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School District 57 byelection poised to become controversial

Stuart Parker

A trio of controversial Prince George men are planning to ‘intervene’ in the School District 57 byelection next spring.

“A campaign team led by former Prince George Citizen columnist and broadcaster Nathan Giede, former B.C. Federation of Labour treasurer Aaron Ekman and writer broadcaster and former university professor Stuart Parker will be announcing their plans to intervene in the January byelection caused by former school board chair Trent Derrick’s recent resignation,” reads a statement issued to media about an announcement at noon today to “take back control of Prince George schools” and field a candidate in the byelection.

Giede wrote a controversial column for the Citizen for several years and now writes for the Western Standard, a right-of-centre website based in Alberta. He also hosts a podcast on the site and Ekman is regular panellist.

Earlier this year Ekman was fired from his position at chair of the University of Northern British Columbia’s board of governors for making apparently racist comments on Twitter.

Parker is the former leader of the B.C. Green Party and the Ecosocialist Party. He stepped down as leader of the Ecosocialist Party last year because of “a slew of false allegations of transphobia” against him. He later said in a Tweet that “all I did was defend a group of three elderly women who spoke out against the rape threats JK Rowling received when people were suggesting a campaign to get one of them fired. I think we all deserve secure employment and a life free of rape threats.”

And, to launch the campaign today, the three are bringing in White Rock activist Chris Elston to deliver a speech. Elston gained notoriety for paying for a billboard in Vancouver supporting author JK Rowling, who created her own controversy involving trans people with a series of Tweets.

The announcement has prompted a reply from School District 57 trustee and former chair Tim Bennett:

“I was not planning on posting opinions about #sd57 candidates but could not sit quietly. Glad there are people interested in serving and diversity around table is important. However, as a Trustee we need to ensure we are protecting the rights of EVERY child. No room for hate.”
Trustee candidate Audrey McKinnon has also responded and is organizing an “Anti-Hate Counter Rally” to crash the announcement.
“Folks, I’m asking for your solidarity for trans kids Thursday at noon on Third downtown Prince George,” she posted on Facebook. “A local group has organized a news conference at that time with an out-of-town guest who is on tour across Canada promoting anti-trans hate. I want every child in Prince George to know that they are loved, they are welcomed and they are accepted by this community. Let’s make sure they know that.”
The news conference is slated to get underway at noon today at 1299 Third Avenue.


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