VSB trustee candidate quits party after ‘abhorrent’ anti-SOGI video
Published Saturday, October 13, 2018 2:17PM PDT
A Vancouver School Board trustee candidate is now running as an independent – even if it costs him his chances of winning the election, he said.
Tony Dong has quit Vancouver 1st after the party’s leader voiced concerns about how SOGI123, a resource for educators to address sexual orientations and gender identities, was implemented.
In the video posted to YouTube, mayoral candidate Fred Harding criticized the provincial government saying, “with SOGI, they got it all wrong. Vancouver 1st is opposed to its high-handed rollout. We will advocate on behalf of parents who feel alienated by it. Voicing something so controversial, so different without meaningful consultation with parents is foolish and it is wrong.”
While Harding criticized the curriculum’s consultation process, Dong said the party posted the video without much consultation with its candidates.
The sentiment of the video did not sit well with Dong, who described it as “disgusting” and “abhorrent,” and believes it sets back LGBTQ rights in the city.
"This is a group that historically has been marginalized; they have been disenfranchised; they have a higher suicide rate amongst youth and we need to address this. And that starts with policies in schools,” Dong told CTV News.
Not against SOGI: Harding
Harding maintains he and the party support SOGI and policies that protect LGBTQ rights, but are against the lack of consultation with parent groups.
“SOGI is about human rights, it’s the enhancement of the 2016 human rights. No one should have a problem with it,” he said.
“My suggestion is that the government needs to go back to the drawing board, and actually talk and consult with the parents.”
Dong isn’t convinced the issue is about the lack of consultation and believes the video is pandering to voters who are against SOGI.
“The way that he came out in the video and said SOGI was high handed, done without consultation, foolish and rushed, felt that was completely mischaracterizing the spirit of the policy and the substance of the curriculum.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Brenna Karstens-Smith