BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – A woman who claims to have been shoved by a school trustee while holding her 14-month-old son after an all-candidate meeting in Burnaby this week is speaking out.
The mother-of-two is refuting claims that she was attacking Larry Hayes because of his view on the controversial SOGI 123 resource, but says she was instead trying to address another concern; something that may have been said to another candidate.
“There were two candidates obviously holding different views from the other eight candidates, and they were very disrespected and booed and, you know, hushed by the other candidates,” Yali Trost tells NEWS 1130. “One of them was an independent Chinese candidate called Jimmy Zhao. He came late and was the last to take a random question… when he was trying to answer it, he was interrupted and could not finish his sentence, and then the session ended right after this question.”
“And I heard him asking loudly why someone called him an idiot several times.”
It was this question that caught Trost’s attention, she says, because it was met with no response.
“He appeared very helpless and upset, so I went forward to ask who said it, and he pointed to a man.”
That man, Trost claims, was Hayes. He was said to have been in the middle of a conversation when she decided to walk over to him and ask about his alleged comment.
“I simply asked him whether he called a Chinese candidate an idiot,” Trost says, adding she wanted to stand where he could see her so she could make eye contact while asking her question.
“Larry didn’t tell me that he was leaving and would not answer my question at the moment, so I insisted that he give me a clarification.”
It’s at this point that she claims Hayes pushed her, all while she was carrying her toddler.
“With his body and said ‘no, no’. The ‘no, no’ when I reflect on it, it means ‘I don’t want to answer your question.’ And then the door was pushed open by his might because he was pushing me.”
The whole interaction was caught on video and posted to Facebook by school board candidate Laura-Lynn Tyler-Thompson.
“I almost fell,” Trost adds. “And I had to use all my strength to push back to find balance. I was so afraid at that moment. What if I fell and my baby was really hurt because I was only holding him with one hand? So I was scared and started to scream for fear he might hurt me more.”
The video shows Hayes turn around after Trost begins to yell, asking others to phone the RCMP who eventually showed up.
Hayes has been a School Trustee for five terms, and is looking to be reelected on Oct. 20. The party he is running with, the Burnaby Citizens Association, issued a statement following the release of the video with its side of events.
According to the BCA, the debate had been cut short because of a group causing disruptions.
“Those who were disrupting the meeting were accompanying Laura-Lynn Tyler-Thompson, a candidate running for school board on a narrow and bigoted platform,” the statement reads. “Those disrupting the debate caused many in the room to begin leaving. One of those who chose to leave was School Trustee Larry Hayes.”
The association claims Hayes was unable to leave because a person was “physically moving to block him from doing so.”
“Our campaign has spoken with Mr. Hayes and he has relayed that he felt both scared and trapped by those disrupting the meeting as did many other attendees,” it adds.
While the BCA says Hayes regrets ‘he was present’ and that the disruptions took place, it says he was in no way why they started.
“Ms. Tyler-Thompson posted that she was bringing a camera crew with her and Ms. Tyler-Thompson promptly released video of the disruptions shortly after the event,” the BCA release also states.
Neither Hayes nor the BCA have directly addressed the name calling or pushing claims.