A candidate for mayor of Saint John whose Facebook postings have included support for conspiracy theories and the January attack on the U.S. Capitol says the city needs a leader who doesn't fit the status quo.
"I'm tired of the status quo," Darrell Bastarache, one of four candidates seeking the mayor's job, told Information Morning Saint John on Wednesday.
On Facebook, Bastarache has suggested the COVID-19 pandemic was planned by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who advises the U.S. administration about the disease.
Bastarache also commented on a post by his campaign manager, Ed Hoyt, who made light of the violence in Washington over election results, and he called for similar violence in this country.
In the radio interview, Bastarache said he would prefer to talk about campaign issues, but he didn't deny responsibility for the posts, which are no longer visible but were captured in screen shots.
Bastarache, who works in landscaping, suggested he fits into what Saint Johners want in a mayor, someone who has experienced hardship.
"Many citizens that I've talked to, they agree they need a change, and they need somebody that's lived their experiences and lived the same hardships as they have in life," he said.
If he were mayor, he said, he would address poverty in the city by focusing on low-income housing. He said part of the problem is that some landlords are wrestling with regulations and property tax that make it difficult to keep rents down.
He spoke with several landlords this week.
"They say it's hard to lower rents at this time," Bastarache said. "In fact, most have to raise them."
He said economic growth, population growth and tax reform are also issues he cares about.
In the shorter term, Bastarache said he would like to upgrade infrastructure and make the uptown more attractive, with landscaping and better sidewalks.
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Bastarache said he's lived in Saint john his entire life, despite having opportunities elsewhere.
"I've left twice and returned both times because I get homesick and love our city."
He said he did not want to discuss the future of his campaign manager, Hoyt, who is to be in court April 9 for trial on an assault charge.
"I would just have to wait and see what happens on April 9th and make a decision," Bastarache said.