Right-wing ParentsVoice B.C. candidates shut out of Vernon, Kelowna school boards | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Right-wing ParentsVoice B.C. candidates shut out of Vernon, Kelowna school boards

A Parents Voice advocate standing outside of the Westbank Lions Community Centre, currently a voting station, Oct. 15.
Image Credit: Marshall Jones

The candidates of a socially conservative organization whose president has spoken out against abortion did not win any seats on Kelowna or Vernon school boards.

Kelowna residents chose to elect Julia Fraser, with 13,480 votes, Wayne Broughton, with 13,273 votes, Lee-Ann Tiede with 12,151 votes and Val Johnson with 11,905 votes. West Kelowna’s Chantelle Desrosiers also beat out ParentsVoice  B.C. candidate Laurie Bowen, with 2,937 votes to Bowen’s 1,924. Lisa Guderyan was elected as Peachland’s trustee.

ParentsVoice B.C.'s ideology isn't clear from the few and vague policies on its website, but its president Marc Vella has shared his anti-abortion sentiments publicly.

The organization is also endorsed by the Christian political advocacy organization the Association for Reformed Political Action, a group that has fought against transgender rights.

ParentsVoice B.C.'s message is far more subtle with its website stating "Let's take back out schools" and "Schools should focus on preparing students for a productive adulthood, not the trends of the day."

Former Central Okanagan Public Schools chairperson Moyra Baxter backed Julia Fraser, Wayne Broughton and Val Johnson for trustees and said she was “pleased” three of the four candidates she endorsed were elected and that no Parents VoiceB.C. candidates made it to the school board.

She said the matter was “concerning” that a group would try to take over a school board in order to push their own views.

READ MORE: Mysterious slate of right-wing school board candidates on Vernon, Kelowna ballots

ParentsVoice B.C. candidates Sylvia Herchen, Jewlie Milligan and Nellie Villegas, also failed to claim seats in Vernon. Recently, they all signed their names on a list of officially approved canvassers in the recall petition issued by Elections B.C. to recall the vote and unseat Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu

Sylvia Herchen, a physiotherapist in Vernon and one of the School District No. 22 candidates, organized one of the first protests against COVID lockdowns in Vernon in April 2020 but denied being an anti-vaxxer.

Vernon trustee candidates Jenn Comazzetto, Vanessa Mitchell, Mark Olsen and Tom Williamson were elected along with Coldstream trustee Kelli Sullivan.

A website called Unmasktheright.org wrote a story in September about how some members of ParentsVoice B.C. hold extreme right-wing political views.


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