Attempts To Recall BC Premier Built On A Foundation Of Covid Conspiracism

An ill-fated attempt to recall British Columbia’s premier is finding its biggest supporters and organizers among many well-known names in the province’s conspiracy theory-laden protest scene.

Stephanie Werner



Standing outside of Kitsilano Neighbourhood House in November, protesters chanted “Pedophile, pedophile, pedophile,” as parents pushed through the crowd to take their children to a Drag Story Time event. 

“You proud of being a pedophile?” a protester screamed at one of the people there in support of the event. “That’s why you hide your face behind a mask, because you’re a total pedo, man, sexualizing children.” 

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In January, many of the protesters returned to Kitsilano to kick off their campaign to recall BC Premier David Eby from his riding of Vancouver-Point Grey.

The attempt to recall Eby was a result of the passing of Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act. The act received Royal Assent in November 2022 and will lead to large changes in BC’s health care system. The Government of BC promotes the Act as necessary modernization while criticism of Bill 36 from medical professionals centres on how such sweeping reforms involved little consultation of those most impacted. 

The protesters, however, categorize the legislation as tyrannical government overreach – part of a larger, more insidious plot. 

In the application for recall petition submitted to Elections BC, proponent Salvatore Vetro stated that the Health Professions and Occupations Act violates the “International Nuremberg code” and that David Eby is a “dictator.” 

Anti-2SLGBTQ+ action and targeting of drag events, the conspiratorial pandemic street movement of the past few years, and the Recall Eby campaign involve similar groups and key figures, all part of a far-right movement that is attempting to influence local and provincial politics. 

Materials distributed by Recall canvassers and volunteers to Vancouver-Point Grey residents state that politicians should have no say in what happens in healthcare settings. In their own circles, individuals complained about “wokism” in the legislation, suggesting that the new act forces health professionals to adopt “gender ideology.”

 

 

The concept of “gender ideology” is a term often used to negatively describe transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse people as adherents of a harmful belief system. Part of a lexicon  of other terms developed by transgender exclusionary activists, the language aims to invalidate evidence-based research and advances in study on the topic.
  

The Great Recalling

   

Recall Eby campaign leader Rick Dignard is a member of the Canadian Freedom Coalition, a group that founded the SOGI International Taskforce. Organizing protests against drag events, they appeared outside a story time at Kits House in November 2022 and attended the protest against a similar event held in Coquitlam Public Library in January. 

The group states that SOGI123, BC’s educational resource on sexual orientation and gender identity, is part of the United Nations and World Economic Forum agendas to depopulate the planet and claims BC schools distribute pornographic materials through libraries. 

Echoing the Citizens Research Institute’s Declaration of Parents’ Rights of the late 1990s and early 2000s – which said BC parents can exclude children from any school activity that presents 2SLGBTQ+ people as “normal” – SOGI International Taskforce encourages parents to opt their children out of any education activity “pertaining to sexuality, sexual identity, gender identity, and sexual lifestyles.”

Recently, SOGI International Taskforce organizer Ronnie Herman hosted David Weiche of Bikers Against Pedophiles on her show RH Media Standing 4 Children, encouraging her viewers to join Weiche’s Telegram channel. That channel contains posts replete with antisemitism, holocaust denial, and the Khazar theory

Recall Eby campaign co-organizers Stand United is led by James Davison and former Hugs Over Masks organizer Marcella Desjarlais. Stand United aims to “take appropriate actions to ensure our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Bill of Rights will be honoured here in Canada.” 

Davison has stated that civil war will be necessary if his goals are not realized and supports public execution of politicians for treason. Desjarlais has expressed support for the execution of journalists for “lying.”

Stand United promotes the conspiracy that 2SLGBTQ+ people are “pedophiles” and “minor-attracted people.” 

At a rally at the Vancouver Police Department headquarters in September 2022, Desjarlais stated, “Every parent that allows their child into these schools run by the government and allowing your innocent children’s minds to be indoctrinated with this bullshit, you are complicit in damage to your future generations.” 

Stand United member Harm Bomm has regularly protested drag and Pride events, including Drag Story Time events in Abbotsford, Coquitlam, and Vancouver and a Gay-Straight Alliance dance for youth in Chilliwack. 

He was briefly arrested in March 2023 while protesting at a Chilliwack (School District 33) Board of Education meeting. Bomm and his supporters also hang a banner that reads “Gender Ideology = Child Sex Grooming” off an overpass in North Vancouver on Thursday afternoons—alongside a banner that reads “Bill36.ca Healthcare Disaster” and a “Fuck Trudeau and Singh” flag.

The Recall Eby team was required to submit 16,449 signatures to Elections BC. At a Stand United rally in Vancouver on March 18, 2023, Rick Dignard announced that they received 2,738 signatures.

David Eby was not recalled, but this style of engagement in political processes shows no sign of stopping. BC Boards of Education remain significant targets. 

Politically aligned candidates attempted to influence BC’s municipal and school trustee elections in October 2022, and the push for increased involvement in the next provincial election has already started. 

James Davison of Stand United intends to seek candidacy with the BC Conservative Party, the Christian nationalist Christian Heritage Party has joined in the fight against the Health Professions and Occupations Act, and the explicitly anti-2SLGBTQ+ Freedom Party of BC registered with Elections BC earlier this year. 

 

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