Election day is looming and Boundary residents need to decide who will get their vote. It's only a few more weeks until the May 14th election, and five candidates have stepped forward to represent the Boundary Similkameen region.
NDP candidate, Sam Hancheroff, is a native of Grand Forks. He was raised in the city and went to post-secondary school at Selkirk College in Castlegar.
“I've lived in this constituency my whole life, growing up in Grand Forks, and working for 33 years as a teacher in Okanagan Falls,” he said in an email interview. “I've also been involved in community politics here for the last 30 years. That's given me a strong knowledge of the issues facing this area in terms of water, agriculture, education, and the local economy.”
While in Okanagan Falls, Hancheroff was active in the community. He often volunteered his time with groups like the OkFalls Fire Department and as a trustee with the Okanagan Falls Irrigation District.
In 1993, Hancheroff moved to Kaleden and held the position of trustee with the Kaleden Irrigation District. In 2004, he also became a school trustee with School District 53. He currently lives in Kaleden, where he works and helps run his family’s vineyard.
He has a wife, Barbra Paterson, four grown children and five grandchildren.
Hancheroff talks to members of the public regularly and hears concerns about public education, health, lifestyle, job opportunities, and politics.
“There are many issues I hear about on the doorsteps. One of the important issues I'm hearing about is around jobs and the local economy,” said Hancheroff. “That's why I'm excited to be running for the NDP. With 80 per cent of the new jobs in BC requiring post-secondary education, I'm thrilled with our commitment to skills training and education. We're committed to building opportunities for every British Columbian. That's how we'll build a sustainable economy, create good jobs, attract investment and build a strong middle class.
Oliver resident, John Kwasnica, is this year’s MLA candidate for the Green Party of BC.
Kwasnica’s story starts out as the child in a Royal Canadian Air Force family. He followed in his family's footsteps and joined the Canadian Forces when he was done high school. After that he became a United Nations (UN) Peacekeeper. He was honorably discharged in 1976 and went on to work in Edmonton before moving to Vancouver. He and his wife, Angela, have four children.
Once he became a British Columbian, Kwasnica worked for the British Columbia Ferry and Marine Worker’s Union. In 1988 he moved to Oliver and started working at the South Okanagan Association for Integrated Community Living. He believes in helping adults with disabilities lead productive lives in their communities.
Kwasnica has supported the Green Party since 2001.
“Being selected to run for the Green Party this time further deepens my commitment to Green principles and policies,” said Kwasnica, in a press release. “I am ready to serve the families of The Southern Interior region as a member of the legislative assembly for Boundary Similkameen”.
Former Oliver mayor, Linda Larson, has thrown her hat in the ring as the Liberal MLA candidate. She replaces incumbent John Slater.
Larson is originally from Comox but has been in Oliver since 1989. She was elected as mayor in the 1997, 1999 and 2002 elections, but more recently has held the position of city councillor.
During her time in Oliver, Larson has owned three businesses: Eastside Grocery, Stedmans V/S and Ruffled Edges. Much of her time is spent volunteering with organizations like the Sunnybank Ladies Auxiliary. She currently sits as the Chair of the Provincial Board at Community Futures.
Larson is married to Larry and together they have three daughters and four grandchildren.
Mischa Popoff is perhaps most known for his book “Is It Organic?” – a book that dives into the world of organic food labelling in the Canadian market.
The BC Conservative candidate is passionate about giving British Columbians control over their own decisions – especially regarding energy conservation.
“I’m taking a strong stand against the two-tiered rate hikes being forced upon British Columbians,” said Popoff, in a press release. “Fortis BC, hand-in-glove with bureaucrats and politicians in Victoria want you to believe this is being done for your own good; that by increasing your monthly bills you’ll learn to conserve energy … right… and the carbon tax is also for our own good I suppose?”
Popoff was raised in Saskatchewan on a grain farm and considers himself to be quite frugal. He is married and has three children. His family works hard to conserve energy, something he says is normal for everyone on a budget.
“Who in this province isn’t already conserving energy? No one wastes their hard-earned money by leaving lights on,” he said. “It’s time for people in Victoria to stop trying to control our behavior.”
This Independent candidate wants to hold the government accountable.
“Total transparency in government is a priority,” said Pederson. “There is nothing that government does that should be kept secret from the people. Nothing. With my computer background; it will be easy to video all interactions and post everything on YouTube and have DVD copies available in all regions. Email and telephone calls will also be available. Total transparency.”
Pederson would also like to see more mini referendums for voters, but does not believe candidates should have much contact with their constituents.
“Any lobbying where more than a handshake is exchanged should be considered as treason with both parties being sentenced to considerable jail time,” he said, in an email interview.
Pederson has a background in computer programming but says most of his experience is in real life. “I have more real world business experience than the rest of candidates for Boundary Similkameen combined.”
He is interested in debating with other candidates on issues like education, the criminal justice system, election rigging and Monsanto Crop life and GMO labeling.
But, who will Pederson be voting for this coming election?
“If you want to eliminate those obscene MLA pensions … simply never vote for the same candidate twice. I will most likely be voting green this time.”
For more information, join the all candidates forum Tuesday April 23 at Grand Forks Secondary School or Wednesday, April 24th at Midway Community Centre. Both events are from 6:30 to 8 p.m.