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