NPA boots Ken Denike and Sophia Woo from caucus over remarks on LGBTQ policy

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Vancouver school trustees Ken Denike and Sophia Woo are no longer part of the Non-Partisan Association caucus.

Today (June 13), the NPA expelled the pair after they held a press conference and raised concerns about the Vancouver school board’s proposed updates to its sexual orientation and gender identities policy.

"The decision to expel Denike and Woo was necessary given that the two have chosen to follow their own course in various matters without consulting with the other members of Caucus. The Caucus has concluded that Denike and Woo do not share the same level of sensivity and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community," reads a statement from the NPA.

"The NPA Caucus celebrates and supports the diversity of all of the people of our city and fully supports efforts to assist LGBTQ+ and Gender Variant persons in our community and in our schools. Fostering inclusion and understanding is central among the NPA’s guiding principles."

Earlier today, Vision Vancouver condemned the pair's "disturbing comments" suggesting that "support for the rights of LGBTTQ students could somehow harm property values".

“Vancouver is known throughout the world for our commitment to a learning environment that is safe and inclusive for students of all backgrounds, including LGBTTQ students,” Vision school board chair Patti Bacchus said in a news release. “My colleagues and I are incredibly disappointed that the NPA would once again try to play politics at the expense of our students, and this underscores the clear risks of allowing the NPA to take Vancouver backward.

“The NPA should apologize for in any way suggesting that LGBTTQ students or their rights could have a negative impact on our community, and I hope all NPA elected officials and prospective Mayoral candidates will condemn these remarks. Our city is greatly enriched and strengthened by our diversity, and today’s actions only serve to demonstrate that the NPA is dramatically out of touch with today’s Vancouver,” Bacchus added.

The Globe and Mail reported that Denike and Woo informed reporters that realtors told them that the proposed policy could hurt international student enrollment.

The policy is expected to go to a vote on Monday (June 16).

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29 Comments

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Bruce

Jun 13, 2014 at 6:06pm

Wow. First COPE starts ripping itself apart and now it looks like the NPA is doing the same thing.

Duilama

Jun 13, 2014 at 6:14pm

What fools!

Natasha

Jun 13, 2014 at 7:15pm

Happy that the NPA did the right thing here, and expressed that thinly veiled bigotry has no place in Vancouver's civil politics. Arguing that access to gender neutral single stalled washrooms for trans* students would impact property values? No rational person could believe that.

About Time Too

Jun 13, 2014 at 7:36pm

Thank goodness for this commen sense move. It's important to protect our children and wider community from this bigoted, senseless hatred.

White Spot

Jun 13, 2014 at 7:40pm

Is there an NPA to rip itself apart? 10 people with a million dollars - is that a party or a par-tay!

Dave

Jun 13, 2014 at 7:43pm

Oh no. Someone offended someone. Are Canadians no longer able to act like mature adults and simply disagree? Why is it we have to sanction people simply for having a different opinion.

Jane

Jun 13, 2014 at 8:02pm

It's about time. I am appalled that the importance of LGBTQ policy is considered a "real estate" issue in Vancouver....these kids are humans, not property values or dollars!!!!

Andrew the Aardvark

Jun 13, 2014 at 8:04pm

It looks like all of the smart people in the NPA have left and joined Vision. There's only a few fringe people left.

COPE just made the mistake of letting that egomaniac Stuart Parker join the party.

Danne

Jun 13, 2014 at 8:12pm

If Denike and Woo do not share the same level of sensitivity and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community that the NPA supports, then to have that in writing and publicly confirmed then these two trustees do not speak on behalf of the NPA and they have to own up to that.

I just hope that the real issues stay front and centre - our kids and staff need and deserve to have the safe and inclusive learning environment that VISION and other community members are working towards via this new policy.

Bo Xilai

Jun 13, 2014 at 8:17pm

God Forbid anything affect Vancouverites' property values! In this sick, real-estate worshiping city, nothing is more important than maintaining the price of my real estate. LGBTQ rights? Who cares? I need to get my HELOC increased next year to pay my credit card bills.

(Sarc off)

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