Updated April 29, 2013
Once again, the Boundary-Similkameen is garnering provincial headlines as a third candidate for the upcoming election has been dropped by their party.
Mischa Popoff, who was confirmed as the B.C. Conservative candidate just last month, was dropped by the party on April 25, after what the party called “insensitive and disrespectful” comments resurfaced from columns he writes for a Kelowna newspaper.
Popoff isn’t going quietly, saying he is not backing away from his opinions, and will run as an independent if the Conservatives won’t support him.
Popoff joins incumbent and former Liberal MLA John Slater who was told in January the party would not endorse him as their candidate. Days later, NDP candidate Marji Basso unexpectedly stepped down, within an hour of Slater announcing that he would not run as an independent.
Popoff was the third of four candidates the Conservatives lost in the last week. Earlier in the week, Ian Tootill (Vancouver-False Creek) was dumped over questionable comments on Twitter, while Jeff Sprague (North Van-Lonsdale) voluntarily stepped down over what was called an unfortunate personal incident. A fourth, Ron Hebert, was dropped on Sunday after the Conservatives stepped up their reviewing process. Hebert had only been named as candidate for Vancouver-West End last Thursday.
“In light of last week’s revelation about two of our candidates, I ordered a full re-vetting of all B.C. Conservative candidates. These are never easy situations for a campaign, but I believe that leaders must act proactively,” said party leader John Cummins on Monday. “As a result of this process, the senior volunteer responsible for vetting has stepped down from that position, and I fired Ron Herbert as our candidate in Vancouver-West End. He will not appear on the ballot as a B.C. Conservative.”
“They say I am going to help them lose the women’s vote,” said Popoff, adding that his only communication from the party was a call from provincial campaign manager Jeff Bridge at about 9 p.m. on April 25. “He said this is bad, very bad. He said he would think about it and get John Cummins to phone.”
Popoff said he hasn’t been officially notified yet, that it has all come through the media.
“I don’t even have an email yet. I don’t have an email from the so-called leader of this party. I don’t have an email from Jeff Bridge,” said Popoff.
Quotes taken from his columns calling the Missing Women Inquiry a waste of time and criticizing single mothers for having children without a man by their side are being taken out of context, contends Popoff.
“I am shocked, and for the record, I didn’t say anything against women, I said something against the inquiry,” said Popoff. “We had a useless inquiry. Everything I said was against the inquiry, not the women. I don’t want any woman, any person, to go missing, no matter what they do for a living. I want the cops to find whoever does anything abusive.”
But the B.C. Conservatives wasted no time distancing themselves from Popoff’s opinions, issuing a release and removing his profile page from their website.
“Mr. Popoff’s various comments were insensitive and disrespectful, particularly to women and single mothers who are, in fact, heroes to their children and their communities in many cases,” reads the unsigned release. “We are a party that believes in a respectful airing of views. Mr. Popoff’s statements were unacceptable and he has been removed as a candidate.”
“I write 26 columns a year, and they pull one quote out of a column on single parenthood. I don’t think we should champion single motherhood, I don’t think we should encourage it. I think we should do everything we can to talk women out of having kids out of wedlock,” said Popoff, adding that his own mother was a single mom and that he is not running them down, but is promoting two-parent families.
“The statistics are undeniable. Kids are better off when they are born into a family with two parents. It doesn’t matter if those parents are same sex or heterosexual, kids are better with two parents,” said Popoff.