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New BC Conservative candidate quit as party VP in 2010

The BC Conservatives named a candidate today who made a splash in 2010 when he quit the party over its stance on the harmonized sales tax.

Mischa Popoff will vie for Boundary-Similkameen in the upcoming provincial election, the party confirmed today.

"I resigned my position as Vice President of the BC Conservative Party back in June of 2010. It was due entirely to the party's failure to represent the will of small 'c' conservative voters across the province who opposed the HST," Popoff told The Tyee on March 4, before his nomination was confirmed.

"That was during Wayne McGrath's tenure as party president. He has, as I'm sure you're aware, retired now. Things are a lot different now under John Cummins."

Popoff is now a policy advisor at The Heartland Institute and a research associate with The Frontier Centre for Public Policy, according to a press release. He's the author of Is it Organic?, a critical take on Canada's organic food industry.

The cover of the self-published book describes it as "the inside story of who destroyed the organic industry, turned it into a socialist movement and made million$ in the process, and a comprehensive history of farming, warfare and Western civilization from 1645 to the present."

Back in 2010, Popoff explained his resignation as the BC Conservatives' VP in a letter, saying he could no longer represent what had become a "full blown pro-HST party," The Tyee reported at the time.

An excerpt from that letter read:

"Fighting to cancel the HST was a way to finally stem the tide of over-spending and I have been greatly encouraged by the growing constituency of British Columbians who want to end the madness of over-taxation. But I now see that tax-and-spend madness has infected my own party.

"If you dig through the morass of BC-Conservative Policy you'll eventually find a single clear promise to cancel the HST. We all know political policy is subject to change at a moment's notice, so let me tell you what's really going on behind the scenes.

"Wayne McGrath, the President of the BC Conservatives has done everything he can to suppress internal debate on the HST. He and current Conservative MP John Cummins successfully deferred the passing of a clear anti-HST policy at the party's last convention, and since then have held countless secret meetings with select party members, along with other members of the federal Conservative Party, in order to water-down our party's opposition to the HST.

"This is not what conservative British Columbians want and this is not what's implied on the front page of the BC Conservative Party's website where visitors are asked 'Do you want B.C.'s economy to be more like Alberta's with no PST, or more like Nova Scotia's with an HST?' As such, this is something I can no longer be a part of."

The BC Conservative Party released its current proposals for a provincial budget on Tuesday. Leader Cummins said the party would scrap the province's carbon tax.

"It puts us at a competitive disadvantage in business. It makes the cost of living that much higher for folks," Cummins said.

Robyn Smith reports for The Tyee. With files from Andrew MacLeod.

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