Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Source: Thames Valley School Board
This article has been updated to reflect that David Sabine tweeted ArriveCAN is the primary strategy to usher in digital identification, not COVID-19. A quote sourced from the CBC also misattributed the statements of candidate Paul Gray to Sabine. We apologize for this error.
Elections are right around the corner, and the race for Thames Valley District School Board trustees are coming with them.
Encompassing Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford Counties and the City of London, Thames Valley District School Board is Ontario’s fourth largest, serving both rural and suburban populations.
According to the Ontario Education Services Corporation, school board trustees are locally-elected representatives of the public on a school board. They are required to carry out their responsibilities in a manner that assists the board in fulfilling its duties under the Education Act.
A trustee's role is to focus on student achievement, well-being and equity and to participate in making decisions that benefit the board's entire jurisdiction while representing the interests of their constituents. Trustees must also communicate the views and decisions of the board back to their constituents.
Residents head to the polls on October 24.
With the list of candidates locked in, we took a look at those with platforms and public statements that are consistent with far-right ideas, such as being anti-abortion or against education about 2SLGBTQ+.
Seth Allen is running for a seat in the school district’s Oxford County. According to his social media Allen is a truck driver. His platform centres around combating a lack of funding and opportunities for students at rural schools.
He is also an apparent supporter of the PPC, having posted multiple endorsements of the far-right party publicly this year. A Seth Allen is listed as the CEO Haldimand Norfolk Brant Oxford PPC Association.
He has also shared videos of conspiracy theorist and perennial political candidate, Mark Friesen confronting then-Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Pierre Polievre with questions about the United Nations Agenda 2030 – a real initiative undertaken by the UN that is a central portion of multiple alleged plots relating to a one world government.
“Pierre denied knowing about sustainable development and the 2030 agenda,” read the post’s caption, written by another PPC member. “It's official, he is a Globalist and a puppet. The PPC candidates are the only ones confronting this group.”
During the blockade protests in Ottawa in February, Allen took to his personal Twitter account to express his support and share content in support of the convoy that snarled Ottawa’s streets.
Picture of David Sabine on his campaign website.
Also running is David Sabine, an entrepreneur working as a trainer for members of the tech industry.
His trustee platform is direct and Sabine appears unafraid to engage with questions from a variety of lobby groups that have surveyed him on subjects from mask mandates to recognizing the state of Palestine to abortion. Deftly choosing to deflect questions outside of the purview of a trustee, he strikes an affable tone and is thoughtful in the responses he posts to his official website.
His platform includes making sure “classroom materials and lessons that are age appropriate” and restoring “common-sense boundaries for topics like sex, racism, and politics.”
While describing himself as “Alt-Middle” online, he has aired multiple conspiracies and viewpoints that often emanate from far-right spaces.
Numerous posts reflect far-right beliefs or sympathies, all the while blaming political division on “far left” policies and attitudes. One such post from Sabine includes the reposting of a claim that COVID-19 “was just an excuse to launch these digital ID apps,” with the candidate adding that ArriveCAN is "the primary strategy for ushering in Digital ID in sync with [the] WEF and the United Nations.”
In other posts, he compared the plight of those who donated to February’s convoy protests to those of Adolf Hitler’s political opponents.
“Hitler froze the assets of his political opponents (e.g., collected jewellery and art from Jewish citizens),” he wrote on a Twitter account linked to his website. “Trudeau froze the assets of his political opponents (e.g., bank accounts and not-for-profit donations to the trucker convoy).”
Photo of Claire Roberts used on her campaign website.
Claire Roberts, a music teacher and business owner with children attending school in the Thames Valley District School Board. Touting her self-created music program as credentials, her website makes her position on a number of subjects clear – often with familiar talking points and assumptions.
“I am opposed to critical race theory – and all the other terms they are coming up with to "soften" that dogma,” she says in a question and answer portion of her website. “I believe we can teach inclusivity, compassion, equality and empathy without also teaching our children that the colour of their skin makes them either privileged or a victim. I also want to make sure that "equity" that the school board is striving for so heavily is defined well and properly.”
In response to a question about 2SLGBTQ+ students, Roberts says she does not have an issue with this community, before attacking what she calls gender ideology.
“I think there is a problem with sexualizing our children in our schools. While right at the moment, it's the gender ideology that seems to be doing the most harm, make no mistake about it, there is both hetero and homo sexualization going on in our schools that is completely unacceptable.”
Adding she would like to see more mental health support for children, Roberts then tacks on that she would like to remove political symbols from elementary schools, “including Pride flags. I reject the notion that we need to fly any flag at all except the Canadian flag. Schools are not the place for politics.”
“Let me be clear, I do not think that people in our schools who are LGBT are a problem. I don't think that being gay is a problem. I think that the push to make it a dominant part of our children's education is a problem.”