A portion of the Action4Canada leaflet handed out this week by a school trustee candidate
“Sexual deviancy in our schools!” says local disciple of right-wing Christian group
In a crazy election year when a few municipal council candidates are running to avenge personals grudges or spread misinformation about climate change and COVID vaccinations, why shouldn’t a school trustee join in on the fun?
Anita DeVries, a candidate for the School District 71 board of education, took to the streets earlier this week in an unusual campaign strategy to warn people around Courtenay Elementary and Lake Trail that schools are “grooming” our children for “sexual exploitation.”
We had no idea what vile things were happening in our local schools until we saw the brochure DeVries was handing out. It’s shocking!! So shocking that it requires two exclamation points.
DeVries’ brochures claim our schools have been infiltrated by radicals who are using sexually explicit and pornographic books to promote homosexuality and normalize sexual deviancy. Apparently, according to the material Ms. DeVries was handing out, teachers are encouraging our kids to masturbate. They intentionally confuse kids about their gender and then offer surgeries that will permanently mutilate their bodies and sterilize them.
Holy mackerel! And this is going on right under our noses?
Of course not. It’s all bullshit dreamed up by a far-right Christian nationalist organization called Action4Canada. They don’t like the SOGI 123 curriculum used by public school teachers, which is endorsed by the provincial government to educate students about sexual orientation and gender identity. The program is designed in a way to make every student feel like they belong.
And here’s a big surprise: Action4Canada supported and participated in the trucker convoy and anti-vaccination occupations earlier this year. Among the issues they are targeting, according to their website, are 5G technology, abortion, vaccine mandates, cannabis legalization, the United Nations Global Compact on Migration, “political LGBTQ” and “political Islam,” whatever that means.
Canadians used to politely humour people who spewed wacky ideas, but it’s not funny now. Spreading misinformation meant to scare people goes beyond civil discourse and issue-based disagreement.
And the people who promote that misinformation now feel legitimized enough to run for public office. They want to control our local governments and schools. Places they should be banned from getting closer to than, let’s say, a hundred miles.
But they’re real and just like down in the states they want time on the big stage. We should not give it to them.
Based on DeVries’ apparent inability to separate fact from fiction about SOGI 123, she should receive zero votes. But our guess is she’ll get more than that.
SPEAKING ABOUT MISINFORMATION
Incumbent Comox Councillor Ken Grant went all out on an expensive tri-fold campaign brochure this year. But we noticed some misinformation in his section about climate action.
Grant lists a number of items and puts a checkmark next to them, supposedly climate actions he supported. Except he didn’t.
When Grant lists “Tree Bylaw” and puts a checkmark next to it, he’s telling you this is something he had a hand in achieving. But on Feb. 16, 2022, didn’t Grant actually vote against the town’s Tree Retention Bylaw?
ONLY VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATES YOU LIKE
Many voters don’t realize that if there are six council positions up for election, you don’t have to vote for six candidates. Your ballot will be perfectly legal if you only vote for one candidate, or four. There is no requirement to vote for all six positions.
In fact, by only voting for the candidates you really like, you give your favorites a better chance of winning than if you vote for other candidates just to “fill out” your ballot. Your vote for somebody you’re unsure about could put that candidate ahead of those you actually want to elect.
This is especially true for voters who haven’t had the time or opportunity to learn about every candidate and really understand why they’re running for office, which is most of us.
Vote only for those you know and trust. Period. Don’t take a flyer on somebody who might be wrong for you just because you think there must be six Xs on your ballot.
NO ALL-CANDIDATES DEBATES
It’s disappointing that nobody organized an all-issues, all-candidates meeting this year. Without an opportunity to quiz the candidates in person and hear them respond spontaneously to a variety of issues, voters will be going to polling stations armed with less than the usual information.
But there will be an opportunity to see and hear the Courtenay council candidates discuss climate change-related questions at 6.30 pm next Tuesday, Oct. 4 at the NIC theatre. Thank goodness for the college’s nursing students.
And all Comox Valley candidates for municipal office have been invited to discuss the social determinants of health in a cafe-style format on Friday, Oct. 7 at the K’omoks First Nation band hall. Area A, Comox and Cumberland candidates will discuss the topic from 3.00 pm to 4.45 pm. Then, Area B, Area C and Courtenay candidates will take the stage from 6.00 pm to 7.45 pm.
What we’re missing this year is an anything-goes debate where voters can see who really has command of the issues and who’s faking it. Who shines and who fades.
The Comox Valley Chamber has taken on this role in the recent past. But they’re in the middle of a transition to a new CEO, so that might explain their absence this year.
So where are the Comox Valley Record and the two radio stations that like to boast of their news coverage, The Eagle and The Goat, when we need them to fill that gap? In other communities, we know that private media companies regularly fulfill their community service obligations by organizing town hall meetings or all-candidate forums. Maybe next time.
WHERE AND WHEN TO VOTE
General Voting Day is Saturday, Oct. 15 for all local government positions.
Comox Valley Regional District
General Voting Day (Saturday, Oct. 15) and advance voting (Wednesday Oct. 5 and Wednesday Oct. 12) take place at the CVRD building in Courtenay from 8 am to 8 pm.
Go to this link for General Voting Day locations in the three Electoral Areas.
Additional voting takes place on Oct. 6 from 9 am to 12 pm on Denman Island and on Oct. 6 from 2 pm to 5 pm on Hornby Island
Advance Voting begins on Wednesday October 5, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Native Sons Hall, and again on Wednesday October 12, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Florence Filberg Centre.
General Voting Day, Saturday, October 15, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Queneesh Elementary School, and at the Florence Filberg Centre.
Advance voting begins Wednesday, October 5 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Comox Community Centre, and on Saturday, October 8 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Genoa Sail Building at Comox Marina, and again on Monday, October 10 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Genoa Sail Building at Comox Marina, and on Wednesday, October 12 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Comox Community Centre.
General Voting Day runs from 8 am to 8 pm on Oct. 15 at the Comox Community Centre.
All voting in the Village of Cumberland takes place from 8 am to 8 pm at the Cumberland Cultural Centre. Advance voting takes place on Oct. 5 and Oct. 12.
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It was weird. But when the sun rose on Oct. 16, Comox Valley voters had made it clear they liked the direction charted by our local governments. In the municipalities, they elected all but two incumbents. In most races, the vote was a definite pat on the back for a job well done.
Mayor Bob Wells and all Courtenay incumbent councillors have been re-elected. Evan Jolicoeur has also been elected. Manno Theos has lost his seat.
Jonathan Kerr, Jenn Meilleur, Steve Blacklock, Chris Haslett, Ken Grant and Maureen Swift have been elected in Comox.
Vickey Brown has been elected mayor in Cumberland, defeating long-time mayor and councillor Leslie Baird.
Voting down -20.6% in Courtenay, -22.3% in Comox and -50.9% in Cumberland.
Full results with Electoral Areas A, B and C, school board and Islands Trust results in the morning.
Daniel Arbour in Area A and Edwin Grieve in Area C won by wide margins. Richard Hardy defeated Arzeena Hamir by 23 votes.
Shannon Aldinger topped the polls in races for SD71 school trustees.
Click the headline on this page for complete results and voter turnout.
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