VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Vancouver 1st school board candidate has decided to drop his party and run as an independent following a video from the party’s mayoral candidate criticising BC’s new LBGTQ school program.
Tony Dong says Fred Harding’s video against the sexual-orientation and gender-identity policy (SOGI) came across as “bigoted and prejudicial” and he does not support Harding’s position.
“I lean to the right of the political spectrum, but at the same time I recognize that certain policies will cause more harm to other groups than others and when we’re talking about basic human rights and suffering, I think that take precedent over partisanship.” Dong said. “I’m a person who firmly believes in evidence and from the academic literature I’ve read and the people I’ve talked to, I firmly believe (SOGI) is a great resource.”
In the video Fred Harding says “with SOGI, they got it all wrong” and the program had a “high-handed rollout.” It’s unclear whether Harding is referring to school boards, the province or the program itself.
As a result of the video, Dong said his name, and the names of several other candidates, were posted and endorsed on several anti-SOGI websites. He says he was not consulted or made aware of the video until after it was posted online.
“This is an attempt to solicit the vote of the Chinese-Canadian community. Not the ones who have laid down roots and have been established,” Dong, who is a first generation immigrant, said. “This is to appeal to the new ones who do not have an understanding of the plight of LGBTQ kids.”
It is too late for Dong to change his party affiliation on printed ballots, but he says he is trying to get the word out through social media. He is also reaching out to anti-SOGI groups to ask them to remove his name from their websites.
Statement from Tony Dong
My name is Tony Dong. I was one of Vancouver 1st’s candidates for school board trustee. I am a middle class, right-winged, conservative minded security manager, consultant, and university student.
Despite my political leanings, I find that the recent videos published by the Vancouver 1st party and leadership with a anti-SOGI stance are wholly inconsistent with my views.
I support the SOGI policy and the SOGI 123 curriculum unequivocally. I believe that it is a much needed resource for a historically marginalised and vulnerable population.
I am hereby revoking my association with the Vancouver 1st party and slate and will be running as an independent in this municipal election from this point onward.
Talk of “consultation with parents”, and labelling the curriculum as “controversial” and speaking of defending “parental rights” draws painful parallels with other notable civil rights cases in history-Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1.
To put it plainly, there has been a rather savage history of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community and I will not stand with a party who does not see a priority in ameliorating it and supporting inclusive policies aimed at furthering human rights obligations.