some people in the Tim's uncomfortable, I can see why Jason Blanch choose to speak to people there. @Robert - do you honestly think that just because someone carries an umbrella that they KNOW it's going to rain? Sounds more like being prepared in case the same inequalities were still present as in the past. Good for you, Jason Blanch, for standing up for yOUR rights.

  • Erich Jacoby-Hawkins
    April 07, 2011 - 00:03

    Sorry, Robert, but Blanch is right and the Elections Act does in fact give candidates the right to campaign on private property, so long as that property is open to the public without charge. (I've never had to pay to enter a Tim's). Section 81.1, specifically. The exception is if there are safety issues, which the manager tried to say was a factor, but apparently the cop did not agree.

  • know it all
    April 06, 2011 - 22:33

    Blanch just made himself and the green thumb party look like fools - way to go...

  • Fuzzy Bear
    April 06, 2011 - 22:02

    WTG Robert, of course this was a publicity stunt. No one would have the foresight to have a copy of the act with them...unless they were expecting a problem. Sure enough there was....a typical political move to get the biggest bang for the buck. There is no low they (politicians) won't stoop to.

  • Richard
    April 06, 2011 - 21:29

    While I agree with Mr.Blanch in that he has a right to campaign in public places.It DOES NOT give him the right to interfere in any way with the flow of business! I work in the fast food business and it is extremely competitive.If a customer has to wait even a few extra seconds in a drive through they will likely leave without spending their money or not come back next time! Show me where in the elections act it says you can interfere with a business making a profit. Of course there is also the safety issue.Drive thoughs are designed for vehicles only! Pedestrians be they would be customers or politicians run the risk of being struck by a vehicle.Yes accidents DO HAPPEN in drive throughs! Would you want to be crushed between 2 cars? If we allow people to stand there we are liable too! Thanks for allowing me to vent.I will now step down off of my soap box.

  • Leon Landry
    April 06, 2011 - 20:50

    Right Robert, because none of the other parties pull stunts to gain our attention. None of them prepare themselves beforehand to deal with what they might be questioned for later. What a ridiculous comment.

  • elizabeth baxter
    April 06, 2011 - 20:13

    really? do the other party candidates or incumbents have to file papers to stump in public? today, in my workplace, scott armstong walked in, free of any encumbrance or challenge or proof of right and proceeded to campaign in my office. my place of work is not only public, but relies upon government funding. imagine my surprise that no challenge was led and no police showed up.

  • Dylan
    April 06, 2011 - 19:57

    Robert, just because he came prepared, does not mean he expected it. More likely he figured that he would run into more adversity and took the necessaryprecautionary measures to be prepared for such unfortunate circumstances. Although I must agree that Tim's is private property, I respectfully disagree with your opinion of Mr. Blanch's intenttions.

  • anne
    April 06, 2011 - 19:23

    I saw him and a friend/supporter jogging with banners and BOTH times they passed pedestrians without doing any "canvassing" She even said he would have his photo in the paper, and VOILA... I agree with "Robert"s comments...publicity stunt

  • Jack On The Rocks
    April 06, 2011 - 15:20

    Well,well,Mr.Blanche.Maybe some people don't like being told not to let their car idle,or their truck is too big.Don't try to say you don't tell people that either.Ya growled at my mother and brother.Growl at me and we'll see how ya like the outcome..............

    • batman
      April 07, 2011 - 08:05

      Dude, I live in the country too, I have a four wheeler and a truck. That said it is completely unnecessary to be ignorant and threat someone on a comment line like this, this comment should be revoked and not allowed to be posted. I am sure he did tell people that. However, it is not fair that my hard earned tax dollars go to extracting oil from the tar sands, or go toward wasting time in parliament. At least Jason cares about Canadians.

  • Robert
    April 06, 2011 - 13:23

    The legislation does not give you the right to campaign on *private* property if the owner does not wish you to do so. Tim's, while being open to the public to use in order to access the included business, is still considered *private* property in areas of owner versus guest. You want respect, you have to earn it like everyone else. You say this occurred before so you brought the legislation... guess what? That means you were pulling a stunt because you knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Had you *not known you would be asked to leave*, as you stated, you wouldn't have brought it. You were prepared for the *indignant outcry* and subsequent press time. Pulling stunts to gain attention is not how one earns respect.

    • Peter
      April 06, 2011 - 16:37

      The legislation covers any open public access space that doesn't charge admission. That includes malls, apartment buildings, and Tim Hortons.

    • Peter Graham
      April 07, 2011 - 07:51

      Obviously many would like to see the Greens just go away. When I still had the stomach for it, I ran for the Greens and was told by the Editor of our local paper that if I would dress in a radiation suit and organize a protest, they would cover it, but otherwise forget it. This was even though I was as qualified (at least on paper) as the incumbent and more qualified than any of the other candidates. Why don't you ask youself what are you afraid of? Do Greens have bigger teeth, sharper claws??? Are you also afraid of scientists? Bad news? Do you like to live in a bubble, insulating yourself from reality as best you can? Unfortunately being human comes with responsibilities. Maybe it's time to just grow up, eh?