A new slate is helping to raise the profile of four Tri-City candidates seeking election to the School District 43 board of education.
ParentsVoice BC (PVBC) states that its candidates are independent; however, the group is led by prominent activists in the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC).
Eight school districts are represented with PVBC candidates, including Coquitlam, Central Okanagan, Chilliwack, Surrey–White Rock, Maple Ridge–Pitt Meadows, Nechako, Vernon and Delta.
According to its website, the PVBC says school boards are "run for the benefit of the employees, government bureaucrats and special interest groups."
"As a result what happens in schools is kept hidden."
It aims to "take back" schools, and promises to aid candidates in their campaign.
"This includes training, fundraising, a webpage, list management, financial controls, platform development, social media and marketing," the website notes.
Candidates endorsed by PVBC are asked to "strive" and "uphold" its "shared values."
'Special brand' to raise awareness
By creating a provincial brand, PVBC hopes to raise awareness among voters for candidates that "support their independent, families-first values."
"Parents are the true political party when it comes to their children’s education and upbringing," the website states.
The organization is registered as an elector organization, but it states that PVBC is not affiliated with any organization or special interest group.
However, those familiar with local politics will recognize Fritz Radandt, who managed Port Moody–Coquitlam MP Nelly Shin’s campaign, including her successful 2019 bid for federal politics.
The president, meanwhile, is Marc Vella, whom The Georgia Straight notes has written for the BC Catholic, including urging more involvement of Christians in Canadian politics.
In May 2020, for example, Vella wrote an article urging more involvement in politics, recounting his dissatisfaction with policy that prevented the CPC from regulating abortion.
Links to Conservative Party of Canada
The website notes he served for five years on the CPC's national policy committee.
As of today (Sept. 13), the website has not provided a candidate list; however, the following candidates are noted as being part of ParentsVoice of BC by CivicInfoBC:
- Belinda Wheatley
- Daniel Westley
- Geoffrey Way
- Ed Desaulniers
Still, while this slate is new, this is not the first election that an organization has endorsed candidates with a specific point of view.
In 2018, at least one Coquitlam candidate was endorsed by a group opposed to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI 1 2 3) learning resource.
The resource was created to assist educators in teaching curriculum established after the Bill 27-Human Rights Code Amendment Act was passed to include “gender identity or expression” among the protected grounds covered by the BC Human Rights Code.
Additionally, the New Westminster and District Labour Council (NWDLC) typically endorses candidates who share "the values of working people."
This list is made public and shared with union members in advance of polling.