Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Pallister CON shakes up Trustee Race with Hard Right Culture Warfare
|LRSD Ward 4 candidate & provincial|
Conservative Youth Representative
Candace Maxymowich (left) beside
Conservative leader Brian Pallister.
Image Source: Candace Maxymowich/Twitter
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Candace Maxymowich is a candidate for School Trustee in the Louis Riel School Division's Ward Four and is the Pallister CONs Youth Rep. Recently she's been in the news for bringing her support for Forced Birth and Abstinence Only "Education" into the trustee race.
It's sure been one hell of a weird trip up to this point.
It was tense at the Louis Riel School Division's (LRSD) Fourth Ward. Hastings and Gaboury schools swapped students due to French immersion growth. There was a lot of bad blood and division between parents of the two different schools over the swap.
Some parents at the Anglophone Hastings - which had an extra room - were upset with the switch to Gaboury school - short a room for the rising French immersion population.
Carey Bridges, parent of a then Hastings student, opined to the CBC in March on how Gaboury was meeting on the issue "behind closed doors" for months. According to Bridges Gaboury wanted ''... their kids in our facility ... Well, who wouldn't? It's a better facility."
|LRSD Ward Map.|
The Winnipeg Free Press's Nick Martin reported that Candace wondered how Coburn - also the chair of the LRSD - could sleep at night. She also asked voters to "put integrity and ingenuity over incumbency this election", which Hugh took as a shot at him and other Board members.
The challenger veered off her generic anti-incumbent message when she suggested savings that could be found in schools. One may wonder what savings? Well, she provided a sensible option: privatizing school breakfast programs.
"Is the food used for that really an efficient use of money?" she asked Freep reporter Nick Martin.
She gave vague insinuations about finding "private partners" for school lunch programs. Few specifics were provided in the Freep article or the campaign literature I've seen.
She also told the Freep that she "may consider" reducing the number of teachers. Because, as you know, there's just too many teachers teaching too few kids in southeast Winnipeg. Larger class sizes for the win, am I right?
She later backpedaled on the firing teachers suggestion.
After veering far right on teachers and school lunches, she took a similar direction with sex ed and abortion on August 3, 2014.
She issued a tweet challenging other candidates to defend "parental rights" and the "moral integrity of children". She referenced two anti-choice organizations in her tweet.
|Screen capture obtained from the @CandaceMax twitter account on very late Monday,|
August 4, 2014.
Candace Maxymowich tried to bring various culture war conservative rhetoric into the trustee race, talking about "parental rights" (while, oddly opposing the rights of young women emotionally unsuited for parenthood to end unwanted pregnancies) and "moral integrity of children".
While giving shout outs to Manitoba's Life's Vision and the national Campaign for Life, Candace made it clear that she had a broader socially conservative agenda when it came to "parental rights".
|Screenshot of Twitter conversation between @BenBrisebois, @CandaceMax, and @ZachFleish.|
She stated on record that she opposes comprehensive sex education and supports abstinence only "education". Even though she started the entire tangent on "parental rights" and the "moral integrity of children" explicitly challenging rival candidates to give their views, she tried to diffuse the situation by claiming she was only giving a "personal opinion".
The backlash that switched her into full on backpedal mode is too big to list here. The Freep has a slideshow on it, for those interested.
Some people, like rightwing radio personality Charles Adler and Manitoba Liberal Harry Wolbert, have chimed in to offer personal support. They claim that she has the right to free expression and is brave for voicing her views. Charles Adler claims he doesn't share her socially conservative opinions, whereas the Liberal Wolbert supports abstinence only "education".
|Partial twitter screenshot. See tweet here.|
|Twitter screenshot of @hwolbert.|
Regardless, they're both misjudging the situation. Candace Maxymowich was explicitly contacting two socially far-right organizations and challenging other candidates to voice similar views. She was trying to drive a wedge between herself and other Ward 4 candidates for her own electoral gain (social conservatives are very motivated voters, especially in a low turnout race). Her plan backfired and now she pretends she was just offering her own personal musings.
Voters can't let Candace Maxymowich off the hook that easily. If you're going use your "personal beliefs" to win over the socially conservative fringe than mainstream voters have a right to voice their discontent.
I defend Candace's right to say her ignorant beliefs in a public forum. I also, however, defend the right of informed critics to poke holes in her ill-conceived views.
The stakes are high, as this candidate will be a member of a Board that influences the health and well-being of kids in southeast Winnipeg. Opposing evidenced-based policy is a bad precedent for a trustee to set, both for other board members and as a role model for students.
We need to expect better than this from school trustee candidates in every division and every ward. Politicians who use their "personal beliefs" to win votes and create wedges will be held accountable.
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