There’s a lot of talk about the showing the Green Party made in last week’s provincial election — province-wide and in the riding of Kootenay East.
But for the fourth candidate on the Kootenay East ballot, this past election marked the starting point for future growth for his party, the BC Libertarians.
Keith Komar, candidate for the party that “advocates for individual liberty, free markets, civil rights, low taxes, and limited government,” brought in 2.4 per cent of the vote in Kootenay East, but he is coming away with a lot of positives from this recent exercise in democracy.
“Two point four per cent — I don’t look at vote totals, I look at percentages,” Komar told the Townsman. “So I put in at the most $3,000 into my own campaign. I spent a lot of time going around Shuswap and Columbia Revelstoke getting other guys on the ballot.
“So at a maximum $3,000, versus a $75,000 machine [the local BC Liberals or NDP campaigns], I’m one 25th of that economic weight. So if I’m at 2.4 per cent of the vote, and I’m one twenty-fifth economically, I feel my message rang way more true than theirs did. If I had that $75,000 behind me, I’m sure I would have shown up very well. It’s all about getting your message out.”
Komar said that despite the vote count at the end of election night, the Libertarian message was well-received in Kootenay East, especially in the context of the two main parties and their “fear-based message.”
“Everybody who I spoke to loved what I had to say,” he said. “You have to understand too that there’s a lot of fear in politics. Everyone [else] was running on a negative message, and that creates the fear in the population. That creates the lesser of two evils mentality. And you have to buy your way through that to get your message out. It’s become the game of the Lesser of Two Evils — that’s the mantra that’s espoused by the two big parties. They’re not defending themselves; they’re saying watch out for the other guys.”
Komar also feels he attracted a lot of voters who feel disenfranchised, or alienated from the democracy, who might not have voted otherwise.
“I was the candidate of all the people who feel they’re on the island of misfit toys. Everyone of them who has never felt represented before felt at home with me. I had a lot of people reaching out who had problems with government. I’m going to stay active and help them with that.”
The BC Libertarians ran candidates in 30 ridings this election, more by far than any previous election. Komar says this trend is here to stay.
“We’re going to run 42 candidates federally in British Columbia in 2019. That’s a full slate federally. And you’ll see a lot of the same names on that ballot that just ran.”
Komar himself will only say it’s possible that he will run again in 2019. But by running someone else for the Libertarians in Kootenay-Columbia, that will free Komar up to focus on organizational and building work for the party.
“I’m regional co-ordinator for the federal party as well, so I look after the whole province of B.C.”
However, there are plans afoot for Komar to move up into a higher executive position with the party — Vice-President of Political Action, possibly, in charge of the province’s regional co-ordinators. But the time being Komar and the Libertarians are still debriefing from Campaign 2017. A breakout campaign in many ways, Komar says, not unlike the Green Party from several years ago.
“They were the same. They had a pittance of candidates, and from that they started doing the grassroots movement, and you’re going to start seeing the same from us.”
Komar takes Libertarian principles seriously, and is committed to the party for the long-term. As well as regional co-ordinator for the federal branch, he serves on the board of directors, and “came within an inch of being the president of the party. So I’m at the top of the movement for Libertarians,” he said.
“To me, this isn’t just a pastime.I see our country heading directly into socialism, and I want to stop it as quickly as I can.”
Canada was not founded on socialist principles, Komar said, even though there are historic reasons for its establishment in this country.
“I know our mentality went that way, in the ‘50s and ‘60s — we had economic reasons to do that. We were printing our own money, spending it into existence, there was no debt attached. So for those 40 years, from ‘34 to ‘74, we flourished. In 1974, we allowed factional reserve banking to kick in, and we allowed banks to loan money into existence, we started selling bonds to the IMF to create our currency. And our debt went from $18 billion to $500 billion within 10 years. And then we got 24 per cent interest rates and our economy died.
“This is why you can’t have socialism in Canada anymore. Because we don’t create that money, we borrow that money now. It was a great idea when we were creating that money and spending it into existence, it was an altruistic way to create currency. But we don’t do that anymore, so the debt burden, this socialist heart we’ve developed, is strangling us.”