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Surrey councillors attend secret anti-SOGI victory party

Last Updated Nov 11, 2018 at 8:02 pm PST

Summary

Two Safe Surrey Coalition city councilllors attended a secret post-election party for anti-SOGI candidates Tuesday night

The party distanced itself from anti-SOGI endorsements prior to the election

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – The Safe Surrey Coalition rode to victory October 20 on a campaign to bring in the SkyTrain and create a new Surrey police force. B.C.’s education resource for LGBTQ-inclusive schools, SOGI 1 2 3, wasn’t an issue highlighted on the party’s platform.

But two now-elected city councillors, Laurie Guerra and Steven Pettigrew, met at a secret post-election party at the John Volken Academy on Tuesday night for those involved with anti-SOGI campaigns. Around 70 supporters, donors, volunteers and mostly unsuccessful council and school board trustee candidates attended. This NEWS 1130 reporter was undercover at that meeting.

The party distanced itself from anti-SOGI groups after NEWS 1130 reported the names of nearly 100 mayor, council and school board trustee candidates — including Safe Surrey Coalition members — across Metro Vancouver. They were being promoted by anti-SOGI groups Lets Vote and the Canadian Council for Faith and Family. Several names were also repeated on a list by Culture Guard.

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

“So many people were against us, the media was against us, and of course when you stand up for something, you’re always going to have the opposition,” Guerra told supporters. “This whole SOGI movement is all over the world, not just British Columbia, and so, Christians, stand up. Just stand up…who cares what anybody says? And just stay strong.”

Her support may come as a surprise for Surrey voters after the Safe Surrey Coalition told the Surrey Now-Leader in October they “don’t have control over the endorsements,” and candidates ” focus on municipal issues because that’s what the candidates are running for” when asked about endorsements by Culture Guard.

LISTEN: Laurie Guerra addresses the post-election party hosted by anti-SOGI groups at a secret meeting, raw hidden field recording

 

But Guerra told NEWS 1130 this week the statement from her own campaign manager didn’t represent her views.

“That never was a quote from me. That was a quote from our campaign manager on the municipal elections,” she said. “We didn’t have even time to look at what was being sent out. Honestly, our campaign manager, whether he knew that I was pro- or against the SOGI … I don’t know if he took it upon himself to just say what he wanted to say.”

Guerra insisted that she has always been open about her beliefs.

“I have no problem being very straight-forward — I always am and always will be — I am not in favour of the SOGI 1 2 3 resource as it stands,” she said. “I have no problem with being endorsed by those particular parties.”

Pettigrew, however, did not indicate a clear position when reached by email about his stance on the education resource this week.

LISTEN: Steven Pettigrew addresses the post-election party hosted by anti-SOGI groups at a secret meeting, raw hidden field recording

 

“During the election I was endorsed by numerous groups and organizations such as: labour unions, small business, realtors, churches, temples, taxi companies, environmental people, communities, and people both for and against SOGI 1 2 3. I am thankful that so many different groups thought well of me and were willing to endorse me,” he said in an emailed statement.

“I am sure that you are well aware that SOGI 1 2 3 is a school trustee issue and is outside of the mandate of a city councilor. My position is to represent the people of Surrey and to listen to them and to do my best to serve them.”

RELATED: Anti-SOGI trustees won’t be welcome in schools, warns outgoing Chilliwack board chair

But at the meeting, he had encouraging words for anti-SOGI candidates who didn’t win seats in the election.

“Some of you are thinking…am I supposed to be doing this? The answer is yes, you were supposed to be doing this. (God) has a plan. I don’t know what his plan is for you, but he’s got an incredible plan behind the scenes,” he said. “The people that ran for office, don’t stop…stay strong.”

He then asked people who were volunteering to keep supporting the cause, adding “that’s part of our responsibility as citizens.”

SOGI supporter, parent responds 

Brad Dirks, a parent of a transgender son and vocal supporter of B.C.’s SOGI 1 2 3 resource, says he thinks elected officials should be able to represent diverse communities.

“If you have candidates that are sneaking through the system getting elected, who have some kind of ulterior motive to discriminate or make their community less inclusive for certain groups of people, I think that should be something everybody should be worried about,” he said.

As as parent, he’s concerned that elected officials supporting this issue can divide a community.

“I think that any elected official who is getting elected pursuing some sort of divisive agenda should be somebody to watch carefully,” he says. “I think we should be electing people that are trying to bring communities together and celebrate diversity, not split us apart.”

NEWS 1130 has reached out to Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum for comment.