By Kerry Eno
Published: Oct 25, 2014
Jason Blackman-Wulff takes a seat at the Zephyr Cafe with what is clearly not his first coffee of the day. “It’s half-caf. Actually, it’s ⅓-caf,” he laughs. This is his last meeting of the day before he returns home to his spouse. He has two dogs–one of which, Jason states, becomes really neurotic if he’s been in the house too long.
The young student decided to take a break from university study. He adds “I was 19. I could see I wasn’t focused enough.”
Blackman-Wulff decided to move to Montreal where he worked, lived, and put years of high school French immersion into practice. His newfound independence stimulated sufficient focus and clarity for him to make the choice to return to post-secondary education.
By this time, he was old enough to advise his peers to drink beer after writing the paper. He completed his undergraduate degree in urban planning at Concordia University. This education taught him how to “Restitch things that have been unstitched by globalization. Technology may offer the opportunity to communicate across borders, but innovation and trust are still developed best when you are co-located.”
His participation in the program gave him the knowledge and skills required to approach planning and development tasks in a way that favours the best interests of a traditional community. Blackman-Wulff decided to move to Squamish temporarily in 2010. He admits: “After one year, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Blackman-Wulff currently works for high-profile MLA Jenny Kwan in her constituency office. On a typical day, he assists Kwan’s constituents with issues regarding services such as housing, MSP, and Employment Insurance. He offers community support and manages Kwan’s constituent emails.
He also helps to teach interested constituents the ropes of citizen lobbying. He hears their concerns, identifies the responsible minister, as well as the opposing critics, and assists them with letter drafting.
His personal and political focus is on breadth of knowledge and open-mindedness. He has faithfully read the newspaper since he was twelve and jokes about his refusal to let his parents allow the subscription to lapse.
He states that debates intended to produce collaborative results can become unproductive if participants are rigid in their platforms and enter deliberation unwilling to be affected by new information. He hopes to bring an emphasis on advocacy to the role of councillor, if elected. “I do whatever it takes to empower people and meet them where they are at.”
“Council members should not just be decision-makers but the link between citizens and bureaucracy.” He believes that “You have to allow enough time to do other than what is mandated, like meet with constituents and non-profit groups.”
The key elements of his platform are an
Open and effective council, Smart Growth and Food Security, Increased Recreational Infrastructure and Opportunities for All, and Economic Diversification.