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Anti-SOGI groups endorse nearly 100 candidates across the Lower Mainland

Last Updated Oct 18, 2018 at 10:00 am PST

FILE - Rallies for and against SOGI 1 2 3 at BC schools took place on April 23, 2018 outside the BCTF office in Vancouver. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Peter Fassbender, Richard Stewart among mayors seeking re-election who are named in list from anti-SOGI groups

Fassbender says he struggles with 'elements' of SOGI 1 2 3

Stewart isn't sure why he is named on list from groups against SOGI 1 2 3

LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS 1130) – A new list recommending who to vote for in the upcoming municipal elections has some local mayors surprised by the endorsement. It’s coming from groups opposing BC’s sexual orientation and gender identity resource, SOGI 1 2 3.

Former education minister Peter Fassbender, who is running for mayor of Langley, is on that list. But he’s okay with it.

“I absolutely have no problem with any anti-bullying initiative — which I think was at the foundation of the SOGI optional resource tools for teachers to do — but there elements in it I do have some struggles with, in terms of content,” he said.

“There are elements, in terms of gender identity, that suggests that young people should be encouraged and not to identify themselves as a boy or a girl,” he argued. “There are elements like that that I have concerns about.”

Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart is also listed, but he says he’s not sure why. He doesn’t see how he’s done anything to suggest he would be against SOGI.

He even attended a recent pro-SOGI rally at the town square.

“I’m entirely supportive of the LGBT community, and the need to remove the stigma associated with a wide range of inclusion realities in our community,” Stewart said.

“I don’t know what this group is about.”

Teri Towner, who is seeking re-election as a councillor in Coquitlam, posted on social media that she is “NOT anti-SOGI.”

“I have two kids (ages 14 and 16) in the SD43 school system and I fully support them participating in any and all of these inclusive learnings. As a mom I am totally 100% okay with SOGI123 in our schools.”

Langley Township mayor Jack Froese said in an email to NEWS 1130 that he is “neutral” on SOGI.

“If you want my opinion on inclusion of all people in our municipality that’s a different question. I support inclusion and respect all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, age, sex, etc.”

Abbotsford mayor Henry Braun and Chilliwack mayor Sharon Gaetz, both of whom are seeking re-election, are on three anti-SOGI lists. But they’re not answering questions about it.

Let’s Vote, the website that created the list, sent a statement in response to this story. They said the list is based on their constitution, particularly:

… to discover and help Canadians with conservative values to run in all levels of government;

to voice Canadians concerns about national security, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, traditional family values, children’s interests, pro-life issues;

to promote and support the public’s awareness of the importance of government accountability, transparency and fairness;

We do not like to be labelled as anti-whatever. I am sure you don’t as well. We cherish the good Canadian values and we will strive to achieve these: pro-family, pro-life and pro-parental choice etc as listed in our constitution and Candian (stet) Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This article has been updated to include responses from Coquitlam council candidate Terri Towner, Langley Township mayoral candidate Jack Froese, and Let’s Vote.