By CARMEN WELD
KELOWNA — An Okanagan man is ready to take on the leadership of the B.C. Conservative Party and says he’ll do away with political correctness.
“I want to bring common sense to B.C. politics and get rid of political correctness,” said Konrad Pimiskern, a Kelowna financial adviser who felt compelled to enter the political arena this year.
Pimiskern is one of four people seeking the leadership of the party.
He will run against Chloé Ellis, a professional advisor in the financial industry from Vancouver, Dan Brooks, well-known former leader of the party and business owner from Vanderhoof, and Jay Cross, a statistical analyst from the Lower Mainland.
“I think everybody has a responsibility to serve in their community and I saw this as a really good opportunity to pitch in and make a difference,” said Pimiskern.
He says he has not been involved in politics at all in the past, but felt it was time to put his hat in the ring.
“I've been invited before, but this is the first time I felt like I could really make a difference,” he said.
“The politics or the mood, if you will, is saying they are ready to start getting some common sense back into their lives again. Not just in B.C., but all over the world.”
He says he feels the same way everybody else does.
“We can't believe the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in. With all this political correctness, it really has not been working for us, it has been working against us. I think people are ready to have change, constructive change.”
Pimiskern said political correctness is a problem in a wide range of issues.
“Political correctness creates an environment where everybody is afraid to say anything about anything. We live in a world where the majority of people feel like they cannot use their voice because they are going to be ridiculed,” said Pimiskern.
“If they start talking about common sense ideas, they will get lambasted. People are tired of political correctness, they are tired of politicians, they are tired of the status quo, they are tired of feeling like everybody is making these really stupid decisions that are affecting real people in the real world.”
He said he has fresh ideas for many political issues including homelessness, unemployment and the real estate boom. He believes the B.C. Liberals just made a major mistake with the recently announced tax. Foreign nationals who buy real estate in Metro Vancouver will soon pay an additional property transfer tax of 15 per cent.
“From a financial adviser standpoint, they just knocked 15 per cent off the value of everybody's house,” said Pimiskern.
He says additional taxes should only be levied against landowners that cannot prove a B.C. tax-paying resident is living in the home.
“If you're not living there and you do not have a B.C. resident living there who is a B.C. taxpayer, you pay commercial rates.”
He hopes to bring in legislation that would actually bring more foreign nationals into Canada to live and work and prosper here.
“I would love for them to all become B.C. taxpayers, to all become citizens of this province. To contribute to our economy. To bring their ingenuity and bring their industry and their wealth to help build this province. As opposed to punishing them for showing up, that is so wrong.”
Pimiskern was born and raised in West Vancouver, and moved his family to Kelowna in 2000. He has been married for 25 years and has three children.
“We moved up here for housing reasons, I couldn't see myself living in a condominium with a family,” he said.
“It has been a really good decision for my family.”
Pimiskern was announced as one of four people seeking the leadership of the BC Conservative Party last week.
Dan Brooks, who relocated to Kamloops when he last took the helm of the party, said he’s running to regain his old job because legal troubles related to the party are no longer pose a financial problem. He resigned in January, citing family and business commitments. He said the legal dispute within the party has gone nowhere.
The leader of the B.C. Conservative Party will be determined by mail-in ballot culminating at the Leadership Convention in Prince George on Sept 17.