Slates or political parties are rare in the municipal election process. One has emerged this year in an even more unique place, the runoff for school trustees. A coalition of candidates has assembled under the Parents Voices BC (PVBC) title in eight jurisdictions around the province. Five of those candidates are running in School District 91 (SD91) Nechako-Lakes, the only northern location. They are (alphabetically) Daniel Albertson, Terah Albertson, Dave Forsberg, Janina Vanden Bos and Carroll Walker.
The other candidates running in SD91 are all unaffiliated with any party or association. They are (alphabetically) Dave Christie, Mandi Davidson, Stephen Davis, Nadine Frenkel, Boris Gimbarzevsky, Nyree Hazelton, Sarah John, Cheryl Peterson, Rick Pooley and Jacqueline Reed.
The PVBC group originated in the Lower Mainland. It’s two primary organizers, according to the PVBC website, are campaign manager Fritz Radandt and president Marc Vella who uses as his photo a sculpture of the biblical figure David.
The association has candidates in Surrey, Delta, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Central Okanagan, and Vernon.
“We believe the primary responsibility for children’s education lies with their parents, not the state,” said a written statement from the group. “Further, parents and their community require and deserve full transparency about what happens in local schools.
“Increasingly, government bureaucrats are implementing major initiatives around hot-button issues such as sex, race, and schools response to COVID-19, with little or no input from parents or the local community.
“Those who ask questions or dare to seek clarity are labelled as troublemakers, haters and worse.”
The online information goes on to outline their six guiding principles and provides links to their 28 candidates. Each one is to represent their communities, said the party’s online information, not serve a party agenda.
“There is no elected leader, caucus or central platform,” said the website. “Once elected, PVBC-endorsed candidates may informally consult with each other but their primary responsibility is to the parents and the communities they represent. PVBC candidates will champion local issues. They are running in local school board jurisdictions, not a provincial election.”
The group states that they are opposed to the general directions of “teachers unions/federations, school boards, government bureaucrats” and adds that the media supports what the PVBC called the “professional class” and “powerful lobby groups” within education and that schools must be “taken back” from the people who currently operate the public school system.
PVBC believes that each school district should have a more localized say in how the education system is operated in their area.
“What is the point of having 60 school districts if they are all the same as directed by bureaucrats in Victoria?,” the website said. “Density, cultural makeup, employment, geography, etc are all examples of how districts may vary.”
Addressing direct feedback the group has received since its inception, the PVBC website insists they support healthy skepticism, but are not opposed to vaccines; they are founded by Christians but have no religious affiliation; their founders are supporters of the Conservative Party but have no direct connection other than a shared support of “non-woke candidates” but did not define that term.
Trustees across the province are chosen in the local government elections on Oct. 15.