1. What is your party’s position on the national park reserve proposal for the South Okanagan – Similkameen ?
Popoff: I’m dead-set opposed. How many times do we have to say “No”? You can’t farm in a national park. Banff and Jasper were established before any farmers settled those areas. Turning any of the ranches and farms of the South Okanagan-Similkameen into a national park is tantamount to turning downtown Kelowna back to what it was before it was settled and developed. Anyone who supports the national-park proposal should go and work a month on a ranch. ‘Til then they have no right to even hold an opinion.
2. Small communities like Keremeos have a difficult time attracting and maintaining small business and government agencies.
What would your government do to help improve commerce in small, isolated communities?
Popoff: When the economy of British Columbia improves, small communities like Keremeos, Cawston, Ollala and Hedley will all boom just like small towns all across the Prairie region are booming today. Pay down the debt, attract more businesses by eliminating useless regulations, and we will all prosper.
3. What are your party’s commitments to the agriculture industry? What programs would you make available to farmers?
Popoff: The question isn’t what programs I would make available to farmers, rather, what programs I would eliminate. Start with this province’s useless and highly damaging Meat Industry Regulation (MIR) which has destroyed the local meat-processing industry in B.C., and along with it a great deal of ranching. Premier Gordon Campbell imposed MIR on this province in the name of public safety, but there was and remains no evidence that local meat-processors posed any threat whatsoever to the public. Quite to the contrary in fact: all deaths attributable to consuming unsafe meat have come from large-scale plants in Alberta. The next program to eliminate is the planned On-Farm Food Safety program. Again, there is no evidence that farmers in this province pose any threat whatsoever to the public. Leave farmers alone. They feed us.
4. How will your party encourage the purchase of B.C. agricultural products?
Popoff: That’s a secret that I will reveal to the executive of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association at their next meeting. Please stay tuned. All I can say is that it will require very little government involvement.
5. What is your party’s position on the carbon tax?
Popoff: Eliminate it! We smoke, drink and burn fossil fuels just as much as Americans do, and they pay half the tax on those things that we do. So clearly “sin” taxes don’t work as a deterrent. What’s more, we already pay about 50 percent in tax whenever we fill up our gas tank, so how is another four or five percent going to make any difference? It’s a tax grab, plain and simple, and it must be eliminated.
6. What is your position on Fortis’ two tiered billing system, i.e. the “conservation rate”?
Popoff: This is also a tax grab, plain and simple, and it must also be eliminated. The “problem” from the B.C. government’s distorted perspective began when British Columbians actually began conserving energy about a decade ago. The bean counters in Victoria realized less revenue was rolling in as a result, so they raised the water rate for Fortis, and then subsequently rubber-stamped Fortis’s request for a rate increase and two-tiered billing. It’s our power. Stop taxing us for using what’s ours. And once we get that straight, start rewarding us with dividends every time our power is sold outside of B.C.
7. How should the province fund its heritage sites?
Popoff: This province is broke. We’re teetering on have-not status and risk becoming a West-coast version of Quebec. It’s rather difficult, if not absurd, to discuss funding heritage sites when people are out of work, farmers can’t get their kids to stay on the farm, and logs are leaving the province without even being milled. Once we get the economy back on track, there will be money once again for heritage sites. But ‘til then, they’re at the bottom of my list of priorities. People are hurting, and I don’t hear anyone asking about heritage sites on the campaign trail. No one.