Message being lost in candidate shuffle

B.C. Conservatives' dismissal of four candidates over the past week does a disservice to both the party and the electorate

The B.C. Conservatives really need to do a better job checking out their candidates beforehand. Not just for themselves, but as part of their responsibility to the people they want to elect them.

Over the course of the last week, the party lost four candidates. At least two of them were dumped over comments made prior to their candidacy, including Mischa Popoff, the B.C. Tories’ candidate in Boundary-Similkameen.

For regular readers of Popoff’s column, the idea that he might have said something to upset the applecart won’t come as a surprise. He’s well known for being outspoken and provocative, though he prefers the term “evocative.” Mind you, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the Tories, either; Popoff has had an on again, off again, relationship with them for years. In 2010, he split with them over the HST, resigning and eventually starting his own far, far right “Individual Rights Party of B.C.”

Popoff’s views, whether you agree with them or not, are not at issue. What is at issue is that the B.C. Tories, so eager to have candidates in every riding, were endorsing people with views that not only they didn’t approve of, but were damaging to their chances to win. We think that shows a lack or respect for both voters and the concept of representative government.

It’s a pity the Boundary-Similkameen riding had to go through another round of controversy, after having both Liberal and NDP candidates resign unexpectedly within an hours of each other back in January. But there is a caution there for voters in all ridings.

Because what your vote really does is represent the riding to Victoria. And as important as deciding which party should be leading the province, voters need to ask themselves whether this is the person they want speaking on behalf of their riding for the next four years?