Running for the B.C. Conservatives in Boundary-Similkameen isn’t going to be Mischa Popoff’s first try at politics.
In 2011, Popoff tried for the federal Conservative nomination in Okanagan Coquihalla, when Stockwell Day stepped down, and earlier he was Joe Cardoso’s campaign manager in the 2009 provincial election.
“This time I’ve got the nomination already, now I just have to win the general election,” said Popoff, who thinks he has a solid chance to win. “I am not going to say we are going to win because that is the purpose of the election. We’re confident here, but not leaving anything to chance.”
For Popoff, the issue for the 2013 provincial election is farming.
“I’ve got a background in farming. Like my grandma used to say, we all got to eat,” said Popoff, adding that debates over global warming obscure the real issues.
“At the end of the day, I happen to think both the environmentalists and, call them the global warming sceptics, I think they are all missing the point,” said Popoff. “In the meantime, especially here in B.C., the farmer, the guy and gal that grow our food, they are under attack. I think we are missing the point in all these other debates. Food is the most important issue.
“It’s like we pulled the rug out from under ranchers with the meat inspection regulations. It’s like the death knell for farming in this province.”
Government regulation, he continued, has ruined the ranching and meat industry in the province. He thinks the province needs to step away from the farming industry for it to thrive.
“I don’t want a bunch of handouts. The apple growers are always right in there, trying to get some sort of industry bailout package. I am not for that,” said Popoff. “If you let a bit more of the free market in, the farmers will do just fine, cause they are doing fine everywhere else.”
There is no better steward of the environment than the farmer, according to Popoff.
“How do we know farmers aren’t destroying the environment? Because they are in business, that’s how,” said Popoff. “The fact that farmers are in business, intergenerationally, is evidence that they are environmental, that they are having a minimal impact. And to get back to ranchers, it’s zero impact.”
Another plank on Popoff’s platform is government spending, starting with the provincial civil service. He uses the phrase ‘60 times 60’ to sum up his concerns. That’s 60,000 civil servants, earning an estimated average of $60,000 per year.
“That’s $3.6 billion, every year, before we pave a single road, before we subsidize a single apple grower, which I am opposed to,” said Popoff. “Before we get into any of the things that most people would think we are debating about, before we get into any of those discussions, you can take $3.6 billion a year, put it in the middle of the room and set fire to it.
“I know civil servants provide a good service, but boy are we overspending.”