Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of profiles of the candidates for Boundary-Similkameen MLA.
There is no doubt that Mischa Popoff has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to share them.
The author of Is it Organic?, a book questioning the organic agriculture industry, has also been writing columns for seven years.
“I grew up on a farm, and there is an old saying, all farmers are political,” said Popoff. “So it’s in my blood. But what really kicked it in for me was when I started writing columns, which ironically is what got me in trouble.”
Popoff refers to the incident which now has him running as an independent candidate in Boundary-Similkameen, rather than for the B.C. Conservative party, who dropped him from their candidate list after finding comments made in his columns “insensitive and disrespectful.”
Returning to his Saskatchewan roots, Popoff looks to three political leaders there as influencing his political growth and beliefs: Tommy Douglas, Allan Blakeney and Roy Romanow.
The three socialist premiers might be surprised to find themselves role models for an outspoken conservative, but Popoff calls them small-c conservatives, highlighting their fiscal responsibility.
“Tommy Douglas, he paid down the debt before he gave us medicare, that to me is a small-c conservative value,” said Popoff. “Of all three of those, small-c conservatives, Tommy Douglas probably had the strongest Christian family values.”
In B.C., Popoff has a convoluted history with a succession of right-wing parties, including the B.C. Liberals.
“I moved out here and unhappily joined the B.C. Liberals for a couple of years and helped out Bill Barisoff. They said this was the free-enterprise party in this province, and they weren’t,” said Popoff. “I left that party and joined the B.C. Conservatives.”
But Popoff also broke with the Conservatives, falling out with them over the HST issue, and joined the B.C. Heritage party, and unsuccessful offshoot of the Christian Heritage Party.
Then Popoff formed his own party, the Individual Rights Party of B.C., which included among its policies a denial of human-induced global warming, as well as the intention to abolish both the B.C. Human Rights Code and Tribunal as running counter to natural justice.
That too failed, and Popoff returned to the B.C. Tories under John Cummins for a short time, before the party dropped him on April 29.
Popoff lives in Osoyoos with his wife, Sherry, and their three children.
“Most people retire and come to B.C., my wife and I moved out here and had kids,” joked Popoff. “We have been together nine years and married eight-and-a-half. It’s my second marriage … second and last.”
Popoff said that if you have a family, you know what it is to be responsible, and that family values should be universal, not attributed to one party or another.
“Family values, it used to be shared, you didn’t have to be a conservative to have family values,” said Popoff. “To his credit, I think Sam does have family values. I think he’s only got one marriage, so in a way, he’s as good or better than me, and yet the NDP push this social agenda, which excludes the family pillar.”