As part of our B.C. election coverage, the Penticton Western News asked candidates to submit a bio about themselves, why they are running and what is the most important issue in the Penticton riding.
Keith MacIntyre has lived in Penticton for the last 10 years.
He is the owner of Big Bear Software and is currently the president of the Okanagan School of the Arts and father of two awesome teenage boys.
Since moving to Penticton MacIntyre has been an active community volunteer through JCI (Junior Chamber International), a director on the chamber of commerce, and running for school trustee.
Most recently, he spent the last year and a half negotiating with the school board to save the Shatford Centre as a community building, falling just short due to the pandemic.
Leading the Smart Cities Challenge gave Keith the opportunity to engage the entire community of Penticton and gave him a broad understanding of the issues that face the city and surrounding area.
It also gave him a great understanding of just how valuable it is for businesses and citizens take initiative to make change outside the confines of government.
Over his career he has worked with multiple levels of government in the defense, medical and other ministries.
He also has significant experience writing pandemic simulation software and has in-depth knowledge on pandemics and interventions.
He wants to ensure decisions being made that affect our citizens and businesses are right and will continue to demand open data for all.
What are your reasons for running in this election?
I am running for MLA because I think we need a new direction in Canadian politics. I have become disillusioned over the years and I find the polarized politics we have in Canada to be ineffective.When I learned about the Libertarian Party I found that their concepts of less tax, smaller government, and more personal freedom resonated with me. In my conversations in the community, I’m finding that a large number of people are closer to Libertarian than anything.
We are craving more personal freedom in our lives. Initially, I was interested in running to add a different dimension to the debates and discussions around this provincial election. Now, I am fully confident that I and the Libertarian party represent the values of our riding more than the major parties.
We are the only party that truly wants to reduce taxes and bureaucracy. What many people don’t realize is that it is not the governing parties that are ‘The Government.’
‘The Government’ is made up of 30,000 employees mismanaging the $60 billion we give them.
Over the last 17 years running my software company I have seen firsthand the countless billions wasted with tech procurement, the lack of innovation due to archaic RFP processes, and overall a lack of desire to truly improve the lives of British Columbians. I can hold the government accountable as nobody else can.
What do you believe to be the three most important issues for the riding?
The ICBC. We need to immediately privatize insurance in BC. I lived in Alberta when they shifted to a private model and it resulted in lower costs and better service. Having a government-run insurance company should be better for its citizens, but it clearly is not. Ridiculously high costs and they drag out claims for years when injured people need it the most. They have $12 billion in open claims. These costs will go up because of delays in the medical system and court dates.
Secondly, land issues are huge in our riding. When I moved to Penticton in 2010 I was shocked at the Property Transfer Tax. When I was trying to attract talent here it was a real barrier for a family to lose thousands of dollars when moving to a new city ($8,000 on a $500,000 home). Rather than find efficiencies in government or creative solutions they continue to punish families for buying homes with what was a so-called luxury tax that never adjusted as home prices went up. The Agricultural Land Reserve issues tie into this as well.
Decisions are being made in Victoria that seem to make sense for Richmond that do not make sense in the Okanagan.
Decisions about our land should be up to us, not bureaucrats in Victoria.
Lastly, the bureaucracy and taxes on liquor and cannabis are a big issue for our riding. It took a pandemic for the government to ‘allow’ restaurant owners to buy alcohol wholesale, and they are limited in what they can buy. No wonder a glass of wine is so expensive in B.C. restaurants. If you add up the total taxes on alcohol and cannabis, it’s mind-blowing. Why can’t an individual grow more than four plants? Why can’t we have a thriving craft cannabis industry too? When the government gets involved in business, nobody wins.
What works have you done for the community prior to deciding to run for election?
I have been an active community volunteer in Penticton over the last 10 years.
First joining JCI (Junior Chamber International), I learned the value of volunteering, that group of young people is inspiring. Following that, I was a board member on the Chamber of Commerce several times, ran for school trustee in 2015 and led the Penticton Smart Cities Challenge initiative (I have the giant blue ‘10’ hanging on my wall).
I am extremely active in growing and connecting the tech community in the Okanagan, running a successful tech meetup for several years that I am now relaunching.
My proudest community initiative has been as the President of the Okanagan School of the Arts. I tried my best to keep the Shatford Centre open for the citizens of Penticton. At our March board meeting, we had the organization on track for success. However, when the world shut down we had to cancel all future events and could not come to an agreement with the School Board to keep the building open for the community. I am proud that we are still able to offer art classes to the community, but I miss being in that building.
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