Keith MacIntyre

Voters who don’t like any of the major B.C. political parties now have another option in the Penticton riding.

Local businessman Keith MacIntyre announced Thursday he’s been acclaimed to represent the BC Libertarian Party in the Oct. 24 provincial election.

“I like their values of smaller government, lower taxes and more personal freedom,” said MacIntyre, who last ran for public office in 2014, when he was the first runner-up for one of four Penticton seats on the Okanagan Skaha school board.

“I think this gives me the ability to have some different conversations than some of the other major parties can have.”

MacIntyre, founder and CEO of Big Bear Software with offices in Penticton, West Kelowna and Calgary, has a unique perspective on government through his business dealings, which include work in health and defence.

“I know there’s billions of dollars wasted in government procurement in the tech sector,” he said.

MacIntyre, who’s also president of the Okanagan School of the Arts, joins Liberal incumbent Dan Ashton and New Democrat Toni Boot as declared candidates in the Penticton riding.

The BC Libertarian Party, which ran its first candidate in 1986, put up 30 contenders in the 2017 election and garnered a total of 7,200 votes, good for 0.4% of the popular vote.

Meanwhile, the NDP announced Thursday a local government leader would fly its flag in Boundary-Similkameen.

Roly Russell, chair of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, won the nomination in a run-off against Oliver town Coun. Aimee Grice.

“The BC NDP is the best choice to lead us out of the pandemic, and this region deserves a proactive and strong voice in a renewed John Horgan mandate,” Russell said in a press release.

“We all remember the deep cuts the previous BC Liberal government made to key services that people need, and we can’t afford to go back to those dark days.”

Russell, who lives in Grand Forks, will be squaring off against another Oliver town councillor in the election: Petra Veintimilla, who was declared the Liberal candidate for Boundary-Similkameen earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the first major poll to come out since the snap election was called on Monday showed the NDP trailing the Liberals in Southern B.C. (everything outside the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.)

Research Co. found 39% support for the Liberals in this region, compared to 34% for the NDP and 12% for the Green Party.

However, the survey found 37% of voters in this region believe NDP Leader John Horgan would make the best premier, followed by Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson at 34%.

For the province as a whole, the survey put the NDP at 44% support and the Liberals at 37%.

The survey was conducted online, Sept. 21-23, and sampled 750 likely voters. It’s considered accurate to 3.6%, 19 times out of 20.