Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Municipalities across British Columbia held their elections on October 15, becoming the latest battle in the culture war. Multiple regions saw candidates with positions aligned with far-right ideas getting their names on the ballot for the role of school board trustee.
However, despite a substantial list of candidates who have expressed support for the so-called “Freedom Convoy” which occupied Ottawa for weeks, or opposition to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), and anti-racist education in schools, not many took the seat they vied for.
Heather Maahs was re-elected to one of the seven spots on the Chilliwack Board of Education, after first being elected in 2008. Maahs has previously accused doctors talking about medical transition for trans and gender-diverse persons as guilty of “malpractice.”
“Reality check. XX chromosomes,” Maahs wrote in an anti-SOGI Facebook group, responding to an article about a trans man who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “You are a woman. The truth shall set you free.”
During the Ottawa blockade protests in February, Maahs stated her support for the “truckers,” despite the widely reported fact that many of the organizers and participants of the action had previously existing connections to far-right politics.
Maahs finished in sixth place.
Richard Procee – a candidate with Parents Voice BC, a political organization backing school board candidates in several districts – also secured his bid for school trustee. He finished in seventh place.
According to the CBC:
Many candidates running under the party's banner support political positions inflamed by the pandemic, with rhetoric similar to right-wing groups in the United States – including criticism of public health policies and school programs about racism, gender and sexuality.
But an in-depth review by CBC of candidates' online material found that instead of promoting their political beliefs, many candidates have tried to obscure them – in some cases by deleting old social media posts.
In a surprise turn, incumbent and long-time trustee Barry Neufeld failed to re-secure his seat and finished in 12th place.
A trustee in the district since the early 1990s, Neufeld has become a controversial figure for, among other things, his stance on education relating to 2SLGBTQ+ identities and sexual health in schools.
Neufeld has faced a number of punishments while sitting on Chilliwack’s school board, including calls for him to step down. He has faced accusations from fellow board members of sending harassing messages, using his trustee report time to insult other trustees, and was banned from attending in-camera board meetings and entering schools.
A report from Press Progress pointed out Neufeld’s social media history of sharing a number of bizarre and conspiratorial articles, including one that relied heavily on the inaccurate Khazar theory to lay blame for numerous wars at the feet of Jewish people.
Darrell Furgason – another incumbent – Elliot Friesen, and Kaethe Jones also lost their bids for school board trustee.
Furgason runs a Facebook group titled the Director for the Worldview Studies Center (WSC) – a “Christian educational association that helps students develop critical thinking skills to analyze global developments.” He finished 10th, with 6,451 votes.
The WSC is home to posts defending the “young earth theory” (the belief the world is around 6,000 years old), claims that a non-binding motion against Islamophobia was the implementation of “sharia law” in Canada, and no shortage of warnings about “genderism and transgenderism” being used in schools to indoctrinate children.
Elliot Friesen, who finished 9th with 6,767 votes, is also part of Parents Voice BC.
This was the second time Kaethe Jones ran for the position of school board trustee in Chilliwack. She is both a former teacher and, according to her own biography, a former teacher’s union representative. Jones finished 11th with 6,423 votes.
Jones is staunchly pro-life, according to her Facebook. What is more troubling is the expressed belief in a since-deleted post that the medical system is somehow linked to the worship of the deity Baphomet.
No candidates from the VIVA Victoria slate were elected on Saturday. Lesley-Anne Goodall came in 22nd with 5,781 votes, Salvetina Agba came in 23rd with 5,498 votes, and Roberta Solvey came in 26th with 4,595 votes. Other VIVA candidates lost with similar turnouts.
Founded by former Victoria PPC candidate John Randal Phipps, VIVA is a registered elector organization with BC Elections. Listing Phipps as its principal director and Jeremy Maddock as finance director, both men have been outspoken in their opposition to public health policy around COVID-19 and the accompanying vaccines. Maddock has also organized events featuring PPC leader Maxime Bernier in the past.
As part of their region’s COVID-conspiracy protests, Capital Daily reported that during a rally featuring Bernier, Phipps announced the founding of VIVA to the crowd reportedly citing local governments apparently being “infected” with “woke ideology.”
Appearing in an interview with the “Govern This” podcast while attending an anti-vaccine rally while still a PPC candidate, Phipps said of vaccine mandates, “They lie to hide their fraud and when their fraud doesn’t work they try force.”
Running a Telegram channel throughout his campaign, an account identifying itself as Phipps shared a blatantly false article claiming the Indian government had charged the chief scientist from the World Health Organization with “mass murder.”
The Cowichan Valley saw Serena Winterburn come in 12th with 2,814 votes and Dr. Marina Sapozhnikov placed 13th with 2,538 votes.
Sapozhnikov is a critic of SOGI in schools. In a video uploaded to Sapozhnikov’s Facebook page, she states, “as a physician, I feel that SOGI does not belong in schools. It belongs with parents and with doctors.”
At an all-candidates meeting for school board trustees on September 26, Sapozhnikov stated she would not support having Pride flags at schools, according to multiple people who were in attendance.
Serena Winterburn has been outspoken against SOGI and Critical Race Theory.
In another video posted on Winterburn’s school trustee Facebook page, she talks about her opposition to SOGI and Critical Race Theory in schools.
“This type of mass assimilation that is taking place under SOGI curriculum is harmful. We can be inclusive to everyone without imposing upon others,” Winterburn says.
In Vancouver, Karin Litzcke, Zelda Levine and Amanda Tengco lost their bids.
Karin Litzcke’s website describes her as a “long-time education writer, researcher, and advocate for better schools.” She is currently running in School District 39 as a trustee. Litzcke received 8,570 votes.
Despite her self-described history in education, the cornerstone of her current campaign is rallying against “transgenderism.”
“I'm running as an independent for school trustee in Vancouver,” she wrote on Twitter on August 10. “Vancouver deserves great schools. Great schools don't burden kids with transgender ideology.”
As a member of the People’s Party of Canada, she ran as a federal candidate for Vancouver East in 2021. She also ran as part of the Libertarian Party of BC in 2020.
Zelda Levine received 8,875 votes.
“Schools take an authoritarian hold over every aspect of children’s lives,” Levine said in a September video, blaming “special interests” for ruining the education system.
“Extreme ideologies, extreme transgender ideologies, extreme globalist ideologies,” drove her out of the party, Levine told Rebel News.
Amanda Tengco received 9,668 votes. “Children in Canada are being exposed to SOGI 123 which is intended to sexualize minors,” reads Tengco’s website’s landing page. “This program robs children of their innocence and promotes confusion while leading to mass gender dysphoria. The government then steps in and provides one solution: transitioning.”
Other aspects of Tengco’s platform made familiar promises to eliminate “Critical Race Theory” from the curriculum.