October 16, 2022 – 10:44 am
Candidates from a socially conservative organization whose president spoke out against abortion won no seats on the 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. Chantelle Desrosiers of West Kelowna also beat ParentsVoice BC candidate Laurie Bowen with 2,937 votes to Bowen’s 1,924. Lisa Guderyan was elected as a trustee of Peachland.
ParentsVoice BC’s ideology is unclear from the few vague policies on its website, but its president Marc Vella has publicly shared his anti-abortion sentiments.
The organization is also supported by the Christian political rights organization, the Association for Reformed Political Action, a group that has fought against transgender rights.
ParentsVoice BC’s message is much more subtle with its website stating “Let’s take schools back” and “Schools should focus on preparing students for productive adulthood, not on the trends of the day.”
Former Central Okanagan Public Schools President Moyra Baxter endorsed Julia Fraser, Wayne Broughton and Val Johnson for trustees and said she was ‘pleased’ that three of the four candidates she endorsed were elected and that no Parents VoiceB.C. the candidates went to the school board.
She said the case was ‘concerning’ that a group is trying to take over a school board in order to make its own point.
READ MORE: Mysterious list of right-wing school board candidates on ballots in Vernon, Kelowna
ParentsVoice BC candidates Sylvia Herchen, Jewlie Milligan and Nellie Villegas also did not claim seats in Vernon. Recently, they all signed their names to a list of officially approved canvassers in the recall petition issued by Elections BC to revoke the vote and unseat Vernon-Monashee MP Harwinder Sandhu.
Sylvia Herchen, a physical therapist in Vernon and one of School District No. 22’s candidates, organized one of the first protests against COVID lockdowns in Vernon in April 2020, but denied being an anti-vaxxer.
Vernon director candidates Jenn Comazzetto, Vanessa Mitchell, Mark Olsen and Tom Williamson were elected along with Coldstream director Kelli Sullivan.
A website called Unmasktheright.org wrote an article in September about how some members of ParentsVoice BC hold far-right political views.
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