CONTROVERSIAL LOCAL LIBERTARIAN ANNOUNCES PLANS TO CARRY CONSERVATIVE BANNER IN BOUNDARY-SIMILKAMEEN RIDING
Posted on 14 February 2013 by Richard McGuire
Mischa Popoff is hoping to get the nod to be the B.C. Conservative candidate in Boundary-Similkameen in the coming provincial election, but he admits he may have to tone down some of his more controversial views.
The staunchly libertarian Osoyoos resident believes in legalizing marijuana, the right to carry concealed weapons in public and the right to own military grade weapons – after proper training.
He’s hoping recent events that led to candidates for the two major parties stepping down will give him a boost.
Popoff, who is currently leader of the tiny Individual Rights Party of British Columbia, plans to wind down his current party and hopes to return to the Conservatives, who he split with over a philosophical disagreement two years ago.
Popoff said he was approached two weeks ago by Conservative campaign manager Jeff Bridge about running for the Conservatives, just days after he announced he would be running for the Individual Rights Party of B.C.
He adds, however, that he has not yet spoken with Conservative Leader John Cummins, who may well veto his candidacy.
If that happens, he’ll run as an independent.
Cummins may not take well to a statement Popoff made in a recent email to the Osoyoos Times when he announced he would run under the Individual Rights Party banner.
“Our party rejects Christy Clark totalitarianism as much as we reject Adrian Dix and John Cummins totalitarianism,” Popoff wrote.
“You got me,” Popoff said when asked about the statement in light of his Conservative aspirations.
“Yes, I was lumping everyone together and probably being a bit too broad there,” he said, while reaffirming that Liberal Leader Clark and NDP Leader Dix are indeed “totalitarian” because they don’t let MLAs diverge from the party line and they whip the vote on issues such as the carbon tax.
His strong views have caused Popoff to break with both the Liberals and Conservatives in the past.
When the former Saskatchewan resident came to B.C. in 2003, he joined the B.C. Liberals and volunteered for Penticton MLA Bill Barisoff.
He split with that party over the carbon tax and the HST, and jumped to the Conservatives, becoming their party’s vice president.
His hopes of finding a home with the Conservatives were dashed when after a year of disagreeing with that party over the HST, he parted company.
The party should have taken a position for or against the tax, but instead wanted to sit on the fence, he said.
Popoff thinks his views on marijuana may be the most controversial and says he will tone them down if necessary.
“I think John Cummins will want to shut me up on that,” he says. “I have no problem admitting that I will play ball with whatever party I’m with,” he adds, noting there are limits to the degree he will compromise his principles.
His support for marijuana legalization stems from his deeply held belief in individual liberty, he said, and not from a desire to tax it.
“I want to take the tax off liquor, off of cigarettes, off of fuel,” he said. “So I sure as hell don’t want to legalize marijuana just so we can tax it and have more revenue to throw at the government.”
On weapons, he argues that most of the shootings in the U.S. occur in states that have gun control. Allowing a woman, for example, to carry a handgun in her purse becomes an “equalizer” if anyone confronts her, he said.
On the “basic freedom” of the right to own military weapons, he emphasizes that training is necessary.
“I hope you understand we don’t want just anyone to be able to buy a military grade assault rifle, but if trained to handle that, please tell me why is a policeman or a soldier any more qualified than you or me?” he asks.
Again, he’s not sure Cummins will agree with all his views on guns, but he says the fact that Cummins opposed the firearms registry suggests they have similar views.
“You’re either for guns or you’re against them, and I’m totally for guns,” says Popoff, adding that he left his own guns back in Saskatchewan.
Whether or not Popoff’s unconventional opinions allow him to run as a Conservative, let alone represent Boundary-Similkameen, remains to be seen, but he says he definitely plans to try.
“I’ll be running one way or another.”