It’s a trap. A dirty election trick.
This was how Sophia Woo and Ken Denike rebuffed the endorsement of them by quarters opposed to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) learning in schools.
Woo and Denike are former education trustees in Vancouver, and they are running to reclaim their old seats in the school board.
“It’s more of a trap so people attack us,” Woo told the Georgia Straight in an interview.
Woo and Denike were among the school board candidates across B.C. who are being “presented” to voters for “consideration” in the October 20 election by the anti-SOGI site bcsogi.ca.
The bcsogi.ca site lists Chris McCay as contact person.
McCay is the president of the Canadian Christian Lobby.
On the Christian group website identifying McCay as leader is a denunciation of a resource called SOGI 123, which was designed to provide school districts and educators with materials regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
It reads: “SOGI 123 is viewed as an assault on Christian values and as such Chris has been busy organizing information sessions and designing ways to pressure government and other officials to respect Christian beliefs.”
The bcsogi.ca site’s voter guide also mentions for “consideration” four school board candidates with Vancouver 1st.
These are Bruno Baronet, Pratpal Kaur Gill, Marco Lee, and Stephanie Descôteaux.
Last week, Fred Harding, the mayoral candidate of Vancouver 1st, released a video blasting the provincially mandated inclusion of SOGI in codes of conduct in school districts.
Denike echoed Woo’s assertion that the inclusion of their names in the anti-SOGI website is a setup.
“It’s a trap,” Denike told the Straight. “It clearly is identifying us with some other people who we have no association with.”
Denike mentioned in particular the Vancouver 1st party.
“We’ve had no contact with them,” he said.
For Denike, the inclusion of their names in the site’s voter’s guide is “really dirty”.
Woo and Denike maintained that school trustees have the duty to implement the province’s SOGI initiative.
The site also mentioned Ying Zhou, a school board candidate with Coalition Vancouver, which is the same party of Woo and Denike.
The bcsogi.ca site also links to the website of a group that calls itself the Let’s Vote Association.
The group states that it treasures “good Canadian values”. It is “pro-family, pro-life and pro-parental rights”.
Let’s Vote Association has come up with a list of recommended candidates in the B.C. municipal election.
In Vancouver, the group endorsed many candidates with Vancouver 1st led by mayoral contender Harding.
For school board, Woo and Denike are on top of the list. The others are Descôteaux, Gill, Baronet, and Lee, all from Vancouver 1st.
While Woo and Denike do not like their inclusion in the bcsogi.ca site, they welcome the endorsement of the Let's Vote Association.
Referring to the Let's Vote Association, Denike said, "It's neutral."
For council, the association endorsed the following: Morning Li, Glen Chernen, Franco Peta, James Lin, Jason Xie, all with Coalition Vancouver; Ken Low and Elizabeth Taylor, both with Vancouver 1st; and Phyllis Tang of Yes Vancouver.
For park board: Winnie Siu and Taran Sangha of Coalition Vancouver; and Ray Goldenchild, Jennifer Yeung, Chris Fuoco, and Massimo Rossetti, all with Vancouver 1st.