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HomeNewsControversial candidate leaves SD57 trustee election race mid-forum

Controversial candidate leaves SD57 trustee election race mid-forum

Nine SD57 trustee by-election candidates attended a question and answer forum at Vanier Hall tonight (Thursday), eight of them left the stage still in the running.

During the final question of the evening, candidate Josh Silva announced that he was ending his campaign.

A main pillar of Silva’s campaign was a strong anti-SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) approach, something you can find in the answers he submitted to our own candidate questions, and something he didn’t shy away from on the Vanier Hall stage tonight.

It started when the fifth question of the evening was about SOGI policies.

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The question, posed by the Prince George District Teachers’ Association (PGDTA), was: “SOGI programs are for everyone. What does SOGI inclusion in schools look like to you?”

“SOGI is the most divisive aspect in our education system,” Silva said, accusing the PGDTA of “imposing their will on all of our teachers.”

He continued by saying “this state has no business grooming our children for sexualization.”

This is when the first of many outbursts from the audience of about 150 occurred, people in the crowd who were not pleased with the accusation followed by people in the crowd who were in support of what Silva said.

After control of the crowd was regained Silva finished his thought and the forum moved forward as planned.

He made further references to SOGI in some of his following answers, but when the second to last question of the night (what should teachers bargain in the next collective agreement to improve teacher working conditions and student learning conditions), Silva opted not to answer and instead carried on with his stance on SOGI policies and informed minor consent.

While he was speaking, Dusty Martin, another candidate, interjected, saying “as someone who is a part of the 2SLGBTQ community, you need to stop spreading misinformation.”

This was met by applause from the audience, followed by more protest from other members of the crowd against Martin in support of Silva.

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In the final question of the night (related to the board’s budget), Silva decided to stand up and continue where he left off.

Immediately, members of the audience started to yell out “answer the question,” “we get it,” and “stop spreading lies.”

Silva responded to the crowd, saying “I just want to let everyone know I just had an appointment with my business partners today and I am not running anyhow. That is why I have been a little more abrasive here. I wouldn’t be playing this game like this, you can’t act like this. Let’s get real.”

That was the final thing Silva said on stage, which was met with a round of applause from some.

After the meeting, My PG Now spoke with Silva.

“A big thing came up in my life and it will take a lot of my time,” he explained. “I wish I would have known earlier, it was just thrown in my lap and I can’t pass it up.”

He also said using the forum for a platform was not the plan from the start, and he “honestly [wants] to help.”

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Despite the fireworks, the forum ran smoothly and was well attended.

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Candidates Lucy Duncan, Don Fitzpatrick, Sarah Holland, David Low, Milton Mahoney, Dusty Martin, Shar McCrory, and Bill Prince answered all nine questions. The only name on the ballot that was not on the stage was Heather McKenzie.

Questions ranging from the role and responsibilities of a trustee, to transparency, to teacher recruitment were all asked and answered throughout the two hour period.

A comprehensive breakdown of the forum will be posted later this week.

Votes for the nine remaining candidates will be cast on Saturday, June 17.

You can vote from 8:00 – 8:00 at:

  • Glenview Elementary
  • Heritage Elementary
  • Malaspina Elementary
  • Pineview Elementary
  • Van Bien Training Centre

Advanced voting will also be available on Tuesday, June 13.

It is unclear if Silva’s name will still be on the ballot after withdrawing from the race.

Another by-election in SD57 was held in January of 2022. Only 1,137 votes were cast.

You can find My PG Now’s full candidate profiles here and here.

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