Enters Cumberland North race as fourth candidate
Green Party candidate Jason Blanch is the fourth candidate in Cumberland North.
AMHERST – Cumberland North has a fourth candidate for the Oct. 8 provincial election.
Jason Blanch announced Monday he is running for the Green Party against incumbent NDP candidate Brian Skabar, Liberal Terry Farrell and Judi Giroux of the Progressive Conservatives.
“I didn’t intend on running in this election, but the party contacted me and asked me to run,” said Blanch, who ran for the Green Party in the last federal election. “I feel there are several issues that are not being adequately addressed by the other three parties, the biggest of which is fracking.”
While he supports the government’s call for an external review of fracking in Nova Scotia, Blanch questions the need to review a practice he said it overtly harmful to the environment and a huge risk to future generations of Nova Scotians.
No party has come out saying it’s against the controversial practice of pumping large quantities of water and chemicals deep underground to expose and capture natural gas in shale rock formations.
“We don’t have any party that’s saying they’re going to ban fracking. The NDP has their external panel, but at this point there’s so much evidence that we don’t need a panel. It scares me to think they’re putting it off until after the election,” Blanch said. “I’d feel much better knowing that fracking is banned and having the security knowing our groundwater is protected.”
Blanch believes it’s impossible to frack without harming the environment, adding some day the gas will be gone but the water will still be polluted.
He’s also concerned with the direction the government has taken with education, adding he has two young children in the school system and has seen first hand the effects of cutbacks on the classroom.
“We have some tremendous teachers out there doing some wonderful things, but they’re doing so with fewer resources. Imagine what they could do if they had the resources they need to do their jobs to the best of their abilities,” Blanch added.
The Amherst native is also questioning the need to lower the HST by two per cent, as promised by the New Democrats. He admitted everyone likes a tax cut more than an increase, but suggested that cutting taxes at a time when the debt is in the billions doesn’t make sense.
“As a party we believe in conservation. It’s not just about conserving the environment, but conserving money and living within our means,” said Blanch.
While he admits entering the campaign with two weeks to go is a gamble, Blanch said he believes strongly in the party’s message when it comes to fracking and giving the voters another choice.
“I was on a meditation retreat this past summer and the instructor talked about being brave. He asked what I could do to be brave. I thought about that when the party asked me to run and I felt the brave thing to do would be to run to talk about our message,” Blanch said. “I’m asking the people of Cumberland North to be brave and vote Green. Let go of your fears about what would happen if you vote Green. Vote for what you believe in.”